Bootstrap Business Development

Taking steps to build your business

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Pancakes, Prospects, & Planning: Hmm Good

We’ve talked about the fact that a whole lot of networking and prospecting can be done in the process of putting your strategic plan together in the past.

We need to talk a little bit more about the difference between prospecting and networking – as well as the fact that when you engage in either of these activities you are NOT selling.

But I also want to tell you exactly HOW you can network and, at the same time, work on your strategic plan.

Not to mention we need to talk about what a strategic plan actually IS — as well as how to go about creating one.

Sounds like I want to do too much.

Maybe if I’m smart enough I can tell you a little story that contains the whole enchilada.  Well, I love a challenge, so here’s my story and I’m sticking to it:  (I just love to say that!)

Once upon on a time there were two women,  Sally and Patty.

Sally Seamstress owns a small business tailoring clothes that she runs out of her dining room slash tailor shop.  Sally started her business when a friend lost a few pounds and complained that none of her work clothes fit her anymore.   You guessed it — Sally fixed her right up and her friend told her “You should start doing this for money.”

Although she’s home-based, any time you see Sally during the work week you’d swear she was the CEO of your local savings and loan — even at the grocery store.  Needless to say her clothes are tailored to the nines and fit her like a glove.  It doesn’t take too many brain cells to figure out that she’s aiming to sell her services to business women and men.

Patty Present owns a small business creating gift baskets that she also runs out of her dining room slash gift basket factory and warehouse.  She started off making her baskets simply because she loved making them.  Patty’s really good at what she does –  she loves to shop, she’s extremely creative, and has an innate sense of design.  Patty went into business for herself after being repeatedly told “You should start a business selling these to people too busy to buy presents”.  Patty decided she’d sell her baskets to busy “I work an 80 hour week” professionals.

Neither Patty or Sally has absolutely any experience running a business.  Neither one of them has a strategic plan — never mind a business plan.  Neither one of them had any money to invest in their business.  They’re like us — bootstrapping it.  But they have so little experience they don’t even know this is what they’re doing.

They both want to sell to business professionals.  Problem was, they didn’t KNOW any business professionals.

Luckily there were both smart enough to realize that the easiest place to meet business people was to join their local Chamber of Commerce.

SMART move on both their part.  Membership fees were really low — lower than a dollar a day in their case — and they could both afford to take that out of the family budget.  (Even if your business is Internet based, if you don’t belong to your local chamber, get on said Internet and JOIN NOW!)

At first it seemed like the Chamber was the magic trick.  They got to stand up and give a brief “Elevator Speech” about what they did.  People were really nice and introduced them around and a few jobs started to trickle in without any further effort.  Much to their surprise, after attracting these few jobs things dried up.

The Honeymoon was over.

As you can imagine by now both Sally and Patty are worried that their businesses are going to fail.  The dream of working for themselves doing something they love will never be anything more than a dream.

Cut to the next Chamber monthly breakfast meeting.

Uh oh – this post is getting to be way too long.  I know you’re all busy people, so I’ll just have to turn this into a series of posts in order to respect your time (and keep your interest!)

Stay tuned for more on the adventures of Sally and Patty as they build their business out of very little or nothing.

“I see Blog people”  

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