What is business development?

Chapter 2 highlights the customer vacuum: if you’re not addressing real customer problems (with the right message, product, market, channel, implementation, process, value proposition, etc), your startup is extremely likely to fail.

Business development is exactly that – a repeatable process that helps you to understand your customers.

The Business flywheel. It is a fundamental, cyclical part of the company process. Each step informs the next one. It takes a huge amount of energy to start the ‘flywheel’ – less to accelerate and even more so to maintain.
  • The Business flywheel. It is a fundamental, cyclical part of the company process. Each step takes input from the previous one and amplifies it as an output for the following step.
  • The best way to make sure it does not slow down is to understand what metrics matter at each stage of the process and measure them meticulously. ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’
The business-development flywheel is a single step of the business flywheel, and a cyclical process that must always be done based on customer feedback. Its usefulness scales from products, which are whole companies, to single product features in a suite of offerings.
  • Ideas do not matter as much as the right execution does. In fact, if through this process you do not find already existing competitors, or discover someone else who is working on exactly your problem, something is wrong.
  • The reality is that getting to your first ten enterprise customers requires you to focus on business development, not on sales, not on that old startup bullshit of ‘just talking to people and seeing what happens’.

What’s the difference between business development and sales?

  • Business development is a process of discovering WHAT and WHERE. Sales is a process of taking the WHAT and WHERE and making it SCALE.
    • Business development is all about finding your innovators, understanding what works and then checking your hypothesis with early adopters.
    • Sales, on the other hand, is all about applying and adopting already-learned lessons to the early and late majorities in order to scale your business.
    • There is a big gap between those groups, known as ‘The Chasm’.
  • Early stages are very unscalable – but by skipping it we will not have anything to scale, or worse, will try to scale the wrong thing.

One question from us:

Which of your products are in business development and which are in sales?