We’re told that as business owners, we need to be out there meeting people, building relationships – it’s good for business. The reality is meetings take up valuable time, and time is money. How many cups of coffee can you actually drink in one day? There is no denying that business meetings are absolutely important. The question is, how do you suss out which meetings are valuable and which ones are not? Julissa Shrewsbury shares great tips on how to avoid business meetings that waste your time.
When I started my photography business I made the same mistake that most new business owners make. I thought that being busy meant being productive.
I scheduled several meetings each week with people I had met during networking events, often travelling long distances to see them. My string of meetings were often saddled with awkward time gaps in between which didn’t allow me a decent amount of time to get other things done.
I would meet these ‘prospects’ with a win-win mindset, having diligently followed up after our initial introduction and having researched their business to see how we could collaborate. My approach was casual on the surface. I made sure they knew I wasn’t out to deliver a sales pitch and close a deal but to build a relationship. Yet beneath that lay a lot of time-consuming preparation towards what I thought was a solid marketing strategy.
This is what I eventually learnt over many months of such meetings:
I would fill my week with meetings where I would ride high on the social buzz and the chance to talk about my business. At the end of that week I would have seen a handful of people who may or may not ever contact me again, and I wouldn’t have spent any time on marketing and business development.
… those who were willing to pay the introductory fee for my services were likely to go on to invest in a photo shoot and would be people I wanted to work with because they valued me too.
I soon recognised the value in the free information I was providing to these so-called prospects and decided that from now on, if anyone wanted my time and expertise they would have to pay for it. I also noticed that those who were willing to pay the introductory fee for my services were likely to go on to invest in a photo shoot and would be people I wanted to work with because they valued me too.
Truth be told, I do love a personal meeting. There’s nothing like a coffee and a chat with an interesting person. But meetings have come at a high cost for me and this is why I am very selective about the ones I agree to attend.
So here are my tips for avoiding time-wasting meetings:
Julissa Shrewsbury is founder and director of New Work Photography, a multi-award winning creative agency specialising in commercial photography and visual brand consulting. Julissa regularly writes and speaks on topics such as how to use photos for a high-impact personal or business brand. Her articles have been published in various print and online magazines, as well as in her popular newsletter, News in Visual Marketing. Read her blog at http://www.newworkphotography.com/nw-blog/
Do you attend every meeting you’re invited to? Tell us how you suss out the valuable ones in the comments section below!