Approaches to business development.

4 approaches to business development

Business development means something different for each organisation. For some, it's growing revenue while for others it might be about changing the product offer. Taking the right approach is key if you're going to achieve your long-term goals.

4 approaches to business development

Not all business development is about simply increasing sales and maximising profit. These sales could drop off at any time, and you'd be right back where you started. Good business development looks far beyond sales, encompassing key variables such as market share or reducing operational difficulties.

Here are four approaches to consider.

1) Expand your market

Many businesses start locally and expand over time. One of your options for increasing market share and reach is to expand into new countries. You'll need to assess new markets for viability, ensuring there is a need for your product and service, and how much value it will bring to your business versus what it will cost you to implement.

Business development is looking outside your current operations.Business development might involved looking outside of your current market.

2) Increase your product offering

If your company doesn't offer a particularly wide range of products, one of your routes for expansion is to increase it. You can stick with your current market but add products that complement your existing range,or that your competitors don't sell. Make yourself a one-stop shop so it makes more sense for your customers to come to you over anyone else.

3) Acquire more assets or consider mergers

Merging with another company allows you to quickly expand your product line or streamline operations by utilising what your new partner already has up and running. Acquisition is another option – whereby you buy another company either in part or in whole. Of course, you'll need investment power and must be confident that you can benefit from the acquisition. However, you'll immediately gain established products and services, as well as a market base. 

4) Change business model

As companies grow from the startup phase into a larger, more established business with more market knowledge and share, the resources they need to keep achieving their ongoing goals change. One way of achieving growth is to look critically at new ways of meeting both operational and customer needs while generating the sales required. You may need to change the way you reinvest your profits, with different departments receiving more or less. Alternatively, it might be about adapting the way you approach customers, meet their needs and ensure retention.

Business development might involve adapting the business model.As your company grows, part of your approach to business development might involve adapting your business model.

Achieving the type of growth you want

Knowing what you're doing is one thing, but determining how you're going to do it is another challenge altogether. Thinking carefully about this is another key part of your approach to business development. Here are three considerations:

  • Long-term strategic planning:  Formalising the goals of your development and steps you'll take to get there is a highly valuable tool in ensuring your approach is right for the outcome you want. It's all to easy to let enthusiasm for change drive you in the wrong direction.
  • Building new partnerships: By connecting with other companies in your industry space and talking to them about how they work, you might find easier or more profitable ways to achieve your goals. Find out what opportunities are out there rather than create a plan behind closed doors.
  • Gaining market feedback: Speaking to current clients, former customers or sales prospects that didn't buy is labour intensive but provides plenty of insight into what will or won't work. It allows you to ensure your goals are truly aligned with what the market wants or can offer before you take a route bound for failure.

If your business is ready for change, talk to the professionals at Wilson Porter about how you can create a development plan that brings you the rewards you want.