picture via Flickr Commons
When it comes to growing your business one of the most significant functions is business development. Often people push this off as being just sales, if you are one that does this then you’re making a big mistake. Business Development has a intense focus on growing a business in a sustainable manner.
This charge means that the potential activity list runs the gamut from leading service/product introduction initiatives, to designing and implementing market expansion, to locking down strategic partnerships. It is one of the ultimate transformer roles, however, since it incorporated aspects of marketing, finance, and sales it is easy for a streamlined organization to rely on individuals, or better yet cross-functional teams, versus building out a dedicated department.
But what if you’re a soloprenuer? You can’t do it yourself – well, you can but the execution time would be too costly – but don’t worry you can easily implement the quick start tips below.
Business Development Tactics that Work: The Hacks
If taken seriously this role will deliver solid returns for years to come. But, it requires a significant investment of time and energy. So what do you do if your shop is already stretch too thin or you need to kick start growth now? I’m here to help, here are five hacks that you can run with today.
This is where two businesses work together in their advertising efforts. Ideally they have complementary product or service which they push your product down one or both partners marketing/distribution channels in return for incremental marketing dollars and/or a sales commission. A perfect example of this is the recent agreement between Verizon and Comcast to market each others products as a bundle (wireless, cable TV, landline and internet services) in selected markets.
Word of mouth matters. It’s no secret that today, buyers rely more on their friends and peers to help vet buying decisions. According to InsideView, a negative review on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube can cost a company 30 customers. Make yourself available on platforms where your customers congregate and use all of your communication pieces to encourage them to share their experiences.
Improve your unique service proposition
Think Zappos. Ensure that the service that you provide to your customers and potential customer is phenomenal. There is no doubt that you have to supply a spot-on product, it’s just that the overall experience (purchase, fulfillment, and after sales support) is what drives repeat business and referrals. What can you do to better serve your market?
That’s right, charge more for your service. This has a two fold benefit:
- For those that love your service you’ll receive compensation closer to the value your customer derives.
- More importantly, you’ll drive away marginal customers who’s lifetime value is typically dramatically below that of a good customer.
The fringe benefit is that it will free resources that can be used to attract, service, and retain more core customers.
Work together with another business to realize a shared goal. Granted when businesses collaborate they typically generate a bigger bang for their buck, but the benefits can extend beyond the bottom line and into a more sustainable environment and community. Of all the above hacks collaboration is the hottest growing trend. the most basic form is powered by social media where “communities of interest’ operate as an information exchange.
Pull together a basic business development plan.
- Evaluate your environment. Pull together a market research plan. This exercise will help you better understand how you can thrive by uncovering the right opportunities to exploit.
- Set your goals for what you want to accomplish; service line expansion, new market entry, more core customers?
- Determine how you will recognize success. What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how will you measure them?
- Action plan. What is it the you need to be successful? In house knowledge, strategic partners, freedom for trial and error?
This post is meant to get you started on (and thinking about) very specific opportunities and tactics you can execute.
What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments…
Donald McMichacel teaches BE 261 Starting a Small Business.
and follow him on Google+ at +Donald McMichael