Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ain't Talkin', Just Walkin' – Inspiration Comes From Odd Places

Question: Where do you find inspiration for your business development efforts?  

Some people find their motivation from YouTube Videos with soaring music, spacious images and cliches.  And that's fine.

Others find motivation from inspirational case stories such as people who climb mountains with only one leg, recover from tragedy/beat illness, and succeed despite odds that make you embarrassed to complain when the barista puts skim and not soy milk in your latte. And that's fine, too.
Me, many years ago in NYC: "I hate shaving."My roommate: "If you had no hands, you'd be happy to be able to complain about hating shaving." (Even so, I grew a beard.)
For business development, for me, it's a combination of three things:

1) Curiosity.  I meet a new person and I really want to know what they do, how they help others, what sets them and/or their offerings apart, and how they go about letting others know about this stuff.

2) Data.  I kind of get off on listening to folks say "Great work sells itself" and then checking to see the growth of their client base and the number of people they've networked with in the past 90 days, as well as their other business development efforts.  (Hint: doing a good job/having quality products are table stakes, not your business development plan. I have tons of data to prove this.)

Also, I like seeing how opportunities arise - using spreadsheets and forms.  Often, business developers are so sure they know who refers them business and how opportunities appear.  Often their beliefs are anecdotal and the actual metrics do not fully support them, or identify unnoticed veins of opportunity.  This takes effort, but the strategy is about as simple as it gets: Things that work once tend to work again. Things that work twice tend to work over and over again.
When you walk in the gym and suddenly feel tired, how do you steel your heart for the work-out, and even push yourself to do one more rep, one more mile, 100 more calories, ten more pounds?
3) The music in my iPod.  Today, while on the treadmill (since it was too cold for rollerblading), Bob Dylan's "Ain't Talkin', Just Walkin'" came on.  I found this motivational.  Four simple words.  I also like the lines: "Heart burnin', still yearnin'" and "My mule is sick, my horse is blind."  Now the rest of the song isn't very inspiring from a BD perspective, but I do like the idea that Bob Dylan (or the fictional singer of this song) is simply moving forward and not spending time telling people about what he "plans" to do. 

So... from where do you find inspiration for your business development efforts? (Post below if you are so inclined.)  If you don't know, perhaps finding this source would help motivate you to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. 


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