A business is like a puzzle. Each puzzle piece is designed for an area of expertise and is cut to fit with another piece to create a bigger picture. In most cases, a puzzle has open spaces – whether there are pieces that have not been found or they have not been “visualized” by the business owner yet.
Think about yourself as a puzzle piece. How do you best position yourself to be the missing piece in the puzzle?
Blanks: These are the open spaces of the puzzle piece. While you are networking with people, actively listen to his or her challenges. These challenges are the open spaces within the business. This gives you insight to what pieces are missing and the opportunity to prove the solution. Remember not all business solutions are actively being looked for; sometimes people are focused on other parts of their puzzle.
Tabs: These are the protruding parts of the puzzle piece. Each tab is an area of expertise – talents, skills, and experiences – and your puzzle piece is made up of many tabs. Consider how each expertise fits with the open spaces of the business. It is important to utilize more than one tab to prove the solution.
Interlocking: There are different ways that the puzzle pieces fit together.
- Non-interlocking – These pieces are loosely held together and can easily be displaced by any movement on the puzzle.
- Semi-interlocking – These pieces only have partial connections to a few sections of the puzzle and can only withstand slight movement on the puzzle.
- Fully interlocking – These pieces have the best fit in the puzzle and can hold up to any movement on the puzzle.
With a strategic eye, review your prospect’s business and ask yourself these questions to see how well you fit.
- What are his or her challenges?
- What are your areas of expertise?
- Does your expertise match with those challenges and the overall direction of the business?
- How well can you utilize your resources to fit with their business’ needs?
Now you can answer, how well do you connect with the other pieces in the puzzle? What type of interlock can you offer? A fully interlocking connection means you have maximized your expertise as a resource for the prospect’s challenges. If you are a non-interlocking or semi-interlocking piece, consider the value of this opportunity to you because your resources are not fully utilized. Are you better off being an edge in another puzzle? To give yourself the opportunity to grow along with the business, you need to be a fully interlocked piece of the puzzle.