Business development is a critical aspect of any organizations growth strategy. It involves creating sustainable value through:
- expanding markets;
- developing new products or services; and
- acquiring customers.
Your success depends on effective business development strategies. Your plans need to be carefully crafted and executed with precision. They should also be aligned with your overall goals and monitored to ensure this alignment is maintained. In this article we will explore four elements that are proven to accelerate growth.
1. Define your target audience
Defining and understanding your target audience means you can better focus your efforts on them while also reducing time spent on people who are not your ideal or typical customer. As well as identifying who they are, you need to know what motivates them and how they behave. This allows you to tailor your offers to ‘speak’ to their needs. Addressing your target audience usually increases customer engagement (and sales) simply because, instead of having to search for solutions to their problems, they see you as having the answer.
2. Set out your strategic plan
A good strategic plan will include clear goals, timelines for completion and resources required as well as metrics to measure progress along the way. But most of all, it’s a longer term plan that keeps the end goals in mind. It is very easy to focus just on the present and immediate future. Next month, next quarter, next year can seem very far off if you are firefighting day to day issues. Taking the time to consider and devise a strategic plan will not only increase your chances of long term success but will also help reduce the amount and intensity of so-called ‘urgent’ issues.
3. Use technology wisely
While technology has transformed the way society and business operate, it is a two edged sword. Used effectively, it can bring your customers closer and lead to higher customer satisfaction. Used poorly, it drives a wedge between you and your customers.
It can also increase your efficiency and profits, especially when used to reduce or eliminate low value work and to perform repetitive tasks. However, it creates a new problem – too much information. Inefficiency and poor performance can be hidden in and by data reports too large to read so it is essential to know what data is important and review it regularly.
4. Build a strong network
Networking is crucial for business growth. Build relationships with your customers, suppliers and staff. Be active in your local community and in regional bodies. Participate in industry and sector events. Attend conferences and trade shows. Join professional groups both online and offline.
Before a customer chooses you as their vendor of choice, they will do some research and will most likely look to talk to people who know you. The wider and healthier your circle of influence is, the greater the likelihood that feedback will be good.
Networking can also create opportunities for collaboration and joint ventures and increased business referrals.
Long term commercial success depends on creating lasting value for yourself, your customers and other stakeholders. We’ve looked at four key components of long term growth:
- define your audience
- create your strategic plan
- use technology effectively and wisely
- become a strong networker
Incorporating these in your business will deliver immediate benefits while also setting you up for greater long term success.