For most people the summer holidays will be firmly in the rearview mirror by now and they will be starting to focus on the year ahead. One way to make sure next year will be one to remember is by putting some effort into business development now, so you can start 2024 in good shape.
The EY Item Club said earlier this summer that it expects the UK economy to grow by just 0.8% in 2024, so the sooner you start working on how you can connect more effectively with your customers, whether your business is B2B or B2C, the more chance you have of boosting your profits.
Autumn is a great time for business development, as the months ahead of Christmas are key for many businesses because they plan their budgets and allocate finances to projects the following year. Getting in front of the right people now could give you a better chance of securing a piece of the pie.
Where’s the best place to start?
Most businesses will be doing some form of business development on a regular basis – and if yours isn’t, then this is something to address. Becoming complacent and relying on your current client base to keep your business afloat is a risky strategy.
If you’re new to this, then one of the best places to start is by identifying what your customer looks like. Literally. This may sound extreme, but considering who your customer is, what they are interested in and what they are going to want to spend their money on is the ideal way to target the people or businesses you want to work with.
For example, is your business selling primarily to people or other businesses locally? Could you expand your reach online? Are your customers UK-based, or can you sell your products or services globally? Once you know the answers to these initial questions, you can begin to establish who your customers are.
Where do I find them?
The next step is talking to them. This could be through advertising locally, or perhaps you could harness the power of social media to spread the word about your business. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to do some networking whether your business is B2B or B2C, or both.
Other social media sites, such as X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Threads and so on, can be just as useful. But you will need to create regular content for them to be effective. This can take time, although there are now some useful AI tools that can do some of the heavy lifting for you. For image creation, you could check out Midjourney, or if you already use Hootsuite to manage your social media channels, then check out its AI content creator OwlyWriter AI.
AI tools aren’t perfect, but they can help take away some of the difficulties that come from starting with a blank page and give you some content to work with. You can even use AI tools to run ads for you now, just be sure you keep a keen eye on how well they are working. This is your brand we are talking about here.
I don’t like social media, what else can I do?
If you’re not a fan of social media, there are plenty of other ways to meet and greet potential new partners and customers. Check out any local trade fairs that are happening and see what it costs to go as a delegate or to exhibit. The latter will usually cost more, so do your research carefully to see who will be there so you know your efforts and money won’t be wasted.
Other business development can be done through business associations, such as the local Chamber of Commerce, or through networking at more social events, such as during a round of golf or at a tennis club.
Once you get into the swing of your business development, use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to keep on top of those conversations and important contacts. This will help you track and action anything you need to so those opportunities don’t get left to wither on the vine. Different CRMs have various pros and cons, so again do your research carefully.
If you are considering spending money on your business development, then get in touch with us first and we will help to make sure you are getting the right tools for the job.