Most people have heard the phrase, “Not all business is good business,” and while that’s an absolute true statement, I think what’s missing from the conversation is the answer to this question, “How do I qualify opportunities to determine if they’re a good fit for my business?” Keep reading because we’re going to answer that question in this post.
As entrepreneurs, the excitement from gaining an influx of opportunities from prospective clients is unexplainable. You’ve built this business from the ground up, investing your time, money and other resources to ensure that it is positioned for success. And now with the foundation laid, all you need is that one opportunity to prove that it was all worth it.
The problem is that one opportunity, if not properly vetted, could cost you way more than you could ever imagine. And, unfortunately, a lot of businesses learn this the hard way. The good news is that learning this lesson is preventable with the right plan in place.
So how do you know if an opportunity is a good fit for your business?
You establish a clearly defined client profile that will help you determine the compatibility between your company and the prospective client’s company early in the prospecting phase. You want to do your research to answer questions like:
- Do I have the expertise to confidently assist this client?
- Do our company cultures and values marry well?
- Do I have something of value that I can offer this client?
- Based on what I know about this opportunity, do I have the capacity to support this client without adding an unnecessary strain on my business?
To take it one step further, you can ask yourself:
- Do I have enough experience and financial stability to be competitive?
- Does this client’s business fall into the type(s) of industries that my company supports?
- As a small team, will this opportunity force me to work in my business more than working on my business?
- How can I differentiate my company from the other competitors?
Granted, this is an exercise that takes time, but in the end it saves you so much more. Let’s put it in perspective – let’s say that you pursue an opportunity without completing the exercise above. You’re going to invest time, money and human capital at each stage of the sales cycle. To build the relationship and trust with the prospective client, you may make promises that you’re not entirely confident that you can fulfill. And once it gets to a real opportunity where you’re being asked to provide a proposal, you will either determine that you’re really not prepared and you’ll have to decline to move forward; or you’ll move forward in the process, submit a proposal, and possibly win it based on your low price and/or your promises of grandeur. And guess what, either option is a disaster waiting to happen.
Here are the scenarios…
Option A – You back out after promising that your company was capable of fulfilling the contract. And now both parties are left with a lot of wasted time, money and resources. Not to mention, the trust and rapport you built with that prospective client will be compromised.
Option B – You move forward in the process, submit a proposal, with no idea of how you’re going to fulfill the contract. You win the business and now it’s time to start delivering on all the promises you made; and you fail, miserably. Now both parties are left with a lot of wasted time, money and resources; especially the prospective client who has to start the sourcing process over to find a qualified company to replace you. The end result is a tarnished business relationship, a big ding to your company’s credibility and the waste of your most valuable resources as a business owner – your time, your money and human capital.
Here’s the good news…
Both scenarios can be avoided by taking the time to qualify every opportunity. You want to be confident that you’re fully capable of adding value before you make any commitments to move forward in the process. There’s a myth circulating that you should say yes to every opportunity then just figure it out. I don’t agree with that. In fact, I think that’s a recipe for failure.
Successful businesses understand that it’s better to develop business relationships of substance versus flash in the pan short-term relationships. They’re not afraid to do their due diligence ahead of time to ensure that they can position their businesses for success not headaches.
Do not chase opportunities, focus on attracting the right ones.
There will never be a shortage of opportunities for businesses that invest the time to set a strong foundation. Do not make the mistake of chasing opportunities, focus on attracting the right ones. That’s how real winning is done. If you need help with this process, that’s what we’re here for. Schedule your consultation today and let’s do the work to set your company up for success!