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We run quarterly Round Table discussions with our Partner, BigChange, and they set the subject. I had to smile when on returning from holiday to chair the event on Tuesday I saw the title was ‘Grow your own business’, that’s exactly what Connect Yorkshire has been helping its members to do for the last 18 years!

The members of Connect Yorkshire who attended and contributed to the discussion were; Philip Stead of LGP Print, Owen Gleadall of MerlinSoft Ltd, Mark Cowgill of Exa Networks, Ian Whitfield of Alpha Card, Connect Yorkshires’ accountancy Partner Simon Palmer of Garbutt+Elliott, Robert Mitchell of Power Solutions, Ryan Pharo of AFP Digital and Connect Yorkshires’ legal Partner Caroline Broad of Clarion Solicitors.

We covered 3 main topics;  Expand Organically or Buy, Develop Overseas and Recruiting sales people.

Expand Organically or Buy

Acquire a small business to boost your sales, possibly cheaper than taking on a sales team. Typically where the owner is looking to retire. Must merge the cultures.

Possibly buy in a different geographical area, or buy a business in a related field so you can sell new connected services/products to each others customers. You might be able to disrupt the market by adding something different.

You must make sure the culture fits – stamp your culture on the new business.

Business is all about people. Be careful about the relationship of the vendor with his/her staff and with his/her customers.

Develop Overseas

Research other cultures first to see if any are similar to yours. Each country has different cultures. Is the only thing we have in common with the US our language?

If your business is serviced base, it’s far easier to form a partner relationship with somebody providing similar services rather than buying them. They have the local knowledge, culture and contacts.

Recruiting sales people

Is there anything more difficult!!

Use your existing network as you know their strengths and weaknesses.

Graduates are another route as thy are looking to impress and kick start their career.

It is a lengthy process getting a good sales person. Sales start from the business itself, i.e the customers and the salesperson are just part of the process. The company must make the salesperson’s job as easy as it can by providing brilliant customer service.

You can use a recruitment agency and/or LinkedIn.

If the person doesn’t work out see if he/she can do another job in the business, so you don’t lose all your investment in him/her. The trial can last up to 12 months, but 3-6 months is more common.

 

Nick Butler 01/03/19