11 Step New Business Development Process – Stick to it and Grow Your Business

There is an old saying “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” The following 11 step process is a road map for identifying, tracking and landing new business. Unfortunately I can’t do justice to the process in one article but I hopefully will provide you with a good overview. In my seminars and workshops I have found this process helpful to many small business owners. Seeing the big picture of new business development, recognizing areas of missed opportunities and assisting in the elimination of that overwhelming feeling can move an entrepreneur to utilize the many marketing tools available to increase their business.

Warning: Do not expect to do this all yourself. Consider a family member or friend to help. An administrative assistant is a worthwhile investment, if you can afford it. Make sure they want to do the job and they understand your business.

1. Goal Setting – Pick a dollar figure you wish to attain for the year. Make it realistic. A desired salary is a good starting point. A financial goal is needed to help work out how much business must be conducted.

2. Prospect List – There are many places to acquire prospect lists. You usually have to purchase them but not always. Remember, you get what you pay for. Get lists from list brokers, associations, magazines, networking groups, Chamber of Commerce, and other companies with similar target groups to yours. You tend to pay more money for newer more accurate and more specific information.

3. Qualifying Prospect Call – No matter where you get a list or prospect name you must do 2 things. Check the accuracy of the information and make sure this contact is in fact the real prospect. Do Not Try To Sell Over The Phone at this stage.

4. Database – Take the prospect information out of the shoebox and put the information onto a database. There are many inexpensive contact management software packages available. They will make your prospecting 10 times more efficient and effective.

5. Lead Generation Package – No cold calls. Before you make a contact with a prospect send out a lead generation package. This could be a post card or letter or simple flyer. Printed and mailed is better than faxing. All you want to do is whet their appetite. Tell them a little about your product or service. Who you are, what you do, why you are different.

6. Lead Generation Follow-up Call – Make sure they have seen your lead generation piece. Determine if they can use your product or service. Do Not Try To Sell Over The Phone at this stage. Set a meeting; put a face to a name for your benefit and for theirs. (If your product or service lends itself to telephone sales and it is not cost effective to meet in person, go ahead with the sell.)

7. (A) Interested or Immediate Need – This means you will need to have a first meeting/presentation.

(B) No Need – Track them with follow-up calls, newsletters etc. If they have no need now, they may need you in the future or this contact may move on and be replaced.

8. Meeting Presentation Package – You are not going in to do a huge elaborate presentation; because you don’t know what they need yet. Remember, your job is to find out what they need. Rule for first meetings is 80% listening and 20% talking. You may also, at this time, introduce some additional information on your company.

9. Proposal – Could be in written form and sent in or preferably presented in person. Either way you have a limited amount of attention from your audience. When in person you have a limited amount of physical time. Ask how long you have before you get there. Avoid unnecessary background, review the opportunity and get to the point quickly. Backup data and more information on your company can be included in the written proposal. If the audience wants to know more they will ask or review it later.

10. (A) First Job – Congratulations, remember it is an opportunity to prove yourself, don’t blow it. Follow-up make sure everything went well. Many unhappy customers won’t tell you. They just stop calling.

(B) No Immediate Need – Track prospect send newsletters etc. Circumstances change. Your job is to get on their shopping list, preferably at the top.

11. Ongoing Relationship – Introduce new products/or services keep in touch. It’s your responsibility to stay top of mind with them. Out of Sight Out of Mind.

Business Development Strategies – 4 Stages You Need to Understand

Business Development Strategies are presented here as a measure of how businesses can grow and develop over time. In his book, “Fire, Aim, Ready”, Michael Masterson does a splendid job of explaining the problems, challenges and opportunities connected with each stage of business development.

Stage 1, Starting Out: You have just taken your business from an idea to actively running and developing a positive cash flow. ($0 – $1 million).

Main Problem: You really don’t know what you are doing.

Main Challenge: Making your first profitable sale.

Main Opportunity: Achieving a critical mass of customers.

Stage 2, The fast growth stage: Taking your business from the $1 million level to $2 million a year in profits. ($1 million to $10 million in revenue).

Main Problem: You are breaking even or may even be losing money.

Main Challenge: Creating many additional, profitable products quickly.

Main Opportunity: Increasing cash flow and becoming profitable. Being cost effective is key to profitability.

Stage 3, The adolescent stage: Take your business over the $10 million threshold with profits in the range of $2 million to $5 million. Revenue parameters are from $10 million to $50 million.

Main Problem: Your systems are strained and your customers are noticing.

Main Challenge: Turning chaos into order.

Main Opportunity: Learning how to establish useful protocols and manage processes and procedures.

Stage 4, The Stage of Maturity: Your business has now grown with revenues of $50 million to $100 million or higher.

Main Problem: Sales slow down or even stall.

Main Challenge: Becoming Entrepreneurial again.

Main Opportunity: Getting the business to run itself.

You may find that Business Development Strategies outlined herein may be relevant to you today. You may also find them to be more relevant at another time in your life. It is hoped that you will identify where your business is today and will make plans to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.

Tips for Business Development

This article is focused on providing the key place to start when looking for the best tips for business development. This is going to help you get the results that you want. Reaching your business development goals don’t have to be overly complicated. You just have to be ready to think a little and act on what you learn in the process we are about to cover.

Our first and most important step when thinking about business development is understanding your business successes or lack of business success.

The easiest way to do that is to asking yourself these key questions:

The questions that focus on your strengths and weaknesses in relationship to our competition strengths and weaknesses will give you the most profitable understanding of your next steps. Include your unique selling proposition, your marketing & fulfillment strategy, contacts, as well as your ability to maintain the relationship with your customers over a period of time.

Looking at your strengths will help you understand more about your opportunities you can be developing right now.

Looking at your weaknesses provides an equal opportunity to discover hidden opportunities to advance your business development. One of the key questions to ask yourself is:

What is your biggest challenge standing in between where you are now and where you want to go.

Remember we can’t make the most profitable business development decisions with the resources we have available unless we understand exactly where we are at the present time and how we got to where we are. So take the time to get clear so you can make better decisions about your next steps.

Business Development – Solve Your Problems Before They Become Problems

Through 35 years of service to companies ranging in size from start-ups to the Fortune 50 I’ve found that the one thread binding them all together is the never ending pursuit of a greater return on the money they spend on business development. Some give up and accept mediocrity thinking that’s the best they can do. Others have obtained a higher level of return but know they could do better if only… They’ve all spent time and money treating symptoms with processes, training and tools that represent a generic approach that tries to address the most common problems of the most common companies. They fall prey to the latest management fads but nothing seems to last beyond the initial euphoria of something new. Like a child with a new toy, once the shine wears off things pretty much return to the same old patterns and process with the same old problems.

Often the reason companies find themselves in this never ending quagmire is that no one ever thinks of examining the fundamentals or bothers to identify the root cause of their dissatisfaction. More often than not the real reason for the dissatisfaction is that the company has forgotten why it exists. It was never instilled in the staff and was never embraced as a way of life.

Every business is built on three basic cornerstones: the core (which consists of all the fundamentals like mission, vision and values), the people, and the systems, processes and tools necessary to enable the people to accomplish those items in the core. When operating in unison the company is in for a smooth ride. Now imagine the three cornerstones form a wheel. It’s easy to see that if any one of the three is out of alignment, the ride is no longer smooth.

To bring this back to business and, in particular, business development, every decision made or action taken, that doesn’t reflect the business core, forces the wheel out of alignment. It follows that if an account rep doesn’t really know the company’s mission, vision and values, and if they don’t know the company’s goals or their place in achieving those goals you may end up pursuing an opportunity that you don’t really understand. It won’t really fit and the problems associated with being in this position ripples throughout the organization.

How do you prevent falling into this trap, how do you stay focused? To start, from day one company fundamentals should be drilled into every employee and they have to become a living part of day-to-day life. The number one question that needs to be asked before committing to a business opportunity is “How will this opportunity put the company closer to living the mission, vision and values” followed by “how will this opportunity help us meet our current and future goals”?

Those opportunities that fit your model are worthy of your time and money; those that don’t open the door to trouble.