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Ready or Not

Nearly every day I have the opportunity to engage in potential new business conversations.

Before I answer the phone or attend a meeting, I have to be prepared to start the conversation immediately. It feels like I’m in a constant state of high alert. Am I nervous? No, I’m prepared.

Business development takes me outside of my comfort zone. Not that I don’t enjoy it and relish the challenge; the risk/reward ratio makes it very appealing.

When i’m in my office, I’m surrounded by my tools and resources, but not every conversation happens while I’m in a familiar space. Some opportunities involve an out–of–state trips and presentations to groups; others involve conference calls while traveling.

I will be the first to admit that I am no road warrior. Given the way I am wired (or perhaps have become accustomed to working), I do my best work in my office, left alone, surrounded by technology with which I’m comfortable. Yes, I’m an introvert.

Business development is best suited for extroverts.

I prepare by rehearsing my presentation, by doing my research, and by being confident in my process and approach to solving the challenges each potential new business opportunity presents. I have imaginary conversations, countering objections and constantly reviewing the process of how I solve design and communication problems.

I’m confident because I feel that I’m prepared for this entire year. I focus on being comfortable with what makes my approach different, and that seems to be resonating with prospective clients.

I’m confident in my ability to articulate that difference, and align it with the needs of those whom are interested in working with my agency.

I’m confident, because I am always prepared to listen to a client’s challenges, and affirm how I can help identify and solve that problem.

So how does this apply to you?

What you must be comfortable with, and what you must be prepared to do in your role as a leader, are two completely different things. It reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy about sharing the gospel: “Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching."

By being prepared, you will be more confident in your ability to lead in areas in which you are the least comfortable.

A colleague once shared this insight about designers: “Designers tend to jump into the pool, and invent the water on the way down.” It’s true. Every day, I’m diving into a pool that’s empty.

Inventing the water on the way down is part of what makes being an entrepreneur so exhilarating.

Are you prepared? Dive in!

Photo by Markus Spiske

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