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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

7 Steps for Generating New Business Opportunities Pt. 2

Step 4: Map it. Mapping your capabilities with your target clients' needs is an excellent way for you to determine your service strategy. You'll find that while you may be perfectly skilled in many areas, you're going after customers who don't need your particular expertise.

One common trait among many entrepreneurs is the urge to "cast a wide net" by being all things to all companies. In almost every case, however, a small business flourishes because it has a narrower service offering. Remember, a small company's value is that it can specialize in unique, top-quality services.

Develop a list of decision-making criteria that you expect your clients to use when choosing a provider in your industry. Then rank yourself (and be brutally honest) in terms of where you'd be positioned in each category. After this intense evaluation, make sure that your elevator pitch is still on target.

Step 5: Utilize marketing tools that work best for you. When deciding on a marketing strategy, implement one that fits your personality and the customers you serve. For instance, if you're terrified of getting up in front of a crowd, don't schedule yourself to participate on a panel in the hopes of generating business. You'll derail your efforts if you don't perform well.

Identify the top two marketing tools you've used in the past that have worked for your company. Let's say that's cold calling and a Web site. Then start adding new ideas for a fresh perspective. When selecting your marketing tools, also evaluate them from a financial and cost basis. Decide what will yield the best return on your efforts. Each tool should lead to a revenue-producing result in one way or another.

Step 6: Implement a plan of action. Up until now we've been in the planning mode, but now it's time to dig in and put it to work. Your action plan will also give you the map you can use to measure your progress.

Establish goals that can be reviewed at three and six months. At incremental points within each three-month period, keep checking your plan to see if you're meeting your goals. If you find you're missing the target, ask why. Were the tools appropriate for your target customer? Did you integrate the strategy, or did you just focus on one of the tools?

And don't forget to plug in specific actions that you'll do every day to help you meet your goals. That daily strategy will keep the goals of the plan top of mind.

Step 7: Exercise the plan. This final step is really straightforward: Just do it: Complete the daily actions, and then do something extra to accelerate your success plan. If you approach your plan and get butterflies in your stomach, either get over it or substitute an action that you're comfortable with so you stay on course. Don't let unplanned tasks waste precious time that should be applied toward reaching your goal. And most of all-enjoy the process!

Linda Kazares is the founder of Face-to-Face Connect. A committed entrepreneur with more than 25 years experience in sales, marketing and channel development, Linda is also an author, publisher and public speaker who presents seminars to entrepreneurs that focus on developing strategies for new business-building practices.

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