When I was a kid, two things were certain.
- One was that, if we got assigned a group project, I was going to lead the group.
- The other was that, on the playground, there wasn’t much I wouldn’t sell. Firecrackers from the swap meet? Sure. Hot Wheels? Name your price. I even cast lead soldiers in my kitchen as a fourth-grader, giving half my class a great deal — and, I hope, no recorded cases of lead poisoning.
So I suppose it’s not much of a surprise that, decades later, I’ve kept my hand in both business development and management.
I’ve lead teams of as many as 15 and had direct P/L for budgets of up to $3 million. Start-ups and non-profits, re-engineering traditional brick-and-mortar business processes and bringing whole new product and service lines to market — I haven’t done it all (who has?), but I’ve done a lot.
Along the way, I’ve led major proposal efforts, trained presentation teams and developed their graphics when literally more than $1 billion in work was on the line. I’ve also written quite a bit about the art and science of how to sell professional services and, more to the point, I’ve run my own business for nearly a decade, closing work based on formal proposals as well as consultative-sales approaches. Nothing teaches the finer points of biz-dev like having to sing for your own supper.