Introduction to Business Growth Suite of Services
NJMEP has been helping NJ manufacturers become more productive, profitable and globally competitive for over 20 years. We are often recognized for our efforts to help clients apply for grants as a funding source to improve their business, or for implementing strategies like Lean Manufacturing. The truth is that we take a holistic approach to helping manufacturers in every area of their business. This approach includes both improving the bottom line and driving top-line revenue growth. In fact, there is an entire suite of services dedicated to Business Growth.
On Wednesday, May 29th, NJMEP hosted a workshop introducing our Business Growth Suite of Services. Below is an overview of the event:
In today’s competitive business climate, it’s not enough to maintain sales – it’s critical for New Jersey’s small and mid-sized manufacturers to increase sales and diversify their client base. Manufacturers need to have a plan and stand out from their competitors. They need new strategies to identify and attract their target audience, continuously add new prospects to the pipeline and convert leads into sales. NJMEP has 6 key modules to help with revenue, market and profit growth.
Strategic / Growth Planning
Business leaders need a vision of where they want to take their business. They need to set short and long-term goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. The vision and goals should be based on a deep understanding of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats along with knowledge of the industry, market, and competition. They can then develop a plan to take them from where they are now to where they want to be. The plan should include the human capital, operations plan, marketing plan, financial projections, etc. needed to achieve success. The vision and mission should be communicated with the team to motivate and drive results. Then, everyone needs to remain focused and be held accountable.
NJMEP can help manufacturers with the development of a plan or with each valuable component in the planning process. (SWOT, Goal Setting, Market Research, Building the Team, Measuring Success, Business Coaching, etc.) What are your greatest Strengths and Weaknesses? Do you know your industry and competition well enough to identify growth opportunities and possible threats? Do you have a written plan for where you want to take your business in the next 3 to 5 years? Do you have clearly defined, measurable short and long-term goals?
Clients are constantly looking for faster, cheaper and better. Competitors are always entering the market. If businesses are standing still, they are likely falling behind. Business leaders need to constantly evaluate new markets, processes, and products to make sure they are holding their competitive edge and growing. Industry 4.0 is upon us and some businesses are leveraging new technology, automation, robotics, and additive manufacturing. Evaluating these strategies takes time and money. The process of introducing new products can pose even more risk and cost to a small to mid-sized manufacturer.
NJMEP can help manufacturers develop a structured and sustainable method for developing new product ideas and expanding their customer base. We can help with the evaluation of new technologies and strategies. How often are you introducing new processes, products or services? Could your products or services be applied (as is or with minor modifications) to new customers and markets? Have you explored entering into new markets or using new methods to reach your target customers?
Businesses need to understand what sets them apart from their competition, why their customers buy from them and their unique selling positions. They need to identify their ideal customer, how to find them and the best way to reach them. They can develop a marketing budget, marketing plan, implement their plan and monitor the results. Some strategies include advertising, direct marketing, writing articles, participating in trade associations/trade shows, networking, the list goes on.
NJMEP can help manufacturers develop a marketing plan and implement the plan. Have you clearly identified the wants and needs of your target customer? What do you do that is different from your competitors and meaningful to your customers? How do you market your brand, products, and services to your customers?
The landscape of how we research and buy what we need has changed. Manufacturers need to make sure they are leveraging the web as a valuable tool to promote and grow their business. Websites need to be up to date, mobile responsive and user-friendly. They should contain clear messaging, strong and relevant content, keywords, strong internal and external linking. 93% of online experiences begin on a search engine. Manufacturers need to leverage search engine optimization, e-commerce, social media, blogs, videos, and other digital marketing strategies.
NJMEP can help manufacturers develop and implement a web-based growth strategy. When was your website created/updated? Have you evaluated your website? Where does it rank against your competitors? Can you be found on Google through relevant keyword searches?
Sales Strategies and Tools
Businesses need to have the right people, processes, and tools in place in order to sell effectively. Selling more to an existing client base is often the easiest strategy. Some small manufacturers are too busy to proactively reach out to existing or prior customers. Some manufacturers rely on manufacturer reps, distributors, and indirect sales while others have direct sales employees. Some manufacturers outsource their outbound calling efforts to another organization, have an appointment scheduled for them, so they spend most of their time selling. Many manufacturers leverage ERP and CRM systems.
NJMEP can help manufacturers find and train salespeople, develop new sales channels, outsource calling efforts, generate leads and evaluate ERP and CRM systems. What is your distribution strategy? What is most challenging: identifying prospective customers, scheduling appointments or converting them to customers?
Protecting the Business and Building Wealth
As part of an overall strategic plan, businesses identify possible opportunities and threats. Opportunities could include growing the business with the investment in a new piece of equipment, moving to a new facility, or acquiring another business. With more and more equipment, sensors and entire plants being connected to the internet, the threat of a cyber-attack becomes more alarming. Power outages, natural disasters, and other possible interruptions happen and having a business continuity plan, with formal procedures and systems in place, is crucial to lessening the impact and recovering quickly.
NJMEP can help manufacturers identify and mitigate risk. We also have resources who can help with business financing needs. How could a cyberattack disrupt your operations? How will you reduce downtime when faced with an interruption?
Running and owning a successful manufacturing business is a challenging venture. Obstacles are an everyday reality and business leaders are forced to confront these disruptions or risk losing business to stronger, more agile competition. NJMEP brings together industry professionals from all verticals and collaborates with innovative, forward-thinking resources to help New Jersey manufactures thrive in today’s competitive landscape. The Business Growth Suite is a culmination of these services to assist manufacturers put an actionable growth plan into place and address pain points throughout all aspects of their business.
The story first published in Manufacturing Matters! Sign up and receive the NJMEP’s quarterly magazine.