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Business Development

Current Thinking

Current thinking in business development strategies indicates four elements you should analyze and change to optimize growth for your company. These elements include: Your unique selling or value proposition, your business model’s front end, back end and your revenue/costs structures. Let’s look at each of those areas more closely.

Your unique selling or value proposition: The product or service your company offers provides some benefit (s) to your customers. If it didn’t, they wouldn’t buy it from you. One way to develop your business is to refocus on your value proposition. Take a fresh look at your initial market research, conduct a few customer surveys or just take a look at recent customer feedback. You may be surprised at what you find. Often, simply reframing or rewording your sales copy to position your product/service as the solution to customer problems will lead to sales increases. Also, you may find a way to incorporate a new feature into an existing product to make it a better match for your customers.

The “front-end” in other words, the channels, segments and customer relationship side of your business:

  1. The term, “Channels” is a fancy way of saying you have more than one way or venue to make sales. If you have a brick and mortar store, maybe you should get a website, or open up some kind of affiliate sales program. If you make it easy for people to find your product/service in more than one place, it stands to reason, you’ll make more sales.
  2. There may be more than one type of customer interested in your product/service. Those types of customers are often referred to as customer segments. It helps to know your customer segments because you can market to them more effectively when you do. By way of example, let’s say you sell laptops and accessories. One segment might be females aged 25-45, another segment might be males aged 25-45. Knowing these segments can help you create marketing messages that target them better and lead to more sales from each segment.
  3. Customer relationships: By tailoring your message to various segments, you can do a better job of creating and maintaining customer relationships. This can lead to loyalty to your brand and in this age of social media, can create not only customers but fans of your business.

The “back-end” in other words the vendors, resources and core activities of your company:

  1. Vendors – think of them as partners. They do their part, you do your part and business is good. But, it’s always a good idea to look at these partnerships objectively. See if there are flaws in your process that could be improved.
  2. Resources – as a business owner, you probably already realize that one of your most important assets is your team. Make sure they’re well trained, that team objectives are clear and that they’re fairly compensated and rewarded for a job well done. If revenues are tight, talk to your accountant about ways you may be able to compensate that may also be a business write-off like company health insurance, a retirement plan, or even employee ownership programs.
  3. Every business has certain core activities. Ask your employees to identify any bottlenecks in their process. What gets in their way every day? What slows them down? Often, there’s something simple you can fix to make everyone’s workday easier and more productive.

Your revenues and cost structures are the final piece to look at in this puzzle. Bottom line, for any business to be successful you need to bring in more revenue than you’re spending on costs.  In simple terms, your goal is to reduce costs and increase revenues. Most of the time that’s easier said than done. However, no business is perfect. So, you should be able to find areas of waste, either in time or materials. From there, you can make incremental improvements in internal processes or potentially, find ways to outsource some of the work to have it done less expensively elsewhere. Alternatively, you can explore ways to increase revenues with new products or new ways to sell existing products, like renting, leasing, in-house financing, etc.

 



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