by Jim Edmonson
We all get pretty busy answering phone calls, sitting in meetings and returning those endless emails. As a result, we might lose track of our business growth programs. Here is a reminder of what should be going on when you’re busy working.
• Do you have on-going support programs to identify and assist entrepreneurs, or partnerships with SCORE and other business groups that do?
• Do you sponsor Inventor’s Workshops? Offer free night meetings twice a year with a patent attorney, someone who has commercialized a product, a SCORE representative, banker or an investor as speakers.
• Do you have a community business resource center where citizens can access information on how to start a business?
• Have you identified angel investors and other sources of seed capital?
• Does your community support incentives for risky start-ups, and do you move on to the next project when faced with failure?
• Do you make 200 retention visits to local industry per year? That’s 100 individual companies, 100 repeat visits, for 200 per person per year. That’s my goal and I usually exceed it. My staff does, too.
• If you don’t have a Manufacturers’ Council, start one. Focus committees around cross-discipline topics like energy conservation; health care; lean and advance manufacturing practices; workforce development; etc.
• Continuously fine tune your incentive packages to be in line with the needs of your local industry business models.
• Build on the strength of your existing clusters. Your job will be a lot easier if you help them do what they do best and spark their growth.
• Do you have a strategy and target-company profile?
• Are you using a CRM , web-based software program, like Whittaker’s WALT, to manage your leads? ACT!, Salesforce.com, and others will also do the job.
• Do you take the time to follow-up with prospects? The key is to make their job easier. Don’t hesitate to offer to do their work.
• Are you prepared when the prospect comes to town?
• Have you prepared incentive programs that are tailored to their needs?
Keeping a watchful eye on these activities will make your business growth strategy produce results!