Reading from the employment posts that many companies have out there, it seems that many of them believe that Business Development is the same as Sales or even Marketing. How did these perceptions come to be?
Well, it comes from believing that a company’s product or service only needs to be marketed and sold. “Business Development” in this interpretation means “Get More Business”. While it is true that products and services need to be marketed and sold it is not true that a particular product or service can be; especially over time.
Innovation Development – New Products and Services
New Service Example: Multi-Commodity Transmodal Terminals
CN and Kleysen Transport created the first multi-commodity multi-modal transload terminal in Calgary called the Calgary Distribution Centre (CDC).
Prior to this development rail and truck transloads were single commodity facilities. These type of facilities often lack the economy of scale and diveristy of business to be sustainably economic.
The CDC however provided steel, grain, lumber, alluminum pipe and other commoditiy services. This innovation allowed the CDC and CN to weather the various commodity cycles and achieve an economy of scale to keep costs down. In providing an end-to-end, one stop logistics service, this terminal extended the business reach and "share of wallet" in the supply chain for both companies.
It sounds simple today but over 15 years ago it wasn't being done until our principal consultant while at CN developed the idea along with Kleysen Transport.
It should be obvious that companies need to innovate, diversify and grow or die but history has shown that this is not a widely embraced concept. Business Development could more properly termed “Product Development” or “Research and Development”. We call it Innovation Development.
One of the most mature industries in North America is the rail industry and yet it is one of the most innovative and quite progressivein terms of Innovation Development. The rail industry championed containerization of cargo leading a whole new business in intermodal transport. In the 1970’s, they lead the e-commerce revolution by developing EDI standards and were one of the first adopters of internet technology. They have challenged pipelines in the economic and safe delivery of heavy crude oils.
North American railways were once all going broke but through Innovation Development they have arguably become some of the most efficient and profitable businesses in North America.
There are many other innovators in many industries but there are also those who cannot see the end of the road. Business Development’s goal is to keep the enterprise relevant and growing into new business sectors.
We can help with Innovation Development of new products and services - even in mature industries.
Information Technology Applications
There are many new information technology tools available that could be and should be applied across many sectors such as transportation, hydro-carbon production and distribution, metals, minerals and safety management to name a few.
Yet we have seen technology companies finding it difficult for their technology to be adopted. Two of the reasons we think are that the value proposition has not been fully explained or developed and secondly, the application just doesn’t quite fit the business application.
We have experience in developing new technology applications and showing the value in the application of technology. In reality, this is a mix of business development and marketing.
We can help with the development or implementation of new technology applications.
Project Permitting – Terminals and Infrastructure
Terminal Example: Redesign Repurpose Fort McMurray, AB Yard
No Drainage, Poor Track & Road Design, Limited Commodities
We can help with project permitting, product and business case development. For example, we have developed multi-commodity transmodal distribution centers in Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray.
We developed crude-by-rail terminals from land purchase, to permitting to operation for example in Falher, AB and Lashburn, SK.
In the process of obtaining development permits we have:
Worked with environmental engineering companies to complete environmental assessments of property before purchase
Developed materials for and held community information sessions
Presented to and worked with municipal councils
Presented to Provincial Ministers
Worked with rail carriers in terminal design and in some cases acquisition of rail property
We can help your team through any portion of the process or be an independent second set of eyes.
When it comes to Business Development, there are many avenues of approach but you have to get on an avenue to have any chance of improving business outcomes. Let us help you find new paths, new roads and new direction.