Here are a number of steps to follow for your business development:
What do most professionals do when it comes to business development? They generalise i.e. they know they can help pretty much all types of business, so they offer their services to ‘all types’ of business. The problem with this approach is that it brings an extraordinary amount of work, and knowledge that needs to be gained onto the professional in order for him or her to keep on top of their game. It also becomes near impossible for that individual to know where to start targeting for potential clients.
The simple fact is, the more you focus your attention on something, the more you will get. Our mind operates similar to that of a Google search engine. Just as an example, if you enter “business” into Google you will get over 7.6 billion results, and therefore you won’t know where to start except to waste time and browse.
However if you were to enter “chair repair business” you will get 84,000 results, and through these results you now have a specific list of businesses involved in repairing ‘chairs’ that you can specifically target. It’s more focused and your mind is then able to make further associations that are linked to ‘chair repair businesses’ such as people you might already know, suppliers of the chairs in your office, and so on.
One of the most important things to do when it comes to business development for professional services is to develop a niche. So how do you go about developing a niche for your business.
Know what you are exceptional at.
Make a list of all your strengths, your achievements, your gifts and talents, what you enjoy doing, and know what is important to you. With this list you can determine what it is you want to bring to a particular target market.
Review your past work.
What knowledge do you already have about a particular industry. Review past career positions you held, and clients you’ve worked with. What are the hobbies you have, the books and magazines you read, programmes you watch – what are you naturally drawn to and have an interest in.
A natural niche.
For many people, we will naturally draw people to us that have a common want or need. Observe the people that find you and want to engage in conversation with you. What is common amongst these people. If they are naturally drawn to you, and you develop that niche based on the common thread that runs through them all, then half your work is already done!
Pick a niche.
For many this is the most difficult step to take as the fear of losing business and closing themselves off to a large part of the marketplace is extremely daunting. However time and time again if you do it right, you will reap the rewards. Pick a niche that is based on the above and that you know you have an affiliation to, or would like to develop. Obviously pick a niche that is growing!
What is it that you can help this niche with.
You need to establish what it is this niche most desires and what it is you can help them with. Based on the work that you will have done from the earlier steps, it will assist you to determine this. Gather as much information as possible and talk to people in this niche to see what their needs are.
Research their interests.
Find out what associations they are a part of, governing bodies, magazines for that industry, conferences that are held, membership databases, directories…remember Google is a great tool for this! Talk to other people that are both in your particular target niche, and associated with that niche.
You need to raise awareness that you exist in this niche. This can be done in several ways – your website, giving talks, writing articles, blogging, attending events, writing a book, publishing relevant research. Present what it is you can help your target niche with, based on the needs and wants that they have.
There are many other ways of developing a niche but this will give you a great foundation.
As with everything…be exceptional at what it is you do, love what you do, and strive to be the best. The more you focus on your niche, the better results you will achieve for yourself and your business.