When you’re a professional services provider – like, say, a social media person or a marketing person – your job is presumably to offer your expertise to a company that needs it to supplement and enhance their own. To solve a problem, make something easier, make something better, make something go away.
The single most important piece to doing that well is to understand what, exactly, that business needs in the first place. And sometimes, what a business needs from you is not glamorous, not lofty strategy, but real work.
And real work isn’t sexy.
Putting your expertise out there for others to buy is smart. And many advisers and consultants – myself included – ventured out on our own because we believe that we have experience that is valuable and can help other businesses succeed. Perhaps we didn’t think we fit into an existing job description, so we created our own. We then build a business based on what we’d like that job description to look like.
The trouble starts here, because there is increasingly a disconnect between what we’d *like* our jobs to be, and what our customers and clients *need* our job to be.
We all want to be big thinkers. Strategists. Visionaries, praised for our high-level thinking. It challenges our minds, validates our place on the planet among those with brain power and the ability to create seismic shifts in the business universe. Everyone wants to be the architect. Few want to wield the hammer.
But the reality – especially in this economic climate – is that execution sells. It’s what helps a business put one foot in front of the other and actually make tangible, visible progress against their goals. This is what businesses need all the time, but most especially when budgets and human resources are uncertain. They don’t always need an aspirational three-year plan (or they may already have one). Sometimes, a down and dirty framework in a project-based mindset with no-frills execution is what works.
The dirty work – even in our touchy-feely social media world – is in the details. We can’t always be theorizing. Sometimes it’s time to quit talking and get down to business.
Find the blogging platform, train the team, make it work, maintain it. Build the social media newsroom – including uploading every last press release. Source the white-label social networking software you need, implement, train, populate the content. Make sure the graphic designers are talking to the web developers. Get that e-newsletter written every month, on time. Write copy. Lots of copy. You get the point.
Can you do these things? Are you willing to? And very importantly: are you effectively communicating that to the people that you want to hire you?
If you really want to demonstrate your value to a business when they need you most, show them that you’re willing to pick up the hammer, roll up your sleeves, and go to work. How are you doing that?