Monthly Archives: May 2012

Business Development: How a speed boat can help the big ship!

So what is business development?

If you were to equate it to a “big ship” or a “speed boat” which would it be?

While most organizations agree they want revenues, profits, growth, and value they have many views on how to achieve it.

Business development works hand-in-hand with top leaders to deliver results which address:

    • Compelling “business issues and market trends”
    • Strengthening relationships with “existing and new customers”
    • Gaining traction to ensure “short-term results”
    • Positioning towards “longer-term value” creation

By definition business development represents the ability to find strategic opportunities and deliver a path (or process) which takes ideas from incubation to delivery with clear accountability.

Successful business development requires “combined expertise” (and data points) in multiple disciplines including strategy, sales & marketing, communications, go-to-market, finance, legal, partnerships, entrepreneurship, social media, operations, technology, and client delivery.

Large and medium sized business often display the momentum of the “big ship” and need the help of business development to act in the role of a “speed boat” to help achieve top-line growth and bottom-line results.

Compelling “business issues and market trends”

When the leaders of an organization recognize new opportunities that are impacted from emerging trends, new products/solutions/services, technology innovations, regulations/compliance, and/or mergers & acquisitions there are frequently important challenges which need to be addressed.

When there are constraints around time, expertise, and/or capacity opportunities can be lost.

Business development can play the role of the “speed boat” to provide additional agility which enables powering ahead to provide the necessary focus to drive (and accelerate) important deliverables.

Strengthening relationships with “existing and new customers”

During challenging economic times the need to listen to customers and share insights is greater then ever. Building customer communities which foster an exchange of ideas is not just nice but a necessity. Using social business platforms (i.e. Jive Software, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and onsite activities (i.e. events, forums, roundtables, workshops, conferences, etc.) leaders, experts, and their teams must build relationships based on building trust and two-way dialogue.

Business development can play the role of the speed boat to work outside the box to work with cross-teams to bring a unified, dedicated approach in working with customers, partners, and prospects.

Gaining traction to ensure “short-term results”

Every program benefits from proof points to gain acceptance. It’s critical to show early wins which address the goals, objectives, and priorities that can lead to additional investments.

Business development can work with internal teams to support strategy and help execute important board of directors and senior executive management priorities which are tied to emerging market opportunities.

While the big ship may want to make the move, the speed boat maybe in a better position to make the adjustments that can be incorporated at a later time by the big ship.

Positioning towards “longer-term value” creation

Often members of the big ship are working so hard on day-to-day activities and current or new organizational structures that it becomes difficult to identify and/or achieve new or rapidly changing longer term objectives.

Many distractions can take place including reorganizations, meetings, and multiple, well intentioned agendas, and as a result it becomes important to have business development initiative(s) to stay the course.

When short-term wins combines with longer-term value creation then an organization can achieve great things to support sales, management priorities, and most importantly requirements coming “from the outside in” centered around the customer.

Business development working as the speed boat can play an important role to help the big ship stay on course. Participants can move on or off each other’s vessel to gain perspective, but without the two entities working together huge opportunities can be lost.


When a board of directors or senior management sets their vision and roadmap they need help. Often the tools, resources, and procedures required to achieve success do not exist or are being used in other ways.

Collaborating in an integrated fashion with multiple groups helps an organization further it’s most essential requirement, “how we make money.” While the short-term approach represents part of the answer there must be a view on building longer-term, sustainable value.

On a given initiative a business development team or professional may need to make rapid switches between the following:

    • Strategic market development and sales
    • Partner development and channel sales
    • Marketing and communications strategy and execution including writing and editing copy
    • New product, solution, service offerings and go-to-market
    • Community building to bring buyers, sellers, and experts together
    • Technology including engineering and IT
    • Client delivery to assess streamling and bottlenecks which hold back further replication
    • Program and project manager to ensure that all of the above happens on time and within a budget

In the end is business development about revenues, profit, growth, and value? The answer is “yes!”

And like the smaller speed boat, it must operate with the flexibility to make quick turns —propel forward and backward— and as a result, help itself and the big ship take full advantage of the market trends, competitive threats, and support winning new deals based upon new opportunities.

Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, writes this series of blogs to help senior executives and their teams, leaders, influencers, educators, and students develop effective strategies and tactical execution which results in more revenues, profits, growth, jobs, and value. More >>


Community Service: Providing Business Leadership in One Hour

The blog below is inspired by a recent “Business Community Leadership Forum “How to make a difference in one hour or less!” with Manna on Main Street, a food pantry, soup kitchen, and emergency financial aid provider, which took place on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 in Lansdale, PA as well as many years of working with inspired community leaders and volunteers.
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Leadership Role Models

Entertainment, celebrity and business stars like Bono, Oprah, Jon Bon Jovi, Nelson Mandela, Bill & Melinda Gates, and Lady Gaga give generously to important causes.  Each of them inspire change by empowering individuals and communities to help others and give back.

When you assess each of their attributes as well as the characteristics of other business and community leaders one core tenant that often stands out is that they associate themselves with non-profit organizations, charities (including their own foundations), and social issues by contributing their time, money, resources, and energy to help make a difference.

At a recent Global Youth Leadership Summit, Tony Robbins, entrepreneur, author and peak performance strategist, shared the following wisdom,

“Leaders inspire themselves and others to do, be, give, and become more than they ever thought possible, thereby creating more leaders in the process. When faced with challenges, leaders defy the odds, set a new standard, and step up and create the future as they see it.”

While there are many individuals in our communities who give generously there are many who, rightfully so, express that they are “too busy” with work, families, and existing obligations to support that one extra cause.

How can being too busy obscure change around social issues? What happens if those who are capable, interested, and talented are too busy to help worthy causes?

As business leaders we are familiar with the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few) named after the economist Vilfredo Pareto which states that, for many activities, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

So it’s true, we need to encourage the 20% who can contribute in order to effect the 80% of change we would like to see happen.

When business leaders, volunteers, and community members, who represent a vital part of the 20%, are too busy then the changes we seek will slow down or not happen at all. As a result, we want to support enough individuals and organizations to contribute to the change so that worthwhile causes will take place — and those who need help will get more of it.

Perhaps we should accept the status quo? Or perhaps there’s a way to enable small amounts of time so that more colleagues can extend themselves just a little bit more and feel good about it.

The One Hour Difference

For those of us looking for a solution of creating change let us suggest the “one hour” principal which states that if you can find a way to give just one hour in a week or month of your time that good things will come of it.

Or in others words, as Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” And for that to happen we must find the time to do it.

So whether you are a current or emerging business leader or an every day worker or community member what is the benefit of giving an extra hour or your time?  A few considerations include:

  1. Building your network
  2. Cultivating skills and empowerment beyond one’s current job or role
  3. Increasing visibility and influence in society as an individual and as part of an organization
  4. Helping to support a community cause one small step at a time
  5. Passing a small amount of your time forward without asking for anything in return

Now keep in mind, there’s more to this principal then one hour. If you attend a meeting, event, or activity it will likely take more then one hour but the idea is as follows: what can you do in “one hour” to effect change and contribute?

Somehow we want to go beyond “zero time” to “one hour” and then we can build upon it as it makes sense. We can also combine one hour contributions and realize that the sum is greater then the parts!

So what are the next steps in supporting an important non-profit, charity, or social cause? A few ideas include:

  • Contact an organization and take an onsite tour, arrange a brief call, and/or research it on the internet. Find out more!
  • Connect with the executive director, business development, volunteer manager, and/or staff and ask what type of help they need based on your skills and interests
  • Organize participation at a fund raiser that is already set-up (i.e., golf outings, 5Ks / walks, bike rides, sponsorship, car donations, annual dinners, matching funds, and other creative ideas!)
  • Suggest that proceeds from a company meeting or annual event go in part to a worthy non-profit, charity or social cause
  • Assess what you can do in your off hours by way of e-mails, social media, and commutes to and from the office (using a hands free cell phone!) to make directed calls to connect with other volunteers, donors, or contributors
  • Extend communications by offering to pass on news or announcements to your organization and co-workers from an organization who’s social cause you support
  • Identify a busy non-profit or charity leader or chair of a group (or committee) and ask them what you can do to help with “one hour” a week or month of your time

Business leaders and community volunteers must be willing to set priorities and make small sacrifices. Great leaders serve first and act to help others which is positive for themselves and the organizations they represent.

If we give “one hour” we can extend ourselves and help build tangible value and results for those who need it.

And who knows, one hour can lead to “two” and pretty soon you may find you have more time then expected and the social issue that you support will benefit in both big and small ways!

Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, writes this series of blogs to help senior executives and their teams, leaders, influencers, educators, and students develop effective strategies and tactical execution which results in more revenues, profits, growth, jobs, and value. More >>