When you are a busy Solo PR pro, it is easy to push business development to the back burner, However, building proactive business development into your calendar helps to smooth out your income flow and avoid fear and panic should a client engagement decrease or end.
Proactive business development ensures that you have both a steady flow of income and opportunity.
Define Your Goals
Take a few minutes at the start of each quarter and plan your business development. While you can have a master plan for the entire year, breaking it down into three-month increments will make it less overwhelming. What outcomes do you want to achieve? Are you working towards a specific revenue goal? Are you attempting to break into a new market or build out a specific area of expertise? Do you want to improve your visibility in an industry? Assign specifics around your goals so that you can appropriately plan the time (and resources) needed to accomplish and measure your progress.
With your goals defined, determine the best way to reach your targeted audience. You want to prioritize business development activities that will maximize your time and effort. Focus on quality rather than quantity. One of the advantages of proactive business development is you can focus on what works best, and test new tactics without feeling like you are in a firefight to save your business. A few activities to consider:
- Speaking or training
- Conferences, networking events
- Direct mail
- Cold calling
- Social Media
- One-on-one meetings with prospective clients
- Email marketing
- Inbound marketing
Develop a habit
You do not want to leave business development to chance, but build it into your routine. When you know the activities, you will utilize, you can place them on your calendar. Making an appointment will help you to be consistent. Some activities may be monthly, while others may be a few minutes each day. Don’t forget to include follow-up activities, such as emailing a prospective client or scheduling a call. Ideally, you will want to have business development related activity on your calendar at least once each week. Remember that you are building a habit so that you are never starting from ground zero, trying to fill a sudden gap in your workload.
You will not close every deal in the quarter, but being consistent in your business development activities allows you to work on generating new leads, and nurturing relationships with potential opportunities in the pipeline. You will also improve your ability to target and qualify potential leads (leading to more time saving!). Finally, making a habit of business development enables you to experience the full freedom that comes with being a solo. When you are in control of your income stream and have choices about the work you take, you can have the business you want and not the one that happens along because you need dollars.
How do you manage your business development? Share your thoughts in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #solopr!