How to Find Time to Pursue Biz Dev

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Day-to-day vs. Important Business Development:  All too often in business, we focus on day-to-day needs rather than business development, our mission and profitable growth. It’s easy to become reactive instead of proactive.

“But I don’t have the time?” or “I don’t know what to do?” See advice below!

Time Can Expand: I believe time can expand and contract.  As Benjamin Franklin said: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

If you intend to complete one task vs. 10 in the same amount of time – you probably will. But you probably can complete many more than just one.

When my eldest daughter, Ivy, was around 5 years old, she once said she couldn’t do something. To her shock, I responded, “You’re right. If you don’t believe you can, you probably can’t…”

But then I added, “But if you believe you can, you probably can.” She smiled. Lesson learned.

Making Better Choices
When meeting with clients, teaching and / or mentoring, I often talk about the importance of looking at the world through the lens of “how can I make better choices?”

There are lots of ways to constantly assess what’s working or not in your business, to make better choices. Here are a few!

  • Advice: Ask key clients, accounts, influencers and your own team / employees
  • Sales: Track your sales and look for patterns:  leverage the good; notice, understand and improve the questionable; be willing to let go or adjust the high maintenance, unprofitable ones.
  • Costs: Check your costs and expenses, make sure you know if they are increasing, and consider how you might continue to reduce them while retaining / improving quality, e.g. get multiple quotes, negotiate better (i.e. a year’s supply of a key ingredient vs. by order).
  • Margin: Do you know your gross profit margin? Does it vary, e.g. sales channels, sales model (direct vs. broker vs. distributor)? Can you shift toward higher margin opportunities with volume potential?
  • Competition: Create / update your competitive analysis. Anything others are doing that might benefit your business? Resources, partners, media, accounts, promotions, etc. they have on their sites or in their materials that inspires you to do something new or better?
  • Industry: Further immerse yourself in the industry … at a trade show or lecture. Network with others. It’s a great way to stay on top of trends, issues and opportunities, while possibly forming partnerships, getting access to new vendors, sharing with / helping others, etc.

Questions to ask yourself can be related to any relevant aspect of your business:

  • “What’s working or not?”
  • “What can I leverage?”
  • “What opportunity or issue can this mean for my business?”
  • “How can I improve my margin?”
  • “How can I do better … while also thinking about my mission and what I can do to help others?”

Homework: Whether you’re in the concept phase, just starting out, or have a profitably growing food company –  jot down 1-3 ideas, issues or opportunities (or one of each!) you’d like to focus on, to improve your business.

  • Why do you want to focus on them?
  • What are key steps you need to take to make them happen?
    • If you’ve avoided doing them – why?
    • Sometimes breaking seemingly large tasks down into small, doable steps that you can check off every day can help make them happen.
  • Set priorities. Ranking can be fun!
  • Do you need others to help you? Agree to roles & responsibilities.
  • Define accountability – $, #, timing.
  • Get started.
  • Don’t stop!
    • Consider a friend / consultant – to check in on progress and make sure you’re moving forward, making better choices and positively growing your business…

Recommendation: Find a chunk of time (could be 5 minutes) every day – to focus on business development. Need help? Want to discuss? Please don’t hesitate to reach out! 212.580.2737.

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