Blog Podcast

VPP004 – What is Business Development with Szymon Chlebowski



What is Business Development?

Sometimes things just happen. But is it coincidence that you have met someone on the plane and he offers you a job? You just have to expose your “thing” to the light of awareness of other people. This is how business development works. Or should it be rather called “the correct way for people to communicate”?

When I started thinking about my podcast I knew that I wanted to have Szymon as my guest. He’s going to talk about his business experience from a senior management / consultant level at a globally recognised company, Bosch Security. He’s international experience makes him a very valuable source of information for everyone but especially for any Polish company or startup. And that’s why he’s with us today, in VenturePoland Podcast. Enjoy the interview guys. I really enjoyed preparing it for you. Thank you Szymon, keep it up!

What’s in the episode?

  • How was it on the wrong side of the iron curtain?
  • International business experience – how valuable it is?
  • Is business development more arts or science?
  • Why as a business development guy you spend more time at your desk than with people?
  • Suggestions for startups on gettings more business.

Most valuable Q/A

Daniel: I understand you could call yourself business development manager, it took me some time to actually find a couple of different definitions of what does it stand for, what is business development, some say it’s more arts others say it’s more science. What’s business development for you, then?
Szymon: If you ask me, it’s neither art nor science. It’s all about the proper defining of the key players you would like to approach, key stakeholders, as it is popular to describe it nowadays, then establishing and maintaining a good working relationship. In my industry these are mostly architects, specifiers designers and users; these are the people we want to approach. We try to educate them about the latest developments coming from the industry, new solutions. How to solve current problems with new technologies and why it is better than all solutions of the competitors’ solutions. To do so you need to focus on specific segments of the market, or verticals. You need to understand the challenges and offer them a matching solution. So if they’re happy with what you’re trying to present to them, it is more likely that they’re going to specify it. Plus it’s crucial that you need to offer them support in designing or running proof of concepts. These are all, you know, the small factors which actually make your solution, especially if it is a new thing which hasn’t been yet proved, more reliable for them. So for me I would split business development into two parts: one would be maintaining personal contacts with people responsible to cooperate with you from the other side and the second part would be to have a good technological background and a good offer which will be basically attractive to them.

My thoughts

I never knew that I’m going to be good with people. Ok, I had good manners and could behave on parties etc. But to be honest I didn’t really “like people” in general until one of my mentors forced me to think otherwise. As soon as I started listening, asking questions and reacting to other people’s emotions everything has changed. It’s all about empathy, now I know it. But it was always built into my DNA, I just needed a trigger (thanks R!). And the funny thing is that I was a radar engineer not a salesperson. And now I’m a host in a podcast. I’m going to share the full story someday.

Empathy -> Knowledge -> Confidence -> Communication -> Empathy

This is what I think about business development.


For a full transcript of the podcast in *.pdf format go to the following DOWNLOAD LINK


PV_Emotional by PeriTune | Music promoted by Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Transcript: Amelia Stańczyk, Mariusz Czachorowski

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