Business Development

Vance's Notebook:

Business Development

Every company, whether a startup or an existing entity, should have a well thought out business development strategy. That strategy should be carefully developed and documented with a written plan.


Organic Business Development is considered by many to be the optimum initial business development focus. Organic business development starts with your creation of a customer or two, someone who knows you, or a relative or friend of a friend. Those first customers are a foundation upon which you can build a thriving business. The experience that those first customers have with you can pave the way to a trajectory of growth of your customer base.


If those initial customers have the sense that they have received legitimate value, competence, and results, they will tell others. Word of mouth business is the most fundamental basis of successful business development. In your written plan it is important that you articulate the elements of customer interaction that result in consistent positive word of mouth regarding your business.


Some of the line items in your plan can include things like customer communications, professional proposal forms, phone interaction guidelines and systems, appearance and demeanor of employees, and the vehicles and equipment if relevant. Also, build a culture in your company that ensures that you and everyone else in your company understands that you must “DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO” (see link). You must create happy customers - Even just one unhappy customer can be very costly to the future growth of your company.


Systemic business development is the identification of potential customers for your business and familiarizing them with your company and finding the best ways to make them aware of your company.  Some necessary steps in that process include:


Immediately start accumulating a database of existing and potential customers, or key employees of potential customers.  You can accumulate these contacts through web searches, data providers, your own website with Search Engine Optimization.  The data should include Name, Title, Phone (office and cell), E-mail, street address and other pertinent information and notes..  Create group labels for these names such as existing customers, target customers, hot prospects, etc.


Design a plan of attack as to how to contact these groups.  Some possibilities:  direct mail, email marketing utilizing services like Constant Contact, phone calls directed to people that might have a need for your service / product, or even face-to-face visits where feasible.  Successful campaigns like this will have their share of rejections, but you will identify enough legitimate decision-makers as to more than offset the rejection that’s a part of the process – trust me on this!


Create a professional website - creating a professional website is not a significantly expensive process any longer. You need to have some kind of web presence, no matter what your business.  You should have at least some basic SEO work done with some form of periodic updating to improve your search results when someone is searching for your product or service.


If appropriate for your industry you may want to develop a “Google Ad Words” program that requires you to pay for potential customers who click on your name. There are situations in which this approach is warranted and beneficial.  Also, depending on your industry, engaging with customers through social media platforms, promptly responding to inquiries and reviews, and showcasing authentic testimonials and success stories can lead to additional prospects and potentially enhance customer satisfaction.


Additional elements of the business development process should include regularly monitoring customer satisfaction by identifying areas that can be improved that will further enhance customer loyalty. The optimum approach to acquire this is by talking directly to customers.  When this is impractical, you may want to utilize various methods such as customer surveys, feedback forms, or online reviews to gather insights. Analyzing this feedback enables businesses to identify pain points, address any shortcomings promptly, and implement necessary improvements. By demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement business owners can earn customer trust, enhance customer satisfaction and long-term profitability.


By consistently refining and adapting products or services, and target markets, small businesses can build a loyal customer base that remains satisfied and willing to advocate for the brand.



"The business development function is responsible for shaping the company's destiny” - Unknown





Vance D. Campbell Jr.

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