The Solo Entrepreneur’s Success Secret: Planning Time for Business Development

One of the primary issues about which my clients complain is that they never stop running their businesses. They say their day is an endless cycle of completing tasks for clients, having conversations with prospective clients, and networking to find clients. They know that they need to find some time to plan what they’re doing and where they’re going in their businesses, and the only time they manage to carve out for themselves to do this is late at night with a glass of wine in hand, on Saturday morning in the midst of a child’s soccer game, or on a Sunday afternoon at the dining room table when the kids are working on school projects. How productive can anyone be in that kind of environment?

Normally, when you think of time management, you’re told to put your tasks in 3 categories (A, B, and C) based on priority, with the As being the highest priority, and then do all the tasks the A list. Poof — time management — done! If it were only that easy..LOL

The time management system that I’m currently using is a bigger-picture system, focusing on the overall plan of how you structure your time rather than on the actual tasks, although that does come into play. In this system, you have 3 kinds of days: Rest Days, Profit-Generating Days, and Business Development Days. You can set as many (or as few of these) as you like each week, as long as the total number adds up to 7 for a full week.

I’ve purchased a large laminated wall planner for the current year and a set of colored sticker dots to graphically represent on this calendar my Rest, Profit-Generating, and Business Development Days. I’ve found that having this hanging on the wall in front of me helps tremendously in my planning, and when presented with an opportunity, helps me determine how viable it is in relation to the time I have available.

On your Rest Days, you are free to do anything at all except work-related tasks. You can meditate, veg on the couch, spend time with friends and family, go for hike, or take a vacation. The goal on your Rest Days is to revitalize and rejuvenate your spirit and not think about business, work, or money. This is the first set of days I’d like you to plan for yourself. Yep, you heard me right. Repeat after me, “Pay yourself first.” What works with money also works with time! Currently, for me, that translates into 2 Free Days per week. I then have a number of longer vacation periods kicking in and 3 and 4-day weekends. Remember, all work and no play makes Jill a cranky girl….

Next fill in your Business Development Days, which is the time when you’re working ON your business, not IN your business. The Business Development Days are the most important days for a business owner because they’re serve as your business management days, or time when you focus on finances, marketing, sales, resources, and personnel.

Let me repeat — this is the most important day of your week. You can’t grow and market your business while you’re doing the actual work of the business, so devote at least one day per week to developing and overseeing your business. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, Business Development Days are vital to your success. Your business will not be able to grow and prosper without regularly scheduled business development time. My business development day is sacred, and I guard it like the Hope Diamond. Only in extreme emergencies do I let other things interrupt my Business Development Day.

The most compelling reason that Business Development Days are vital to your existence is because without that time, you don’t have any of the third kind of day, the Profit-Generating Days.

Whatever is left of the week are Profit-Generating Days, or the time when you’re actually working in your business, doing the work of the business. These are the days that you’re working with clients, answering their problems and concerns, or conducting other activities in which you’re directly generating revenue. In some businesses this time might be called “billable hours.”

So, my current schedule is as follows:

Saturday and Sunday: Rest Days

Monday and Tuesday: Profit-Generating Days

Wednesday: Business Development Day

Thursday and Friday: Profit-Generating Days

I started this type of long-range planning several years ago, and have found it to be incredibly empowering. I guess I’d fallen into the M-F, 9-5 rut again without realizing it, and spent all that time working with clients rather than spending any time on the business development side and taking a long, hard look at what I really wanted out of my business. What was helpful to me was realizing that I’m not going to always be 100% faithful to this system, as opportunities arise that I can’t control. However, I know if I commit to being 80-90% faithful to the system, I’ll do just fine.

Start planning time for your business development today. Buy your calendar, set aside some time to map out your year, and begin to experience the power of actually being in the driver’s seat of your business.

Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter

Business Development Plan

A business development plan is an essential tool for all prudent entrepreneurs if they wish to remain in business. Just wishing for one, will not get you anywhere. You need to know how it works in order to draft one for your enterprise. A complete business development plan serves three basic purposes: communication, management, and planning.

It communicates the group’s financial strategy and company policy to all outside funding bodies and sponsors. Frequently, it will act as the prospectus of the company to attract investment capital and/or get loans sanctioned. More than a mission statement, the business development plan is a comprehensive explanation of the opportunity. It reveals the profit making potential of the business and helps attract strategic business partners. The plan dwells on all aspects of business activity, anticipates future problems and suggests alternatives as solution.

Company management sees it as an effective administration tool. With the help of the business development plan you can monitor the progress of all the current programs and evaluate the efficacy of your future endeavors. The plan allows you to set timelines and goals. You can compare projected figures with the actual achievements and gauge the progress made. It is a dynamic tool that reflects the growing knowledge and experience of management.

The planning tool is your mentor as you walk through the different phases of your business. A carefully charted plan details all the possible risks and uncertainties, identifying future problems so that you can avoid them with the help of established alternatives. Entrepreneurs today are more inclined to share their business development plan with employees. This leads to a greater employee identification with the stated mission and a better understanding of the goals of the business.

Link Exchanges or Business Development Strategy

Viewing the ever growing issue and concern of Link Exchanges and the method by which they are being performed, I can clearly say to every white hat SEO consultant that WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

I myself as a manager in several organizations receive my share of irrelevant and sometimes insulting exchanges of link invitations from companies/organizations that have absolutely no relevance to my area of business and/or complementary industry. I am always amazed that those companies portray themselves in such a poor manner.

The Common Method

It is a known fact that links are a major concern for every site owner or SEO consultant looking for better rankings and higher PR. Today site owners and even some SEO consultants do not care where they get the links, sending thousands of e-mails through automated programs to whichever company/website that comes across their path. These companies work on a pure statistical assumption that out of all these thousands, few individuals will agree to the exchange.

The problem with this method is that most of us today regard Link Exchange as nothing more than another form of spam. This results in a built up resistance in cooperation to take part in a Link Exchange program as it might indicate your website as a non professional website.

I believe that part of the solution to this problem is for anyone who is looking for SEO consulting to take better care as to whom he/she chooses and to take some involvement in the process of his/hers company’s representation to the world.

Link Exchanges as a Business Development Strategy

After years of conducting Link Exchange activity for my business and those of my clients I started noticing the effect this program brought to my clients. I further wondered how we could create a more organized and thought-out effect from the beginning.

The Effect: The effect that started to happen for my clients was that slowly but surely they were gaining international contacts and forming business relations with distant partners, thus enabling them easier access to their local clients and free promotion of their name. It also brought activity into their circle of contacts and other business associates. That of course led to formal relations which evolved into a full international network with a sole existence to serve the respected clients of the international network’s members.

Creating the Effect

The development from this point was very natural, as it was logical to assume as a multilingual SEO expert that the bridging between cultural differences and forming the same kinds of relationships with local companies and in their own language will add to the tremendous strength of this business possibility. This is exactly what we did, realizing that giving time and attention to the type of companies you are contacting and industries you are targeting is imperative to the success of your Link Exchange campaign.

Many times I have heard that Link Exchanges work on statistics and the more you send the more links you will have. This theory might be true but the quality of the link is affected by this method, and not to mention the constant depletion of the internet resources such as SERP and directories while e-mailing in ignorance.

You will get more links and much more directed traffic and generated business if you take time and thought to the quality of your Link Exchange program. This had taken a tremendous effect for all the companies I consult and work with and will have the same effect for you.

Another excellent way to broaden the Link Exchange program is to contact the most desired of exchanges and explain the idea of business development opportunities that may be involved in such an exchange.

Conclusion

To summarize my thoughts and experience on the matter, the link exchange program will stop having a negative effect on the SEO industry, if professionals and non professionals will give the time and attention this major issue deserves.

I believe that with the simple and familiar advice I have passed along with this short article, there is great potential to create healthy Link Exchange programs where users will truly benefit from the links posted on ones website. Don’t forget this is the first and primary reason for the Link Exchange program to exist and why it is effecting your ranking in such a profound way.

9 Ways Performance Appraisals Promote Business Development

Employee performance is an essential ingredient in any company’s ability to achieve its goals. Therefore managing employee performance is integral to business success. A well managed performance appraisal assists managers to assess and provide feedback to increase the competency of their team members. Developing skills, knowledge, attitudes and increasing team member capability are key objective of performance appraisals. For many businesses performance appraisals results in spending ‘time on the business’ to build capability.

Performance appraisals promote business development in the following ways:

1. Drive business performance

Facilitating performance appraisals means managers making an effort to communicate with their employees. Managers who care about the performance of their people and business will recognise the importance of providing feedback and assisting their team members to grow and develop. The performance appraisal is a proactive HR solution in driving business performance.

2. Improve employee productivity

Assessing employee performance against job expectations provides the opportunity to improve capability and productivity This is achieved by communicating how the person has performed and identifying key result areas (KRA’s) and behaviors s which with improvement will increase capability, productivity and profitability.

3. Identify specific areas for improvement

An effective performance review process will consist of a plan specifically aimed at improving KRA’s and behaviours that have been identified as requiring improvement.

4. Address poor performance

Conducting performance appraisals enables you to talk about performance and behaviour that has been previously identified where improvement has been required.

5. Identify future development requirements

Performance appraisals help confirm employees’ strengths and weaknesses and identify future competency requirements to perform their current or another role. Through targeted development, team members will increase their value to the business as they increase in capability.

6. Make informed employee decisions

Employee decisions regarding improvement, promotion, job changes, and termination can be achieved through the performance appraisal process. The process provides managers with the opportunity to empower and delegate responsibilities to team members.

7. Increase the organisations capability

Performed organisation wide the performance appraisal process increases the organisations overall capability resulting in a competitive advantage – your people.

8. Recognise, retain and reward high performers

Having a strong link between effort performance and reward will motivate team members. Performance appraisals provide a HR solution which can be linked with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation methods, resulting in increased team member engagement and capability.

9. Improve profitability

Having a more capable, competent and motivated team will improve communication, productivity and ultimately profitability.

Businesses that see performance appraisals as a strategic method to develop employees benefit because the added competence further develops the organisations capability, competitiveness and sustainability.