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Business development is a long term, strategic plan to drive growth for your company by identifying appropriate opportunities to increase value, develop and strengthen partnerships, and create meaningful relationships with your customers (whether B2B or B2C).
“Biz Dev” can be a notoriously daunting task for a new startup. While large corporations are seasoned and established enough to steadily drive new business, startups generally must “bootstrap” their efforts in order to create revenue. However, startups generally have distinct advantages that many larger companies tend to lack: innovation, agility and drive. In this blog, we’ll offer several tips to assist startups that are looking to take their business development efforts to the next level.
First and foremost: make connections. This point we cannot stress enough. In business, it is about who you know, and how they can help you get to the place that you want to go. In a large corporation it’s hard to know exactly which groups will have the decision making power to progress your product or service. Because of this, make friends and allies in many parts of the organization you are trying to partner with. Whether they are in procurement, business development, product management, marketing, or any other number of departments…make a connection with as many people as possible, and make that connection last. When working with a big corporation lead times can be slow, so turnover of employees during this process is very possible. The more contacts you have made in the organization, the more likely you are to resist the changes that occur internally.
Build your team carefully. Who you have on your pitch team can significantly impact the success of your business, especially in the initial phases. CEO’s are necessarily not at every meeting. VPs meet with other VPs or equivalent, product meets with product and so forth. Be sure to be selective about which team members are actively involved in the pitching process so as to ensure that your business is presented to properly when it matters.
Failure shouldn’t be in your vocabulary. You have only failed if you haven’t learned anything from your mistakes. Treat those mistakes as opportunities to advance, and leverage that information toward discovering a better solution. Train your development team on the power of saying “yes”. With enough time, effort and motivation anything is possible.
Do your research. For your product or service to be received well, you have to know what your audience wants. What is the problem you are solving? Why should they care? What are things that your target audience responds to? Communicating what your product or service can do for your target audience in terms that they can relate to and understand is part of the foundation of your business development strategy.
Know your industry well and use that to your advantage. When working on closing a deal with a large slow paced corporation, sell them on “fear of missing out” or “FOMO”. Whether a potential competitor is entering the market or an important conference or big announcement is approaching, motivate them with urgency to achieve a goal by a certain deadline.
Above all, believing in your product, your team, and your ability to overcome all the obstacles that lay ahead, is what will lead your company to success. Should your startup business be in need of professional business development services, whether for consultation or implementation, please be sure to contact us!
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