Alan Gourley, Director, Tax, Grant Thornton Ireland 

Alan Gourley
Alan Gourley

COVID-19 has given us all a new perspective on in-person meetings, social events, and even remote working, but how does this new world impact Business Development?

Business Development is typically geared around face-to-face interaction, taking the form of anything from networking events to quick one-on-one coffee catch-ups. As the world becomes more and more virtual, businesses must learn to adapt these practices to fit the ‘new normal’ and keep hold of valuable connections, while continuing to form new ones.

So how can your business build new, and develop existing, relationships? The simple answer lies in communication. Communication comes in many forms, and often the easiest and most effective way is just picking up the phone.

It’s easy to fall into the virtual trap of hosting an abundance of webinars and sending out generic e-Comms to your contact lists, but it’s important to remember that while these all serve a purpose, they will never replace the human connections that create the foundations of great Business Development.

Don’t take for granted the power of genuine conversation – sometimes all it takes is a quick ‘how are things?’ to put you and your business front-of-mind.

Creating new connections during a pandemic can prove more difficult, but it certainly isn’t impossible. It’s as true today as it ever was – real and sincere connections are made over mutual interests.

It is because of this that social media sites such as LinkedIn have garnered such success in connecting people virtually, and have grown exponentially as a result. Social media allows you to interact, share, and discuss topics of mutual interest, creating and collecting new contacts along the way.

The value of these interactions can be overlooked, but only by those not utilising them correctly. A comment on your recent blog post opens the door to a wider conversation, and conversation is key!

Businesses have learned to adapt to a new and challenging environment during the pandemic. Working has become more remote, training has become more distanced, and, as a result of the ever-changing situation, Business Development may have fallen by the wayside.

It is important to remember that while it is difficult to maintain our networks during these times, it has never been more important. Leverage the tools you have to ensure you are always front-of-mind – it could be the first step to your next big win!

For further information or advice, Alan Gourley can be contacted at alan.gourley  

Grant Thornton (NI) LLP specialises in audit, tax and advisory services.