How many of you sat down this time last year, put together a well-thought-out plan for 2020, had a strong start to the year, and then saw it all unravel in March?
For those raising your hands, how many of you adjusted your plan soon thereafter to adapt to the new market?
It was not an easy task for most of us since we felt like we were flying without instruments in an unpredictable storm. Who would think that our grandiose plans could be uprooted from something so unexpected? And the scary thought today is that we are still in the thick of it, yet many have learned to fly without instruments. Others have even been able to fix the instruments to allow them to fly above the storm.
Wherever you may be at this stage of your business, one thing is for certain; taking the time to figure out what your plan is for 2021 is still an important part of growing your business.
It is difficult to plan for outcome, i.e., results, but it easy to plan for output, i.e., activity. Predicting how much revenue you bring in over the year is hard because you cannot control how and when your clients purchase your services. You can, however, control how much time you invest in your business such as reaching out to your contacts, writing articles, and staying active on social media. This activity increases your chances of winning more work simply by staying top of mind with your network.
Sure, there are times when you can be buried with work and business development can get pushed to the back burner. We are all guilty of this to a certain degree, yet this is a slippery slope many professionals slide down when that “I am too busy for BD” excuse extends from days to weeks.
In a time when we really do not know when this storm will pass, we cannot afford to get lazy, even if you had a better-than-expected 2020. While you start planning your business growth for the coming year, think about how you want to prioritize and invest your time. Set measurable goals and realistic yet specific timelines for when you want to accomplish those goals. Hold yourself accountable or find someone else to hold you accountable for reaching those goals.
Most of you are not moving mountains here. You have had time to learn and adapt to the new market. You now know how to work Zoom. You have a home office that is functional and somewhat kid-proof. You realize that in-person meetings are not the only way to conduct business development. You might have experienced a virtual conference that was productive and even conducive to meeting new people.
Bottom line - the business development basics have not changed. Activity begets results. The more active you are with your network and building your pipeline, the more business you will bring in. Waiting for the phone to ring is not an effective business plan in today’s market.
Could your plan be uprooted again? Sure, but I have a good feeling that next year will be a little bit better than this year.
Now is a great time to think about how you want to continue to adjust and thrive in this new market. Write it down, get creative, and make it happen!