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

 

Mastering the Art of Business Development Blog Series
Article Five: Become A Business of One

We’ve recently been discussing how you can use business development to boost your success and improve your quality of life. I’ve given you several tips and tools, including suggesting that you develop “business development real estate™”. These tools are part of a larger strategy that will help you optimize your performance and results: A Personal Business Development Plan.

There are 7 Steps to creating your personal plan:

  1. Perceive Yourself as a Business of One
  2. Create a Mission Statement
  3. Perform a SWOT Analysis
  4. Develop a Personal Brand Strategy
  5. Determine Action Items
  6. Create a Time Budget
  7. Track Your Progress

Today we are going to discuss the first step, perceiving yourself as a business of one. Most companies have a business plan or strategy. This helps them set goals and targets, and creates a framework in which employees execute tasks in order to reach those goals and targets. Business plans contain comparisons to previous years and to other companies, strategies about branding, optionality and diversification, valuation, and track record. In addition, business plans usually contain contingencies, in case things don’t work out in the expected timeframe or order. Having a clear and well-thought-out business plan is crucial to a company’s success.

And yet, most individuals do not have a formal plan or strategy for their career. Some have not even given thought to the aforementioned elements, such as short and long-term goals or branding. This lack of insight, planning and organization can have a tangible impact on your success.  For instance, let’s say you are a service provider (such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant). You might be able to eke out a living by following a predetermined path and simply working diligently, but if you want to maximize your potential or work for yourself, you really need to set yourself apart from the pack. Or let’s say you are an insurance agent who is unhappy with your current job, and you’d like to move into the fin-tech world. How are you going to make that move without having to start all over again from square one?

The answer is that you need to start acting like a business entity, or as I like to say, a business of one. Like any company or business, you can take certain actions to strategically plan and organize in order to optimize your profitability, brand recognition and other potential advantages. You can figure out what your goals are, and how you can use your personal strengths and assets to achieve them. What about your personality and strengths can translate into a brand? How can you position yourself in your industry as an expert? You can measure your success and determine how you should value yourself. You can figure out what your safeguards and contingency plans are so that if you are ever fired, quit, or change your mind about what you want to do with your life, you can do that much more easily.

For example, basketball players wear a jersey with their team name on the front and their personal name on the back. They might switch to another team, but their name is still going to be on the back of the jersey. In other words, the skills, capabilities, and fame of an individual player do not change even though the player is traded to a new team. (Source:  Robert Derbabian.) Just like the basketball player, you can move to different jobs while still maintaining your personal identity.  For example, a banker can work for Goldman Sachs, quit and move to UBS without losing her skills and abilities and in some cases, her clients. Or, that same banker could decide that she wants to change careers entirely and start her own private equity firm. She has the expertise and the connections in order to make that happen.

The first step to creating your personal plan is about setting the intention to treat your career and your success like a business. The following articles will help you take that intention and turn it into a clear, organized and effective strategy.