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Would You Sink Or Swim In The Tank?

Would You Sink Or Swim In The Tank?

One pitch, one message, one opportunity to fund your dream business.

Have you been watching Shark Tank?

What a great show. Rich guys and gal “Sharks” entice entrepreneurs with their deep pockets into pitching them with their products and business opportunities.

Here’s what’s amazing: If you watch the show regularly, you’ll notice that the Sharks want to know three things: How much are you asking for, what % of equity are you willing to give them for their dough, and how much have you sold in the last year.

They want to know what you think the value of your company is, and then they figure out if you’re reasonable or off the wall with what you think your business is worth.They decide whether they want to partner with you and help you become a super-success.

I’m amazed by how unprepared some of the entrepre-pitchers are, but also how indecisive they often are. Frequently, the Sharks are the best deal they’ve ever gotten and yet they think about it so long they lose the deal.

The best part is when they bring back former entrepre-pitchers to show you what’s become of the business in the last year. Barbara Corcoran gave Kim of Daisy Cakes $50,000 for 25% equity in the company. In 2010 she sold 2,000 cakes and at the close of 2011, she sold 18,000 cakes!

Shark Tank is on Friday nights at 8 PM on ABC.

Making Rain Without Pain

Clients and workshop participants frequently ask me: “What’s the difference between sales and business development. Aren’t they the same thing?” Often I answer with a question: “How does it feel when someone is trying to sell you?” Ugh!

Daily, we are bombarded with “sales pitches” almost from the moment we wake up until the moment we close our eyes at night. I have a feeling in the not-too-distant future, someone will figure out a way to create some kind of moving ad, like a billboard traveling across the inside of our closed eyes, to pitch us even when we are sleeping.

Gaining new business and clients in the service sector is a totally different process than selling widgets. When people purchase services, they are purchasing something quite intangible. That’s why business development is anything but selling.

Business development is a relationship-building process where you are actually attracting new opportunity toward you. How? By being interested in potential clients’ needs rather than “selling them your wares.” When we are truly interested in helping someone’s business, they will be interested in us. Pretending to be interested just won’t cut it. People intuitively sense when we are primarily interested in selling them on how much we know and pontificating about our expertise. If you are dead set on telling people all about you and your smarts, don’t be surprised if you are rewarded with the dreaded blank stare of boredom.

People are primarily interested in one person – themselves. Work on asking them probing questions about their business. When you give them this clear expression of your interest in them and their business, it’s pretty likely you will find yourself being the center of their complete and undivided attention.

Most of us recognize it’s important to be working on business development, but it seems to take so much time for such a small return. It seems impossible to do all the necessary work for clients AND work on business development at the same time.

The key to building your business while you are serving your business is systematizing, prioritizing, and training your clients to adhere to this system.

Here are three key actions you MUST take to get a handle on your business development results:

1. Plan your business development activities for short spans of time every day. Make 2-3 calls or outreaches every single day, set up meetings for ideal candidates and track your calls.

2. Return phone calls and e-mails no more than twice a day. Ask people to identify if the issue is truly urgent.

3. Train your clients. You must demonstrate being responsive yet maintain control of your schedule. Clue your clients in to how you will work with them at the beginning of the engagement. They can count on you to get back to them in a mutually agreed upon amount of time. No one benefits from or feels confident about a confused, frazzled professional.

All three of these key action steps address a biz dev approach that I call “Daily Consistent Activity©.” By implementing “Daily Consistent Activity©,” you are certain to generate a healthy, flowing pipeline with greater speed and ease.

5 Ways To Drive Your Business Up During A Business Downturn

The worst thing we can do during a business slowdown is to panic. Going on a business starvation diet will only prolong the rough times. A business downturn calls for cool minds, steadfast adherence to sound business systems and structures, and innovative thinking about ways to create opportunities where only difficulties seem to exist.

Here are the essentials that can drive your business upward even when the economic climate is gloomy: 5 Ways To Drive Your Business Up During A Business Downturn -

1. Be thrifty with your expenditures but generous with praise for employees and coworkers. You want to be especially cautious about spending without starving the business. And it is also the perfect time to upgrade the team atmosphere so your entire staff works together in strategizing ways to not only preserve the business but enhance it.

2. Avoid having too great a percentage of your business with one or two customers; diversify and spread your business over a broader customer base. Ideally, you will have been preparing for this ahead of the downward curve, but if you haven’t, challenge your entire marketing and sales team to come up with ways to put more of your sales eggs in other baskets as quickly as possible.

3. A contracting business climate also offers new opportunity. Be flexible and strategize new ways your business model can capitalize on the changing market and come up with new programs to tap this.

4. Bring added value to your customers. Identify new ways you can add service and products vs. cutting corners on value. Study the competition carefully so you can be one step ahead of the curve and their value proposition.

5. Increase your face time with customers. Stay in front of your customers regularly. Find ways to connect with them, check in with them and find out what’s happening in their business. Stay connected and stay in touch. Let them know they are top of mind with you, and you will increase your value with them.