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22 Business development ideas for 2022

1. Craft a memorable fishing line. Video.

2. Identify your core network. Podcast.

3. Make your LinkedIn profile a client magnet. Podcast and template.

4. Create a project list. Podcast and template and sample..

5. Create a portfolio of sanitized sample work. Podcast.

6. Avoid common resume mistakes made by independent consultants. Podcast.

7. Start a newsletter. Podcast.

8. Start a podcast. Podcast.

9. Create the 5 types of content every consultant needs. Video.

10. Create a plan for the year. Podcast.

11. Craft winning proposals. Template.

12. Clarify your personal brand. Video.

13. Organize a thought leadership event including potential clients. Video.

14. Build a website in one day. Video

15. Create consistently excellent client experiences through defined processes. Video.

16. Hire your first associate. Video.

17. Set up a CRM system. Podcast.

18. Make outbound calls. Podcast.

19. Talk less and ask clients more of these questions. Podcast.

20. Engage a PR professional. Podcast

21. Work with a coach who serves independent consultants. Consider David A. FieldsMelisa LibermanAmanda WrightDeb Zahn

22. Level up by listening to podcasts focused on your functional area. Curated set of shows.

A six-minute read from Kaihan Krippendorff on how to be more influential at work. 

Whether you’re trying to get your dream job, convince your boss to give you more responsibility, get your colleagues excited about your idea, get neighbors to vote for your proposal, or simply persuade family members to consider somewhere new for vacation, your influencing skills are key. We all know this. And yet, few of us do it well because we fail to exercise the full breadth of influencing skills at our disposal.

Like a soccer player who learns only to kick with one foot or a boxer who masters just a couple of punches, we often fail to influence others because we return to the same limited set of strategies, over and over again. Usually, we prefer an influencing approach that works on us. The problem with this approach, of course, is that what works on us may not work on others.

Research shows that successful influencers don’t feel frustrated when it comes to the political-influencing game. In fact, they see it as an exciting opportunity. These adept influencers apply a wider variety of tactics to help persuade their leadership and organization to adopt their products, projects, and ideas. Sharpening your ability to influence allows you to choose from a toolbox of skills and select the right one to use at the right time.

 

Key points include:

  • Which tactics do I use often?
  • Which do I use rarely?
  • Which am I uncomfortable using?

 

Read the full article, Use these tactics to be more influential at work, on FastCompany.com.

David A. Fields shares a consulting checklist that identifies how to elevate your practice. 

You run a great consulting firm. You can point to glowing testimonials and clients who stick with your consulting firm like fluffernutter pasted to the roof of a six year-old’s mouth.

And while you originally found your consulting firm’s tagline on a pizza box (“You’ve tried the rest, now try the best”), you still believe your team delivers better results and value than the average crew of consultants. Let’s benchmark your performance against the traits of the very best consulting firms.

What does separate the very best consulting firms from the great? Much like this companion article about the very best clients, we can sort consulting firm behaviors into Rock Bottom, Rock Solid and Rock Star.

The list of traits below is purposely incomplete. It desperately needs input from thoughtful consultants like you.”

7 TRAITS OF ROCK STAR CONSULTING FIRMS

  • Declines projects that are outside the consulting firm’s area of expertise, and actively finds an outstanding, alternate resource for the client.

  • Proactively thinks and acts beyond the strict bounds of the consulting engagement to help the client achieve their goals, while alerting the client well in advance if the client’s request or a requirement to achieve the goals is substantially outside of scope.

  • Delivers A-level work ahead of schedule by exquisitely balancing the quality of work with speed of delivery. (A.k.a. “Working to a 95” unless speed of delivery is unimportant to the client, in which case “Working to a 98” is the rule.)

 

Read the full post, 7 Traits That Separate The Very Best Consulting Firms From The Rest, on DavidAFields.com. 

 

Nora Ghaoui explains why there are benefits to being on the outside looking in. 

When you’re trying to tackle a business challenge, what you can solve and how you can solve it depends on the position that you are in, not on the skills that you have.

As I have switched roles between management and consulting, I have learned that when you’re on the inside (as a manager) you can’t use the tools from the outside (of a consultant) and vice versa. When you’re on the inside, you might need someone on the outside to help you.

As a manager, you understand a business challenge in detail: its complexity, its implications, and the views of the stakeholders. You see all the trees, perhaps you can see the forest, but you are in the middle of it. Your responsibilities and interests colour your view, because you are there to get a certain job done.

And next to this challenge, you are dealing with all the other challenges that are part of your job. The tools you have include the authority to get things done, but you’re limited to the scope of your authority.

As a consultant, you stand on the outside, look at all the different views, and you don’t know all the details. You’re looking for the salient points, the bits that have been overlooked, the slightly different angle to take that will help this group of people set off in a different direction since they’re stuck in this one.

You see the forest, some of the trees, and you can circle around looking at it from different positions. The job you are trying to get done is this specific challenge, and you may be aware of others, but you can ignore them for now. The tools you have include your ability to paint a persuasive picture, so the people with authority can get things done.

 

Read the full article, You Can’t Be on the Inside and on the Outside at the Same Time, on Veridia.nl. 

 

Subtraction can also be powerful, and is often overlooked.

What’s one thing you will leave behind and do less of (or quit entirely) in 2022?

Kedar Gharpure shares an article on pricing and why you should think twice before lowering price to increase sales. 

Price is an important negotiation element in any B2B sale – and often made out to be a sticking point by the customers. Hence, it is no wonder that B2B companies often consider discounting their prices to win a deal or to secure more volume. However, most companies usually underestimate the incremental volume that they will need to sell to make up for the profits lost due to discounting. Not convinced? Read further…

Price has a disproportionate impact on EBIT

The impact of 1% price increase on EBIT vs. that of 1% volume increase is probably common knowledge by now. This insight was published as far back as 1992 in a HBR article based on financial data of c. 2500 companies. The analysis was further updated by McKinsey & Co. to include S&P 1500 companies in early 2000’s. Both analyses show that EBIT increase due to 1% price increase is more than 3 times of what can be achieved by selling 1% more volume. We took that analysis a step further and found that the impact of price on EBIT can be even more dramatic for a B2B company depending on the underlying business model.

For our analysis, we considered 3 archetypes: i) Trade Co.: Trades products or services for a small profit and has a significant proportion of variables costs; ii) Capex Co.: Works in capex intensive sectors and has a significant proportion of fixed costs; iii) Average Co.: a typical manufacturing company with a balance of fixed and variable costs.

 

Key points include:

  • Pushback
  • Volume
  • Recommended approach

 

Read the full article, Watch Out Before You Discount Price to Gain Volume, on LinkedIn. 

Ben Dattner co-wrote this article that explains why being a great second in command requires emotional intelligence.

In 1959, John French and Bertram Raven, social psychologists, published their “Five Bases of Power” model, which has been highly influential in social and organizational psychology ever since. The five kinds of power they delineated included the ability to reward or punish, power derived from one’s rank or role, expert power (which is a function of knowledge and expertise), and what they termed “referent power,” which is rooted in personal character and charisma. In our research, consulting and coaching practices, we have learned that emotional intelligence (EI) can constitute a sixth base of social power in today’s networked, knowledge-based, rapidly changing and increasingly diverse workplace, enabling people at any level of the organization, and at any stage of their careers, to help themselves and others to more effectively navigate social and organizational challenges, and to better achieve long term goals. While EI is broadly applicable, we will focus here on how EI can help subordinates more successfully “manage up” thereby increasing their power to positively influence organizational outcomes, raise their value in their boss’s estimation, and progress in their careers.

Our research and consulting work have shown that people with higher EI tend to be more successful because they are more self-aware and better able to control their emotions, which enables them to appropriately respond to socially challenging and stressful situations. Conversely, individuals with lower EI tend to act out and behave in dysfunctional or counterproductive ways. Expressing themselves appropriately, people with high EI are able to detect others’ emotional states, agendas and priorities, and to positively influence others’ emotions in order to identify common ground, resolve conflicts, and focus on problem solving rather than on finger pointing.

 

Key points include:

  • Empathize with their perspective
  • Convey loyalty and build trust even when pushing back
  • Focus them on others’ priorities and agendas.

 

Read the full article, Why Being A Great Second In Command Requires Emotional Intelligence, on FastCompany.com. 

In this article, Andrew Seay offers a solution to silo’d supply chains.

Recently put an item on promotion and quickly stocked out?  Frustrated by the pile of aging inventory sitting in the annex warehouse?  Trying to determine whether a plant shutdown is the right choice?  At some point in every company’s growth, it will eventually confront challenges similar to these.  A Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning process is often what’s needed to overcome them.

In this article, we’ll define the Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning process.  We’ll discuss how it can reduce “silo’d” behavior in the supply chain through identifying opportunities to stimulate demand and surfacing signals to increase supply.  Finally, we’ll review how to stand up the process at your company.

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Is your “silo’d” supply chain costing your company money?

What is SIOP?

Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning (SIOP) is a core element of integrated business planning in which a cross-functional team is convened to make strategic decisions to more closely match company supply and customer demand.  Generally attended by Sales, Marketing, Supply Chain and Production functions, the goal of a SIOP process is to ensure that a company’s purchasing, production plan and inventory positions are closely aligned with confirmed and forecasted sales activity. 

SIOP identifies opportunities to stimulate demand

As a company operates, some SKUs will begin to age in the finished goods warehouse.  This is a natural, and generally unavoidable outcome of holding inventory.  In and of itself, this is not necessarily a problem.  The issues begin when accumulation of aged inventory is not effectively communicated (or acted upon) to other areas of the organization.  The SIOP process is designed to regularly and systematically create a dialogue between sales, marketing and supply chain.  Performed correctly, this dialogue turns into an action plan to stimulate demand.

 

Key points include:

  • Price reductions
  • Product placement
  • Promotional activity

 

Read the full article, The SIOP Process is the Solution to Your “Silo’d” Supply Chain, on SeayAssociates.com. 

Anders Corr shares an article published in Epoch Times that explores Canada’s relationship with China. 

On Christmas, Canada’s Global television aired an interview with the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He made excellent points on the need for democracies and their allies to cooperate more in dealing with the China threat.

“We’ve been competing and China has been, from time to time, very cleverly playing us off each other in an open market, competitive way,” he said, according to a Reuters report.

“We need to do a better job of working together and standing strong so China can’t play the angles and divide us one against the other.”

Canada has in fact joined allies to take a few tough stands against Beijing.

That vast country to America’s north is joining the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will be held in February. (Too bad Ottawa didn’t publicly offer to hold the games in Canada.)

Ottawa stuck to the 2018 detention of Meng Wanzhou for over two years despite intense economic and diplomatic pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Chinese police took two Canadians hostage, named Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, just days after the Meng detention.

That medieval response to the Meng arrest did more to wake up the Canadian public, along with the 30,000 deaths from COVID-19, than it did to soften Canada’s China policies.

Canadians are now paying attention to Beijing.

 

Key points include:

  • Unmitigated free trade agreements
  • Conservatives in Canada
  • Wilful blindness

Read the full article, Canada Proposes Western Economic Coordination Against China, on TheEpochTimes.com.

Josh Spector (website) publishes one of my favorite newsletters, For The Interested (25,000 subscribers), which features ideas to help creators produce, promote, and profit from their creations.

I’ve been reading every issue for over a year, so it was a lot of fun to have Josh as a guest on Episode 459 of Unleashed.

This episode is particularly valuable for anyone who is thinking about creating some kind of regular content with the goal of business development.

Key takeaway that shifted my thinking:

When designing the content for a newsletter, you don’t need to focus on the insights you have to offer (which is what most consultant newsletters do.)

Instead, think about what would actually be valuable to the audience you want to target.

For example, if your practice focuses on a particular industry niche, you could send out a short, weekly newsletter with links to five news articles and a 1-2 sentence summary of why each article is relevant.

That could be more useful to your audience, more likely to get shared, and easier to create than an essay with insights from a project you just completed.

If you’d like help developing a content plan, consider reaching out to Josh. A 90-minute “Creator Clarity Consulting” call is one service he offers. Email: josh@joshspector.com

Matt Ahlers asks the above pertinent question and stresses the importance of asking it before taking action. 

Is it “Yes” or “Mostly Yes”? One way to tell is if you hesitate to re-validate all of your information before taking a leap or if you fail to act based on data presented. At best, this slows down decision making and at worst, it completely negates the value of collecting, storing, and organizing data in the first place.

​The importance of trusting your data and why “mostly yes” is dangerous

In the Navy, I was trained to trust key indications to ensure safe operation of a nuclear reactor. Specific indicators triggered alarms and those alarms required immediate actions. Other decisions afforded more opportunity to respond, but still relied upon trusting and validating the indications that were reported. The same principals apply to data stored in your core datasets that is used to drive business decisions.

For core datasets, “mostly yes” falls far short of what is necessary to drive a data driven business. “Trust me” is a phrase you hear when you’re being asked to go against your intuition or gut. It often involves taking a risk and exposing yourself to potential harm. Sometimes emerging trends (and threats) will present themselves in data before they’re generally well known or accepted. An industry maxim may start to bend and your attuned competitors will have a competitive advantage if you fail to detect a leading signal.

Why should you trust your data?

The reason why I trusted my reactor plant indicators was because we performed regular checks on our sensors to ensure they were working properly. Without this we would be operating blind. The same applies to your data systems. Consistently ensuring that data is created, stored, and maintained falls under the realm of data stewardship. Looking to ensure that information matches what is expected should be part of your common business practices.

 

Key points include:

  • Trusting your data
  • Data stewardship in your organization
  • Building the ecosystem

 

Read the full article, Do You Trust Your Data, on 760.blue.

Mark Ledden shares an article that explains why self-orientation is the most important component of trust. 

The math of David Maister’s Trust Equation[1] is designed to make a simple point: of the four components of trust, self-orientation is the most important.

His argument makes a certain intuitive sense. If I think you are all about getting what is best for you and not at all concerned with what is best for me, I am not likely to trust you no matter how smart, punctual, or well informed you are. That said, it is also intuitively clear that self-orientation is probably a larger and more intellectually slippery concept than simply the unbridled pursuit of what one wants.

For that reason, I would like to suggest that it may be helpful to consider some of the various ways self-orientation can express itself, particularly in the workplace, if only so that people who wish to follow Maister’s advice for building trust have a somewhat more tangible game plan than “Note to self: Stop being so selfish.” I also want to make the case that it may well be that in important ways “self-orientation” is less about the direction the “self” is focused, and more about the kind of self one brings to complicated interactions.

Unilateral problem solving

“Don’t bring me a problem. Bring me a solution.” We hear it all the time, usually from a well-intended boss or manager who wants to nurture self-sufficiency within an empowered work force. Usually, there is nothing wrong with asking people to be problem solvers. And that is why our oft-rewarded instinct to be problem solvers can be so hard to break free from in situations where it does not serve us well.

Broadly speaking, professional problem solvers consume information, process it in their enormous noggins, and then deploy solutions based on their sense of what the information means. Too long a line outside your restaurant? Raise prices. Constantly running out of gardening spades in the summer? Rethink your inventory management systems. And so on and so on. Absorb the information. Figure out what it means. Deploy a solution based on your interpretations. This is the process one uses to bring solutions instead of problems.

All well and good, until we end up trying to solve people as if they were problems. Then, the pattern looks something like this: I see that you are not doing what I think you should do, or not thinking what I think you should think, or not feeling what I think you should feel. Therefore, I decide inside my own head what I can do or say that will change your acting, thinking, or feeling from what it is to what I think it should be. I deploy a solution, which usually sounds either like criticism or reassurance. Either “cut that out!” or “don’t worry!”. If you have ever told an angry person to “calm down!” only to find that they mysteriously get more angry instead of less, you have experienced the limitations of this approach.

 

Key points include:

  • Unilateral problem solving
  • Failure to reconstruct multiple perspectives
  • Lack of system awareness

 

Read the full article, Common denominator: Three kinds of self orientation, on KenningAssociates.com.