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4 Ways Business Development Can Help M&A Professionals and Service Providers Survive a Recession

If you graduated before 2010, chances are you remember the Great Recession. Chris invested 3 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars into law school and graduated in 2008 at the top of his class with a job offer at one of the biggest firms in the city. But just months after starting his job as a junior associate, he, along with nearly everyone else in his class, was laid off. With little work experience and the competition of 2009 and 2010 grads, Chris couldn’t find another position. Melanie got her MBA in 2009 with a job offer to work at one of the largest investment banks in the country. But the offer came with a condition – that she start working in 2011. Again, with over a hundred thousand dollars invested in business school, it wasn’t the ROI she was expecting.

The majority of reputable financial news sources agree: a global recession is coming. While the world experienced a recession in the beginning of the pandemic, it only lasted about 2 months. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 was the last significant global recession, which means if you graduated after 2010 you probably haven’t truly experienced what it means to live (and hopefully work) through a recession. Unfortunately, if history teaches us anything, an impending recession will likely bring with it a decline in M&A activity, deal performance, lay-offs and fewer new employment opportunities, as well as budget cuts for L&D and business development activities. 

If your palms are starting to sweat, take a deep breath. You can survive a recession. But in order to do so, you must recognize that business development is now more important than ever. Business development can:

  1. Increase Your Revenue: The primary reason that people do business development is that it usually translates into revenue at some point. During a recession, where deal flow is slower, people with a bigger book of business and better relationships are more likely to continue to stay afloat, close deals, and/or be the go-to person when a deal is percolating. And while revenue might slow down during a recession, business development is all about creating long-term value. When the recession ends, those who stayed the course and continued to focus on business development efforts will reap the benefits.
  2. Provide You With Leverage/Last Out: Aside from direct financial gain, another important reason to ramp up your business development efforts now is that it will give you leverage at your current organization. If your company ends up laying people off and you have your own book of business and/or a significant network, you likely won’t be the first to go. You’ll also increase your optionality and put yourself in a good negotiating position because you will be more desirable to other companies and firms.
  3. Facilitate New Employment Options: If you need or want to find another job, having a network makes it much easier. Referrals from people who are familiar with your work ethic and experience can go a long way.
  4. Create New Ventures: When the pandemic hit, I was in the process of expanding Opus Connect to London. With the travel lockdown and budget cuts, I had to temporarily shutter my dreams of expanding Opus to another country. But as a result, I was able to focus on other ventures that still addressed the needs of my customers, but that did so in a virtual format and at a lower price point. Having a wide network was what enabled me to easily create and sell those new products.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that business development can play a key role in helping you and your organization survive the storm that is approaching. If you are looking for tips on how to do business development, consider attending one of my upcoming seminars on Mastering the Art of Business Development on November 9th or 10th. During this live workshop we will:

  • Explore tips and tools
  • Learn how to create a personal business development plan
  • Take your career and your life to the next level

Register here: November 9; November 10

Author:
Lou Sokolovskiy
Founder/CEO, Opus Connect
lou@opusconnect.com

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