Saturday, November 27, 2004

Business Development in the Language of Communication Ecology

In the world of business there are three actors.
In the world of the video the actors are called john, ho, and pimp
In the world of Print the actors are called buyer, the plant and sales.
In both worlds they are connected by a web of communication exchanges.

Business development happens in webs.
A person in the web needs to do A. They need a new X to do it.
The available X's are too slow/expensive/risky/complicated.
Identify A, then find an X that is faster/cheaper/safer/simpler.

Don't waste time with a new X that does B.
The buyer doesn't want to do B.
They already have lots to do.
They want to do A, only faster or cheaper or safer or simpler.

The hard part is defining A.
It needs close observation, hypothesis construction, testing, a bit of luck.
It needs an empathic understanding of the buyer.
That's the value creating job of sales. It's about intelligence gathering.

The plant is the steward of a facing in web.
The in facing web includes all the people involved in making stuff.
If the web of communications is strong and resilient,
The plant can make stuff fast and easy.

Sales is the steward of a facing out web.
Sales can be a person and/or a website and/or CSR's.
Sales creates and maintains the connections to buyers.
Sales makes it fast and easy to buy stuff.

The buyer brings the money to the firm.
Buyers are connected to the firm by threads of trust.
The threads grow as the result of exchanges.
The more successful exchanges, the stronger the thread.

Every customer contact is an exchange.
The customer gives time and/or information, gets information.
The customer gives money, gets job produced.
Every exchange either strengthens or weakens a thread.

If the exchanges are satisfying, more exchanges ensue.
The more exchanges, the stronger the thread between customer and the firm.
The stronger the threads, the faster they grow into strings.
The more strings, the faster it grows into a connective web.

Facing out webs connect customer to the plant.
Facing in webs connect people to machinery to people.
Facing out webs are called the brand.
Facing in webs are called the culture of the organization.

Business development happens in the webs in and outside of firms.
A person in the web needs to do A. They need a new X to do it.
The available X's are too slow and/or expensive and/or risky and/or complicated.

Job 1: Identify A.
Job 2: Find an X that is faster and/or cheaper and/or safer and/or simpler.
The more X's you find, the more new business you'll have.

In a recent conversation, the manager of a large offset firm told me, they had a small, but profitable business in doing newsletters for community groups. Turns out that designing and doing the layout made it slow and complicated for those groups. We talked about the possibility of the printing company getting together some professional designers to collaborate with the community groups for pro bono, to help those groups produce better newsletters.

My bet is that if this is managed correctly, there is no reason to believe that there are not more community, non profit and business service people that need help in writing, producing and distributing newsletters. Given that the first group is already in the printer's web, if it works, word of mouth might well take care of the rest.

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