The start of the New Year business year is like the signal starting a marathon. You have your eyes focused on the horizon, imagining crossing the finish line at 26.2 miles, or at year end. If you are less than a veteran marathoner, you may not be anticipating what the terrain looks like for the miles in between.
Do you have the stamina to pace yourself throughout the distance? Do you have the capacity, in heart, mind, spirit, physicality, and self-belief to endure the challenges you will face during the course of the race?
The annual business marathon race demands no less of a skill set than that required to run a marathon.
If you are not careful, the business development marathon race ends up resembling a party you’ve invited everyone to. You prospect like crazy. You grow business with existing customers. You expand your offerings and skill sets.
We’ve thrown all our prospecting spaghetti against the wall, hoping that it will stick. We start the business acquisition race out too quickly, giving in to our adrenaline, our goals, someone else’s sales quota and contest rules, and perhaps a ”here we go all over again” attitude.
No matter whether we make stuff for others or sell it to others or consult with and for others, we all want to be successful. And success is usually measured by quantity rather than quality.
What happens if everyone you’ve invited to your business development party shows up?
What if all of the customers you want to acquire decide to do business with you this year? Is your business model positioned to honor all their requests? Are your manufacturing lines set up to fill and deliver their orders on time, on budget, on quality? Are the people you rely on to assist you in creating your deliverables all on the same page that you are? What resources do you have?
What if you get spread too thin? What if you don’t have the infrastructure to meet market demand? What if your “as good as” doesn’t hold a candle to the “far better than” upon which you’ve established your professional reputation?
It’s a good time to review (and continually review) your individual, and your company’s, capacity to respond to a tsunami of customers wanting to do business with you. While lots of business is certainly preferable to no business at all, your processes and practices are the structural underpinning of your capacity to deliver consistent high quality output.
It’s not too late to take stock of your capacity to earn and retain customers. Business dynamics change. Your customer acquisition initiatives take time and certainly do tend to erupt in a flurry of new business development over a two to three year time period.
While what got you to where you are today may be the processes and disciplines needed to carry you forward, you may need to revisit just how much new business you can not only handle, but deliver on, with exemplary results.
Pace yourself, make commitments to individuals and entities that bring out your best, schedule work out over that race course of a business year, in order to create exceptional deliverables.
Have that party and run that marathon – intelligently, professionally, efficiently, and realistically. Best wishes for 2013!
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is the catalyst for your business transition, startup growth and professional development. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers & Bloggers, 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on breakthrough business collaboration strategies and tools.