Business Development is often misunderstood. Some might say that it’s all about relationships, another will say it’s all about sales and others will talk about marketing. They are all right, in a way. It is the creation of long-term value for a firm, through effective management of customers, markets and relationships.
Understand your customers
Customers pay the bills and should be front and centre of your BD strategy. Invest time and energy into researching and understanding your customers. Who are they, what products or services would add value for them and how can your firm help them to make a purchase decision? In the current environment, your customer research may help you to identify a new gap in the market. For example, your customers may need to buy online. Can you offer a better online experience than your competitors? Do you have a delivery mechanism that ensures that your products or services can be distributed to your customers easily and efficiently? You may find that your customers have turned to online marketplaces such as Amazon to buy everything. Maybe your firm needs to have a storefront on Amazon, in order to make it easier for your customers to buy from you.
Consider your target markets
Your customers are part of a specific market. For example, if they are businesses based in the UK then, from your perspective, they are part of the UK B2B market. Customers based in the USA might be part of your online and international market. Markets are constantly evolving. Customers who may not have purchased online 18 months ago may now be doing so on a daily or weekly basis due to lockdowns.
Perhaps overseas clients will be more receptive to buying from your business as they can no longer purchase products or services in a face to face environment. This shift to online presents new opportunities for businesses. Perhaps you could begin to have sales meetings with clients over Zoom or Skype video? Before March 2019, this would have been an alien concept, whereas today is has almost become the ‘new normal’.
Focus on building relationships
Relationships are the gravity that keep the planets aligned. The best businesses build, manage and leverage relationships that are based on trust and the ability to add value. Your relationship building efforts should focus on maintaining contact with customers, targets, employees, suppliers, referrers and industry bodies. Due to remote working, many of your contacts will be feeling a bit lonely and will be more open to the offer of a catch up call, virtual meeting, etc. You can leverage this as an opportunity to keep your firm front of mind, so that when a potential opportunity arises, your firm will be first on the list to get a call.
An opportunity to innovate
The current trading environment offers many businesses an opportunity to innovate. Customers have changed their buying habits, are more open to change and so now is a good time to rethink your sales process. If you don’t currently have an online product or service offering or a way of interacting with customers remotely, then now is the time to rethink how you engage with your target market.
A motivated start to the year
It can be challenging to get yourself motivated in the first couple of months of the year, even more so in the current climate. With recent news of the roadmap out of lockdown, it’s a good time to kickstart things and get motivated.
Here are some practical ideas which may help
Give yourself time
It may sound counter-intuitive but waking up earlier can set you up for a more productive day.
Waking earlier and giving yourself time to have breakfast and to focus on the day ahead can allow you to prioritise key tasks.
Every day is a fresh start. Celebrate the little victories in your day. It could be as simple as sending an email today rather than delaying until tomorrow or making some progress on a project. If you make time to celebrate each little victory, you will feel more rewarded and happier with yourself, increasing your work mentality and boosting your motivation.
Set new goals for the year ahead
The start of a new year is an opportunity to take on challenges. Maybe this will be the year that you win your biggest client or launch a new product or service. Once you set your goals, review them regularly and try to focus on progressing at least one of them each day.
Always start with what is most important to you. Make time for your family – even if it’s just sitting down and having a meal together each day. When it comes to work, focus on progressing your key objectives rather than allowing your inbox to dictate your day. Multi-tasking is not an effective approach. Focus on doing one thing at a time and doing it properly.
Take control of your wellbeing
One hour of exercise is only 4% of your day. View it as an investment in your wellbeing. The return on that investment is more energy, less stress, better sleep and more productive and focused work. As investments go, it’s worth committing 4% of your time to your wellbeing.
With a range of tools, useful software and expert knowledge, MJB Avanti are equipped to help business owners like you plan for the year ahead. Call us (08000) 388 799 to see how we can help you and your business develop this year.