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From Winning Multi-Million Pound Contracts to Running My Own Business

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

The Importance of Business Development and Sales

Me and my dog!

Today's blog post is a bit more personal as I share my approach to keeping marketing simple and adding a personal touch with a bit of my story. I hope this helps you get to know me better.

After spending 25 years in marketing, business development and sales, I have gained invaluable experience and knowledge that has been instrumental in shaping both my career and now my own business.

I've also learned that there are different styles of sales and business development people, and it's crucial to be authentic in your approach.

Personally, I'm not a "salesy" person, and I believe in building genuine relationships first. I have always placed a greater emphasis on fostering authentic connections with people, which I consider to be the cornerstone of any successful business relationship. I still have genuine friends of 20 years from working in this line of work.

Then, it's essential to believe in what you're selling, so you have the necessary confidence to know your product or service inside out. So if you are selling or in business development ensure you live and breathe what you sell.

How did I start in business development? While working as a personal assistant to Prince Charles' architect at one of the top UK architectural firms, at the age of 25, I was introduced to the world of marketing and business development. I vividly remember being intrigued by a woman named Wendy who effortlessly navigated in and out of the office going to meetings and events. I approached her to learn more, and she kindly became my mentor, even sending me to college. Working together, we focused on winning multi-million-pound contracts and we had great success.

Now, as a marketing agency owner on the Isle of Wight, I've learned that while the scope and size of work have changed, the principles of business development remain the same. Building relationships, effective communication, prioritising customer needs, and staying persistent have been key in navigating the challenges of winning work for my own business.

One valuable lesson I learned from working with other businesses in business development is that winning too much work too quickly can be counterproductive. It's crucial to maintain a healthy balance by communicating effectively with operations or, if you're a sole trader, being honest with yourself and your capabilities. I often introduce a wait list, so I can continue to take on clients but not over-commit.

Business development and sales are crucial for any company's success. Without sales, there is no work, no profits, and ultimately, no business.

Business development means finding new ways to grow and expand the business, while sales is about making money by taking advantage of those opportunities.

As someone who has spent years in business development, I have worked on a salary, on a salary plus commission, on a retainer plus commission and on commission only. I know firsthand how challenging and complex this field can be.

However, with the right approach, anyone can become a successful business developer.

Here are some simple tips to help you get started:

  1. Identify your target audience: Understand their needs, pain points, and how you can help solve their problems.

  2. Build strong relationships: Listen carefully to their needs, provide solutions, and follow up consistently.

  3. Communicate effectively: Articulate your value proposition clearly, address customer concerns, and negotiate effectively.

  4. Focus on the customer: Prioritise their needs and provide solutions that meet their specific requirements.

  5. Stay persistent: It takes time and effort to build momentum, but with persistence and dedication, you can overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.

With the right mindset and approach, you can achieve your business development goals and take your business to new heights.

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