Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Start Up Tip of the Week

Each Tuesday, I will share a business/law tip for small businesses that are just getting started.  This week: Know your friends and keep them close.

What do I mean when I say “know your friends and keep them close."  This means that you need to know who your resources are either from a referral standpoint, business development standpoint, strategic partnerships, or business management support.  There are three things I would advise doing related to "knowing your friends."  They are: 1) setting up a team of strategic advisors, 2) creating referral sources and 3) remaining in contact.

Strategic Advisors

Each small business is different but I believe many small business would greatly benefit from setting up a team of strategic advisors.  Sit down and think about your strengths and your weaknesses then consider who you know that can complement those strengths or build up your weaknesses.  Individuals to consider a strategic advisors are: a lawyer, an accountant, a marketing or public relations advisor, and a sales expert.  The benefit to evaluating your business with this team of advisers is that it will allow you to understand both your needs as well as your services and build your business accordingly.

Creating Referral Sources

Most everyone that you know probably know somebody that can use your goods or services.  But how can you tap into that resource without appearing overbearing, demanding, or desperate?  The key is in matching people to needs.  Make a list of what your business needs are and then make a list of the individuals that you personally know that can help address that need.  This is especially important relative to referrals.  What are your products or services?  Who do you know they can best assist in client acquisition relative to those products and services?  Create the lists and connect the dots.

Remaining in Contact

following up and following through are sometimes the most difficult things for small businesses to incorporate into their business.  It is not simply enough to make one initial contact or to send one e-mail or to make one phone call.  We can work directly with our contacts to know how often we should contact them and by which means.  Our contacts need to know who we are, what we do, and how we can help them or their associates.  Everyone is busy.  Everyone forgets.  That's why we consistently need to be reminded.  They're excellent programs for small businesses can access in order to automate this constant contact process.  Research and evaluate which method is best for you.

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