“I help people to develop and grow their businesses”, is something that you will often hear me say when people ask me what I do, but what does that really mean? The word grow is used time and time again on marketing materials, websites and the social media accounts of millions of businesses across the world, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what this word actually means in a business context, let alone your own?
Working as a business development consultant and having a client portfolio that contains an eclectic mix of businesses and professionals, I am often asked by clients to support them with developing and growing their business. They want to grow so that they can be better financially rewarded for their time and efforts. However, initial conversations lead to further investigation and more often than not I am left asking the client if they really do need to grow their business, or is something much simpler needed to assist in achieving their goal?
What does grow your business mean? Many people consider business growth to be financial reward and that they will achieve this by gaining lots of new customers, but I would ask, do you really need new customers to improve your financial reward? I often suggest clients look at their current audience to see if they could get more from existing customers. Can you be sure that they know the full range of products or services you offer? Are there other areas that you could assist with, possibly upselling or expanding a current service that you already provide them?
Looking for brand new business can be challenging and can take a lot of time and effort. Generating interest from cold leads and having to inform and educate a new audience can be difficult, so instead why not revisit customers that you have worked with before? Reconnecting with an audience that are already aware of what you offer and who have had experience of your business, can be much more fruitful, even if your product or service offering has changed and you need to bring them up-to-date.
With any business, even when you are busy, and you are happy with what is being achieved, keep in touch with customers past and present, be helpful and interested because even if they are not in need of what you offer now, they may very well be in the future and you will want to be there go-to business for your product or service.
So, when you next stop to look at ways to grow your business, begin with your customer database, in my opinion it's always the best place to start!