We’re back this cold, cold Wednesday with my next two wishes for you in 2014. For the first four, see here and here. Today, I’m looking at a couple of small steps that can add up to big results over the course of the year.
- Do One Business Development Activity a Week: Some people are natural networkers and business development experts. I’m not one of those people. But what I’ve learned over time is that there are as many ways to network and develop business as there are people – and we all have our strengths. If you’re not regularly doing any business development, let this be the year you start. Pick a few different activities and commit yourself to trying one each week – maybe one week you offer to author a blog post as a guest blogger for someone you like and respect; another week, you ask someone in your city that you’re connected to through LinkedIn (but haven’t met in person) to have coffee; another week, you go to a networking event that you’ve never attended before.
By doing these things, you’ll learn what you like and don’t like – maybe you thrive at the social interactions you find at a cocktail reception, but you hate sitting down to write. Or you love discussions with like-minded colleagues and friends through Twitter or in a LinkedIn group, but you’re terrified of public speaking. You won’t know where your strengths are if you don’t try different things first.
And if you already know what they are, make a list of four things you can do each month – just four small activities – and you’ll be making huge progress before you know it! You can also make this the year you challenge yourself, and pick some new activities to try. I often learn that when I think I already know what I like and don’t like, trying new things can either surprise me by showing me that there’s something else I can add to the mix, or reinvigorate my existing efforts when I realize that I’m still not cut out for something else.
- Add an Extra Day to Your Travel: Although there is so much we can do online and over the phone, a lot of us are still doing quite a bit of travel these days. And travel is a great opportunity to meet someone new in a city that you’re visiting – you can add an extra day or even a few extra hours to connect face-to-face with someone. Perhaps there’s a referral source or a LinkedIn connection that you could meet for breakfast at your hotel, or coffee near their office. You never know where your next new idea or client will come from, and just those few extra hours will make a huge difference.
And if you’re not sure who to meet up with, social media can be great for that as well – just add in to your LinkedIn status that you’re traveling to a city, have a few extra hours, and you’d like to see who you can meet up with. Even if you only meet two new people that way, it’s two more people than you knew last year.
They can also be existing connections as well. While it’s important to keep in touch with clients and referral sources online and by phone throughout the year, nothing takes the place of that face to face time – you may be in town for one client meeting, or taking depositions, or even just visiting friends, but add in those extra hours to meet with someone you’re connected to in that city. They’ll appreciate the effort and it will reinforce the bonds of your relationship.
As you’re reading my wishes for 2014, add in your own in the comments – how do you plan to push yourself this year? How will you challenge yourself to grow?