Networking. This certainly applies to job seekers. Many recruiters, job seekers & those who are recently employed mention networking as the most important aspect of the job search process. Of course, this principle may also apply to those small business owners who want to grow their business. Get the word out about your business. It gives you a chance to market your business — you need to get out of your comfortable office & meet new people through networking. New perspective. New ideas. New tools. New approaches.
Target Companies, Clients or Niche Groups. This approach is important when you’re in transition looking for the next opportunity. One significant reason networking can be effective is you getting to know someone who either works at your target employer or they have a contact who works there. By targeting companies, you focus your time & attention on having someone at your target company (preferably a hiring manager) to give you a second look. You need to somehow bring the human element into play & be noticed. Once they know you, you’re in a much better position to sell yourself. Prospective employers will need to be comfortable with you & know you’re the right fit before there is serious consideration. It’s similar when you’re targeting clients or niche groups as a small business owner. Those considering your business may need more of a comfort level including the human element associated with your business. There’s less angst for prospective clients choosing a service provider if they personally know the business owner.
Professionalism. Whether you are looking for work or trying to develop your business, how you comport yourself is important. Acting professional in your speech, dress, & appearance is very important, projecting the right image for your business, brand or to your prospective employer. Regardless of meeting a lucrative client or one with limited means, you should try to display the same character & professionalism. Continue to carry yourself as a professional a you continue to reinforce & develop your brand.
Pay It Forward. Sometimes, it’s simply necessary to “pay it forward” when you’re looking for the next challenge. That may be the right thing to do at that time. You may meet someone in transition that is able to help you but you may not be able to offer anything at that point in return. That’s Ok, if the majority of those who looking for work maintain this approach, it should work out in the end. Often, this same principle applies to developing your business too. By paying it forward, you may or may not directly benefit or it may not be immediate, but you’re sharing your talents & helping in some way. Besides, it feels good sharing your gifts with others.
Brand Game. During the job transition process, you need to perfect your brand. This means a coordinated effort at ensuring your elevator speech, marketing approach, resume, & business card all help to develop your brand. What distinguishes you from others in your same field? Why should I hire you instead of another qualified candidate? You need to market yourself to ensure prospective employers see you can bring unique qualities & skills to the position. The Brand Game applies to a small businessperson as well. How will small business accountants distinguish them from other accountants from a similiar office? Will it be service, price, customer service, or are they part of a niche market? It’s important to realize both groups need to carefully scrutinize their brand. How do they differentiate themselves & their brand from a similar service or candidate? What makes them unique? You need to ask why a client or employer should take a chance on me.
Customer Centric. It should not matter if you’re looking for work or as a small business owner, you’re providing a service, focusing on serving the customer is important. There are so many ways we can provide strong customer service in much of what we do, especially while in transition. Being customer centric does not have to be limited to how you’re treated at a restaurant or retail store. A strong customer service approach certainly applies to your small business too. Providing the best support & advice to potential clients, business contacts or those in your network circles. Treat others the way you’d like them to treat you. Even if your task is not directly related to your goal or business, doing a good job being customer centric goes a long way with your reputation & brand.
Confidence. Knowing your hard work & commitment will pay off in the end. It’s difficult to say when or how, but knowing it’s the right thing to do. To keep up the confidence level, it might be useful at the end of the day to review your work & commitment to doing a good job. Knowing you’ve done a good job in your job transition or small business can help you “stay on track” & continue doing good work.