Services Provided By Business Development Consultants

Before a business goes public, it must create for itself an identity. To effectively accomplish this, many businesses turn to the help of business development consultants. These professionals are able to help businesses create business plans, brands and much more. Sometimes, they help with development expansion as well as the day-to-day operations that companies carry out. Because of the services these types of consultants provide, they tend to be experienced in an assortment of business-related topics. From brand marketing to start-up budgets to brand development, there are many areas in which the consultants can be of great value.

Brand Development

There is much involved in creating a brand. From a logo to a catchy slogan, a business development consultant will be able to help with the many different brand-related aspects. By creating an effective brand, a business will be sure to establish itself as a trusting company that consumers consistently turn to when they need particular products and/or services. Many times, a business will already have an established brand, but will turn to a business development consultant to help enhance the brand. In doing this, the business is able to reach a wider audience, which helps in boosting profit levels.

Marketing Techniques and Strategies

No matter the industry a business is operating in, it will need to effectively market its products and/or services. For businesses who struggle with this aspect of running a company, it can be of the utmost value to turn to the services offered by business development consultants. From social media marketing to print marketing, the consultants can make sure that a wide variety of marketing outlets are used to increase the brand awareness of a business. Businesses that have yet to create a company website for their selves will definitely benefit from obtaining website development services from a business development consultant.

Business Expansion

Once a business has implemented an effective business plan, it is then time to attract clients and customers. To do this, the business will need to generate and follow through with leads. Generating leads can sometimes be quite difficult; however, with the help of an experience business development consultant, attracting, finding and retaining leads can be much simpler. From identifying target markets to gathering contact information, there is much involved with generating new leads, but a business development consultant can carry out a wide range of processes to ensure new leads are obtained on a consistent basis.

A successful business entrepreneur doesn’t have to possess a formal college degree; however, he or she will need a wide range of expertise knowledge relating to the business world. For some entrepreneurs, the best way to obtain this knowledge is by hiring a business development consultant. This type of consultant can be very resourceful in many business situations, including the development of effective marketing strategies and much more. For many businesses, their success is determined by the consultants that they partner with, making it very important for a professional consulting firm to be hired.

AllbusinessCoaching.com is a Mountain States based Business Coaching Consultants Small Business that provides professional Leadership, Management, and Business Development Consulting & Mentoring, Training, and Coaching services and product solutions. Find out more about entrepreneurial resources.

5 Business Development Don’ts

5 Business Development Don’ts

In my over 25 years experience in business development for Financial institutions, IT enterprises, Law Firms and Medical Practices there is an unfortunate, common repetitive pattern/tendency that costs unnecessary money and reduces efficiencies considerably.

This tendency can simply be defined as “unproductive” business development practices. While it can be stated simply it is NOT a straightforward problem in the least. Not appropriately, consistently and diligently creating and implementing a business development plan can and does cause significant financial and productive leakages to a business entity. For a small or growing company, business or practice, such a business development oversight can and often is very detrimental in many ways.

I have identified 5 of the most common unproductive business development practices. I hope that, if you can identify any or all of these within your business entity, you recognize the red flag and take heed.

The 5 Major Business Development Don’ts are the Following:

1) Don’t Randomly Advertise. Sounds weird, but it is NOT. One of the most common mistakes and seemingly harmless ones is to advertise a company, product or service without a clear target.

Unless you are a large entity, advertising expenditures should be seriously confined for specific targeted campaigns. Brand recognition advertising for smaller and or new practices is NOT an optimum use of resources.

2) Don’t Just “Get” Business- Instead Get the Right Business.

A common mistake in small to medium size companies is to “accept” any client even if the fit is not perfect, i.e. a client project that is not cost effective or a “difficult problematic client” or a client whose request is out of the range of expertise.

This can be a seemingly difficult situation, especially, if there are cash flow issues within a company. However, ultimately, saying no to these clients is the most cost effective solution.

3) Don’t Leave Your Business Growth to “Chance”

Many small businesses and medical practices get “caught up” in servicing clients when ample clientele is at hand, thus, ignoring future business needs. For small to medium size businesses this is one of the major causes of cash- flow problems. There should always be a consistent everyday effort to bring in new clients. This ensures a constant source of new clients as they progress through the customer life cycle.

4) Don’t Ignore Your Previous Clients

One of the biggest sources of potential revenue for any business, medical practice or law firm is satisfied past clients. There are three ways that these clients can generate new revenue for a business: firstly, by cross-selling other products or services that are complementary to what they bought last time; secondly, by up-selling services or products that enhance their growth or customer satisfaction; thirdly, referrals. Satisfied customers are one of the greatest sources of new business. However, in order for this to be successful you must cultivate a “relationship” with your clients via warm calling, holiday cards, emails, gift certificates etc and you must ASK! Previous Clients are the quickest most effective way to gain new clients… do not ignore this financial resource at your fingertip!

5) Don’t Confuse Business Development/Sales/Marketing

Sales and Marketing are quite distinct from Business Development. Simply put Sales represents the completion of a client prospecting stage, Marketing is the means to communicate value and awareness of a product or service, while Business Development represents the holistic/big picture for business growth. More specifically, business development concerns the tasks, processes and preparation for business/opportunity growth. Business Development is in essence the means to obtain the plan and targeting for growth. Having this plan/bigger picture helps to refine the client/service/product penetration and thus expedites and streamlines the sales and marketing efforts.

Ironically, most sophisticated and large companies have well funded business development departments, however, it is the start-ups, small and medium size enterprises that actually need a business development team or process the most.

It is my sincere expectation and desire that should you identify any of these “red flags” in your business it will start a thinking process and adjustment of your entity’s activities and strategies.

Georgia Ismini Lainiotis is an international expert in business development. Her industry expertise is primarily within the financial services, IT, medical, and law fields with some specific manufacturing experience as well. She has written and presented numerous articles on business development, global strategy and strategic alliance formulation. Georgia Ismini is a graduate of Smith College and holds an MBA and MA degree. She speaks 5 languages fluently Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, English with working knowledge of Japanese, French and Italian.

How To Get More Clients: Hire A Business Development Expert

If your business has been struggling to get more clients in the last few months or year then consider hiring a business development expert that can find the right joint venture marketing partners that can deliver hot leads to your sales team. Many businesses can find themselves in a rut where it’s really difficult to acquire new customers. A joint venture marketing partnership can be the right strategy to get moving forward again. A business development pro will understand the process of putting together a solid business deal that can grow your company. If you feel that building a network of business partners can help grow your business in ways that are unachievable by yourself then find the right consultant or individual that you can bring in-house and do the deals that will get your company more clients.

Hire the Right Person

Hiring a business development person is different than finding a sales person for your team. While a business development expert can always play the role as sales person the opposite is not always true. A person that specifically focuses on business development will understand how to communicate potential business deals to perspective businesses in the right manner. They will understand that it is critical that a strong relationship is forged between the individuals doing the business deal and the company employees that will be involved in implementing the partnership.

Hiring a consultant or consulting firm to act as a business development team for you company is a great route for many small businesses. Many business that do not have the internal man power and capabilities to identify, engage, and do the business deals necessary for growth can benefit from a consultant or consulting firm that has access to the business decision makers or the experience necessary to reach out to companies and develop the relationships required to put together a great business deal.

While a consultants hourly rate may be higher than you’re comfortable with a deal can be put together much faster by a professional than someone trying for the first time to structure a business partnership. Consultants often will require an hourly rate or fixed salary as well as some kind of bonus structure for placing deals together which may be a single payout for each business deal that is signed or a revenue share that is paid out over a period of time based on the amount of business that is ultimately generated from the relationships. Most consultants will not work for pure commission deals unless they believe that a deal can be put together extremely fast and will generate immediate revenue. Most will want a cash payment coupled with a bonus structure. Companies that want to execute business deals with larger fortune 500 type companies should always highly consider hiring an expert that has preexisting relationships with the company that you want to do a deal with. It’s common to hire a consultant for one specific business partnership.

Managing a Business Development Team

Managing a business development team member is similar to a sales team member in many respects. It is important that as a business owner you control and own the data that is developed by the team member by making them use the corporate customer relationship management system and uploading any data and reports on potential business partners to the corporate document server. Failing to do this a common problem with companies and their sales teams and even more so with business development professionals as the relationships they have and bringing to the table are often held tightly and not given up easily.

If you are hiring an outside consultant there may be specific clauses in the agreement about who owns what data. This is something to be aware of as it can be very frustrating to be a month or two in developing a new business partner and have a person leave and take the contact information and data with them leaving you in a tough place to continue. It’s critical to recognize that a business development team member is going to need to spend time out of the office meeting with companies, going to business events and other functions that may be fruitful in finding and meeting the right business partners, however if you are paying for someone to be at an event then make sure the business cards that are collected get scanned and retained by the company.

If you have decided that in order to get more clients your business needs to develop strategic business partners than consider outsourcing the work to a consultant or hiring a business development expert in order to speed up the process. Avoid taking team members off their existing duties or forcing yourself to forge the relationships by yourself and add more duties to your already exhausting schedule.
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Grants for Business Development Start

Understanding the need for grants for business development:

The need for capital is something that every entrepreneur faces at one time or another. Governments around the world have realized the importance of subsidies for industrialization and now in business development are available in all countries. The volume and scope of assistance offered can vary and is generally observed that if the federal government does not include direct subsidies to small companies, many state development agencies do.

The different types of financial aid are designed to help entrepreneurs start or expand a business and to encourage them with egg. There are a number of special resources that provide comprehensive assistance to identify and select the appropriate agency for economic development, online and offline.

The application procedure:

Resources to ensure that the contractor is able to access the funds requested in the best financial resources. Grants for business development is available as a fine array of very attractive loans to start or expand a business. Resources, the resources to take care of the growth of the company access to more capital for the proper functioning of existing machines and get ready to meet the objectives in the long and short term. There are individual grants also available. Grants for business development through a formal application and awarded on an ongoing basis. When the businessman is, he is advised of the receipt of all required documents and the decision is usually made within 30 days.

Grant evaluation:

Grants for business development, assessed on the basis of some predefined criteria. The applications are scanned business financing in depth is required to address the needs and support the use of the number of opportunities for the effective exercise of the Company the amount awarded and the award actually meet the business needs identified. Assessment of business development grants also includes a careful examination of the potential effects of the general fund business growth, especially if it is mentioned in another state or country economic booster.

How are grants for business development sourced?

Grants for business development are primarily federal and state grants broadened as the title suggests, the development of enterprises. Funds may be used by the contractor for any business. Government grants are funded by taxes and subsidies extended through various government programs and agencies. The money available to the government for redistribution through subsidies to companies is enough to cover all business and pursued expansion costs Freshers many in various industries. There are also a variety of federal grants and foundation grants for business development in affluent societies.

Business grants – government gifts to entrepreneurs:

Government business grants for business development to give farmers access to seed and viable way to finance growth, which will become an important requirement to increase the demand for the product or service. The money for scholarships for business development enables business growth, to thrive and flourish. Awarded to, machinery and equipment, restructuring, additional working capital, a large recruitment and training of high level and inventory. Who can? Well, someone already has, or wants to start a legitimate business venture operating grant! The government has offered money to entrepreneurs, regardless of the company. This eliminates the need to tap banks and other lenders.

Recipients of the grants for business development:

Millions of subsidies for business development is extended to women, people with low income and minority entrepreneurs. Funds are also available as a start-up grants to businesses or existing businesses to grow, to ensure the continued success of risk. There are also companies that have prospered by giving subsidies to companies investing in real estate. Grant applications are available from federal, state, local governments and territories and advice.

Got a Great Business Idea? You Need a Small Business Development Plan

You need a sound business development plan in order to bring your great ideas into fruition. A solid product or concept alone is not enough to build a small business. You need a sound plan, preparing for every contingency possible in order to develop your concept or product. Do you know what it all entails?

Defining Business Development

If your strong suit is marketing or product creation, to consider hiring a consultant for your business development needs. A business developer is quite similar to a salesperson except for the fact that a developer’s goal is more long range; while in sales, the focus is on the here and now. In other words, a developer takes your potential and shapes it into a workable model that, with some actionable steps, will eventually forge new business relationships and a new marketable product or service. A salesperson sells that product or service.

What This Type of Development Entails

A business developer starts by evaluating your current ties with existing clients seeking ways to improve the relationship. Next, the developer identifies potential new markets for your business that you may not have tapped. In order to accomplish this task, all areas of your business are likely to be evaluated from sales and marketing to management, logistics and even customer service.

Competency in a variety of areas is important for consulting work as a business developer. The ability to identify and capitalise on potential growth is important. Because you are too close to the situation, you may not be the best candidate to draft a development plan. For instance, one of the areas that must be scrutinised closely is your current assets and how they can be used in the maintenance as well as expansion of your small business. A business developer is going to have years of previous experience to guide them.

Feasibility

Business developers will thoroughly asses your current business plan to determine whether it is even feasible to carry out your idea with the current set-up and resources you have. Sometimes, they will determine that you may require outside investors to bring your new idea or product to fruition. Or, they will create a plan for restructuring your company to accomplish your goals.

The role of a business developer can be a broad one. It may encompass all facets of the business or it may concentrate on one particular area. The fact of the matter is that you cannot bring a new product, service or idea to fruition without a solid business development plan. Hiring an outside consultant for this job can be a smart move for you as they are not invested in it and can provide an objective view.

The Value Of The Service Business Development For Professional Services Firms

One of the basic requirements for business development is to assess the current market value, as is more related to the growth and maintenance of the company. To do this, providers of development services called business development specialist who will work with sales and marketing professionals to develop an effective strategy. This business strategy is based on the popular that the company already has in other areas of the clients.

Specialist business development will be sought for customer feedback frameworks customer care. These leaders will help the manufacturer of the strategy for collecting data from existing customers for their opinion on the company and its services. This type of action can often develop specialists to learn more effective ways to promote the company, which can replace the current marketing strategy and objectives more number of customers in the market where the company is already present. In addition, the acquisition of client statements by executives of the channel for customer care specialists assist business development to identify areas of the series of new products and develop a marketing strategy adapted to them. This strategy will lead to the rapid commercialization of new products and services later.

The role of business services development is not limited to an increase in sales and customer satisfaction. Even if these things come naturally in the development of the service, development strategy Maker is to ensure the best use of company funds, management and improve the functioning of various departments, and resolve legal problems that may arise to continue to grow. Many companies offer professional development of creative business strategy, the right to charge business information relating to all levels of corporate structure and use it to attract more customers.

Every little to the organization of large companies may choose to develop the company. It brings success guaranteed for all types of legal entity. Many companies have little time to have tried and achieved a solid record in their own sector. In most cases, companies were able to capture the targeted area and achieve growth due to the efforts of specialist business development. Thus, companies must focus more on development and leasing for professional development, if it seems impossible for them.

Corporate retain their own wing of business growth and development that will deal with all development activities. But small businesses can not afford to do so. Then they can apply to a development consultant to work for them. The consultant will help assess the current situation and develop strategies to bring business growth in the future.

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The Worth of Business Development Service For Professional Firms

Business development service is always used in a broader sense & enables the professional firms to strengthen ties with their existing customers as well as attracting new customers in other areas of the business market. In order to achieve this objective, the business development service providers go beyond the traditional means of marketing, sales, operations, customer care & business management to help their clients promote the business expansion at multiple levels. It needs the business development strategy maker to have certain level of expertise in different areas of business so that he could easily recognize & utilize the opportunities for business growth.

One of the basic requirements for business development is to evaluate the current business value as it is more related to the growth & maintenance of the business. For this, the development service providers appoint business development specialist who will work along with marketing & sales professionals to develop an effective strategy. This business strategy is based on the degree of popularity that the business is already enjoying in other areas of the customer base.

The business organizing specialist will sought for customer feedback from the customer care executives. These executives will help the strategy maker to gather data from the existing customers on their view about the company & its services. Such type of action often helps the development specialist to find out more effective ways of business promotion that can replace the current marketing strategy & target more number of customers in the market sector where the business is already present. Moreover, the acquisition of client testimonials through the channel of customer care executives will assist the business organizing specialist to identify the areas for the new range of products & develop a suitable marketing strategy for them. This strategy will lead to the quick promotion of new products & services later.

The role of business development service provider is not limited to an increased sales or customer satisfaction. While these things come naturally with the development service, the development strategy maker will have to ensure the best utilization of company fund, refine the operation of management & different departments and address any legal issue that may arise as the business continues to grow. Many professional firms give the business development strategy maker the right to collect business related information from any level of business structure & utilize it to induce more business.

Every small to large scale business organization can opt for development in business service. It brings guaranteed success for every kind of corporate condition. Many small time companies have tried it out & achieved a firm footage in their own sector. In most of the cases, businesses have been able to capture the targeted sector & achieve growth due to the efforts of business development specialist. So, companies need to concentrate more on their development & hire for development professionals if it seems impossible for them.

Corporate maintains their own wing for business growth & development that will deal with all development related activities. But small businesses can’t afford to do that. So, they may ask a development consultant to work for them. The consultant will help them assess the present situations & develop strategies for bringing more business growth in future.

A Glimpse Over a Business Development Manager’s Job

Every businessman starts his business with an aim to grow in terms of annual sales. However, starting up a business seems easier, but making it a big one is not everyone’s cup of tea. It needs great efforts and hard work to get your business on the heights of success. According to a research, it has been observed that only one-tenth of 1 percent of companies will ever reach $250 million in annual revenue.

In order to develop a business, you need to make a growth strategy that must cover market perception, market growth, product development, alternative channels, new products, etc. Here, comes the need for a business development manager. He is the most important part of an organization, who needs to work with the marketing people, internal team and other seniors to develop the strategies for enhancing the sales opportunities, thus, increasing the profits. Let’s have a glance over the job of a business development manager:

Role of a business development manager

Well, the role of the concerned person can be categorized as follows:

• Outlook for new clients: It is perhaps the primary role of a business development manager to search for new clients. This can be done through various ways including cold calling, networking, advertising and more.

• Planning influential approaches: The next important thing is planning a proper influential approach that can encourage the prospective clients to do business with the company.

• Developing a bond: Developing a good relationship with new customers is really necessary if you want to develop your business. This can be done by setting targets and proving the required support to the customers for improving the bond.

• Grow and retain existing accounts: Developing a good relationship with new customers is not just enough. What more require is growing and maintaining the existing accounts. In order to retain the current customers the manager should be ready with new solutions and services that he/she can present to the customers as and when required.

Above are some of the primary roles of a business development manager. Apart from this, he/she is responsible for making a strategic planning for developing a new business coming in to the company. For this, the person must possess a sound knowledge of the current market condition, services that company can provide and most importantly who are the company’s rivals.

Qualifications and skills required for the business development manager

• Educational qualification: As the job of a business development manager is quite challenging, he needs to have certain skills that can assist him in facing all the hurdles. As per the reports of online job placements on Monster.com and PayScale.com, the educational qualification required for Business Development Manager Jobs is first of all a bachelor’s degree in business administration or any other related field. Having a good experience in sales or marketing will be added advantage. Though, some companies may prefer the candidates who hold a master’s degree in this field.

• Key skills: As far as skills are concerned, the person should be highly motivated, problem solver and must have prospecting skills, territory management, market knowledge, presentation skills, closing skills, professionalism, etc.

Significant result areas of business development manager

To achieve the desired results, it is very essential to be crystal clear about everything so that the concerned person will be able to focus on the results. Generally, the key result area should be:

• Clear, precise and measurable: A clear, precise and measurable key area will help in defining the exact results that have been achieved and how well they are achieved.

• Under the control of business development manager: The key result area should be under the control of the concerned person. When he/she does it in a right way, it will contribute towards a major value to a business and to the career of the responsible person.

• A vital activity of the business: A key result area is unquestionably the important output that will turn out to be an input to the next result area.

All the above information will surely help you to get an idea about the job of a business development manager.

The author of this article has shared essential details about business development manager jobs. In order to apply for various job openings, you can visit India’s prominent job portal, CareerBuilder.

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.

As we can see, business development comes in many forms and is practiced by a broad set of actors. From the birth of firms through incubators and seed accelerators, to boosting growth for small and medium firms by means of second stage business accelerators, to advising corporate giants through management consulting firms, business development constitute an important element any phase of the company life cycle. Undeniably, business development is a crucial component of a firm’s success – the opportunities forged today will define what the company is doing on tomorrow.

10 Step Guide to Successful Business Development

Starting your own business is no joke and will require some considerable preparation on your part as an upcoming entrepreneur. In order to increase your chances of success in business, you will need to master powerful business development steps.

Here is the 10 step guide to a successful business development:

1. Develop personal and business objectives
Many businesses fail because the business owners do not have a sense of direction. Developing and stating your personal and business goals will serve as your roadmap and provide you with a sense of direction.

2. Identify a feasible market sector for your product(s) and or service(s)
Some people fail in business not because they do not have the finances to start-up their business but because they have a product or service that no one wants to buy. In order to reach professional development in business, you will need to listen (attentively) to the marketplace. Clearly identify an unmet need of customers prior to developing a product to satisfy their needs. Yes, you may be a smart business person, but if the market does not support you, you can say a big farewell to attaining professional development.

3. Work on your marketing plan
The main purpose of developing a marketing plan is to simply explain how you wish to create and maintain clients/customers in order to make a profit. The plan will also need to state the following:
– Your target market
– How you intend to penetrate the market
– Why your sales campaigns will be successful
– How much you will sell within the period of one year and over the next 5 years.

Your marketing plan will eventually be a pretty strong part of your professional development plan.

4. Write down a rough version of your company’s business plan
This is an outline of the path that you wish to take your business, a breakdown of your company’s strengths and weaknesses and a framework from which your official business development plan will be created.

5. Find out your monetary needs
Some companies fall flat like a pack of cards because they do not know diddly squat about the cost of keeping their company in business. As soon as you have developed your business plan, it is easier to determine your monetary requirements.

6. Put together your main teams
Before you develop your official business development plan you need to ensure that you form a good management team.

7. Conclude your financing requirements and put together an official professional development plan
Your business plan should without a doubt, show that your business can sell a sufficient amount of goods and or services to make a reasonable profit and is also good enough to attract prospective backers. Remember, this document will be used in order to secure financing to launch your business – so it has gotta be good!

8. Come up with a good marketing strategy to obtain financing
You will need to come up with a solid marketing plan to sell yourself and your business to financiers to raise money to get your business off the ground.

9. Market your business plan effectively and attract funds on your terms
Use negotiating tools which will give an edge over your competition and make it possible to attract funds on your own terms instead of just on your investor’s terms.

10. Market your goods and or service(s) and manage your business effectively in order to achieve your objectives.
As soon as your business has taken off, you will require a pretty strong management tool and marketing techniques in order to attain a successful professional development.

Christopher Fitzpatrick is an expert author for Horizon Speakers and Seminars – a leading Irish company that provides World-Class Speakers, Events & Training!