Business development involves processes and jobs to develop and implement new growth opportunities in and among organizations. It’s a subset of the disciplines of organizational theory, business and commerce. It focuses on how organizations can maximize their potentials by identifying opportunities and threats, and then working out ways to address those issues through a coordinated effort. Business development thus, encompasses the whole gamut of activities that enable organizations to function smoothly from top management down to the bottom. It therefore includes planning, organizing, leading and working in a structured fashion.
Business development also involves identifying new market opportunities, which are usually driven by economics and technology trends. Such opportunities will most likely be around existing market segments that have not been exploited before, but that may be catching the attention of marketers due to one or more of its distinct characteristics. The drive for most companies to explore new opportunities comes from both monetary and non-monetary sources. Companies tend to look for partners to grow their businesses, as well as sources of technology and financial know-how that they can harness for themselves.
Business development professionals therefore, must be able to identify such opportunities that will yield short-term profits and long-term benefits for their organization. The process therefore involves identifying the right industries with the right set of characteristics, as well as the right set of consumers. This enables them to exploit markets for their own advantage by knowing how to get the most out of their consumers. This also means having an efficient supply chain so that they can manufacture the products that meet consumer demand and expectations.
Developing business opportunities entails developing effective relationships with stakeholders – those individuals or firms who will bear the brunt of new opportunities that you generate. These relationships will determine whether or not you are able to capitalise on these opportunities, and whether they can be leveraged for your own benefit. All successful business goals have a strong relationship with stakeholders.
For example, some of the best business development professionals work within supply chains. They identify markets where a company can create a competitive advantage by improving quality and reducing costs. By providing a better product or service than its competitors, they can establish a strong position in the market. The key is in developing a partnership with a supply chain partner who can take care of manufacturing, logistics and distribution. The company reputation and brand name need to be maintained, and this requires a long term strategic plan.
Identifying market trends can be a challenging process for those working in development opportunities. Trends are the behaviour of buyers over time, and they can have a significant effect on the profitability of any given business opportunity. A trend may emerge that can dramatically change the face of a market, resulting in a business opportunities that were previously considered to be out of reach. A qualified business development professional will understand the importance of understanding market trends and developing strategic alliances with market leaders to take advantage of these opportunities.
Many business development opportunities involve networking and participation in trade shows, exhibitions and conferences. These events allow business developers to meet other professionals, conduct business and make connections. Understanding the methods, factors and strategies used at these events can provide vital information on new opportunities that could not be identified through traditional market analysis.
There are numerous other important relationships across all sectors of development. The definitions of each vary according to their nature, but they all support and further the company’s objectives. These relationships and goals are essential to the success of any business development project, and the use of common definitions ensures that all parties understand the significance of their relationships and partnerships.