The minimalist guide to business development

minimalist room by Rooey202We’ve probably all heard someone who can do a variety of work described as a “jack of all trades”, and that sounds like a positive thing.  Unfortunately, such people are also often described as “master of none.”  In other words, these people typically skim the surface of whatever work they approach but never really explore it thoroughly enough to master it and bask in the subsequent rewards.

Do you have a sneaking suspicion that you’re a jack of all trades but master of none when it comes to building your business?

There are so many programs clamoring for our attention, all promising more business, money, prestige, success…How do you decide where to spend your precious and limited resources?  Here are some guidelines to keep you focused on what will do you the most good and give you the highest return on your investment of time, energy, and money.

Get clear on what sort of outcomes you demand from any professional-development activity.

As I know from painful personal experience, simply being interested in a topic is not a good enough reason to spend scarce resources on it.  Instead, you must know exactly how a particular activity will enable you to reach your important goals more quickly, effectively, and efficiently.  Will an online-marketing  consultant show you how to find your ideal clients online so you can connect with them there?  Good use of your resources.  Will a comprehensive numerology reading do the same?  Not so likely.

Keep yourself calm and focused by remembering that saying “no” to worthwhile activities frees you to say “yes” to even more beneficial ones.

One of the most useful concepts I’ve begun to apply in growing my own business is what I call sequenced action.  In other words, you  don’t have to do everything at once when it comes to business- and professional-development activities.  It’s far more effective to choose the highest-payoff activity and implement that as fully as possible before moving on to the next-highest activity on your list of possibilities.

Another benefit of this approach is that you’re less likely to paralyze yourself with indecision.  Just because you’re saying “no, not now” to an activity does not mean that you can’t say “yes” to it later.  It’s not like you have just one chance to make the right decision; you can make a decision that’s right for now, and then make another decision that’s right for later.

Spend time honing your strengths, rather than trying to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Yes, yes, I know: It’s probably more politically correct to call them “challenges” or “growth opportunities”, but you know and I know that they’re weaknesses.  Rather than put yourself through a grueling, energy-sucking remedial education program in an area of weakness, get a much higher ROI by investing in activities that will move you from good to spectacular in an area of strength.  Are you already a terrific speaker and a so-so marketer?  Then invest your efforts in becoming a premier speaker and hire someone to do the marketing for you.  You’ll get more money and greater satisfaction if you pay someone to work in their zone of genius, as Gay Hendricks puts it, so that you can work in yours.  (More about this in Thursday’s post.)


Are you already using any of these approaches for making your business development time more productive and less stressful?  How has that worked for you?  Can you share additional strategies you’ve found especially helpful?  Please let the rest of us know!

BTW, thanks to Rooey202 for posting the image of the minimalist room in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.
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