While the margin rate for French companies flirts with its lowest level in thirty years at 28.1% for 2013, SMEs are more than ever under pressure. To straighten the bar and avoid visual piloting, several tools are available. The challenge for the entrepreneur? No longer focus on the short term, but prepare for the future. Obviously, you need to put yourself in the shoes of a real business developer. How to achieve this transformation? For Damien Forterre, teacher-researcher in business strategy (Novancia), the strategy to be built is based on five phases.
1: Build strategic market intelligence
Acting as a business developer means first and foremost establishing one strategic intelligence to conquer the market “The principle is to take stock of the technologies, of the forces involved,” explains Damien Forterre. This macroeconomic approach may seem too vague to business managers, but it is nonetheless very concrete. This includes, for example, finding out who the competitors are, what the market opportunities are, trends, etc. »
2: Identify growth opportunities.
The second step? Identify growth opportunities. ” For example, the company in BtoC must look at purchasing power, GDP growth, etc. The idea is to find indicators that can give clues about growth opportunities», continues Damien Forterre.
3: Define the strategy
Once these important indicators have been closely monitored, it is time to definition of the strategy to be developed. “ The manager must ask himself which strategic areas of activity he can stand out in, what is his actual core business… and whether he should diversify or not. This new strategic orientation can take many forms: aiming for volume, buying out a competitor, developing a new line of products or services, etc.…
4: Mobilize resources
No strategy can be implemented without one strong support from the various actors around it.
This is the fourth stage for Damien Forterre: ” The entrepreneur must mobilize internal and external resources. This can be the network of suppliers, institutions (Ubifrance or Coface for example). This also involves the creation of productivity partnerships, for example the sharing of development investments or a public-private partnership. Working with suppliers in this way can create new dynamics. » Some SMEs can thus set up resource strategies to reduce delivery costs.
the tools? Construction and monitoring of balanced scorecard for example, makes it possible to identify and closely monitor the elements that potential partners are looking for. Internally, it is time to mobilize resources with an HR approach to explain the orientations and develop the appropriate communication tools.
5: Measure performance
The fifth step, and not least, is performance measurement. Here we use classic tools such asGross operating profit (EBITDA), return on investment, etc” This step, often neglected before, has now become crucial, emphasizes Damien Forterre. Because the company’s credo is that every euro spent must be reinvested. The fine measurement of profitability is more than ever essential! »
Admittedly, in a gloomy context, SMEs often remain focused on the “hard” (work on reducing supplier prices, on the margin rate, etc.). But well-anticipated, well-explained, supported by partners, the business development orientation seems more than ever to be an investment for the future!