When most people think about business development, “communication” isn’t the first thing that comes to their mind .
Though communication plays a massive role in marketing at every step of the process, many entpreneurs have learned to think of biz dev as spending money on your business.
In a certain sense it’s logical. Most marketing campaigns do cost money. Retail space costs money. Most things you do to grow your business, cost some amount of money.
And yet, experience shows that business development is every bit as much about how you communicate as where you invest your money. At every step along the way, communicating better will amplify the results you get for each dollar you spend on business dev.
To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at the major areas of business development. I’ll explain how each and every one of them is inseparable from communication and persuasion, whether existing biz dev managers know it or not.
By strategy, I mean all the planning that goes into building a business. That includes:
- Business ideas.
- Business plans.
- Daily, monthly and quarterly goals setting.
- Logistics and execution.
Strategy is at the core of business development. From the start up phase to 50 years in, there will always be strategy, because there will always be new situations to respond to. The idea of an “autopilot business” is the ultimate pipe dream.
Communication plays a huge role in strategy. From writing a business plan to communicating your strategic vision to employees, you’ll always need communication skills in order to truly strategize effectively. Taking a writing or speaking class, such as Dale Carnegie’s public speaking courses, can help you out dramatically in this area.
By financing I mean simply procuring funds for your business. I deal with investments within your business separately.
Finance is not an area that people commonly associate with communication. But a quick look into the topic shows that this misconception is just that; a misconception.
Communication is at every stage of the financing process. To get a loan, you usually need to supply a business plan and attend an interview. To secure venture capital, you’ll need to attend a meeting at the least, and in some cases, give a long presentation in front of investors. Alternate forms of financing–such as angel investment capital, or grants–often require getting to know someone on a personal level and persuading them that you’re worth investing in.
The picture, after a quick review of the facts, becomes clear: communication is at the very heart of financing. An investment in communication is an investment in your business.
Marketing And Sales
This one should pretty much go without saying. And yet, even here, the role of communication can be undervalued. Many managers like to look at marketing or sales as a “numbers game,” the idea being that if you make X contacts, X% of them will turn into sales. This is mistaken because not all salespeople are equal. Better sellers will make more sales for each contact. The difference between great sellers and bad ones? You guessed it–the ability to communicate effectively; specifically, the ability to “get to know” a prospect, and make the persuasive case that the product you have meets their needs.
Lastly, investments; that is, anywhere you “spend money to make money” in your business. This is probably the one area of business development that most people think has the least to do with communication.
And yet, even here, the fine art of language plays a crucial role.
Communication comes into play if you have partners who need to be convinced that you investment idea is a good one. It comes into play if you need to persuade someone to accept your money (e.g. if you’re investing in someone else’s business). It comes into play if you’re looking to raise money for investments (see section on financing).
Simply put, business development is about two things:
1. How you communicate.
2. How you spend money to amplify your the effects of your communication.
In a world full of unclear messages and insincere sentiments, this idea can take you a long way. The only question is how do you find your truth and express it clearly so that everybody you do business with will see the value right away.