We live in a world of abundant opportunity... Certainly my business is surrounded by too many opportunities for business development. There may be an economic depression, downturn. But in the middle of the worst collapse ever, there are opportunities all over the place.
Here's a true story that happened by accident yesterday. I went to my local garden centre - intended to buy a few small pots & plants. I was also looking for advice from Peter Dowdall on what to do with my garden. That's all I had on my mind. In front of Dunsland Nursery was a small stall, a couple of people selling something. It caught my eye, I got curious. The stall looked like a remnant from a Farmers' Market. Before going in for garden stuff, I paused to check out the stall.
Two young people (Ger & Francesca) selling salt. They were selling other goods but I have a special interest in salt. Recently I've been collecting different types of salt. (From Ummera, from Flor De Sal D'Es Trenc ....) I struck up a conversation about the salts they were selling; this led on to chat about the rest of their business, including the organic herbs they offer.
On Bachelor's Quay, near North Main Street Cork City, they are based. Happy Herbs, organic herbs & spices, Francesca showed me salts I never imagined.
Black lava salt... imagine salt connected with volcanos. Salt from Himalayas: I found out the Himalayas were once under water. Mindblown, I got their business card. Found out they didn't even have a website ("Mothersnaturesrecipes" under construction). I asked if they had a blog? Because in front of me was so much content, so much information that others would like to know about.
The point I'd like to offer about business development is ... This little business has rich content at its fingertips. It's in a position to share knowledge & experience with curious people. If they wish, they can develop their business in this way:
1 Continue trading, source new products for their local market
2 Sell the goods
3 Be very good at conversation with customers
4 Build reputation on-line by blogging about what they are doing, and the products they find
5 Use Facebook, Twitter, even MySpace & Flicr to attract interest and become a hub for people
6 Grow their business to unimagined proportions and in unexpected direction...
There are great books, like Gary Vaynerchuk's "Crush It" , which focus on how to build a business like this. [Read my comments here.] There are YouTube videos on how to develop your business. There is no shortage of inspiration even coaching available.
Thinking about this afterwards, I realise I've been lucky. I stumbled into a business opportunity. I'm now taking this opportunity to build my business by writing about the salt merchants in Glanmire. I wandered over to that stall when I could have stuck to my plan. I could have walked by, I could have missed the story. I could have come away satisfied with plants. I might have overlooked the chance to do something I love, talking to strangers about their interests.
Yesterday, there was an opportunity to "sell" my wares: "I could write you a website, I could advise you on your marketing strategy, I could help with your business development, I could introduce you to other business." - But no, that would have been a form of spamming. That's not my style. I stuck to my passion, my curiosity for business - the people, products & punch. I offered no service; I stayed focussed on their business.
Some one may read this piece and say to themselves " this guy might be interested in my business, I might like his style, let's make contact." That might be the start of another story, to everyone's advantage. Who knows?
"Call to action": While you look for plants in your local gardening centre (on your 'day- off'), there may be an interesting business opportunity in front of you. Go for it.