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You need to identify and know damaging weaknesses in your business development, especially as a small business owner. You have to then focus on such damaging weaknesses to stay strong in the efforts to develop your business.
Unlike big businesses, you are not in a position to have large specialised staff for each business function, and spend vast resources on business development. As a small business owner, you have to do many functions yourself till you grow as a big business.
You will feel uncomfortable with damaging weaknesses of any sort, whether within your personality or in your business development abilities. Lack of ability to build customer relationships, or abilities to keep abreast with the latest market developments, are some examples of business weaknesses. You may feel uncomfortable in interpersonal relationships. Such things show weaknesses in you that can lead to painful situations.
Knowing and rectifying damaging weaknesses in business development takes effort, sometimes money, in the case of business. But leaving them unaddressed in your business will damage your business as a whole, leave alone developing it. For example, you may lose a customer instantly if you do not address him properly when you meet him.
Are you facing weak business?
Your business is stagnant. Revenues are down. Sales are staggering. Some old customers leave you. Your sales pipeline is not enough to keep your business floating. No new customers for you. Your staff become disinterested or leaves one by one. Your business faces ups and downs frequently. No credit is available to run the business. You cannot commit any investment. Such things are telltale signs of weak business. You may experience one or some such signs, making you know that your business is weakening. It means you are facing gaps in running or growing your business. Your business development has damaging weaknesses.
You are doing patchy work
All the types of above weaknesses show you are doing only patchy work in your business. Maybe you are not thinking it is your business. You may think that some miracle will boost your business. You feel your staff should take more interest in running your business than you do. Your priority may be elsewhere.
Remember that you created the business. But you may not organise activities properly. You spend more time on your favourite activity, like writing letters, or some administrative functions. You forget to identify core activities like getting customers, spending time in the market, motivating staff to do their best, or not leading from the front.
Organise to overcome your weaknesses
Organise your day-to-day activities, earmarking time for each activity right from administration to monitor sales and planning business activities. Set goals for the next week, next fortnight, next month, next quarter, half yearly, and yearly. Allot some time, preferably, daily for business development. At least you will start thinking about how to develop your business and what steps are needed.
Why does business development causes concern?
Business development causes anxiety or concern for small businesses particularly. Most think this is increasing sales. May feel that their daily administrative work is important and urgent, rather than attending to other important business functions. Do not plan for growing business in so far as they get sales. Lacking in strategies They think business is not a problem because they get sales regularly. Don’t really consider about quality, packaging, prices, etc. They tend to increase prices if they get regular sales, thinking that customers bear the price. No strategies for when to increase the price.
Small businesses neglect to analyse the nature of their business. They do not know or try to know packaging importance, price monitoring, or volume monitoring. For example, business strategies for groceries, dairy products, etc. differ from provisions. Durable items business differs from these other varieties of business. Services business differs entirely from all these types of business. Strategies and developmental activities for each classification of businesses differ from one another.
Small businesses’ perceived problem
Small businesses’ perceived problem is that they are inwardly focused. They are busy with daily work. They do not bother with all the issues discussed in the above paragraphs. That is a weakness for business development. Suddenly they woke up when their sales stagnate or slow down. Because they have no plans and no strategies, they will feel like fish out of water. They search for customers frantically. They were never outwardly focused. This means they do not know their competition, existing or potential markets, or customers. They do not know what customer needs are, because they neglected to look at their products or services from the point of view of customers.
That is why small businesses need to focus on business development right from when they created their business. It requires time for each aspect of business activities. Like administrative, financial, marketing and sales work, production and supplies, and then finally business development work.
As a small business owner, your priority is to allocate your daily working time to each of these functional areas. Try not to overspend your time on a single function. Of course, sometimes you need to spend most of your daily work on a single business function. That is ok as an exception. But make it a point to allocate business functional work among your staff, and delegate to them some authority to make decisions with your consent. Monitor their daily work.
This way you have to spend some time daily on your business development. Such as planning and strategising on sales volumes; production, or your supplies; packaging quality; maintaining hygiene; selecting markets for expansion; timing for entering a new market; or introducing a new product; customer relations; partnerships; relationship buildings with your business audience, etc.
You need to plan what business development activities of the above functions are attempted and when. Some may require your daily attention. Some may require your attention frequently. It depends on the nature of the business, as discussed in the section ‘Why business development causes concern?’ above.
Your customers least care about your business
Your customers will remain with you so long as you meet their needs. Otherwise, they least care about your business. Chances are that satisfied customers can refer potential customers to you. That is why it is ever more important for you to care for your customers and maintain relationships with them.
You need to maintain two-way relationships with the customers, in which 80% time customers should be allowed to talk while you listen to them attentively. So try to follow the 80/20 rule of listening during a sales call or meetings with customers. When you listen more to the customers, they feel comfortable with you and feel you care for them. Their confidence in your business increases.
Customer relationship is repetitive
Customer relationships recur with the same customer, and with all your customers. Remember, customer relationship is continuous. Be in constant touch with your customers, depending on your business.
From the time you create your business, it starts with customers. And then begins your business development right then with maintaining your customer relationships. Customers expect to listen to them continuously from their first conversation onwards without your undivided attention to them and meet their needs.
From their point of view, they want you to be obsessive about them. That is all they care about you or your business. They want you to take their feedback and act on that to meet their needs. Evaluate that feedback without their involvement and create or reinvent or improve your offering. That is a step in your business development.
Recognising market needs and developing and providing solutions that address them are the goals of business development.