If you know me, then you probably know that I am not a patient person.  So the irony of this post is not lost on me.  I know I need to take a dose of my own medicine, practice what I preach and yada yada.  But as a small business owner, the “hurry up and wait” game can be emotionally exhausting.

It seems we're always waiting for something: clients to get back to us with feedback, vendors to deliver as promised, or our marketing efforts to take hold and produce some sort of results.  And if you’re anything like me, the waiting is the hardest part. 

We live in a very results driven world, and with that comes a greater sense of urgency with everything that we do.  And the immediacy that social media provides has conditioned us to expect rapid interaction on everything that we produce.  In turn, we feel compelled to always try to be first.  

It's a vicious cycle and this way of thinking can be detrimental to your organization's growth efforts. Creating meaningful engagement with your customers (and prospect customers) requires a level of patience that is diametrically opposed to this frenetic, speed to market approach.

Think about some of the more significant decisions you've had to make in your personal life: a big purchase, choosing (or staying with) a life mate, choosing a college or changing jobs.  These are not the types of decisions that are made impulsively. And while not as significant in the grand scheme of things, your data collection and engagement strategy shouldn't be either! 

You need to take time and really think through what information you want to gather from your audience that will allow you to best resonate with them moving forward.  Remember, in our world the "why" out ranks the "what". And "why" requires a different level of thoughtfulness.

Why is Customer X interested in what we do?
Why would she choose us over our competitors?
Why would she come back to us time and time again?

Seeking answers to these types of questions, while more cumbersome to get to, position you for long term success.

If the goal is to create lifelong customers, supporters and/or donors, then our efforts should be focused on creating relationships, not pandering for a "like" or a "follow".