Most of us who have been in any form of business over the last two decades will agree with the following quote:
“The one thing that stays the same in business is nothing”
This statement has never been more valid for the business development function of your enterprise than today. But before we explore the aspects of change and trends in it, let’s understand what business development truly means.
Some would define business development vaguely as building partnerships; a start-up business might categorize it ambiguously as hustling & the majority of us identify it as sales.
I was never satisfied with the simplicity of these definitions and believed there is more to it than just this. So after much deliberation, I have defined business development as
With this definition in mind, we are now at the cusp of a new decade where we and our businesses will encounter new challenges & opportunities like none other. Here are some of the most significant business development trends that we should behold:
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was always viewed as a futuristic technology from science fiction novels and space films, but now it is moving from fiction to reality. This innovative technology that many hail as the wave of the future has the potential to influence all areas of our lives & business.
AI is already making a significant impact on improving the marketing, sales forecasting, selling, and after-sales service of the business development cycle with the use of technologies like automated chatbots on a website, and intelligent and predictive analytics in customer relationship management solutions among others.
With companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon increasingly using AI in their voice assistant solutions, future sales decisions could be likely made by just interacting with a voice assistant. Imagine how beneficial it would be to have your company suggested when someone says, “Alexa, suggest me an image consultant.”
2. Climate Change
Climate change is no more a debate; it’s now a reality; it is not just an environmental problem but indivisibly connected to everything we do as a society. It will have an impact on many areas of business, including a change in client behavior.
Owing to the increasing awareness of climate change, we are already witnessing a slow shift in the client’s outlook towards fashion. If your core service offering focuses on styling & personal shopping, your business development strategy should factor in your client’s requirement of recycled fashion as compared to fast fashion.
Very soon, sustainable sourcing might be the actual decision-maker instead of price, brand, or quality. Image management professionals who preach sustainability as a philosophy in every element of their offering will have much to gain in this changing environment.
3. Collaboration Vs. Competition
The notion of a business in the past ten years has changed so much that it’s difficult to imagine what the next ten years will look like. But one trend that has been continuously gaining steam is the strategy of collaboration against the competition.
Traditionally businesses would spend a considerable amount of capital & time on building a competitive edge in their market, but this trend is rapidly changing as companies now prefer to develop collaborations and find synergy to create a more significant impact at a lower cost.
To practice this strategy, you must understand that collaboration is all about sharing content, expertise, and network to achieve a goal. As a professional in the image management industry, our enterprise has no borders; hence we must look at collaboration as a future strategy for business development & growth.
By keeping a watchful eye on these macro trends, you can build massive value and make a significant impact on the achievement of the business development goals, and it will not only sprout your business but also humanity.