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What is Business Development and what does it really mean?

Date: Jun 14, 2022

What is Business Development and what does it really mean?

Activating change in your business

For Troy Accounting this means working with our customers to activate changes in their business. It means quality time away from the day-to-day work and the ability to review and assess your business from an external perspective.

Activating changes in your business can be hard to do when you're in the business every day. You may not even be able to see some of the changes that either need to be made or that you want to make.

Those ideas in your head or that you may have scribbled in a notebook are the changes that need focus and review but sometimes that can be difficult to do alone.

Our customers find that working with us allows them to really leave the business to one side for a short time and to allow themselves to believe in the possibilities.

Possibilities and change don't happen overnight. They require time and commitment and to be nurtured. Not all of these will be successful, so it is also having that person to turn to for guidance, for reassurance and who you'll listen to when they say "Stop, this isn't working. Let's focus your energies on another way"

Business development examples

Some examples of our business development with customers cover areas such as product reviews and how your customer really sees and understands what you're selling, especially if you're a service-based business. 

If you're a product-based business this could include reviewing the relationships with your distributors, the agreements you made with them and if they're sticking to their side of the deal. If they're not, then we can help with those difficult conversations to realign the pricing so that you don't lose out just because your distributor is dealing with bigger businesses.

A lot of our business development conversations start by just getting the information out of our customers heads. Most people have never been through this process before. It can feel wrong taking time out and there are feelings of guilt that you should be doing something else. This is okay and we guide our customers through not just the business conversation but also the emotional concerns they may have.

What are your aims?

Everyone has a reason for being in business and an ultimate aim they want to achieve, but you can sometimes forget what that is because you're too busy running the business.

Even if you take time out of the business by yourself, already having that external sounding board is such an advantage as you don't really take yourself out of the business unless you are truly focused elsewhere. 

Helen and Boo have a business coach with a wealth of experience gained over years from very different industries to their own experiences. It works amazingly well, and they learn something new every time, either about themselves as individuals or as a team or about bringing the clarity and focus back to our overall aims.

It can be scary to sit there and work out what your aim is as you must be brutally honest with yourself about what you're prepared to do to get there and what you're prepared not to do. If you have a business partner it is worth reviewing the business aims so that you're both aligned, as well as your individual personal aims.

In our opinion aims are better than goals. Aims are a continuous place to work towards whereas goals are achievements made along the way. 

During the business development sessions, we work out what the ultimate business and personal aims are (buying a house, retiring early, business succession, business growth, building stability) and then agree the steps to take to get there.

We hold our customers accountable to achieve these steps with encouragement and continuous communication. As life changes and business changes, the steps may change but the aim will still be the same.

Follow your own path

Regular business development is important for all businesses, of all sizes, and it should never be with someone that tells you “This is what you must do” because that is their way, not yours.

In NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) there is an expression used about “putting your map of the world onto someone else”. What this means is that your personal view, or the way you achieved success is not the same for every person or business so leading them along the path that you did will not work. This is your map that worked for you, and they will have their own map to follow for their success.

The path taken needs to be aligned to the person’s own values and it must be their own path and journey.

This may sound wishy washy nonsense but how many times have you tried something that worked for someone else, and it didn’t work for you, or you felt out of sorts and not quite yourself? This is because it is going against your values and why you do what you do but you’re trying to follow what someone else has done.

Yes, there are absolutely ways to guide business owners down the same path as there has to be an element of structure but just because it worked for one business doesn’t mean to say it will work for another and telling someone “This is the way it must be done as it worked for me so follow this approach and it will work for you” is not correct. 

It could in fact put the business trying to follow this approach in dire straits and as a business owner you will feel like you are failing as you are not meeting the same level of success as the person telling you to do it this way.

But you’re not failing you’re just being pulled along a path that isn’t the right one. You must discover your own path and business development is a great way to do this.

Your level of success may be quite different to someone else’s. They may want to sell their business for £5million but you may want to earn enough money each year but work fewer hours as you want to spend more time with your family.

It can be difficult to block out the noise as everyone will always have a story and a view on the best way to do things but your journey to success is yours to make at your own pace and with your own approach. Once you have set out your business and personal aims then you can take the steps to work towards the success that you want to achieve.