Business Development

Ripe Consulting does business development.

Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

  • excellent communication and IT skills
  • the ability to get on with people at all levels and influence them
  • strong problem-solving and creative skills
  • an ability to stay calm under pressure and keep to deadlines
  • strong sales and negotiation techniques
  • teamworking and leadership skills
  • attention to detail
  • time management and organisational skills
  • researching organisations to find new customers and identify who makes the decisions
  • ‘cold calling’ to arrange meetings at customers’ premises
  • finding out what an organisation needs and working with a team to plan proposals and pricing
  • selling products and services to new and existing customers
  • negotiating with customers and building positive relationships
  • attending events and conferences
  • writing reports and making presentations to customers and senior management
  • identifying new methods and opportunities for sales campaigns
  • forecasting sales targets and making sure they’re met
  • delivering training to business developers and junior sales teams
  • recruiting and training sales staff
  • allocating areas to sales reps
  • developing sales strategies and setting sales targets
  • providing feedback and coaching to team members
  • monitoring the team’s performance and motivating them to reach targets
  • compiling and analysing sales figures
  • reporting back to senior managers
  • keeping up to date with products and competitors
  • “Business development is sales,” some will say, concisely.

    “Business development is partnerships,” others will say, vaguely.

    “Business development is hustling,” the startup folks will say, evasively.

    The assortment of varied and often contradictory responses to the basic question of “what, exactly, is business development” reminds me of the way physicists seek to explain what, exactly, is the universe.  With conflicting theories on the nature of black holes and bosons, the ultimate goal for those scientists is a Grand Unified Theory, a single definition that can elegantly explain how the universe itself operates at every level.

    Lacking any concise explanation of what business development is all about, I sought to unite the varied forces of business development into one comprehensive framework. And eureka, for I have found it – the Grand Unified Theory of business development:

    Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

    There is elegance in simplicity, but perhaps this definition leaves you wanting more.  At its heart, business development is all about figuring out how the interactions of those forces combine together to create opportunities for growth.  But a theorem requires a proper proof, so let’s break that statement down:

    Long-Term Value

    First, what do I mean by “long-term value?”  In its simplest form, “value” is cash, money, the lifeblood of any business (but it can also be access, prestige, or anything else a company seeks in order to grow).  And there are plenty of ways to make a quick buck for you or your company.  But business development is not about get-rich-quick schemes and I-win-you-lose tactics that create value that’s gone tomorrow as easily as it came today.  It’s about creating opportunities for that value to persist over the long-term, to keep the floodgates open so that value can flow indefinitely.  Thinking about business development as a means to creating long-term value is the only true way to succeed in consistently growing an organization.