Where Will You Be In 5 Years?
I have an interview this week which has me thinking about what it means to be a business developer, the joy in my work and questions I typically get asked like: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Life is constantly changing and no one knows the future. The query is geared toward identifying someone’s goals. That said, being a sailor (and a planner by nature), I appreciate a plotted course, tactical maneuvers and the sail itself.
What is business development and how to value it?
The main function of a business developer is to grow a company’s revenue via promotion and marketing of the brand. Marketing is an administrative expense for a firm and it’s important to be able to relate your “value” to the company financial goals.
Aside from being a positive person, my value is created by increasing awareness of the firm and winning business. I get satisfaction from success and bolstering the bottom line. True joy is found in the relationships and friends I will have for life, gained through networking.
I have been effective at helping companies grow their portfolios. Most recently, I was instrumental in winning a financial corporate account for a contractor I represented.
Employers hire me because:
1. They want to grow their business
2. They understand that their core competency is not “knocking on doors” and need to outsource that task
3. They like me and my bubbly spirit which helps to get my foot in the door
Joy in Plotting the Course
For any endeavor in this fluid life, you need a plan (including marketing and business development). It is fun to outline where you want to go and how you will get to there! The key is to be able to waiver from it and adjust with the ever-changing variables.
The first thing I do when consulting with a company is to outline what success is. Is success targeting a certain client? Is it revenue growth? Is it meeting with decision makers from a targeted firm? These goals must be established from the outset.
Part of plotting your course involves figuring out how to achieve success. Be detailed and create a to-do list. This involves due diligence and outlining the tactics you will use to get to your destination.
Next execute the plan. Meet clients, talk about their needs and LISTEN. Many times, I know what I would like to discuss but most of the conversation involves talking about what’s on their mind, whether it is business related or not.
You must persevere; some prospects take more than one meeting. Have an idea in mind of how much time you will allocate to “winning them.” Relationships and connections are important. People are much more willing to meet with you if you are a warm call.
Figure how many calls it takes to succeed. Be consistent.
Also have a pre-post mortem as to what could happen if the plan doesn’t work and what your next move will be in that case.
Similar to a sailor’s log, I document my meetings. I love to write and have personal journals so this part is fun for me. In my work, I write down who I meet with and opportunities associated with that company…I enjoy this part immensely!
I assemble these notes in a customer relationship management program which helps keep my work organized. Every project is different. Again, some relationships take years to build and some move quicker. Being disciplined helps, make time daily for record keeping.
Joy of Being in the Race
There is nothing like the feeling of being selected for a project (winning)___I love it. However, the older I get the more I wonder about what winning is and if there can be Joy in participating. Celebrate being in the game!
Besides being fun, winning pays the bills. The good news is if you don’t get selected know that there is an abundance of opportunity in the world. Quickly move on to the next one-make it yours!
My answer to the five year question? Stay in the moment, get present. Fulfill today’s goal in order to make tomorrow’s destination closer to the mark! Keep connecting, creating, and sailing toward positive contributions of kindness and compassion.