Business Development Strategy for Managers

Senior Managers have different contacts and networks from the rest of the company. Their contacts are of a higher level. It is important that Senior Managers build their profile and have a planned strategy to work their network in order to get more business. Even Managers in Accounts and HR will have, or should have, a network of counterparts within other companies. Every Manager should see it as a part of their role to be proactive in working their network and contacts to build stronger relationships or gain market intelligence that could lead to new business.

This can not be delegated to someone in a lower level within the company as their contacts and network will be at a lower level of authority.

A strong network with regular contact within client or joint-venture companies, will ensure:

  • You learn market intelligence early
  • You learn about changes within the client company
  • You learn about new projects earlier
  • You learn about on-going problems which you may have solutions for
  • You are up to date with arrivals of new people or replacements
  • Your relationships will strengthen

When you have a planned strategy, you leave nothing to chance and do not have to rely on memory, skill or inclination. You will be in the right place at the right time to offer ongoing support and create added value to the client.

There should also be a budget allocated for Managers to take clients to functions, lunches or coffees. Plus there should be KPI’s to measure the networking activities and the annual results.

How Is this Done?

Each Manager makes a list of clients and segments them by priority such as Gold, Silver and Bronze. The goal is to strengthen the relationship and get more work from Gold.

Gold would be an existing active relationship and a significant amount of work. The goal with Silver is to move it to Gold, and move Bronze to Silver.

Occasionally, you will drop clients from your Bronze status and put new clients into this segment. Companies grow and change either through natural growth or through merger and acquisition.

Once a client has been allocated into a segment, each Manager must make a decision about the frequency of the contact, the type of contact and the manner that suits them. The company may set a Matrix with set frequency for each segment. If the contact is decided to be monthly, then within a quarter, you may have a coffee meeting one month, contact by email another month and invite them to be your guest at a business breakfast the next month.

Functions ideal for inviting clients

I recommend that you subscribe to a paper with a strong focus on business. They will promote breakfasts and functions that would make great opportunities to invite clients to attend as your guests. Other opportunities are charities which have business breakfasts or speakers and Chamber of Commerce functions.

Networking

The ultimate objective of networking is to meet new people with the intention of either converting them into potential clients or to establish ongoing relationship. So, simply meeting them is not enough, you have to know firstly how to meet them and how to start a new relationship and how to keep it going.

It is important that all Managers learn how to network effectively. Therefore, they either need training or operations manual modules that cover the following:

How to network effectively when you know no one in the room

How to work a room, how to approach a group of people you don’t know, what to say, how to move on and how to connect quickly and be remembered.

The business card system

How to follow-up by email or phone call.

What to do prior, during and after the function to create new relationships

Making Contact

How to make a call when you have nothing to say

How to make a ‘cold’ call where the person willingly agrees to meet

How To Build and Maximise your Profile

Strategies to build, maximise and extend your network

Shared Information

The final part of this strategy is the sharing of the information gained. This can be an informal process but this is often not shared with all the people who could take advantage of the information. Managers should share in their weekly Management meetings, any market intelligence or change in the companies they are in contact with. This would then be filtered down to other levels where they could use this information as a reason to make contact with their network. Again, this works best as a formalized process.

Small Business Development – Election Time! What Are You Voting For?

There is a lot of talk today about the Presidential Primary elections and the November elections. However, whether you know it or not, today is your voting day. It is the day you must make a decision about your future leadership and the direction your life and business will take going into the future. I encourage each and every one of you to go and cast your vote and make your choice count.

However, I am not talking about the Presidential Primary, I am talking about your life and your business.

You see, every morning you have the opportunity to make a choice. There are many options to choose from. You can choose success; failure, growth, status quo; risk, security, comfort, challenge, opportunity, problem, or countless other options.

The problem is most if us don’t cast our vote. Today, I choose success.

Here is the simple truth. Now is the only moment that matters, and you can only live one day at a time. Every morning we have the opportunity to vote on how we want our day to go. We can choose what kind of attitude we are going to “take to the marketplace” as Jim Rohn would say. We can choose how much time we want to put into preparation; self-development; physical and mental fitness; building our businesses; and parenting our children.

The problem is, most of us don’t take the time to vote. Today, I choose risk.

Eben Pagan, in his Wake Up Productive Program talks about designing daily rituals for the first 90 minutes of each day that allow you to “make yourself strong first.” By designing a daily ritual that allows you to start each day strong, you are choosing success. You are casting your ballot each and every day.

What rituals can you develop that will remind you that you have a choice. You can choose success today. What you will discover is that success is not the cars, and the money, and the clients. Those things are the result of you being successful. Today, I choose growth.

“Success is not something you achieve, rather it is something you attract by the person you become” Jim Rohn

I encourage you to follow the advice of Eben Pagan and develop those early morning rituals that lead you towards becoming a successful person.

Steve Chandler, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Time Warrior, talks about the distinction between reacting and creating. When you cast your vote each morning you are involved in the creative process. You are actively participating in the creation of your day.

When you don’t cast your vote, you end up living your life in reaction to what happens to you and around you. Today, I choose success!

Did You Vote Today! It’s Not Too Late.

The Solo Entrepreneur’s Success Secret: Planning Time for Business Development

One of the primary issues about which my clients complain is that they never stop running their businesses. They say their day is an endless cycle of completing tasks for clients, having conversations with prospective clients, and networking to find clients. They know that they need to find some time to plan what they’re doing and where they’re going in their businesses, and the only time they manage to carve out for themselves to do this is late at night with a glass of wine in hand, on Saturday morning in the midst of a child’s soccer game, or on a Sunday afternoon at the dining room table when the kids are working on school projects. How productive can anyone be in that kind of environment?

Normally, when you think of time management, you’re told to put your tasks in 3 categories (A, B, and C) based on priority, with the As being the highest priority, and then do all the tasks the A list. Poof — time management — done! If it were only that easy..LOL

The time management system that I’m currently using is a bigger-picture system, focusing on the overall plan of how you structure your time rather than on the actual tasks, although that does come into play. In this system, you have 3 kinds of days: Rest Days, Profit-Generating Days, and Business Development Days. You can set as many (or as few of these) as you like each week, as long as the total number adds up to 7 for a full week.

I’ve purchased a large laminated wall planner for the current year and a set of colored sticker dots to graphically represent on this calendar my Rest, Profit-Generating, and Business Development Days. I’ve found that having this hanging on the wall in front of me helps tremendously in my planning, and when presented with an opportunity, helps me determine how viable it is in relation to the time I have available.

On your Rest Days, you are free to do anything at all except work-related tasks. You can meditate, veg on the couch, spend time with friends and family, go for hike, or take a vacation. The goal on your Rest Days is to revitalize and rejuvenate your spirit and not think about business, work, or money. This is the first set of days I’d like you to plan for yourself. Yep, you heard me right. Repeat after me, “Pay yourself first.” What works with money also works with time! Currently, for me, that translates into 2 Free Days per week. I then have a number of longer vacation periods kicking in and 3 and 4-day weekends. Remember, all work and no play makes Jill a cranky girl….

Next fill in your Business Development Days, which is the time when you’re working ON your business, not IN your business. The Business Development Days are the most important days for a business owner because they’re serve as your business management days, or time when you focus on finances, marketing, sales, resources, and personnel.

Let me repeat — this is the most important day of your week. You can’t grow and market your business while you’re doing the actual work of the business, so devote at least one day per week to developing and overseeing your business. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, Business Development Days are vital to your success. Your business will not be able to grow and prosper without regularly scheduled business development time. My business development day is sacred, and I guard it like the Hope Diamond. Only in extreme emergencies do I let other things interrupt my Business Development Day.

The most compelling reason that Business Development Days are vital to your existence is because without that time, you don’t have any of the third kind of day, the Profit-Generating Days.

Whatever is left of the week are Profit-Generating Days, or the time when you’re actually working in your business, doing the work of the business. These are the days that you’re working with clients, answering their problems and concerns, or conducting other activities in which you’re directly generating revenue. In some businesses this time might be called “billable hours.”

So, my current schedule is as follows:

Saturday and Sunday: Rest Days

Monday and Tuesday: Profit-Generating Days

Wednesday: Business Development Day

Thursday and Friday: Profit-Generating Days

I started this type of long-range planning several years ago, and have found it to be incredibly empowering. I guess I’d fallen into the M-F, 9-5 rut again without realizing it, and spent all that time working with clients rather than spending any time on the business development side and taking a long, hard look at what I really wanted out of my business. What was helpful to me was realizing that I’m not going to always be 100% faithful to this system, as opportunities arise that I can’t control. However, I know if I commit to being 80-90% faithful to the system, I’ll do just fine.

Start planning time for your business development today. Buy your calendar, set aside some time to map out your year, and begin to experience the power of actually being in the driver’s seat of your business.

Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter

The Key to Building a Successful Home-Based Business – Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

A successful home-based business is something that many people dream about. With it, they can establish their own work schedule, be their own boss, and save thousands of dollars a year on commuting and other work expenses – not to mention avoiding all that traffic! But the problem these people commonly run into is that they lack the entrepreneurial mindset required to move forward with their business in spite of challenges. They give up when things go sour and they become upset when they fail to generate the kind of income they expected to right away. That’s a natural reaction, but the entrepreneurial mindset requires a reaction of a different sort – and it can significantly alter the outcome of your home-based business.

Entrepreneurs who are successful find that they don’t see problems as insurmountable difficulties. Instead, they see problems as opportunities to be fleshed out and challenges to meet and conquer. They like to think outside the box and to devise new and creative ways to overcome adversity. A successful home-based business is operated by someone who can implement these strategies – someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. When an entrepreneur encounters something that is not going his or her way, giving up is never an option. Changing course is possible, but only out of necessity after considering all the alternatives. According to the entrepreneurial mindset, no decisions are made out of fear, anxiety, or misplaced passion. An entrepreneurial mindset is a positive mindset; it emanates success thinking, and thus it attracts success in the greater world.

If you want to run a successful home-based business, developing an entrepreneurial mindset is crucial. Fortunately, you can train yourself to do this; i.e., it doesn’t have to be an innate characteristic of your personality. You simply need to commit to its development and promise yourself that you’ll never give up, as it won’t happen overnight. For any entrepreneur who is running a successful home-based business, you can be sure that it took time and patience to get there and that the journey was fraught with trial and error. The entrepreneurial mindset won’t make you immune to challenges, but it will show you how to turn these challenges into short-cuts to success.

Generally speaking, the entrepreneurial spirit comes in two different flavors-DIY and KISS. DIY of course stands for Do-It-Yourself, and refers to the entrepreneurial mindset that would rather build everything from scratch. If you do this successfully-think Bill Gates or Steven Jobs here-you can make a massive fortune. The sad reality is however that not everyone has the same drive to succeed as Gates or Jobs. (We all have the same potential for greatness-some of us just don’t use it as effectively as those guys did.)

The KISS approach (for Keep It Simple, Stupid) is generally much more appropriate for those of us who don’t want to reinvent the wheel while trying to launch a successful home-based business. With the KISS approach anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset can look for and find a veritable business in a box that provides a turnkey solution for a successful home-based business startup. Either approach can work-the key is to find the one that works for you.