Is your mind as blank as your sales sheet? Are you looking for some biz dev inspo? Have 12 on me.

Guest articles
If you’ve got something to say, there’s no better way to say it than to your target audience. Industry publications are always looking to fill space with interesting opinions. Find a publication and pitch your idea to them. It always helps if you have a couple of articles ready written…

Which is why blogging is such a good idea. You get to improve your writing style, create a voice and form some opinions all from the relative comfort of your own website. A decent social following will always help your cause with an industry publication; something a well written blog can help you build.

Social Media
Experience and opinion are pointless if no one’s listening. Getting to grips with social media is a great way of building an audience for free. Be patient, these things take time. And don’t ever ever ever be tempted to buy followers. It’s obvious and icky.

Event sponsorship
But if you do have cash to flash, perhaps consider sponsoring a client industry event. It probably won’t be cheap but you’ll get your name on the programme and the opportunity to schmooze at the launch party with all them lovely vips.

And if you really splash the cash, you might even get the chance to deliver a keynote speech to a captive audience. Just go easy on the hard sell, it’s not a timeshare presentation.

Go beyond pressing the flesh and seek out people who inspire you. Look past what they can give you and show genuine interest. We buy from people we trust. Build it and the rest will follow (eventually).

Direct Mail
Postcards, calendars, notebooks. If you’re a visual designer, use your hard won skills to impress. As with all business development, direct mail works best when you’re regular. Can you really afford to produce 100 bespoke foil blocked 300gsm notebooks every 8 weeks?

Direct mail from illustrator Charles Williams

Lovely direct mail from illustrator Charles Williams

White Papers
Got a hunch that your knowledge and experience could change your client’s industry? Producing and sharing your research findings with your audience could help cement your reputation as a disruptor with those who want their games changed.

You can’t beat a bit of bribery every now and then. A box of cupcakes, a fancy pen, 2 weeks in the Maldives? That’ll certainly grab their attention.

Self initiated projects
What better way of showcasing the absolute best of your skills than with a project where you’ve had to compromise none of them. Self initiated projects, especially the ones that gain traction in the design press and a great calling card for creativity. Just ensure you have the time, money and energy to do it to the best of your ability. Anything less than excellent is a waste of effort.

Asking for recommendations
Know someone who knows someone who you want to know? Have you considered asking for an intro? Be wary with friends as they don’t mix well with business and of course be prepared to reciprocate in the future.

Unsolicited re-brands or re-designs
Yes, because that will definitely work.