Housework day. Cleaning, baking, grocery shopping, stuff like that.

However, I still have to tell you about the little epiphany I had last night, even though it’s business related. I received in the mail a copy of Being Strategic by Erika Andersen. I saw this book when Janalisa and I were visiting in the Big City. We went to Buca di Beppo and there was a 45 minute wait, so we left our names and wandered about, ending up in a large bookstore.

Janalisa was quizzing #2 daughter closely about the morning coffee arrangements at her place, so I got to prowl around through the books a bit, and I saw this one. I’m a strategic thinker, and do a lot of strategery for clients, but this book is like a workbook, and we’re currently having some “How do we get from here to there?” problems in our business, so when I got home, I checked it out at Amazon. (The coffee discussion was too intense for me to buy it at the bookstore.) It’s coming out in paperback, but I’m glad that I didn’t wait.

Andersen makes a lot of good points. One is that we have a tendency to jump straight to solutions without sufficiently identifying the problem or the desired outcome. As you read through the book, you practice the skills with an example from your life, and I chose the CRM issue.

I started out with something like, “We need better customer relationship management” or “We need to follow up n our leads.” Andersen cautions us about this: those are solutions, but we haven’t actually identified any problem. I went to, “We don’t follow up on our leads.” So what? I have plenty of business. I don’t have to follow up on leads if I don’t want to — I just felt that we should, because it’s good business. Or something.

As I continued through the process — and I won’t bore you with the details, but if you need some strategic thinking assistance you should get this book — I realized that it isn’t just that everybody ought to have a CRM. It’s that following up on hot leads and bringing satisfied customers back for more services will give me more control over the kind of work I have, allowing me to choose more profitable work. This in turn will allow me to hire people (my family members, for an added benefit), which will allow us all to play to our strengths and let me be busy and happy rather than overwhelmed by work or stuck with tasks I don’t enjoy.

So, yeah, that’s worth $900 a year (the price of Salesforce for me — it can be as little as $60 a year or as much as $50,000 or more, depending on your precise needs). It’s also worth taking the time to learn to use Salesforce systematically, and in fact it’s worth taking the time to follow up with people, whether I’m a naturally friendly person or not.

It’s a gorgeous day. #2 son is coming in, so I will now clean house and bake and stuff like that. It’ll be great.