Business Development, commonly known as BD, is viewed by many as burdensome. Worse, the art of Market Research is seen as an expendable and monotonous commodity. 

Companies, large and small, are rampant with mythical ideologies and an inability to achieve leadership commitment to these growth fundamentals. Collectively, this contributes to their lackluster results because they've not established a system to guide their growth journey. I've seen it time after time where start-ups and established companies alike, don't create parameters to discern good business opportunities from those that will only amount to frustration and expense. 

Then there is context. In this case, I refer to understanding what BD is all about. There is a significant lack of context when it comes to what BD is, what it isn't, when it happens and with whom it happens. Knowledge of the Business Development Life Cycle, that's everything from Strategy to the Victory Party, has not achieved the level of appreciation and traction needed to drive deeper adoption, especially among business leaders. The functions associated with Business Development, one stage within the BD Life Cycle, are frequently overlooked or glossed over. The challenge, very often, lies simply in understanding these terms. For example, does your version of Capture match the definition used by your teaming partners?  

Much of this I blame on today's education system. Seriously. Kids of today (mine is in 6th grade) don't have to write things down the way we did. It's not just technology, it's a different educational culture. We had to document how we arrived at a particular answer or hypothesis, and turn it in. Getting the right answers was not good enough, nor the point. 

Herein lies the problem I see with how so many companies conduct Business Development today. No plans and no evidence. They just go for what they hope is the right answer without understanding why and how they arrived at that answer. I'm pretty sure there's a saying about goals not written down. 

Writing things down is not the easy way, but it helps me achieve better clarity. For Strategy, Market Research and Business Development overall, writing it down means identifying what you need to know and what questions to ask to get where you want to go. Questions help establish parameters, which can provide focus when things seem tedious and unending. Knowing what questions need to be answered also makes it easier to narrow the search for answers. In short, having a process and a plan helps you know which dots you need and where to get them.  

If you have your approach written down and know what questions need to be answered to achieve growth, what number of dots do you need?  

Knowing your number means having your process established for mapping your offerings to organizations, people and programs of importance to you. It means having evidence to support your beliefs and assertions in order to validate strategy. Finally, it means understanding the level of effort, and having more rather than less control of the time and money being spent to find and win that next opportunity. If this sounds like too much commitment, that's okay. One or more of your competitors will have your number. 

Peace and Success, 


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