Highest and Best Use, Customer Style

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In real estate development, there’s an expression: “highest and best use” – it refers to something that is permissible (by law), possible (can be executed), financially feasible, and maximally productive. Whether you’re self-employed, or you work for someone else, this is a concept you can apply to your work, and to your selection of customers. Because it’s precisely why targeting is so important.

Often, business opportunities will present themselves. If we don’t have a full pipeline, or revenues are down, or we’re just starting out, it can be tempting to work with any customer who comes in the door. But this can be a bit of a trap. These customers that aren’t “maximally productive” (or prevent us from being maximally productive), may keep us working in our businesses, long after we should be working on our businesses. So while it’s prudent to make sure there’s money coming in to keep the wolf from the door, it’s important to carve out time and space to cultivate the right customers – the ones that will let you make highest and best use of your time, and your business.

I’m Megann Willson, and I’m one of the partners here at PANOPTIKA. PANOPTIKA means “seeing everything” – because we work with our clients to help them see everything they need to consider to make better decisions and grow their businesses. You can find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and please subscribe below to receive our monthly newsletter for more News You Can Use.

Good Career, Bad Career…

Have you received advice that starts like this?

“All you need to do”
“You just…”
“You only have to”

Me, too. I also get requests all the time for advice on how to live the life I do – unapologetically mine, in line with my values and priorities. And many of the people who ask those questions, are looking for answers that start with one of those three phrases. What’s the problem with that? Only this: having a great career is no easier than having a bad career. Both are work. Hard work. The good news, is that the work is worth it, if you get to have a rewarding, rich life along the way. And it’s important to realize that every day won’t be sunshine and lollipops.
The truth is, no life is ever easy. We will all have struggles and setbacks. Every overnight success story has many, many steps and stumbles that led to that moment of achievement that everyone gets to see. In the world of the striver, there are always many people watching every wobble along the way…some cheering, some jeering, and some just wondering when they will just give up. 

“I wish I could work for myself like you do,” they say. “Then I’d be in control of everything.”

If you’re embarking on a journey with the vision of never being accountable to anyone else, let me let you in on one of life’s big secrets. It’s very likely at some point, that your vision is going come to a screeching halt. (Unless you want to live in a cave, on a mountaintop. In that case, have at it.)  You can be the pilot of your own destiny, that much is absolutely certain. However even the most powerful individuals in the world have responsibilities and commitments to others. Most of us want a richer, fuller life, that lets us be more, give more, share more, and enjoy more. We want to have time with our kids, or our partners, or to serve in our communities. We want to be secure in the knowledge that there will be food on the table. And we want to know that we’re able to contribute our best work, every day.

Living the life that you choose means you must make choices about where to invest your time, talent, and resources. That part isn’t a choice. It’s an obligation. To be everything you want, you can’t always do everything you want. Sometimes things won’t go your way. Families, partners, collaborators, and customers all want different things from me, and sometimes all at once. And they will from you, as well. The one thing I’ve learned (and you can, too), is that I must choose how to handle those requests. And I can live with that. Can you?

Megann Willson is one of the Partners at PANOPTIKA, where we help you see everything you need to know to make better decisions for your business and career. Need more advice? Subscribe below, and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for fresh content daily.