Business Development Strategies That Work

In the almost 30 years that I’ve worked as a CPA, I’ve had the opportunity to see businesses go on to achieve amazing results in the marketplace and for their community and for the owners. And I’ve seen many more businesses founder and fail.

One of the biggest challenges for small business is figuring out how to grow your business, especially in the beginning. The problem is that the desire to grow your business can turn into “grow at any cost” and that’s a dangerous position. Growth can be deadly to your business if you don’t first weigh the cost of that growth.

That cost can come in two forms:

  1. The expense of the development strategy itself, and
  2. The cost of ramping up your business with inventory and/or personnel to meet the demands of increased business.

In this article, we’re going to look at the expense of the development strategy itself. It really is the second thing you should consider, though. Fast growth can cripple a small business if there isn’t enough cash flow to fulfill on the sales. First determine how much growth your business really can stand.

Assuming that your business is able to handle new clients and/or sales, now let’s take a look at the business development strategy itself. A good rule of thumb is that you should expect to receive 5 times gross income (in other words, sales) for the amount you spend for promotion, marketing and advertising. In other words, if you spend $10,000 in total to put a new business development strategy in place, you should expect to receive $50,000 in new sales.

If you’re the typical small business starting, growing or even just surviving in a tough economic market with little or no credit, you also need business development strategies that don’t eat up your cash flow. There are plenty of people happy to sell you tens of thousands of advertising space, but can your business afford that? And what if the campaign doesn’t work? You’ve just used up some hard-won cash from your small business.

The best business development strategies are ones that take little or no cash flow.

Here are nine high impact, low-costs for your business:

  1. Get noticed. Small business often start with an entrepreneurial urge to do something better than anyone else has done it before. That’s working in the business. And to a certain extent, you need that. But, in today’s world, it’s highly unlikely that the world will beat a pathway to your door based on something great you’ve done that no one else knows about. Some ideas to get you started: Write articles, post a blog, build a social media platform or press releases. It’s possible to get noticed in today’s world for little money. The trick is to stand out above all the other noise. The best way to do that is to provide solid content. Each product and product line must stand on its own merit. There is no room for dogs in a bootstrapping company. Unless, of course, you have a pet grooming business.
  2. Have a good accounting system in place so you can quickly make business management decisions. If something is working, then put more money into promoting that item. If something isn’t, cut it quick.
  3. Create a sales funnel. The sales process resembles a funnel. At the top end, the widest part, are the people who are just finding you, checking out their options, considering using your services or buying your product. If you can adapt your product or service to match the funnel, you can often pick up sales. For example, at the top, where the funnel is widest, you may want to offer an entry-level product or a special report at a reduced price. This may help you to capture some of those people who otherwise may not have gone past the looking point.
  4. Can you create some kind of recurring business model, where you receive automatic monthly payments? This is a great way to generate steady cash for your business and is often easier to sell then one big product. For example, our tax firm has a monthly billing service. Clients get unlimited consulting during the year and the cost covers the preparation of their business and personal returns. The benefit to them is that they have a budget and know exactly what it’s going to cost. The benefit for our firm is that we have steady cash flow. One of our clients sells equipment. They offer a monthly fee to provide ongoing maintenance. The benefit to the customer is that they have someone checking on the equipment. All costs of repair are covered as part of the ongoing monthly fee. So there are no big cost surprises down the road. Our client picked up extra revenue, a steady stream of cash flow and a happy client. Is there a way to create something like that for your business?
  5. Create different service levels. Not all clients want the same thing. Can you create a premium service level that allows you to charge a higher rate for some of your current clients? What are the things that would make your service more valuable? Increased access to you personally? Front of the line option? Our firm has 3 levels of service available. Ironically, it’s the most expensive option, with ‘front of the line’ service and unlimited consulting with partners in the firm that sells the most. Because of the nature, though, it’s limited and so there is a waiting list. That helps sell the other levels of service.
  6. As you create a product or a service, think about what other products or services could be offered to complement and augment it. What else do your clients or customers need? What other services can you give them to create additional streams of income for your business? For example, a chiropractic office may offer therapeutic massages, yoga classes or nutritional supplements. These services and products aren’t chiropractic services but they are related to health and something that chiropractic patients might be interested in.
  7. Form strategic relationships. When you focus on a niche, you often find that there are things you can’t do, but are things that augment your service perfectly. By affiliating with other service providers, you can create a bigger, higher-value product that benefits everyone. A website designer/programmer builds websites for business owners. He finds that his clients also often need quality writers. If he refers services, he may make a referral fee. To be honest and ethical, that relationship and possible payment should be disclosed to the client as well.
  8. Create a high-end and low-end solution. One of our new passions is talking about the bi-modal graph. Imagine a two-hump camel. One hump represents the people who want hands-on, concierge service. The other hump represents people who want the lowest-cost solution. The depression in the middle is what used to be our target market: people who wanted a little of both. Today, that market is largely gone.
  9. Bill and collect in advance. It’s much easier to collect money up front then it is afterwards. It might be a little harder with the first sale, because your customer doesn’t have any experience with you, but after that, you’ve actually got to question why they don’t pay you in advance. If you are willing to extend credit, make sure you bill at a premium. There is a cost to carrying debt, especially in a tight credit market like now.

Business development strategies that double as cash flow development strategies are vital for every business, but especially if you’re going through your own business recession.

Business Development

The start of 2010 is here now. The biggest question is how will you start off the new year? Will you start off the new year with a pen and notepad. It is amazing how the simplest thing can change our lives for ever. Just sitting down at a table and writing our goals down. Something special happens when you write your goals down. You have a visual of what your life can be like in the near future. Now it is one thing to write your goals down, but how many of us will actually take action. Taking action is what will change your life. We can read about successful people and all the great things they accomplished, but there not better than us. The only difference is they made a decision and stayed consistent working hard towards their goals.

Challenges will come. We all wish we could live life reaching our goals with no problems, however we know something always pops up unexpected. Those interruptions in life sometimes knocks us off track from reaching our goals. Remember one thing, if you fall down get back up.If you fall down again, get back up again. I am not saying it will be easy, however we should not quit. Amazing things happen when we weather the storm. Sometimes where right at the point of our break through..

The financial climate in the country is looking bad, were in a recession. Everywhere you go you can see the effects of businesses closing down. Job lost numbers are sky rocketing, banks are not lending money. People are scared about the future. Which we have every right to be. But we have to hope for the best.

On the upside of things, there is opportunity all around us. For the person who is not scared of investing their money into new business adventures will come pass allot of opportunity out there. There are plenty of houses way below market value. There is rental space available for new businesses to start up everywhere. You can get a new business started in a high traffic area with amazingly low rent. This is a time now where new millionaires will be made, i just hope you will be one of them.

Business development is a process.

  • First thing you want to do is think about what market you want to go into.Good market research will always go along way.
  • Make a business plan
  • Start finding all the resources that will make your business a reality.
  • No more procrastination,now is the time.

Guys I wish you great success in 2010.

Skills to Focus on in Business Development Coaching Sessions

When you’re a coach who assists businesspeople with developing their company, you’ll help them face challenges, fears and opportunities head on. Regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry, you’ll discover that when you aim to help clients build specific skills, they’ll receive lasting benefits.

Flexibility

A flexible attitude can help members of the corporate world handle tough economic conditions, unsatisfied customers and discouraged employees. However, it’s often a difficult characteristic to cultivate, particularly in entrepreneurs.

Sometimes, a client might feel that if they really want to achieve all they set out to do, they must decide on one way of doing things, and stick to it. Through business development coaching, you can show clients that although dedication is valuable, it must be paired with a willingness to adapt to circumstances.

You’ll also need to strengthen this quality in yourself. Client meetings don’t always go as planned. Often, this is exciting, but it requires inner resilience, too. It’s helpful to have an outline for certain things that you want to accomplish with a client. However, when you go off course, view it as an opportunity. By keeping the conversation flowing, you might uncover new things that a client hadn’t revealed before.

Besides, when a business development coaching client feels that their session isn’t overly structured, they’ll be more open about discussing things that might not always relate to the topic at hand.

Self-Reflection

People must be willing to evaluate themselves. This is something that’s true in all industries, and particularly for people who are involved in leadership roles.

Help your clients see that when they’re willing to engage in self-reflection, they’ll simultaneously become more confident. A fear of failure is an emotion that you’ll likely encounter frequently during business development coaching sessions. However, taking chances is necessary to help a company thrive.

By encouraging clients to practice self-reflection regularly, you’ll assist them in becoming more comfortable with potential setbacks. Offer them a safe environment in which to talk about the positive factors, as well as things that they wish they’d done differently in the course of running their business.

Make sure you practice self-reflection, as well. Get into a routine where you look back on client sessions at least once per day.

Soon, you’ll find that it’s easier to become a more valuable contributor to the world of business development coaching. Clients will depend on you to help them improve themselves. However, you’ll get the best results by suggesting strategies that are very similar to things that you should practice to enrich your own skills.

Business Development or Sales?

I have been working with a number of companies recently who have been having issues with the performance of their business development team – intentionally I did not call them their sales teams because therein lies the fundamental issue. Everyone is in sales to a greater or lesser extent, in the main most people don’t believe that and shy away as much as possible from anything vaguely sales related.

Specifically anyone that communicates with anyone else with the intention of influencing the other to do something for them is in sales.

A child that wants an ice cream, a Nintendo or simply to stay up late is in sales. A wife that wants to go out with the girls and needs to get either the husband to sit for the kids or employ a babysitter is in sales. A member of the IT department that needs access to all pc’s in your department while you are all at work to do an upgrade is in sales. Any politician is in sales (whether you like it or not).

So if sales is simply the art of influencing another person to do your bidding why then are we so petrified of it, why is it such a swear word? Simply because we are all afraid of rejection to the point that putting ourselves in a situation where rejection may occur makes us avoid it as much as possible. A classic example is telesales which has such a brutal reputation; this is only because you have to deal with 45 rejections before you get an opportunity, maybe more.

How much did it hurt as a child when you are told no to doing something – just a little – however the histrionics that happen far outweigh the severity of the situation. Wouldn’t it be great to have a ‘Hissy Fit’ every time someone declined an offer you made -(some of us do inside our heads), it might shorten your career in that role if you did.

Sales also has that obvious association with dodgy – the wide eyed used car salesman, the timeshare rep or the double glazing salesman. I remember when my late mother-in-law told a friend of ours when she started dating a salesman ‘you can never trust a salesman, it will never last’ – she said. I’m happy to report they got married fifteen years ago and are still getting along just fine.

There are those who are naturally more capable of taking knock backs than others, those with ‘thick skin’ they don’t appear to take it personally when someone turns them down. The message to you is simple – sales is the art of communication, without communication everything grinds to a halt – be that sharing knowledge or information or simply asking for a date to go to the cinema, wherever there is an alternative solution to the one you suggested you have to convince the other in some way – that is sales. Sales is all about asking, if you never ask you will never get an answer!

Going back to the questions raised with these companies I have been working with all responsibility for business development was abdicated and passed onto the sales team to succeed or fail on their own. The other departments did not share the business development needs of the business and this was where the issue lay. What might you say is the solution here – a change in culture is necessary to one where everyone works together at business development, helping and supporting each other.

Some of you might call that Utopia or even unachievable – I disagree the best companies large or small do this day in and day out without even thinking about it – so can you.