Grow Your Business During the Summer: the Pre-Flight Checklist

Pop quiz: Does business growth activity slow to a crawl in the summer? In particular the development of strategic alliance initiatives.

If you said “yes” then you have plenty of company.

Summer is almost universally loved. Lazy warm days in the park, making family memories with see the world vacations, and with the plethora of festivals what’s not to love. It seems that everyone’s mind is distracted from business. So, it’s not hard to see why this feeling of ‘shut it down for summer’ is so prevalent.

The reality is that summer is the best time to structure sustainable relationships. Not only do you have less business noise to cut through there are more avenues to have personable discussions.

With that in mind here are three strategic business development tips:

Disclose the right information early in the dialogue
If you want to earn respect, move the dialogue forward quickly and gain power, then share the right information early in the discussion.  Many of us have the misconception that disclosing information creates weakness—not true.  It creates trust and an understanding of the other person’s position.  Summer is fleeting, don’t waste their time because if you do it will lead to distrust and disappointment. The goal of is not to lengthen the process but to complete it as soon as possible, saving time, money and other things you value most.

Block unreasonable demands (but don’t reject them)
Don’t automatically argue against an unreasonable demand. Instead, set your desired benefits (price, timing, etc.) such that it exactly mirrors the demand. Doing so shows the other side that your condition(s) is a corollary of its demand – a blocking tactic.
Once blocked seize the initiative with a realistic proposal.  Take the time to walk through your thinking asking for input as you go. A much more open and relaxed exchange that fits right into a summer mindset.

Agree (be sure to have clarity)
Be sure to agree on what is actually agreed upon, because it’s much easier to clear up ambiguities at this time than later when both parties are in the midst of selling the concept internally.

And, how is this done? By:

  • Confirming the agreement in an acceptable form (I favor a formal letter.)
  • Ensuring that everyone is comfortable with the terms and is ready to put it into practice.
  • Avoiding deal creep, by jointly developing a balanced and detailed summary that doesn’t leave anything up for interpretation; ambiguous language or understanding is a big killer.

Try it and let us know how it works. Most importantly have a great and productive summer.

Donald McMichacel teaches BE 261 – Starting a Small Business.
Follow him on Twitter at @DonaldMcMichael or Google+ at +Donald McMichael

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