CLEAR – Business Development Steps – Part 1

Love this time of Year! 🙂

I’m enjoying a nice morning with no work pressure, a great coffee, birds singing and it’s not cold or too hot. I find this time of year is such a great time to start planning 2017.

If you are wanting to do some strategic business development thinking for 2017, I’ll be sharing a few tips and strategies over the next couple days that will help. And as always, PM me or email if you have specific questions.


It would be absurd to go into a travel agent and say,

“We want to go to New York…can’t confirm which airport we will be departing from…but can you tell us your best deal and route?”

First step in planning your #businessdevelopment is to know your starting point. Second most important step is to know where you want to go. I find many businesses are good at knowing the target, the destination but fail to reflect on the starting point. Therefore their strategies are no where near as effective as they could be.

You may have read my CLEAR business planning acronym in a previous post.

  • Customer
  • Looking for?
  • Earnings?
  • Actions required?
  • Responsibility

Checklist for the priority topics to cover as a minimum in your planning.

The CLEAR business development system is quick, simple and helps you cover the essentials and identify your starting point as well as where you are going.


Who were your best and most profitable customers in 2016? Make a list. It helps the brain process data when it’s on paper because you only have so much RAM (working memory) in your computer-brain to hold ‘stuff’ and think of new stuff.

Typically a business has around 3 different core customer types. Generalisation but I find most businesses will have the ‘B’ customers, the ‘bread and butter’ customers that are steady, always there and generate a large portion of revenue. Bread and Butter B customers keep the cashflow going, keep the business machine oiled.

Then there are the ‘A’ customers that are Awesome and buy big and pay well and are profitable. They tend to be less frequent or less in number, but still essential.

Then there are the ‘C’ customers that cost you time and money to service. You know the ones. 🙂 They might be Cocky or Complainers and take a lot of your time. Remember, you CAN’T buy more time! once gone it is gone. Therefore what would be more beneficial to your business…to spend time on the A and B customers or the C’s? Every 20mins with a C customer is time you could have been wowing an A and B customer so they become raving fans and recommend you to more A and B Customers.

Get clear on which customers you want more of and the percentage mix of A and B and C customers.

For example, I’m a big fan of working less and earning more. Therefore I recommend:

1. Reviewing the ‘C’ customers you need to cut loose. You can do this by raising the price of the current deal they are attracted to or currently on. They will leave of their own accord…and you will be grateful! One of the best ways to increase productivity and profits is to reduce your C customers.

2. Look at what you are doing, saying, promoting to attract the C’s. Fix it!

3. Look at your own thinking. It all starts with you and your thoughts. This can be a harder one to tackle and identify and you may need my help. Do you believe you only deserve C customers?

Now you have cleared up your plan for the C customers, estimate your current number of A and B customers (preferably on paper) and decide how many you want to have in 2017.

I suggest 3 month goals. For example:

By March 2017 I have 5 A customers, 15 B customers.

By June 2017 I have 8 A customers, 27 B customers

etc etc etc

I’ll end here.

In summary, get clear on where you are starting. Identify your current customer mix. Make a plan to reduce your C customers. Set targets for the number of A and B customers you want.

In Part 2 I’ll cover the CLEAR step of identifying what your customers are looking for.

Are You Avoiding Setting Goals?

And would like to know why?

As a business coach working with many business owners, I start to see trends in why business owners avoid planning (and growing), and I thought it might be insightful to share what I see from my side.

The top two reasons in my experience…

#1. FEAR OF FAILURE. Yep, this is number one. The situation looks something like this…the client claims to be too busy to plan. And on paper they are. They are doing ALL KINDS of stuff. In many cases they aren’t even managing to do all the stuff on their lists!

They feel justified in not spending a couple hours planning.

It’s all a game, a strategy to keep them safe. They seek out more and more tasks to fill their time up. To keep them safe from planning and not kicking the goals they said they would. Root cause is fear of failure. And often this is a result of not learning to comfortably fail as a kid and realise that they can fail and they don’t ‘die’, they can fail and still be a good person, they can fail and still receive love, and realising failing is a part of growing and moving forward. It’s a fact of life.


Now there are some that say ‘but I don’t know how’, or ‘I don’t think it’s going to help anyway’, or ‘that’s crazy, of course I want to grow the business, I just can’t find the time!’

Well…I still suggest it comes down to a fear of failure. I ask them to just accept the notion for a second. I ask them to imagine, if they would like to, how they would act if they had zero fear of failure. With zero fear of failure (and an appreciation of the value of planning), how would they handle the time issue? Or the ‘don’t know how’ issue?

If this resonates with you, try it. How would you act differently with your planning with zero fear of failure?

‘Busy-ness’ instead of getting down to ‘business’ is a dead giveaway of someone that is fearing they will fail – however they perceive and define failure in their mind.



This is a killer of business success. This belief will sabotage all the best intentions and actions in the world. I know this one well from personal experience. It’s another one that can be a result of the life training we received as a kid. How we were treated, how we received or didn’t receive things, the conditions that were placed on receiving, and whether our parents demonstrated a feeling of deserving.

Some of the tell tale signs this belief is playing out in the business are…

1. The business owner pays everyone else first before themselves.

2. There are recurring incidents where deals fall through and other misfortune.

3. There has been no price increase for 2 or more years.

4. They seek out the cheapest deals or the free deals and don’t invest in the business or themselves.

The good news is that the power of the negative is not as powerful as the positive.

When I help them transform this belief pattern the positive results are immediate – often literally within minutes. And I’ve experienced this personally time and time again. For example on more than one occasion my client has had a positive business phone call driving back to work after our coaching session. With a different mindset, the same actions that previously delivered duds, suddenly attracts winners.


If you feel you may be running some of these strategies and are tired of it, you recognise what it is costing you, and you are determined to take action, then send me an email or give me a call. I’ll ask you a few questions and be able to tell whether you need to deal with reason 1 or 2 or not. If you do, it isn’t hard or costly and definitely one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Get CLEAR Cheatsheet for Business Planning


I’m hearing this a fair bit and I totally get it.

There is so much that COULD be covered in a plan, (where to start!) and there is so much happening in the lead up to Xmas and holidays.

So I’ve made it easier for you. Here’s my recommended TOP things to cover in your business planning for the new year. I even managed to come up with a handy acronym! 🙂

  CLEAR-cheatsheet pdf  

Just spend 2 hrs with your team on this and you will be a 100% better position…and it’s done and you can get back to everything else.

Checklist for the priority topics to cover as a minimum in your planning.
Checklist for the priority topics to cover as a minimum in your planning.

  Enjoy!

And of course if it would help force you to set aside some time to do this, I’m available to facilitate a session with you and your team. This way it gets done and you get my fresh perspective and experience, and I’ll ask the questions that will make sure you uncover some gold next year.