An enterprise starts when someone with a vision for a product, service, or a mission starts to consider a new venture. They then start to develop business development process elements one by one. For that, it is essential to know about this aspect of BD.
Business development activities start with the plantation of an idea in the mind, it takes root, and goes on to become a powerful tree. With time, it starts to bear fruit.
The process never stops and every day, there is some activity taking place that helps in the business development process. If this process stalls, it means the organization is moving towards downfall. There is no middle ground here. Those who do not improve, deteriorate.
So, it’s important to keep this process going and for that, we need to know the purpose, extent, and key areas this process touches upon. Let’s start at the base and build this process up step by step.
Mission and Vision
A company starts to develop in minds of visionaries before anything material takes place. Business Development Ideas start to develop with a vision of one or more people who decide a mission for themselves. These ideas take root when shared with other people who share the same vision.
Indeed, the vision and mission are two vital elements of any business development process. Without a vision, there is no purpose to the existence of an organization. And without a mission, there is no direction to a company’s journey. It becomes a lost vessel in a vast sea.
With this in mind, executives and entrepreneurs develop a clear vision for a business or an organization they want to start. For profit-making companies, usually, customer needs and expectations are the key. They know what people want or what area in people’s lives have problems that they can resolve.
On the other hand, non-profit organizations have an altruistic vision and mission. So, their Business development activities are different from profit-making corporations. They try to solve problems through help and support.
But, the common element in all types of businesses or organizations is the presence of a clear vision and mission.
To make it a shared value, companies develop vision and mission statements and use them as general guidelines.
Goals and Targets
The next element is setting up goals and targets for an organization. When a new entity comes into being, it needs a direction and a plan to move forward. Its team also needs a coordination strategy to move in accord. Without set goals and targets, a team doesn’t know how to gauge their performance.
For this purpose, a clearly defined goal is established at the beginning for a certain period. As the company moves forward, it develops more and more goals and correlated deadlines for those goals. The goals are of various kinds such as sales targets, product launch, product innovation, market expansion, and many more.
At the same time, targets are also mapped out to achieve those goals. Targets are specific tasks within a goal and they quantify the progress. A target helps management gauge the advancement towards a goal. After evaluating small targets, the management then decides to keep the pace constant or increase the effort.
In addition, the targets have specific deadlines that help track and evaluate the performance of a team. If a company is missing deadlines again and again, then the management decides to change the strategy or make a major policy change. This brings us to the next element, strategic decision making.
Strategic Decisions in Business Development Process
Strategic decisions prove to be a lifeline or a death knell for a business depending on how they play out. There are quite a few examples where a company took a nosedive in profits and sales because a key decision turned out to be disastrous. For many of those companies, recovery did not happen at all.
For this reason, executives and CEOs receive millions of dollars in compensations and a share in company stocks as well. This highlights the importance of strategic decision making in a business development strategy. That’s why higher management considers many things before they make a decision.
In the past, leadership and intuition were considered synonymous and executives were supposed to take decisions based on their knowledge and experience. A popular term for leaders was charisma which underscored the importance of personal leadership.
Modern companies make extensive use of data and technology to make a decision. Rational decision making has replaced intuition and personal biases. With the advancement in information technology, the data is used in almost every decision. Data analytics, statistics, and artificial intelligence help make better decisions.
So, today data and analytics combined with AI lead the way and help make more informed decisions. This has enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of business development services.
This brings us to an important decision that almost every company has to make in its Business Development Process. To be, or not be, a partner?
Strategic Initiatives or Partnerships
One is a person, two is a team. This adage helps us put things into perspective when we see insanely successful partnerships. Similarly, companies take strategic steps to gain more market share, customer base, or to expand their organization in size. These strategic initiatives prove valuable for some struggling companies but can go wrong as well.
Strategic initiatives include launching new products or services, finding new markets, parallel or horizontal expansion, etc. These key decisions take place after thorough research, extensive planning, threadbare discussions, and wide-ranging consultations. When taking such decisions, you must ensure input from all stakeholders and an inclusive conclusion.
This ensures diverse business development ideas with insights from various corners. As a result, the process becomes more effective.
Similarly, partnerships are vital for a company to thrive in a competitive market. It is impossible to be self-sufficient in today’s world. In fact, it is a bad strategy to not rely on others for supply and resources. Comparative advantage compels companies to become specialists in what they do best and do not indulge in things that are not their strengths.
In this regard, partnerships are vital and can save millions of dollars in cost and increase the profitability of both the parties involved.
Cost-saving is another dimension of business development strategy and our next topic.
Cost Savings in the Business Development Process
Cost-saving is a major aim of the business development process and no company can flourish without controlling their expenditures. There are different methods utilized by companies to decrease expenses.
The efficiency of the system including employees and organizational procedures is one of the ways costs can be controlled. In this regard, different pieces of training and motivation techniques can be used. Also, the work environment and corporate culture can help increase employee performance. Incentives also play a role.
In manufacturing, it is possible to reduce costs using technology and robotics instead of manual labor. This might be an investment in the beginning but it increases the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of the process that helps with the expensive control.
In offices, different software help increase the efficiency of the system by reducing the time required for a task.
Outsourcing is another important method. Many companies now utilize freelancers and experts on a need basis. This helps bring down the budgetary expenses as full-time employees are reduced. For this purpose, you can use Fiverr to hire an expert for your project.
Negotiations, Networking and Lobbying
Last but not least is networking and lobbying for a business improvement plan. This is part of the process of business expansion and helps build partnerships and new business ventures. Many businesses are working continuously in this area and create new opportunities in the process.
Big corporations use lobbying extensively and sometimes to the extent of bullying. They fund many pressure groups and influence government decisions as well. However, this does not mean that lobbying itself is bad. It depends on the initiator and the intent as to how lobbying is used.
Similarly, negotiations are a big part of the business development strategy and are means to achieve almost every end in this process. Some negotiations take place internally, within an organization and its department. Others are held with outside partners, vendors, officials, and potential clients.
Final Thoughts on Business Development Process Elements
To sum it up, you must understand the purpose of the business development process and what it aims to achieve. In this process, different elements are important. These elements are mission, vision, strategic decisions, partnerships, and cost-saving methods.
We discussed each of them in detail as the process is incomplete without these elements. No business development strategy can be successful if it does not touch upon these basic areas. We hope that we have explained What are Business Development Process Elements in enough detail for you.
In the next lecture, we’ll talk about the structure of a successful business and why it is vital to the business development process.