You may have heard people say they work in ‘biz dev’ and thought this is quite an ambiguous term. Although this phrase tends to mean something different to most people, everyone agrees that business development is key for business growth.
But what exactly is business development and how does it help in business growth? Read this blog to find out!
What is business development?
Business development refers to creating long-term value for an organisation with assistance from consumers, markets and stakeholders. In simpler terms, it is the combination of various relationships to create prospects for future growth. If implemented properly, an effective business development strategy has great potential for any organisation. Here are some business tips that will help you in your strategic planning for your organisation:
- Invest in good human resources: One of the most important aspects in a business development process is ensuring you have an effective human resources department. Valuable employees help in increasing sales, attracting new customers and retaining existing customers. It is also important to keep employees motivated and satisfied through leadership and development programmes.
- Ensure regular flow of cash: You need to keep cash flow constantly flowing to ensure the proper functioning of an organisation. Irregular cash flow will negatively impact the organisation’s operations, ultimately affecting its development.
- Market your organisation: For any organisation to survive, it must have a proper marketing plan in place to attract the consumers’ attention. Marketing strategies can include hoardings, banners, online advertisements and newspapers.
- Have a unique selling point (USP): Having a quality product or service may not be enough to attract consumers, so it is important for your product or service to have a USP. This will help attract more customers and retain existing customers.
- Build your brand: Creating a brand for your organisation and its products is important as it helps customers in identifying with your organisation. For example, Nike is identifiable by its iconic logo, the ‘correct’ symbol, and it’s “Just Do It” slogan. Having a recognisable brand builds brand loyalty, helps in expansion and adds value to your organisation.
- Do not equate sales activities with business development activities: These two activities are not the same; sales is a relatively small aspect of the overall business development picture.
- Maintain good relationships with regulatory authorities: Company’s cannot survive without the assistance and permission of the concerned regulatory authorities. In addition, maintaining a good relationship with such regulatory bodies may help your organisation in obtaining certain benefits.
- Engage with your customers: It is important for you to stay in contact with your customers to gain valuable feedback with regards to your products and services. This feedback can also be used to improve the quality of your products.
Tips for successful business development:
- Do not hire people for the sake of it: According to Derek Ting, co-founder and CEO of TextNow, “Your people are your most valuable asset but adding more people doesn’t necessarily mean increased productivity and output. Rather, it’s more effective to make sure you have the right people, with the right skills, focused on the right problems and opportunities. It’s also important to make sure your people are aligned with your business philosophy and culture.”
- Importance of background checks and identifying customer opportunities: Before interacting with distributors and other third-parties, ensure you carry out a background check if their work is legitimate. It is also important to identify potential customer opportunities as it helps in the organisation’s business development.
- Focus on the quantitative aspect: It is advisable for organisations not to build their businesses around qualitative value propositions. Focusing on qualitative values such as more customers, greater revenue and less cost, helps in improving the business development aspect of your organisation.
- Allocate responsibilities to your employees: Successful develop your business, it is important to set responsibilities to your employees so that the organisation can achieve its goals. It also helps in motivating employees as they feel they are a part of the bigger picture.
- Obtain legal counsel: A legal agreement helps in analysing your business arrangement and it includes commercial terms with regards to the failure of the business proposition. In such cases, the business development manager and legal counsel assess the business opportunity and the risks involved.
How to develop a business strategy
Business strategy can be explained with a simple quote from American academic Michael Porter who said, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
Developing a business strategy can be difficult if you do not know what to include and exclude. A business strategy should be easy to define and easy to understand. If you are still confused, here are a few steps that will help you in developing an effective business strategy:
- Conduct a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis: Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you in assessing the areas in which your organisation is lacking or requires improvement. This will help you determine how to proceed with your strategy planning. Also, keep in mind that when you are determining company objectives, ensure you take the SMART criteria into account
- Prepare a vision statement: When you are creating business plans for your organisation, it is important to prepare a vision statement first. This statement includes medium and long-term aims for the organisation.
- Prepare a mission statement: Similar to the vision statement, the mission statement contains the organisation’s purpose along with the primary objectives. Before preparing this statement, you should ask yourself:
- What do we do?
- How do we go about it?
- Who is our target audience?
- What is our ultimate purpose and goal?
Top tips to help you grow your business
- Completely penetrate your existing market;
- Innovate your products and services;
- Expand your market reach;
- Take part in trade exhibitions;
- Limit your costs;
- Diversify your products and services;
- Consider the franchise model;
- Target new markets;
- Acquire new businesses.
If you are want to learn more about business development, business strategies and marketing business planning, London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers short professional development courses in Business Development Techniques, Strategic Business Planning and Business Strategy.
This article was written by Varun Mehta and edited by Amelia Hayward-Cole.