The 5D Process of Appreciative Inquiry serves as the initial sequence of steps in most of my Business Development projects. It ensures we carefully think through what outcomes we want to create, what supports and barriers we need to plan for, and who we have to involve within your organization to guarantee success.
Quick Overview: :
- (Definition) What are you presently doing and how do your clients and organization feel about them?
- (Discovery) What is your present value proposition for retaining customers? What is your present value proposition for acquiring customers?
- (Dream)What are your targets? How will we measure success?
- (Design) Do you understand your customer’s decision making process? For each product/market segment?
- (Destiny) What’s your investment strategy – not only in media but in time and events?
What outcomes do we want to create? What supports and barriers What do we need to plan for? Who needs to be involved? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably come across the term business development and wondered what it means for your business. Business development is identifying potential partners, suppliers, distributors, franchisees, and other external stakeholders who may be willing to work with your company or invest in it. Business development aims to bring in new customers or partners who will help expand a company’s reach and offer additional services or products that can benefit the company as a whole. When working on any project, the first step is figuring out where you want to start and what results you want to achieve. If you don’t know where to start, try breaking down the different types of projects you could be working on and understanding if any of those support your specific needs.
(Definition)What are you presently doing, and how do your clients and organization feel about them? The first step into your business development project is finding out what you’re currently doing and how your clients and organization feel about them. If you are trying to find out what kind of services or products your company can offer, look at the information you already have about your business. Do any of those services or products make sense in this new development? If so, then you know where to start from.
(Discovery) What is your present business promise for retaining customers? What is your current business promise for acquiring customers? Once you know where you want to start, it’s time to put your discovery skills to work. Business development begins with understanding your company’s current state and its impact on customers and potential partners. Begin by deep diving into who your customer is, their needs, and how they expect you to interact with them. This is crucial because it helps you figure out what promises your business offers to different stakeholders and lets you better understand if you have enough resources at hand to make those promises a reality.
Once you know where you want to start and what kind of results you want to achieve, begin planning for the different ways that your business can meet the promises outlined. This includes developing goals that will help guide your business in a particular direction while also considering the barriers involved in achieving those goals and who needs to be engaged for those goals to be met successfully. For example, if your goal is building a successful website, then one of the things that should be planned for would-be who will help design and maintain the site (and how many people will need that help). You might also consider putting together a timeline for when specific parts of this project will happen so that everyone involved knows when they should be getting started on their part of the project.
(Dream)What are your targets? How will we measure success? First, figure out what your target is. Without a clear target, it’s hard to know how to measure success. For example, if you want to create more visibility for your company, then focusing on social media posts and website traffic will be the best measure of success. Next, think about what kind of resources you’ll need to achieve those results. Maybe your business needs marketing expertise, so you’ll need someone who knows how to build a solid marketing plan with digital ads and social media campaigns. If you’re looking for bigger investments, an investor might be helpful. Lastly, think about who needs to be involved in achieving your targets. Do you only want one person involved, or are there several people that need to be included in your project? Who do you like or should include in your team?
(Design) Do you understand your customer’s decision-making process? For each product/market segment? If you’re trying to understand how your customers make their decisions about what products to buy, then it’s important that you know their specific needs and wants. To do this, you must ask yourself the following questions: What are the main reasons people choose your company’s product over others in your market? What are the most important factors for these customers? Do your customers need a more personalized approach? Do they need a more personal experience with your brand? If so, what would be an appropriate contact form for each type of customer? Are customers primarily concerned with price or quality? How can you create a product that is affordable but also meets the needs of each customer? What would key features help distinguish your product from others in the market?
(Destiny) What’s your investment strategy – not only in media but in time and events? One of the things you must consider when starting a business development project is what are your specific goals for the project. You’ll want to invest in marketing and advertising to build a brand. You could also focus on building credibility through various promotional events. If you’re looking to attract new clients or customers, you may be interested in hosting networking events or workshops where potential customers can get an insight into your company. This would be an appropriate use of marketing funds. As with any other project, always think about your exit strategy before investing in anything because that will help ensure that your efforts won’t go to waste later.
- Adapted from the book The Thin Book of SOAR: Building Strength-Based Strategy by Jacqueline M. Stavros, 2009
- Appreciative Inquiry has its theoretical framework in positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship -First developed by David Cooperrider