Of all the excuses we dream up, ‘lack of time’ is at the top of the list. We know we should do more business development, but there never seems to be enough time and there’s all that client work to do.
To find the time is a matter of prioritization and habit. It requires discipline.
Andy Puddicombe of Headspace and mindfulness fame offers these tips for people who might struggle to find 10 minutes to meditate. The ideas work for other things as well, such as being more organised around business development.
- Start early – Whatever good habit you’re trying to introduce, try to do it first thing in the morning if possible. This will ensure that it gets done and you don’t get distracted.
- Prioritize – If the morning doesn’t work for you, make sure to prioritize it at another time during the day. Remind yourself how important it is to carry out the task. Treat it like a client commitment. As David Maister says ‘It’s your future income!’
- Keep it familiar – Thinking ‘same time, same place’ will help you turn this new practice into a fully established habit.
- Relate it to something else – It might help to integrate your new good practice into a well-established routine or activity. Think ‘switch on computer, then review my BD task list’ or ‘coffee, then BD emails to clients’. In this day and age, even a social media addiction can be a good catalyst. Think ‘check LinkedIn, then marketing activities’.
- Flexibility – Be prepared to be flexible with your routine – not every day will look the same, which might mean you have to move your BD thinking to a different place or time. Don’t use this as an excuse to skip it altogether.
- Remind yourself of the benefits – After each BD activity, make a connection between your planning and contribution and the positive results. It should help you feel it’s worthwhile and make it easier to sit down each day and maintain a consistent practice.
- Be less judgmental – Try not to judge your BD activity too much. There can often be a tendency to think you are ‘bad’ or ‘good’ at BD. In reality, there’s no such thing. If you understand the long term purpose of your practice, this will never be a problem. Procter & Gamble are thought to be excellent at business development, yet only 3 out of 10 of their new products succeed.
- ‘Excuse book’ – If you find you revert back into bad habits, write your reasons for not focusing on BD on a piece of paper. As soon as you see the excuse written down, you’ll be reminded of how important BD is.
- Buddy up – Try to get a colleague for mutual support. You can monitor each other’s activity and give an encouraging nudge to strengthen each other’s commitment to BD.
10. Manage your expectations – Regular BD activity is important to the long term success of your practice. Some might find it easier than others to make BD part of your routine. Don’t beat yourself up if you find it hard. Be sure you focus on just taking each day as it comes.
Any other tips for forming new and better habits?
For Andy delivering a TED Talk see https://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes?language=en