Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Business development is not a process of instant gratification

My hunt for new projects has started reasonably well. One new client meeting this week and discussions with two existing clients on new work: all good, all positive - but nothing yet that will make up for this month's shortfall in income. What's great though is that people want to talk to me about applying some of my wider skills - not just what they've engaged me to tackle in the past. If I can provide a wider offering, it even opens up the opportunity to bring in other people from my network - and one bit of back scratching has, from past experience, led to others.

A few years ago when work for all microbusinesses was really hard to find and doubly painful to lose, I would have been more than a tad panicky by now with projects finishing and no clear pipeline to replace them. In fact, post-credit crunch, I remember being in precisely that situation and wondering where my next mortgage payment was going to come from.

But that's the nature of operating near the end of the food chain. At least now I have a little bit of contingency in the bank and I have some ongoing work although it's a bit linear. . What I don't have right at this moment though is the buzz of three or four on-going projects that I can move on piece by piece, day by day and week by week.

Famine or Feast

Operating at this level, you will only succeed if you recognise that this is a world of famine and feast. I've been really fortunate to have three flat out months and seven reasonable ones this year - so one flat one doesn't hurt too much other than making me twitchy. But the key to a flat month is getting out and making sure that future months are more positive. December's always tricky as client focus can get lost in the run up to Christmas - but my last two Festive periods have actually been busy. With January, it's important to get on the front foot and tie up the work before Christmas. That's what I'm doing now: setting dates in the diary and nudging the talks about talks into firm decisions.

It's a game of patience - it's not my style to be too pushy, but nor can I wait in hope. Meanwhile, I've started work on the new version of my web presence - nothing as flash as the new ArtHaus site for which I've provided the content - but something a bit more professional than this ramble through my last seven years of business. Not too many organisational communicators have blogged for seven years - I have, but it's time for a refresh.

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