Friday, August 25, 2017

Why Your Talent is Not Enough

Seneca the Younger, the great Roman philosopher of the first century, once wrote that, "The best wrestler is not he who has learned thoroughly all the tricks and twists of the art, which are seldom met with in actual wrestling, but he who has well and carefully trained himself in one or two of them, and watches keenly for an opportunity of practising them." — Seneca, On Benefits, vii. 1.

This quote is often shortened to "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Though this latter shortened quote is clearly easier to say and remember, I prefer the former as it better describes seeking out opportunities. I would actually reword the original quote more like this:
Mastery and luck involve recognizing opportunities in the obscurities of life so that you can practice your expertise. 
What I mean by this rewording is that demonstration and practice of our mastery and the rewards it garners, especially in business, often starts with discovering our talent and feeding it.  Discovering your talent or niche expertise is easier said than done, and it may take many years of trial and error.  It's not just a matter of what education I've had, which industries I've worked in, or who have been my employers.  It's often the culmination of all of these activities that eventually lead to a slow crystallization of one or two things we can do very well across all lifetime activities...not just work...not just personal life, but across everything we do and how we portray ourselves, DESPITE our efforts at times to be someone else.

However, knowing your talent and practicing it is not enough to be "lucky."  Knowing how to generate business leads for a large software company, even if you know which social media platform to use, or how to get people to voluntarily give you their personal information and their business challenges is not enough. That is, not until you realize how to transform your expertise to address specific challenges that someone's having.  This is opportunity recognition.

What's not immediately apparent in all of this is that it's still a matter of trial and error as you aim to find how your peg can find the right hole. It's a matter of being open to hear about every aspect of someone's life and business challenges, and having these conversations continuously, even if they don't immediately result in what you aim to get or find.

In today's video, I speak about one example on how to recognize opportunities when they present themselves. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Importance of Peer Support

In my last consulting business, iEngineer.net, I went at it alone. I hired software development consultants to do some of the work that I couldn't do and did the rest myself. I didn't do much in the way of business development or marketing since our work would lead to more work through word of mouth.  However, I learned that I certainly couldn't do everything myself.  I still needed an attorney, an accountant, and my brother for some HR questions.

This time around, what I knew when starting ValTeo Tech was that I needed to put a lot more effort into business development, marketing and sales.  I would still deliver on some of the consulting work, but my main focus was filling the pipeline of new gigs and ensuring our branding on the right track for VTT to be known as the leader in Digital Transaction Management consulting.  I've certainly gained experience with some of these activities while working in other companies over the last decade, but none of it was direct business development or sales.  In every instance, I wasn't doing any hunting, so much as supporting the sales staff.

That's why I decided to have at least some peers who may be experimenting or, better yet, have experience with business development, marketing and sales.  In today's video clip, I'll cover the benefits I've already received from just such a group among the other weekly progress topics:

  1. On Choosing or Starting a Peer Group
    1. Why I Sought a Business Accountability Group
    2. What Skills and Variety to Search For
    3. What Rigor to Use
  2. This Past Week's Plans
    1. Progress on Marketing / Education Material
    2. Progress on Large Deals
    3. A New Approach for Small Deals
  3. Plans for Week of 7/14
You'll notice I have no plans for next week.  That's because I'm taking the week off to spend with my family who's been so supportive and understanding of my efforts to startup and grow ValTeo Tech.