Blog

Fact: Networking is essential to the growth of our business.

OK, we agree with this fact but how do we connect with the ‘right’ people? Since many decision makers rarely attend local networking events, how do we build rapport with them if they’re not there?

You can keep attending the many events around town, sampling the food, balancing the wine glass, exchanging business cards and in general, having a pleasant time or you can put some thought into this process and to use a well-worn phrase: “Work smarter not harder.”

1. Clarify your target market and value proposition

For small business owners, there are always so many overhead costs that the advertising budget ends up getting the least amount of attention. But it is important to realize that building up brand awareness through advertising is an ongoing process. It does not have to be costly such as buying spots in newspapers or on radio or TV. There are several ways to create a buzz about your business even on a tight budget.

You need to answer three questions before deciding on the ways to connect with your clients.

What is your message?

If you have ever been asked to speak in front of a group, you likely know the fear that experience can bring on.  Whether public speaking or making a presentation, you want to craft a meaningful message and deliver it to create results for your audience.

Here are some strategies and tips for a powerful presentation that will impact your listeners.

Does your business follow a model in which you provide a quote, estimate or proposal to your prospective clients?

When you (or someone within your organization) write up this information do you give the prospect exactly what they asked for or do you offer them more?

I learned the following strategy from Alan Weiss (www.summitconsulting.com) and would like to share it with you. Based on my personal experience, it works.

After meeting with a client, draw up a proposal based on your communication with them. Then ask yourself, “What else can I offer that would greatly benefit this prospect?” Keep asking yourself this question until you come up with at least three proposal options:

Ok, take one ball and throw it up in the air. Catch it. Do it again. Now add another ball. Throw that one in the air as well. Catch it. Do it again. Now throw both balls in the air at the same time. Chances are you can catch them. What happens when you add that third or fourth ball? It becomes a game of ‘chase’ instead of ‘catch’!

Balancing personal life, family and business is not just a game of catch. It requires thought, planning and support.

As businesses confront increasing competition during challenging times, there seems to be a renewed interest in strategic planning. Strategic plans create a road map to determine where an organization is going, how it's going to get there and how it will recognize success.

Following are eight phases for the strategic planning process.