I’ve often drawn the analogy between business development activity and going to the gym. Both require commitment, consistency, and frequent activity for optimum results. For both activities, success comes only when you step outside what’s comfortable and familiar. And building muscle is likewise spot-on for both.
This summer, I’ve been swimming laps almost every morning. While I was swimming last week, I thought of another similarity: consistency comes more easily when the activity is fun. I really enjoy swimming, but especially when I’m focusing on increasing the number of laps I can squeeze into my timed swim, it isn’t that much fun.
After I’d hit my goal of swimming at least five times a week, I bought a waterproof iPod, and now I listen to music while I swim… And that brings back the fun for me. I usually look forward to spending time outside, enjoying music, and getting in some activity. Sure, I still have those days when I really don’t want to get in the pool, but as soon as I get in and turn on some of my favorite music, that reluctance fades away. More often than not, my swim time passes quickly, and I’ve done extra laps a few times just because I’m enjoying it.
Even if you enjoy business development activities, I’m certain you hit days when you just don’t want to do it. Those days when you’re tired because of other things going on, when you’re discouraged because you aren’t seeing results, or you’re just not in the mood. And if you think of business development as a necessary evil, every day might be an “I don’t wanna” kind of day.
That’s when you need to find your equivalent of the waterproof iPod. How can you build fun into business development? Here are a few ideas that have worked for my clients over the years:
- Meeting a contact at a new restaurant each week
- Inviting clients (or prospective clients) to go fly fishing, wine tasting, white water rafting, or boating
- Launching a competition to see how many effective follow-up contacts you can make in a certain number of minutes
- Planning a special side trip or spa day when you attend an out-of-town conference
- Eating a special treat (which may or may not be healthy) every time you sit down to write an article
- Taking a walk while planning a presentation, pausing periodically to dictate notes directly into Evernote
Fortunately, the possibilities for bringing fun to business development are limited only by your imagination. What might you do to make the time more pleasurable so that you can build your commitment, consistency, and frequency of engaging in business development activities?