Business Development | 8 mins read

Breaking Down Business Development

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Hanh Truong

By Hanh Truong

What is Business Development?

Business development is one of the most prominent objectives entrepreneurs focus on among their many different industry goals. The concept refers to the various set of procedures and activities companies employ to develop growth opportunities sustainably and profitably. However, the ideas behind business development may differ for companies, depending on their overall mission and what they want from the brand.

For example, a small business retailer may refer to business development as creating marketing campaigns to reach more customers. Whereas, a global technology company may consider business development as conducting market research to create innovative smartphone product lines. Despite the differences between these two business development strategies, there is a foundational objective - identifying and employing growth opportunities. Businesses can grow when they expand clientele, partnerships, markets, services, and products.

The Importance of Business Development

Strategizing business development is important for a brand because it helps establish its value and expansion. Entrepreneurs that plan their business's development can effectively build relationships, tap into diverse markets, and raise brand awareness. Additionally, this practice helps unite an organization's disparate processes and teams. In turn, employees can operate seamlessly, increase sales, and provide efficient customer service. The following are the key reasons why business development is valuable.

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1. Cultivate a Network

Building relationships with other business leaders and customers is a fundamental component of business development. Teams responsible for business development can pinpoint key stakeholders, talent, and leads who can help a brand grow. They can also help a company fortify relationships with existing customers and employees.

2. Cut Expenses and Increase Revenue

Growth in business development is typically measured by the financial health and stability of a company's bottom line. Through business development strategies, entrepreneurs can increase cash flow and limit expenses. Additionally, they help guide decision-making, as it highlights high-value markets and profits.

3. Foster a Reputable Brand

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Business development plans entail marketing strategies that can help companies create a positive and reputable brand. This involves thorough market and product research to understand who target consumers are and their preferences. These insights can then be used to enhance branding and marketing.

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4. Enter New Markets

Expanding into new markets is a common strategy that companies use to grow. A key responsibility of business development teams is monitoring market trends, demographics, and customer data. These insights help showcase which consumer base brands can tap into to generate more profit and how they can effectively do so.

Stages of Business Development

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Business development plays a critical role for companies because it ensures a brand passes through the right steps to success. Generally, all organizations across different sectors will follow the same business development structure. The following are the 4 business development phases.

1. Start-Up

The start-up stage is when an entrepreneur's idea is officially launched. At this time, a large volume of time and capital is invested to ensure a concept can fruition into a venture. The start-up phase entails acquiring a substantial consumer base, inventory, business accounts, and employees.

2. Growth

The growth stage refers to when a business finally establishes brand awareness and is supplying an increased demand. During this phase, the company will experience some debt, as they have to meet consumer demand by purchasing more inventory or recruiting more employees. However, the incoming profits and sales will typically offset these costs.

3. Maturity

At this stage, the company has a stable footing in the market and industry. Business owners in the growth phase can stop hyper-focusing on every function of the company. They can also choose to appoint new management teams to oversee the business operations.

4. Decline

Unfortunately, some companies will enter the decline stage after the maturity stage. This is when profits and consumer bases start to dwindle due to lackluster management, market fluctuations, or other external factors. The business may also experience cash flow problems and debt, which can eventually lead to its closure.

Benefits of Successful Business Development

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Business development practices help navigate companies toward success. Small businesses and startups that are introducing new products and services to a market can use the development stages and strategies as a guide. Other advantages of business development include the following.

Selection of the Right Markets

Successful business development ensures entrepreneurs are choosing the right consumer market with high-value growth. Choosing a promising customer base will allow for effective marketing efforts and communication channels. Companies can also innovate or curate their products according to their shoppers' preferences.

Improved Self-Reflection

Development practices require comprehensive self-reflection. If a business wants them and their products to be successful in the market, they need to know every aspect of themselves. This includes the business's expertise, projects, values, and company culture. Having this knowledge will mitigate any risks to brand reputation and enable informed brand awareness.

Better Understanding of Customers

Thriving companies are ones that thoroughly understand their customers' needs, and obstacles. Business development teams will focus on market research and immerse themselves in their consumer base's perspectives. This helps strengthen business operations and boosts sales generation.

Enriched Company Culture

Business development strategies emphasize the importance of establishing a positive company environment. Doing so allows for internal growth and bonds employees together under a common goal. Various ways business owners can enrich their company culture are enhancing employee morale, promoting a work-life balance, and providing opportunities for promotion.

Gain New Partnerships

Through business development, companies can find other brands that align with them and partner together. This can help speed up the pathway to success and minimize risks for the entities in the partnership.

Business Development Vs. Sales

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Sales and business development are departments that can help a brand grow. However, they are different concepts. For instance, business development encompasses activities that expand a company's reach to new markets. Whereas, sales focus on turning qualified leads into customers. Some differentiating and similar factors between sales and business development include the following.

Differences

Business development teams identify interested and qualified consumers that are most likely to purchase the products or services from a brand. Their processes emphasize the creation of relationships between the company and its customers and stakeholders. On the other hand, sales practices involve leading customers to the end of their buying journey and closing deals. Sales teams have to carry out product demos, create contracts, and serve customers.

Similarities and How They Work Together

Despite their differences, business development and sales practices share common goals. For instance, both processes are used to get customers to purchase products or services. Business experts consider these two teams complementary because they help one another generate revenue. In which, with effective business development, sales teams can successfully make sales. And vice versa - sales representatives that build a reputation for solving customers' needs enables business development teams to successfully create relationships with consumers.

How to Improve Business Development

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Business development strategies are key components to improving growth and expansion. It helps with identifying target audiences, market fluctuations, and growth opportunities. The following is a guide company leaders can use to improve their development.

1. Improve Networking Skills

Building a solid network of partners, investors, employees, and customers is important for a company's success. Traditionally, brands will conduct cold calls to reach out to stakeholders; however, this practice is becoming less effective. Companies should find innovative methods to target prospects in today's fast-moving and technological world.

For example, brand representatives can attend trade shows and industry conferences. Generally, industry leaders and consumers who are already interested in the company's line of work are present at these events. Development teams can also research social networks, such as LinkedIn and Instagram, to find potential customers.

2. Provide Free Consultations and Trials

Customers prefer having the opportunity to try products and services before making a commitment. To leverage this need, companies can offer free consultations, demos, or trials to shoppers. For example, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms typically allow new customers to try their services for free for 7-14 days. This gives the buyer time to see whether the product or service aligns with their needs.

3. Entice Customers with Free Resources

Oftentimes, companies can provide free resources, such as calculator tools and estimations, to attract customers. An accounting firm, for instance, may have an online calculator on its website for prospects to input their income and see how much they are paying in taxes. These resources should show customers how the company's product can help them take the next step and solve challenges. Following the previous example, after the prospect sees how much they are paying in taxes, the accounting firm can advertise their intuitive tax-filing service.

4. Communicate and Care for Customers

Nurturing customers is a proven method for converting prospects to leads, as well as retaining clientele. Representatives should communicate with customers via email or calls and relay important information about a product or service. It is critical that these forms of communication are tailored to the brand's tone and are personalized to customers' needs.

5. Leverage Online Content

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There are many different digital platforms companies can utilize to promote brand awareness and product education to prospects. Modern businesses typically use blog articles, videos, and social media posts. This type of outreach requires thorough data insights regarding what channels target audiences often consume and what type of content they like to read or look at. Additionally, online users should be able to download or share the content to allow for a wider audience.

Conclusion to Business Development

  • Business development is tasks and procedures that allow companies to identify growth opportunities and achieve expansion goals.
  • Development strategies help companies target the right consumer markets, gain partnerships, and create a stable network of stakeholders.
  • Business development and sales teams can work together to generate revenue.
  • Some ways to improve existing business development plans include offering free resources, communicating to customers, and utilizing online tools.

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