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Business Development Is Not An Event
Cash flow. To stay in business, you've got to keep a steady stream moving through your company.
A small business owner mentioned the other day that he has "enough work to keep his staff busy until next February." Another mentioned that his current projects were ending and he needed to "start beating the bushes for more work." Which one do you think will be successful?
The first business owner was busy taking action so he would have business long into the future. The second owner is typical of many business owners today. It's unlikely that the second business owner will be around for long. He'll either run out of work or become so burnt out he gives up.
To survive in business, you must never stop looking for that next business opportunity. Dedicate at least 25 percent (50 percent or more is better) of your time to developing future business.
Make sure that new business development has dedicated space on your calendar every single week. Think of this activity like a funnel. You always need to have a pile of new contacts coming in the top of the funnel so you'll have plenty coming out the bottom.
And remember, business development is not an event. It's an ongoing process that requires regular action.
About the Author
Denise O'Berry frequently speaks to professional organizations, is the author of three booklets, and several "how-to" manuals. She writes a weekly small business column, hosts an online small business owners forum and is called upon regularly by publications such as Entrepreneur, Bank Rate Small Business, Florida Trend, Inc., various newspapers, radio and television to provide expert comments on small business issues.
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Buyers want both online and local information about where to buy Most small businesses are local in nature, serving people who live nearby. Their customers found them through traditional methods like the Yellow Pages or newspaper ads. So far, the Internet hasn't figured prominently in their marketing efforts. That's about to change, as Local Search methods become more widespread. Even for buyers expecting to spend their money close to home, more and more of them go to the Internet to locate desired products and services. They rely on search engines to find suitable vendors in the fastest, easiest way. Local Search combines the search query word or phrase with specific geographic terms, like city or zip code. That way, search results only include enterprises in that local area. Instead of information about a small enterprise being lost among millions of pages of search results, it shows up in a small pool of local providers. 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Start by getting comfortable with search concepts, and improve your odds of being found when people search online for what you offer. You don't even need your own Web site to benefit from Internet Yellow Pages and Local Search. Learn the Relevant Terms Search Engine - method for locating the information available on the Internet; a program that searches Web pages for requested keywords, then returns a list of documents where the query terms were found Google and Yahoo, the major general search engines, have both shifted gears to make Local Search a priority when delivering relevant results. Spider (also called "crawler" or "bot") - goes to every page on every Web site and reads the information so it can be available to searchers; to "crawl" a site it collects and indexes information from it Specialized Search Engines - narrow focus of information crawled and indexed, like medical, business, or shopping sites Keywords - word or phrases used by search engines to locate relevant Web pages; words chosen to improve a site's search engine placement and ranking Search Query - search request, which the search engine compares to the spidered entries, then returns results to the searcher Search Results - compiled list of Web pages that a search engine delivers in response to a query; the number of items returned is usually overwhelming (in the millions), so searchers only bother to view results on the first pages Relevant Results - the test of a good search is whether the results obtained relate to what the person wanted to find, without a lot of irrelevant links Local Search - combining a geographic term in a search query to locate suitable providers in a specific area Pay per Click (PPC) - method of building traffic whereby site owners bid on search terms (keywords) that link to their site Geographic Terms - specific information about the local area that can be included in a local search: zip code, town, county, geographic region, state Top Ranking - sites shown on the first page(s) of search results Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - fine-tuning keywords and page content so the Web site rates high in search engine results Tags and Titles (on Web Pages) - provide site keywords and information to search engine spiders for indexing a site Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) - directory of business phone numbers and locations in a geographic area, organized by category; searchable data base accessed on the Internet Make your business easy for searchers to find The public is embracing the convenience of searching on the Internet to find information about local businesses. However, their searches for desired information are compromised because so many local enterprises don't show up in the databases as yet. Those that do have an edge in their local market. Climb aboard! Make sure searchers can find you. For little or no money, you can expose your enterprise to the whole world. Whether or not your business has a Web site, you need to provide the information people are looking for in the places that they look for it. Local Search and Internet Yellow Pages open new avenues to buyers ready to spend. Best of all, they support and compliment your traditional methods of finding new business. So you cover all your bases. (c)2004, Lynella Grant
Carwash Manual Sample Outline
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