Waking up early, exercising every day, or eating more greens are some habits that we often try to inculcate for developing and bettering ourselves. No matter in which sphere of your life these habits fall into, anything that makes you better than yesterday can be termed as personal development. Similarly, in a business, there are various sectors and departments inter-connected to one another. Whether it be the new sales technique contributing to the revenue or the new product launch that will expand your audience reach, the business overall is affected. Any action that enhances your business will fall under the umbrella of business development.
What is business development?
The term business development is often used unclearly and the meaning changes according to the conversation. People often mistaken business development as something to do with sales. While definitely sale is a part of business development, is just one of the many spectrums of it. Business development is for all those ideas, plans, strategies, and activities that improve a business and makes it better than before. It can be defined as the process of creating long-term value for an organisation through its customers, markets, and relationships. Some of the day-to-day activities in your company that can be termed as business development are –
Brainstorming and coming up with new ideas for your business.
The sales teams working on how to get more customers.
The product development team enhancing an existing product.
Conducting market research for better understanding and expansion.
Improving and nurturing relationships with customers.
Some of these business development practices may be one department’s work. On the other hand, some are inter-linked activities involving several departments.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.
- Vince Lombardi
What business development looks like in different areas of business?
Different departments take care of different things in the business. So, business development in each of them also looks different. Read on to know more about what it looks like in different areas of business-
Strategic alliances and partnerships are a great way to grow your business and take it forward. Whether you are entering a new market or want to take your products international, partnerships can play a fruitful role. Here the legal and finance teams are an obvious part of the process. Along with them, here the business development team also comes into the picture. It will help you to weigh the pros and cons of your decision along with seeing the available partnerships options.
The sales team is focused on creating opportunities through market expansion, leads and bringing in product development along with diversity. The goals set by the sales department are in line with business development and the strategic objectives of the company. For example, the sales team is selling only locally and plans to expand in several other cities. Along with accessing the potential sales opportunities, a part of the business development will involve conducting research on these potential markets. At the end of the day, if your expansion is bringing more cost than profits, it is worth re-consideration.
At the end of the day, businesses run on profits and finance is a potent part of any business. The role of business development here would be to incorporate cost savings and minimise expenditure as much as possible. While the sales pipeline might have several existing opportunities, it is vital to also consider the cost incurred in turning those leads into sales. For example, the grocery store has several channels of distributors contacting them every day. While the grocery store owner will consider the quality, the price point can be a deal-breaker regarding who gets the distributorship.
Business development activities that go across borders need a lot of work to be put in especially regarding the markets and products. Such works usually need the involvement of project management, legal and manufacturing departments to work collectively. Developing a business by taking it international requires a lot of planning and effective execution.
Entrepreneurial or managerial level
No matter what business you run, communication is a part and parcel of it. As an entrepreneur, you need to communicate on an everyday basis with several people. Having expertise in your soft skills is needed in several matters. Whether it is coordinating with your employees, networking with potential clients or negotiating with customers, all are a part of the business development initiatives that you take at an entrepreneurial or managerial level. Any business development plan begins at this stage as it is the beginning of an expansion plan.
The way a business grows and develops through its marketing team is by attracting prospects. The marketing team helps in expanding the business of an existing saturated market. A new market will lead to new customers and therefore a new revenue that did not exist before. The business development here will include analysing the market deeply, knowing the target audience, observing the existing competition alongside seeing the overall need for your product or service.
When you are planning to expand and grow your business, you need to consider the need for external vendors. Collaborating and managing these external vendors will have a cost associated with it. Also, there are several things to consider before finalizing the vendor and streamlining the entire process. This is where the business development team will take matters into their own hands and clear things up.
While conducting several activities in a business, the development team needs to ensure that they are adhering to fair practices and abiding by corporate governance. Be it the corporate social responsibilities or the business ethics set by the organisation, both need to be followed. Conducting work with utmost ethics will lead to an increase in trust of both external and internal people that are associated with the development team.
Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.
- Jim Rohn
Why is business development needed?
Irrespective of the departments and roles, everyone is a part of an organisation’s business development. While some are hired to only cater to specific goals, others may need to juggle between their responsibilities. Being an inevitable part of the grind, below are the key goals of any business development:
Expansion of business
The business development goal is to expand the existing clientele and increase its reach as much as possible. Expansion may be physical or even virtual. For a local business attempting to take its first step in e-commerce, the expansion would be more virtual. Whereas, for some expansion would be an increase in mass production to meet more demand and negotiate raw materials prices due to an increase in quantity. Your business can expand in several ways depending upon the prevailing opportunities.
Better relationships with the consumers
The consumer is the king and the sooner the needs of consumers are met, the more likely they will keep opting for your products/services. The goal of any business development plan is in the end to retain the existing customers while bringing more in. This goal cannot be achieved if your relationship with your consumers needs some work. Evolving and improving the relationship with your consumers is an integral part of developing and expanding your business. Business development activities would look like coming up with ways to address consumers’ complaints and questions, training the customer service team and reducing the response time so consumers’ queries are addressed quickly.
Boost in profits
More profits equal to more funds. These additional funds can be utilised by your company to further invest in expanding your business. Whenever any business plan is formulated, in the initial planning stage itself it is considered how will the development profit the business. While some plans take time initially, they may have huge benefits in the long haul. Expansion of the market, introducing new products to the existing one or reducing the cost incurred in the production are some ways of boosting profits. Anything that reduces operational costs or increases sales is aligned with the business development goal of increasing profits.
Efficiently conducting operations
A business cannot reach heights by conducting lousy operations. Business operations running efficiently is aligned with all other goals of business development. This is because it directly impacts the customers, the profits and the course of expansion. Employees are more of an investment than an expense in a company as man force is needed in conducting most business operations. Bringing in talented employees, optimum machines and a well-versed manager will lead to the smooth and efficient functioning of any and every department in the company.
It is difficult to boil down a vast and narrow concept like business development into a thing or two. Any activity in your business that is adding value to it, in the long run, will account for business development. With the new ideas and transformation, the entire ecosystem of your business will witness overall growth. The development plan of any business needs to be aligned with its core objectives. Read our article on “business objectives” to know how you can set clear and well-established objectives for your venture.