Protect your income potential by treating your career as YOUR business

incomeLibraries are filled with books on topics such as job, income and career planning, finding that perfect job, job transition strategies, stress management and coping with the demands of the workplace.

Few, if any focus specifically on the individual’s career in the context of the current and future powerful and globally pervasive influences arising from the adoption of digital technologies and globalisation.

As an employee, it may be counterintuitive to see yourself as a small business owner, with your particular persona, skills, experience and perspectives being the tradable resource.  You have a future income stream – some may call it a sales ‘pipeline’. This is your wage or salary. Just that it’s relatively predictable as a fulltime employee. For a business, this is known as ‘sales’ revenue.

You are the complete product, and one, hopefully that continues to mature and increase in value the further down your career path you progress.

By treating your career as if it were your own business, you will develop a career that has greater resilience and be far better placed to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

There are strong parallels between your career and a business.

Consider the following table that outlines a number of attributes that are equally applicable to both a business and your career.


… The attribute of … ….is important for a business, because …… ….is important for your career, because it will help you …
A Vision… … It helps define the organisation’s ‘grand plan’ for the future in terms that others can understand. … Broadly define what you really want from your career for the foreseeable future.
A Mission… … It defines what the organisation is going to do and why. … Clarify in broad terms what you are intending to do next in your job or career and why.
Objectives… … It states how much of the ‘what’ will be achieved by when. … Consider what you need to think about in order to get to where you need to be next.
Planning ….. … It defines what changes will occur and who will do what, and by when, in a systematic manner … Develop actionable steps you need to take to work towards your objective(s).
Investment… … Cash, intellectual capital, expertise, human resources, productive capacity as needed to deliver future value. … Determine where, how, when and in what form you will invest your limited energy, effort, time and money in developing your career to drive income.
Return on Investment …. … A positive return on investment is needed to ensure the organisation’s survival, be that through lowering cost, increasing revenues, or both. … Ensure that you are better off, in terms you have defined, as a result of working towards and achieving your career’s vision.
Cashflow …. (financial management) … Cash is needed to meet the organisation’s financial obligations, and to invest in its future. … Provide the necessities of life for yourself and your dependents as well as support your lifestyle – an income
Situational awareness… … Survival depends on an awareness of both the current and potential future forces at play in the organisation’s markets, which shapes the decision making processes. … In your career decision making processes by minimising risks due to inappropriate decision making and maximizing opportunities as they arise or are created by you.
Brand… … It ensures that the world understands and can distinguish the organisation’s value proposition from others. … Tell the world who you are and what you want to be known for. Putting it another way: What will others say about you when you’ve left the room?
Adaptability…. … The viability of the organisation often depends on taking timely and deliberate actions that are appropriate in the face of change. … Appropriately and positively respond to changes in your environment, which helps to maintain your continued value to employers when situations change.
Value proposition… … It defines the promise of value for your organisation’s products and services to new or existing markets and customers, which should translate into increased revenues, profit margins and shareholder value. … Articulate how you will contribute to the success of others as well as your employer’s organisation. What’s your intrinsic value to an organisation or to others as an employee? Value is often related to income earning potential
Risk management… … The identification, management and mitigation of risks will contribute to the ongoing viability of the organisation and assure stakeholders that the organisation’s products and services continue to meet customer expectations. … Understand which current or likely threats exist that could jeopardise your employability prospects. This will help in shaping your countermeasures to these risks.
Marketing and Communications… … It allows the organisation to let the market know of its products and services through a range of communications channels and media. … Reach out to others outside of your employer to establish an effective and valuable network of contacts based on the exchange of mutual value.
Product development… … It contributes to the development of new products and services as well as refining and improving existing offerings, and in so doing, helps the organisation remain viable. … Ensure that your skills and capabilities remain current to the needs of the current employment market, and remain so for the rest of your career.
Market research… … It helps in gaining a detailed understanding of both the current and potential consumers, which assists in better decision making about the organisation’s products and services. … ‘Join the dots’ in your environment, which will help you understand industry, economic and career trends that are, or could be, affecting your job or career.
Influence … The ability to effect change in key stakeholders through a range of methods including media management, marketing, lobbying and market dominance which assists in the promotion of the organisation. … Elevate your standing amongst peers as someone who can positively engage with a wide range of individuals and organisations to bring about positive change.

Find out more information on how you can develop a resilient and rewarding career.