Here are a few of the ideas I shared with a group of entrepreneurs yesterday, on Zoom. They asked me for some insight into areas they should include in their 2021 business development strategy. I thought you may find them useful.
In no particular order.
Dance with it
Crisis precedes change. We’ve all seen changes as a result of the pandemic. People have changed. Priorities have changed. Habits have changed. Outlooks have changed.
Whilst it’s not possible to know what will change in 2021, we can still be ready for it.
I was in business during the last recession and also during the 2000 Stock Market crash.
The most valuable lesson I learned, was the importance of dancing with the certainty of uncertainty: Developing a willingness to adapt as required, in a hard to predict landscape.
It’s easy to slip into a fixed or semi-fixed way of doing things, but it hampers innovation and growth. This is especially the case in business. Even more so in times of great change, when our fixed ideas are no longer appropriate for the tasks at hand. I used this approach with my clients this year and 3 of them achieved their best financial year ever, despite 2 of those 3 being in industries negatively impacted by the pandemic.
There will be outstanding opportunities, for business owners with the flexibility to adapt. And that same flexibility will help them avoid the pitfalls ahead.
Build a better contact network
We all saw how valuable, or otherwise, our contacts were in 2020. Thanks to Linkedin and similar services, anyone with enough spare time can build a huge network of contacts. However, the value of a network is in the calibre and quality of the people you’re connected with, not the size of your network.
The general advice I give business owners is to go narrow and deep. Not wide and shallow. For example.
- IF MY NETWORK has 10000 people, BUT they lack influence or hardly know me, it will have a commercial value of close to zero.
- IF YOUR NETWORK has 10 people, BUT they are highly influential, know you and are motivated to help you, it will have a massive commercial value to you.
Here’s an exercise to help you get it right. Draw up a list of the 30 most influential people in your marketplace. These people could include high quality prospective clients or maybe influential introducers; (introducers are people who can recommend you to lots of clients or buyers). Then, put a plan together that will allow you to earn their attention. This targeted approach takes time, but the rewards are enormous.
Get ready for hungry competitors
Your customer base and prospective customers could soon be under attack, from hungry competitors.
With 1 vaccine already approved and lots more due for mass roll-out in Q1 and Q2 of 2021, business owners who have been hunkering down are now ready to aggressively market their businesses. They’re spotting the light at the end of the tunnel. Regardless of what you or I happen to think, that news is the ‘go sign’ that the markets (and many business owners) have been waiting for. Don’t let your competition surprise you.
Get yourself a strategy in place, to retain your customers and attract new, high-quality customers.
Then get the strategy into play.
And don’t forget to dance!