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September 22 2019.
Secrets of SME business development..

The SMEs (Small & Medium business Enterprise) always have limited resources (Time, People & finance) & are highly vulnerable to changes in macro economic conditions. Many times they have problems in seeking 'reliable' guidance. Sometimes, it is also their 'ego' that stops them seeking outside help! However, every SME wants to grow & deploy various business development efforts.

For many years, I have been associated with SMEs in a role of Consultant or as a faculty for Executive education. The past one year, as a part of SME research, I started compiling success factors of SMEs in variety of business sectors.

What I found was very interesting. I am sharing herewith some of the key findings of this research.

  • Majority of business( 70%) is likely to come from recommendations and referrals by existing clients and contacts.
  • Virtually all (>90%) of SMEs experienced recommendation from existing clients as one of the most important source of new business.
  • Informal networking was actively pursued by 80% of SMEs.
  • Only 15% found, the traditional contact methods like ‘cold calls ’, e-mail introduction, postal contact to be effective. These methods were supplementary to the other methods.
  • Membership of professional bodies, trade associations & networking events were actively pursued by 65% SMEs for; business development leads & keeping abreast of the 'developments' in the market.
  • Website is progressively being used to educate potential clients & communicating with present clients on the developments in the organisation.
  • Traditional print advertising was successful for only 15%, with direct mail and on-line advertising effective for only 7% of businesses each. (high cost and diffused targeting).

As I studied these results in different ways, it became obvious that the findings will also be of use to other business structures. The results also suggest, best way to get business is talk to present clients, do a lot of networking & there’s no substitute for a face to face meeting.


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