Tag Archives: Networking

How Do You Create a Roadmap for a New Business? Four Suggestions

Situation: The CEO of a new company is building her business. She has a business plan but is struggling to bring in new clients. How do you create a roadmap for a new business?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Creating a new business is a numbers game. Draft a 3-year plan that will generate $1M in billings.
    • The bottom line of the plan is bringing in new clients.
    • Create a financial template that is driven by how many clients it takes to reach the financial goal in three years. Fill out the annual numbers including where new prospects will come from and set quarterly and monthly goals and activities to generate those clients.
  • Develop a marketing “hook.” For example, in the case of business services:
    • Fixed cost business tune-up – a low-level retainer with limits on time and services offered (up to x hours work per month or quarter on y projects)
    • Fixed fee in-house service for small business – again with limits on the services offered
    • Additional services beyond the limited services will be at the company’s normal rates, possibly with a discount to those on the basic retainer service.
  • Create a list of desirable new clients – the company’s sweet spot. Next look for people who can connect the company with these clients.
  • How to get to the target client?
    • This is a funnel question. To build the funnel take three sources of clients: referrals, current business contacts, networking. How many contacts are needed from each source to generate 10 new clients per year?
    • Make presentations to groups which may produce clients or referrals.
    • Get to know the local business people who make referrals.
    • Write articles for magazines that these business people read. Be an expert.
    • To save money, use student interns from nearby colleges and universities to do some of the basic work – target client research, researching and writing articles (make then co-authors on the articles – looks great on their resumes!) This is an inexpensive win-win for both the company and the intern.

How Do You Land Your Next Big Customer? Six Suggestions

Situation: A small company wants to land one additional large account per quarter. They utilize an array of marketing activities but aren’t sure where to concentrate their efforts. From your experience, how do you identify and land your next big customer?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Landing large accounts is more of a relationship game than a marketing game. Develop a list of targets. Determine who you want to approach as the key decision maker, and work your own network and those of friends to gain a personal introduction.
  • If you and your principal target customers have operations overseas try to develop relationships between your and their overseas managers. Social networks abroad can be more accessible than in the US.
  • If you plan to introduce a new product or service, ask current customers whether they know of anyone who might be interested. This can prompt their interest or get you a significant lead.
  • Once you identify potential targets, conduct third party surveys of their industries. These can yield valuable insights into your targets’ organization and needs and help you better position your offering.
  • If a target customer has multiple divisions, initiate a relationship with a single division first and then leverage this relationship to develop additional business across the company. A number of small companies have figured out how to do business with multiple divisions of a single large company.
  • Trade shows are underutilized by many companies. Schedule meetings with target contacts In advance of the show. Even a simple visit to their booth can lead to a significant meeting. If you have limited resources, simply register as an attendee and use the show to network with potential customers.

Key Words: SMB, Customer, Acquisition, Networking, Social, Relationship, Overseas, Operations, Survey, Trade Show

How Do You Attract Good Candidates for Open Positions? Six Suggestions

Situation: Despite high unemployment, a company is finding it difficult to attract qualified candidates for technical positions. Many applicants don’t possess the requisite skills, and recent graduates aren’t responding to job posts. What works best attracting good candidates for open positions?

Advice of the Forum:

  • There is a wide array of specialized online resources to help you find qualified candidates. As an example, for tech candidates, try DICE.com. For a reasonable cost, you can post position on DICE.com or get employer access to the database and search it yourself using key words.
  • Better results come through networking with vendors, suppliers and customers to identify currently employed and highly qualified candidates. This should be regular company practice.
  • It is feasible to hire nationally and to relocate. As long as the employees and young and not invested, relocation expenses are not severe, and the Bay Area is appealing to young workers.
    • For distant candidates, companies frequently use an initial telephone interview, and then bring qualified candidates to the office for a face-to-face 2nd interview.
  • Push current employees for referrals. Give them a reward for successful hires that stay with the Company for a pre-set time period.
    • One company pays $5-10K for referred employees who stay with the company for 1 year. This is inexpensive in comparison with recruiter costs.
  • There are some highly targeted recruiters in Silicon Valley who specialize in technology positions. Get to know these companies. They may already have candidates for your positions.
  • A number of companies have had success with semester or summer interns from local colleges and graduate schools. Current students are highly aware of the challenges finding a job once they graduate, and unemployment among recent graduates is very high.

Key Words: Human Resources, Candidate, Technical, Applicant, Job Post, Networking, DICE.com, Relocate, Referral, Recruiter, Intern