Most well run businesses recognize that change is a constant. They also recognize that in order to survive, and remain competitive is a sustainable way their business needs to engage in “business development”. So what is business development anyway?
I would characterize business development as fundamentally a 2 step process. First it is all the attempts to identify potential new opportunities and then second, all the attempts to fulfill those new opportunities.
It starts with identification.
That may mean recognizing imminent or nascent changes in the external landscape from current or prospective customer actions, regulatory pressures, or competitor actions. It may also mean recognizing their capabilities, such as a loss of a key person, or the addition of a new skill. It may mean recognising your unspoken paradigms; some owners think their business needs to be nimble enough to react to external circumstances and some think that their business needs to be the driver of changes.
Many times this identification process will be driven by an objective look at the stage of development and life cycle and sometimes it is driven by an emotional decision.
I have been guilty of both approaches. My learning has been that the more objective I can be, the more likely I am to be realistic in an assessment. This will matter for your other stakeholders in the business!
Identifying new opportunities starts with a serious look at one’s stage of development. A software start up with cash flow pressure will be in a different place than a mature business with internal cultural issues for example.
After something as simple as a SWOT analysis, you many see new opportunities in new markets, new supplier sources, innovating a new product or service, arranging new methods of exchange with their parties, new sources of financing or finding new operating partnerships.