Building a business aka Business Development, is the same whether your business is big or small. You have to get out there, meet people and talk about what you have to offer. My business development strategy for Executive Sales Support includes networking 3 or 4 times a week, an ongoing communications campaign which includes a newsletter, Executive View and weekly targeted emails. I have a business practice of guaranteed follow up within 24 hours of every contact and promise made.

I network within 2 different groups. One group is corporate where the conversations centre around current business, finding contracts or full time employment. The another group is entrepreneurs and owners of small to medium sized businesses where the conversations centre more around marketing and new business development activities. Within both groups, I attend meetings with groups and individuals over coffee. The goal is to find business opportunities for my own business, help my network through my expertise and pass along opportunities that can help my network.

Since Christmas 2008, I have been commenting on the differences I see emerging between the two groups. Within the corporate group business is down, but within the entrepreneurial group, business is up. This observation was confirmed in May 2009 when the new Canadian statistics for unemployment in April 2009 showed that unemployment stayed the same and there was an increase in the number of self employed people.

At that point, all the pieces of my business development strategy came together when, through a connection in my corporate network, I had an opportunity to be interviewed for a front page article in The Toronto Star Business Section as an example of someone who has successfully transitioned to self employment. This opportunity came as a result of my networking with fellow HAPPEN member Hugh Black who has also successfully launched his company, HMB Communications. Hugh has been working on behalf of HAPPEN.

If you haven't contacted your prospects and clients this month with something of interest, chances are they have forgotten all about you! Yahoo, ongoing communication and networking for business development pays off!

Have a great day,
Cheryl Scoffield
Sales Support Specialist