Growth: how do I grow my business?
You’ve done the important bits. You’ve taken the idea you came up with at 3am in the morning and turned it into a business. Through your immediate network of College or University buddies and family, you’ve signed up your first customers and things are going well. And now, you’re in that uncomfortable, comfortable position of having happy clients that keep your cash flow ticking over, but no new business. The uncomfortable bit, in case that wasn’t clear, is the thought of “What happens if I lose one or more of those first clients”, what then?
I’ve spent the last 12+ years working with startups and small businesses, helping them create, expand and nurture their prospect and sales pipeline. It’s a field I know well and have come and believe vital to the survival of these businesses. What surprises me more and more, however is just how few of the companies I encounter here at Cape Town Office, a coworking space, pay any attention to this practice.
A lot of the time, founders of startups are way too busy to dedicate the time needed to make some cold calls, attend networking functions and set up meetings to grow their audience. The other part, and probably more key, is the lack of funding to employ a seasoned new business developer that can fulfill this function for the business. Granted, these are two pretty valid “reasons” but, there if you think there’s a choice in the matter, I’m here to tell you that you’re sorely mistaken.
Developing a sales pipeline is not glamorous or sexy, but it’s as vital to the growth of a new business, just as the air you’re breathing right now. There is no maybe, but or perhaps, you HAVE to do this, or as good as your idea might be, that’s all it will remain…an idea.
I’d like to provide you with some ideas on how you can bootstrap your lead generation process, which you can adapt and expand as you grow.
- Set up a CRM platform, one that you like to use!
- Funnel your contact list into the CRM, from ambassadors to influencers and prospects
- Spend no less than 5 hours per week on growing this database
- Proactively communicate to your audience weekly; either by phone calls or emails
- Set targets: make sure you get out of the office at least 3 to 4 times a week meeting with potential clients
- CRM: I’ve used a bunch of them in recent years and find the differences between them to usually be small. Affordability is a key driver, so make sure you’re not paying $100’s for functionality that you might never need. Keep it simple.
- Consultants: Reach out to the experts to help you define a clear strategy
- Join a co-working space, which makes sharing of resources and knowledge far easier than being on your own
At the end of the day you can’t expect to grow your business without new customers and you can’t expect to gain those new customers, if they don’t know about your business. So, that’s my thought of the week for you. Go out there and talk to as many people as you can about what it is you do and why they need to jump on board!
Go get ’em!