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Any self employed or small business owner knows that if you are not working then you’re not billing and not making any money. Any time spent growing the business happens at night if it happens at all. Considering that most of us are probably not natural sales people, prospecting for new business usually gets pushed aside and I am no exception.

I recently finished the book “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port and came away with some really great ideas to help me grow my business and reach out to others. The best thing about this book is that it is written for those of us in the service industry, a refreshing perspective.

One of Michaels tools is his Book Yourself Solid List of 20. In a nutshell you make a list of 20 people you would like to develop a professional relationship with who can help you get booked solid. Every day you will contact the next person on your list and then move them to the back of the list, 20 work days from now. This is very simple and ensures that direct outreach activity occurs every day.

There are probably many ways you can do this electronically including the yet to go live www.solid.ly by Michael Port. It can also work well in an analog world. Paper and pen that is. This idea of your list of 20 is perfect complement to 43 folders.

43 folders is a fancy name for a tickler file. It is a system of 43 folders consisting of 12 month folders and 31 day folders. I first learned of this through David Allen’s Getting Things Done¬†and Merlin Mann’s blog of the same name 43Folders.com.

The way it is organized is that on January 1 the first folder in line is January and the second folder is 1, followed by 2, then 3. After 31 there will be February followed by the months in order. On January 2 the folder 1 is moved behind the February folder.

If you have a piece of paper or something that you don’t need until later in the month you place it in the folder on the day you need it. Tickets to the football game might go in the folder 21, the day of the game. Each day you look in that days folder and process that days information. If you have information farther out than 31 days then just add it to the month folder and distribute it when the date comes around.

So back to your Book Yourself Solid List of 20. Write the contact information on a piece of paper or large card. It needs to be large enough that there is room to write notes each time you contact them. Once you have made contact just move the card 20 business days out in your 43 folders. Tomorrow you start on the next one.

Too often we get hung up on not doing something because we don’t have the perfect system or the right app. There are many other people who are terribly intimidated by technology and use this as an excuse. This is a great example of how you can keep moving your business forward with a simple plan and simple tools.

Shawn Wright

Shawn Wright

Principal and Owner at Shawn Wright Designs
Shawn Wright is a graphic designer and podcaster living in Birmingham, Alabama. You can find his design work at shawnwright.net. He is also the producer and host of the Shades Cahaba Oral History Project podcast (shadescahabahistory.com) and has a few other shows currently in production.
Shawn Wright
Shawn Wright

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