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Strategy and Tools for Business Growth in Greater Memphis TN area

Is Your Company Really Ready for Business Development?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Apr 20, 2017 3:42:15 PM

I’m curious what’s going to happen if, and when we move a significant percentage of manufacturing jobs back to the United States. I agree with most Americans that creating more good paying jobs is a win / win for workers and the economy.

My experience of working with numerous and varied employers in the Greater Memphis area has caused me to think that finding employees may not be as easy as we think.

One client recently raised his starting pay to try and attract a broader pool of applicants to choose from. He used one of the on-line services and had only one requirement. He wanted a brief cover letter to explain who the applicant is and their job experience. He received over 300 responses to the ad. Pretty successful, right?

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Topics: Business development

What are the top issues for business development in 2017 (SlideShare)

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Feb 20, 2017 5:00:30 PM

 NFIB does a monthly survey of it's members asking key questions about problems and opportunities that impact small and mid-tier businesses.

The PowerPoint below is an excerpt from both the 2016 survey and the January 2017 survey.

 
For a copy of our free eBook, "Barriers tobusiness development", click the button below.
 
 

 Download Here

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Topics: Business development

What does business development mean to you?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Feb 6, 2017 12:17:45 PM

There have been numerous studies on business development. From the high growth gazelles distributed through the SBA to David Thompson’s book “Blueprint to a Billion” They all say essentially the same thing. It’s not a mystery, there are several key items identified that all successful companies share.

 So why aren’t there more successful companies?

 I may be a living example of the answer to that question. Way back in 1989 I left a then, Fortune 500 company, to start my own business. I left a secure well-paying position, went out and found investors and did a ground up startup.

 I had no idea what I didn’t know.

 

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Topics: Business development

How does culture impact business development?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Feb 2, 2017 5:09:25 PM

There is a lot of discussion on organizational culture today. It might cause you to ask, do we even need a defined culture? Well, whether you know it or not you have one. It may not be the one you want, but you have one.

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Topics: Business development

Business Development - A Real Life Example

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Jan 6, 2017 3:09:03 PM

I've written about what I believe true business development is in previous posts. I thought perhaps an example of a successful transition might make the concept clearer.

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Topics: Business development

How many of these business development warning signs are you seeing?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Nov 17, 2016 1:59:00 PM

There's a lot of confusion and concern in small and mid-tier businesses about business development. I think most business owners and CEO's would like to see improvement in this area. 

If you aren't one of them you are indeed lucky.

Maybe a good place to start is asking the question, what does business development mean to you and your organization? Is it:

  • Sales?
  • Marketing?
  • Advertising?
  • Public relations?

For me, it's all of the above but much more.

I think the best definition I've seen was in a Forbes.com article from March 2012. 

Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

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Topics: Strategic planning, Business development

What does business development mean to you as a business owner?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Nov 11, 2016 10:59:43 AM

Business development has numerous meanings to different people. All of which are technically correct. But to make it work in your organization, the business owner or CEO has to clearly understand what it means to them personally.

Business development isn't sales. partnerships or marketing. It is, in two words, building value.  The definition that best fits what I tell my clients is from a Forbes article.

Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

 Forbes  3/21/12

So how do you build value? The following image is a good overview of what it takes as a minimum.

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Topics: Business development

Do your business development efforts fit you company's life cycle?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Oct 11, 2016 2:33:35 PM

Studies show that there are five stages of development all businesses go through. 

While much is written about the high failure rate of start ups, there are risks associated with later stage development as well. As the chart shows failure can and does occur at every level. 

The image on the right is from a paper by Mel Scott, and Richard Bruce published in Long Range Planning.

It illustrates that there are critical points at every stage of development.

In the info graphic below I've added my own thoughts about the risks associated with each stage.

 

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Topics: Business development

Why do some companies fail at business development?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Jan 20, 2016 1:12:08 PM

Studies illustrate there are 5 stages of development that every business goes through. I can't remember where I first saw the chart at the right, but it's a great illustration of the five phases. 

Notice that, with the 5 stages of growth, there are also 5 opportunities to fail. In other words, getting through the survival stage doesn't mean you are home free.

There have been hundreds of articles about start up failure statistics. You’ve all seen the numbers, 50% fail in their first year, most never make it to five years, etc. But mature company business failures don’t seem to be given as much attention. Maybe because it’s harder to pinpoint the causes of those failures.

First, let’s agree there is more than one way for companies to fail. They can fail to grow and diversify and still hang on in survival mode for years, or they can completely go out of business.

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Topics: Business development

What is most critical to business growth, marketing or sales?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Nov 23, 2015 10:46:07 AM

There are many articles debating the relative importance of marketing and sales functions to sustained business growth.  I did a Google search on the question and got 144 million responses, so it is safe to say there is some level of discussion and confusion on the subject.

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Topics: Inbound marketing strategies

Which is more important, strategy or execution?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Oct 5, 2015 4:40:06 PM


There have been numerous articles and discussions on the question of strategy and execution. If you could only choose one, which would it be? A great strategy with poor execution, or a mediocre strategy with great execution?

Ask most operational executives this question and they'll quickly tell you that a mediocre strategy, well executed, beats a great strategy and poor execution every time.

But how can you possibly get great results and build shareholder value if you meet all of your goals that were based based on the wrong assumptions and questions?

The gentleman to the right tells us that they are both equally important, and I tend to agree.

It seems pretty obvious that both are critical for success of an organization, so why the argument?

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Topics: Strategic planning

What is strategic planning about?

Posted by Martin Harshberger

Sep 14, 2015 12:58:17 PM

There are hundreds of quotes about strategy and strategic planning. The one above is one of my favorites. It contains two key phrases that are critical to repeatable business development. The first is competitive advantage, the second is sustainable. Finding an advantage is tough, finding one that's sustainable over time, one that your competitors can't duplicate and dilute to a "me too" is tougher still.

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How can you differentiate your company from 95% of your competition?

Differentiate. What that really means is rise above all of the noise in your market. Standout!

We help you find ways to grow your business through understanding:

  • How strategic planning focuses your organization

  • How a strong value proposition increases margins as well as sales

  • How to identify and market to your ideal customer

  • How to level the playing field using the Internet and inbound marketing

 

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