I’ll be engaging with a business from Finland this month on behalf of a client and that will be a first in my lifetime. Business never stops throwing new things at you if you approach in the right way and for me that is one of the main reasons for getting involved.
It doesn’t have to involve exotic overseas travel either although a little of that naturally helps to keep the store of experiences topped up. You don’t have to leave the shores of this tiny island to get more variety than anyone could deal with in a lifetime. Simply altering your perspective is often the key to keeping fresh and engaged.
Business has a name for this – Unique Selling Point, or more commonly USP. By developing a unique approach to business you can give yourself a USP. This is important as we all need to achieve a certain degree of stand-out but for me it masks the really vital element of difference. The truly rich and diverse difference is going to come from the people you engage with and not yourself.
By asking questions rather than putting forward possible answers on a continuous loop, you will soon build up an information bank which will be the envy of others. You will build up an enormous pool of contacts who are keen to help you and you USP will no longer be an isolated phenomenon.
For me, subtlety is everything in business today and by allowing others to define you to some extent you are lessening your dependence on a personal USP. This in itself is beneficial as it takes away the painful noise of someone continually banging on their drum. Rather than being heard as you shout from the rooftops, you will be seen through the filter of all your experiences which will always give you an interesting colour, texture and feel.
Of course, this is not an easy option. It can be messy, complicated and time-consuming. Despite appearing to be random, engaging with a wide spectrum of people requires effort and a plan until it becomes second nature and almost a way of life rather than simply a way of doing business.
For this reason, it’s often a good idea to make sure your interaction is fun on occasions and even a little self-indulgent. Richard Branson famously said that the number one objective of all businesses should be fun and I can see clearly what he means by this. Introducing fun into the equation means the process becomes sustainable over long periods of time. With recent developments in pension rights in the UK that sustainability is clearly going to become ever more important to our future business people.
So good luck with your hunting and keep on keeping on, as they say!