Kirjoittanut: Anastassija Dedova - tiimistä Kaaos.
1.1 Sustainable business
Nowadays sustainability becomes a trend. We might hear about sustainable society, fashion, and consumption in common. Also, a lot of modern organizations try to integrate sustainability into their business.
Sustainability in business refers to a company’s strategy to reduce the negative environmental impacts resulting from its operations in a particular market. An organization’s sustainability efforts are typically analysed using environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indicators.
In the face of irreversible changes in the Earth’s system, the threat of climate change has become too risky to ignore. Exceeding environmental limits raises concerns about spillover effects in global natural systems and society. Companies recognize both the pressure and the opportunity to set sustainability goals, even if they have not yet. Even in the ongoing environment of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses continue to meet the United Nations General Assembly Sustainable Development Goals set in 2015 and to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs set universal goals that provide a roadmap for sustainability business in targeted areas such as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and climate change.
1.2. Business development
Business development is the process of implementing strategies and opportunities across an organization to promote growth and boost revenue.
It involves pursuing opportunities to help business grow, identifying new prospects, and converting more leads into customers. Business development is closely tied to sales — business development teams and representatives are almost always a part of the greater sales org. (HubSpot 2021.) But business development should not be confused with sales. The sales process is based on increasing sales or generating profit. The sole intention of the sale is to transfer the item, thereby maintaining a profit margin. Business development, on the other hand, identifies and creates new partnership avenues that indirectly help increase sales. The sales department only deals with outputs, while the business development process deals with the entire journey.
When it comes to organizational growth, business development acts as a common thread, connecting all functions or divisions of a company and helping the company grow and improve sales, revenue, product offerings, people, customer service, and brand recognition.
There are many key areas where business development entrusts can make a difference and drive growth across the department. The main four reasons why business development is important:
F1. It is a great tool for lowering costs and raising revenue.
2. It opens new opportunities
3. It optimizes processes
4. It helps a company to go through rough times for business
2.1. Business development strategies
Sustainability in business refers to a company’s strategy to reduce the negative environmental impacts resulting from its operations in a particular market. An organization’s sustainability practices are typically analyzed using environmental, social, and governance indicators. ‘’Business development (BD) is the process that is used to identify, nurture and acquire new clients and business opportunities to drive growth and profitability. A business development strategy is a document that describes the strategy entrepreneur will use to accomplish that goal.’’ (Frederiksen, Pope, 2022)
Nowadays, according to modern trends, we have to give priority to sustainable business development strategies. A sustainable business strategy is one that incorporates economic, environmental, and social factors into an organization’s policies, practices, and processes to conserve and protect resources while delivering long-term benefits to the organization and its employees while being mindful of conserving and protecting resources.
Deploying a strategy requires the following core elements:
Recognizing strategic context – understand global and local sustainability issues that may impact an organization. Focus on high priority (critical) issues that require management.
A clear vision of sustainability – mapping the company’s long-term goals within relevant environmental, social, and economic trends and pressures.
Action Plan – An implementation strategy that includes actions and plans to achieve its goals.
Timescales – Timescales are associated with identified trends in material environmental and social issues.
Communication and Reporting – Clear, meaningful, and consistent messages that demonstrate credibility, transparency, and progress to internal and external stakeholders.
A sustainable business strategy can affect many parts of a company’s supply chain and requires time, energy, and dedication to execute. Below are some examples of sustainable elements that companies usually should include in their strategy.
Logistics optimization: One of the most effective ways to minimize emissionsand pollution when transporting materials and products through businesse’s supply chain is route optimization. Some companies are using adaptive learning technology to maximize shipping container space for international shipments, optimize delivery routes, and predict raw material needs to conserve resources.
Reduce overproduction: Businesses can benefit from paying attention to production and ordering only what they need. This leads to more productive inventory management, efficient use of raw materials and efficient use of storage space. Waste impacts global supply chains, corporate profits, and the environment. Especially when the company does not have raw materials or inventory available.
Focus on Ethical Manufacturing: When selecting external suppliers for material sourcing or product manufacturing, companies may require verification of the supplier’s work and extraction methods. By working closely with suppliers to better understand their practices, companies can meet the standards outlined in their sustainability strategy and move towards a more ethical supply chain.
Environmental commitment: Business protection measures include reducing waste by transitioning to a paperless workplace, equipping office kitchens with reusable glassware, tableware, and utensils, conserving office energy, and reinforcing recycling efforts. Many companies are offering remote work to reduce emissions from commuting or offering subsidies to encourage the use of sustainable transportation. This includes using the subway, tram, train, bike, or carpool to commute.
A business strategy helps a company understand how it works, what it is capable of, and how it can grow over the long term. The business strategy sets the vision and course for the entire organization. This is essential for all members of the company to have clear goals and direction. A
business strategy should communicate this vision and prevent employees from losing sight of the organization’s goals.
Seeing examples of effective business strategies is very useful for entrepreneurs, but even more important to understand why they are effective.
Below are some examples of business strategies to consider when developing your own sustainable business strategy:
1. Technical superiority
A technological advantage can lead to increased sales, increased productivity, and a competitive advantage in the market. Whether you are updating your point of sale system or strengthening your research and development area, there are always ways to use technology to stay ahead of the competition.
2. Improve customer loyalty
It is well known that retaining loyal customers saves time and money in marketing efforts compared to attracting new ones. By focusing business strategy on customer retention and evaluating experience in business, customer acquisition marketing can minimize the cost of his campaigns, making it a highly effective business strategy for long-term operations.
3. Improve customer service
Improving customer service can have a big impact on your reputation. This strategy works on many levels as it increases customer acquisition through word of mouth and reduces advertising costs, but it also complements the customer retention strategies you already have in place.
4. Product cross-selling
Some companies that have already built a large customer base may find themselves spending time double-checking and trying to pitch new products to the same customers. They are better at this than companies, but in the end, it’s a great way to increase sales because you do not have to rely on costly customer acquisition campaigns, and you are significantly more profitable.
5. Increase sales with new products
No matter how good the current product performance is, the constant stream of new products keeps the brand relevant and in the spotlight. A business strategy based on strategic launches can also have a positive impact on brand reputation.
6. Innovate and push the boundaries
The new shining factor also extends to product innovation. These cross-border products often receive additional media attention, while creative and groundbreaking ideas often become hot topics for members of the relevant community and industry. So, you can also go viral on these products.
7. Product Diversity
A stale brand image is terrible for a business. Keeping a variety of products is a strategy to keep it fresh in the eyes of consumers. Updating the pricing, features, and aesthetics of existing products is another way companies can create the illusion of diversity without necessarily having to diversify significantly.
8. Price point strategy
One of the most important parts of the customer journey is the research phase, and pricing has a lot to do with how much the customer perceives the product to be worth. A common strategy is to simply undercut the market. This makes your product stand out from the crowd instantly.
9. Sustainability in the strategy
Businesses of all kinds must focus on the sustainability of their business. Implementing environmentally friendly and economically sound practices while avoiding short-term, high-risk practices is best for ensuring longevity and building trust with employees and customers. This will show that you are a brand that can be trusted in the long run.
10. Target the youth market
Companies in the rapid growth stage love this strategy because word of mouth spreads quickly among younger generations. Social media is more popular in younger markets, and both the ability of influencers and word-of-mouth to spread incredibly quickly on these platforms make them very effective in growing your business.
2.2. BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PLAN
If business development strategies are a direction entrepreneur should move while grooving his/her business, then business development plans are steps a company should follow. Many business owners try to create a business development plan with the goal of improving their business. Running a business is never a static job. Businesses should always strive to grow and improve.
Choosing the next step and making important decisions according to the company’s sustainable growth might be challenging, which is why creating an exact business development plan is a good investment in the company’s future.
“A business development plan is a document put together by the business owner with the aim to grow and improve their business. The plan will set goals for growth and explain how you will achieve them.” (Fresh Books Resource Hub, 2021)
A business development plan is basically a roadmap for future growth, so it has to be clear, specific, and realistic.
What to include in a business development plan:
Growth Opportunities: Identifying sources of growth by developing new products, adding services, entering new markets, or a combination of these.
Financing Plan: Making a decision on how growth will affecy business financially. How much capital does the company already have? How much more will it need and how to get it?
Financial Goals: Calculating what are business’s current income, costs and profits will be if things stay the same. Use these numbers as the basis for setting new, more ambitious financial targets.
Operational Needs: Identifying the business’ needs- what to change to achieve growth. Checking the need for additional employees, additional equipment, or new suppliers.
Sales and Marketing Activities: Finding out which sales and marketing activities are effective in driving growth, and how those efforts change as company grows and gets better. Making sure sales and marketing plan is good enough to support growing business.
Team Needs: This includes collaborators to complete some of the tasks that were not done previously. Thinking about the sustainable culture that might developed in growing business.
Following these definitions, any entrepreneur could make a good business development plan, but to make this planning successful, some popular mistakes should also be taken into account before starting. Avoiding these common business development mistakes will help not waste time, money, and resources.
Underestimating the amount of money needed to grow
Not budgeting enough to cover the costs of growth
Focusing on too many Growth opportunities: Think Quality, Not Quantity.
Business development is necessary for today’s companies to sustainably grow
their business. It focuses on long-term value creation rather than quick cash fixes. Unlike, it can include strategy and marketing as well as sales.
Every business developer needs to align their overall strategy with business development, explore synergies, adopt innovative and iterative thinking, and thinkcreatively about everything they know (and do not know) about their business. Monitoring and analytics are also important growth drivers. Business development is an integral part of any successful business. That way, any entrepreneur can decide how best to increase sales, stay competitive and close more deals.
Cruz e Silva, D. 27.03.2017. Why Business Development? Finally, a clear definition!. Read on 8.11.2022
Frederiksen, L. Pope, J. 09.09.2022. Business Development Strategy: A HighGrowth Approach. Read on 28.10.2022
Fresh Books Resource. 31. 08.2021. How to write a business development
Plan: A Step By Step Guide. Read on 16.10.2022
How to Write a Business Development Plan: A Step By Step Guide
Unknown author. 2021. The Ultimate Guide to Business Development and How
It Can Help Your Company Grow. Read 8.11.2022
Lutckevich, B. Wigmore, I. 23.07.2017. Business sustainability. Read on