So you had a good year last year, that’s a good thing. What do you think was missing that kept it from being a great year? In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins says “Good is the enemy of Great”. Oh great you say, it isn’t enough that I had a good year, now someone wants me to be perfect. No, not perfect, just great! And why not, after all when you started your Business you likely had a vision or dream about how you were going to do things differently, bigger, better, faster than anybody else. You were going to make a difference, innovate and dominate, leave a legacy that would live long after you left the scene.
What will become abundantly clear when you are growing your company is that the work will be hard and much of your time will be sacrificed to make it happen. The learning curve will be very steep at times, but the reward will be sweet and worth every moment you have to wait. For those of you that think success will happen overnight, you’re probably better off buying lottery tickets, the odds are better. The concepts of business development are not just some irrelevant abstract theory, they are essential to the future success of your business.
The truth is, most Businesses are quite simple to operate, just not easy to do. Almost every Business operates on the same model of gathering customers through various marketing strategies and then having an effective conversion process or sales system to create a new customer. The next step is to implement customer service systems to serve them well, keep them coming back and become raving fans for life. We must also have an effective Human Resources division to select, hire and train our personnel to perform the duties and responsibilities of the various positions. All of these areas affect your business development and management.
Ideally, with a fully executed Business Development Plan, we would have a policy or procedure for every operating component of our Business, a system that would ensure smooth operations. A system that would allow the Business to operate with or without you being there. Finally, we must understand our financials, manage our fixed and variable costs and keep the cash flowing. All of this of course hinges on one critical component. That component is your leadership. You must create a culture that rewards and empowers your team to be their very best and to have them constantly seeking ways to do better than before. All of this must be done while juggling your family life, personal interests and maintaining excellent health!
Simple enough right? Just not that easy to do! So where do you start on this road to greatness? The question our clients hear us ask all the time is “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time!” That first bit is creating your business development plan.
So in the interest of greatness, take a few minutes and do the exercise below. This is the first step in forming your strategy for Business Development.
The Work/Career Wheel
Draw a circle on a piece of paper and divide it into eight sections, like a large pizza. On the outside of the wheel above each slice, write the following points; Marketing & Sales Processes, Customer Service Strategies, Relationship with Employees; Understand Your Financials, Systematization of Business, Organization & Time Management, Leadership & Vision and Work/Life Balance. These represent the most common ares of business development.
For each section of the Work/Career Wheel, score your sense of satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 (10 = very satisfied). If an area doesn’t apply, replace it with a more appropriate label. Once you have scored all the sections, identify the top three areas that you would like to target. Ask yourself the question “if my current score is ____ in this area, what would a 10 look like?”
I hope this has been revealing and at the same time encouraging that you can build a successful Business with an effective business development strategy. At the very least,set aside 1-2 hours each week to work on your Business in the areas you have identified as priorities to help improve your Small Business Management.