Understanding the Concept of Business Development

Business development is one of those strange business concepts.  When you ask someone to define it, depending on their occupation, you will get different answers.  People usually describe it based on their specialty.    

They will say it is sales, marketing, healthier revenue, strategic partnershipscustomer service, growth/expansion, increased profit, more market share, metrics, networking, social media, R&D, quality control, improved productivity, better employee relationships, strategic planning, etc.  It seems like the definitions are too many, varied and contradictory to be useful.   

business development definition

How can a busy business owner consistently hit several different targets, which appear to be always moving?   Fortunately, there is a more natural way to understand and use the concept of business development.  

It may seem like there are many different targets, but there is only one.  The business development target you are shooting at is – To create long-term value, stability, and success for the company.  That is all there is, just one big stationary target that you are always trying to hit.  The goal never changes, but the arrows you need to hit the target do.  

The equipment you need to hit your target may change over time, because what your business needs changes over time.  The types of arrows – ideas, strategies, and actions – you keep in your quiver depend on the unique circumstances of your company.    

Let’s use the list above and look at some examples of how the concept of business development works.  

Company A has all the sales it wants, but it cannot get a consistent product out the door on time.  Possible arrows – customer service, quality control, improved productivity, better employee relationships.    

Company B is profitable but static.  It cannot get to the next level.  Possible arrows – sales, healthier revenue, strategic partnerships, metrics, growth/expansion, increased profit, more market share, improved productivity.  

Company C was doing well but has been losing money over the last few years.  Possible arrows – sales, healthier revenue, metrics, customer service, growth/expansion, increased profit, improved productivity, better employee relationships.   

Identifying the number and type of arrows you need to hit your business development target is very difficult at first.  Pick only a few priorities to focus on; you do not want to do all of them at the same time.  Once you consistently hit the bulls-eye, concerning your chosen goals, then you can move on to others.    

Creating long-term value, stability and success for your company requires an on-going, honest assessment of goals, actions, key people, operations, financials and yourself.  Managing a business development plan takes commitment and leadership, which is why most owners do not do it.  It is also why most businesses fail.