Building the Business of "You Inc."


If you’ve been working at the same company for a fairly long time, you better brace yourself.

A study from KPMG estimates that this year, seven out of 10 employers will make increased investments in outsourcing previously in-house services. More than 60 percent will boost their use of global shared services. In general, most enterprises will increase offshoring activities 20-30 perent in 2015.

What does that mean for the average worker? In short, changes in employment have created greater uncertainty and disruption in the workplace, making adaptability and agility critical skills.

This kind of uncertainty is difficult for many people to navigate, particularly if they expect their career to travel upward in a straight line within one organization over many years. More than ever before, it’s time to change our mindset about future employment options and what we need to do to effectively manage our careers.

More specifically, we need to stop thinking like employees and start thinking more like someone who owns and operates a business. In this case, the business is you.

Like someone starting a brand new business, you’ll need to go through a process to ensure you can achieve your goals. This will include asking yourself a series of questions:

  1. What business are you in? This may sound overly simplistic, but it’s extremely important to define in exact terms the services, skills and general knowledge that you can offer an employer. This is about establishing your personal brand.
  2. What is my personal brand? Rather than relying heavily on a resumé – which is merely a record of what you have done on the past – it’s important to develop a personal marketing plan, which is a blueprint for what you want to do in the future. This could include an updated LinkedIn profile, a website and business cards, and a value proposition PowerPoint slide presentation.
  3. Who are my potential customers? In the past, job searches focused solely on finding a similar job in a similar organization that does pretty much what the old organization did. In the new employment reality, you’ll need to do a detailed market analysis to identify all potential employers, including those in different sectors and industries.
  4. How will I advertise myself? You could just post your resumé on a job listing website, but you won’t get much in the way of a response. To find the really hot leads, think like a business owner and cast a wide net. You need to plug into professional organizations, work with a search firm, and network to people who are connected to the industries and organizations that might be interested in you.
  5. How will I sell myself? Remember, it’s no longer about getting the job; it’s about landing that order. Like a business owner, you will need to know everything about a potential employer, their strengths and weaknesses, and then develop a sales pitch that positions you as a potential solution.
  6. How will I negotiate the terms? If you’ve defined your brand and value proposition, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate pay that is in line with your value to a new organization. Thinking like a business owner, you will be able to negotiate, rather than just accept, the terms of your employment.

The era when we could count on working for the same company for our entire working lives is, in essence, over. Whether it is outsourcing, a shift to contingency staffing or seismic changes in technology, there is a high likelihood that we’re all going to be impacted by the radical changes in today’s employment market that are forcing us to adopt a new outlook and think like free agents.

Prepare for the disruption that is coming by thinking like a business owner, and coming up with a plan to market and sell yourself to potential new employers.

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