All too often working in our business means we get absorbed meeting customer demands and getting orders processed. But we also need to be marketing and developing our business to ensure it’s still there tomorrow. So how can you fit business development into an already busy day? What should you be doing to ensure you have a steady stream of business leads coming in? Here are 5 tips for you to try.
1. Quality over quantity
Define a list of target customers you would like to win and focus on those. Ensure what little time you have is spent on getting you closer to new business leads that will make a positive difference to your company. Go for quality over quantity and replenish the list as you win them. Also don’t be afraid to let your network know who you are keen to target. They may be able to help the process or provide valuable information to speed things up or create an opportunity.
2. Make a commitment
Set time aside for business development and keep it sacrosanct – treat it like you would a customer meeting. Just an hour a week might suffice to keep in touch with contacts who have the ability to give you business, explore a potential new service line or enhancement etc. Try and view business development as an integral part of your week, rather than an extra. If needs be, go elsewhere to do it so you don’t get disturbed – eg. work from home, go to a coffee shop, rent a meeting room in a serviced office provider like Regus (most have rooms available by the hour).
Stick to what works
– and make sure you know whether it is working
Work out what marketing activities bring in the best leads and stick to those – for example, which networking groups bring in the best referrals, which ads in what publications work the best, which exhibitions give you the greatest number of leads. If you don’t know the answer to this, find out or stop investing your time in them.
If you win a lot of business through social media, blogging, e-newsletters etc then automate your content. Brainstorm a load of tips, tweets, updates, articles and comments at the start of each month and then preset publication dates using something like Hootsuite. Invest in a database (ideally with prompts or action reminders). Let it remind you to keep in touch with valuable contacts so you stay fresh in their mind.
Be it using interns, Virtual Assistants, Marketing Consultants make sure your marketing is kept ticking over – websites are updated, e-newsletters sent out etc. By all means have an input with the content, but let them handle the admin side of getting your message out. Consider using telemarketing companies to fix up appointments for you.
About the Author: Michelle Daniels, Managing Director – Extended Thinking
An experienced and effective business development and marketing strategist, Michelle has built a successful career increasing top line growth for service businesses and organisations. She helps her clients turn their marketing, business development and thought leadership plans into reality with her ‘hands on’ support and practical advice. A prolific writer, Michelle also combines creative flair with business nous to produce highly effective results. She has written (and ghost-written) for many professional and business publications and is a chartered marketer and member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Extended Thinking: Extended Thinking is a hands-on marketing and business development consultancy. Bringing together great minds and great ‘doers’, we help our clients devise and implement plans that achieve real business growth. Our clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds and sectors, but invariably are those who are too busy or lack the resources to action their marketing and business development plans. We roll our sleeves up and muck in to free them up to do what they really want to do and are good at doing.