Any good thing that takes place consistently is due to planning and effort. Nothing good in business just happens by chance, nothing. I am always amazed at how small businesses actually believe that new business is just going to magically appear. The few times that a new customer walks through the door reinforces this ridiculous idea that if they just keep doing what they are doing, good things are going to happen. Management needs to commit themselves to understanding the process of bringing in new customers. I say to my clients all the time, “This is not rocket science”. It is not indecipherable. Management has to spend the time to understand their company, their offerings, their prospects, and their industry in order to secure new business.
This week one of my clients and I made a presentation to a new customer with enormous opportunity for new business. We just landed this customer about a year ago and have secured a couple of projects with them since our first project. In preparation for our presentation we studied the company’s white pages, their annual report, their website, and their products. We researched the industry by reading current periodicals and industry reports. Our team met three times to discuss the presentation. It went pretty well, we represented ourselves well and made some very important connections, and took a significant step forward. But we did not actually identify and discuss any significant problems. Even with all this work, we did not uncover any problems or challenges this company was experiencing with their current vendor base that we could fix.
Small businesses can land huge new customers if they solve a problem the big company is having. This does not happen by chance. The large company does not come to the small business to ask them to solve the problem. Small business owners have to identify the problem. They have to find the opportunity, and this takes effort, focus, thoughtful conversation, and research. It requires deep commitment to understand the prospect and their industry.
Those small businesses that are waiting for good fortune to smile on them or the magical rainmaker to show up don’t understand the process and are leaving the company very vulnerable.