As an owner of a small business, I have many different tasks, priorities and challenges. However, in this climate I know that I need to make sure that I bring in new business. But focusing on new business isn’t easy. How much time should a business owner devote? What are the key tasks?
Arguably, pretty much every day should be given over to new business and to client retention. Does anything
else matter? I accept that we need to build our corporate and personal brands and to manage and motivate the team and so on. But business is about growth? It’s about keeping and growing the client base? So, what are the tasks a hard pressed business owner should do to succeed when it comes to new business development?
1. Write a New Business Plan
There’s no point dipping a toe in here and there. New business needs to be a constant focus. It needs to be part of the day job. The role of a business owner is to plan for growth and make sure that they and /or their colleagues focus on activities that make the plan come to fruition. That means developing a robust set of new business focused actions based on research and experience of the marketplace in which they operate.
2. Set Daily Tasks
I’m sure that I was told once on a time management course that the only way to eat an elephant is in bite sized chunks. It’s the same with sales and achieving your sales plan goals. It’s about building blocks. Those building blocks are tasks such as regular networking, keeping in touch with current and past clients, prospect calls, marketing activity and so on. Break down your new business goals into manageable tasks, document them and work on them each and every day.
3. Have a Process for New Business
I don’t mean do the same thing over and over again without pause or thought. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? I mean that new business development is a process. It is about having a set procedure for sales lead generation. Whether that is internal or externally sourced, you need to devote time and effort to doing the things that generate leads and business. For example, I use our CRM system and my mobile phone to set tasks in terms of which current and past clients and prospects I will phone on a daily basis. I then make those calls when the reminder pops up. I also set myself a task to write a blog every week. I make sure that I start a blog on every train journey or whilst waiting in receptions for meetings. Likewise, I schedule tweets based on those blogs using Hootsuite. I ensure that I do a minimum of one breakfast, lunch and evening networking event every month. What are you doing systematically and regularly to stimulate opportunities for your business?
It’s so dispiriting to speak to a prospect only to find they hired someone else a month earlier when they said that they would be making changes. If only you’d persevered with contact and called them at the right time. All too often, through workload and lack of perceived time, small business owners miss the boat due to a lack of follow up and a process for doing so. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you. New business success is largely about process and follow-up. Make sure you don’t lose out by giving up too soon. We recently won some business for a client of ours after 7 months of calling. The client win was worth £250k!
What percentage of your day should you devote to new business? In my view, everything you do should be geared towards retention and new business. I don’t allocate percentages of my day in such a strict manner. Some days, I’m out networking a large part of the day. Others, I’m in the office working on new business ideas, calling prospects and working on social media activities. And I constantly review client activity by reading client reports, speaking to them and I have weekly team meetings about growth.
I know it’s tough especially if you’re a lone soldier working on client site where that client is your only sure of income. However, make sure you plan time for new business in every day. It’s because you’re worth it!
If you’d like to find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business or book one of ournew business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or send us an email.