How Can I Reinvent Myself?

January 17, 2010

I have retired from executive management after almost 30 years. I’d like to reenter the market place in sales, consulting or a new business venture. What are some of the ways I can differentiate myself from all the other retiring executives who are reentering the business arena?

First, "reentering the business theater" in sales or consulting, (a new business venture will require extensive sales background) is not as easy as it appears. Having business experience and a robust contacts list is certainly a help, but no guarantee of effectiveness as a consultant or success as a business.

There is a false logic to presume that business familiarity is all one needs to be a management or sales adviser. This is like saying, "I have raised three kids, so I think I am qualified to be a pediatrician." Sales and/or Consulting, like medicine, is a profession, with specific skills, behaviors, body of knowledge, ethics and practices that need to be developed. The differentiation you seek comes not in your knowledge, but in how you apply it.

Second, look for your edge in areas that you are most passionate about, and I don't necessarily mean subject matter. Start with a notable characteristic about you that is known to others in your industry. When you were an executive, what were the accomplishments of which you were most proud, on what projects did you contribute in a unique and productive way, and for what were you known in the industry? Were you the go-to person to facilitate tough negotiations, or the one who could find a skilled technician to solve a problem, or the one who saw new markets before anyone else? You most likely already have an edge - ask your coworkers, business partners and industry leaders.

Tip: Being exceptional in an area does not mean it will be highly valued over the next few years as you build your sales or consulting practice. Balance what you are passionate about with the likely need of the executives who will be using your services. Your past high value is only the starting point. Create a practice development strategy that builds new capabilities that retain value in an evolving world of business.

Have a great week and if I can be of any assistance, call or write and I will respond immediately!


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, IA