The head of talent at a magic circle law firm stressed the importance of business development in choosing candidates for partner, she said “if you want to make partner, you have to see business development as part of your day job. If you don’t have that mindset, we know you’re not ready for partnership.” In other words they need a business development routine. With business development being so essential, it’s time to start changing the way we think about it and finally making it a part of our daily routine. Here’s how.
First, you’ve got to make time for a business development routine.
We’ve all got the same problem “we don’t have the time” and we’ve all said the same things at some point such as “there’s just not enough hours in the day.” But you know what? As busy as we feel sometimes, there are always ways that we can make more time.
Just look at the five Ps, are you implementing these in your day?
- Plan – always have a business development plan for your business development routine. If you don’t, you’ll either get overwhelmed and try to do everything, which doesn’t help you, or you’ll get overloaded and you’ll end up doing nothing.
- Prioritise – use your plan to prioritise and get the most valuable tasks done first as part of your business development routine. What’s going to give you the biggest bang for your buck if you focus on it now?
- Prospects – make a target or introducer list and use this to focus your efforts. If you always have your target or ideal client in mind, every decision you make will move you closer to achieving it.
- Pace – Rome wasn’t built in a day and you’re not expected to go from not winning work to bringing in one million pound contracts overnight, so don’t rush it and focus. If you plan and prioritise and know who your prospects are, you won’t waste your time on no-hopers.
- Push down – there must be things that you do that others can do just as well, so delegate these tasks and reserve the ones that only you can do for you. How much time would this free up for you?
If you’re not doing these in your day to day life, now is the time to start. You might just be surprised how much time you actually do have. (3 ways to stop wasting time with your business development)
Second, you’ve got to create a habit
Now that you have the time, it’s time to start making business development a part of your daily business development routine and the easiest way to do this is to make it a habit.
Here are a few things that you can do to create effective business development habits.
Create the mindset shift
Mindset is everything when it comes to forming habits and it is essential to making your efforts effective. If you think of business development as a chore, it is most likely to be at the end of your list, a task that never gets done or done well because it’s always pushed back to tomorrow when you’re busy. If you shift this mindset into a more positive one, seeing it as part of your job, an element that’s key to your career progression, then you’ll soon find that it will become easier, you will do it better, and it will actually be a task that gets ticked off. (Get maximum effectiveness with your business development)
Keep yourself accountable
Some people find that accountability helps to get things done, so tell people what you’re going to do. Whether it’s just asking your significant other to check in with you at the end of the day, working with a mentor in your firm or an external coach, find what works for you to keep yourself accountable to deadlines.
Schedule it in your diary
If you’re a highly structured person, putting everything in your diary will work incredibly well for you. If you’re not, try it, stick with it, and it may soon become a habit. Try to schedule in time for business development in your diary, even if it’s just 10 minutes on LinkedIn at the end of your workday. Once it’s in your diary, you may find that it gets done.
Use association as a reminder
We all do this without realising so it may just work for reminding you to work on your business development. I’m an asthmatic and in order to remind myself to take my asthma inhaler in the morning, I link it to another habit of mine: brushing my teeth. It’s very simple, I keep my inhaler by my toothbrush so that when I go into the bathroom in the morning, I take my nasal spray, then my brown inhaler, and then I clean my teeth. It’s all linked to that clean the teeth. That’s the trigger, so try it with something that you do every day without fail and it will soon become a habit.
Measure and monitor your progress
You don’t know what’s going well if you don’t measure it, so make sure that you are monitoring your progress. Just like after Christmas, when we’re trying to lose those few extra pounds, we need to measure our weight and monitor it over time to see our success and to keep us motivated to keep going. The same goes for you, if you’re seeing progress with your business development then it will be much easier to keep it up. If you’re not seeing progress, what can you do differently? (Look out for these 10 red flags)
Set yourself targets
Targets help you to keep improving so make sure to set daily ones, weekly, monthly, even yearly ones if you want to, and reward yourself when you’ve hit them. Whatever motivates you to continue to put in the effort with your business development, make sure you use it.
Know your why and reflect on it regularly
Why are you putting yourself through this pain? What’s in it for you if you get business development? Take a few moments to really understand why you are doing this, you may not want to but the fact that it is crucial to you getting partner may be enough for you to keep trooping onwards. Just make sure to remind yourself of this every day so that you keep positive.
Make time and use it wisely
Using the five Ps, you can make more time for yourself during your day to focus on business development. Just make sure to use it wisely, keep yourself accountable, and remember to think of it as the part of your job that is essential for getting you where you want to be.