Business development professionals like Howard Nutt know that starting up or trying to grow a business can be intimidating, especially when you consider that over half of all new businesses fail within the first five years – and many more within the next five. To increase your chances of success, you need a strong business development plan. Business development is basically a strategy aimed at starting or growing a business that includes a number of tasks and processes.
A business development professional typically works to identify new opportunities for the business. That could be new markets, new paths to existing markets, a new product or service, or potentially beneficial partnerships with other business. A business developer may be involved at several stages of the business development process, such as product development, marketing, lead generation, and deal making.
A business developer like Howard Nutt is a professional dedicated to the analysis and preparation of potential areas of growth and optimization of processes and competencies for a business. A business developer works with the departments within a business to help them implement business models and processes that ensure continued growth, and can make a huge difference in your company’s success. Howard Nutt offers some guidelines for you to keep in mind when hiring a business developer.
First of all, legal counsel is not a bad idea. A legal agreement can outline exactly what the terms of the arrangement are including what happens if the relationship does not work out or the results are disappointing. Knowing when to hire a business developer – and what to look for – is essential, too. During the earliest stages of your company, if you are a startup, you need a developer, like Howard Nutt, who can help you identify points of leverage and paths to market, as well as providing feedback and working with production and engineering teams. If your business is in the testing stage, closing deals to test predictions and measure success before scaling, you will want a developer with analytical skills who can set up a plan for what to measure, examine data, and determine how to proceed to best align processes with the company’s strengths and goals.
If your company is already in the scaling stage, business development focuses on continued success, improving your support structure, and finding paths to growth. However, notes Howard Nutt, do not confuse business development with sales. Although the two do overlap, the function of sales has to do with selling directly to the customer, while business development focuses on more complex approaches to working with customers and through partners to reach customers in a scalable, sustainable way. That means that a business developer will establish partnerships with customers and partners that provide leverage for sales, as opposed to focusing directly and exclusively on increasing revenue. Both are important and must be complementary, but they are two different things.
Howard Nutt on How To be Successful
An important thing to grasp well when developing a business is how to make good deals, explains Howard Nutt. Making deals and making the right deals are completely different. An inexperienced dealmaker, or a dealmaker with the wrong motivations or incentives, can be a bane to the company by distracting it from or causing it to miss out on bigger, more strategic opportunities. You want your business development partner to be someone with whom you develop a level of trust and understanding to avoid making deals you will regret later.
Another thing a business developer like Howard Nutt will do well is to emphasize accountability whether failure or success is the outcome. He or she will use all available internal resources to make sure the company can sustain the established practices and partnerships. A good business developer understands that whether a partnership or business succeeds or fails, everyone is responsible.
In short, a good business development plan includes all of the different aspects of your business. It involves evaluation of in-house skills and processes to identify ways to grow, such as increasing production or partnering with other local businesses. It may involve finding ways to increase your team’s motivation and add to their skillset. Business development involves knowing your competition and your market inside and out. Finally, it requires that you remember that the main goal of all of your efforts is increasing your sales, and developing sales and marketing plans to achieve this. A business developer can help you identify ways to better promote your offerings as well as ways to decrease time to market and cost.
Business startup and growth are difficult, multifaceted undertakings that require that many people and strategies work well together. A great product or service and a great team of professionals are very important. All the hard work pays off, though, when you see your idea turn into a successful company. Bringing in a business developer like Howard Nutt can help your company achieve – and maintain – success.
Howard Nutt is Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Business Development Institute (BD-Institute). He has helped numerous professionals develop proficiency and capability in managing and improving their business. Mr. Nutt has been a professional business developer for more than 30 years.