Finding time for new business development can be difficult. There’s always something else that seems to be more important. I’ve found that people who don’t carve out time for this find themselves with an empty pipeline down the road.
Here are 10 tips for fitting new business development into your busy schedule.
1. Schedule a time on your calendar and consider it as firm as a meeting with a new prospect—you would never cancel one of those! First thing in the morning is best, before you check your e-mail or listen to voice mail. It can be difficult to break away later on.
2. Use your lunch hour (or a portion of it) one or two days per week.
3. End work an hour early two days a week and schedule business development for that time period.
4. When you begin your calls and emails, put your phone on do not disturb, sign off e-mail/IM, turn off your cell phone and hang a sign on your office door letting others know that you are working on business development, so do not disturb for a specified period of time (just as you would if you were in a meeting).
5. Before canceling your business development time for an emergency, think twice about whether it truly needs to be handled by you right now, or if it can wait for 60 minutes (or 30 minutes or 10 minutes, as it would wait if you were out at a meeting).
6. If the emergency needs to be handled and your business development time must stop, schedule an alternate time on your calendar and consider it as firm as a meeting. Try twice a week for 60 minutes. If 60 minutes is not manageable, try for 30. If this isn’t workable, try 10. If you don’t have 10 minutes twice a week, shoot for 5. If you can’t find 5 minutes twice a week, see number 10 below.
7. Reduce the size of your prospect list. Pick 10 of your most promising contacts and reach them. Once you get through them, add 10 more.
8. If this doesn’t work, further reduce the size of your list. Pick the five most promising prospects and reach them. Once you get through them, add five more.
9. If you still can’t get this done, pick two of your most promising prospects and reach them. Once you get through them, add two more!
10. If you are unable to incorporate any of these tips into your work schedule, you might want to rethink your desire to earn more money! Fill your pipeline now!