Developing Commercial Drive

The Top 11 Mistakes that Knock-back your Commercial Drive

I’m occasionally asked to help people develop their commercial drive. That is, to become more self-assured and motivated in making their business or organisation successful in its marketplace.

These requests come from people in the private, third-sector and, increasingly, from the public sector. They are sometimes experts, specialists and professionals who have moved into more generalist leadership positions.  And they are sometimes leaders in organisations where market-pressures have changed or where new ‘internal markets’ have been introduced. In either case, the overall commercial success of their business or department is a key part of their responsibilities and developing more commercial drive themselves is a necessity.

There are already lots of books and websites dedicated to helping you do great marketing. So I’ve focused here on the mistakes that you might want to avoid in your own internal attitudes and ways of thinking that can otherwise really knock-back your commercial drive:

  1. Not asking your existing customers what else they need you to do for them, or who else they know
  2. Not being picky enough about who you choose to work with
  3. Not being really focused on doing just a few things exceptionally well
  4. Forgetting how great and joyful it is to help people by doing what your business does
  5. Forgetting to tell your team and everybody else about number 4
  6. Thinking that the product or service you provide will keep being “good enough” without a plan for becoming the absolute best in the world at something
  7. Thinking you have to “sell”, and sell now, instead of building relationships
  8. Doubting your own ability to be great at being commercial, instead of just “Doing what you can, where you are, with what you have” (Roosevelt)
  9. Only having one strategy, one approach to being commercial and always trying to apply that, regardless of its relevance
  10. Being a frozen, rabbit-in-the-headlights, stuck trying to find the ‘perfect’ or ‘right’ way to be commercial, rather than experimenting with things
  11. Not Gamifying your thinking – every contract you win, every great project you deliver is a ‘level-up’ and provides a platform for even more success – if you use it.

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