Pitfalls of a Lone Business Development Manager
Knowing when to expand your business globally is never easy, but if you believe your company is ready to evolve, then the next step to consider is how to execute your growth strategy and by who. Due to the nature of the work involved, you may look to set up a separate company, a sales team or partner up with a local agency to help you scale efficiently. However, small business owners often favour sending an executive or hiring a local lone business development manager to drive the early stages of expansion.
This may seem like a superior option if your focus is to keep costs down while you scope the market to ensure there is a place for your software. But there are many challenges to consider when assigning such a task to a single individual to execute independently.
Lack of direct oversight
One of the biggest drawbacks of hiring a lone business development manager is the inability to witness first-hand how they are performing. Needless to say, when managing operations internationally, communication is crucial and as such, you will need to ensure you maintain an ongoing, open dialogue and converse on a weekly basis.
But whilst you may communicate regularly, there will always be a lack of transparency otherwise experienced when managing a team directly in front of you. You will predominantly measure performance and progress by setting quantifiable targets, but there will be certain aspects involved in the handling of the business that will depend on the business manager’s ability to be candid when corresponding with you.
There will undoubtedly be occasions where problems will arise, and so it is to be expected that some business development managers will omit certain facts to make situations seem better than they truly are or downplay their true significance. Ultimately, when deciding who to lead your new operations abroad, you must bear in mind that there will be times when you will need to question their credibility.
One dimensional experience
The role of a lone business development manager is not a straightforward one. Business managers are expected to network, generate leads, meet prospects, write proposals and manage accounts. Fundamentally, they need to be a marketer, a sales professional and a strategist in equal measures.
This takes an enormous amount of reliance on a single individual to undertake a number of different tasks and to do them well. Business managers need to be thinkers, doers and create value by making connections.
However, it is highly unlikely that you will be to locate an individual that is a master of all trades. Most candidates will be experienced and capable of carrying out the necessary activities but when undertaking so many different roles at once, it is difficult to be able to excel at any one.
In the quest to ensure all components of the role are being fulfilled and targets are being met, business managers will often do the necessary to get the work completed but as a result, they are not able to really maximise their strengths.
Another characteristic of a lone business development manager is that they are often driven by survival and a fear of failure. This is in part to the complexity of the role and the responsibility enlisted in one person to be successful when expanding in a new market. Not only do they need to carry out the business strategy effectively but they need to continually be aware of costs and timeframes.
As a result, business managers often lack focus. They are unlikely to be thinking about the long-term goals with regards to the progression of the business or even personal development which is necessary to develop key competencies that will only benefit the work carried out.
A lone business development manager can stall growth
It is the duty of the lone business manager to identify opportunities and to enlist a new client base that would justify the need for further expansion. However, due to business managers working single-handedly if success is achieved, it is likely to be a gradual progression rather than an instant hit.
By enlisting only one individual to manage operations during the early stages of expansion, you are inadvertently delaying how quickly you can scale your business. Not only will it take longer to reach the level of growth required, but once you do, you will need to consider how to practically expand the team. Your business development manager will no longer be able to sustain the business by themselves so you will need to think about employing new members. The recruitment and hiring process can be very costly and certainly time-consuming which will only delay you further. In an industry where software companies must scale quickly in order to remain a success, time must be spent wisely.
There is no denying that running a business which has operations in more than one country comes with its fair share of difficulties. It will never be a seamless process, but with the correct support team around you, success can be easy to obtain. Enlisting business development managers to lead the entry into a new market may seem feasible during the early stages but consider the challenges involved before you decide who will take on the role.