The 5 steps to act as a business developer, finance growth

While the margin of French companies flirts with the lowest level in thirty years, 28.1% for 2013, SMEs are under more pressure than ever. To straighten the bar and avoid visual control, there are several tools. The challenge for the entrepreneur? Stop focusing on the short term and prepare for the future. Clearly put yourself in the shoes of a real business developer. How to realize this transformation? For Damien Forterre, Business Strategy Lecturer-Researcher (Novancia), the strategy to be built is based on five phases.

1: Build strategic market intelligence

Acting as a business developer primarily means setting up a strategic intelligence to conquer the market “The principle is to take stock of the technologies, of the forces involved,” explains Damien Forterre. This macroeconomic approach may seem too vague to business leaders, but it is nevertheless very concrete. This includes, for example, finding out who the competitors are, what the market opportunities are, trends, etc. »

2: Identify growth opportunities.

The second step? Identify growth opportunities. ” For example, in BtoC, the company has to look at purchasing power, GDP growth rate, etc. The idea is to find indicators that can provide clues about growth opportunities», continues Damien Forterre.

3: Determine the strategy

Once these key indicators have been carefully checked, it’s time for: definition of the strategy to be developed. “ The manager must ask himself in which strategic work areas he can distinguish himself, what his real core business is… and whether he should diversify. This new strategic orientation can take many forms: pursuing volume, buying out a competitor, developing a new product or service offering, etc…

4: Mobilizing Resources

No strategy can be executed without a strong support from the various actors around it.

Damien Forterre, Business Strategy Lecturer-Researcher, Head of the Specialized Masters in Strategy and Responsible Purchasing (Novancia Business School Paris)

This is the fourth leg, for Damien Forterre: ” The entrepreneur must mobilize internal and external resources. This can be the network of suppliers, institutions (for example Ubifrance or Coface). This also includes creating productivity partnerships, for example sharing development investments, or a public-private partnership. Collaborating with suppliers in this way can create a new dynamic. » Some SMEs can set up like this resource strategies reduce delivery costs.

The tools ? Construction and monitoring of balanced scorecards making it possible, for example, to identify and closely monitor the elements sought by potential partners. Internally, it is time to mobilize resources, with an HR approach to explain the orientations and develop the right communication tools.

5: measure performance

The fifth step, and not the least, is the performance measurement. Here we use classic tools like theGross Operating Surplus (EBITDA), Return on Investment, etc” This step, previously often neglected, has now become crucial, emphasizes Damien Forterre. Because the company creed is that every euro spent must be reinvested. Accurately measuring profitability is more essential than ever! »

Admittedly, in a bleak context, SMEs often remain focused on the “hard” (work on lowering supplier prices, on the margin, etc.). But well anticipated, well explained, supported by partners, the business developer orientation seems more than ever an investment for the future!

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