This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

  Two birdsFinding time for business development is always a challenge for me. I’m guessing the same is true for you, at least some of the time.

Over the years I’ve developed a list of 10 easy ways to make time for BD. Here’s the first half of the list:

  1. KISS. As in, Keep It Simple Sweetheart. Sometimes I send text messages (to clients who like to text), or emails that are only a sentence or two long with the subject line “Drive-by hello.” I have one client who regularly reaches out with a subject line only (“You OK?”) It doesn’t have to be long and complicated. Just connect.
  2. Seize the moment. I am my own worst enemy sometimes, like when I come up with a long list of things I have to do before I can reach out (like internet research), or when I feel a spontaneous urge to get in touch and then over-think it. When the mood strikes, act on it.
  3. “Kill two birds …” If work/life balance continues to elude you, don’t let BD be yet another thing on the work side of the scales. Get creative about combining efforts. The “You OK?” client above sends those messages when he’s on the treadmill. I have another client who routinely invites his clients and their families (along with his family) to special outings.
  4. Use anchoring. This is a technique from Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit. Link your business development task to a specific trigger. For example, reach out to five people every time you turn in your timesheet (or something else you know you’re going to do).
  5. Get help from your team. You don’t necessarily have to be The One to do the reaching out; give others a chance to learn and grow by making connections. And if you really do need to be The One, then find ways for an admin or more junior team member to help—like having them set up and maintain a simple tracking spreadsheet.

Good business development is ongoing and genuine, not time-consuming.

Make It Real

This week, choose one best practice from the list above and test it out. What works? What do you learn?

Learn More


Read more about specific behaviors that help delivery people be better business developers, or discover the first critical step in developing new business with existing clients in Chapter 17 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.

Stay tuned for 5 through 10 …

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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).