What is a business?
I’ve been asked that many times before.
Is it providing good service, having a great product to sell, a great invention, providing a solution to a problem?
In a nut shell if there is no market for your product or service and nobody is willing to pay you for it then you don’t have a business.
How did I do it?
Picked up the phone, knocked on doors, spoke to people… listened!
Of course having an idea helps, being in the right place at the right time helps.
Taking the first step was never easy but I took it.
Encouraged by the network around me who always said “that’s a good idea” you could make money doing that yourself and having done a lot of research and homework it took off and is working fine for us.
Developing a business is hard work and you need to recognise the opportunities when they come along.
You also need to make sure you are in a position to find those opportunities.
One piece of advice I was given was “as Managing Director you are no good to your business if you are always stuck behind your desk”.
I use that all the time as motivation to get out and about.
Attending exhibitions and conferences are important to keep up to date and network within our sectors, calling customers old and new is vital to keep up to speed with both the market place and to be aware of their problems.
Pick up the phone, speak to friends, get introduced, ask for meetings, ask for referrals, go out for lunch, make partnerships, sometimes even do stuff for free – that was in the early days starting out!
I’ve been told it’s called networking – never liked that label but that is what it is.
Creating your own network of contacts who you can do business with, you can help or they can help you.
The Chamber of Commerce in Renfrewshire was my first real introduction to “networking”.
Bit scary the first few times being introduced to real business people – they are important and not normal – eh!
We are all the same – everyone is normal (in their own way!) so get over that hurdle and be confident speaking to people. Initially they will be a stranger to you but you will be to them too, remember.
Listen, ask questions and in my opinion try not to be too serious and business-like.
Don’t try to sell at dinner!!!
My experience is people want to get to know you and what you are about as a person as well as what your business offers.
Believe me if you have a great product and service but can’t get on with the person you’re doing business with then you are less likely to do business.
My main role now is helping our customer to solve their problems.
I am available to existing and potential customers to listen to what they need in their business.
I enjoy that.
If I can help a customer with a problem and generate growth for EPM at the same time then we have a great business.
Making the first contact is sometimes a challenge.
I know what it’s like to receive sales calls – often a pain and I sometimes don’t take them.
I’m constantly receiving calls from offering me shares, energy companies, mobile phone companies, wine companies, charities, the list goes on.
I am that guy doing the same thing for our business so I understand if you think I’m a pain.
I want our business to grow, I want to sustain employment for our staff and I want to offer new opportunities for jobs…
Please take my call.