So many professional service firms we meet bemoan the track record of most of their folk in developing new work and new clients in attractive niches. Boutique consulting firms offer organizations highly specialized advice that addresses specific problems or aspects of a business. The inevitable is cash flow drying up and losses mount up. Most businesses fold up during this phase. Failing to do this a common problem with companies and their sales teams and even more so with business development professionals as the relationships they have and bringing to the table are often held tightly and not given up easily.
While the business plan is critical for the success of the new venture, it is not the first step in the process. Undeniably, business development is a crucial component of a firm’s success – the opportunities forged today will define what the company is doing on tomorrow.
In such instances boutique consultancy firms come in handy to for example support a particular project or give advice on matters related to a specific topic such as law, finance or HR. Larger corporations often make use of larger management consultancy firms to identify existing organizational problems and development of plans for improvement.
While a consultants hourly rate may be higher than you’re comfortable with a deal can be put together much faster by a professional than someone trying for the first time to structure a business partnership. If you’re the typical small business starting, growing or even just surviving in a tough economic market with little or no credit, you also need business development strategies that don’t eat up your cash flow.
Every business has its life cycle that it undergoes during the course of its entire existence. Plan – Once new business opportunities have been identified you will need to decide how you can best reach those new customers and markets. Given the growth stage in which your company finds itself it can indeed be worthwhile considering employing business development services in one way or another.
Business development involves all tasks and processes concerning both the analytical preparation, monitoring and support of growth opportunities. You will be left with a balance – i.e. “20% of my business next year will come from new opportunities” – therefore you can then begin to allocate your selling time accordingly.
Another dynamic of this is that it can be difficult to admit that sometimes we need help, or it could be that upper management would take a dim view of our abilities if we asked for outside help with our internal processes. Incubators often employ a selective screening process assessing the feasibility and workability of the business plan of incubatee prospects before letting hem join the program.
The Taxonomy Of Business Development
Starting a new business is far more than simply hanging a sign out and waiting for customers to pour through the door and I’m sure anyone willing to invest in a new venture is well aware of this fact. One important aspect of the BD process is that it is most effective as a closed-loop system, in which the Operations Phase information feeds into the Positioning Phase for an ever-changing system that quickly reacts to changing conditions in the marketplace.
Companies that want to execute business deals with larger fortune 500 type companies should always highly consider hiring an expert that has preexisting relationships with the company that you want to do a deal with. This is an ideal time for businesses to consider expansion or diversification.
For that reason, there are a multitude of professional service providers in the field of business development. Make sure to always discuss details of the engagement process and the scope of the services to be delivered. Strategic focus, institutional strengthening, human resource training and financial strategy, are some of the dimensions that a second stage business accelerator may offer.
Business Development Metrics
A business development plan is an essential tool for all prudent entrepreneurs if they wish to remain in business. A successful business development process is being able to get a clear and concise evaluation of the inherent strengths and weaknesses, goals and issues that face the development of your new venture. A common problem facing many firms, regardless of where they are in the company lifecycle, is that they get stuck in the trenches of daily operations, at the cost of conducting business development activities.
Ironically, it’s the most expensive option, with ‘front of the line’ service and unlimited consulting with partners in the firm that sells the most. Moreover, the job of a business developer is highly cross functional, as it requires collaboration with various internal and partner-company teams such as sales, engineering, and marketing to ensure that a deal is consummated.
Business Development Consultants
Business development requires a multi-disciplinary approach and there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy. Implement – If your business is not at the stage to appoint a full time marketing director, at least hire an experienced business development professional to work with your company for a few days a month. A person that specifically focuses on business development will understand how to communicate potential business deals to perspective businesses in the right manner.
Firms of all sizes will sometimes find that they lack a particular skill or area of expertise, and seek the advice of a specialist. In the table below a classification of business development institutions are plotted out, based on the various stages in the company life cycle.
Given the growth stage in which your company finds itself it can indeed be worthwhile considering employing business development services in one way or another.