What is Business Development?
Business development includes the use of tools and techniques to help grow a business. The overall outcome of business development is growth, and it is an important business concept because businesses must continue to grow to stay competitive and thrive. The field of business development (or “biz dev” as it’s colloquially called) is so significant that there are dedicated positions within some businesses for business development professionals.
While business development is certainly necessary for a business, it’s interesting to note that many small to medium businesses fail to focus on biz dev, and hence fail to grow. This is perhaps a core reason why many small businesses stay small (unfortunately)!
If you’re keen to grow your business, to prevent it from remaining small, then read on.
What are the Aims of Business Development?
As mentioned above, business development’s overall outcome is growing the business.
In order to grow the business, the techniques employed by biz dev aim to:
- Identifying existing or anticipated gaps to solve the needs of existing or potential clients
- Researching the feasibility of new products, services or businesses
- Getting new clients
- Penetrating markets that already exist
- Developing markets that are new, such as niche markets
Examples of Business Development Tools
In the achievement of business growth and the particular aims of biz development, the following are some tools that entrepreneurs and business development professionals implement.
1. Competitive Intelligence & Analysis
The majority of businesses have competitors. Some of the competitors are direct competitors who offer the same products or services. Also, a business’s competition can include other business competitors who offer similar products or services that may be used as a substitute.
Thus, business development includes the gathering of intelligence about competitors as well as the analysis of the information. This is important in order for the business to anticipate the direction of competitors and of the market overall and to act strategically. Competitive analysis also helps to inform a business of potential markets that they could enter or products that they could provide.
2. Lead Generation
Another business development technique is the generation of leads for increasing potential sales. Lead generation uses a number of marketing forums to get the attention of leads. Lead generation may be implemented using tools like email marketing, social networking, telephone marketing or marketing using other mediums.
By increasing the number of leads, it is expected that the number of sales will also increase, thereby increasing profitability and the growth of the company. More advanced lead generation techniques includes converting the customer into a sale and then placing them into a systemized sales funnel for repeat business.
3. Designing Business Models
Entrepreneurs and biz dev professionals may also practise business model design as part of business development. New business model design may be a complicated process, but it may be very necessary in a number of circumstances. For instance, a new business model may need to be designed in the event that the existing business model is poorly performing as regards to growth. Another instance in which a new business model needs to be designed is when a business wants to penetrate a new market, and thus, it will need a new set of systems to provide value to these new customers.