Business Development Training: Follow Up Business Opportunities

Consider the scenario of a business networking event. These are superb sources of leads and referrals that can be the life blood of your business. The business skills you develop in this arena can easily be applied in any business scenario. Assume you have engaged in conversation with a good potential contact. Once you have created a positive first impression start the interesting chat about various areas of common ground. By careful listening, you may identify an opportunity to do some business to your mutual benefit at some later date. You are looking for the moment when someone says something to you to make you think, “Ahaa, there’s a potential business opportunity here.” Suppose you are a business development consultant who specialises in the food industry and who has a good track record in helping companies to increase their margins. If you were asking all the right questions such as “So how you finding things at the moment?”, and you hear the answer “We’re doing reasonably well but we don’t seem to be getting the efficiencies in the factory.” That is an Ahaa moment.

Can I mention again, that networking using business development skills isn’t selling; it’s building business relationships, and gathering business information?

This should be the start of the follow up business development process which is as follows

1. Ask for their business card and read it carefully.

2. Always find something to comment on; maybe the spelling of their name or perhaps they have their business in a particular part of town which you know intimately. It doesn’t matter as long as you show them that you are interested in them, their business and their circumstances.

3. Now this is a key moment. Ask if you can phone them next Wednesday or Thursday to discuss the problem they have with their margins. You can say something like “Now isn’t the time or place, but maybe your problem is a simple issue which I can give you some help on”. The chances are if you have made the right impression, the answer will be “yes”.

4. Bear in mind all the time that if you don’t ask the question then you don’t give the other person, with the business opportunity, a chance to say yes.. You will be at your most popular at this juncture. If you have done it all right, are you really going to waste a great opportunity? Not every business event and not every person you meet is going to turn into a business opportunity but if you are awake alive and alert, listening attentively and with empathy… you just never know.

5. Write down on their business card the day you have agreed to call and let them see you do this. This shows that you are serious and the chances are you’re likely to do it. At this point, there is no reason whatsoever not to excuse yourself in one of several ways which we will show you another time.

6. As part of the bridging process ensure that when you get back home or to your office or even before you leave the business networking event write down where and when you met the person a quick description of them and any salient facts which you may use at a future date to show them that you are truly listening to what they had to say.

7. When you make the follow up call as agreed, review the business card or refer to your business development software if you use it and confirm that they were happy for you to follow up. If you had picked up that the person was going away for weekend then make sure that one of the questions you ask is “How did the weekend go?” I’m not asking you to remember these details. What I am doing is asking you to write down some small talk facts that you gathered on their business card. It helps break down their barriers to talking about business.
When I ask my audiences “what is the most important thing with regard to business cards?” the normal answer I get is “make sure you carry plenty of them with you”. Of course you know now that the most important thing is to ask for theirs. Offer your business card by all means, but don’t be too quick to do this. I think it’s a little pushy and it’s another form of saying “aha you want to know all about me don’t you. Here’s my business card”. It just may be that they don’t want to know all about you … not at that moment anyway. There’s a lot more to say about business development training and in particular working the room but you can find out about that on my other articles.
Take note that business development and networking is about giving first and receiving second. If you go into it thinking “What’s in it for me and what am I going to get out of this tonight” then the chances are you won’t succeed. If you ask questions such as

· “How can I help you?”

· “Who would you like me to introduce you to?”

· “How will I know if someone I’m talking to will be a good introduction for you?”

You will be showing them you are a proficient and skilled business networker.

Dr. Albert Scweizer once said “Give without remembering and receive without forgetting”. That should stand you in good stead when you’re out there looking to create new business opportunities.

The Key to Building a Successful Home-Based Business – Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

A successful home-based business is something that many people dream about. With it, they can establish their own work schedule, be their own boss, and save thousands of dollars a year on commuting and other work expenses – not to mention avoiding all that traffic! But the problem these people commonly run into is that they lack the entrepreneurial mindset required to move forward with their business in spite of challenges. They give up when things go sour and they become upset when they fail to generate the kind of income they expected to right away. That’s a natural reaction, but the entrepreneurial mindset requires a reaction of a different sort – and it can significantly alter the outcome of your home-based business.

Entrepreneurs who are successful find that they don’t see problems as insurmountable difficulties. Instead, they see problems as opportunities to be fleshed out and challenges to meet and conquer. They like to think outside the box and to devise new and creative ways to overcome adversity. A successful home-based business is operated by someone who can implement these strategies – someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. When an entrepreneur encounters something that is not going his or her way, giving up is never an option. Changing course is possible, but only out of necessity after considering all the alternatives. According to the entrepreneurial mindset, no decisions are made out of fear, anxiety, or misplaced passion. An entrepreneurial mindset is a positive mindset; it emanates success thinking, and thus it attracts success in the greater world.

If you want to run a successful home-based business, developing an entrepreneurial mindset is crucial. Fortunately, you can train yourself to do this; i.e., it doesn’t have to be an innate characteristic of your personality. You simply need to commit to its development and promise yourself that you’ll never give up, as it won’t happen overnight. For any entrepreneur who is running a successful home-based business, you can be sure that it took time and patience to get there and that the journey was fraught with trial and error. The entrepreneurial mindset won’t make you immune to challenges, but it will show you how to turn these challenges into short-cuts to success.

Generally speaking, the entrepreneurial spirit comes in two different flavors-DIY and KISS. DIY of course stands for Do-It-Yourself, and refers to the entrepreneurial mindset that would rather build everything from scratch. If you do this successfully-think Bill Gates or Steven Jobs here-you can make a massive fortune. The sad reality is however that not everyone has the same drive to succeed as Gates or Jobs. (We all have the same potential for greatness-some of us just don’t use it as effectively as those guys did.)

The KISS approach (for Keep It Simple, Stupid) is generally much more appropriate for those of us who don’t want to reinvent the wheel while trying to launch a successful home-based business. With the KISS approach anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset can look for and find a veritable business in a box that provides a turnkey solution for a successful home-based business startup. Either approach can work-the key is to find the one that works for you.

Small Business Development – Election Time! What Are You Voting For?

There is a lot of talk today about the Presidential Primary elections and the November elections. However, whether you know it or not, today is your voting day. It is the day you must make a decision about your future leadership and the direction your life and business will take going into the future. I encourage each and every one of you to go and cast your vote and make your choice count.

However, I am not talking about the Presidential Primary, I am talking about your life and your business.

You see, every morning you have the opportunity to make a choice. There are many options to choose from. You can choose success; failure, growth, status quo; risk, security, comfort, challenge, opportunity, problem, or countless other options.

The problem is most if us don’t cast our vote. Today, I choose success.

Here is the simple truth. Now is the only moment that matters, and you can only live one day at a time. Every morning we have the opportunity to vote on how we want our day to go. We can choose what kind of attitude we are going to “take to the marketplace” as Jim Rohn would say. We can choose how much time we want to put into preparation; self-development; physical and mental fitness; building our businesses; and parenting our children.

The problem is, most of us don’t take the time to vote. Today, I choose risk.

Eben Pagan, in his Wake Up Productive Program talks about designing daily rituals for the first 90 minutes of each day that allow you to “make yourself strong first.” By designing a daily ritual that allows you to start each day strong, you are choosing success. You are casting your ballot each and every day.

What rituals can you develop that will remind you that you have a choice. You can choose success today. What you will discover is that success is not the cars, and the money, and the clients. Those things are the result of you being successful. Today, I choose growth.

“Success is not something you achieve, rather it is something you attract by the person you become” Jim Rohn

I encourage you to follow the advice of Eben Pagan and develop those early morning rituals that lead you towards becoming a successful person.

Steve Chandler, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Time Warrior, talks about the distinction between reacting and creating. When you cast your vote each morning you are involved in the creative process. You are actively participating in the creation of your day.

When you don’t cast your vote, you end up living your life in reaction to what happens to you and around you. Today, I choose success!

Did You Vote Today! It’s Not Too Late.

9 Ways Performance Appraisals Promote Business Development

Employee performance is an essential ingredient in any company’s ability to achieve its goals. Therefore managing employee performance is integral to business success. A well managed performance appraisal assists managers to assess and provide feedback to increase the competency of their team members. Developing skills, knowledge, attitudes and increasing team member capability are key objective of performance appraisals. For many businesses performance appraisals results in spending ‘time on the business’ to build capability.

Performance appraisals promote business development in the following ways:

1. Drive business performance

Facilitating performance appraisals means managers making an effort to communicate with their employees. Managers who care about the performance of their people and business will recognise the importance of providing feedback and assisting their team members to grow and develop. The performance appraisal is a proactive HR solution in driving business performance.

2. Improve employee productivity

Assessing employee performance against job expectations provides the opportunity to improve capability and productivity This is achieved by communicating how the person has performed and identifying key result areas (KRA’s) and behaviors s which with improvement will increase capability, productivity and profitability.

3. Identify specific areas for improvement

An effective performance review process will consist of a plan specifically aimed at improving KRA’s and behaviours that have been identified as requiring improvement.

4. Address poor performance

Conducting performance appraisals enables you to talk about performance and behaviour that has been previously identified where improvement has been required.

5. Identify future development requirements

Performance appraisals help confirm employees’ strengths and weaknesses and identify future competency requirements to perform their current or another role. Through targeted development, team members will increase their value to the business as they increase in capability.

6. Make informed employee decisions

Employee decisions regarding improvement, promotion, job changes, and termination can be achieved through the performance appraisal process. The process provides managers with the opportunity to empower and delegate responsibilities to team members.

7. Increase the organisations capability

Performed organisation wide the performance appraisal process increases the organisations overall capability resulting in a competitive advantage – your people.

8. Recognise, retain and reward high performers

Having a strong link between effort performance and reward will motivate team members. Performance appraisals provide a HR solution which can be linked with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation methods, resulting in increased team member engagement and capability.

9. Improve profitability

Having a more capable, competent and motivated team will improve communication, productivity and ultimately profitability.

Businesses that see performance appraisals as a strategic method to develop employees benefit because the added competence further develops the organisations capability, competitiveness and sustainability.