How TGI Friday’s can help your ad agency new business effort

You hear this all the time – “I don’t have enough time to do new business.” Or, you might hear this coming from your new business team – “I can’t spend time on prospecting and closing? Pick one.”

Well, gentle readers… You do. And you must.

Just how does one squeeze every drop of productivity out of day? An answer could be in your system. Some kind of disciplined approach you can follow each and every day to accomplish short-term and long-term goals. All the way from “pick up the dry cleaning” to “lose ten pounds.” (You’d read funnier goals, but Papa’s got a mortgage to pay and must be moving along.)

There are a ton of systems out there that you can modify for your own personal use. Consider something like Getting Things Done or Franklin Covey. Something that gives you the satisfaction of checking off a task. It’s a satisfying little reward. That, and getting paid!

Yours truly is far from a productivity guru. But what I have done works. My secret: I learned some basic time management tenets wearing stripes at TGI Friday’s. Yep, the home of half canoes, tubas and tin signs.

The very best, most efficient servers do at least two things really well. And they can apply to agency new business project management:

Practice “full hands in, and full hands out.” 25 years later, I can hear the manager screaming it now as I hustle drinks out to tables. The phrase means as you walk back and forth between the back of the house (that’s “kitchen” to you lay-people) and the dining area, carry something with you. In new business, this can mean, for instance, wringing every little bit of value out of a whitepaper. A whitepaper can become: a series of blog posts; a presentation; a speech; an incremental/value-add for current clients; an offer to meet with a prospect. Etc. You get the idea.

Juggle the needs of all tables at once. Before leaving your section to go to the back of the house, what can you do Before walking away from the table section, mentally tick off where you’re at with each table and make progress with each one. To me, this is project management 101. Tables are projects. They have a beginning, middle and end. Steps are involved. And with discipline, you can make progress – even slow progress – against each project every day. In new business, this can mean making sure you carve out some time every day for prospecting in addition to working on the new agency’s credentials materials or completing an RFP response, for instance.

Who knew working at TGI could prepare one for an exciting career in new business?!

Hope this helps inspire you to look at how much you get done in a day and find ways to optimize. If you’ve got a tip or two, feel free to share! Thanks.