In the Washington Post today…“Economic growth slowed at the start of the year, weighed down by higher oil prices and lower government spending, according to new data that lays bare the challenging climb the United States faces in trying to emerge from its long period of weakness.
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, rose at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the January through March period, down sharply from the 3.1 percent pace of growth in the final quarter of last year. Economists had forecast 2 percent growth.”
What does this mean for businesspeople strong on business development? Speaking for myself, I am getting out of the office…away from my comfort zone…to “meet and greet” prospects and customers at their places of business.
In the past two weeks, business development efforts…seeing people at their places of business…is working. Observations for business development in hard economic times:
• Businesspeople hate talking on the phone unless it means money coming their way or family.
• Businesspeople enjoy seeing another businessperson stopping by for a brief visit to wish them well and offer referrals/suggestions.
• Business development can mean accepting a project in lieu of spending time with the family on the weekend.
Businesspeople who have become accustomed to prospects “raising their hands” when ready to buy now need to be proactive and go visit prospects to close the sale.
What have your business development experiences been lately?
If you are active in ecommerce, voucher codes for business development will help gain new customers and fine-tune your marketing efforts. Voucher codes are great because they are:
• easy to promote
• easy to share
• easy to split test
• increasing average order value and,
• not always redeemed.
What are the disadvantages of using a voucher for business development? A voucher…
• reduces profit margin
• increases customer acquisition costs
• can delay customer purchases (waiting for another voucher to come out) and,
• will increase “cart abandonment” because people will lose track of the voucher number.
Using voucher codes for business development to…
• Acquire new customers
• Control acquisition costs easily
• Retain existing customers
• Help hit sales targets
• Clear old inventory
• Increase average order value
• Run an A/B test to test your theory
• Promote high margin products
• Run time-limited offers
• Appease disgruntled customers
• Reduce call volume
• Emphasize your dedication to customer service
Marketing voucher codes intelligently for business development…
• Keeps acquisition costs to a minimum
• Tracks them with online tracking software
• Gives them to the customers who need them most
• Keeps a close eye on profitability
• Does what you can to reduce basket abandonment
• Uses vouchers to help promote newsletter registrations
Try using voucher codes for business development and watch your customer base grow.
According to Intuit Business,“Small businesses may have a competitive advantage over their larger counterparts in at least one respect: trust. According to a 2007 Harris Interactive poll, 96 percent of people have either “a great deal of trust” or “some trust” in small business. No other private or public institution received this large a vote of confidence.”
Times have not changed in the “competitive advantage” direction since 2007. This small business article notes six tips for building trust:
• “Face-to-face” time in front of prospects and customers via blog, meetup, etc.
• Share your values
• Referrals in both directions and,
• Testimonials from satisfied customers.
Today (2011), more than ever, small business people can gain an advantage over their large company counterparts by building trust both in-person and while out-of-sight.
Have you had a personal experience with building “trust” and for your small business?
Posted in business plan, customer by Mike |
From Entrepreneur magazine…
“One thing almost all small businesses need is more sales. John Doerr, a venture capitalist with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said that at a recent event I attended. Everyone in the audience — which was made up of several hundred entrepreneurs, investors and service providers — agreed.
I wondered: How can good business planning help you find new customers? The key is to take a step back from your daily routine and reconsider your strategy, as well as its impact on sales. While you were busy building your business, your market may have changed, even slightly, or your customers may have changed. You can sometimes identify these changes by asking individual customers out to lunch, searching online or joining a workshop or class to give yourself some new angles.”
Tim has four excellent points in this article. Business plans are not static, but dynamic.
Revisit your business plan at least once every six months to fine-tune for more customers.
Posted in business development, Other by Mike |
One of the areas in business where new knowledge is desperately needed has to do with motivating employees for business development. Traditional motivation strategies no longer work, at least not for everyone. With unemployment at record highs and the need to retain key employees now so important, how do you get people to perform at their best? Here are three creative ways to motivate employees for business development:
Recast benefit packages to motivate employees toward business development…
Most employees do not understand or appreciate the value of their benefit packages, traditionally amounting to between 25 and 28 percent of their cash compensation. Items such as profits sharing, medical and dental plans, life insurance and 401(k) contributions all add up. Employees need to know and value what they’re getting. Send out a newsletter about benefits and an annual statement that computes their actual value.
Build incentives on performance to motivate employees toward business development…
Traditional salary and bonus programs alone no longer motivate people. Raises are an incentive for people to show up at work, not to perform better once they’re there. Traditional bonuses quickly become seen as an expected part of employees’ salary packages…not an incentive for business development.
What’s needed is a clear connection between workers’ compensation and their production. In other words: The more they produce, the more they get, beyond their unchanging base salary. This “productivity bonus” takes many shapes. Wells Fargo employees, for example, can add upwards of 25 percent of their annual salary in bonuses if they reach certain performance levels. Still others, like Southwest Airlines, reward performance with profit sharing. And why not? This way, all employees are responsible for success and rewarded for performing at the highest level of their abilities.
Be creative with rewards to motivate employees toward business development…
Probably the biggest challenge in motivation today has to do with the 52 million Americans between 23 and 37, the Generation Xers. The prospect of a 30-year career of 40-hour weeks crowned with a solid pension plan does not motivate this group toward business development.
For Generation Xers, time is compressed; they want what they want now. Items like fast-track career paths, flexible work hours, ongoing training, spot bonuses, unique merchandise and travel incentive programs are some of their desires, as well as anything that makes balancing work and personal life easier…concierge service, dry cleaning, child-care allowances, fitness memberships – the more creative, the better.
Generation Xers want challenging work, too. If they don’t find such elements with your team, they’ll go get them somewhere else. They want choice.
Back to the original question: How do you motivate employees for business development today? You can’t. All you can do is create the kind of financially and personally rewarding environment employees want in order to motivate themselves.
How? Just ask them. You’ll be surprised at how willing they are to tell you what motivates them, no matter what generation they come from.
Business Development and leadership of employees goes hand-in-hand.