Our expert has given us some pointers on how to address the various issues below. A strong and experienced business leader, he has worked in the aerospace, defence and energy sectors for industry leading global companies. Identified as a high potential individual early in his career he has a proven track record in new business and product development, project management of manufacturing and process plant engineering and procurement and construction (EPC) projects.
He has extensive international experience, having worked in the MENA region for more than half of his career including his most recent role growing a ‘start-up’ business from company registration to a significant multi-sector, multi-product 300m+ AED order book, based in the United Arab Emirates
He challenges the norm and has the long term strategic focus required to successfully lead and manage business at executive level.
Q: What is the most important aspect of developing a BD strategy?
Macro level marketing is important as a first step when developing a business development strategy, however, it is not enough to truly understand the market conditions for a given product or service. Upfront, limited level of investment in field marketing is critical to define the market entry requirements, the competitive landscape, and the delivery model. This must be executed by a combination of personnel that have in depth knowledge and experience of the
a) Company’s existing business and
b) Those of a similar knowledge, experience and network in the particular market in which you are developing business.
Q: You have a proven track record in developing and delivering new businesses to grow organisation structure – what is the most important ingredients to make this happen?
It is my firm believe that success in successfully developing and delivering new business is driven by clearly addressing the strategy, tactics and operations of the business through the following:-
Business Planning & Preparation
The upfront marketing is paramount to set a clear vision for the business and to then follow that with a strategic plan which adequately addresses the steps required to enter (‘right to play’) and to succeed (‘right to win’). It is important to aim high, to get the attention of the top executives in the business and get them to believe that the particular venture is worth exploring and investing in.
It is also fundamental to be clear from as early as possible in the business development process the estimated investment requirements, the associated business case (Return On Investment, Internal Rate of Return etc.), and timescale required to win and deliver business and in doing so build the organisation as business volume grows, whether it be via internal product development, organic growth, strategic partnering, or mergers & acquisitions.
Recruitment of the right type of people is another key ingredient in developing and growing business. This has to be a dynamic and complementary mix of vastly experienced people with less experienced people motivated and driven to succeed, and willing challenge ‘the norm’.
Policies, Processes, & Procedures
Clear policies, processes and procedures aligned to the regulatory, market and company requirements must be in place and available to all as part of a robust management system for a new and developing business. This has to be complimented with meaningful induction and training to ensure that there is a consistent approach and that any issues or concerns are addressed as part of continuous improvement initiatives.
Open and transparent communications must be encourage up and down the various levels in the organisation as it grows to ensure that there is a ‘no surprises good or bad’ culture in the organisation. This has to be both formal via reporting, regular review meetings, electronic communications, social media, ‘townhall’ sessions etc., and informal by creating an environment where all levels in the organisation are encouraged to interact transparently, whilst maintaining mutual respect for their respective roles.
The key to the success has been striking a balance between global brand and best practice, whilst localising the organisation, operations and business management systems to ensure that a robust and cost competitive delivery model is in place to give clients the overall technical and commercial solution that they require.
Q: What strategy did you implement to grow from to 300m+ AED in less than 2 years?
We conducted a thorough assessment of market entry options for an engineering services business offering products and services similar to Doosan Babcock. This involved a complete cross sector (i.e. oil & gas, power & water, nuclear and industrial) analysis of client business delivery models, project pipelines, and procurement systems, as well as the competitions’ business models and business performance – benchmarking. This exercise established 3 core options to satisfy the legislative market entry requirements, delivery infrastructure and competitive, profitable product and service offering.
- Aggressive organic growth
- Head hunt key personnel from main competitors to provide client confidence and improved competitive position
- Invest in establish the offices and facilities required to satisfy customer of delivery capability
- Pre-qualify with key customers and develop strong relationships to grow business sales pipeline
- Develop new product and service offerings outside of traditional offering, specific to the market
- Invest in training and integration of new organising to ensure that a consistent, robust business management model and common understanding of the company’s standard and expectations of its people.
- Merger & Acquisition
- Purchase controlling shareholding in competitor best aligned to company’s core business and future business aspiration with ‘1 + 1 = 3’ philosophy.
- Embed post-merger integration team to establish common business management system.
- Strategic Partnering
- Form incorporated or unincorporated joint venture (JV) with complimentary interest and clear division of responsibility covering technical delivery and corporate governance requirements, managed by an integrated executive committee.
Following consultation and review with board, Option 1 was adopted as the initial business development route that could bring the required short term (1 to 2 years) success when compared with the investment required. This has proven to be a good selection, and now that the business has achieved significant organic growth in this short term, all of these options are being revisited on regular basis (as part of the business planning cycle) to ensure that the future growth aspirations are achieved
Q: What advice would you give anyone trying to emulate the above?
Minimal upfront investment is required to conduct detailed field marketing to drive robust business planning. This cannot be independently so make sure that you put experienced, dynamic team players around you to support in achieving excellence!
I hope you find the above interesting. I am available any time to discuss this article, the industry and help guide and assist wherever needed.