10 Ways To Develop Your Business

by Darren Moat

Business development is a fundamental requirement for the growth of any business. It’s a way to find new customers, expand your offering and take the success of your business to the next level. Here are 10 methods of business development to get you started:

1. Set Clear Goals

Before you start your business development, you need to understand why you’re doing it. What’s the purpose? Setting clear goals will drive your activities, and help you determine the most appropriate course of action. Where possible, make sure your goals are quantifiable, so you can measure their success at the end of your business development campaign.

2. Networking

As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” To develop your business effectively, you need to get out of the office to meet new people. Search for networking events in your area and evaluate each one to determine which are the most suitable for your business.

3. Reviews and Recommendations

Word of mouth remains one of the most effective ways to grow your business. To get the most from this type of business development, you need to ensure your customer service is absolutely perfect. If you get this right, you’ll maximise the number of positive reviews and reduce the number of negative reviews. People are more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one, so make sure you handle all complaints with empathy and a smile.

4. Seek Professional Advice

All businesses are different and will respond to different methods of business development. To get the best results, invest in your brand and speak to a professional advisor. There are many professional business development mentors available, each bringing an entirely new perspective to your business.

Many franchise businesses offer their own in-house business development consultants, so find out what’s available to you before you look externally. For example, Greene King pubs offer all of their landlords assistance with business development as part of their standard package.

5. Search Engine Optimisation

These days, business development doesn’t just happen offline. To get the best results, you must also consider what you’re doing to grow your business online. Search engine optimisation should be key to any business development strategy, as it ensures your business is visible on search engines, like Google. This is where most people go to find information or products/services, so is a great way to stay at the top of your industry.

6. Social Media

Social media should also feature in your online business development strategy. It provides you with a way to stay in touch with new customers as well as acting as a platform to find new ones. You can get good results with minimal investment, making this a cost-effective way to grow your business online.

7. Start a Blog

To develop your business, it’s important to make sure you’re one of the most respected voices within your industry. Starting a business blog is a great way to do this and will also provide another way to get people onto your website. Focus on sharing knowledge rather than being promotional and you’ll encourage people to share your posts with their own networks.

8. Target New Markets

Whilst it’s important that you continue to serve your current target market, you should identify opportunities to expand into other markets as you develop your business. To do this, you must focus on increasing brand exposure and creating strategic partnerships within the new areas.

9. Run Competitions and Promotions

Whilst running competitions and promotions on a regular basis can devalue your brand, they can be a highly effective way to win new business when they’re executed correctly. Carefully plan each promotion to ensure maximum exposure, advertising through all available channels (both online and offline).

10. Manage Your Time Effectively

To develop your business, you need to manage your time to ensure you can develop your business development strategy without compromising the operational side of your business. Delegate activities where appropriate, and ensure you leave enough time in your schedule to focus on development activities.

By Aaron Rudman-Hawkins of The Evergreen Agency.