What does business development really mean
We often talk about the need to 'do' business development, but rarely about what that actually means. For me, in order to develop my business, I seek to focus on one of two areas, or both. Those areas are firstly, the value that we add to our customers and how we communicate and deliver that value, and secondly how we are doing that, through the activities we undertake and the resources we use to do that. The former is about making our products and services effective for those who consume them, and the latter is all about being efficient.
Business development areasWhen we seek to be more effective, we develop the value side of our business. We change the way that our products and services deliver value to our key customers and other prospects in the segments, niche's and markets in which we operate. To do that we need to understand the way in which what we do can help those we do it for and a key constraint for business development is really understanding the people for whom what we do really adds value. How can you find that out?When we look at the channel approach we are taking, be that direct mail, referral, social media and so on, we need to understand how to leverage those channels to best advantage. IF we can improve we will get business growth, but how do you find out about areas in which you have little or no experience? Effectiveness is great for customers and suppliers, but what about our own business. If it's not efficient we aren't maximising our own profits and so Business Development must also drive to deliver change in this area too. We need to be reviewing the activities we undertake, and the resources that we need to undertake that activity and then driving change to improve the efficiency of those activities, and to optimise the use and consumption of resources as we undertake them. These aren't trivial challenges.
Efficient Effective organisations (EEO's)Most EEO's have strong boards who oversee both areas of this. Directors take responsibility for ensuring effectiveness in their areas of expertise and bring their skills and experience to bear on making their businesses efficient. Smaller businesses don't have the boardroom experience nor the skills and experience in the business to do this and time and again we see businesses struggle to develop and grow. I'm lucky. I have Ecademy Boardrooms (@EcademyBR) to help me and in the last year or so they've helped me to understand and then define and add tangible new value to our markets as well as driving me to make efficiency changes in the business. Ecademy Boardrooms are changing business for small and entrepreneurial businesses with access to the skills that previously only big corporates could afford. Have you been to one yet? That's business development at it's finest.
William BuistEcademy, Follow @WilliamBuist