10 Surefire Ways to Grow Your Business

Earlier in my career, I was an on-air contributor to The Bottom Line, a nightly business program on Dallas/Fort Worth’s KRLD — offering “street-smart tips on how to survive and thrive in a changing marketplace.”

In the pre-Internet era, the station published an annual digest of events and information served up Top 10 style. Here is a round-up of my recommendations. Do they stand the test of time?

  1. Keep your Pipeline Filled . An uncertain economy translates to a protracted sales cycle. Budget priorities can change and decisionmaking can drag. Be sure to have lots of prospects and possibilities in the queue.
  2. Renew Old Acquaintances. Review your contact database and old customer lists. What are former clients doing now? People do business with those they know and trust. If you had a good relationship before, you can make the sale again.
  3. Target the New Companies. Many new businesses have been formed over the years — with people you know at the helm and needs that you can serve.
  4. Protect Your Turf . Be sure your existing customers are happy. Ward off competitive intruders. Build yourself in – up and down the ranks of management. Not just with your day-to-day client contact.
  5. Look for Cross-Selling Opportunities. Scope different operating units and pitch new product offerings. Track past client contacts who might have new areas of responsibility.
  6. Find the Silver Lining. Austerity can bring opportunity. Personnel shifts and cutbacks in companies are commonplace today, but the work still gets done – and it’s often assigned to outside vendors.
  7. Capitalize on Your Special Niche. Sell deeper into that market – especially if you excel and dominate and especially if there are few competitors. Leverage what you’ve already done – perhaps in new vertical markets
  8. Consider Joint Ventures. Take a new approach to pitch particular pieces of business. Cut your risks, increase your hits, add expertise and new team members — without adding overhead.
  9. Start Networking. Find the organizations where your customers are – and your competitors aren’t. Become an active member or committee leader. Consider “pro bono” projects that will help the group – and put the spotlight on you.
  10. Showcase Your Expertise. Find new ways to get in front of your prospects when they are most “influenceable” and when you’re not in a direct selling situation. Get on the speakers circuit, where you can deliver your information from a platform of authority. Write guest columns in key publications.

In today’s world, we would also add Web 2.0 — blogging and social media to the mix!

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Copyright © 2012 Nancy Keene