Reading Business Club, along with several individual members, is proud to be a sponsor of the annual Choko Beer Festival – held on the last weekend of September each year. This year has again seen a great event, full of good fun, good music, and plenty raised for charity. James Butler, an RBC member, is closely involved in the organisation, and he believes this year was the easiest to organise. Why – because of the systems that have been developed over the six years it has been running.
As a forty-something, James has fond memories of 1980s commercials, and is resistant to modern technological developments (he still joyously embraces his VCR and resists these new-fangled DVRs). This means he is doubly fond of the Archie the Skeleton ads from his teenage years. The “Re-record not fade away” soundtrack has two qualities – it has an incredible ability to lodge in your head and never leave, and it is a great reminder of how systems can support a successful enterprise – whether a business or a charity beer festival.
Whenever a task is repeated, whether annually like a beer festival or daily like opening or closing a business premises, having a list of things to check (heck, let’s call it a Checklist) makes it effortless to remember, ensures consistency and reduces the risk of something important being missed. Writing, retaining and checking a list is a simple system, but it can have an incredible impact.
Your business or work may have the need for a few such lists – so you can build up a collection of these lists, perhaps even a list of those lists (heck, let’s call that folder an Office Manual). Now you, your colleagues, new staff or even temporary replacements can come in, pick up the manual and know what needs to be done to run your business. Suddenly it isn’t as reliant on you, or any particular member of staff, and it is more likely to be done the same each time (your service will re-record, not fade away).
All you have to do is write the checklists (and regularly review and update them).
At RBC, we regularly hear of the importance of taking your business through the process of creating a business plan – another form of system or checklist that guides the overall development of the business. So checklists or systems can be useful for repetitive, regular tasks (like recording every episode of Strictly on your Scotch E180 video cassette), or for longer term endeavours (like preserving the evidence of the shocking fashions at your betrothal on the wedding video).
Before we leave the idea of “re-record, not fade away”, it can also be applied to one’s marketing efforts – not only in terms of a system/checklist to plan your marketing activity for a coming year (perhaps a monthly checklist) but also in terms of re-using your marketing ideas over time and across formats (like digging out that tape with Grease on, that you recorded one Christmas in the 90s. Who needs Netflix when you have a VCR?!). If you have a good marketing idea that works – whether an event, a newsletter topic or a promotion – you can have a system for reusing them in future years.
In the same way, you can take content you wrote for a newsletter and put into your social media efforts, or onto a web page for a target audience. If you’ve been inspired once, don’t let that fade away – use it as much as possible!
What in your business needs to re-record and not fade away?
What checklists could you have to ensure compliance, consistency and to ease repeated activities?
How could you build those into a manual for your business?
How can you re-use marketing ideas and efforts over time and across media?
To see Archie in action, visit this YouTube clip for the “Re-record not fade away” edition, or this one to see the first time he appeared in 1983. Check out the flat screen TV that Scotch predicted 30 years ago!
Before anyone else feels the need to point it out, James is fully aware of the resemblance between him and Archie – happy face, small glasses, no hair. They could be brothers…