Next Level Business Development: No more excuses but sustainable routines for an easier and more successful business life.
In my previous article “Why Business Development” I raised the awareness of certain excuses commonly used for not doing Business Development and their likely pitfalls and dangers. Out of such awareness, I encouraged you to identify and address all relevant excuses.
The detrimental effect of excuses on business development
When asked about the importance of business development all always agree on how pivotal it is for being a successful lawyer, business consultant, tax advisor or accountant (or, in fact, any other service provider). But in reality, few really have routines in place or even pursue a lifestyle of continuous, consistent, effective and efficient business development (see my foundational articles: Business Development Strategy, Implementing Business Development, Business Development Challenges). And they do not achieve the level of success that their hearts and minds desire. Worse even, many are plagued by their bad conscience that they should do more business development.
Generally speaking, becoming aware of the bare existence of any excuses in your professional life and addressing them are your first key steps towards more success (whether in business development, business, or life generally), towards realising your full potential and most likely also towards a life that is free from the annoying thought ‘I should do (more) business development’.
Life without excuses
Living without excuses makes your business life easier because it frees you from these annoying ‘I should’ sentences in your head. You can direct the energy that you spend on the “I should”-thoughts directly to and invest your energy levels into any of the following:
- your creativity to devise successful business development strategies,
- implementing them,
- perhaps even only write a to-do list quietly and intelligently,
- ultimately in your success as a professional,
- and thus realising your full potential;
but no longer in fruitless thoughts that possibly make you also feel bad.
Why it is beneficial to have business development routines
To avoid that you get stuck in this circle of excuses, bad conscience and awareness that more business development activities would be a good idea and in order to achieve your personal ambitions as a professional and business developer, it is helpful to invest some time to make business development a routine (or a good habit) in your business life and a part of your normal daily or weekly schedule and life
A routine is like a ritual or an automatic action: you don’t need to redirect your thinking and acting toward business development anymore – you just do it.
Creating a routine takes only a little time and discipline, but once implemented, life is so much easier.
Creating a routine is something positive that you actively pursue and undertake to develop and implement. It differs from breaking bad habits in that you develop something new where nothing exists whereas a bad habit is part of your life and you want to get rid of it. Thus creating new routines ( i.e.good habits) is part of the development of your best self and reflects personal growth and progress.
Creating a routine
Developing a new routine means that you take a decision to implement a new daily or weekly activity. Ideally, it is built into your normal daily schedule or becomes part of your recurring weekly or monthly tasks. Of all the things you need to accomplish on any given day, week or month you make sure that business development is part of it and enough time is dedicated to it to achieve the goals on your to-do list.
Even though building sustainable routines sometimes is not easy it is possible. Here are a few helpful tips for you to sustainably develop an effective daily routine (or weekly or even monthly routine provided it becomes a current routine):
Your mindset is the playground of your success
Our mindset has an impact on who we are and how we live, and also what is possible for us.
If you are stuck in a fixed mindset that tells you that you will never change, because (for instance) people never change, then possibly you will not change and stay the same old you.
In order to change and grow you first need to believe that you can change and grow. And if you allow yourself to see this process of developing new routines as an enjoyable journey of personal advancement rather than a difficult path or a hard road to navigate you will be greatly motivated for your change.
And certainly, the benefits of being able to automatically/routinely think of and implement your to-dos and the rewards you will gain from it should be sufficiently motivating for this personal growth journey. If they are not, perhaps external help is required.
Change needs time
Change can happen suddenly, but mostly it is a process that takes some time. Think of the caterpillar which becomes a beautiful butterfly. It’s a process to become able to freely fly and enjoy the new spheres of your life. Just have compassion on and mercy for yourself, when you fail – but never give up and try to be as consistent as possible every day.
Step by step
To set yourself up for personal success in building a sustainable business development routine, you should not overburden yourself. Don’t be too ambitious at the beginning, only to realise quickly that you cannot keep the pace. If you put too much pressure on yourself to change and adopt a new daily, weekly or monthly routine, you are likely to demotivate yourself and fail altogether. If you are successful in pursuing permanently 1 thing in 2 months you have achieved a great breakthrough and implemented a great new routine. Find out first which one thing or one task you can commit to and then go for it, one step at a time.
For instance, initially decide on 1 action point only that you wish to pursue and implement in creating the new routine. Then make every effort to stick continuously every day or every week (or perhaps even only every month) with this 1 step until it does not require any effort anymore because it has effectively become a routine.
Example of a new daily routine
For example, you could set 20 minutes aside each morning before the daily business starts (whether still from home, on the train to work or first thing in the office) and write emails to potential new clients or follow up with contacts whom you would like to win as clients. That would be a brilliant new daily routine; you will have learnt to spend time first thing in the morning to attend to your daily to-do list for business development.
Of course, there may be circumstances to deviate from such an ideal daily routine: You need to rush to the airport or train station and prepare for your meeting while travelling; you are caught in emergencies of your customers or clients; you are stuck in contract negotiations for days or even weeks: family demands cut your time short, etc. But the existence and awareness of a new routine will cause you to return to your daily tasks of business development the next day or as soon as these special circumstances have disappeared again.
And, of course, this example may also be transferred to a new weekly routine. Transferring it to months is potentially dangerous as the intended business development activities may be too small and too numerous to have much effect if only done once a month. But if the monthly routine means setting aside half a day or even a full day once a month it may be a very useful routine as well. Clearly, the daily routines (at any time throughout the day) seem the most productive and promising.
Why a daily routine?
A daily routine of business development is easiest to create and monitor as to its successful implementation. Of course, the daily 20 minutes ( in the example above) may be used any time throughout the day. There is no need for a morning routine – time dedicated to business development tasks during lunchtime or between 6 and 7 pm is just as good as in the morning. Ultimately it depends on your personal work preferences and work style. And the “daily” routine may also be limited to twice or three times a week to have that same effect.
Creating Routines supported by scheduling
For some, it may be helpful to initially schedule fixed times in their diaries for their business development to do’s as part of their daily activities – whether morning, day or night or any time in between. But rather than the one-off events that are normally put into a diary – like dinner with friends, time away on a long weekend or holidays, a court hearing, contract negotiations, business travel or all the different video conferences or conference calls – the times blocked for business development should be recurring events, preferably scheduled for the same day and time during a day, week or month. And the goal is that they become naturally ingrained in your daily life so that putting them into a schedule is soon no longer necessary. They then have become good habits, daily routines or weekly routines.
It helps tremendously to have a person in your life who supports you in this venture. Who checks on you and your new morning routines or weekly routine ( whatever you have chosen to create and implement as a new routine) and how you manage to stick to them in the normal schedule of a busy professional life? Simple accountability to such person is quite sufficient. Find a friend, a trusted colleague, a mentor at work, a family member ( perhaps even the spouse) whom you allow to ask you about your progress regarding your new routine and who may speak into your life to encourage you to start again, to overcome challenges or take pressures and stress off you.
If you do not have such a person in your environment, a professional coach may help you with this transition toward becoming a successful business developer.
The rewards are huge: A sense of achievement each time you have used the time set aside for business development – whether for sending out emails, following up with contacts, arranging a presentation or checking out speaking opportunities, etc.
And that sense of achievement will be even greater when the business development targets turn into clients and give their first instructions! And increased turnover and financial success will follow.
In due course, you will embrace regular business development as part of the really important things in your professional life and something you would miss if you would not carry on with it regularly.
The more successful you are to accomplish your business development as part of your professional routines, the more you see
- its benefits,
- the joy it brings,
- the confidence that grows in you and, ultimately,
- the business and financial success you have!
Therefore, become your best self for business development purposes (and beyond) by creating a new current daily routine (or weekly or monthly, as appropriate, suitable and manageable) and: