If you’re running a business, particularly a small one, it’s easy to get so drawn into the every day operational stuff that business development takes a back seat.  This often results in fire-fighting instead of a steady planned growth!

If time is at a premium and the business depends on you, it can be difficult to fit in time working on the business rather than in it.  Families and partners tend to take a dim view of you trying to develop your business plans over the weekend or in the evening when they consider that’s ‘their’ time.  Plus, you’re probably tired after a long day and not at your sharpest to think creatively about where your business is going.

Here are a few tips that might help:

  • Create a clear client profile – if you know what kind of client you want to attract, your marketing and sales activities will be much better focused.
  • Tidy up your workplace. This may sound bizarre, but a tidy working area makes everyone much more productive and improves motivation (even yours).
  • Have a 15-minute daily meeting (even if it’s just you) to plan the day and identify the ‘must dos’ as well as a priority ranking for your to do list.
  • Get to work 15-30 minutes earlier to work ON the business. Block this time out in your diary.
  • Put clear processes in place. How do you deal with enquiries and/or recommendations?  Who does what?  By when?  What materials need to be sent to potential clients?  Are brochures or leaflets available?  Make sure a follow up process is included too.
  • Put a list of opportunities up somewhere everyone can see it. Use a code (letters, numbers, coloured dots) to show where potential customers are in the process of going from ‘cold’ to ‘client’.
  • Even if you’re not a numbers person, review your balance sheet at least once a month. Get your accountant to show you how to identify key figures that track your progress.  Now HMRC demand all companies to use online software to do their VAT returns, your software can produce all kinds of reports to help with this.  Decide if you’re on track and, if not, what has to change to get back on track.

These are only small things, but they can make a big difference.  They can be the difference between average and exceptional.  Go on give them a try.