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To Make A Long Story Short

We live in an age of time saving devices and services and I love each and every one. I truly believe that a fax machine, for those who still use them, saves time compared to putting a document in the US mail but I am not so sure the time we save actually goes in as a credit in our ‘time bank’ before we quickly ‘spend’ those saved moments. We want things fast and we want them now.

As much as I love being able to get the latest ball scores and weather on my Blackberry while watching my little girl play softball, there are just some things that cannot be hurried. In the time that I have been a business development consultant I have learned many things and key among those is, in the A/E/C market, when you bill yourself as a ‘business development consultant’ people will listen to you. They want to know what you may know, that they don’t. What small bit of information do you have that may help them bring in some new business, today. The truth of the matter is, there are not any ‘New Business Packets’ one can stick in the microwave for 90 seconds and out comes a purchase order or even an RFP.

Building your pipeline takes time.

Building your brand takes time.

Building your company’s reputation takes time.

Building your business takes time.

Of course, I am not telling anyone anything new so don’t think of this offering as anything more than a gentle reminder that the things we do today are the seeds for the contract we close in weeks or even months down the road.

The economy is tighter than bark on a tree right now and there are a lot of prospects and potential customers sitting on the sidelines wanting to ‘wait and see’. As a business owner, this is not the time to sit on the sidelines, waiting and seeing. If you have some extra time on your hands, here is a short and quick list of items you may want to consider giving a quick review:

  • How does your collateral material look? It is time for an upgrade? This includes your letterhead, brochures, website, mailing labels, business cards, etc.
  • How are your public speaking skills? Have you ever been to a Toastmasters meeting?
  • How are you doing in the wonderful new world of ‘social networking’? Are ‘LinkedIn’, Plaxo, Facebook foreign words to you?
  • How many e-newsletters do you receive versus how many you read? Is it time to revaluate their worth? Are you not reading some that may really have some useful information?
  • How are you doing on keeping in touch with your tried and true clients/customers? Do you only call on them when you are trying to sell them something?
  • How long has it been since you attended your local association meeting?

The list could go on and on but I promised to keep it short and quick.

We live in an age where we don’t have time to read the entire book…give me the ‘Cliff Notes’ version please. Heck, there even services one can subscribe to that does exactly that…gives you the latest and greatest business book reduced down to just a few pages. [I have always wanted to give their trail version a run but never had the time.]Speaking of Cliff Notes, and I will close with this as I know you are in a hurry. I was on a plane not too long ago and the gentleman next to me had the last name, ‘Cliff’. I made a comment to the effect of, “Oh, Cliff, as in ‘Cliff Notes’?” and believe or not, he replied, “Yes, exactly. My father created ‘Cliff Notes’.”

After asking him to thank his father for me for helping me, and an untold number of other high school students who did not have time to read ‘Robinson Crusoe’, I asked him, “How did your dad come up with the idea for ‘Cliff Notes’?

His reply was, “Well, to make a long story short…”

About the Author

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

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