Business Development For the Private Labeled Bottled Water Industry

The private labeled bottled water industry is exciting with tremendous growth opportunities and the ability for suppliers to offer their customers and strategic partners creative, effective advertising solutions.

But like any business, care is required to develop the business in a profitable way and the best way to do this is to establish a focused business development effort that utilizes the tools and techniques established by successful business.

The first step is to define the concept “business development”.

Definition:

Business development “includes a number of techniques designed to grow an economic enterprise. Such techniques include, but are not limited to, assessments of marketing opportunities and target markets, intelligence gathering on customers and competitors, generating leads for possible sales, follow up sales activity, formal proposal writing and business model design.

Business development involves evaluating a business and then realizing its full potential, using such tools as marketing, sales, information management and customer service. For a sound company able to withstand competitors, business development never stops but is an ongoing process.” (source: Wikipedia)

From this definition it is clear that business development is more than closing the sale and each technique requires detailed planning and follow up.

Using the concepts of business development, it is possible to establish a profitable private label water business but it takes considerable initial and continuing effort.

The following case study involve a fictional Bottled Water company that entered the private labeled bottled water business. For discussion purposes it will be called ABC bottler (“ABC”)

Unique Value Proposition:

An initial challenge is the development of a Unique Value Proposition that answers the question “Why should I buy from you”.

After a review of the market and the competition it was determined that private labeled bottled water was a powerful, cost effective, advertising vehicle but because a customer’s brand was affected, high product quality and customer service was required. ABC’s Unique Value Proposition was established and stated:

“ABC will provide powerful and cost effective advertising and brand promotion for its customers based upon the highest quality consumable private label water, label design and customer service.”

Marketing and Target Markets:

Field and internet research was conducted with the basic question being: What are the characteristics of industries are most likely to use our product at a price that is profitable to us. Key characteristics were developed:

  • Prospects that provide a quality product or service.
  • Industries operating in a competitive market environment where product/service differentiation was critical.
  • Prospects that required drinking water for customers, clients or prospects.
  • Prospects that maintained a quality brand image.

Initial research indicated that the following industries were initially high potential targets:

  • Hospitality (Hotels and Spas)
  • Banking
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Real Estate
  • Ski Resorts

Sales Channels and Market Access:

It was decided that two channels would be used to go to market – direct selling and e-commerce. An e-commerce site was developed that allowed customers to design their own label for the bottles or provide an existing design consistent with the customer brand strategy. Search Engine Marketing and Optimization techniques were used to promote this channel.

A direct sales staff was formed to develop and close sales opportunities and these efforts were supported by a direct mail campaign and networking with local chambers of commerce, local trade associations and lead sharing groups.

The sales effort, after a series of initial false starts and disappointments matured successfully as we reviewed and revised the fine points of our effort.

Product Quality and Customer Service:

ABC’s corporate strategy for all products was to stay at the high end of the market and this was particularly true for private label bottled water where the market is characterized by cutthroat competition and many low quality vendors who are slashing prices and selling on price rather than quality.

ABC focused on three areas of quality:

  • Water purity – ABC used a steam distillation/ozonation process that guaranteed 99.9% pure water that tasted delicious.
  • Label Design Quality – ABC used an in house professional designer to guarantee label design quality.
  • Label Print Quality – ABC used laminated label stock that was extremely durable and water proof and used digital or flexo printing technology to guarantee quality.

Customer service was particularly important as ABC established a reputation for delivering on time and correctly. If mistakes occurred, and they did, ABC adopted a no questions asked guarantee. ABC established a reputation as a reliable vendor for its customers.

The business became a successful mainstay of ABC’s business but only because it developed a planned, business development process that was reviewed constantly and made changes that the market required.

Would You Aim for a Business Development Manager’s Role?

The presence of an efficient business development manager is crucial to a business’ existence. It is one of the key roles of this age, that every business seeks to fill in, hiring a strategic planner, who can grow with the company. Those employed as the business development managers look after his/her team’s collective effort, looks for potential clients in the market, defines the target audience, and if needed, even redefines the company’s objectives.

These are top-level executives, who remain I contact with the management. Their ultimate goal is to create new business opportunities and ensure the company’s long- term growth. The term ‘business development’ can be described as an amalgamation of strategic planning, sales and marketing. Those holding more than 5 years of experience in sales can also be considered for this position. Besides, many leading firms consider MBAs to be hired as business development managers. Most commonly, those hailing from sales are seen heading for these career options. However, business development has a lot more than just sales, but the sales professionals are found suitable to fit in these jobs.

Job Description

  • Defining target audience and looking for potential clients
  • Preparing strategies to pitch the products to clients
  • Marking team’s collective efforts and keeping a checking on the lead generation
  • Representing the organization in the corporate events
  • Preparing monthly reports and analyzing the same
  • Providing essential data to the management
  • Taking essential steps for corporate associations
  • Identifying new sales opportunities
  • Working in coordination with other departments such as sales & marketing

Key elements for a business development manager’s role

For every business development manager, the following elements are of great significance.

Business Acumen

A business development manager can explore job opportunities in numerous sectors, including FMCG (Fast Moving Consume Goods), IT (Information Technology), Finance, Manufacturing, Consulting, and others. In any of these sectors, an understanding of the industry and the business is needed for the professional to possess. It will not just help him conveniently take on the role, but will also take the right decisions with an understanding of the business.

Management & Research

He plans as well as manages to take the business the next level. A professional serving as business development manager has to lead the team and direct it to the right path. For this, leadership and management are of great essence. Besides, research too is a major element for these professionals. They need to research well about the market, the prevailing trends, the customer’s requirements, and so on.

Strategic Planning

The business development managers are also involved in planning the campaigns to target the potential clients. They may even look for marketing and sales related data for the same.

Customer Service

Another major element remains the customer service. They need to ensure whether the customer their team is dealing with, is entirely satisfied with the services. They also need to constantly check on a crucial deal that has not been closed.

The Other Essential Details

In the recent years, the need to hire these professionals has been realized by most of the brands. They can explore the job offers from varied sectors as per their preferences and knowledge. However, some of the leading organizations they can aim to work with include Infosys, Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Wipro Technologies, Cognizant, and many others. Further, these professionals can expect to earn Rs 578,392 per year in India.

Business Development Requires a Multitude of Skills

Business development is one of the functions that every company, from inception to exit, performs at one time or another. It’s also one of the most “unbounded” roles within a company. For some companies, business development means acquiring new customers. Others, it means raising capital. And, for yet another set of people, it means to build alliances and partnerships.

Whatever the term ultimately means to anyone, it is a function that clearly requires a multitude of skills. Let’s take for example, raising money. A business development person in a small startup company would be responsible for building relationships to raise venture capital and/or general financing for startup operations. Oftentimes, the reason this function falls under business development is because the business developer is building strategic partner relationships. Some of these strategic partners deem the relationship critical to grow new business opportunities. In that respect, the strategic partner will then invest money in return for an equity stake in the startup company.

In the case of building and managing partnerships, the business development team is often called Alliances. In this example, business development or Alliance is responsible for recruiting, managing, and supporting partner companies. In addition to this, the Alliances organization would also have a responsibility for driving a certain amount of revenue through the partners, as well. This alliance function essentially builds a core ecosystem around the host company. The ecosystem effectively allows the host company to be in more markets, capture certain geographic territories, or even drive more revenue than it could on its own.

Building joint ventures is also a form of business development activity. There are times when a company needs to work together on a specific business opportunity. The opportunity could be related to driving new business in a specific country or perhaps in a particular industry. The two companies would develop an operating agreement under which they will work together. Shared revenue and expenses, team alignment and sales targets are examples of agreements created as part of this joint venture relationship.

Driving sales is another function where business development is often categorized. This is especially true when a company is first starting off in business. Many small companies categorize their sales efforts as business development rather than sales. One of the reasons for this is because the territory is new or perhaps the product line is untested with customers. The business development group is responsible then for selling new business in an uncharted environment.

Corporate development is another function often interrelated with business development. In general, though, a corporate development function handles aspects of mergers and acquisitions for a company. Their role is to identify companies that have synergistic business models and would complement the host company. In many aspects, a corporate development officer for a company has similar skill sets and experience as all of the above organizational roles.

As one can ascertain, business development is a “catch-all” term that can encompass many different roles within an organization. That said, the skill set and experience for a business development executive is fairly broad. He/she must be versed in areas, such as building partnerships, strategy, technology, geographic markets, sales, and, of course, finance. In addition, understanding the specific industry in which the company operates is icing on the proverbial cake.

The business development executive is a key contributor to the success of a company. This individual, if used properly, can help create the very foundation on which a company operates.

Business Development Strategies for Getting Through Your First Year in Network Marketing

Starting a business is one of the most exciting things you can do. However, as a new network marketer, independent business owner, or product representative, you may not realize that the first year or two in business will be the most challenging. This is especially true if you have never built a business before or worked outside the home. To help you with your business development, here is some advice you can use to maximize your chances of business success.

One thing that you need to understand as a new business owner is that you are responsible for your own success. The company will usually provide training to help you with your business development and your sponsor may offer some advice. At the end of the day, though, you are the one who has to take action to move your business in the direction that you want it to go. No matter what your sponsor tells you, all businesses require some type of active participation on your part.

Business Development Tips for Your First Year

Get Used to Rejection

No one likes to be rejected. As a small business owner, though, you might as well get used to it. Not everyone is going to be a match for the products you are selling or your business opportunity and you will run into a lot more people saying “No” than those who say “Yes”.

Don’t get discouraged. Take each rejection as an opportunity to learn what didn’t work so you can refine your approach. Eventually, you will get to a point where you will be able to ferret out the best business associates and increase your conversions.

Automate as Much of Your Business Development as You Can

A big part of your small business success will depend on how well you handle your time. There are only so many workable hours in the day and you want to spend as much of that time on tasks that will make you money or help you grow your business. Look for ways to automate or outsource those chores you don’t have time to do. For example, you could hire a virtual assistant to help you with email or some of your marketing.

Get Training

Part of your business development strategy must include taking time to get training that will provide you with the knowledge you need to build a successful small business. A lot of business opportunities tout the fact that you don’t need to have prior business experience. While this is true, you must be willing to get the training required to bring you up to speed. Take advantage of what your company has to offer as well as books and seminars offered by business development experts.

Track Your Progress

Tracking is the key to determining what works in your business and what needs to be abandoned in favor of something more promising to your business development. This is particularly important if you are paying with time or money because you don’t want to waste either on stuff that isn’t getting results. While there are programs out there which will assist you in monitoring different aspects of your business, a simple Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet will generally work fine as well.

Learn to Separate Fact from Fiction

When you announce to the world that are in business, you will get a lot of advice from everyone. Some of it will be good and some of it will be plain wrong. In addition to that, other people may try to sell you products and services aimed at helping your manage your business. It is important that you learn discernment and be able to separate fact from fiction. Otherwise, you will end up wasting time implementing bad advice or throwing good money at worthless products.

Build a Brand

There are thousands of people in the commercial sphere selling all sorts of business opportunities. The only thing that will make you stand out from your competition is your branding. Not your company branding but your own personal branding. When you build a recognizable name for yourself, you will attract prospects to you rather than having to chase after them. Additionally, having a personal brand will make it easier to change business opportunities without being forced to start all over again.

Train for Independence

It’s nice to have people helping you with your business development and providing advice or tools to assist you in achieving small business success. However, you are the epicenter of your business and you need to be able to stand on your own two feet. Network marketing is an industry that sees a lot of turnover. It is not uncommon for people to drop in and out of a business opportunity. Keep yourself and your business strong by cultivating as much independence as you possibly can.

Focus on Long Term Success

A lot of people in the network marketing industry try to sell you on the idea that you can achieve instant success with your business opportunity. Overnight success does happen but it is very rare. Usually, what looks like an overnight success is actually the result of years of hard work behind the scenes.

It is best to focus on building a business for the long term. When you focus on attaining quick success, you will become easily frustrated because it won’t be happening fast enough for your tastes. Think of building your business as a marathon rather than a sprint. It may take awhile to reach the finish line but you will get there if you persist and persevere.

Your first year in network marketing will be an exciting roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. However, if you stick with it, you will lay a solid foundation that will contribute greatly to your small business success.