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A Business Development Story – When It’s Time to Say No

Business development has its ups and downs. Sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down.

Recently, with the start of a new year we found ourselves in a business development cycle that was topsy-turvy, and very turbulent.

Sitting at the crossroads with several new possible new accounts and an existing account – it was apparent that I needed to switch strategies and several company policies.

This all happened at the same time and thus created a lot of stress and

Let’s start with the existing client…

When clients give you signs that they are emotionally unstable, or hot and cold – you need to make a decision if you are going to keep them in your wheel house, or let them go out to pasture.

In our case – we decided the later and it was a great decision, even though it hurt financially since the client owed us money, and we had a large list of work in development that was to be done in the coming months.

It’s better to find new clients that you can work with and enjoy the experience. Versus stressing out over a client who has a Jeckyl and Hyde personality.

In the same week – a New Biz Development trip 

With business development you sometimes take risks. Recently I took a trip out of state – but all the initial signs lead to what I refer to as listening to my gut. And my gut was right. It was a trip that didn’t need to happen.

Quite simply – a prospect who gave all the up front signs of being a difficult account. From simple signs like unaccountability, and lack of communication, to showing a card about the competition, it just wasn’t meant to be. I was relieved and elated to move forward in the search for clients that would be a good to great fit for us.

Back Home at The Ranch

Now on the other side of the fence back home we had a prospect that was also sending signals and signs of being difficult.

I’ll call this – ”The case for the potential client who wants too much for too little, and starts throwing mixed signals.”

After all the hours spent in preparation, research, proposal and budget estimates, this potential client decided to try and squeeze us on price, plus started to do a song and dance with the overall item.

Even though this potential account would bring in significant gross revenue, it just didn’t pan out and would not have been profitable over the period of the contract.

Had we taken on the account my hourly rate would have been brought down to less than half of what I charge for my time. Plus the additional account management hours and undue stress that I didn’t need. After all, I had just been in to the ER for chest pain and didn’t want to go back any time soon.

This client came along at a time when we could have really used the revenue since we lost two very large accounts the previous year. These two accounts equated to six figures in revenue.

But it didn’t make any difference because I knew that it was going to be one of those high maintenance accounts with people who are demanding, yet have internal issues that they won’t fix, but say that they are fixing.

Sometimes you have to say no and that means when you say no you mean it.

Just know that working with clients is never going to be easy. Clients are people, and people are not perfect. People have good days and bad days. So will you.

The lesson of this business development story is this: 

1.  Have a sales funnel that is diverse and full of quality prospects.

2.  When your gut says turn the other direction and run – go with your gut.

3.  When your gut is aching from stress, and all the potential client signals are showing bright red – take a right turn on the next side street and find a different way home.

More to come. Stay tuned.

Business Development Strategies – The BNI Way

Ever heard of BNI? Well up until last year, neither had I. Well at least I hadn’t paid enough attention to know what BNI is all about.

You see, BNI, also known as Business Networking International, is a global organization that functions on the basis of referrals, with the philosophy of Givers Gain.

Up until the Spring of 2012 I’d never heard of BNI.

I had been involved in networking groups before like LeTip and even co-founded a group in the early 1990’s which was located in the Seattle area called the Northern Network.

From different Chambers to Associations, I had my share of networking and needless to say the guard was up. Networking on a local level was not a new concept to me, but a group of very successful marketers, who I met at a conference, highly recommended BNI and this caught my attention.

So I decided to visit two different BNI chapters in my neck of the woods and one of them fit me better than the other.

Yes, there are chapters all over and in my case there were several to choose from that didn’t have a business like mine. You see each BNI chapter can only have one profession or business of it’s kind as a member. This way you are not competing with another company for the same business.

BNI is very unique, at least to this publisher and small business owner who has been around networking since the start of his first little enterprise many, many years ago.

BNI has been a real blessing and in my opinion the connections one can make are well worth the time and small investment.

Look, I’m not saying that you put all of your time into networking. I’m just saying that maybe it’s worth looking into and investigating if you are in the business development mode right now looking for new business development strategies that convert prospects into clients.

Because one to two new referrals could be what makes your week, month or even your year, depending on your business.

I mean we can go back and forth about business development strategies all day long.

There are lots of them out there and plenty of people to help you implement whichever one suits your particular business. Maybe your business development strategies or ‘strategy’ are working just fine and the cash register is overflowing, but you know you need a backup plan?

Maybe BNI could fit the bill and be a part of your business development strategy over the next couple of years? The only way you’ll know is to schedule the time to check it out and evaluate for yourself.

So if you are a small business or professional on the business development path and desire to connect with other like-minded people…

BNI might just be the ticket.

But you’ll never know until you take the next step and visit a chapter in your area.

Until next time,

Dave Krygier

The Biz Dev Big One that Got Away – Business Development 301

When it comes to business development, one never really knows if a relationship is going to solidify to the point of transaction and possible long-term contractual obligation until the contract is signed and the check clears ye ole bank.

In all my years of developing new business it never ceases to amaze me how many people are out there with the hottest idea since electricity was invented.

More times than not new business development having to do with new ventures and projects have fallen through than come to fruition and developed into healthy repeat business. Yet, we as business development professionals continue onward an upward to the next project, whether it be large, small or somewhere in between.

Recently I was courting a venture that if it actually turned into a reality could have been one heck of a whopper or should I say really bigga macca.

This relationship was at the very early stages and I instinctively knew we needed a lot more information and research in order to make the right decisions, but I decided to share a few ideas to feed the fire. The only thing is that the ideas were like a few pieces of kindling and I didn’t share enough of them to get the fire started.

Then my gut kicked in several times before one of the meetings.  And then low and behold a curve ball was thrown and the entire development process was halted and terminated.

A sad, yet happy day this was for the publisher. Yes, I was literally jumping for joy.

Why, you ask?

Because this project freed the mind of yours truly to work on an internal ‘biz dev’ project that was already warmed up and ready to be put on the hot front burner.

And put it on the hot front burner we did!

My loyal reader, larger scale projects/ventures are often lofty dreams that have yet to become reality. And the small-scaled versions can be even worse because there’s usually less or no money. Today I look at them like looking at long-term investments, with cautious and conservative eyes and ears.

So when I’m approached to discuss and review either a small or large grandiose project (with no up front fundage), I usually decline, never to set foot in the requestors place of business or favorite beverage establishment.

Now even with all this said, I recently had one project that was so appealing, yet the project owner was only willing to pay us commissions versus any kind of retainer.

Almost every time I’ve come across these kind of offers, it really means that the prospective business or organization doesn’t have the necessary fundage to bring us on board, is uncertain about specific details or could be on his or her way out of business. Thus they desire to throw most of the advance work and risk on our shoulders.

Yes, this is almost always the case and rarely have I seen it otherwise and to our favor. So when the prospective owner or partner of the venture that is going to bring in gazillions to your coffers comes across your threshold, Here are Five Tips that you should consider:

1. Proceed with caution.  Big Yellow Sign. 😐

2. Turn on your note-taking device and open both thy ears. Remember, discover early and you’ll save yourself lots of wasted time and resources.

3. Close thy mouth and only open it when absolutely necessary to ask questions.

4. Protect thy time (your calendar) like a bank vault.

And finally number five…

If you, my reader, are going to take your precious time, energy and resources to develop business for any organization or business (whatever size it may be), then make sure that you have a secured agreement before ever stepping into action.

Because it has been my experience that people without fundage, very limited resources, or just desire to take as much as they can, are always looking for information and ideas to further their cause. And they especially love these ideas and information, when they are offered up on a plate without a fee attached.

So proceed with caution and a conservative stance as you walk through the streets of offers and prospective projects. Guard your time and resources and only part with these precious gems with those that pass the tests that you put before them.

To your success,

Dave Krygier

PS – Should ever the time come that you require some business development assistance or just need a good ole sounding board, the Small Biz Mechanic may be a good fit for you. But he’s not always available, so don’t be bummed out if you have to keep looking.


The Road to Successful Business Development 301A

Ever been in a situation where a prospective business owner or member of an organization paints such an awesome picture that you just know that it’s meant to be. It’s a business development dream. You know the picture I am referring to…

The one that is painted in such a way that makes it look like your share will be worth a gazillion trinkets, that you’d be a fool not to take on this endeavor. The road signs all pointed to this destination, yet you still feel like you’re at the wrong place and yet the picture is lit up like a Christmas tree!

In this follow up to my previous article, I want to point out that you need to be more cautious than ever when it comes to developing business for others.

Taking on projects or ventures that are only going to pay on the back end can be very risky and time consuming, especially if you are a sole-practitioner or have existing time constraints. Business development projects that are all back end based usually mean lots and lots of work and very little or no return.

Now this is not always the case, but more times than I can count on both hands I’ve seen these projects or ventures come our way only to leave after they don’t get what they want; usually one of the following:

A. The keys to unlock the revenue stream or some missing information that will help them put it all together.

B. Someone to work for FREE on the front end. You know, that someone to bring forth the JV partners, strategic alliances, primary revenue sources or new customers or clients.

It’s almost like a special radar alert that goes off now when a calling party brings forth their new venture, project or idea and just wants to get together to throw some ideas around and discuss the possibilities.

Yep…been there an done that more times than I want to admit.

Why – because I’m a believer in entrepreneurism. Call it a good sickness. I just want to help the new person live his or her dream and be able to get the venture off the ground or expand into new and uncharted territory.

The bottom line here is that your time is your most precious asset, and the amount of energy you put into any project can suck the life right out of your business if you’re not careful.

How do I know this? Because after 27 years of small business ventures including six startups, I’ve seen, been involved with and declined more than my fair share of “next big thing” projects and ventures. Enough so that I could write a book on the subject and have material left over for a second edition.

So with all that said…

Here are a few of Your Most Valuable Assets when it comes to your small business and the topic of business development:

A. Your Resources ( people, money, information, devices, machines, software)

B. Your Energy – (mind space – thoughts). This is also another subject for discussion as we only have so much energy in any given day.

C. Your Time – The 8 to 10 hours a day you have to work on and/or in your business.

D. Your Character – What you develop and take with you when you leave this Earth.

E. Your Salvation – What you take with you into eternity. (This is a whole other article series)

These assets married with the right biz dev project can possibly bring forth a lot of fulfilling times, experiences and revenue.

And so the next time you are approached with “The Next Big Trinket” or “Next Big Idea”, put up your guard, proceed with caution, and look at all the angles before taking any big steps.

Until next time…

Dave Krygier

Lead Capture Basics – 2 Options to Get You Started

Previously I wrote about Lead Generation and three ways that you generate leads for your small business. Today I want to cover the lead capture page and also a simple way that you can connect with a searcher who is more than just a looker.

If you are having a tough time bringing in new leads and prospects, these two options may be just the ticket for you to capture more than your fair share of leads through the web. Plus if you do use traditional methods like direct mail or other offline marketing, then you might be able to increase responses and the actions of those who come across your path.

But before I go into detail here, know this:

Not every searcher who comes to your website or lead capture page will be interested in what you have to offer. The fact is only a certain percentage of people will be open and decide to come into your world, so once the searcher becomes a lead and is captured – it is your job to connect and close the sale.

Lead Capture can be a web form on the front page of your website and then have links or it can be a call to action like a Call Now button with a phone number in it. The objective here is simple – you need to capture leads and want to make it easy for the searcher/visitor to opt-in or make a phone call.

Here are two options for you to consider when it comes to Lead Capture:

1.    Setup an Email Auto-Responder and create a web form that you place on your home page or dedicated squeeze page. The web form looks like a box and has a place for the searcher to enter his or her email and other information that you require. The squeeze page is one of the best ways to attract and capture targeted searchers but you’ll want to Build Pages Fast and be able to capture leads as soon as possible.

2.    Create a Click to Call button and place it on several areas of your website so   searchers will know that you offer this option. Click to call is a great option, especially if your business is locally oriented or you offer consulting or services. The phone and connecting with a lead when he or she is in the research or buying mode can make the difference of whether you make a sale or gain a new subscriber.

Either way you need to make the web form or click to call visible and attractive so the visitor who make their way to your site can take action. Now you can also send the searcher to articles or a social media site or a chat session. But if you are looking to develop new business and capture leads consistently, then email and phone are two of the best ways to go.

Remember – it’s about capturing leads and then converting them. Always keep this in mind as you setup and develop your own lead capture system and contact The SmallBiz Mechanic if you get stuck along the way.

Dave Krygier

Advertising Agencies – a Small Business Dilemma

What a day it is that I’m writing about the topic of Advertising Agencies and The Small Business Dilemma.

So if you own an ad agency, even if it’s you inc. or you employ an agency that works for your small business – here’s my take after 26 years of day in day out experience in the trenches, with two stints at small agencies and running an in-house agency for six years.


I believe many small business owners make it tougher on themselves than it really has to be when it comes to advertising. Why is this?

There are many different reasons but the one that sticks his head out above the rest is S&W.

In my previous post Strengths and Weaknesses, I mentioned that working in ones area of strengths can lead to a more productive working environment and have many positive side effects. Weaknesses on the other hand need to be delegated and left to those that excel and enjoy working in the specific area or areas.

When it comes to advertising and marketing:

If one is working on and in advertising and this individual should really be focusing on a different area of the business, this can put a huge kink in the works and cost the business owner money.

This leads me to the other side of the dilemma where we have the small business owner who goes back and forth between in-house agency to outside agency.

Many small businesses I’ve worked with over the years have gone back and forth between outside advertising agencies and inside advertising agencies. They work with an agency for months to years and then for any number of reasons (or excuses) decide to go ‘in house’ and either hire a do it all person or split up the workload amongst existing staff and contractors.

Either way works but having an outside ad agency that understands today’s online and offline advertising arena is a huge benefit and feather in the client’s cap.

In my opinion it also comes down to ROI plus the owner’s knowledge and grasp of advertising, marketing and sales and how they interact with each other.

Let me further expand on this last sentence and say that it’s really deeper than that. It’s the owner’s understanding or lack of understanding of ‘Current advertising and marketing channels’ and how they impact and affect his or her particular business.

Let’s wrap it up…

Ad agencies in many cases are small businesses and sometimes even one person shops that also have overhead to meet. They need clients and sales just like their clients do. But what they forget (and I have seen this time and time again) is that ROI is really the key.

Yes, return on investment for the small business owner is very important and in this day and age even more so due to the tightening of the economy. If the small business is seeing ROI and it’s directly related to advertising, then all parties should be happy campers.

So for the small biz ad agency hunting for new clients I say -” Show your prospects how you can deliver ROI.” And once you do this, share the testimonial with all who will read, listen and view.

This is where SmallBiz Mechanix comes into play for the solo-preneur and small business owner who needs guidance and direction when it comes to driving new business, increasing sales and navigating the web. Whether you’re a one-person show or team of twenty, The SmallBiz Mechanic may be able to help you drive more business and increase sales.

But you’ll never know until you take the first step and make contact.

Dave Krygier





How to Increase Sales in a Small Business

Ever seen the business that is complaining about lack of traffic, lack of sales and how the economy is hurting business? How to increase sales in a small business is simple. There are two ways to accomplish this: One is through your existing customers and the other way is through new leads and fresh prospects.

Today I’ll cover the existing customer side of the equation.

Here’s a story to kick things off:

I was on the telephone(yes, ye ole telee) with a business acquaintance from the past and this person mentioned how a particular store he was dealing with had fantastic sales numbers. His company, we’ll refer to it as #1, had been trying to figure out how to bring in more sales yet he couldn’t quite figure out how to duplicate his customer’s success.

As I asked more questions it became apparent that the people in that particular store were the key, if he was going to increase his sales in other stores.

Yes, the people were the key that could unlock the door to additional sales. Because the sales staff at this particular store have been ecstatic about his product. They love it.  Why?

Because the product speaks quality, the marketing materials support this quality and they deliver on time. Now these are the two major factors as to why this manufacturer is still in business after more than 50 years.

On the other hand you have this business’ competitor, company #2, who hasn’t updated their marketing materials or catalog in years and the owner is turning over his company to a family member and people who may not have the best intentions.

Company #2 is struggling and it looks like a long up hill battle unless they can change their plan and give it an overhaul.

Now let’s get back to company #1. What could they do to increase sales?

Simple…Use Social Proof and obtain Testimonials from the store owner and staff about his product. Then take these testimonials in written form, audio and video and use them in all of his marketing and sales efforts to obtain new business.

Because there’s nothing better than a satisfied customer singing your praises to help bring new prospects to the party.

Like I said in the beginning of the post, how to increase sales in a small business is simple; look at your existing customers and dig deep to see how you can bring them back into the fold. This should create repeat and referral revenue and once you do that you can begin to  cultivate and build on the relationships you have started. 

Want to know how we generated 20 to 25% repeat and referral revenue? Check out Secrets of The TIny Store and learn how to increase sales in your small business or touch bases with the Small Biz Mechanic and maybe he can help you tune up your sales engine.

Dave Krygier

Soccer and Small Business

The sport of soccer has absolutely gone bonkers in the last five years and I mean this in a good way. Our kids love to play it, we love to watch it, plus it’s a healthy, competitive environment that allows them to stay fit.

With two of my three kids actively playing soccer and one playing 10 or so months of the year, it has become part of our life. No doubt about it. Many weekends we find ourselves absorbed and traveling to and from the fields until late in the evening hours.

So why am I writing about soccer and small business ?

  Very good question – Dr. Jones…(Indiana Jones that is).

You see, business development is where I’m leading to in today’s post about the world’s largest sport. Business development can occur while you are standing in line for a youth soccer match or any other sport for that matter.

Business development for your small business may be right in front of you at your child’s soccer, hockey, baseball or volleyball game. Or whatever sport you and your children have chosen to participate in.

Business development can be done while chatting with other parents, club directors,  coaches, referees and even bystanders.

Now back to our topic of soccer…(not that I ever got off topic)

#1 – If you have kids – chances are they’ll be playing soccer, even if it’s just with friends.

#2 – If you have a small business or are thinking about a small business – this is a niche that is growing. Hint, hint, hint…

#3 – If you are a small business owner and your little enterprise needs targeted traffic and your biz happens to fit in with the soccer demographic…NEED I SAY MORE!?

Now maybe soccer isn’t your thing, your kids thing or maybe you don’t even have kids. But you are a small business owner and desire to diversify and/or expand.

Opportunities for business development in the youth sports arena are popping up all over. All you need to do is open your eyes and look for them.

Soccer and small business might be the right mix for your small business’ future so look for opportunities within sports like soccer. They may be right around the corner and could bring forth your next big client, service or product launch.

To your small business success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher & Soccer Enthusiast

PS – How is your Biz Dev going? If it needs a little push let me know at SmallBizMechanix.com

Lead Generation Strategies for Small Business

I was recently listening to a recording by several legendary direct marketers and it made me again realize how the web has transformed direct marketing and the way we sell.

If you are an offliner, that is a business owner who runs and operates a business that is dependent on revenue from existing offline customers and prospects; one way you can accomplish this is by combining offline direct response marketing tactics with online resources like webpages and email.

This lead generation strategy is really great for new and established solo-practitioners and partnerships where there is limited time to develop new business.

Here are a few examples of how you can take advantage of this strategy:

  1. Create and mail a personalized letter to an existing list of prospects and include a URL (webpage) in your copy. This URL leads to a landing page or even a squeeze page where you can capture the prospect and bring him or her into your world.
  2. Create and mail three to four different postcards to a new list of your prospects  existing prospects.  The idea here is that you send the cards over a period of weeks and/or months. The cards can tell a story, make an offer or be the door for the prospect to receive information.
  3. Create several lead generating ads that are posted on local media sites and in printed publications. These ads should have different headlines and copy so you can test to see which ones pull the best and attract the most visitors.

The important thing about this offline to online strategy is that you understand about directing the prospect to an online webpage and/or web form that offers a phone number plus an email opt-in sign up form.

In addition to this you should spread out the campaigns over a period of weeks and maybe months depending on the size of your company and capacity to handle new inbound calls and emails.

Lastly – make sure to track all that you do. This is one of the most critical aspects of the offline to online lead generation strategy. Because if you are going to develop different lead generation strategies, then you need to be able to tell which ones work and which ones don’t.

Want to learn more about attracting new leads and building a list of subscribers, take a test drive with The List Building Guide.

Dave Krygier