Get Ahead Today with Expert Insights

Blog author Brian Caouette is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of OnFrontiers, a peer-to-peer market insights platform.

I was inspired to write this post after speaking with a client who had just attended a major healthcare conference.  After swimming in a sea of 100k professionals, he remarked that the most valuable connections were with professionals he’d already matched with through OnFrontiers.

The old way of finding growth stinks

Imagine your job is to find growth opportunities for your company: you need to learn about many markets – some of which you haven’t worked in before – to evaluate specific deals in those markets, and then to execute.

Most in this situation are paying for expensive consultants and/or doing some combination of the following on their own:

  1. Reading research reports and targeted news articles
  2. Attending conferences and industry events
  3. Trying to keep in touch with the most relevant people
  4. Finding folks online to talk to and ask for intros
  5. Spending lots of time on the road talking with prospective partners

Does this sound familiar?

The results are almost always poor.  I know – this is exactly what I’ve done in the past and found it took way too much time, energy, and money while delivering few benefits.

Why it stinks

It’s rare to find breakthrough opportunities online

By definition, anything you find on Google is a commodity because everyone has access to it.  To uncover real value, you need something more – some help and insights from someone in the know.

If you’re pushing boundaries, you begin as an outsider

You need to start from scratch with new people.  Conference goers should be open to talking and staying in touch, but it takes time to build trust and – let’s face it – few people, even if well-introduced, go to bat for you unless they see some tangible value in exchange.

You waste time talking to the wrong people

By going about things in a haphazard way, you inevitably spend too much time with the wrong people.  Few of the business cards you bring back are worth filing.  And then there’s a bigger concern – what if you find out you are in the wrong market and should have been at a different conference altogether?

It’s expensive and time consuming

Here is a breakdown of my client’s costs to attend a recent conference:

Cash 

Flights – 2 teammates economy fare US 3,000
Conference US 5,000
Food & lodging US 2,000
Total US 10,000


Time

Pre-research 1 day
Conference 3 days
Follow-ups 1 days
Total 5 days

Where I come from, these are meaningful numbers.  Even if you are lucky enough to work in a company with big budgets, there’s a more effective way of spending your time and dollars.

What if you had business development superpowers?

We started OnFrontiers because we believed business development as currently practiced is dead.  Companies that secure the right growth opportunities in the future won’t be those with the biggest budgets, but instead those who are smartest about leveraging their networks, data, and connection possibilities in the right way get to the answer faster.

Our clients are using OnFrontiers to get an edge by:

  1. Finding pre-vetted Experts deeply embedded into local markets they want to know more about
  2. Easily scheduling confidential conversations with Experts over the platform
  3. Evolving relationships with any Expert to fit their needs – from hourly-based consulting to ongoing advisory or eyes and ears on the ground

Business Development 2.0 Credo

  1. Never get on an airplane to discover something you could have learned from your desktop or mobile phone
  2. Never go to a conference without having meetings lined up with the right people in advance
  3. Always know the inside scoop on the companies and people you are meeting with
  4. Be a value consumer when it comes to research, conferences, consulting and other business development services

If you are like my client who just came back in a daze, the only thing you’ll miss about the old way is the airline miles. 🙂

Let me know your thoughts on the past, present, and future of international business development.  

And if you’d like to give OnFrontiers a look, you can sign up for free here.

 

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Featured image by Flickr user fdecomite.