Success Stories | Make Them Manageable

Every small business seems to have a backlog of success stories waiting to be documented. Some are current and reflect work completed in the past few months. Others are older, but still relevant and useful.

Why does this happen? It's human nature. The urgent of now captures our energy and attention, while yesterday's accomplishments represent the past.

If you're a typical small business owner, you're juggling multiple priorities that include staying on top of current projects and products, meeting with prospects and customers, making sales, putting out fires, and managing all the other details that go into running the business.

So how do you stay on top of current work, reduce your success story backlog, and create new ones that reflect your current products, services and capabilities? Let's consider four simple strategies.

Option 1. Keep things manageable and doable. Block out one day each month and devote your attention to completing just one success story. Each month, alternate between recent accomplishments and success stories which have been sitting on the waiting list for awhile. In that way, you'll whittle away at the backlog and continue to add current marketing material to keep things fresh.
Option 2. Set aside a couple of days at specific intervals (e.g., the end of each quarter, or the middle and end of the year, etc.). Try to create success stories for every significant project or effort completed in the past three or six months. Be selective and focus on only the best, most relevant examples. Select at least one success story from your waiting list, and tackle it, too. In that way, you'll gradually reduce your backlog and prevent a new one by staying abreast of current success stories.

Option 3. Make writing a success story part of the project completion or routine reporting process. You may not always have all the final data you want or need, but in most cases, you'll be able to quickly compile 80% of the content, because it's fresh in your mind. This approach may not work well if you're a micro-business with a small handful of people who are already over-extended. It works better in larger businesses, where you can delegate the task to a marketing person or the product/project manager.

Option 4. Contract with a writer, consultant or agency to develop your success stories. Work together to design a template, create a master schedule, and establish an internal system for collecting relevant details and indicators while work is in progress. At planned intervals, forward the success story particulars to your consultant, and let them do the work for you. You'll have the luxury to remain focused on your business, but you'll also have a constant, current supply of success stories for marketing purposes. 
In today's fast-paced environment, none of us can count on having sufficient lead time to create meaningful success stories before the next big pitch or presentation. With a little planning and effort, you'll have a versatile collection waiting in the wings, which frees you to focus on the customer and making the sale.

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Related
DIY Success Stories | 6 Easy Steps (Overview)
DIY Success Stories | Step 1. Market Your Business
Success Stories | Market & Sell (examples)
Success Stories | Focus on Results (example)

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