Yesterday I found a discussion on LinkedIn on how to approach potential clients. Some commenters believed in cold calling, others in networking, others again in "business stalking" (you find out where your "target" is going and then show up at the event/conference) while most used their little black book to engineer introductions.
I'm sure most of us tried them all (except perhaps for the business stalking), but have you ever experienced business serendipity? Forget the romcom, I'm talking about having a goal, deploying all your business wiles, failing and then an unconnected opportunity comes out of the blue to work for that client or in that sector.
I call it business karma or the Mountain Comes to Mohammad Moment. It is a nirvana moment, pure business bliss... Of course some degree of work is entailed, you need an optimized website, a decent social media strategy - nobody comes to a desert to drink, you need to build that oasis first.
Reflecting on my 18 years plus' career, I have experienced many of these moments. As I commented in that online discussion, fate must have a sense of humour because I'm the most anal, perfectionist and organised person - going with the flow is not in my genetic make-up. Fate is definitely having a laugh at my expenses, so I have decided that I should stop trying too hard. I do the preparatory work and have faith. I won't stop slaving over my website and devise new social media strategies, but I will certainly go with the flow. I won't beat myself up if I lose a pitch for whatever reason, I will accept the unthinkable for somebody like me: "When a door closes, a window opens."
But let's move on from this flowery language to rational business logic. Out of curiosity I did a search on Google and the concept "business karma" does exist. It is used in the realm of corporate social responsibility, which for me is a must for any business, big or small. I'm only a sole trader but I do dedicate time to local charity causes. I enjoy the feeling of being helpful, I experience an internal glow, a great personal satisfaction in making even a tiny difference. This voluntary work has however helped me out professionally in many ways, from confidence building for public speaking to expertise gained in a variety of fields.
Moving from the individual (moi) to the general, recent research shows that enterprises engaging in corporate social responsibility do have a competitive advantage. So while it's skills and new experiences for me, the payoff for corporations is higher sales.
What do you think? Feel free to diss, tut, nod and share. If you are interested in the CSR angle, click here for an interesting article about karma capitalism.