Business development is one of the most important and time consuming tasks that business leaders must tackle. One of the most difficult aspects of business development is figuring out how to prioritize tasks to ensure that you’re doing what needs to be done first in an efficient manner. No matter what industry you’re working in, figuring out the right way to approach business development can be the difference between long-term success and locking the doors on your business. With a topic as broad as business development, what exactly should you focus on to make sure that you’re doing it right?


Know Your Enemy

Knowing who your competitors are isn’t enough to ensure that you’re at the top of your field, but it is vital that you take the time to study what they do well and find ways to be better than them in as many facets as possible. While you don’t want to simply mirror your competition, being comparable to them in some areas while being better than them in others is the difference in winning and losing. You need to know where they excel and where they struggle so you can develop your firm accordingly. Being aware of competitors’ practices, shortcomings, and partnerships can help you guide your business in a new, innovative, and successful direction.


Monitor Online Reviews

With the continuing rise in technology, more and more customers are posting what they think about businesses online. A 2015 study indicated that an astounding 92% of consumers check out a business online while 80% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Taking steps like setting up Google alerts for your business will ensure that you’re in a position to respond quickly to online reviews, whether they be negative or positive. Answer as many reviews as possible in a purely professional manner to help defuse negative situations and possibly attract new customers.


Stay on Top of Business Relationships

Developing an ongoing relationship with your existing customers will create a recurring customer base that can be the difference in sustaining your business and seeing the doors eventually close for good. Most small business owners generate their biggest revenue stream from repeat customers which means you need to be prepared to create and foster the relationships you already have with your client base. This can be done through targeted marketing, periodic social media posts, and other customer service practices.


Developing a business for future success can be challenging, but focusing on the above topics when planning out your next steps can help you identify where you should direct your attention and how you want to proceed.