Lead generation
Businesses thrive on generating new business - in fact, a Harvard study claims that we lose half our clients in 5 years. I actually think the situation is worse than that, especially for small businesses, and my experience is that with few exceptions, the turnover is approximately every year.

I have recently been contacted by a number of companies offering lead generation services. This is a valuable service for many larger companies with commodity products, but smaller businesses will either become overwhelmed by leads that they cannot fulfil or under utilise the lead generation company (but it is unlikely that there will be a reduction in price!).

Many B2B businesses will find that most of their leads come from recommendations or networking - this is certainly my experience. As such, it is important for business owners to network effectively, both on- and offline. There are a number of online networking organisations - I belong to eCademy and LinkedIn to name but two.

There are a larger number of offline networking clubs and associations - Chambers of Commerce are the most famous. Many of the clubs I have come across insist on highly regimented attendance in closed groups. As a result, they end up as no more than glorified clubs with little to no real business and commercial value.

Business briefings and presentations, such as are organised by professional business associations and institutes are also a good source of contacts, but if you work say in marketing, do not expect to pick up marketing business from a meeting organised for and by marketers. You can, however, find alliances in those networks, and for small businesses, alliances are the best way that we can compete against the larger competitors.

If you are interested in joining in an alliance with any of my businesses, please go to the relevant website (see the useful links page) and make contact.