“I pull you – you push me” 

The keystone of an arch or bridge is vital to the success of all the other stones within that construction. But then, without the support, life and reliance of the other stones, surely the keystone is rendered useless also? 

When I set up the 0114 Marketing project it was positioned in my mind as predominantly a supporting arm for the smallest of businesses and start up business owners who would otherwise be stranded at their kitchen table, bedroom desk or home office. Most likely, these people would be the sole proprietor of their operation meaning total and complete autonomy over what they decide to do, to not do, to defer or to delegate. 

Time for planning and direction would be a scarce resource, often sacrificed in the face of ‘doing’ the bread and butter work. Fair enough; the bills won’t pay themselves! 

This doesn’t, however, remove the need and input into the planning and directive work that business needs in order to sustain and build in a way that works for the sole person business owner. 

Who needs marketing accountability?

Turns out though that it isn’t just the tiniest of business or sole trader who finds it hard to allocate the necessary time or resource to the planning side of the business, but this too applies to larger teams, management and those charged with directing the business in the first place! 

Time is a scarce resource. Focus can be hard to apply, but for me, it is vital and needs to be somewhere near the top of your list for business development. However, left alone, left unchecked, or not prioritised, this workload can become a chore. It fast becomes a secondary to tertiary activity that simply pales in significance compared to the hard yards, the graft, the doing. 

Respecting the need for accountability.

So what is the middle ground here? Businesses need to ‘do the do’ but businesses also need to plan and direct too. Accountability. It is a little bit buzzword but one of the most successful ways of developing your focus, action plan, and activity. It is the best way possible to avoid procrastination, inaction and reverting to type. Accountability helps us do more of the stuff we wouldn’t normally do. Why? Because we are responsible to someone else for its creation, doing and implementation! 

I found this audio from leading business and life coach Jack Canfield, talking about the power of accountability. You should definitely listen to this, it can really change your perception!

What are the benefits of accountability? 

I have several accountability partners for my own benefit but I am also responsible for others accountability in terms of business development. Tommy Lee-Zmuda (The Boiler Business) and Steve Knapp (The Sales Mindset Coach / Plan. Grow. Do.) each hold me to account because our joint projects depend on our input. It’s a fantastic way to achieve more in a shorter and more focussed space of time and I see so much benefit from it: Accountability educates me, focusses my efforts and makes me more efficient. 

Accountability educates me, focusses my efforts and makes me more efficient. 

5 benefits of accountability in business and marketing.

  1. Accountability accelerates performance
  2. Accountability keeps you engaged
  3. Accountability will keep you responsible
  4. Accountability helps you measure your success and progress
  5. Accountability will validate your thoughts and ideas

I think these 5 points for the benefits of accountability are key to helping you appreciate the value of incorporating more into your activities a plan for accountability. You should read more about these five benefits in the article I found over on Frequency Fitness.

A problem shared is a problem halved?

Well, as it happens, a written down and shared goal is up to 30 times as effective as not having a goal at all! You must get the ideas out of your head and at least committed to paper. Ideas and knowledge in your head, not applied, can lead to more frustration than not knowing or having the idea in the first place!

How to find an accountability partner and process.

Ok, so the idea of accountability excites you. But you must commit a realistic amount of time to pursue this. Accountability cannot be a fleeting dance you have, but rather a full-blown commitment to make each others’ business flourish, or your joint venture successful.

This simple four-step process for setting up accountability will help you implement and monitor your own actions. Remember, feeling overwhelmed, or overstretching your ambition for accountability because you are initially excited by the prospect of it could lead to overwhelm, boredom and the whole process fizzling out before any real success has had a chance to implant itself.

Step one: Who?

Who you want to hold you accountable is a key first question. Does the person have the same drive as you? Can they develop a side to you that you see as weak currently? Is there a joint and coherent goal that you can both work on? Are your accountability partners at the same or different stage of life and business and does it make sense for them to be holding you accountable? Will the goals and input you can both set be equal to the output you are expecting from your accountability partner?

Step two: When?

What time commitment do you need to share in order to achieve a successful meeting and catch up? How long can you give to the meeting and at what frequency? I have daily meetings currently with two partners that are scheduled to run for 1 hour each, every day. This is because we are working remotely but conscious that to avoid scope creep or timeline slippage, and to maintain a level of consistency in our work towards a common goal, a daily meeting for an hour is necessary. This may go to every other day once our routines are set.

Step three: Medium?

We live in a connected world. Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic caused a lot of people to quickly pivot their actions to a more online space. Zoom, Facebook Chat, WhatsApp, Skype and more allow quick and easy acess to holding meetings remotely and, assuming you have a good wifi connection, can function nicely and achieve a great deal from the comfort of your home or office.

The Boiler Business prgoramme attendees holding an accountability session via Zoom.

Does your meeting need to be face to face? Meetings face to face are still important, regardless of the external environment for which you have no control, think about a physical space that will suit both or all parties of the accountability group.

Some suggestions for physical accountability sessions and their settings:

  • Classroom training and shared goal setting
  • Office space that suits both parties (alternative visits for example)
  • Coffee shop/bar where the atmosphere can be relaxed
  • Structured networking

Step four: Purpose

We all have an intrinsic value of our time and therefore we must appreciate that any accountability session is taking the time both of you, at least one other person, but potentially a larger group of people too. So be clear on the purpose of your accountability setting. What would you like to see achieved in 7, 14, 30 or even 90 days, and what is the role of steps one to three to make this the most useful efficient process to satisfy the purpose?

how to find your ideal accountability partner
How to find your ideal accountability partner by Jack Canfield.

The Jack Canfield video about How to identify your ideal accountability partner will help you on the journey of these four key steps to creating a solid accountability process.

Further reading to help you on the road to better marketing and better accountability!