At a recent meeting with a potential university partner, I was asked the question, “What do you need?” Before responding, I took a split second to think and started to speak out loud about needing an academic partner, resources, and access to my target audience.
However, before I could finish, this female campus president said, in a tone of exhaustion and frustration, and in terms she characterized as somewhat of a problem, “We don’t know what we want.”
I took note of the specific phrase, she didn’t say we didn’t know ‘how to ask,’ what stuck out to me was that we don’t know “what to ask for.” I took this statement two ways, that my list was overly vague, and she knew something I didn’t know. What resources were out there that I should be asking for and was unaware?
The meeting ended with a list, a very good list of people I needed to follow up with. I am now working on that list. And my purpose was also accomplished. I would develop a series of workshops on workplace confidence. But I knew I needed to do something more. I needed a reference list of my needs.
It took me four weeks to come up with a list of everything I could possible NEED to make my business successful. These were not financial asks, these were social, political and developmental asks.
Here is that list:
I am a growing social enterprise with a mission-driven purpose. My key product is education and empowerment delivered through face-to-face and online personal and professional development activities. What I need are growth mechanisms in the form of social media marketing, online education technology, volunteers, and champions.
I need full-time business development support to prospect for champions and alliances to help sell my mission and identify opportunities for business contracts.
I need public relations support to create the footprint of my brand activities.
I need access to an education-based technology platform to build online courses.
I need partner organizations to cross-promote my programs.
I need partner organizations to develop and validate ‘confidence’ research.
I need a social media wiz to communicate with my audience online.
I need unpaid interns or volunteers to help manage special projects and campaigns such as updating the “Can We Talk” guide of women’s organizations, the #ConfidenceCrush profiles campaign, and updating the monthly newsletter list of subscribers.
I need help setting up a fundraising campaign to develop confidence courses for students.
I need an administrative volunteer who is great at organizing and scheduling.
I need an influential partner who can champion the organization and help reduce networking demands.
I need a volunteer to proof company communications, correspondence, and products.
My next step is to now create a list of actions and individuals who may be helpful to complete these actions. The list will include the specific details on how I intend to accomplish each action and when. I’ve set a goal of accomplishing an action sheet each week.
Knowing what you need is an important exercise that will help manage your business and personal priorities and ensure you don’t overlook key shortcomings or resources that will help you to grow your business and fulfill your dreams. This is the first step to asking for what you want.
Do you know what you need?
The Confidence Commander
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