Even though the weather isn't cooperating, Spring is just around the corner.  I look forward to attending some events outside!  Here are some more best picks for April.  Enjoy!


Saturday, April 7 - The Arc, Northern Chesapeake Region - 14th Annual After D’Arc Gala - 7pm - 11:30pm, Maryland Golf & Country Club
WHY?  If you’re looking for a nice night out it’s The Arc -NCR’s biggest annual fundraiser event.  Lots of great sponsors and a host of decision makers

Thursday, April 12 - Chesapeake Human Resources Association - Annual Spring Conference 2018 -  7:30am-4pm, Martin’s West.
WHY?  If you’re prospecting for HR related companies or HR professionals this is a no-brainer.  Great keynote, panel discussions along with lots of vendors

Thursday, April 12 - Baltimore Business Journal - Real Estate Builders Bash - 6:00pm-8:00pm, The Assembly Room.
WHY?  In the past, they’ve gotten a good show of brokers, builders and developers.  Plus, recognition of the best deals and top projects

Wednesday, April 18 - Maryland Tech Council - Lifetime Achievement Gala - 6pm-9pm, William F. Bolger Center
WHY?  Interesting honorees, great sponsors and unique opportunity to meet the tech and biotech crowd.  The venue's a little hike...located in Potomac, MD

Tuesday, April 24 - ABC Baltimore - Excellence in Construction Awards Ceremony - 5:00pm-9:00pm, Marriott Waterfront Hotel
WHY? Great construction event if you're targeting that industry or development.  I like that they offer just a ticket for networking

Thursday, April 26 - The Chambers of Commerce for Anne Arundel County -  Business Leaders Luncheon - 11:30am-1:30pm, La Fontaine Bleu, Glen Burnie.
WHY? Multi-Chamber event, good crowd coming to hear the Governor speak in regards to what may affect the business community



Good morning everyone!  Networking events will be in full swing for March!  There’s a lot to choose from and a lot of good events. Here are some of my best picks.  


Thursday, March 8 - BBJ CEO of the Year & Power 10, 5:30pm-8pm, Four Seasons Baltimore.  WHY?  Great selection of local leaders as the Power 10.  First time event for the BBJ.  Should be a good crowd.

Friday, March 9 - The Daily Record - Real Estate Matters, 10am-6pm, BWI Hilton.  WHY? All-day event including panel discussions and awards event for good price.  Focus is on residential real estate.

Tuesday, March 13 - Leadership Howard County - The Big Event, 11am-1pm, Turf Valley.  WHY?  One of HC biggest networking b-to-b events, expected attendance is 400 with business and nonprofit being represented.

Thursday, March 15 - - Net/Work Baltimore 2018, 5pm-8pm, Baltimore Studios-Studio 4.  WHY?  Specific to technology companies

Wednesday, March 21 - 2018 MD Cybersecurity Awards Celebration, 5pm-8pm, Visionary Arts Museum.  WHY?  Focus on cybersecurity companies that will attract a large number of ancillary categories of business along with cybersecurity firms.

Saturday, March 24 - 18th Annual Casey Cares Galaxy Gala, 6:30pm-11pm, Visionary Arts Museum.  WHY?  Great annual gala event with a good number of c-level attendees, a lot of good sponsors as well.

Tuesday, March 27 - ACG - Deal of the Year Awards Reception, 5:30pm-8:30pm, Harbor Tower Events at Legg Mason Tower.  WHY?  Premier ACG event of the year.  High level executives, great attendance. Investment bankers, corporate execs, deal advisors, etc.

Thursday, March 29 - Bisnow - Baltimore State of the Market, CRE Developments Putting the Charm in Charm City, 7:30am-10:30am, Location TBD.  WHY?  Interesting topic, good panelists, will likely be well attended by CRE professionals, developers

Thursday, Feb. 22 - Harford County Chamber of Commerce, Networking 101 with John Dinkel & Tim Foley.  8:00am-9:30am, Darlington Hall at Harford Community College.  WHY?  To brush up on your networking skills & learn some new tricks of the trade!


Networking Tip!

Keep up on the week’s local business news.  It can be a great ice-breaker and discussion topic as you mix-and-mingle, especially if you’re going to an industry-specific event.  There are a lot of great newsletters out there and you can't go wrong with the BBJ’s daily Morning & Afternoon Editions.  They're free too!



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Are you looking to grow your business in 2018?

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What's the difference between marketing and business development?

I've been asked this a lot lately, so I thought I'd post this article from Marnie Grumbach, founder of Fluent.  Even though it's somewhat slanted to professional services, I think it's a good, basic description of the two for any firm.  There is a distinct difference between both functions and as you think about capturing new business, it's important to understand how both marketing and business development work together.  By understanding their differences you can better position your staff and better develop a plan to target your prospects.  I hope you enjoy it.

"Marketing. Business Development. I hear these words used interchangeably all the time. If you want more business, everything you do to achieve that goal could be called “business development,” right? Maybe. That mindset is a bit confusing and can quickly lead to unmet expectations. If you think you need marketing or business development support, you should first understand how they differ and where they overlap.

What is marketing? Marketing is about identifying your key differentiators, developing your message and establishing a positioning within your market(s). Think advertising, event promotion, website content and building thought leadership through public relations – these are all marketing strategies (or at least first cousins to marketing).

What is Business Development? Business development is about making connections. It’s building upon the brand that you have established through marketing efforts to connect your audience to your products and services. It’s prospecting (think networking events), qualifying leads and then converting those leads into clients. Business development is all about creating relationships.

Some in-house marketing directors wear both marketing and business development hats. A talented marketing generalist with some business acumen can provide strategic advice and coaching in both areas. But the truth is that the efforts are quite different and usually require a different set of skills and expertise.

Marketing and public relations people tend to be creative. They’re usually good storytellers and know how to develop a message through a brand look and compelling marketing messages. They create new and interesting ways to build awareness for your brand. They’re scouting opportunities and thinking of new ideas. They also probably pitch stories to the media, write content and provide creative direction and/or design.

Business development people are actually selling. They go out and develop business, sometimes without realizing that they’re even doing it. For many professionals, business development takes training, coaching and a couple of steps outside their comfort zone. Whether they like it or not, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors and other providers of professional services MUST wear a business development hat. A marketing person may be great at formulating messages, but the relationship your client is buying is not with them – it’s with the advisor they have grown to trust with their business.

Where do marketing and business development overlap? The sales cycle for most professional services is longer than ever. Once you have identified a qualified lead, your marketing efforts can’t stop. Nurturing leads over a long period of time is critical for retaining top-of-mind awareness. The marketing side of lead nurturing may include sharing branded content and educational opportunities through email marketing, event marketing and social media outreach. Marketing should also provide business development with the sales tools they need to convert a warm lead into a client (proposal language, presentation training/support, slide decks, printed collateral and even branded thank you notes and gifts).  The true business development side may include personal emails, follow-up phone calls, one-on-one meetings/lunches or golfing together.

Which do you need? Marketing or Business Development? When it comes to developing a business development strategy for your firm or business, marketing is an essential piece. Likewise, a branding and marketing strategy should be built with your business development goals in mind. The two not only complement each other, they depend upon each other – but that doesn’t make them the same. As you consider your marketing and business development goals, think about where your firm currently has strengths and weaknesses. You may find that you need more exposure and new marketing tactics for generating leads. Or you might find that you have warm leads, but just need sales training to help convert them into clients."

by Marnie Grumbach

Former BBJ Publisher Launches Business Development Firm

Former Baltimore Business Journal Publisher John Dinkel has started a business development consulting firm geared toward clients in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area.

Dinkel left the BBJ in June to pursue other opportunities after 16 years at the publication, including 11 years as publisher and president.

He officially launched his new venture, Dinkel Business Development, this week. The company aims to help businesses identify areas for growth with services including business development assessments, planning, networking seminars and executive on-boarding sessions.

With much of today's business development strategy centered on reaching out via social media, Dinkel said he wants his firm to focus on connecting face-to-face.

"In this day and age, you tend to get lost in the social media environment," he said. "What I want to concentrate on is the relationship-building side of business development, whether it's leveraging your current contacts for networking to doing roundtables (or) working your board positions."

The company's target audience will be small- to midsize businesses in the Baltimore/Washington region as well as Frederick. Dinkel said he is looking for a cross-section of clients, though he anticipates many will be from the technology and business services industries.

Dinkel's career includes more than 20 years in the media industry, including leadership roles at news organizations such as the Daily Times in Salisbury, the Altoona Mirror, the Record in Troy, New York, Patuxent Publishing and the Maryland Daily Record. He worked for five years as advertising director for the BBJ before being named publisher.

Dinkel, a Baltimore City resident, also serves on the board of Business Volunteers Maryland and on the President's Advisory Council at Stevenson University.


Welcome to DBD

Welcome to my first blog post and welcome to DBD, LLC.  Today is my first official day of operation and I couldn’t be more excited.  After a few months of planning and talking to colleagues and friends I decided to start DBD because I felt I could use my experience and training to help local businesses exceed their financial goals.  I also felt through many meetings with local executives that there was a big need for the services I will be providing.  Business development is very critical to the sales process.  Without a good business development plan, you can waste hours and resources doing activities that aren’t targeting your audience.

As many of you know for the past 16 years I’ve been with the Baltimore Business Journal.  First, as its advertising sales director and then for the past 11 years as its president and publisher.  I learned quite a bit in both roles.  As the leading business-to-business news organization in the region, I worked with many clients big and small with their branding and marketing efforts.  I found in many cases that these same companies struggled with their business development efforts; meaning building deep relationships with the client base, engaging in activity that put them in front of the right people and showed value to their potential customers.  I found myself helping these clients through teaching their staff and leadership about good networking techniques, executing on meaningful content strategies and leveraging their current clients.  It helped me build deep relationships in the community.

I am forever grateful to the opportunity I had at the BBJ.  It was an important chapter in my life both professionally and personally.  Through the BBJ, I was able to sit on some of the most influential and interesting boards in the region, meet amazing people doing amazing things and lead some of the most talented and passionate people in the industry.  And that was just the beginning. However, I felt I needed a change.  I decided to take all of the knowledge and experience I obtained over the past 25 years and branch out on my own.  I recently read an article that featured Jim Cantell, CEO and Co-Founder of Vector Space Systems (Elon Musk’s space technology company) and he talked about the three things that can make you successful.  He said, “Success is based on a convergence of three simple things: 1). Do what you’re passionate about.  2). Do something that you are inherently good or talented at.  3). Do something that creates value and can be sold into a market present or future.”  I think that’s great advice and it’s something I can live by every day when I’m out there meeting and working with potential clients.

I plan to use this blog post to talk about my ongoing business and also share some best practices and content that I come across that I think is relevant to the subject of business development.  I hope that you stay in touch and I look forward to seeing you out there.