Grow your business!

Many businesses start out with the founders breaking away from a larger company and taking some clients with them. If they’re good at what they do they’ll be able to grow the business to a certain extent in the first few years by word of mouth and recommendation.

However, there are likely to be peaks where everyone is stretched to the absolute limit to meet the demands existing customers. Then there are troughs with the accompanying bursts of prospecting activity, when any business seems attractive (even if it’s not particularly profitable), just to keep some cash flowing in.

Most small businesses go through this stage and find that the seesaw effect doesn’t right itself until someone firmly takes responsibility for long term planning and growth as well as the day-to-day running of the business.

Part of that entails having a scaleable prospecting routine that works for the company.

Every business should be actively seeking new custom unless it’s deliberately winding the company down or is so well known that potential customers regularly approach it. Even those that have so much profitable work via referrals, reputation and word of mouth, both currently and lined up well into the foreseeable future should be looking to expand the workforce to take on more business of a similar calibre if they’re serious about growing the business.

You, like most companies, may need to undertake prospecting activities just to stand still. One reason for this is that there will be times when you lose business through no fault of your own. Think about it:

  • A project you’ve geared up resources to work on progresses so far then gets indefinitely halted
  • A contract that you’ve had for several years suddenly isn’t renewed
  • A competitor comes up with a superior or cheaper alternative

The list is potentially endless.

How well placed is your business to weather one or more of these hits? We are all familiar with Vilfredo Pareto’s principle: Applied in this case it’s that 80% of business comes from 20% of customers. If your customer base is small, that means you are relying on less than a handful for the majority of your income, and you are very vulnerable.

Is your prospecting activity like a well-oiled machine that you can rev up or slow down according to the needs of the business at any given time? Or is it more like a knee jerk reaction to external influences and events?

If you wait until you can no longer sustain your current level of business before you start prospecting for more, you will suffer – because it takes time to identify, contact, qualify, sell to, close, deliver to, and get paid by new customers. You need

  • A plan
  • A scaleable routine and
  • An approach

that works for your company, in your industry and your marketplace. And you need to bring your research, contact marketing and sales skills together to enable you to

  • Accurately ‘read’ what your market wants and
  • Convincingly communicate how your offer meets those requirements better than any of your competitors’

Happy hunting!

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