This is the sixth in a series of seven blog posts featuring advice on our Seven Strategies for Flex Success®. Check back as we walk you through the seven steps that will guarantee your success while working flexibly: Define Your Success; Own Your Value; Activate Your Mindset; Create A Strong Personal Brand; Build Your Networks; Expand Your Ideas on Business Development; and Enhance Your Work-Life Control.
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s always good to stay one step ahead of your business, your clients, your customers or your marketplace. You always want to be thinking about tomorrow and where your career is headed and where your income is coming from. While you might approach business development in a slightly different manner in light of your flexible schedule, it’s still imperative that you dedicate time to business development and to generating your future revenue.
The sixth strategy in our Seven Strategies for Flex Success® is Expand Your Business Development. Whether you’re working with clients or reporting to internal supervisors, make sure you’re demonstrating a deep understanding of their needs, business realities and serving as a trusted advisor to help them accomplish their current and future goals. To help you build future clients, projects and customers, you should turn to the network of colleagues, mentors, sponsors and former classmates that you built in the Fifth Strategy (Build Your Networks and Personal Board of Advisors). This network can help you expand your reach and enhance your ideas on business development, key elements to creating more autonomy in your career and ultimately greater work-life control.
You may be concerned about investing time in business development when you’re working a reduced hours schedule and therefore already have less time for work. However, many professionals working a reduced hours schedule have told us that their flexible schedule has allowed them to excel at business development and, in fact, has become integral to their career success. It’s important to incorporate time into your flex schedule for business development as well as for activities that will raise your personal profile such as speaking engagements, publishing articles and papers and networking.
Here are a few tips to help you invest in business development while working a flexible schedule:
- Identify a window of time each week to devote solely to business development.
- Maintain your connections and network of colleagues, mentors, and former classmates, by attending reunions, networking events and industry events.
- Consider business development opportunities in every part of your life (social events, your children’s events, family interactions, dinners, the gym, etc).
- Consider the value of speaking opportunities and article or guest blog placement.
- Use social media like Linked In to network daily.
- Take time out to reflect on your business development goals and strategies. (Sometimes you have to clear your mind to regain your creativity!)
- Focus on your unique strengths and specialties when seeking new projects or clients.