The four keys to built environment business development — #1: Data

The four keys to built environment business development — #1: Data

February 5th, 2020

We’re a business development consultancy. We work with people in the built environment industry to do business development better. We don’t do it for you, we help you understand how to do it. We work with companies with anything from three to 450 people, helping them learn how to do, and love, business development. 

It starts with working out your strategy, up-skilling the team, then taking everyone on a journey so they can become as addicted to good business development as we are. Because actually, it’s really good fun. It’s not some dark art, it’s actually a business process. If you go through this process and find your approach, you’ll get a lot out of it and you can enjoy it! 

Your whole team will know what the business needs to thrive and survive and help you and the director team achieve your aims. 

We have four fundamental points that underpin our approach — data, research, collective intelligence, and action, but today we are going to look at the data element. 


Data is so critical. It’s the first step and the thing that should underpin everything you do, forming the business development brief. 

First you need to analyze the existing data, or if you are just starting out, adopting good practices when your business kicks off will really stand you in good stead as the business grows. 

Your financial business development brief 

Just like with any building project, you need to set about business development with a clear brief. It’s not enough to say ‘I’d like to work for all these people and do all these types of work’. 

You cannot work with everybody. You need to say what you want and take control of that. You decide what’s right for your business — it’s way more effective and fun to go out and find the people that are right for you, instead of sitting and waiting to see what comes your way. But the financial data helps to inform this: 

Of course work will come your way. But at the same time, in the background, you’ll be beavering away at attracting more of the work you actually want.  

So what do we need to see? 

Win ratios 

One of the first things we ask when we go into a business is, “What’s your win ratio?”. You probably know this instinctively. But if you can communicate this to your team easily based on fact it makes life really easy. 

Understanding your win ratio will help you know how much you need to have out there to achieve your financial targets. You’ll know you need to get X amount of proposals out to create growth. This is fundamental — it may feel like a sales environment, but it’s just good, solid planning.  

Cash  / Money 

This is integral — although often people don’t feel comfortable talking about it. How much money do you need to make monthly/annually for the business to survive? It really helps if you allow others to know this information — they will opt-in to help the business thrive. 

Aspirations and creativity versus financial need 

By interrogating all this data and understanding what it’s telling you, you can then start to create a set of aspirational clients that will allow you to grow both creatively and financially. “Why do we want to work with this company? Their work excites me, they have a great pipeline, it is going to be fun.” 

Capturing, reviewing and building this data will give you a really clear picture of how much and the kind of work you want and need. Sharing this information with your team will allow you to start to set your business development brief. It means people can opt-into the business development process, with ideas, activity and information and gives you all guidance that you are moving in the right direction. 

Why Synergy 

We loved talking to Karen — so many things resonated with us here at Synergy about the importance of understanding your finances and the importance of easy access data. We know our customers keep all of their data, retain it, and can easily interrogate it. Excellence all ‘round. 

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