Looking for simple strategies for business development?
Here are your top ten ESSENTIAL action items
Not only do you want to identify and understand your target market, but you need to be clear about your Unique Selling Proposition. Be clear on not only who you want to gain as new clients over the next 12 months, but also how you can sway them to choose you over your competition.
2. Plan your marketing strategies for the upcoming 12 months
It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive marketing plan – a basic spreadsheet is enough to:
- Document a variety of strategies that will resonate with your target market, and
- Plan a schedule and commit to making it happen. Profit is rarely made by accident!
3. Raise your prices
This is the best time to raise your prices – not only will your suppliers raise their prices, but you have more to offer clients than you did 12 months ago. You have developed your own knowledge, and your staff is more experienced. To ensure you remain competitive, you need to continue investment in not only staff growth but also the development of the business – from training and IT, through to developing new products and services.
4. Introduce new products and services
Not only do you want to stay ahead of the competition, but you also want to remain relevant for your clients. Can you introduce a better way of doing things? Can you develop your product or service to better meet your client’s needs? How will you ensure value-for-money for your clients?
5. Segment and focus on the right clients
For many businesses, the difficult clients who absorb the majority of your time provide the lowest revenue. Segment them into your A Clients, B Clients C Clients and D Clients, and create a plan for managing each category to either dazzle, nurture, educate or sack them.
Need a plan to define and segment your clients? Let us know!
6. Create a team development plan
Ensure everyone involved in the business has a clear professional development plan for the upcoming 12 months. This may include formal training and in-house projects, or even shared goals. Some plans may even set targets, with staff motivated by a reward system.
7. Make your business development goals transparent
If you are managing a team, there is nothing more empowering for staff than to be included in determining the future direction of the business. Define your business goals and share them with the team. Vitally, link their individual goals (such as training) to the business goals so they can see their contribution to the bigger picture.
8. Plan and diarise your meetings for the upcoming 12 months
I’ve spoken before about the role that well-defined and structured meetings can have in the development of a business. One of the critical elements of successful meetings is planning and communication – meetings need to be diarised in advance, formal agendas set and boardroom rules established. Your meeting schedule will vary depending on your business, but if you have a Board of Advisors then monthly meetings are recommended, along with two annual strategy days.
9. Remove the clutter
Introduce a clean desk policy. Remove items that do not serve an essential purpose. Introduce an electronic document management system and become paperless. Use technology to your advantage. Clean out your drawers, your office, your pockets, your car… remove the stress!
10. There are a million free tools out there – use them!
Never stand still. Technology is changing every day, and you need to change with it. There are industry-specific developments happening all over the globe – follow your industry leaders online and stay on top of the trends. You will be surprised at just how many innovative entrepreneurs out there are developing and sharing tools for free – use them to your advantage! Make your workflow more efficient, your business more profitable and your life much easier.
Don’t let your business stand still
Think of your business as a living, breathing entity. It needs to be cared for and maintained in order to grow. Leave it to stand still, and it will slowly perish.
Read and be inspired by others, and work with a business coach or accounting strategist who can hold you accountable. You’re already on the right track – keep reading CFO News and take time out for you – don’t lose your business mojo!
About Zoltan Szentirmay Zoltan is a highly-respected business development strategist, published author and CEO of CFO@Call. He consults to a variety of sectors, and works with small, medium and large businesses to develop their business, financial and IT strategies.