When I tell people that I am the Director of Business Development for ValuePointe.biz, I am often met with many questions and misunderstandings. While most people have heard of the term before, few seem to understand exactly what it actually is. This confusion is understandable because the very nature of business development tends to be a little on the ambiguous side. The field is one that encompasses and crosses over many other fields and business specialties. In essence, what constitutes business development is really dependent upon the needs of each specific organization and situation. The truth is, all companies, rather a single person startup or multinational conglomerate, engage in some form of business development. It’s just a matter of how well the concept or role is defined. In this respect, business development is more of a general concept rather than an actual job description, the basis of which is to build sustainable, long-term value and growth for the business.
While we have a good definition for the basic role of business development, understanding how that is played out in the job itself is still somewhat hard to define. In a quest to make the concept fit into a nice, neatly wrapped package, many try to label it as either marketing or sales. Certainly marketing and sales play an integral part of the job, but it’s much more involved than that. As previously indicated, the concept of business development is transitional depending upon individual circumstances. However, regardless of the individual situations, there are two, interrelated perspectives that must be addressed, that being, strategic and tactical.
As a strategist, the business developer’s role is to develop, implement, and maintain appropriate strategies to continually drive the company forward. This requires having a big picture view of the business and looking at it from as many angles as possible. Only by seeing the business as a whole, can one understand how all of the pieces should fit together. The strategic approach brings together all elements of the business in order to assess the current trajectory of the company and make necessary adjustments to keep proceeding down the correct path. Moving away from the high-level concept-based description to more approachable, real-life usage, I will try to give you a little insight into the role business development plays at ValuePointe.biz.
ValuePointe specializes in providing business and pension valuations for small to medium sized, closely held businesses. As the Director of Business Development, it is my job to build upon the initial foundation of the company and help guide it into the right direction so it continues to grow. One of the primary considerations of any company is to ensure that each decision, each partnership, each step forward, moves in alignment with the company’s branding or image. The branding of a company is the cornerstone of building future value as it establishes the framework for which everything else evolves. The brand should represent the expectations of the company’s customer or client base. For ValuePointe, we are a professional firm primarily serving family law attorneys and their clients. Divorce is one of the most traumatic and emotional times in the life of an individual and therefore they are looking to feel secure and protected by those representing them. As such, a specific image is necessitated and all elements of the company need to elicit this professional image. With a firm concept of the company brand defined, I can then work on developing and expanding the company in ways that will ensure continued future growth.
Strategy represents the long-range planning, which is then implemented with tactical or short-range activities. For instance, the strategic plan lays out the social media strategy, which is, in turn, tactically executed on a continual basis. As such, the tactical aspect of business development is the day-to-day operations of building and maintaining the business. An aspect of ValuePointe’s business that I am currently working on is expanding our service area beyond the immediate geographical area. The virtual world that we live in today has removed geographical boundaries from many business equations. Even though we are located in Greensboro, NC, we serve clients in other states such as Virginia and South Carolina. To this end, I am spending a good amount of time reaching out to potential clients in various states, attending conferences and continuing education events, and making strategic connections that, with hope, will be valuable assets moving forward. In fact, just last week, I was in Richmond Virginia where we exhibited at the 33rd Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar for the VACLE. Online communications are great but there is still something to be said for making direct, person-to-person contacts.
As you can see, in business development, it’s important to be able to wear many different hats. One day, I may be reaching out to and interacting with clients, and the next, I may be optimizing the website and designing brochures. Combining elements of sales with marketing, and adding in a good dose of general business strategy, this is an endeavor where originality and outside-the-box thinking plays an important role. As the saying goes, “If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got”. In this respect, one of the greatest strength’s of someone working in business development, is to be able to think as an entrepreneur, not an employee or contractor. If fact, for many smaller companies, it’s the business owner themselves that handle all of the business development, at least at first. Having an entrepreneur perspective frees one from the constraint of doing something just because this is what the job description states. Instead, one should question and explore different scenarios to determine the most conducive and effective actions to take.
Although this is not meant to be an “all you need to know” explanation of business development, I hope that I have at least given an insightful look into what my role is with ValuePointe entails. As a liaison between the company and the client, I am always here to assist you with any need or question that you may have. I love to hear from clients, potential clients, and the public in general, so please never hesitate to contact me and let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or if I can be of any assistance.
Tracy P. Wall