Business development is one concept in business that over the years has been poorly understood, thus has not been fully utilized for significant business growth and development. Many businesses especially SMEs and startups confuse this aspect of business as just marketing and sales.
To explain the importance of business development or BD as it is fondly called to a business, it is important we first define the concept. Business development is the aspect of business that deals with the act of creating value, building growth opportunities, and establishing long-term relationships for a business.
Unlike organizations built on the pedestal of just making sales, one with a business developer or business development team is centered on creating value for different stakeholders associated with its business. Whether it is the customers, employees, investors, or other businesses.
It achieves this through business model innovations, strategic partnerships, and/or leveraging on networks, both existing and new.
The essentials of BD are to create value and maintain relationships to create even more value for all stakeholders across the board in your business.
Types of Business Development Strategies
There are three (3) major business development strategies that can be valuable to your business if rightly applied.
- Product Business Development
This strategy involves the partnership between two or more businesses to create more value for their product in the market and their customers. For example, a software company that integrates its product with an Apple product. This partnership will increase value for the Apple product and its users, it will also automatically provide the other company, access to millions of users for its software.
2. Distribution Business Development
This type of business development strategy involves the partnership between companies where one serves as a distribution point for the product or services of the other company. This partnership could be exclusive that is, the distribution exists only between the two parties or vice versa. A good example is a business partnership between a movie producer and Netflix, Netflix will serve as a distribution partner of the movie producer’s product. It becomes an exclusive partnership when the movie is featured only on the Netflix platform. This might require Netflix paying the producer some good amount of money.
3. Channel Partnerships
This strategy involves the partnership between two companies where one serves as a channel for the sales of the product or service of the other company and makes a commission for doing so. This is more like an affiliate marketing kind of partnership but between businesses.
You can employ any of these strategies to create more value for your business and your customers.
Necessary Skills Required for Business Development
Certain skills are necessary to carry out business development services. They are basic business skills and do not require any complexities. These skills include;
As a business developer, you should maintain a steady pipeline of business opportunities and prospects, necessary to bring value to your business. Reach out to these businesses and propose partnerships.
This skill is important in your proposal, cold emails, and letters development. Your ability to craft your message in words that will be enticing to your prospect so they can see the value on the table is very important.
- Sales skills
Like every other area of business, your ability to sell your value to others will create more value for both your business and your customers.
Other skills like pitching and presentation, listening skills, creativity, grit, etc. are all embedded in the skills above.
If business development is an aspect in your business that is lacking, you must consider embedding it now as it can bring exponential growth for your business and even your marketplace.