When I started my own business 10 years ago, I thought I’d have control over my schedule. No boss to tell me what to do. No commute, since I work out of a home office. Freedom!
Ah yes, freedom. But, what I learned is that the freedom to work only when you want to, can also mean the freedom to work 24/7.
That’s just one of my many excuses for gaining weight over the past few years. But this blog is not about excuses. It’s about my “secrets” for losing 50 pounds, and, since this site is about customer-centric business, how what I learned might help you have similar success forging closer customer relationships with your CRM initiatives.
This post was inspired by an article in my local paper (San Francisco Chronicle). “Exercise Discretion” discussed fitness equipment reviewed in the February issue of Consumer Reports (some info is available free at www.consumerreports.org). Most gadgets targeted a body part and promised dramatic weight loss and overall improvement–with toned and smiling people pitching these products on infomercials.
But the “secret” of these machines was actually a reduced calorie diet and aerobic exercise. The machines themselves had little to do with burning enough calories to lose any weight.
So, if you’re thinking that machines are going make the difference all by themselves, then you’re in for as much disappointment as those who thought buying CRM technology would magically increase sales or create raving fans for customers.
Based on my year-long experience, here’s my “system” for success losing weight, with a related tip for CRM success. Operators are standing by…
1. Get help. I hired a personal trainer, thanks to a gift from my loving spouse who, no doubt, got tired of having Mr. Fatty around the house. Trainer Dan put me through a one-hour workout once per week and, more importantly, helped me with goal setting, nutrition and exercise techniques.
CRM Tip: Do you have a trained professional helping you?
2. Commit the time. Everyone has 24 hours in the day. If your health is important, you have to carve out some time each week to increase your heart rate and burn some calories. A few minutes on one of those machines that promise “six-pack abs” won’t make up for a week behind a desk. For every hour I spent with Dan, I probably spent five more working out on my own.
CRM Tip: Are you investing enough time to keep your program moving along?
3. Set realistic goals. My goal was to lose 50 pounds by September, but I didn’t. Losing the first 20 pounds is easy, but then progress slows way down. It’s easy to get discouraged if you keep doing the same things and get less results. Well, I kept going and made my goal by year-end, instead.
CRM Tip: If you encounter problems, do you give up or learn and move on?
4. Track progress frequently. I used a very advanced technology called a white board, to write down my weight every week. Every time I get up from my desk, there it is to remind me. I also got weighed by Trainer Dan every week, and didn’t want to have to explain poor results, which kept me motivated.
CRM Tip: Are you measuring your progress and posting results for all to see?
5. Have a support group. My wife and son were very supportive. As a family we made some changes in our eating habits that helped me a lot. Any significant change is hard. What’s wrong with having a little love to keep you going?
CRM Tip: Do you consult with colleagues or get help on community sites like CustomerThink?
This year, take at close look at your business and the health of your customer relationships. Maybe you don’t need to lose “50 pounds of fat,” but odds are that some improvements are needed. Make the commitment and use my five tips for inspiration. Just don’t bank on “machines” to do it all for you.
Best wishes for a healthy and successful 2008, in business and in life.