Let’s get one thing straight.
Business Development is not just about Sales or how to sell more widgets.
Yes, Sales is a part of developing your business, and for many businesses and organisations sales is the key to generating revenue which in turn leads to business growth. However in the broader context of managing, growing and developing your business, sales is but one function of many that will impact its success.
Systems & Administration
Business Development includes understanding who and where your market and customers are, who your competition is and what your business proposition is over theirs. And then most importantly, successfully taking that business proposition to the market, in amidst a range of external and internal influences.
Whether you are a new business just starting out or an established business with a proven track record, business development is a key requirement in the growth and sustainability of your business.
In its simplest terms Business development encompasses:
- Sales and a defined growth strategy
- Marketing, Advertising and Promotion
- Competitor Analysis
- Market development (including innovations and changes in technology)
- Product lifecycle
- Internal Focus
Revenue vs Profitability
- Financial management and reporting
- Operational Management
- Staff training and professional development
- Strategic planning
- Understanding and developing exit strategies
Each one of the above factors can be a detailed strategy in itself, but it is important that business owners and managers understand, and have a strategy for those factors that impact the growth and development (both positive and negative) of their business. Although there might be documented industry standards for some sectors, each business will require a unique analysis based on things like time in the market, strength and number of competitors, financial position and the company’s overall strategic objectives.
For some businesses they might already have a goal or objective in a particular area. It might be about securing your share of the current market or developing or changing your business to meet the needs of a new and emerging market segment. It might be about building better relationships with current customers or finding new ones. It might be about increasing sales, expanding your customer base, developing new products or services, or even moving into an entirely different market segment.
Over time all businesses change, their market and customers will change and equally important, your competition will change.
There is one thing for certain, a business development plan needs to be unique and specifically developed for your business.
Canterbury construction companies be warned
I have just completed a 10 year review of building consents for new dwellings (residential) in Canterbury and the news for the next couple of years is not good if you are a builder or sub-contractor in the construction industry.
As of December 2015 (according to the department of statistics) building consents were down by 11% on the previous 12 month period (approximately 800 fewer consents). However they are still 40% higher than the issued pre-earthquakes. This means that the golden run of building in Canterbury is coming to an end.
The evidence suggests that over the next 2 to 3 years that building consents will return to previous levels (approximately 4,200 consents a year)…which means a steady decline of 10% to 20% per-annum of new consents being issued.
Currently the Christchurch building sector is set up to meet the current demand, however we are already seeing pressure come on many trades.
Now is the time to look forward. What work do you have scheduled for the next 12 months? Where does your work come from?
Now is the time to seriously look at the structure of your business and marketing. Don’t wait until the squeeze comes…because it is on its way.