Today’s newsletter is written by David Huff, Business Development and Operations Manager
On behalf of the OST Global Solutions team, I want to thank veterans from all branches of the military, their families, and all those that support the military.
I spent about 7 years in the infantry, 5.5 years with the 82nd Airborne Division, and 27 months in Afghanistan. This Veterans Day, I want to encourage everyone to work more with veterans and understand the unique skills they bring to business development. Veterans often struggle with transitioning back into the civilian workforce, like I did when I first exited the Army. They often find it hard to translate their valuable experience from their time in the military into the business environment. Yet, many of the skills that are highly trained military personnel have picked up in the field translate very well into the office environment. In the spirit of Veterans Day, I would like to share three unwritten rules of the infantry that are easily applicable, with a little translation, to the world of business development:
Rule #1: Always know where you are.
Translation: Know the environment you are operating in. You cannot know if something has changed if you do not know what “normal” looks like. You must know every aspect of your environment: your market or industry, your customer (the decision-makers, their hot buttons, available funding, possible contractor preferences, and contracting vehicle preference), and your competitive environment.
Rule #2: Always be cool.
Translation: Always be prepared. This one is a little bit more complicated, so it calls for a little back story. You can always pinpoint the new soldiers by how they look—completely un-cool. Their equipment is hanging from them in no particular order, they are unorganized, and it takes longer than it should for them to find any particular piece of gear. The soldiers who look cool have put a lot of thought into organizing their equipment, so they know where it is and can use it on demand. In other words, they are prepared. The more experienced the soldier, the more prepared he or she is, and the cooler he or she looks. “Looking cool” in the business development world means that you have your proverbial ducks in a row. You know your customer, you know what they want, and you are prepared with the best possible strategies or solutions to serve their needs and address their pain points.
Rule #3: If you don’t know where you are, look really really cool.
Translation: If you don’t know your environment or you find yourself in uncharted territory, you better be ultra-prepared. This is when your training comes in handy. You will have to make decisions on your toes, in real-time, and you better have prepared for every eventuality. The threat can be anywhere, and you better know how to react, fast—often relying on muscle memory, instincts, and having all your “equipment” where it needs to be.
In the business development world, it means knowing the full business development lifecycle from opportunity identification and qualification to contractual aspects, to capture, to pricing, to proposal development.
We had seven battle drills in the infantry that we needed to know by heart. However, we learned this “playbook” with the understanding that the practical execution of the drill, according to the book, would rarely play out the same way it was supposed to in combat. We needed a fundamental understanding of what was supposed to happen so that when the plans changed we could adapt and react appropriately.
Understanding every aspect of business development will prepare you to make the appropriate adjustments to your plan quickly so that you can succeed and win.
Our team at OST and I wish you a great Veterans Day and ask that you be mindful of the struggles and sacrifices some of your fellow contractors, co-workers, friends, and families have made.
Business Development and Operations Manager
OST Global Solutions, Inc.
…Because There is No Second Place in Proposals! TM
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