January 16th, 2015

The paradox of business development

Business development -- I take my lead from Michael E Gerber: Working on the business not in it. However, for most people they only see business development through the rubric of sales.

Further, business development means just that; namely to radically transform the moribund into something thrilling and worth the investment of emotional labour that’s required to get people to see the potential of something that’s remained hidden from view for a long time.

Of course, it’s easy to slap on another regnant formula but to my mind the essence of business development is to change the attitude and approach of the leaders so that they stop looking at the business as a cash cow, and instead something that fuels their primary purpose. (If you’ve read E-Myth Revisited you’ll understand that your primary purpose comes before the strategic objective.)

Yes, business development can mean sales but that’s rarely enough to make the business become the most holistic version that it could be. At some point the cracks widen and people understand that they’ve not business developed but merely added to the existing issues.

If nothing else, business development has to change the attitude and approach of the leaders by adopting something as simple as servant leadership, or, certainly, by exposing to the light the latent talent that lies within the company.

Of course, I cannot hope to change the mind-set or label in writing one simple post, but I do wish that those whose duty it is to drive the business development agenda, acted out a bigger vision than one predicated on profit. Not that I’m against profit. Indeed, where meaningful business development goes -- people development, service delivery, gobs of value -- so the profit flows.