The career outlook has gone through a great deal of turbulence in the past year, with more to come. Whether you are managing a corporate career or a business, the old rules of career management no longer apply. Instead of sitting and letting things happen to your career, you must take action.
If you are a business owner, maintaining and growing your business means you have to watch much more than the bottom line. Though there is a lot of advice around these days about how to make one’s job or business “recession proof,” you will be in a better position if you apply these three things to your management strategy.
1. Grow your network. Most jobs are found through networking. By keeping your network growing you’ll always have contacts to reach out to when you’re looking for new opportunities. If you are a business owner, contacts can mean the difference between a profitable enterprise and constantly struggling to find clients and prospects.
Successful business people are always reaching out beyond their circle to form meaningful relationships. If you are growing an online network on a social media site such as LinkedIn, focus on the quality of your contacts instead of the quantity. You want to connect with people who will be sources of information and who can introduce you to additional contacts and leads. In addition, in order to be a master networker you should also be willing to reciprocate and share information and introductions when appropriate.
2. Don’t stay in your comfort zone. It is tempting to rely on past experience and skills and settle into a feeling of security. However, the next new thing is always on the horizon, and if you aren’t always learning you’re not growing. Longevity in your career or your business depends on your being aware of changing conditions – and knowing how to adapt to them.
As we’ve seen with the automobile industry, ignoring changing business landscape and continuing with business as usual can have disastrous results. If you are willing to adapt and grow, you’ll continue to find opportunities to leverage your skills and knowledge. Don’t ignore changing conditions in the hope that they’ll quiet down or disappear. You’ll only end up in a situation where you’ll be stuck in react mode.
3. Keep your focus on the big picture. Stay aware of trends and events that may affect your career or your business. If you are only looking at news in your company or industry, you’ll only have a partial picture. If you own a business it is essential that you know what trends may affect your customers, suppliers and your competitors. What changes are you seeing in practices that may impact you in the future?
In addition, being aware of what the big picture is means that you can play a bigger game. If you have an understanding of how trends will play out, you can be proactive in growing your career and moving forward. As a business owner you can avoid a lot of the churn your competitors will experience by being aware of what’s coming and how it can impact your business. You’ll be in a better position to make strategic decisions, as opposed to having no control when downturns hit.
Managing your career and your business involves more planning and vision than ever before. By being proactive in your approach and following the steps above you will not be caught having to react to economic churns and other events. People who are willing to adapt, look beyond what’s happening in their company or industry and stay connected will be able to experience continued career and business growth.
Copyright © 2011 -2014 Deborah A. Bailey
This article was originally published in Baseline Magazine