Business Development

I’m a terrible golfer.  In fact, even the use of the term ‘golfer’ to refer to me devalues actual golfer’s everywhere. I was once told by a friend, after an hour or two at the driving range, that he had figured out what was wrong with my golf swing. “Really?” I replied, hopeful of some valuable input, “what?”

“Everything.”

I’ve had a lot of advice like that throughout my golfing ‘career’, but I’ve also had some helpful tips. The difference between the good advice and the bad advice is often defined by how I’ve dealt with it. Good advice can be ruined by bad adoption and bad advice can work if you use it in the right way. In that way, all the golfing advice I’ve had over the years is just like the new business development tips people often rush to offer.

Like perfecting a golf swing, perfecting business development is a lifelong pursuit. You will never know it all, and there will always be a new tip that gives you a little more. The trick is to learn to treat each piece of advice in the right way.

Do Listen To Advice

The first thing is to always listen to new business development tips. You can’t afford to ignore any advice, even if it winds up being terrible. My father, my golfing ‘mentor’, offered plenty of advice when I was learning the game. I ignored most of it assuming he couldn’t understand how I wanted to swing the club. He still wipes the floor with me when we get a round in.

Don’t Assume It’s Always Right

Of course listening doesn’t mean you have to follow. You should take every business development tip with a pinch of salt. Digital marketing and social media provide great avenues for business development, but there are many purveyors of strategy out there who can only tell you what they did.

Like your golf swing, social media strategy needs to be personalized and what worked for your advisor may not work for you.

Do Try New Things

One of my abiding golfing memories came from a round I played in my teenage years. As usual I was hacking my way around the course hoping, rather than aiming, to find greens and fairways. My playing partner suggested I try to give the ball a bit more space when I tee off. I was standing a little too far over it and it made my swing awkward. That single change led to one of the best back nines I’ve ever hit.

Trying new things is valuable.  And one minor change can make all the difference. In business development, you can see big improvements in online lead generation channels with simple tweaks to content or visuals.

Don’t Do Too Many At Once

The danger is doing too much too soon. The success of the advice on my stance led me to question and tweak every part of my swing. I tried shorter, longer, straight arms, high grip; everything. The result was that I completely forgot how to hold a golf club, never mind swing one.

Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to change too much at once. You might end up losing sight of the things you did well in the first place.

Do Monitor Progress

Instead, make one change and monitor it. If your website traffic increases because of new social media activity or your lead nurturing strategy starts to yield more qualified prospects, then start looking for the next improvement. If it’s not working, drop it.

Don’t Rush To Judgment

It often takes a while for the true benefits of a change to become apparent.  If you apply the latest business development tip and you don’t immediately see growth, don’t be disheartened. When someone offers advice on tweaking your golf swing, you don’t drop it after one poor shot. The same applies to business development strategy. As long as you don’t see negative results, give it time before ruling out a potential improvement.

Golf isn’t the only metaphor that can help you with business development. A ‘blue ocean’ strategy means creating a market where you have no competition, read our free whitepaper to find out how you can find your clear blue waters.