Most of us think of a blueprint as a technical drawing or detailed plan necessary to help us build something—often according to codes or regulations. Another way of thinking about a blueprint is in the sports world – a game plan, a strategy, an approach to winning based on the competition.
So, what is a blueprint to winning in business development?
Any blueprint starts with the desired outcome. In business development, our goal is to win business—profitable business. Few organizations reach this objective by functioning in an ad hoc, ill-defined business development environment. Winning organizations create, follow, and adjust their blueprint to winning.
Here are some guidelines for establishing or refining your blueprint to winning:
1. Assess the competitive landscape. Who are your target customers? Who are you competing against? What are your competitive advantages? Without a clear target, it’s difficult to succeed. Identify your markets and begin positioning for success.
Also, assess your current process or blueprint. What’s working or not working? Do you have the right talent, tools, and leadership? Take time to assess your strengths and gaps.
2. Design your workflow and capabilities to compete. What does your organization need to look like to succeed in target markets? Any blueprint includes phases and workflows with key milestones and deliverables. Design a blueprint that you can implement and scale.
3. Document your blueprint. Have you noticed sports coaches on the sidelines with their laminated playbooks or index cards in their pockets? To effectively compete for business and win work, you need a playbook that helps implement the blueprint you’ve designed. Document the phases, tasks, deliverables, and key milestones.
4. Execute your blueprint and hold everyone accountable. A blueprint is useless unless it is implemented—often with precision. It’s one thing to design and document a business development blueprint to winning, but another thing to actually implement the process. Leadership must endorse and embrace the blueprint to winning—everyone must buy in and be accountable.
It’s hard to pause and evaluate your current approach to competing for work. We’re always anxious to “move onto the next one.” The late Dr. Stephen Covey encouraged people to sharpen the saw: to assess your current position, make changes where needed, and leverage your strengths.
Consider your blueprint to winning. Let Shipley be your partner in assessing your current state and recommending efficiencies and improvements. Don’t wait. Improve your business by establishing your blueprint to winning.