The Taxonomy of Business Development

What is business development? This is a frequently asked question with as many answers as there are people calling themselves business development professionals. What unifies the discipline of business development is not so much the activities that comprise it, as these are immensely diverse ranging across a myriad of subfields. It is rather the goal or the objective: In one way or another, business development is about implementing business growth opportunities.

Business development involves all tasks and processes concerning both the analytical preparation, monitoring and support of growth opportunities. Of course, growth can be achieved in many ways. There are a plethora of activities, conceptualizations, methodologies, tools, frameworks, models, subfields, and buzzwords employed across industries and geographies when implementing growth opportunities for firms. Thus, it is often difficult to make out what is what with respect to business development.

This paper will discuss and distinguish key concepts of contemporary business development for a more comprehensive and translucent picture of this important yet ambiguous field. A particular interest will be taken into how business development activities differ across company sizes and growth stages, from early-stage startups to fully-grown companies, and the various institutions that can support companies on their paths to growth. Lastly, the value of business development services is discussed from the perspective of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

1. The people of business development

“I do biz dev”, you hear people say frequently. But yes, business development is indeed something that one can do, and the actors of business development are called Business Developers. Business developers can be internal employees hired to identify and expand a company´s business, and their strength lies in their deep insight into the organization they work for. On the other hand, there are external professional service providers, such as management consultants, who leverage their experience from helping other companies develop, identify, and execute growth opportunities. Whether internal or external, individuals of this professional breed are usually generalists by nature with the skills and know-how to collaborate and integrate knowledge and feedback from a company´s functional units such as sales, marketing, R&D, operations, and finance, and in turn synthetize that information into actionable roadmaps, also called business plans. The business plan can be thought of as a formal statement of a set of organizational goals, including the motivations and criteria for why they are attainable, and a plan for reaching the goals. The tools and methods utilized by business developers are countless, yet the objective remains to answer one fundamental question: “How do we make money?”

While business developers work to address how firms can sell more of their products or services and make more money both today and tomorrow, business development activities are typically skewed towards forthcoming business opportunities and strategy. Many sales representatives claim to be business development professionals, but this does not fully capture what business development is. One of the principal activities a business developer does is identify new opportunities. To do so, the business developer must have insight into a range of business related fields, and have access to key information that can allow new parallels to be drawn. First of all, he/she must hold a fundamental understanding of the company in question, stay abreast of industry trends, and monitor the competition. Secondly, but perhaps more importantly, the business developer must be able to take a holistic perspective, use his/her intuition when analyzing results, and show proof of creativity and ingenuity when synthetizing information in order to conclude which next steps the business should take.

Working in business development is an excellent way to develop skills in strategy, negotiations, and managing partner and client relationships. Moreover, the job of a business developer is highly cross functional, as it requires collaboration with various internal and partner-company teams such as sales, engineering, and marketing to ensure that a deal is consummated. Last but not least, if done well, business development can have an incredible impact on the success of a business.

2. The institutions of business development

A common problem facing many firms, regardless of where they are in the company lifecycle, is that they get stuck in the trenches of daily operations, at the cost of conducting business development activities. When strategy and competitive advantage are no longer on top of the agenda, focus is lost and to the detriment of sustainable growth. The balance between running day-to-day operations and continuously developing the business further to hone the competitive advantage a firm holds is indeed difficult to manage. For that reason, there are a multitude of professional service providers in the field of business development. From the birth of ideas to early startups, to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who seek second stage growth, and all they way to strategy implementation for corporate giants, many institutions exist to support firms in their business development efforts.

There are both niche specialists targeting specific business needs and generalists taking a 360° view of the firm and its strategy and objectives. They come in the form of governmental institutions providing funding and support to entrepreneurs, and private institutions in the form of business angels and venture capitalists, business incubators and seed accelerators, second stage business accelerators, boutique consultancy firms, and large management consulting houses. One way or another, these institutions interact with companies on their growth journey and provide all kinds of resources to support them, including funding and physical work spaces (offices), professional support, advice and mentoring, tools and frameworks, strategy development and operations efficiency, and access to important networks in the business ecosystem.

In the table below a classification of business development institutions are plotted out, based on the various stages in the company life cycle. While there of course exist much overlap between of these fields, it gives an idea of who, how, when and for whom various actors interact with firms on their path to growth.

Business Incubator

The idea of the business incubator is to provide support for the successful development of companies by means of an array of support resources and services, offering a nurturing environment where entrepreneurs can bring their ideas to life. Incubator services often include one or several of the following:

Shared office space
Marketing assistance
Accounting/financial management
Access to bank loans, loan funds and guarantee programs
Help with presentation skills
Business networks and links to strategic partners
Access to angel investors, venture capital and debt financing
Comprehensive business training programs
Advisory boards and mentors
Management team identification
Technology commercialization assistance
Help with regulatory compliance
Intellectual property management
The idea is to allow entrepreneurs and start-up teams to focus on their core value proposition and leverage key resources that a growing start-up needs. Incubators often employ a selective screening process assessing the feasibility and workability of the business plan of incubatee prospects before letting hem join the program. While many incubator programs are industry agnostic, 39% of incubators in the United States work only with the high-tech sector. A company spends varying amounts of time in an incubation program depending the type of business and the entrepreneur’s level of business expertise. For example, life science and other firms with R&D cycles require more time in an incubation program service companies. On average, incubator clients spend 33 months in a program.1 Oftentimes, graduation requirements are set by development benchmarks rather than time, such as revenues or number of employees. The successful graduation from a business incubation program typically increases the likelihood that a startup company will stay in business for the long term.

Seed Accelerators / Startup Accelerator Programs

The Seed Accelerator derives much of its characteristics from the business incubator; their services often include pre-seed investments (usually in exchange for equity) and the focus is on business model innovation. In contrast to an incubator, the seed accelerator views the startup period as short, and startups are often supported in cohort batches or ‘classes’ during a seed acceleration program. But accelerators are not considered “protected” nurturing environments, like the business incubator. They bring together entrepreneurs, mentors, and advisors and leave it to the entrepreneurs to figure out how to best take advantage of the opportunity that emerges. Being selected by a seed accelerator often brings notoriety to a firm, and it is a way to quickly create momentum in a startup, as long as the participants have the experience and drive necessary. Often, participants in seed accelerator programs are experienced startup professionals who are accustomed to the process.The assets provided by the seed accelerator come in the form of mentoring, funding and a strong network effect, but there are few or no internal resources, such as back office support functions, internal marketing or legal advisory experts or legal. It is a sink or swim environment.

Second Stage Business Accelerator

Second stage business accelerator services are very different from those of both incubators and seed accelerators. A second stage business accelerator can be thought of a management consulting firm targeting established SMEs looking to boost performance and ensure a continuous and sustainable growth path. Whether young or old, many companies sooner or later plateau in terms of revenue, and the growth bottlenecks vary greatly between organizations. One classic hold-up is the entrepreneur / founder who insists on having a finger in the pie across all decision and actions taken by the company – a sign that the company since long has outgrown the governance structure still in place.

A second stage business acceleration program typically lasts between 3-6 months and it is aimed to assess and improve the entire “business machinery” that a growing organization needs to have in place to succeed. Strategic focus, institutional strengthening, human resource training and financial strategy, are some of the dimensions that a second stage business accelerator may offer. The business accelerator’s emphasis is on accelerated and sustainable growth, and to eliminate organizational, operational, and strategic bottlenecks that prevent the client firm from growing. In essence, a second stage accelerator bears a strong resemblance to traditional management consulting firms, but adjusted to fulfill the needs of SME’s.

Boutique Consulting Firms

Boutique consulting firms offer organizations highly specialized advice that addresses specific problems or aspects of a business. The overall objective is to improve efficiency and increase profits, and the term “boutique” has more to do with the firm’s focus than with its actual size. One firm may consist of a single advisor, while another may have 200+ consultants employed. More specifically, “boutique” most often refers to the niches in which it offers its services. Examples of niches in which boutique consulting firms operate include human resources and staffing, IT, healthcare, business process outsourcing, and accounting. These firms tend to work with private sector companies but also with governmental institutions and nonprofits.

Overall, boutique consulting firms focus on a limited scope of industries, and resolve business issues quicker than large management consulting firms that require more time for a specific project. The solutions that boutique consultants offer also have more immediate impact.

Large Management Consulting Firms

Large management consulting firms offer a more diverse set of services compared to boutique consulting firms and are often international in scope. They target publicly held or large private companies, international conglomerates, international nonprofits, and governmental bodies. Large management consulting firms are able to draw from massive reservoirs of overlapping knowledge and expertise in contrast to the more narrowly focused boutique consulting firms, and can offer a single client support on IT, strategy, operational, human capital, and financial issues. Moreover, they create industry “best practices” by working across a wide range of industries and firms (though it is debatable to what extent such practices are transferable from one organization to another). Yet, management consulting has long been a booming market with numerous players, both large and small, offering their advice to firms.

3. The value of business development services for SMEs

It might be hard to decide if and when to use various business development services. What is the actual value that these services provide? Is it worth the investment in time and money? Given the growth stage in which your company finds itself it can indeed be worthwhile considering employing business development services in one way or another.

Early Stage

If your company is an early startup, the decision for joining an incubator or seed accelerator comes down to your personal confidence in your business model, the strength of your team, your capacity to execute, and not the least your fundraising skills. If you have a credible story, a business that is nicely progressing on its own and access to both finance and the right talent, you are probably just as well off on your own. In fact, entering any of these programs might just become a distraction. These environments can act to divert your attention by lots of related meetings and events with mentors and investors, getting in the way of focusing on your projects. Moreover they can be confusing, having ten mentors provide their own piece of advice; filtering advice can be a daunting task. But if you need help refining your business model or if you are a first-time CEO seeking guidance from proven peers and entrepreneurs, these types of services can be perfect. The likelihood of raising capital is vastly improved through the tight screening process many of these programs employ and the access to a strong investor network that these programs provide access to.

Second Stage

Similarly, if you run a small or medium sized company the determining factor for seeking external help lies more in the assessment of particular needs and issues facing the business and the overall growth ambition of decision makers / the owner. As is often the case, companies reach a certain size and then plateau for months or years, not sure how boost growth and reach the next level. Other companies achieve growth, but then face challenges to manage it as they run into the hurdles of balancing daily operations with business development. Be it a young company recently graduated from an incubator, or an established firm who seek to renew itself, the transformation of an organization into a solid business organization that can make way for sustained growth, involves many challenges:

1. Ensure relevance in the market place

2. Implement a sound governance structure

3. Identify, operate and deliver according to a core competitive advantage,

4. Build the right institutional capabilities and business processes

5. Continuous innovation

These are some of the most common challenges facing small and medium sized companies who seek to the reach to the next level. At this stage in the company life cycle business risk is beginning to decrease and the opportunity for true value creation presents its self, yet the path to that second level can be a long and tricky walk. Using the help from a second stage business accelerator can be one way to overcome these challenges; to (re)establish the entire “business machinery” required to allow growth to take place.

Later Stage

Firms of all sizes will sometimes find that they lack a particular skill or area of expertise, and seek the advice of a specialist. In such instances boutique consultancy firms come in handy to for example support a particular project or give advice on matters related to a specific topic such as law, finance or HR. Larger corporations often make use of larger management consultancy firms to identify existing organizational problems and development of plans for improvement. Management consultants often bring proprietary methodologies or frameworks to guide the identification of problems, and to serve as the basis for recommendations for more effective or efficient ways of performing work tasks. While most large organizations have their own business development staff in-house, external advice is thought to bring a more objective perspective to the table. Moreover, no company can house all expertise internally, thus the advice from external business professionals may at times come in handy.

Concluding Remarks

Just as when buying any service, when contracting for professional business development services it is important to have clear deliverables. A common mistake made by many business developers is to guarantee X% increase in sales or revenue. But we all know that growing a business involves a lot of risk, for which one cannot control. The deliverables should instead be based on activity: actions, engagement, meetings, introductions, opportunities, networks, events etc. Make sure to always discuss details of the engagement process and the scope of the services to be delivered. It is equally important that the paying party commits to the engagement and set out deliverables it needs to comply with. One should bear in mind that outsourced business developers put their relationships on the line to help grow your business and their future is dependent on the success of every client interaction. For that reason it is important for you as a contractor to do your part: come prepared, deliver on your end and be service-minded towards any business developer. Moreover, make sure to match your expectations with the price you pay. If not, the results of the service you are buying will most likely be disappointing.

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Slick Socials Will Help You Boost Your Instagram Profile

Slick Socials is offering the most effective way to get instant followers for Instagram and for the best prices on the market.
One way or the other, social networking websites are playing a genuinely major role in our day to day living – that much is absolutely certain. And, of course, in case that you are running a business or perhaps are simply interested in making the most from your very own personal needs and requirements, odds are, you are going to need to make the most from social networks, such as Instagram, and within the very least amount of time possible indeed.

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Unlike many other options that are just as readily available on the market these days, you are going to be pleasantly surprised with the prices and just how quickly those likes, views and followers will be delivered to you as well, which is a huge benefit indeed and one that will allow you to boost your business as well as your popularity within the very least amount of time possible.

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Online Data Entry Job From Home

Data Entry is the process of entering information in to a data file stored in the hard drive of a computer. Data entry must be done as per the rule & requirement of the used software program. Online data entry job is an essential segment of a free work at home job opportunity. There is a huge market for online data entry; still supply is not up to the mark. Hence there is enough room in this arena to work for an individual to work from home as an online data entry operator. Though the scope in traditional data entry still remains in the present industry, online data entry is certainly the leader now, with the present Internet boom around the world. Now, online data entry has achieved a new dimension with ever increasing popularity of Internet. You only need a computer with particular software installed on it to start your venture. As it is a 100% online job, your computer must be connected to the Internet through out the work process. Many companies offer you to type their advertisements in some specific places on the web, and you will be paid when someone clicks on those Advertisements to purchase the product or service provided by those companies. At the same time, some data entry jobs require extensive search on the web to find desired information on a given topic. Then all of the searched data needs to be placed in a file of specific format. For both types of work, an individual must be Internet savvy. Accuracy and speed are other important qualities for a people working in data entry project.

best data entry company in India But, in the present industry, there are lots of scam companies in data entry field. Many companies offer fake promises to people and ask money as upfront before starting work. But, in most cases people never gets anything in return. So, you should not waste your hard-earned money in to any data entry project immediately. You need to do a bit of research work to get some information about the company, before joining. So, it is always recommended to contact company before signing up with it. You always expect a response from a genuine company if contacted. A quality company always offers you training material with required software. best data entry company in the world One has to be logical enough to pick up the real opportunity amongst many scams. You should not believe in any kind of hype or gimmick, and always consider things from a realistic mindset to choose the best offer. If you are hardworking and intelligent and extremely Internet savvy, a free work at home data entry job can fetch some serious money for you on both part time and full time basis.

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Prepare For Summer Cooling Costs With An Energy Audit

With the peak of summer just around the corner, homeowners and business owners across the country are looking for ways to decrease their energy usage and lower their utility bills. With record heat forecast with much of the United States this year, many Americans are looking for ways to lower their energy consumption under the intense heat.
At Wortman Central Air in Tulsa, Oklahoma, they’ve partnered with ONG, OG&E and PSO to provide energy saving rebate incentives to homes and businesses looking to make improvements to lower their energy usage. As the only Building Performance Institute Goldstar-Certified contractor in the state of Oklahoma, they’re well equipped to help provide affordable solutions to customers ready to lower their energy costs.

Bob Enochs, owner of Wortman Central Air, said, “People don’t often realize just how much money they waste- literally, throw out the window- just because they haven’t done a few simple things to help their home or business operate more efficiently. In some cases, we’ve been able to provided energy savings that exceeds the cost of any updates in the first year or two. For homeowners and businesses who care about their budget like we do, it’s really a no-brainer.”

“Energy audits are an affordable service that allow homeowners to gain insight to the areas in their home that are poorly insulated or problems within their air conditioning system,” Enochs said. “It doesn’t matter if you have a 100-year home or a brand new construction project, an energy audit is a fantastic way to discover your best path to savings. And, since we partner with all of the major utility companies on rebate incentives, you can really maximize your cost savings in a hurry.”

Diagnosing trouble areas of the home with an energy audit from Wortman Central Air will give customers exact reason their home’s air conditioning isn’t working at a peak energy-efficient performance. There is no guessing what the problem is, a certified technician will provide the exact cause, and offer a solution along with an estimate for repair. Once an issue is corrected, Wortman Central Air will run another energy audit to determine the problem with energy efficiency has been fixed.

Not only will the certified home energy auditor check for areas of the home that isn’t performing as well, but they will also provide useful advice to reducing your monthly utility bills with minor changes in daily/weekly habits. For example, running your air conditioning in the evening is less expensive during the day, so cooling your home overnight, and running fans to circulate air can reduce the energy bills. Easy recommendations for saving money this summer on utility bills can include:

Having an A/C Tune-Up Performed- A more efficient unit will require less energy to run, and simple, routine maintenance is a great way to notice quick savings.

Use an Outdoor Grill More- Oven cooking will heat the home, increasing the workload for air conditioning units. If you have people in your home who love grilled food, they’ll be happier, too.

Use Smart Thermostats- Internet-connected devices have revolutionized how people live, work and play, and using devices like a Nest thermostat is a great way to experience energy savings.

About Wortman Central Air

Wortman Central Air has been providing HVAC services to Tulsa, OK and surrounding areas since 1968. All technicians are NATE certified to ensure best service. Wortman Central Air is the only Building Performance Institute Goldstar Certified HVAC Contractors in Oklahoma. They have received an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau as well as has excellent customer reviews.

Providing exceptional service and quality repairs and installations it is a top priority to keep residents cool in summer and warm in winter. Wortman Central Air works with several types of heating and cooling units including the top brands, Carrier, Bryant, American Standard, and Rheem. They also work together with all utility companies providing rebates on the installation of Energy Star products.

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