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    Do you like to keep up with developments in the world of business? Do you cast your eye over the latest economic trends each month or each quarter? If you do, you'll know that new business activity is increasing.

    Are you taking advantage of these developments in order to grow your own employer community?

    Connecting with new businesses


    Accountants already know that the number of new company formations is increasing, because quite a lot of the work of setting up these new companies is coming to them. Other suppliers of products and services to new businesses are also finding their sales increasing. Those new businesses will soon be making other purchases, too.

    Are you actively trying to get more new businesses to join your employer community? Are you hosting new business events and business start-up conventions? Are you revitalising your strategy for making sure new businesses know about you and how you can help them?

    To take advantage of the current situation set targets for growing your list of employers to reflect what's happening in your local business marketplace. Make a commitment to pay particular attention to the needs of new businesses when you're planning your marketing activities for the autumn.

    Building relationships with businesses

    Most people take time to decide to buy a product, service or development programme. They buy when they are familiar with the organisation delivering the support and have heard good things about the quality of service on offer.

    Is your approach to employer engagement designed to help to build the sort of trust that over time leads to business?

    Have you communicated the benefits employers gain when they choose to join your e-mail list or to attend a free event or to give up valuable time to meet one of your staff? Are you actively thinking about how you can encourage employers to learn more about you, and at the same time demonstrating to them that you do a good job?
    Are you also directly asking new employers to join your community?

    Personal invitations always bring in the best responses. To help to attract new businesses to your organisation ensure that every one who works with employers reminds them about the benefits of being part of your community on a regular basis.
    Make a particular point of spelling out the benefits new businesses will gain from building a close relationship with your organisation as they face the challenges of surviving those early years of trading.

    Giving buyers what they want

    The quickest way to build your business with employers is to supply what they're actually looking for.

    According to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) employers are changing their spending habits when it comes to their purchases of learning and development. They are making more use of such cost-effective development practices as e-learning, coaching by line managers, in-house development programmes and in-house knowledge sharing events.

    Have you revised your offer to take such changes into account?

    For quite some time employers have expressed reluctance to buy, when offered qualifications. Are you ready for the world where they no longer wish to buy as much skills training either?

    Taking the right action

    Statistics about the economy as a whole don't always draw sufficient attention to what's happening in the small business sector. Don't allow your organisation to ignore the changes that are taking place in this part of the employer marketplace.

    Make sure the majority of the new businesses in your area become part of your community rather than someone else's. In other words, make sure your employer community is growing.

    Margaret Adams helps provider organisations to do more business with more employers more often. She writes on employer engagement at: Attract More Business and at Achieving the TQS


    Read other FE News articles by Margaret Adams:

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