21 January 2007

Always be prepared for an opportunity.

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The potential for a new customer is always just around the corner and the astute business owner and entrepreneur knows this fact well and they are always ready for action. But to truly take advantage of this opportunity you need to be prepared. You need to keep a supply of business cards on you, keep your promotional material handy and always be ready to talk to someone about what you do.

Many business owners are outwardly shy when it comes to talking about their business. They are almost afraid of saying what they do and whilst the humility is nice, it really isn’t a good strategy for building a business.

Look for any opportunity to promote your business and you will find plenty of them. Look at any chance encounter as an opportunity – who knows what will come out of it. I have made a surprising number of excellent contacts and customers from people I have sat next to on planes, or been forced to wait in queue with, or just bumped into for some reason. If you are generally interested in other people, you will find that they will reciprocate and be interested in you.

Now I am not advocating that you stalk people, just that you be prepared to tell people about your business and be prepared to give them more information and never judge a book by its cover. I have come across a lot of people who at first glance may look more like they need a job rather than being in a position to give me work and it is easy to judge based on appearances alone. But by keeping an open mind you may not categorise people as quickly and the potential for a new customer could be standing right in front of you.

Interestingly, the starting point here is being able to say what it is you do. A lot of people actually struggle with this part of the interaction. When asked what they do there is a kind of mumble with downcast eyes. I recommend that you have a very clear line in your mind and when asked what you do, stop, look the person in the eye and tell them loudly and proudly.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY? Are you prepared for any opportunity? Do you keep business cards and promotional material readily accessible? When asked what you do, do you answer in loud and proud manner or do you mumble and look away? Today is the day to end bad habits and improve on good ones.

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