Business development can be one of the fastest ways to grow your business. Here are 9 ways to help you take your company to the next level.
Business development can be one of the fastest ways to grow your business. It can also be one of the most time intensive. It typically requires focus, planning, stamina and doggedness. Doing it right may pay big dividends; doing it wrong can be demoralizing.
Here are a few tips for effective business development that can help you hit the ground running.
Know Your Competition
It may not be enough to know the names of your competitors. Evaluate what they offer so you can help differentiate yourself from the pack. As the old adage goes, don’t define yourself by your competition. Analyze what makes you stand out in a crowd. You should obsessively work on this differentiation. This may be your most powerful business development tool.
Add Value and Build Trust
Rather than going after people’s wallets, consider going after their hearts. Business growth can come from adding value to every relationship, with prospective customers and existing customers. We can add value by providing information and knowledge, by being an advisor, by obsessing over treating customers right, both before and after the sale, and by having a reputation for great execution and white glove service.
Keep an Eye on Online Reviews
Increasingly, consumers may turn to online reviews to decide whether or not to do business with a local company. A 2015 survey by BrightLocal shows that 92 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (up from 88 percent in 2014). And 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Set up a Google Alert for your company so you can monitor and respond to these reviews when necessary. It can help show that you care about your business and about the people who use your services or products. A caring attitude may engender goodwill and attract new business.
Pay Attention to Your Website
Have you let your website slip? Does it look like it was designed a decade ago? In this visual world, design matters. It’s fair to say that most of your customers may start with your website. Recent research shows 84 percent of business customers check business websites. A tired looking website will most certainly result in missed opportunities. At a minimum, you can add a video to showcase what you do.
As for your content, your website may not thrive if it just provides information about who you are and lists your products and services. Consider rewarding visitors who land on your site with ample free resources, information, knowledge and tools to help them succeed. Make it easy for them to share the resources with others without having to fill out forms, deal with constant pop up windows and other annoying interruptions. This is passive business development that will possibly pay dividends and doesn’t cost you anything.