Well, what should you do?

A friend of mine emailed me after my last post – and since he’s likelythe only reader of this here blog – I thought it wise to answer his question via a blog post.

“Nice post.  I wish I knew what it was that I could be doing…”

Good question, and one that isn’t nearly as difficult to answer as it appears at first glance.  The primary problem people have in identifying what to “do” on their own is that they think of a particular business.  That’s a bad idea.  Instead, you should think of a particular skill set that (1) you are really good at and (2) you won’t get burnt out on for at least a few years.

This individual is an excellent acquisition salesperson.  My experience with him is that he is skilled at drilling down in to companies and rooting out opportunities.  He has worked for a company that focused on lead-generation as well as a couple of companies that rely on their salespeople to do more then simply take orders.  As a result, it seems to me that instead of thinking about what he should sell (avacodos, online hosting, DVD players) he should focus on HOW he could differentiate the service he can offer and then seek out a market that could use those services.  In his case, there are numerous organizations with salespeople who do not dig deep in to B2B accounts looking for new opportunities.  Why not start a consulting gig wherein he goes in to organizations to help train their salespeople on how to find new opportunities with current and future customers?  The market is HUGE – as most every salesperson hates cold-calling yet is required to do it.  It would be an easy sell to those people and their employers to help them become more efficient and more effective at selling.  The employees will end up liking his input because they’ll sell more (and presumably make more money) and the employers will see a bigger revenue number.   Instead of saying, “I am good at sales and like it…I should think of a way to sell something on my own” I would encourage him to think outside the box and say, “I’m good at sales and like it and most salespeople stink at it.  I could help them get better results without having to worry about managing an inventory of my own.”

The point is that thinking of what specific thing to do is going to be a non-starter.  There are way too many reasons to not start a new project or business and most of them come down making your goal so specific that it looks impossible.  Instead, think about what you do well and what you don’t mind doing and then figure out what market or sector is dying for the things you can offer.

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