This term, Business Development, can be confusing for many people. The reasons for this confusion are multifarious and need some in-depth analysis. If you also have this question, what is business development, then read on, we’ll help you with the answer in this article.
Truly, there is no simple solution for business growth and development and there is no universally accepted method to do it. One strategy that may work for one organization may not work for another one even when both are similar corporations. This makes it harder to define the term and explain it in simple terms.
For the sake of this course, we’ll rely on a simple definition provided by Investopedia,
“The ideas, initiatives, and activities aimed towards making a business better”
Business development process aims to achieve growth in terms of revenue increase and organizational expansion to increase sales. It could be through the development, improvement, and production of new products or marketing of existing ones.
In this process, it’s not a single department that is responsible for business development ideas and strategies. This process touches every department and is impossible without proper coordination. Also, there needs to be a proper plan and an accumulative strategy to proceed in an orderly manner.
But first, let’s learn about the key areas that a beginner must know to learn the business development process.
Everything you need to know about Business Development
If you’re just starting to learn BD, there are some key areas that you must learn about before proceeding any further. So, let’s discuss them briefly and we’ll explore them in detail in subsequent articles.
Core Business Development and expansion Knowledge
Business development knowledge is a general term for the fundamental concepts involved in the business development process. This includes market analysis, competitor analysis, branding strategies, product research and development ideas, and identifying new opportunities for business expansion.
These processes will be discussed in detail in further writings but for now, you must develop a broad understanding of developing business development strategies, what is required to develop a business strategy, and elements involved to put those plans and strategies in motion.
Present state of business: Take a look inside
The first thing we need to do in any business development strategy is to assess the present state of a business. We must know where we stand at the moment before deciding where we want to be in the future. Without a comprehensive knowledge about the present, it is absurd to look towards the future.
For this purpose, data must be gathered about expenses, sales, profits, marketing campaigns, and whether those campaigns were effective, customer satisfaction level, and investor approvals.
This data must be compiled systematically and must be available for any type of analysis later. You won’t find any successful company that does not keep its past data for future analyses.
The data compilation is used by companies to conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. We’ll discuss this tool in detail in later articles. But for now, let’s discuss each aspect briefly.
Every business has its strength and weaknesses. Some are innovators, others traders. Some pride themselves on being trendy while others take solace in being classic and evergreen. This impacts the culture of the organization and creates strengths in each aspect.
It is important to identify those strengths and weaknesses to help understand the key areas where business can be expanded. Conversely, it helps you solve problems that exist in weak areas.
One simple way to gauge this is customer feedback. Surely, one area of your business must be outperforming others. That’s the strength of your business.
Similarly, opportunities and threats are a good way to find out the direction in which you can take your business forward. Opportunities are the possible avenues to explore in terms of investments, marketing, or sales, while threats are competitors, and challenges to expansion, etc.
You can always find professionals to help you with this process on Fiverr. You can easily choose among the best experts available 24/7.
Industry trends and market analysis
Along with Internal reflections mentioned above, a business must look out for external factors as well. One key area in this regard is market analysis. It comprises assessing the potential for your future product or service. It also requires a complete competitor analysis.
Both are faces of the same card. If you know the product potential and not the competitors selling it already, you won’t be able to tap the market fully. You must have a complete idea of how a product will perform in the market by itself and how the competitors will affect its sales in the market.
Also, a market does not remain in a predictive manner throw-out the year. It changes with seasons, trends, social and political milieus, and customer needs. In this process, you have to make sure to stay on top of all that.
Potential strategic partnerships
One is a person but two is a team. Partnerships can be game-changers for many companies as they help fill out the gaps of each other. There are countless examples where a good partnership changed the life of businesses forever.
Sometimes seemingly disparate businesses establish insanely successful partnerships with insights and vision. One example would be the partnership between Louis Vuitton & BMW. Both companies profited a lot from this partnership.
Strategic business decisions
One more important thing to learn about is strategic business decisions. Many times, businesses made wrong turns and never recovered. A famous example is of Nokia mobiles. They failed to anticipate the smartphone boom and were left behind in progress. The results were dramatic as their business took a nosedive and manufacturers like Huawei and Samsung overtook their market share.
Such is the importance of decisions in business development. CEOs are paid millions of dollars just to make the right strategic decisions.
Primary sources of sales
Another key factor in business development is identifying primary sources of sales. Any new business must know what its customer base would be and how to establish itself as a go-to brand for those customers. For example, Apple manufactures phones for a range of customers that can afford it. It does not have the most number of mobile phones sold every year but its revenues are much higher than other brands.
So, a company must know which area it wants to target and how it should channel its products to keep those customers loyal to its brand.
Long term prospects
Yet another aspect of the business development strategy is keeping a balance between short term and long term prospects. For increasing sales, companies employ short term measures like marketing and ad campaigns. This helps drive the sales up and generates brand awareness.
However, this does not make the business thrive for a long time if some other issues are not addressed. One key issue would be the quality of the product. If there is no quality in the product or service for a customer, they will never come back no matter the amount of marketing you do.
Similarly, there needs to be a follow-up strategy to keep the customer loyal to the brand. Some companies offer discounts or premium membership programs while others offer extra services. Depending on the kind of business, you must have a strategy for long term prospects.
Market expansion opportunities
Market expansion is vital to business growth. Without that, you can’t increase revenue generation. Market expansion can be of many types including marketing campaigns, product innovations, finding new geographical or digital markets to sell processes or services, etc.
In this regard, complete opportunities vs. risk analysis will be required and the business development team needs to employ a full range of skills. The things we learned above are the ones that managers and executives use to make a decision.
Mind your business’ investors
Before you forget about the investors and the fact that you have a responsibility to make them money, let’s remind you that you’re not alone. Some people will be watching your back but some people are watching your steps.
In this regard, make sure that you keep your investors engaged and informed about the opportunities and risks involved. Before embarking on a new endeavor, make sure you take all the stakeholders into confidence and let them know what you’re about to do. This creates an environment of shared responsibility.
Don’t ignore the Digital World
Make a website for your business to represent it on the web even if your business is not primarily online. As a recommendation, we used SiteGround. to build our website and it was super easy to set up
Similarly, if you are the owner of an e-commerce store, you can use ExpandCart. It is highly professional platforms with all the relevant plugins available.
To wrap it all up,
We would like to say that business development is an exciting and rewarding field. You can make a lot of difference with some key strategic decisions, planning, market analysis, and branding strategies. The challenge is to keep all the stakeholders on board and create an enabling environment.
In business development strategies, there are many players involved and each department plays its role. In the next chapter, we’ll discuss in detail how every department is part of the business development process and what role everyone plays in building a business and taking it towards an upward trajectory.
Keep working, and keep developing because progress only takes place through hard work and persistence.