Focus on Relationships to Increase Your Production
Small business owners have faced a lot of challenges over recent years. As such, coming up with a clear sense of direction in the areas of developing and promoting your business is critical as you position yourself for an economic turnaround.
The new economy has been rather tricky to predict and negotiate. Going from a period of free-flowing access to business capital to dealing with shrinking margins and tightening regulations has redefined the way that many of us do business. Nevertheless, there is hope for business owners who are still in business and are best prepared as the economy improves.
However, figuring out just what to begin working on and where to begin in developing your business can be a challenge. For those business owners who think in terms of building lasting business relationships, or developing recurring business opportunities and looking for synergies amongst business partners as you build a reputable business the time is now to stake your claim in your respective market.
To succeed in further developing your business, you must ignite and harness a customer’s willingness to do business with you in uncertain times. For you to capture market share, potential clients must have confidence in your ability to meet their needs and/or provide workable business solutions. The complicated part is getting prospects to trust you not only once but again and again and to trust you enough to refer their friends, family, customers and business partners to you.
If you want to win the trust game in today’s market, here is a five-step approach:
Have a vision and a purpose. Today’s business climate requires the ability to motivate and move people towards a common aim. People want to be a part of something greater; they don’t want to be left to feel like they are only as important as their last transaction with you. As a business owner, your mindset and attitude must exude confidence that you’re here for the long haul, that you have a vision going forward and that you’re committed to doing your part as a stakeholder and contributor to the economy at large. Being able to articulate your vision and an overall sense of greater purpose is essential to forging long-term relationships with prospective clients, suppliers, power partners, employees and investors.
Become a trusted advisor. Leverage the access you have to a variety of vendors, industry professionals and other such service providers. Become a product expert and recommend programs, services and other such business solutions that meet your client’s needs. Let your clients, vendors and power partners know that you have their best interest in mind when it comes to finding customers and the continued development of their business. Their success may very well be tied to your long-term success. Help yourself by supporting them in their endeavors and do your best to understand how/ why they were able to make it to where they are. Contribute at your highest level of engagement and allow them to recognize that you have their confidence as a valuable expert advisor.
Fill your pipeline with relationships, not just prospects. It is highly unlikely that many of you are solely responsible for facilitating every aspect of every single transition that happens in your business. As such, you should create a network of Power Partners to help grow your business through referrals. Power Partners are other professionals who are in the same or a similar industry as you and are interested in developing mutually beneficial relationships with you to help grow your business. Having such people as an active part of your network will dramatically increase your marketing and outreach efforts. To do this, considering offering educational value-added networking events at your office to build relationships that would help meet the needs of your clients; conduct free educational webinars online, and offer to supply supplemental educational material about your business to your power partner’s network. Also develop education-based business content to share through e-mail newsletter campaigns. You can also become a regular guest speaker for local networking groups, trade associations and the like.
Surround yourself with other business professionals. In developing your business, it is so much better to position yourself as a potential “resource” for your clients and potential business partners. When you become known as a resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them. Having access to other business and professional services and potential solutions creates even more value for yourself in the eyes of your clients. People will also judge your services by the quality of professionals that you engage, so be careful to surround yourself with people who are the best in what they do and whose work ethic and style compliments yours or is even better. Also, strive to give them referrals or support their causes too.
Build Strategic Alliances not just good partnerships. In the new economy, strategic alliances enable business to gain competitive advantage through access to a partner’s resources, including markets, technologies, capital and clientele as you pursue mutual interests. Forming strategic alliances enables your business to add complementary resources and capabilities, enables the participants to grow and expand more quickly and efficiently. As the economy begins to improve, new markets open up and competition continues to grow, small businesses will need to be increasingly creative about how and with whom they align themselves in order to expand their overall reach.
It also won’t hurt to find a cause outside of your main business that you are passionate about and volunteer to support it in your community. Giving to others may very well fuel your confidence and sense of well being. It will also establish you and your company as a supporter of the community at large. Almost magically, it also will inspire the ingenuity you need to succeed and lead.
Developing your business takes persistence and creativity. You need to be relentless in attracting customers, building their trust and increasing presence in the marketplace. That means you have to be comfortable with communicating your vision and underscoring your value at every opportunity. Get ready to commit to developing your business for the long haul and be prepared retool your strategy to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.
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James Rounds is an expert business advisor who helps early stage entrepreneurs and solo professionals gain more clarity and confidence to experience even-greater impact, influence and income. James specializes in business development, entity formation and corporate compliance. To find out how he can help you to develop your new or existing venture and take your business to the next level, visit his site at http://www.mycorporatesolutions.net or call (626) 824.0399