Removing Risks From Your New Business Strategy

This article identifies the risks business developers often face and the strategies used to minimise them. Winning complex new business is achieved by the systematic removal of risks and the effective deployment of strengths. Risks can be sorted into manageable categories each with a recommended set of strategies:

  1. You have a very strong competitor
  2. You are a late comer into the contest
  3. You face barriers within your own organisation
  4. You have a powerful anti-sponsor in the account
  5. You have some credibility/reputation problems
  6. There is a lack of alignment amongst decisions makers
  7. Your are unsure who the decision makers are and how they feel about your proposal

As there is a wealth of information to cover, this edition will deal with the first three categories and next month will focus on the remaining four.

1. You have a very strong competitor

Having a strong competitor is not necessarily the risk. It’s what that competitor has to offer which presents the risk. It may be that they have a superior solution; they may have better credibility, or they may have stronger relationships with the decision makers.

Firstly, question whether you really do have an inferior solution. Be analytical – assess what attitude each decision maker holds towards your solution and look at the detail of their perceptions. If there are some gaps in your knowledge, find out what they think. Examine the whole list and decide if your solution is inferior. If you still feel it is, you have to take action in either two ways:

Improve your solution – This is your best option, however it is not always possible or it can come with unacceptable margin implications.

Change the game – Changing the game is a classic game theory response whenever you face a stronger contender. To change the game, you need to break your solution down into components. Re-examine your decision makers and understand how they rate you on each of the components. Group the components on which you are strong and make this the centre of the buyer’s consideration. Your sales strategy is now to change the game into one you can win. Stop selling what you were selling and start selling this stronger solution.

It should be noted that changing the game is usually only effective at the start of the selling process. If the process is advanced, the decision maker’s view of what they want will be too strong for you to change.

2. You are a late comer into the contest

The good news when an unexpected tender invitation arrives is that you haven’t expended any selling time or money on this opportunity until now. The not-so-good news is that it’s very possible that a competitor is already the front runner for this opportunity. The problem is compounded by the fact that tender responses often consume significant resources and take you away from other pro-active development work.

Your challenge is to decide if you are going to pursue this opportunity and if so, how. Firstly, you need to make a realistic assessment of the comparative importance of this opportunity. Secondly, assess the comparative cost of pursuing the opportunity, including the impact of putting other work aside while you prepare this tender response. Then assign a high, medium or low rating to both assessments.

The opportunity can then be plotted on the following matrix:

Importance | High | Go | Go | Rabbit |
|__________________________________________________________ | Medium | Go | Manage | Stop | | | | Resources | | |__________________________________________________________ | Low | Stop | Stop | Stop | |__________________________________________________________ | Low | Medium | High | |__________________________________________________________ Cost

In this matrix, there are four recommendations to consider:

  1. Stop – Simply, if the importance is low, don’t proceed. Similarly, if the importance is medium and the cost is high, it is recommended not to proceed.
  2. Go – If the importance is high and the cost is low or medium, go for it. Additionally, if the importance is medium and the cost it is low, it’s worth pursuing.
  3. Rabbit – If the importance is high, the cost is high and you are late into the process, you need to pull a rabbit out of the hat! This may mean sharpening your pencil, leveraging a special relationship more vigorously, or finding a silver bullet. If you can’t capitalise on one of these options, your risk of not achieving a return on your tendering investment is high.
  4. Manage resources – You need to keep an eye on the resources you put into this opportunity, whilst maintaining your prospecting activity. You cannot let this become an all-consuming opportunity and must manage the consumption of your selling resource to the potential of the opportunity.

3. You face barriers within your own organisation

Many developers who have attended our workshops tell us that this is often their biggest challenge. We have a few simple but effective strategies:

  • Include the executives you need to persuade in your big picture analysis. Treat them like decision makers inside your client organisation and understand their personal and business motivations.
  • Involve the executives in your selling strategy as early as you can, even if they are not yet fully committed to supporting your proposal. As a sense of the hunt develops in their mind, they start to convince themselves that it is worth winning. Executives not usually involved in business development love to be asked for help.
  • Use your internal coaches to do the persuading for you. Sometimes they will be more effective than you.

4. You have a powerful anti-sponsor in the account

If you believe this to be the case, it is wise to investigate and uncover the following factors:

  • Their lack of support for you
  • Why they don’t support you
  • Their degree of influence in the decision
  • Who they are supporting

Ideally, you want to convince this decision maker that they should support your solution. However, if you are a long way into the sales process, this may not be possible.

If you believe this decision maker can’t be turned around, it may be better to stay away from them as they are likely to be supporting your competition. With true anti-sponsors, trying too hard can give them more data to use against you and/or increase their motivation to support their favoured option.

5. You have some credibility/reputation problems

If you find yourself with credibility or reputation problems, there are three things you can do:

Face the problem directly – don’t try and hide from it – Organisations learn from their mistakes. Be prepared to talk about what you have learnt and how you have put this knowledge into place for the benefit of your clients. Sound confident and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Re-frame the problem into consequences rather than attributes – Ask the decision makers why a particular credibility or reputation issue concerns them. Record their responses and deal with those rather than the negative attribute itself. Talk about those things that you now do to make sure that it is not a problem going forward. A negative successfully turned around can become a strong positive.

Find decision makers who support the corrective action you have taken – There are almost always decision makers who support actions your organisation has taken to overcome shortcomings. Leverage off the positive comments these buyers are prepared to make on your behalf.

6. There is a lack of alignment amongst decisions makers

There is a lack of alignment when the decision makers do not agree on the nature of the problem that you propose to fix. If however, there is consensus on the nature of the problem but there is disagreement on the type of solution required, action is needed to rectify this.

The biggest risk associated with a lack of alignment amongst decision makers is that the deal may never happen. The ‘do nothing’ outcome wins by default. Many opportunities with Government suffer this fate.

As an aside, your big picture strategy must contain a completion date. If there is no client imposed completion date, impose one on yourself. If you do not have a completion date, you never know if you are losing to the ‘do nothing’ outcome.

Ultimate decision maker

Where does the ultimate decision maker sit on this issue? This is the most important consideration. The solution provider who has the ultimate decision maker on side is best placed. This is where your selling effort should be focused.

Engage at the concept level

If time permits, you may need to go back to basics with the decision makers and engage them in discussion about what the problem is and what types of solutions are possible. This will require some courage and deep understanding of your client’s business. Executed well however, and it positions you as the real consultant and ahead of your competition.

Group decision makersIf there are many decision makers, it is likely that they will group into two or three solution camps. A good big picture analysis will show you how they group, which group favours your solution and which group has the power.

7. Your are unsure who the decision makers are and how they feel about your proposal

This risk is a clear indicator that your selling effort and/or big picture is incomplete. There is no substitute for getting face to face with all the decision makers. This is a two step process.

Identify – You need to ensure that your big picture identifies all the decision makers on this deal. Use the decision makers who are your strong supporters to validate that you have all the names. Get them to confirm your understanding of their level of influence and where you stand in terms of their support for your proposal.

Prioritise – Once you know who has the influence and who supports your proposal, make it a priority to work on those with high influence who don’t yet support your proposal. Be wary of approaching the anti-sponsors. You also probably need to stop spending time with low influence decision makers.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from your strong supporters. People are usually pleased to help promote a solution they want to see implemented. They can also give you advice and open doors that might otherwise be closed.

Starting a Home Based Business and Goal Setting

Introduction

When you look back over human history, the concept of working from home is not new. A lot of paid work was done in the home. A shoemaker, for instance, would make his shoes in his own house and there are many other examples that can be given where people in times gone by worked from home.

However, with the onset of the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, the locus of work shifted from the household to the factory. Now, with the advent of the computer and the World Wide Web, many people are discovering the rewards of starting a business that enables them to work from home.

Home based businesses are, in fact, some of the most rapidly growing segments of today’s business world. If you are looking to start a business working from home this article will provide you with some home business start up tips and also look at goal setting when working from home.

A Summary of the Work from Home Benefits

When you work from home, you have many advantages that other business people do not have. You have no additional expenses incurred by rent or mortgage on the building. The start-up costs are likewise reduced or even eliminated, since the entrepreneur may already have the necessary items such as a telephone, computer, a printer, a fax and other office items. Time and money spent on commuting to and from work are also eliminated. All these factors have led many entrepreneurs around the world to start a home based business.

Starting a Home Based Business – Business Start Up Tips

Along with setting your goals there are a number of actions that need to be taken when setting up your business. Below you will find a selection of business start up tips that will help you set up and run your home based business.

1) The need to be flexible in business. As times change adapt your home business to keep up with the trends in the home based industry implementing business opportunities, information products, software and training programs that compliment the business you have already set up and which help move you forward.

2) Consider what work you enjoy doing yourself and outsource the rest. Build a ‘dream team’ of outsourced workers who can help you complete the numerous daily business tasks.

3) Don’t go it alone, select a business mentor. Research your marketplace and find the top ‘players’ in your niche and follow them learning from their experience. Opt into their subscribers list and learn from them. Work with a mentor who has been there and done it and who can support you with your business through coaching, education and training. Choose mentors who pass onto you their experiences so that you can avoid making the mistakes that will slow your business development down.

4) Do a vision book – having set your business and personal goals which look at what you want to achieve in the short medium and long term – visualize them? Put pictures into a scrap book, in a folder or on your home office wall and look at them every day to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. This will help you keep motivated. For example, if you want to make money on line and set up automated systems so that you have more time with the family put pictures of this into your vision book.

5) What business model to follow – Whilst working online from home you will find that many business opportunities hit your inbox. However, how do you decide which one is right for you? Well, once you know what type of business you want to build, what you are passionate about and why you want to do it, then you will build the right type of business from the outset because you will only take on businesses that meet your own criteria. Don’t feel obliged to join everything going. Just join what works for you and businesses that help you ‘build the right business the right way’ so that you fulfil your own goals and dreams but also help others solve their problems along the way.

6) Have a daily plan of action – Each night, go over what you have done in the day, see what you have accomplished, congratulate yourself and figure out how to carry it forward to the next day. Write up daily plans of action, cross them off as you do them and feel good about what you have achieved. This way you are looking at what you have done and not what you have not done.

7) Read inspirational stories and listen to music that motivates you – Find articles in books, in magazines, or online, about people who have been successful at similar businesses. Play music that gives you a lift each day and which makes you feel upbeat and motivated.

8) Read out loud personal and business declarations – Do this each morning as you get up. An example might be “No one will ever fire me again because I am my own boss” or “I will be debt free through my business ventures” or “I am now on a course to change my life totally and pull in millions of dollars”. Why would you do this? Well, because it helps you remove any limiting factors and by reading out your own declarations each day it helps you maintain your focus, stay positive and remove any limiting beliefs you may have every day.

9) Parallel Lines: Basically, you can stay in the system and the same place or choose a different path which allows you to leave the system and achieve your goals and financial freedom. Do not make excuses not to do something – Just do it; your attitude is what propels you to go forward. Make excuses not to do something and you will stay put!

10) Register yourself with the appropriate Tax and Vat offices.

11) Set up your account with an accountant and set up a business bank account.

12) Get your home office set up with the Utility Company for the telephone lines, internet, mobile phones, gas and electric and buy and set up your computer system.

13) Look at what you are passionate about. What knowledge can you share with the world? Having decided upon the niche you are going to work in put your foundations in place by setting up your products, services, landing pages, auto responders, websites and educating yourself about marketing offline and online.

It’s great that you know which business opportunity you are going to join and develop but don’t make the mistake of not educating yourself about marketing. There are many elements to a successful business and if you take the working online route then as well as having an affiliate product or your own product or service to promote, you will need to learn about building squeeze pages and websites, list building, and investing in marketing and how to set up marketing funnels.

14) Work in a team or join an online community in your niche. Be a pro-active member adding value to the team and community that you are in by sharing your knowledge for the good of the team. In this way you will build your profile and also be able to feel part of a community of like minded people with a common goal of helping each other succeed.

15) Consider exactly what type of enterprise will you be running? Will you be selling products, or will you be performing services? Or maybe your home based business will be offering both. What kinds of products and/ or services will be offered? How will you go about obtaining those products, or the skills needed to perform the services? And how will you pay for them?

16) Your target audience – What kinds of customers are you targeting? The general public? Local People? A Global Audience, Men only, or Women only? People in a certain age group, such as middle aged people or the elderly? And how much money do you expect to make from this venture?

17) What will the name of your business be? You should choose a name which both clearly indicates what the business is about and sounds attractive to the potential customer. For the work from home internet marketing niche the branding tends to be personal so that a website would have the domain name of the individual marketer.

18) Finally, check to find out about any licensing and legal requirements for your chosen business opportunity.

Goal Setting When Working From Home

In addition to setting up your new home based business, goal setting is crucial; it must be taken care of at the start of your business and it is also a good strategy to continue to set new goals as your home business develops.

The goals you set for yourself should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. A specific goal that is measured through statistics and analytics, that is achievable and realistic so that you are not setting a goal that is out of your reach. A goal that can be achieved by implementing a business opportunity and working it within a period of time that is not unrealistic.

In my experience goal setting can often be overlooked at the start of a home based business and many people know what business they want to run but they don’t know why! If the ‘why’ isn’t big enough then quite often the motivation dwindles and the business does not help the individuals meet the goals they have set for themselves.

Once the task of goal setting has been taken care of, you now have the challenge of putting those goals into action. This won’t happen overnight, so remember you won’t get rich quick, it will require work and dedication.

Starting A Home Based Business – Final Remarks

Finally, remember that, as with all human ventures, there will be times when your work gets you down and you may feel like throwing in the towel. Don’t quit!

Now you may seem to be getting nowhere, but the next opportunity may be just around the corner. If you quit, you may be missing out on that opportunity. See it through and don’t quit! Keep going with your business, persevere, develop a no quit attitude, take yourself on a journey to success and work through all the barriers that will surely present themselves.

In the end you will win through and you will find yourself with a successful home based business on your hands where you not only are helping many people along the way but also making a very decent living working from home.

Develop Your Personality, Grow Your Business, Achieve Your Goals, and Lead An Inspired Life!

Personal development is something that most people work on throughout their entire life span to enhance their success in their lives and chosen career. It is commonly known to be a foundational element required for most seasoned marketers as well as new entrepreneurs to boost their business. Many people need to build their confidence, develop a more positive attitude as well as make significant strides n in building a good solid business. Hence, with the help of advanced technology, personal development training is now brought to the doorstep of everyone via the use of mobile and desktop apps. To state a fact, the increasing growth in the mobile application industry is becoming huge nowadays. Therefore, it creates an opportunity for a lucrative income for many people who wish to make money from home with this trending business.

Many people may wonder why they are not successful in their personal, career or business lives. There might be numerous reasons for it but at times, the answer to their question is just right under their noses. Personal development is something that they neglect to address when they are having a hard time dealing with problems in their lives. Hence, having a successful personal life, business and career is often the result of personality development. This is most often linked with other forms of one’s development, such as business development and social development. Personal development usually pertains to the methods one uses to handle their life, feelings, emotions, thoughts and reactions to the various situations that present themselves. It is a technique that includes changing one’s mind to a positive mindset, goal-setting and learning how to deal with all the circumstances in the task environment in a more positive manner. Personal development is a skill, and it’s a must implement strategy, that is beneficial in self-, workplace- and business-development. To be sure, without time-management, goal-setting for clear direction, and positive thinking, achieving a successful career or business is not possible.

A mobile or desktop app that brings personality development to every user can be a valuable tool. As there are lots of people using advanced technologies and incorporate in their lives the use of mobile devices, the mobile application industry is enhanced by virtue of what’s being offered via the mobile and desktop application industry.

A variety of new apps are entering the marketplace that address the multi-billion personality development niche. These products aim to provide a platform for all users to enhance their lives. Remember, these apps will be available for mobile and desktop users. Thus, even when you are at home and have no any other source of income, you could possibly benefit from this product in so many ways. These type of application is a revolutionary form of mobile app that could pay money to its associate members. A really rounded application would combine the central industry of personal development, network marketing, and mobile apps into a quality product that aims to enrich many people’s lives.

An app in this category would be touted as an exemplary mobile application that make it possible for any average person to gain profit from the booming mobile application industry. It would deliver professionally produced, high quality personal development video to your mobile device on a weekly basis. The personal development video ought to include an end-user product to every mobile user that would include practical information from numerous top professionals. Hence, the topics should range from time- management, goal-setting, and personal development to leadership development, business development, personal motivation, financial management and more!

You should be able to start conducting business with an application rather easily. You would be able to get a URL would direct your prospects to your personal page for them to sign-up. You could conceivably earn income from this product by inviting more people to join your team, while learning from the application’s provided video. One could also introduce this into social commerce sites such as Twitter and Facebook where they could link it to their profile. This is a sure way to invite many people to review your page and, perhaps, re-Tweet or Like it. Hence, making blogs for inviting people to join you would typically help you get more leads for your business.

Imagine a mobile application which includes the concept of network marketing which allows users to share this mobile application to many people and get paid for doing it. Get more income and enjoy the benefits of the application’s compensation plan by enrolling many people directly in your business.

It’s no wonder why this type of application is gaining popularity in the market as it seeks to invite more people to join, learn and earn from its use. Hence, it would be good to always stay inspired and motivated to be successful in this and any other endeavor, both personal and business.

The mobile app industry is relatively simple, so don’t complicate it. It is a fact that a low-cost entry product combined with the personal development industry fits well with any network marketing affiliate opportunity, as well as multiple income stream opportunities.

Hence, a mobile app opportunity that provides users with access to a product that is for self- and other- improvement is incredibly attractive as it provides a great starting point for anyone seeking to learn the mindset principles that could help them develop income specifically, and improve their lives, generally. Moreover, it is great for those people who lack funds and are new to the home-based business industry.

Getting Involved in Global Development

Australia is blessed with an incredible pool of talent and experience, across a broad
range of industries, and it is this expertise that could provide significant and
sustainable benefits into the communities where a development initiative is
targeted.

The challenge for many firms and individuals wishing to participate in development
activities is in understanding the intricacies of the process to secure involvement.
Activities through agencies such as the Australian Agency for International
Development (AusAID), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are usually
let through a public, competitive tendering process. Adding to this challenge is the
fact that in almost all cases, the process is different for each agency.

Myth – that the development industry is different.

Well of course it is, as are all industries – different clients, different products,
different channels to market, different cultures, different environments, different
risks etc.

What makes it the same is the need to ensure client needs are met, if not exceeded,
and that products and services are as desired/needed, not imposed.

So how do you get involved? Is it luck? It is skill? Is it people, products or services?

All and more I am sure.

A key step often required is the need to demonstrate experience, understanding,
value, sustainability of strategies etc to those assessing a tender.

Reality Check – Successful tenders must be compliant to the requirements of the
request, must be price competitive, and need to find the balance between the
technical requirements of the response and the selling nature of the process.

One of the most important aspects of development initiatives is their ability to
produce sustainable outcomes into the communities within which the activities take
place. Consequently, learning from past activities assists to shape the style of
future initiatives. For firms or individuals seeking participation, understanding how
such learning could modify development approaches is a critical step in determining
the type and level of involvement to target.

Fact – learning from past activities continues to shape future interventions.

The Development Market Today

The following points are some key observations about the directions [approaches]
being taken in the provision of development assistance. These directions have the
potential to impact on any strategy organisations and individuals might adopt to
enter, maintain, or increase their involvement:

• Funds are being diverted from government aid agencies to other government
departments for sector-specific programs

• There is a continuing trend to devolve more decision making to the offshore
post of the donor country, away from the ‘central’ headquarters

• An increase in donor co-ordination and collaboration where, for example, the
USA [through USAID] and Australia [through AusAID] might align program
approaches to avoid duplication and other associated impediments, into a sector-
wide approach

• A trend seeing more assistance being aligned to foreign policy where, for
example, security and regional stability could influence aid disbursement

• Bilateral donors are opening their markets, allowing for individuals and
organisations to compete for once closed opportunities

• There is an increasing trend for a move to larger activities, such as sector-wide
approaches, as opposed to specific project interventions

• Scale and global reach is likely to be an important criteria in winning and
managing major programs

• Relationships and networks in country with donor representatives, recipient
governments, local organisations and development professionals are becoming
increasingly important.

Opportunity/Approach/Success Factors

Opportunities for involvement exist across a whole spectrum of activities, from
short-term review/assessment activities in Australia, to short-term offshore
assignments for individuals or teams, to long-term offshore assignments for
individuals or teams, to overall project management which might include technical
inputs as well as sub-contracting of activities.

Organisations such as The Development Executive Group (http://
http://www.developmentex.com) are a valuable resource for individuals and firms to
identify opportunities, individuals and potential partners. This Group provides a
range of free information and support services to individuals and companies,
including project information updates, a weekly development newsletter and
employment opportunities in the development sector.

An immediate key success factor is the consideration of which level of involvement
for a particular opportunity is likely to deliver the best result with the minimum of
risk – for the organisation, the client, the stakeholders and the recipients of
support.

Many of the larger activities, such as programs, facilities and sector-wide
approaches, often have sub-components that will be let out – meaning the overall
project managing firm could be ineligible to perform the services within a sub-
component. The key principles to securing sub-component involvement is often
identical to that required to secure the overall project, as there will be a call for
tender using the same or very similar process to that used by the funding agency.

Consequently, all levels of involvement in the development arena are likely at some
point to require interested organisations/individuals to participate in a competitive
tendering round. This is often the case regardless of the size of the resultant
budget.

Reality Check – Tendering efficiency and effectiveness remains critical.

Tendering skills alone, while critical, are not the sole success factor – in fact
tendering well in the absence of other key activities/initiatives may prove
insufficient. Key considerations for success, in addition to compiling a winning
tender include:

• Having the winning product – the team, the approach, the methodology, and
the response to the requirements of a tender

• Ensuring advance positioning – research, preparation, resources

• Maintaining adequate promotion – often the key here is relationships, and
certainly past achievements

• Being in the right place – knowing the clients and stakeholders and having an
international presence

• Offering the right price – must be competitive and offering value for money.

The tender response is often the most challenging aspect (apart from
implementation of course), addressed by ensuring appropriate preparation and
analysis is conducted in advance. The tendering timeframe usually falls within a 4 –
8 week period and generally responses would be required to address key criteria
including the team, approach and methodology, management, and price.

Reality Check – Preparation must commence prior to the public call for tender if a
realistic chance of success is to be expected.

These thoughts are by no means exhaustive, though they do cover some core
principles relevant to successful business development and tendering approaches.

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