Business development is much more than an important step in the life of your company. Doing the right things, taking the correct steps, is crucial to making sure your efforts are rewarded two years, three years and more in the future. You may want to hire someone to focus solely on this project, if your budget allows. If not, it’s possible to help your business develop under your direction – if you follow the steps.
1- If you can, have someone with industry knowledge and good connections to network and find the right path for you. What you need in this individual is an advance scout, someone who will identify your market and the path to it. This individual must also be able to work well with production people, to make sure your product or service fits for the potential client.
Whether it’s a business development specialist or something you take on, this individual must be involved throughout the process, from scouting and market identification through testing and establishing a comfortable level of operation.
2- Development is not sales, so your efforts must be directed toward the suppliers and service providers you’ll work with to create and distribute, whether your service is rubbish removal or your product is diamond rings. Your ultimate goal is creating revenue, yes, but sales may come a bit later, once the structure is established.
3- Once you’ve created some agreements (deals), which is the task assigned to account managers or sales representatives, it’s important to manage those relationships carefully. You must be ready to commit to supporting your relationships.
4- To properly develop business, you should clearly understand the difference between quantitative (number) results and qualitative (quality) results. If you feel your product or service is excellent and people should want to do business with you, that’s qualitative. You must focus on quantitative results – lower cost, more customers, how revenue is driven to your business.
5- Continued support for business development is essential, some would say critical. Whoever you have in your organization handling this area must continue to be involved in business decisions. If you don’t support development personnel, you are neglecting an important piece of the business-success puzzle.
6- Don’t guess. You must have standards for assessing opportunities for development. It’s sort of like saying that you can’t reach a goal if you don’t have one and don’t know what it is. Why would an agreement/business deal make sense for your company? Be specific and be honest. Ask why and ask how.
7- During development you must always keep an eye and an ear on potential legal issues. You should include your business development expert in conversations with legal counsel. This input will be valuable in that it will help you understand business opportunity vs. the risk of doing that business.
Building a successful business is hard, but then anything worth doing will be exceedingly difficult. Making deals will be tempting, but you must make sure you’re making the right connections and agreeing to the things that will help your business grow. Make sure you have someone on your team who understands the difference. You’ll be glad you did.