This is perhaps one of the most misunderstood areas in business today. Whilst virtually everyone has an opinion on what business development is these opinions can differ drastically. Generally though the majority seem to think of it as sales or sales orientated projects and they couldn’t be more wrong.
A quick look at Wikipedia’s definition will illustrate just how all encompassing business development really is. “Business development comprises a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities between multiple organizations. It is a subset of the fields of business, commerce, and organizational theory. Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.”
We tend to think of business development as modern-day terminology when in fact it’s as old as the Industrial Revolution. The move to new machinery and manufacturing processes, the increased utilisation of water/steam power, the change from wood to coal all marked a major turning point in business as the world knew it. The economic growth that resulted from these changes can be classified as business development.
Business Development Today
In today’s world business development includes any area in your business that is a potential for growth opportunities and covers everything from finance, IT systems, strategic management, sales, marketing, customer relationship and key account management to legal, mergers and acquisitions.
Appointing the Right Person or Team
All businesses need to focus attention on creating value for their business in order to ensure its long term expansion. This means appointing the right person or people to handle this task.
Depending on the size of the organisation the process of business development can vary from . . .
- The small business who appoints one person who, even though they may have other responsibilities, is devoted to the development of business development
- A medium size business who may not have the resources it needs within the company but has enough financial clout to outsource to a specialist
- to . . . a large corporate who sets up a dedicated team or incorporates several of its departments headed by a team leader to do the job.
It is vital that the business development person/team work closely with all internal departments and teams congruently remaining up to speed with current business trends and external factors that might impact the organisations future success.
Developing & Implementing a Business Development Plan
Here are some very basic steps you need to consider when developing and implementing a business development plan.
- Identify new areas of potential growth
- Set priorities for your business opportunities – what needs to be tackled first
- Do a ROI (return on investment) analysis on each potential growth area
- Re-evaluate your priorities again the ROI
- Put support structures in place if necessary
- Project manage tasks to ensure they meet expected goals within anticipated timing schedules
- Maintain your competitive edge by adapting your business, marketing and/or advertising strategies to match your business development strategy
- Be mindful of the company’s vision and its strengths and limitations throughout the entire process.
Looking to the future
Building a business is hard work. It means being cautious but not so cautious as to stifle growth. It requires enormous dedication and more than a little insight to keep it on the right track.
Looking to a successful future it also means having a business development plan that you stick to and pursue through good times and bad.
You will find that the rewards of identifying, developing and finally seeing a growth opportunity turn into a successful revenue stream is well worth all the effort.