How to Biz Dev in the Dog Days of Summer

This is a guest post by Alex Taub, who leads business development and partnerships at Aviary. He blogs at So you’re stuck

That comic book filter does wonders for the abs

This is a guest post by Alex Taub, who leads business development and partnerships at Aviary. He blogs at

So you’re stuck in NYC for the last two weeks of August (and survived the earthquake/hurricane/tornado/zombie-pocalypse). You work at a startup in business development and don’t want to be dead weight as the summer comes to an end. You could probably convince your CEO that drink-up is a totally worthwhile use of your afternoon, but be honest with yourself, all the important folks are already checking in to their favorite clam shacks out in Montauk and the Hamptons. Here is a list of five things you can do to actually be productive in the dog days of summer.

1. Regroup

You probably have a list of companies you would like to work with. Take a day or two to make sure all notes, statistics, and info on partners and prospective partners are up to date. This will help you prioritize those dream meetings, and prep you to hit it out of the park with those companies  once things are back in full swing.

2. Strategize

Once you’ve regrouped, it’s time to figure out the best plan of action for the rest of the year. Who are you going after? Why will you go after them? And perhaps more importantly–how? Your strategy will depend on what industry you are in. Aviary, for example, works on having our photo editing tools implemented on third-party websites. When we think of strategy, we focus on sites that (1) allow for photo uploading and (2) could use photo editing solutions. This list is broken down into verticals.

We then ask ourselves a slew of questions: Do we want to go after dating sites? Blogging platforms? Marketplaces? Social networks? Do we focus on all the companies in one vertical, or do we go after one company in each vertical? Do we go after one 800 pound gorilla partner, or multiple smaller partners? The process of addressing these details is all part of the strategy process. Now is the time to talk with your team and figure out the best way to proceed.

3. Put Together A Killer Partnership Proposal

While regrouping and strategizing you should be putting together your materials to go and close that killer deal. It should include pages on your product overview, your partner-specific solution, benefits, pricing, examples of existing partnerships, and next steps. Putting together a killer proposal for prospective partners is like showing up to a knife fight with a bazooka.

4. Catch Up On Reading

When you are working hard, it’s easy to miss a lot of news. This is your time to catch up. Did you read that awesome piece by Marc Andreessen in the WSJ? What about Mark Suster’s article, What Startups Can Learn About PR And Crisis Management? How about the blog post by Fred Wilson, Users First, Brands Second? Staying up-to-date on tech news and BD go hand in hand (hearing about new companies, acquisitions, funding, etc). Get reading. Now.

5.  Get A Tap On What’s Going On In Startup-ville

Similarly, working hard with your head down can cause you to lose touch with current happenings in the startup world. Talk to VCs, entrepreneurs, and press people about what they are seeing: what’s interesting, trending, or upcoming? Go out and catch up with people. Ask them what they are up to, tell them what you are working on. Get your finger back on the pulse of what is to come.

While the pace of work may be slower than normal for the next two weeks, there is plenty to do to put yourself–and your company–in a great position to capitalize when things pick up again.

How to Biz Dev in the Dog Days of Summer