Business Development Tips

At NYICC, our clients’ success is all that matters. Once we begin working with you, we will be able to offer a wide range of business development services that will fill in any gaps in your own plan. Whether your business is large and multinational or strictly “Mom and Pop,” our core philosophy is always based on a set of 15 important business “must do’s.”

1. Identify the appropriate market and target the appropriate segments within the market -- Deep pockets; ability to leverage core product from one segment to another without major design/development changes.

2. Make sure there exists a market problem/pain that currently demands a solution. Is the problem large enough to justify the price of your solution? Is someone with P/L responsibility willing to pay for the solution? Test: Are you able to clearly delineate a value proposition that gets a customer’s attention?

3. Solve the customer’s problem, don’t just build cool technology. Value is always in the application of the technology, not technology per se

4. Have a clear understanding of your value chain. Know who are your partners, competitors, and customers – it isn't always obvious

5. Understand where you are in the market cycle, from a timing perspective: new technology, competitors entering, segmentation, consolidation, solutions offering, commoditized, etc.

6. Don’t fight the market and where it is in its life cycle – you will lose

7. Price based on value of solution, not to undercut competitors. Compete first on functionality, not price. If you truly are the only one solving the customer’s problem, you should be able to price your offering based on value of your product/solution to the customer You compete on price only after the product/solution has become a commodity – end of the life cycle

8. Techies should never hire sales people; they don’t know what skill-sets and personality traits to look for. Test: If it's someone who is too aggressive and a person techies don't want to hang out with, it's probably a good sales guy

9. Identify the end user of your product or service before you start thinking about Business Development. Even if you do not sell directly to the end users, you should know as much as possible about them. Don't be fooled by the misconception that your target market is "everybody".

10. Write a detailed plan of action. Prioritize your opportunities and consider partnering with proven and profitable businesses first. It is very common to see announcements of strategic alliances between companies with so-called "ideas" and not solid business models. Don't invest much time talking to your suppliers or companies you have to pay money to. It is their job to give you the best deal. Always assign a monetary value to the deal before exploring it. Form alliances with companies that will bring you revenue first.

11. Learn as much as you can about the potential partner and their competitors before you contact them. Determine how your deal can make your partner's company more profitable. That is, list all the ways in which your proposed joint agreement adds value your partner's business. What holes does it fill in your partner's product/service line? How does the deal enhance your partner company's core business? How will your product attract more customers to your partner company's business? How does "doing the deal" brace your partner against the trends of the industry, for which they might otherwise be unprepared?

12. Identify the personal issues. What are the personalities of the people who will be influential in the decision to sign the agreement? What are their personal motivations? Growth/expansion? Hot buttons? Family? Loyalty and commitment to the company they represent? Business process simplification? Eventual merger/acquisition?

13. Identify the PR potential of the joint agreement. Why is it hot news? To whom, in particular? How can you leverage these PR possibilities in negotiating the deal? How do they add value to the overall equation? Be careful in announcing so-called "strategic alliances" where only a purchase of equipment or services was made.

14. To insure that the partnership will successfully evolve, commit the necessary resources to insure that the deal is implemented and periodically evaluated. Set guidelines and performance metrics as part of the deal. Involve senior management in every step of the way. Assign a single point of accountability for the deal.

15. Business development is much more than simply going to trade shows and being a wheeler dealer. Business development is hard work and you must stay focused on the long term. Hopefully the above tips will help you whether you are experienced in biz dev or if the role of business development was thrust upon you due to layoffs, firings or other factors.

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