The Yin-Yang of Business Development

I reckon about 99% of business advice is “define target, load, aim, fire”.  What’s your product, what’s your market etc etc. Define it and then do it.  After all it’s “sensible” isn’t it?  Maybe – but life is rarely like that.  Skype was an Estonian start-up working with peer-to-peer file sharing. Facebook was for Harvard. Marc Eckō practiced spray painting t-shirts in his parents garage for almost a year till he got real good at it before selling one t-shirt and ended up with a billion dollar business. Madonna started as a virgin not like one.

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The yang approach to getting somewhere – scientific, engineering mentality – is to have a clear defined goal and converge everything towards that goal.  That’s cool – as long as you have the right goal…  Sometimes it is the best way whether it’s to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade or to get a bunch of good exam results by the time you leave school.

The yin approach is the opposite – art, evolution – nurture what you have, take the next step and then decide on the next step after that. Hmmm these two chords strummed together sound good … I wonder whether this third chord goes with it. A divergent process.

So let’s keep this post simple.  The next time someone says “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, “what will your new business be?”, pause and think of this yin-yang model of development.  Sometimes the yang way is best – but I would say more often yin is the way.

People who ask those kinds of questions are often folks giving training courses, or writing or reading) textbooks – not real world business folks. Real world folks know that generally things evolve – and that the reason it works this way is that if we co-evolve our ideas in the world we co-evolve something that folks will buy and which has been co-designed by the market.  Sometimes you can get away with “inventing something in a dark room” and then selling it – but not as often as anyone tells you.  And even then it’s a tough sell.

How Yin or Yang is your Business Development approach? Which way has worked best for you?

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