Picture the scene. You lead a huge global project for your Big 4 firm. All your time is taken up with this project, and you want to make sure you still get back on time to pick up your child from the nursery…. But, you also want to make time for business development to progress your career to the next stage…
Whilst you may not have the nursery pick-up duties, or work for a Big 4, the challenge is one faced by many senior managers and senior associates. Namely, how can I reduce my chargeable time requirements (or what I am billing), so that I can free up some space for business development to progress my career? In fact, going from senior manager to partner is probably the hardest career transition because of the tension between business development time and billing targets.

Click here to download our free ebook "The reluctant business developer's guide to winning clients". (email required)

Here are some thoughts on how to do this:

1. Talk to your counselling partner about your situation.

You may not be able to make the changes to your work pattern on your own. Very often you will need agreement from the partner you work with to be freed up a little to take on more business development responsibilities. Whilst it may not seem like it, it is actually in your partner’s interest for you to do some business development. This is because they need to develop future partners who are able and willing to win business on behalf of the firm. Tying down their senior managers and associates to solely focus on client work can leave a huge hole in the firm’s talent pipeline.

2. Ask your mentor for help

Your mentor will have faced the same challenges in their career. How did they personally get over this big career progression hurdle? He or she may be able to suggest some ways that you can get a little bit of time back. They may be able to coach you on how to have the conversation with your partner about wanting to free some time up for your own career progression and/or business development. Or they may help you by influencing the partners to let you reduce your chargeable time targets to focus more on business development.

3. Delegate more to your team.

Very often senior managers and senior associates don’t delegate everything down that they could or should do. It could be because there isn’t the trust with the team on the assignment to delegate more. Or perhaps you’ve just got in the habit of holding onto some bits of work which could be done by other people. If you challenge yourself to delegate one more task a day down to your team who work on the assignment, you may be able to get some time back.

4. Focus your business development activities

Often our business development activities are not effective because they are undertaken in a scattergun or haphazard fashion. Make sure your business development activities are well and truly focused, by working with your own marketing plan, networking strategy and plans.

5. Remember business development can happen at any time and any place

Remember that business development is more than just going to evening network events. Think laterally about your business development activities. For example, are there opportunities to network over lunch or breakfast? Or what can you do on LinkedIn or Twitter to reach the people you need to raise your profile with? Who can you organise a phone call with rather than face-to-face meeting?

Click here to download our free ebook "The reluctant business developer's guide to winning clients". (email required)

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