Regardless of whether your company is an SaaS (software as a service) business or another type of business with different product and service offerings, you might find this article interesting, which stems from the identification of the problem that business development can mean something different to everyone.
If you look at your business, how do you classify business development? Is it part of your strategy efforts? Does it oversee the sales department in your small business? Maybe it's more about marketing and outreach...or perhaps it's all three and more. The four hurdles discussed in the above linked article can be approached once you identify where you place business development, and what it means to you.
Doing so will help you determine how you will approach building your small business. We've built four questions from each of these four hurdles that will hopefully help you identify your business development function:
- Who is your ideal partner? You've probably identified which type of customers would be best for your small business. Don't forget to do the same for potential business partners. While no one will be perfect, you want to establish and nourish partnerships that will bring your business as close to that ideal as possible.
- What steps will you take to learn how to make deals? If you have a background that includes making business deals, you're ready to tackle this hurdle. If not, don't worry--you can take courses at local colleges, join professional associations or seek out mentors who are equipped to help you mitigate the deal-making process.
- Can you pursue goals with your partners' interests at heart? Being able to step back and take a look at the broader situation will help you to build your business. Try making a pro-con list from what you think is your partner's point of view, and compare with your own afterward.
- Do you have the time and resources to build your business development team or department? The aforementioned article suggests that, if you're a new startup and you don't have the time or resources, consider working with your partner on this.
Remember always that once you and a business partner work out the particulars of how you want your relationship to develop, that you get it down on paper. Don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty and suspicious of your partner for doing this, but rather, think of it as a way to keep you both on the same page.