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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fast and slow

Sometimes things move fast. Sometimes they happen slowly. But if you don't consider both patience and nimbleness in your marketing you will either obtain distorted results or fail to achieve your potential.

And some initiatives are fast and slow, both. These examples are from my business, but I'm sure you can find your own stories and experiences to relate similar perspectives.

The Book

In the fall, I set a goal to write and complete my first full-scale book by Christmas. I then planned to have it edited and distributed by March. I achieved the first part of the objective on time, getting up early each day for a solid block of writing.

My wife is the book's editor (she is a professional writer/editor). Every day she works on the editing for about an hour. Slowly, steadily, she is making progress. She may finish by the fall.

Then things may speed up a bit with the revisions, review, and production stages.

Is this pace unreasonable? Not really. It is a book, after all, designed for a long shelf-life (which can be adapted and updated easily with the new electronic publishing options). I could pay a small fortune and contract with someone else to rush the job but why not be patient? The book will be better and far more effective long term if I allow the editing to happen at its slower natural pace.

Online publishing and advertising

Within a few weeks, the first issue of the Design and Construction Report will be ready for distribution (I hope!). This publication is born from the initiative of the Design and Construction Network, which started as a modest online group in Washington DC and now has grown to thousands of members, within months.

The new publication is designed as a magazine -- we can arrange to print it on demand -- but has many differences from conventional publications. Some of the articles and ads include live video components and everything is hyperlinked and will be easy to connect. (The printed version of course won't include this live video; technology hasn't advanced that far yet!)
In the publishing space, the inception-to-launch of this publication is incredibly rapid, as was last fall's launch of Ottawa Renovates!

But neither of these projects would have happened without the foundation of long-term and "slow" relationships without immediate pressure or expectation of results. Sure, the call came to move quickly, but we only had the trust to start by previous knowledge and experience. You can't rush this sort of thing.

This blog

It's fast -- in that I update it every day and it only takes a few minutes to put an entry together. And some amazing, fast, and immediately rewarding business has resulted from this initiative. But it's slow, as well. Every day, week after week, I need to update entries and write more stuff. Without speed, it won't work; without patience, it won't last.

We all experience in business and life the complementary and conflicting demands of speed and instant gratification, and patience and long-term rewards. Marketing and business development is like that; you need to sow your seeds, but be ready to grab your opportunities. And some projects have naturally diverging rhythms. You can go fast part of the way, but if you try to maintain that pace consistently you will lose it -- yet, if you don't continue and if you give up before you reach your goals, you won't get very far at anything.

Probably the best solution is to set your daily goals and objectives over matters you can control and move quickly; and keep a patient eye on the things that take longer to nurture and develop. You'll ultimately get where you want to go, and enjoy the journey to your destination.

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