Sunday, September 28, 2014

Networking: Your Way To Business Development Success

When it comes to business development, you have to network!

Everyone has their own ideas about what networking is or how one should use it to their advantage to help with business development. It can make networking sound complicated. But it's very simple. Networking is simply socializing with people from a professional standpoint; getting to know people and what they do or specialize in. If you made a good impression, one day that person may need help with something you specialize in, thus prompting people to call or at least think of you. They can also introduce you to other individuals who can assist you with a variety of things. 

— Noun 
A supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest: Young adults in the community use networking to help themselves find new jobs more effectively.

How can networking help with business development? You can network in the community or workplace to help yourself find new business, clients, deals etc. There are many ways to network within surrounding communities. You have to get involved by attending business expos, participating in community events, or joining a chamber of commerce.

Attend a Business Expo
A business expo is a simple, affordable, and sure way to give your organization exposure in front of hundreds of people and other businesses. Networking at an expo is extremely effective, especially when you are doing B2B. This is because you have an opportunity to speak directly to representatives of other organizations and build initial rapport. Eventually, the new contacts you've made may be able to direct you to whom you will need to speak to in their organization, thus getting you closer to closing a deal or beginning a new partnership.

Participate in Community Events
Make sure your organization has a presence in the community.  You never know who will attend these events. The human resources or benefits director of another organization may attend because he/she supports her/his community. What does this matter to you? People will become more familiar with your organization. Plus, you can initiate contact with these individuals to see who’s who and how to get in contact with the right people.

Join a Chamber of Commerce
A chamber of commerce is a local association established to promote and protect the interests of the business community in a particular place. A chamber of commerce can be found in almost every town, city, or community. Find ones that support your business' surrounding communities and become a member of all of them. Becoming a member is a sure way to be informed of all community events, business expos, and luncheons.

There are many other ways to network for business development purposes. However, I strongly recommend that you use the three ways listed above in addition to whatever else you do. The more networking, the more new business possibilities!

What are your thoughts? 
What other ways can you network for business development?

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Photo Credit: carloszardoyaFlickr

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's More Than Sales

Business Development (BD) is an important function in every organization. But is it anything more than sales? 

From the outside looking in, people perceive it as sales. This is understandable because they see one side of the position most of the time. People only see that associate with a table at the benefits fair, that account manager leaving his business card and donuts to the receptionist to get in touch with HR manger, or that representative who calls every week and leaves a voice-mail to the benefit director. This often leads to one thought, “sales”.

However, for those of you who work in or closely with colleagues in that department, you may have developed a better understanding of what business development truly is. Through your experiences, you've been able to perceive it from the inside looking out.

BD can be the “eyes and ears” for marketing. It helps to bring in new insight and perspectives to marketing. Often times, the business development and marketing departments work closely together to discuss different marketing strategies, products, and goals specific to a client type, demographic, or market segment. In many organizations, the two departments are combined and the business development associates report directly to the marketing manager or director.

BD also helps (to an extent) shape the face of your organization in the community. Often times, it drives where and how an organization gets involved with its community business partners. An organization will most likely sponsor events with clients that have been established through business development. In many instances, the BD associate who manages that business relationship follows through by attending and participating in the community event while representing his/her organization. This can involve anything from setting up an information table, presenting a speech, taking photos for press releases to help in marketing, to giving away prizes.

Essentially, business development is driving the everyday growth of an organization by establishing value through new and current relationships. It involves maximizing the potential of a relationship in many different ways. Not just through sales, but through understanding each client relationship, how it works, what works best, and how to use this information most effectively.

It’s more than sales. It is business development.

What else do you think BD consists of? 

 Comment Below!