Author:
Lou Sokolovskiy
Founder/CEO, Opus Connect
lou@opusconnect.com

 

Mastering the Art of Business Development Blog Series 
Article Three: Going Outside of Your Comfort Zone with Business Development

Welcome back. Hopefully after my last two articles, you are already thinking about how you can use business development to improve your career and lifestyle. Today’s article will provide some tips for getting started. Whether you’re already using business development to help further your goals or you’re just beginning to implement this practice into your life, these tips will help you improve.

In my last article, I explained that despite the obvious benefits of business development, many people still aren’t doing it, or aren’t doing enough of it. The first reason was that some people just don’t understand the present value of doing business development, because results are not often immediately apparent. The second reason is that many people just don’t like doing business development and so they shy away from it. They feel they aren’t good at it, it goes outside of their comfort zone, and it feels like a chore. If you fall into this category, what should you do? Here are a few tips:

Acknowledge That You Have an Opportunity

Hidden inside every challenge is an opportunity. While sometimes you might dread going to networking events, talking to strangers, or taking a client out for dinner, try to focus on the positive – or the opportunity that these actions present. Business development is clearly a valuable tool that can yield powerful results. Simply acknowledging this will help you start to change the way that you feel, and in turn, the way that you are perceived.

Change Your Attitude

Forcing yourself to do business development or “faking it” will be apparent to others and negatively impact your success. To turn this around, you need to shift your attitude. Instead of dreading business development, try to embrace it. The best way to do that is to genuinely enjoy it. If you can incorporate activities that you actually enjoy into your business development strategy, it will be much easier to tolerate what you are doing. It should be easy to say yes!

Use Your Passions And Hobbies

One of the easiest ways to start enjoying business development is to turn your existing hobby or passion into a BD opportunity.  Let’s say you are are an art lover. You could join the Board of an art museum and meet other interesting and diverse professionals while simultaneously learning more about art and doing something you take pride in. Or let’s say you are into running. You could join a local running group. You might even have fun and make friends. When you incorporate your hobbies and passions into business development, your opportunity cost goes down and you can achieve multiple goals at the same time.

Treat Business Development Like A Game

Even if you are enjoying business development, it still might not be easy for you. Perhaps you are shy or feel uncomfortable bridging the gap between friendship and a professional relationship. If you feel like you aren’t a natural at business development, just treat it like a game: People can be naturally good at a game or bad at a game, but there is always room for improvement. For example, if someone isn’t naturally talented at tennis, they can still improve by taking lessons and practicing. Similarly, business development skills can be learned. Additionally, if you think of business development as a game, you can “keep score” and track your improvement. For instance, you can tally how many people you took to lunch in a certain month, or how many contacts you added to your funnel each quarter.

Practice Makes Perfect

Even if you are a natural when it comes to business development, you can always improve by practicing. Think about the sports analogy again: In many ways, training is just as important, if not more important than natural talent. Can you imagine Michael Phelps going to the Olympics without having practiced in 6 months? Without training and practice, even a natural athlete won’t be at their best.

At the end of the day, whether or not you are naturally good at business development, you can always improve. Embrace business development with the right attitude. Turn it into something you genuinely enjoy and practice it. Next time, I will explore the concept of Business Development Real Estate, which is a tool that will help you engage in business development in an effective and enjoyable way.