Business Development Requires a Multitude of Skills

Business development is one of the functions that every company, from inception to exit, performs at one time or another. It’s also one of the most “unbounded” roles within a company. For some companies, business development means acquiring new customers. Others, it means raising capital. And, for yet another set of people, it means to build alliances and partnerships.

Whatever the term ultimately means to anyone, it is a function that clearly requires a multitude of skills. Let’s take for example, raising money. A business development person in a small startup company would be responsible for building relationships to raise venture capital and/or general financing for startup operations. Oftentimes, the reason this function falls under business development is because the business developer is building strategic partner relationships. Some of these strategic partners deem the relationship critical to grow new business opportunities. In that respect, the strategic partner will then invest money in return for an equity stake in the startup company.

In the case of building and managing partnerships, the business development team is often called Alliances. In this example, business development or Alliance is responsible for recruiting, managing, and supporting partner companies. In addition to this, the Alliances organization would also have a responsibility for driving a certain amount of revenue through the partners, as well. This alliance function essentially builds a core ecosystem around the host company. The ecosystem effectively allows the host company to be in more markets, capture certain geographic territories, or even drive more revenue than it could on its own.

Building joint ventures is also a form of business development activity. There are times when a company needs to work together on a specific business opportunity. The opportunity could be related to driving new business in a specific country or perhaps in a particular industry. The two companies would develop an operating agreement under which they will work together. Shared revenue and expenses, team alignment and sales targets are examples of agreements created as part of this joint venture relationship.

Driving sales is another function where business development is often categorized. This is especially true when a company is first starting off in business. Many small companies categorize their sales efforts as business development rather than sales. One of the reasons for this is because the territory is new or perhaps the product line is untested with customers. The business development group is responsible then for selling new business in an uncharted environment.

Corporate development is another function often interrelated with business development. In general, though, a corporate development function handles aspects of mergers and acquisitions for a company. Their role is to identify companies that have synergistic business models and would complement the host company. In many aspects, a corporate development officer for a company has similar skill sets and experience as all of the above organizational roles.

As one can ascertain, business development is a “catch-all” term that can encompass many different roles within an organization. That said, the skill set and experience for a business development executive is fairly broad. He/she must be versed in areas, such as building partnerships, strategy, technology, geographic markets, sales, and, of course, finance. In addition, understanding the specific industry in which the company operates is icing on the proverbial cake.

The business development executive is a key contributor to the success of a company. This individual, if used properly, can help create the very foundation on which a company operates.

Five Ways A Business Development Consulting Firm Can Help Your Business

For a small business owner, it may be challenging to get his or her company off the ground. Therefore, it may be necessary to enlist the services of a business development consulting firm. A consulting firm can help a new company figure out ways to expand and thrive in the marketplace. Here are five specific ways that a consulting firm can help your business thrive.

1) Target Your Customers Effectively

Do you know who your customers are? If you do know who your customers are, do you know how to reach them? A good consulting firm will show you what your customers need to hear before making a purchasing decision. From there, your business can devise a marketing plan that will convince customers that they need what your company has to offer.

2) Build An Online Presence

The Internet is an amazing marketing tool when used correctly. With proper guidance, your company can build a solid online presence that can be leveraged to increase sales and increase visibility for your products or services.

3) Develop Your Brand

A good brand can sell products all by itself. Therefore, it is important that your company has a strong brand that customers can identify with. If your company wants to be known for great customer service, offering 24 hour service to handle returns could be something that your business could offer. Another good idea would be to have a call center that is open around the clock to address customer complaints and concerns.

4) Learn How To Interact With Other Businesses

Other businesses in your area may want to promote their products in your store. In exchange, these businesses may be willing to promote your products in their store. For example, your lawn mower supply company may want to partner with a hardware store or a landscaping business to create a dynamic marketing initiative. Your lawn mowers could be promoted in the hardware store while your company helps to promote your local landscaping company.

5) Understand Where Opportunities For Growth Are

There are always opportunities for your company to grow. Whether it is expanding into other markets, targeting new customers or creating new products, sales should never stay stagnant. A consulting firm will be able to point out these opportunities to you well before you have thought of them. This will enable you to be the first company in your industry to enter a new market or to create a new product that customers desperately need. Typically, the company that is first to offer a product or service is the company that is associated with that product or service even after competitors offer something similar. This makes it easier to maintain a larger portion of the market share.

When used correctly, a consulting firm can be your best friend. You will have someone who you can turn to when you need advice or at a loss for ideas. The best part is that most consulting firms are staffed by people who have experience in the business world. This experience can be used to give your company a leg up on the competition.

Business Development Strategies for Getting Through Your First Year in Network Marketing

Starting a business is one of the most exciting things you can do. However, as a new network marketer, independent business owner, or product representative, you may not realize that the first year or two in business will be the most challenging. This is especially true if you have never built a business before or worked outside the home. To help you with your business development, here is some advice you can use to maximize your chances of business success.

One thing that you need to understand as a new business owner is that you are responsible for your own success. The company will usually provide training to help you with your business development and your sponsor may offer some advice. At the end of the day, though, you are the one who has to take action to move your business in the direction that you want it to go. No matter what your sponsor tells you, all businesses require some type of active participation on your part.

Business Development Tips for Your First Year

Get Used to Rejection

No one likes to be rejected. As a small business owner, though, you might as well get used to it. Not everyone is going to be a match for the products you are selling or your business opportunity and you will run into a lot more people saying “No” than those who say “Yes”.

Don’t get discouraged. Take each rejection as an opportunity to learn what didn’t work so you can refine your approach. Eventually, you will get to a point where you will be able to ferret out the best business associates and increase your conversions.

Automate as Much of Your Business Development as You Can

A big part of your small business success will depend on how well you handle your time. There are only so many workable hours in the day and you want to spend as much of that time on tasks that will make you money or help you grow your business. Look for ways to automate or outsource those chores you don’t have time to do. For example, you could hire a virtual assistant to help you with email or some of your marketing.

Get Training

Part of your business development strategy must include taking time to get training that will provide you with the knowledge you need to build a successful small business. A lot of business opportunities tout the fact that you don’t need to have prior business experience. While this is true, you must be willing to get the training required to bring you up to speed. Take advantage of what your company has to offer as well as books and seminars offered by business development experts.

Track Your Progress

Tracking is the key to determining what works in your business and what needs to be abandoned in favor of something more promising to your business development. This is particularly important if you are paying with time or money because you don’t want to waste either on stuff that isn’t getting results. While there are programs out there which will assist you in monitoring different aspects of your business, a simple Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet will generally work fine as well.

Learn to Separate Fact from Fiction

When you announce to the world that are in business, you will get a lot of advice from everyone. Some of it will be good and some of it will be plain wrong. In addition to that, other people may try to sell you products and services aimed at helping your manage your business. It is important that you learn discernment and be able to separate fact from fiction. Otherwise, you will end up wasting time implementing bad advice or throwing good money at worthless products.

Build a Brand

There are thousands of people in the commercial sphere selling all sorts of business opportunities. The only thing that will make you stand out from your competition is your branding. Not your company branding but your own personal branding. When you build a recognizable name for yourself, you will attract prospects to you rather than having to chase after them. Additionally, having a personal brand will make it easier to change business opportunities without being forced to start all over again.

Train for Independence

It’s nice to have people helping you with your business development and providing advice or tools to assist you in achieving small business success. However, you are the epicenter of your business and you need to be able to stand on your own two feet. Network marketing is an industry that sees a lot of turnover. It is not uncommon for people to drop in and out of a business opportunity. Keep yourself and your business strong by cultivating as much independence as you possibly can.

Focus on Long Term Success

A lot of people in the network marketing industry try to sell you on the idea that you can achieve instant success with your business opportunity. Overnight success does happen but it is very rare. Usually, what looks like an overnight success is actually the result of years of hard work behind the scenes.

It is best to focus on building a business for the long term. When you focus on attaining quick success, you will become easily frustrated because it won’t be happening fast enough for your tastes. Think of building your business as a marathon rather than a sprint. It may take awhile to reach the finish line but you will get there if you persist and persevere.

Your first year in network marketing will be an exciting roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. However, if you stick with it, you will lay a solid foundation that will contribute greatly to your small business success.