When asked, most business owners are able to talk at length about their products and services, describe their typical customer and how their company is positioned in the wider market. What is less common, is an SME owner who knows how these factors combine to form the basis of a clear business development strategy.
Here are 6 ways to define your business development strategy:
1. Think outside the box
Aim for sustainable, and that’s all you’ll achieve. Instead, seek a development strategy that helps you look past this stage.
2. Not all opportunities are equal
Scaling too quickly puts pressure on cashflow, people, locations and resources. Be choosy when it comes to new business.
3. Image isn’t everything
Focus too heavily on brand awareness and you’ll find yourself in yet another box (see point one). Don’t forget the value of genuine, well-maintained customer relationships in your business development strategy.
4. Avoid being master of none
There’s a reason you started the company, and it probably wasn’t a love of pitching for business. Identify your own strengths and hire talented people to do the rest.
5. Keep one eye on the future
As Brexit approaches, ‘business as usual’ may become ‘business by accident’ as companies find themselves stumbling into new markets. Your strategy and development will only remain relevant if you revisit it often.
6. Customer driven approach
A customer-led strategy means having a proper understanding of who your ideal customer is – and, in turn, who their customer is. This means you’ll go after the right kind of new business.
Initially, a business often relies on its owner’s charisma and commitment to deliver for its clients, but this approach becomes unwieldy once the SME grows. SMEs typically grow organically, early on, by making the most of opportunities as they encounter them. However, as a business expands, it becomes more important to look ahead and draw up a clear road map of where it’s heading – and who it’s selling to.
As our economic environment transforms, so does the challenge of selling your wares. What you need is a tactical plan which guides every decision you make.