Business development and growth is a long-term project. The first thing a leader needs to remember when launching or growing a business is to embrace a healthy perspective and mindset. It’s all about how to use your time being productive rather than simply being busy.
Being productive means that you tackled tasks that when completed, improved business in some way. Being busy sometimes is a nonproductive use of time. You should always ask yourself, “How is completing this task going to move my business forward?”
Be Productive Not Busy
When embarking on a startup, you most likely have an idea that you think will benefit a select clientele. However, there still needs to be some brainstorming. Consider different ways in which you will provide value. Then, take action.
Research has its place, but nothing will happen if you don’t act. Here are the three key ways to determine which tasks to tackle each day.
1. Set Priorities
What are the tasks that are most important to complete? Those should be at the top of your daily “to-do” list. These items have the greatest impact on improving your business. These items are the absolutes. Be disciplined about setting deadlines, so you get stuff done and move on.
2. Keep Moving Forward
Step-by-step you need to keep moving forward. Create quarterly and monthly calendars to list activities that you can build on and will have a significant impact on business growth, and keep the business moving in the right direction. Setting up appointments with potential clients to add to your funnel is an example of moving the ball forward. Establishing a social media marketing strategy is another example.
3. Focus on High-payoff Activities
High-payoff activities are those that will provide a significant valuable payoff in the long run. Dealing with high-payoff activities can be difficult, because they are frequently large, complex, or time-consuming tasks. Your average day may include very little uninterrupted time to concentrate on these sorts of activities, so staying disciplined and taking advantage of time to attend to these high-payoff activities becomes more imperative.
Know Whom You are Serving
One of the most important aspects of growing a business quickly is to spend time networking. Start attending networking groups in the community, including the local Chamber of Commerce. As you meet people, listen to their stories. Ask them about their challenges and their aspirations.
Spend little time talking about yourself. If, after listening to an individual’s story, you feel you have something you can provide that would be of benefit, suggest that you get together and talk further. Then offer your business card.
Networking is all about finding out what business problems need to be solved, and if you are the right fit to solve that problem. In a sense, networking allows a new business owner to grow a list of potential clients and research the types of challenges that seem most common. As you grow your business, always be concerned about serving first.
Create a Tangible Product that Solves a Problem
Only after you have identified whom you will be serving can you develop a viable solution. In a sense, you are the bridge, providing a solution to them.
When you talk about a tangible product, you should be describing the solution that is being offered. It may be a system that can make their business run more efficiently, for example, or it might be your website development system that you can provide.
The product, whatever it is, becomes your recognizable offer. You become known for that product, and you build on that. Only after you have one recognizable offer that is established should you begin to expand to other revenue streams.
Develop A Strategic Partner Network.
One fun part of building this business is creating a small network of strategic partners — especially if you are a solo entrepreneur. Identify five people who serve the same clientele but provide different values.
Here’s a warning. You need to be laser focused on whom you serve.
For example, if you are a business consultant who works with small business owners starting their business, consider what other services they will need — bankers, bookkeepers, lawyers, website designers, etc. Such a partnership establishes a referral system that allows you to be publicized by more professionals other than yourself. Such a strategic partnership network can be a powerful referral engine if you take the time to build and nurture it.
All initial work for your business can be done on a laptop, with business cards, and networking with business owners in the region. Become known as a business influencer willing to offer your assistance to others. Having the mindset to serve others, spend your time productively, and provide solutions that offer value, has proven to be a winning formula.