In today’s dynamic business world, business development is often found to be an essential part of any business strategy if you want to grow your business.
Business can no longer just rely on creating a value proposition and exploiting it, growth requires an open focus to business. No longer can you sustain growth just through sales. Business today must be looking outside the box for ways and means to add value and drive growth.
Enter Business Development, and the means to achieve growth by creating new routes to market or new products and services to sell. The domain of business development covers a very broad spectrum these days.
You have probably identified within your business strategy a guiding policy to use business development as a means to grow your business. Or, maybe you have hired and fired business development specialists, then now is the time to prepare for business development in your business.
Without preparing for business development, investing in a quality business development specialist is a waste of time and money, and will diminish the return on investment that can be gained from such an appointment.
In this article, I will look at why preparing for business development is critical and give some substance to the downsides of failing to do this. As you will see a failure to get this right can not only lead to you not growing your business but also shrinking it as well!
Having looked at the downsides, I will explain where business development fits into your business strategy as well get to the critical question I posed at the beginning of this article, how to prepare for business development in your business.
The downsides of not preparing
A desire to grow your business is a natural mindset to either enable your business to survive, or to increase the earnings and profit of the organisation.
But growth, especially unplanned growth can bring significant risk to a business. Business development brings even more risk with it.
Because business development isn’t an alternative means of building sales, it’s a means of creating a framework to develop new routes to sales.
And that means change.
For example, you could expose yourself to draining your cash flow through investments in stock or infrastructure changes.
You are also likely to damage staff morale and risk losing key members of staff through the impact of changing existing operations if the changes haven’t been managed correctly.
The fallout of that could result in your reputation being damaged with your customers now and possibly into the future, let alone the impact it could have on your revenue and profits.
Not preparing for business development reveals a lack of planning and awareness of what’s involved, and that damage can be disastrous, like sky-diving and not checking to see if your parachute is there.
As was drummed into me a long time ago, failing to plan is planning to fail.
The downsides are scary, but they are real. Business development is a creative dynamic that will lead to change, and the best way to deal with it is to plan for it.
How to understand where business development fits in your business
In a recent article I laid out the process of creating a business strategy and for me, considering the role business development will play is the first of the coherent actions in your business strategy.
Within your diagnosis and guiding policy, you are likely to have framed business development as a critical part of achieving the growth objectives you have laid out.
By this I mean you have assessed the current business operations and identified a need or opportunity to grow the business. For example, this could be that sales are only growing at minimal levels and the business needs to find new products or routes to market.
The guiding policy defines the overview of how this will be achieved. Within this overview, you might have decided to recruit a business development specialist to enable to find and develop new routes to market.
Coherent actions are the steps you will follow to achieve your business growth goal and I firmly believe that these actions are the most important part of the business strategy, but also the most overlooked.
The first coherent action is the preparation and it starts with just 2 simple questions.
2 simple questions and the logic behind them
These 2 questions are very simple and straight forward to ask, and maybe that’s why businesses miss them in their desire to grow the business. Each question is aimed at helping you prepare for, and hopefully reduce or avoid those negative risks I mentioned earlier.
- Who is this likely to affect by an implementation of a business development led project?
- What is the cost & operational implications of bringing a new business development project/client to the business?
What answers are you looking for?
As I mentioned above, the logic behind these questions is to identify risks. Commonly risks come in physical nature and or a commercial one.
The physical risk is the people you employ and forgetting about them, or even worse excluding them will lead to problems down the road. I have mentioned it before, but its change and people don’t change unless they can play their part in creating it.
By thinking about who is affected you start to open your mind to as to how to create an inclusive process.
So firstly, I would set out to make everyone understand that the business is open to new clients and projects and that will mean change.
Secondly, and this starts to bring the second question into play is to consider current workloads. Does the business have the capacity to bring in more work? How will you manage this? New staff, or re-structuring current operations.
New products or services will cost your business before you are able to sell those products and services and get a return. You should be forecasting these costs into the cash flow forecast, so you can be clear you can afford the up-front costs.
Operational implications do relate to the first point I made, but I would suggest that any form of manufacturing or production that your business undertakes needs to be looked carefully to understand the impact of a business development project.
An overload of work on an operational process can damage the production or supply of the products or services you are already selling. Remember, your business development project is supposed to be additional business, not replacing the existing business you have got.
Recruiting your business development specialist
Having answered these two questions, you should now start to have a clear understanding of the groundwork you need to put in place.
Now it’s time to start the process of recruiting a business development specialist. In case you’re not sure, this article might help you decide what qualities to look for in a great business development specialist.
Recruiting the right person for a business development role isn’t easy and I’m not going to offer any further advice in that area. You will, however, be in a very strong position to enable your chosen business development specialist to hit the ground running.
Conclusion? Prepare for change.
Preparing for business development is so important when it comes to growing your business outside of traditional sales. It offers a means to create action within the strategy in business that you have created.
Understanding how business development will affect your business should empower you to actively engage with your team and prepare correctly for the changes you will need to make to meet the challenges of bringing in new business via business development and using a business development specialist.
Not preparing can cause significant downsides and bring risk to your business. Taking risks is always a part of the business, but preparing correctly should enable you to minimise or negate the risk entirely.
Fundamentally business development will cause your business to change, and you shouldn’t fear that at all. Standing still is a failure in business and by preparing for business development in the way I have defined you will be able to overcome this successfully.
How would you prepare for business development in your business?
Originally published at www.developingyourbusiness.co.uk.