Building Blocks of Business Development

Everyone has dreamt of becoming his/ her own boss. And the way to do this is by putting up a business. However, only a few people have realized their plans and much fewer succeed at it. People say that businessmen, aside from having the money to start their own business, have a certain skill which few people are blessed with. They are risk-takers. Business development in some way is like gambling. An entrepreneur invests money, time and effort into a venture that has a fifty-fifty success to failure ratio. This is the very reason why a lot of dreamers do not pursue their business ambitions. Successful businessmen have mastered and formulated their own recipe for success but it all boils down to careful planning. Because they may be risk-takers but they are also careful planners.

There is no definite formula in business development. There are different strategies that can be formulated depending on the nature and size of the business itself. But there are factors that should not be left out and it applies to all.

  1. Recognize the opportunity. Assess the market. Identify what is out there and what is not offered yet. In determining the business venture to tap into, the status and the demand of the market need to be considered and its potential evaluated. A reason for putting up a business is not only because there is something to offer but there should also be a market to offer it to.
  2. Customers come first. The business should revolve around the customer. After all, they are the ones who will keep the business alive. It is important to get to know the target market, to identify not only their needs and wants but what they potentially need or want which they do not know yet. But the population is enormous so it is also necessary to identify the most profitable customers. Hence, the primary target has to be separated from the secondary market. However, demographics should not be the only focus. There should also be a behavioural and lifestyle analysis of the customers.
  3. How to reach them. By knowing the customer, target points will then be determined. Where are these customers likely to be found or how to get to them? This involves the different media that the target utilizes in a day-to-day basis such as TV, Radio, Print, billboard, point of sale, Internet, etc.
  4. How to sell. Once the target’s whereabouts is identified, the next step is to use sweet spots to get them to buy. What can attract their attention and what can convince them. Do they respond to sales promotion or do they rely on word of mouth, etc.
  5. Generate repeat business. Satisfy the customers and exceed their expectations not only to keep them under the radar but also to generate good publicity.

Nothing is a hundred percent sure but business development should also not be a hit and miss. It’s risky but careful planning and perseverance will increase the likeliness to succeed.

Allocating Time for New Business Development: Just One of The Challenges Facing Busy Entrepreneurs

How do you allocate time for new business development? It’s the bane of many entrepreneurs and small business people. “I am so busy with my current projects that I don’t have time to drum up new business.” I know exactly what they’re talking about. I remember a period where I had so many writing projects on the go that I did no marketing. I just waited for the business to come in. The problem is that unless you market yourself, the business can slow to a trickle, regardless of the previous complaints that you have:

  • Too much work already
  • Not enough time to do anything else
  • Not enough money to spend on proposals that may not pay off

I completely understand. Understanding, however, doesn’t get you anywhere, so let me make some suggestions to keep the business coming.

The first suggestion is that you dedicate some time to new business every day. It need only be half an hour, but whatever time segment you decide on, lock it in. Just put everything aside, hold your phone calls, shut down the cell and leave your e-mail alone. Next, do the following. Get yourself one of those small digital timers, punch in the time segment you’ve chosen, then, turn the timer away from you so you can’t see it. Now, focus on the work at hand.

During this time segment consider what new business you want to get into, or actually work on a new business proposal. What you might also do, and this will impact your own staff, is get the staff to join you in your sessions; and plan a session at least once a week, and brainstorm new ideas. Who better than your own staff to carry out this activity in search of new business? And encourage them to look for business opportunities that you may be unaware of through networking, or contacts they have with friends and associates. Even submit a speculative or unsolicited proposal to a client.

Here’s an idea I really like. It comes from Verne Harnish, CEO of Gazelles Inc, an executive education firm. Verne suggests that you should stop eating alone. Verne’s experience is that in one year, living in Barcelona, he built deeper business, social, and political connections than in ten years living and working in Washington DC. What could you do if you were to meet someone different even a couple of days a week? You might not generate new business immediately, but the payoff down the line could be substantial.

I understand that cash flow can get in the way of such activities. I appreciate that the current projects you’re working on have stringent timelines. In fact you’re probably working a 60-hour week. But don’t let that get in the way of allocating time for new business by pursuing practical ways to make it happen, even on your busy schedule.

Abstract: Busy people often get too busy and fail to continue marketing themselves. Small businesses, like consultants and training companies, often find themselves in this situation. This article looks at the issue and suggests some practical solutions. It’s up to you to follow up on them.

If Your School Doesn’t Have An Annual Carnival, Here Are 9 Reasons Why It Should

1. School Carnivals Are Incredibly Popular With Students and Parents Alike

Quick, which would you rather do- go to the school carnival or visit to the dentist? See? No contest. OK, maybe that’s not a fair fight, carnival vs. dentist, but the fact is, a school carnival is one of the absolute highlights of the year for any school that has one. It has all the best rolled up into one great package: people having fun, the school making money, and if it’s a really good carnival, there’s always food of some variety on a stick.

2. Carnivals require lots of people as volunteers, but the work is fun and not stressful.

Even though carnivals require a number of people willing to take charge of a wide range of responsibilities, the vast majority of jobs involve having fun and interacting with people. Whether it’s baking items to sell, running games, passing out prizes, decorating the carnival space, face painting, or even selling tickets, the atmosphere of a school carnival is light and enjoyable. These are exactly the kinds of jobs to break new volunteers in on. Once a person has mastered the art of the school carnival, he or she may be ready to take on more challenging volunteer duties within your fundraising team.

3. Carnival Expenses are Low

Since carnivals are held in the school building itself, there won’t be any facility rental fees the school will have to pay, which can often be one of the most expensive items in the budget. Also, food can be donated, and games can be used year after year. Many decorations can also be used more than one year. Of course, there will be a desire to add some new things each year, but the core of the activity can be relatively inexpensive to operate year in and year out.

4. Carnival Income is High

While expenses are kept low, the opportunities to generate revenue are high. Of course, you have the admission tickets, but there can also be charges for food, entertainment, games, and contests. All of these can be purchased with tickets or tokens, so that cash doesn’t have to be handled and potentially lost. Also, revenue can be made from renting out booths to local non-profits, so they can market themselves to the carnival attendees.

5. School Carnivals Become Instant Traditions and Reliable Income

In fundraising, you are always looking for something that will be a guaranteed success, year after year. It’s important to be able to count on a certain range of income. Therefore it is wise to develop activities that will become traditionally expected by your community. Carnivals are so popular, they become one of these traditions almost instantly. Imagine holding your first carnival one year, and then canceling it the next. That doesn’t seem very likely.

6. People are Familiar with the Concept of a School Carnival, so They Come Ready to Have a Good Time.

Even if your school hasn’t ever held a carnival before, most people have been to at least one sometime in their lives. Therefore, you’re not going to have to do a lot of explaining or convincing to get folks involved. This is one of the reasons why you could expect a very respectable turnout your very first year doing it. People are hesitant to try things that are unfamiliar to them. The good news is that most everybody not only knows what a school carnival is, but they also have good memories of it.

7. Carnivals Allow for Teachers and the Principal to Relax

Once you swing open the doors on the school carnival, a whole new feeling spreads over the school. Gone are the worries about tests and having a hallway passes. The joyous, euphoric, and electric atmosphere allows everyone, including teachers and the administrative staff to relax and enjoy the festivities. Having worked as a school principal, I always felt is was important to take every opportunity to have fun with the parents of my students, as well as my staff of teachers. It improved all our relationships and increased our ability to work together.

8. Carnivals Build Camaraderie with Both Kids and Adults.

Carnivals also have the ability to help parents get to know one another. I think that when parents of students get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere, friendships can be made. This is not only beneficial to them, but also to the school in that it seems to increase the number of volunteers we get for school activities. Even if you have a busy schedule, if your best friend is working the school carnival, you might also be inclined to do so, because it becomes a social opportunity.

9. Since So Many Schools Do Annual Carnivals, There is Abundant Information Available Regarding Carnival Themes, Games, Contests, Entertainment, Revenue Producers, etc.

With the exponential growth of the Internet, it is simple to find out extensive information on almost any subject- school carnivals, especially. A simple Google search will yield a wealth of knowledge. Also, it is wise to talk with families who are new to your district. Perhaps they have suggestions from their old school that worked. Trust me, if you put the word out there that you’re thinking of launching a school carnival, you’ll have people banging down your door with ideas.

Conclusion

Fundraising for any kind of a group is hard work. Often, the results are uncertain, but I can’t remember a time when I ever was ambivalent about how much money we were going to make. There’s always been an urgency to make as much as possible with every event or sale. With a carnival, you have just about the closest thing to a sure bet that you can find in this world of fundraising. As I mentioned in the introduction, a carnival mixes the best of everything, and everyone has a good time. In my estimation, that makes the idea of having a school carnival a real no-brainer.