When I launched my leadership coaching and consulting practice, I gave myself three years to build it to a financially viable and sustainable business. I had no clients at the time, so I knew I would spend most of my time on business development during the start-up phase.
Fast forward three years and I’m pleased to report, I’ve far surpassed my initial goals. While there are many contributing factors, one of the most important is having developed a healthy mindset toward business development. In fact, I’ve grown to love business development. How did that happen? Here are my top 10 reasons.
- I decided to love it. I decided if I was going to spend so much time on business development, I might as well enjoy it. I knew that would be an advantage over my peers, who dread business development. My decision to love business development was the first step toward a healthy mindset.
- It’s part of my vision. I envision a day (hopefully soon) when I have the freedom to choose the hours I work, where I work, and the people I work with. In other words, the ability to be more selective about opportunities I accept and those I decline. I can’t reach that vision without the right base of clients, referral sources, and network relationships. Moreover, I won’t get those without being disciplined about business development.
- It’s a skill to master. We have an innate human need to master our craft, to excel at what we do. I seem to have more of that drive than the average person because I love to be challenged. I’m motivated to master my coaching, facilitation, and speaking skills. Why not master business development too?
- I meet interesting people. One of my favorite aspects of business development is the people I meet in the process. In the past few years, I’ve interacted with people in the majority of U.S. states and several foreign countries (thanks to the virtual world). Many of these are leaders from a variety of industries and organizations. Others include people on a similar entrepreneurial journey to my own.
- I learn something from everyone I meet. I learned early on that I would be perpetually frustrated if my sole goal was to gain a business commitment from every encounter (i.e., to hire me or provide a referral). Instead, I set my goal to learn something new from every meeting or conversation. That way, I never leave empty-handed or disappointed.
- It enables me to add value. Not only do I learn from every conversation, I usually have an opportunity to share something of value with the person I meet. In some cases, that’s a new approach to leadership development. In others, it’s a productivity hack I’ve learned along the way. Or, it might be an article or research on common challenges in their industry.
- It generates revenue. Every client payment I deposit is a reward for my commitment to business development. As I prepare client invoices, I often reflect on how that relationship started, and the steps that led to us working together. It doesn’t happen overnight, but consistent business development efforts lead to revenue generation. And that pays the bills.
- It fuels my entrepreneurial passion. I didn’t recognize myself as an entrepreneur when I started. I always admired entrepreneurs and enjoyed working with them when I had my CPA practice. I never thought of myself as being one of them until an experienced coach suggested I retrace my steps. I discovered a sense of adventure that gains energy every time I meet other entrepreneurs in the course of business development.
- It spurs innovative thinking. Nearly every business development conversation unearths significant challenges or problems to be solved. These conversations inspire thinking about new and better ways to address these issues. The fresher your ideas, the more likely these conversations lead to business opportunities.
- It provides an opportunity to encourage others. As I said earlier, many of my coaching and consulting colleagues dread business development or are intimidated by it. The same is true of many of the CPAs I serve. My love of business development offers a positive perspective that can help others love it and get better at it too.
What about you? What do you love about business development? How could love for business development help you get better at it? Do you need help in this area? Consider Thriveal’s Individual Coaching Program. Click here for more information.
Jon Lokhorst, CPA, ACC, is an executive leadership coach and consultant based in Minneapolis, MN. He partners with CPAs, CFOs, and other leaders who face massive change in their industry and recognize the need for a new approach to leadership to navigate those challenges. Before launching Lokhorst Consulting LLC, Jon enjoyed a 30-plus year career as a CPA, CFO, and organizational leader. He has a Master’s in Organizational Leadership and is recognized by the International Coach Federation as an Associate Certified Coach. Jon serves as adjunct faculty in the School of Business and Nonprofit Management at North Park University. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and speaks regularly for CPA conferences and firms. Jon also serves as Coach and Community Group Facilitator for Thriveal.