2020 was a challenging year for businesses the world over. Analysts estimate that the pandemic caused a global economic recession of between 4.5% and 6% in 2020. These effects will spill over to the coming years as world economies gradually recover from the crisis.
However, 2021 is a promising year for business as COVID-19 vaccines become available and more countries continue to ease lockdown restrictions.
Even as things slowly return to normal, the pandemic has completely redefined the approaches to business development.
The “new norm” has unique challenges too – customer behaviour and the commerce landscape have both changed drastically. But despite the persistent uncertainties, you can still grow your business if you make the right moves.
Business development is essentially the process that is used to identify, nurture and increase the number of new business leads, potential clients and opportunities in order to successfully grow profitability for a company.
It is often confused with sales and sometimes overlooked. Having clear business development goals is crucial to setting up a clear long-term roadmap to success whilst ensuring that everyone in your company works toward a common goal.
A business development strategy is a plan or document that outlines a mapped out strategy that will form the bases of attempting to accomplish that goal and improve on opportunities.
If you are keen to learn a few ways in which to formulate your own business development goals and opportunities, then the insights in this article is a good place to start.
Read on, as we list out five useful strategic business tips (or business development strategies) that you could look into when formulating your own business plan.
There are many strategic avenues a business can take in order to grow a business.
While we have listed out some top tactics which should help get you started, it is also important to approach your strategy with an open mind by researching the competition. This will also help to understand what has been effective for them and build upon your business development strategy.
A clever business development strategy is to evolve as circumstances change.
Many businesses pivoted to different products and services during the pandemic as part of a business development plan to take advantage of new demands, business opportunities and market niches
Restaurants for instance turned into food delivery services in order to refine their target market during the pandemic, while some manufacturers shifted to PPE supplies.
This is not the time to be stubbornly conservative about your business direction. Although it’s sometimes frightening and unsettling, change is a natural order of things. What’s important is making well-informed, calculated changes – discard what doesn’t work, re-evaluate your smart goals and embrace what works.
The 2020 pandemic shed new light on the importance of customer loyalty. A loyal customer base stands with a brand through thick and thin and propels its growth. Build your brand’s reputation and trust by prioritising the customer over superficial sales.
Study your customers – learn who they are and what they want. Collecting enough data on your customers gives you valuable pointers to fine-tune your targeting strategies and offerings to create a positive customer experience. Work along the lines of personalising experiences for each category of customers and crafting sales process funnels that lead to more than just a purchase.
This is a no-brainer and should definitely fit in as part of your business development plan. A recent report estimates that global e-commerce sales in 2020 reached $4.280 trillion, a 27.6% growth over the previous year. At the same time, the total retail sales dropped by 3%. Online shopping is the most popular online activity today, and it’s still growing. If you haven’t already structured your business to leverage online leads, it’s high time you did.
Launch a website and market your product or service through digital means, these include platforms such as social media and search engine marketing.
Digitising allows you to reach your target market effectively, allowing you to work smarter and reach a much wider consumer base faster and more efficiently.
Another key aspect of your business development is investing time and effort in fostering strong connections and lasting relationships with customers and all other entities associated with your business – Networking is a great way to do this.
call Networking ‘Relationship Marketing’ and it’s essential for all businesses who plan to be around long term. It can almost be considered as a form of off-line marketing that helps build tight, meaningful connections with suppliers, employees, and manufacturers by joining groups to strengthen your brand from the inside out.
By building strong relationships through networking groups, it may even bring about some new business opportunities, opening doors to new clients. You’ll also find people in there who can help you too, you can refer to them and use their services. You can meet people who’ve been in business a lot longer than you and that helps for advice and support if you ever go through a season where it’s needed, the relationship is already there.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how to maintain business operations and grow a business during a global disaster. Most businesses that survived through 2020 adapted their operations or activated their backup plans to cope with the harsh reality or take advantage of new opportunities.
Business continuity and resilience are essential factors for business growth. Put multiple continuity strategies in place for every possible disaster. For instance, keep data backups to maintain data availability even after a cyber incident, and structure a remote working facility to keep employees engaged without necessarily commuting to work.
The struggles and challenges of 2020 were an eye-opener for many entrepreneurs and business leaders.
But now, the crisis is nearly over, and the big question now is, “how do I grow my business?”
As you’d expect, there is no one answer; it takes a combination of efforts and new approaches to business development to hoist a business to the next level.
Focus on meeting and surpassing customer demands, create your very own business development plan if you haven’t already and market your brand to a broader audience. This will help build your business resilience for a start.
A business development plan can be created for an individual, practice or for the company as a whole. It must consider many aspects, covering both the marketing goals and sales process / functionality.
Consider who are you trying to attract as new clients and focus on your ideal target customer. By narrowing this down as much as possible you can really refine your business development plan into something actionable. Be careful not to however go so narrow that you can’t achieve your business goals!
If you are unsure ‘who’ is your ideal target audience. Think of your top 5 favourite clients whom you’ve ever worked with. Why did you enjoy working with them? What similarities did they have in age, gender, location, years in business, income bracket level, outside work interests, etc… There’s your ideal audience.
Another thing to consider in your business development plan is to identify what makes your business different from the competition.
Maybe it’s the product or service you are selling, or perhaps it’s because you are a more cost-effective solution. Consider why clients should buy from you instead of others.
Another important consideration for your business plan is implementing internal goals.
How will you be able to know whether or not your business development efforts are successful? By ensuring you have actionable but also measurable “SMART” goals you can define clear KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that will help reflect the health and success of your business.
The result of these metrics should give you a strong indication of how effective your business development efforts are.
The more you know about your target audience the better you will be able to identify common pain points that your competition may not be solving. Known as a gap in the market, having precious insights such as this will help ensure you offer something a little bit different from other firms which may help bring in new business.
Ask yourself questions such as:
These are the main points for creating a Business Development plan. I never coach clients to do pages and page of it, always try and fit your main points on one page. Send it someone to make it graphically look awesome then stick it up on your wall. One page plans always work better than 30 page ones. It forces you to keep the main points the main points and cut out any fluff to focus solely on your business growth.
(c) Copyright 2021 The Milestone Academy
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