Throughout my professional journey in the past decade, moving from non-profits to Government, to private sector, from working with start-ups and entrepreneurs to large corporations, then back to “start-up land,” and above all — building my own business — I have noticed and gathered various insights on today’s world of work and on-demand economy. So, I decided to share some of them with the community.
This time: Five key steps as a business unit
Following the We Are All Business Units post (and the follow-ups posts on this blog), I had a great exchange of ideas with Jenny Sassoon of UnleashingU., and we decided to share them. Here are 5 key steps you can take to successfully approach your work as a business unit.
- Set your goals. When it comes to being a business unit, your career is no different than any business’ strategic plan. Just as any other business unit would do, the first step you are required to take, as your own business unit, is to set your goals. To do this you can begin by asking yourself what is it that you want, and what your professional aspirations are. Often, professionals who move into the workforce without a plan are being told by others what their plan should be. This leads to confusion and has an impact on how you assert yourself and ‘market’ yourself as you venture forward on your career path. Furthermore, knowing what you want, and having a clear vision of your goals, will not only give you confidence in yourself, it will allow others to feel and be confident in you.
- Differentiate yourself. Like every other person here on Earth, you have your own unique blend of qualities, gifts, talents, interests, ideas, opinions, values, beliefs, experience, skills and strengths. Knowing these things about you will help you to discover what differentiates you from everyone else. Just like marketing for any other business, don’t tell the world why you are (maybe) better. Instead tell them what makes you different and unique. One way you can get started on this process is by listing your accomplishments so far – and then ask yourself: “what was it about me that made me accomplish this goal?” This process of working backwards from your accomplishments will help you to recognize the efforts, qualities, interests, talents and skills that you have that motivated and allowed you to accomplish whatever it is that you accomplished. These inner qualities of yours, and your unique combination of them, is the real story of you. Use this ‘story’ of you to differentiate yourself and help people to get to know the real you.
- Story-tell. Wrap your goals and your personality (which makes you unique) together with your background and vision into a story. Stories are compelling, and we all have ours. Telling your story to the market, or in the office (same thing, in many cases) allows for people to identify and empathize with you. Your story is what allows others to connect to you, which also leads to them having trust in you, and for other to want to work with you even more.
- Cultivate your reputation. Take a good look at the values you cherish. In order to convince the market that you are all about those values – you have to live by them. In order to cultivate your reputation, be sure to use your values as your guide for how you wish to behave and be, and for how you want to be known. If you value respect, be respectful. If you value integrity, be a person with integrity, and so on and so forth. This will give you the direction for how you want people to see you and what you want people to experience with you when they interact with you. It is your reputation. Build and cultivate it authentically.
- Sell (yourself). In business, sales, in many cases, is the one thing executives are afraid of, or even repelled by, and even might view as a “necessary evil.” However, once those executives are aware and focused on their goals, uniqueness, story and reputation – sales becomes the thing they like the most. Because, they actually believe all the above about their company. It is the same for you as a business unit – entrepreneurs, freelancer, or corporate employee – you have to sell yourself. And, this will become natural to you only after going through the above. Remember, the key in sales is showing someone else how you help them and how you can bring them value. It’s not about you, it’s about them. And it only works once you know thyself.
“Know from where you came and where you are going and before whom you are destined to give account and reckoning.” – Akaviya ben Mahalalel, Pirkei Avot, 3,1.
This post was written together with Jenny Sassoon. Jenny is the founder of UnleashingU! where she specializes in guiding young professionals and managers to confidence and direction in their life, career, and relationships. In addition to that she empowers her clients with the leadership, emotional intelligence, and relationship skills they require to succeed and thrive on their chosen path. Jenny’s mission is for each individual to see themselves as the leader that they are. More about UnleashingU! here: http://www.unleashingu.com/