The Ultimate Guide to Business Development and How It Can Help Your Company Grow

Discover the importance of business development and how the process can help your business grow better.



Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

business development

Updated: 08/19/22

Published: 08/17/21

Imagine working for a company without any employees dedicated to growing and developing the business.

Nobody to challenge you to improve or tell you about new business opportunities, changes in the market, what your competition is up to, or how you can attract your target audience more effectively.

This would make it pretty hard to succeed, don’t you think?

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Business Development

Business Development Reps

BDR Responsibilities

Business Development Ideas

Business development process, business development plan.

Business development is the process of implementing strategies and opportunities across your organization to promote growth and boost revenue.

It involves pursuing opportunities to help your business grow, identifying new prospects, and converting more leads into customers. Business development is closely tied to sales — business development teams and representatives are almost always a part of the greater sales org.

Although business development is closely related to sales, it’s important to note what makes them different.

importance of business development plan

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Business Development vs. Sales

As mentioned, business development lives on the greater sales team yet it serves a different function than typical sales work and responsibilities.

Business development is a process that helps your company establish and maintain relationships with prospects, learn about your buyer’s personas, increase brand awareness, and seek new opportunities to promote growth.

In contrast, sales teams sell your product or service to customers and work to convert leads into customers. Business development-related work simplifies the work of a salesperson or sales manager.

Let’s take a closer look at what business development representatives — the people responsible for carrying out the various business development tasks — do next.

Business Development Representative

Business development representatives (BDRs) seek out and establish new strategies, tactics, targets, employees, and prospects for your business. The goal of all BDRs is to find ways to grow and provide long-term value for the business.

Possessing the necessary business development skills and experience will help your BDRs achieve all of their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.

Business Development Representative Responsibilities

Although some BDR responsibilities may change over time and as your business grows, the following list will provide you with a solid understanding of typical BDR tasks.

1. Qualify leads.

BDRs must qualify leads and pinpoint ideal prospects to determine who they'll sell to. Typically, leads are qualified through calls, emails, web forms, and social media.

The key to qualifying leads (leads who are assigned to the BDRs as well as leads BDRs identify themselves) is to consider their needs and then determine whether or not your product or software could be a solution for them.

2. Identify and communicate with prospects.

By qualifying leads and searching for people who fit your buyer personas, BDRs will identify ideal prospects. They can communicate with those prospects directly to learn more about their needs and pain points.

This way, BDRs can determine whether or not the prospect will really benefit from your product or service by becoming a customer. This is important because it increases the potential of improved customer loyalty and retention.

Once the BDRs have identified ideal prospects, those prospects can be passed along to a sales rep on the team (or sales manager, if necessary) who can nurture them into making a deal.

3. Proactively seek new business opportunities.

Proactively seeking new opportunities — whether that’s in terms of the product line, markets, prospects, or brand awareness — is an important part of your business’s success. BDRs work to find new business opportunities through networking, researching your competition, and talking to prospects and current customers.

If a new business opportunity is identified, BDRs should schedule marketing assessments and discovery meetings with the sales reps on the team so they can all assess whether or not there’s potential for a deal.

4. Stay up-to-date on competition and new market trends.

It’s important to stay up-to-date on your competition’s strategies, products, and target audience as well as any new market and industry trends.

This will allow you to more effectively identify ideal prospects. It also helps your business prepare for any shifts in the market that could lead to the need for a new approach to qualifying leads and attracting your target audience.

5. Report to salespeople and development managers.

As we reviewed, at most companies, BDRs report to sales reps and sales managers. BDRS must communicate with these higher-ups for multiple reasons such as discussing lead qualification strategies and how to get prospects in touch with sales reps to nurture them into customers.

BDRs also have to report their findings (such as business opportunities and market trends) to sales reps and managers. Relaying this information and collaborating with sales reps and managers to develop and/or update appropriate strategies for your business and audience is critical to your success as an organization.

6. Promote satisfaction and loyalty.

A BDR's interaction with a prospect might be the very first interaction that prospect ever has with your business. So, creating a great first impression right off the bat is crucial to promote interest early on.

Whether a BDR is working to qualify the lead, learn more about the prospect and their needs, or find the right sales rep to work on a deal with them, their interactions with all of your prospects matter.

Once a BDR researches the prospect or begins interacting with them, ensure they tailor all communication towards the prospect. Customizing all content sent their way shows them they’re being listened to and cared for. These actions are professional and leave a strong impression.

In addition to understanding how BDRs help you grow, business development ideas are another powerful way to engage prospects and identify new business opportunities. Let’s take a look.

  • Innovate the way you network.
  • Offer consultations.
  • Provide sales demos for prospects and leads.
  • Nurture prospects.
  • Provide prospects with several types of content.
  • Communicate with marketing.
  • Invest in your website.
  • Push your employees to expand and refine their skills.

Business development ideas are tactics you can implement to positively impact your company in a multitude of different ways. They can help you identify ideal prospects, network more effectively, improve brand awareness, and uncover new opportunities.

The following tactics are here to get you started — every business and team is different, meaning these ideas may or may not be suited for your specific situation. (So, feel free to modify the list!)

1. Innovate the way you network.

It’s no secret cold calls are less effective than they once were. Instead, innovate the way you network by establishing strong relationships with your prospects. You can do this by meeting with them in person at conferences, trade shows, or events related to your industry.

Browse your online networks including LinkedIn and other social sites for potential customers, too. Reach out to the people who sign up for your email subscription or complete other forms on your site.

2. Offer consultations.

Offer consultations and assessments for prospects. Talking about the ways your product or service applies to their needs will help prospects decide whether or not they’ll convert.

In contrast, consultations and assessments may also bring to light the ways a prospect is not an ideal fit for your product (which is equally as valuable since it prevents you from wasting any time nurturing them or having to deal with an unsatisfied customer down the road).

3. Provide sales demos for prospects and leads.

Provide your prospects and leads with sales demos so they can see how your product or service works in action. Ensure these demos are customized to show a prospect or lead how your product solves their challenge. You can share these demos in person, over email, on your website, or via video chat.

4. Nurture prospects.

Remember to nurture your prospects, whether it’s by phone call, email, meeting, or another mode of communication. The point of lead nurturing is to provide any information needed about your product or service so your prospects can decide whether or not they want to make a purchase.

By nurturing your leads , you’ll be able to tailor the content regarding your brand and product so your leads can better understand how your product will solve their specific pain points. You’ll also be able to show your support for the prospect and ensure they feel heard and understood by your company.

5. Provide prospects with several types of content.

Provide your prospects with different content types such as blogs, videos, and social media posts so they can learn more about your brand and product or service.

It’s best to meet your prospects where they are and provide the content they prefer to read or watch. Ensure all of this content is downloadable and/or shareable so prospects can send it to their team members to show them why your solution is their best option.

6. Communicate with marketing.

Although business development lives in the sales department, that doesn’t mean internal business development work only involves other members of the sales team. Host regular meetings and maintain open lines of communication with the departments at your company that impact your ability to succeed such as marketing and product development.

Think about it this way: Marketing creates content and campaigns for your target audience about how your product or service resolves their challenges. So, why wouldn’t you want to talk to them about the blogs, campaigns, social media posts, and website content they’re creating for the people you’re selling to?

Your reps and BDRs can share any content the marketing team creates directly with prospects to help them convert, as well as inform the marketing team of any content they feel is missing for prospects. If there are projects or campaigns out of your scope, you can opt to hire a marketing agency to help fill the void. But, like your marketing team, they'll need to understand your product and how to connect with your target audience.

7. Invest in your website.

You never get a second chance at a first impression, and in many cases, your website is exactly that — your prospects' first impression of your brand. So, it serves you to make it as accessible, navigable, visible, and helpful as possible.

Taking strides like making your site visually engaging, connecting your social media profiles, optimizing your site for search engines, linking to collateral like sales content , and maintaining an active blog can go a long way when conducting business development.

8. Push your employees to expand and refine their skills and knowledge.

Business development is never stagnant. Strategy, technology, and market conditions are all constantly evolving — so you're best off having your employees stay abreast of these trends.

Anyone involved in your business development should be liable to develop new skills as needed. If your organization adopts any sort of new technology, thoroughly train anyone the change touches on how to use it.

Encourage your employees to learn more about both the nuances of their field and the industries they serve. Is artificial intelligence starting to shift the dynamics of a specific industry? If so, make the BDRs who serve that market learn all they can about how it might change the nature of the companies they interact with.

A business development process is the combination of steps your business takes to grow effectively, boost revenue, improve relationships with leads, and more. These steps are what your business development team will work on every day. It includes everything related to delighting customers along each part of the buyer's journey.

By working through your business development process, your team will have a strong understanding of your organization-wide goals, sales targets, current business situation, who your target audience members are, and more.

How to Do Business Development

  • Conduct extensive market research.
  • Raise visibility and awareness.
  • Promote thought leadership.
  • Conduct outreach.
  • Qualify leads to pass off to sales.
  • Provide exemplary customer service.
  • Develop sales content from success stories.

1. Conduct extensive market research.

Successful business development rests, in large part, on you understanding your market and target personas. If you have no idea who you're trying to sell to and the state of the market they comprise, you can't successfully implement any other point on this list.

Study and survey your current customers to see who tends to buy from you. Look into your competition to get a feel for where you fit into your broader market. And take any other strides to get a better feel for the "who" behind your successful sales — without that intel, you'll never be able to shape the "how" side of your business development.

importance of business development plan

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2. Raise visibility and awareness.

Business development, as a broader practice, extends beyond your sales org — your marketing department can also play a central role in the process. You can't source a base of potential customers if no one knows who you are.

Actions like constructing an effective website, investing in paid advertising, leveraging social profiles, participating in co-marketing partnerships with industry peers, and maintaining an active blog can all go a long way in supporting successful business development.

3. Promote thought leadership.

This point is sort of an extension of the one above. Establishing credibility is one of the more important steps you can take when doing business development. You can't just stop with prospects knowing who you are — they need to trust you if you're ever going to earn their business.

Publishing in-depth, industry-specific blog content is one way to get there — if you can show that you have a firm grasp on every aspect of your field, you can frame yourself as a reliable, knowledgeable resource for your customers. That kind of trust often translates to sales, down the line. Other media like webinars, white papers, and video content can also help your case.

4. Conduct outreach.

Actively reaching out to prospects is one of the most crucial, traditional elements of business development. You need to touch base with prospects if you're going to vet them and ultimately convert them to qualified leads.

This step is typically supported by extensive research on individual prospects, paired with contacting warm and cold leads proactively but not aggressively. BDRs typically shoulder this responsibility — and for many people, it's the aspect of the process most closely associated with the term "business development."

5. Qualify leads.

Once your BDRs have connected with leads, they need to qualify them to determine their viability and understand whether they're worth the sales org's time and effort. That generally entails having conversations with leads and asking the right qualifying questions to reveal their fit for your product or service.

This is one of the most pivotal moments in the business development process — in some respects, it could be considered its last step. Successfully executing this point typically means the process, as a whole, has worked.

6. Provide exemplary customer service.

Business development is an ongoing process that involves virtually every side of your business in some capacity — and customer service is no exception. Your service org needs to keep current customers happy to generate positive word of mouth and bolster your company's reputation. That kind of effort offers you credibility and can generate referrals, making business development more straightforward and effective.

7. Develop sales content from success stories.

Another part of business development is translating customer satisfaction into actionable, promotable sales content — pointed, product-specific content that's used to generate sales. While marketing content is used for thought leadership and garnering general interest, sales content is used to appeal to potential buyers, looking into your company specifically.

Sales content can come in a variety of forms, including case studies and testimonials — two mediums that lean heavily on your current customer base. When you use customers' experiences to generate interest in your business, your business development efforts essentially come full circle.

Visual of the 7 business development process/strategy stages

By compiling these elements of business development and sharing them among your team, you create an actionable business development strategy or plan that encourages and promotes success and growth. Let's review the different steps involved in creating your business development plan next.

A business development plan is a strategy your team can refer to while working to achieve growth-related goals. Sales managers typically create the business development plan for BDRs to work on.

The purpose of a business development plan (or strategy) is to set realistic goals and targets that allow your reps to grow the business, close more deals, identify prospects, align members of the sales team (and other teams, company-wide), and convert more leads.

1. Craft an elevator pitch.

You can simplify any initial communication with prospects by having an elevator pitch ready to go. This elevator pitch should explain your company’s mission and how your product or service can solve the needs of your target audience. Your elevator pitch should grab the attention of prospects and leads — and get them excited to learn more about what you offer.

Additionally, you can help your team determine which elevator pitches used by both BDRs and reps are most successful in converting leads and then document it in your greater strategy so everyone has access to it.

2. Set SMART goals.

Set SMART goals for your strategy — meaning, make sure your targets are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. By creating SMART goals for your business development plan, you’ll be able to ensure these goals are aligned with those of your entire company.

For example, if one of your goals is to increase your number of identified qualified leads this quarter by 5% , make the goal specific by determining the type of prospects you’ll focus on and how you’ll identify them.

Then, decide how you’ll measure your success — perhaps by measuring the number of these prospects who then go on to talk with a sales rep to learn more about the product or service.

You determine this goal is attainable due to the fact you increased your number of qualified leads last quarter by 3%. 5% isn’t too much of a leap.

Your goal is relevant because you know it’ll help your business grow — it pushes you to make a greater impact on your team by contributing to the sales team’s ability to close more deals and boost revenue. Lastly, it’s timely because you’ve set this goal for the quarter.

importance of business development plan

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3. Conduct a SWOT analysis.

As mentioned above, part of any role in business development is to stay up-to-date on market and industry trends and understand your competition. This is where SWOT analysis comes in handy — SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats . The key to using SWOT analysis correctly is to have a clear goal in mind first.

For example, if your goal is to determine the best way to handle outreach with prospects , you can begin talking to your BDRs, sales reps, sales managers, and current customers about what works best for them.

Next, think about your strengths — what does your business do well? Maybe you have a large support team that provides helpful onboarding for new customers. Or you have several remote reps who can meet face-to-face with prospects in their desired location.

(You might have multiple strengths that make you stand out, so don’t be afraid to list them all and which ones have the greatest impact on your customers.)

Now, think about your weaknesses . Are your product’s limited offerings requiring some leads to consider your competition’s product in addition to yours? Is the need for your product growing faster than your production, or faster than you’re able to establish a large customer support team to assist your customers?

Onto your business opportunities . Think about where you’re going as a business and what you know you can accomplish. For example, maybe your business has recently partnered with another company that can help you boost brand awareness and attract a much broader base of leads and customers.

Lastly, who are your threats ? Think about your current competition — who’s producing a product or service like yours and is attracting a similar target audience? Who could become your competition in the future — is there a market gap that another company (new or established) could identify the need for and begin selling?

SWOT analysis allows you to identify the ways your company can create opportunities to grow and expand. It also helps how you establish new processes to address any weaknesses or threats such as identifying more qualified leads, efficiently converting prospects into customers, and shortening the sales cycle.

4. Determine how you’ll measure success.

Depending on the SMART goals you created and the SWOT analysis you performed, you’ll also need to decide how you’re going to measure your business development success.

Here are some examples of common business development KPIs that can help you analyze your efforts:

  • Company growth
  • Changes in revenue
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Leads generated per month/ quarter/ predetermined time
  • Prospect and customer satisfaction
  • Pipeline value

5. Set a budget.

Depending on the type of business development goals you set for the team, you may determine you need to set a budget. Consider your resources, the cost of any previous business development strategies you’ve developed, and other important operational line items (what you need, who’s involved, etc.).

Collaborate with the greater team to determine the amount you’re willing to, and need to, spend on business development to get the process started at your company.

6. Always keep your target audience in mind.

Whatever it is you’re working towards, keep your target audience and ideal prospects in mind. Assess their needs and understand exactly how your business and product or service will meet their pain points.

After all, this audience is the group who is most likely to buy your product. Make sure your plan addresses them and their needs so your team can convert more of them and grow your business.

7. Choose an outreach strategy.

As we’ve reviewed above, a major component of business development is finding new prospects and potential customers. To find new prospects, you’ll need to decide how you’ll perform outreach, or connect with these potential customers. Here are some ideas:

  • Use referrals
  • Upsell and cross-sell
  • Sponsorship and advertisement

Also, review any expectations or guardrails related to outreach reps are held to so your business has only professional and on-brand interactions with prospects.

Congrats! You’ve just completed your business development plan — with your strategy and ideas, your business will be growing in no time.

Business Development Resources

1. hubspot sales hub.

Business Development Resources Hubspot

Best for Businesses Interested in a Wide-Reaching, One-Stop Solution

HubSpot Sales Hub includes a suite of resources that enable more focused, effective business development. Features like email templates and email tracking lend themselves to well-targeted, productive prospecting.

Its conversational intelligence capabilities can provide invaluable insight into the "why" behind your BDRs' overall performance — letting you pinpoint the strengths and flaws in key business development elements like your messaging and pain point assessments.

Sales Hub is a dynamic solution that covers a lot of bases for your sales org — including several beyond business development. But that wide range of applications doesn't undermine its utility for BDRs and their managers. If you're looking for a solution that addresses almost every component of successful business development, consider investing in HubSpot Sales Hub.

2. Bloobirds


Best for Businesses Interested in Keeping BDRs and Top-of-Funnel Activities on Track

Bloobirds is a sales engagement and playbook platform that guides SDRs and closing reps to convert more prospects into customers. It partners with your existing CRM — sitting on top of it to make it more functional for the sales team.

It eliminates admin tasks, makes selling more intuitive, and makes sure reps follow best plays with the in-app playbook's help. Bloobirds helps sales teams flow through their pipeline — it also collects crucial data and creates competitive insights.

3. Leadfeeder

Business Development Resources leadfeeder

Best for Businesses Struggling to Generate High-Potential Leads

Leadfeeder is a powerful resource for enhancing a central element of any business development efforts — lead generation The platform helps you identify high-potential leads by automatically analyzing your website traffic.

The software removes ISP traffic to pin down visitors' companies and gauge interest. It also lets you create behavioral and demographic filters for better-informed, more productive lead segmentation.

Successful business development often leans, in large part, on your ability to generate high-quality leads — so if you're interested in effectively sourcing those contacts, you'll need to invest in some sort of lead generation software. Leadfeeder is as good a place as any to start.

importance of business development plan

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4. LinkedIn

Business Development Resources LinkedIn

Best for Businesses Looking for a Free Way to Source Leads

LinkedIn is one of the most prominent, practical, effective resources for certain key elements of the business development process — namely, prospecting. The value behind leveraging social media for top-of-funnel sales activities isn't exactly some well-kept secret.

Plenty of business development professionals already use channels like LinkedIn to source, screen, and connect with potential leads. Strides like scrolling through skill endorsements, using alumni searches, and engaging with users who have looked at your posts are all excellent ways to find interested prospects and enhance your business development efforts.

Business Development Helps You Grow Better

Business development is a crucial part of any successful company. It’s how you determine the best ways to boost revenue, identify your ideal prospects, generate more leads, and close more deals.

Think about how you can make a strong business development plan and ensure you have the right group of business development reps so you can begin growing your business today.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July, 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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What Is Business Development?

  • Understanding the Basics
  • Areas of Development
  • The Process
  • Creating a Plan
  • Skills Needed

The Bottom Line

  • Small Business
  • How to Start a Business

Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills

Why more and more companies worldwide are embracing this planning process

importance of business development plan

In the simplest terms, business development is a process aimed at growing a company and making it more successful. That can include seeking new business opportunities, building and sustaining connections with existing clients, entering strategic partnerships, and devising other plans to boost profits and market share.

Key Takeaways

  • The overarching goal of business development is to make a company more successful.
  • It can involve many objectives, such as sales growth, business expansion, the formation of strategic partnerships, and increased profitability.
  • The business development process can impact every department within a company, including sales, marketing, manufacturing, human resources, accounting, finance, product development, and vendor management.
  • Business development leaders and team members need a wide range of both soft and hard skills.

How Business Development Works Within an Organization

Business development, sometimes abbreviated as BD, strives to increase an organization's capabilities and reach in pursuit of its financial and other goals. In that way, it can impact—and also call upon the specialized skills of—a variety of departments throughout the organization.

As the financial services giant American Express puts it, "When it comes to organizational growth, business development acts as the thread that ties together all of a company's functions or departments, helping a business expand and improve its sales, revenues, product offerings, talent, customer service, and brand awareness."

For example:

Sales and Marketing

Sales personnel frequently focus on a particular market or a particular (set of) client(s), often for a targeted revenue number. A business development team might assess the Brazilian market, for example, and conclude that sales of $1.5 billion can be achieved there in three years. With that as their goal, the sales department targets the customer base in the new market with their sales strategies.

Business development often takes a longer-range perspective in setting goals than many sales departments have in the past. As the Society for Marketing Professional Services puts it, "A traditional view of sales is akin to hunting, but business development is more like farming: it's a longer-term investment of time and energy and not always a quick payoff."

Marketing , which oversees the promotion and advertising of the company's products and services, plays a complementary role to sales in achieving its targets.

A business development leader and their team can help set appropriate budgets based on the opportunities involved. Higher sales and marketing budgets allow for aggressive strategies like cold calling , personal visits, roadshows, and free sample distribution. Lower budgets tend to rely on more passive strategies, such as online, print, and social media ads, as well as billboard advertising.

Legal and Finance

To enter a new market, a business development team must decide whether it will be worth going solo by clearing all the required legal formalities or whether it might be more sensible to form a strategic alliance or partnership with firms already operating in that market. Assisted by legal and finance teams, the business development group weighs the pros and cons of the available options and selects the one that best serves the business.

Finance may also become involved in cost-cutting initiatives. Business development is not just about increasing market reach and sales, but improving the bottom line . An internal assessment revealing high spending on travel , for instance, may lead to travel policy changes, such as hosting video conference calls instead of on-site meetings or opting for less expensive transportation modes. The outsourcing of non-core work, such as billing, technology operations, or customer service, may also be part of the development plan.

Project Management/Business Planning

Does an international business expansion require a new facility in the new market, or will all the products be manufactured in the base country and then imported into the targeted market? Will the latter option require an additional facility in the base country? Such decisions are finalized by the business development team based on their cost- and time-related assessments. Then, the project management /implementation team can swing into action to work toward the desired goal.

Product Management and Manufacturing

Regulatory standards and market requirements can vary across regions and countries. A medicine of a certain composition may be allowed in India but not in the United Kingdom, for example. Does the new market require a customized—or altogether new—version of the product?

These requirements drive the work of product management and manufacturing departments, as determined by the business strategy. Cost considerations, legal approvals, and regulatory adherence are all assessed as a part of the development plan.

Vendor Management

Will the new business need external vendors ? For example, will the shipping of a product require a dedicated courier service? Will the company partner with an established retail chain for retail sales? What are the costs associated with these engagements? The business development team works through these questions with the appropriate internal departments.

10 Potential Areas for Business Development

As noted earlier, business development can require employees throughout an organization to work in tandem to facilitate information, strategically plan future actions, and make smart decisions. Here is a summary list of potential areas that business development may get involved in, depending on the organization.

  • Market research and analysis: This information helps identify new market opportunities and develop effective strategies.
  • Sales and lead generation: This involves prospecting, qualifying leads, and coordinating with the sales team to convert leads into customers.
  • Strategic partnerships and alliances: This includes forming strategic alliances, joint ventures, or collaborations that create mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Product development and innovation: This involves conducting market research, gathering customer feedback, and collaborating with internal teams to drive innovation.
  • Customer relationship management: This involves customer retention initiatives, loyalty programs, and gathering customer feedback to enhance customer satisfaction and drive repeat business.
  • Strategic planning and business modeling: This includes identifying growth opportunities, setting targets, and implementing strategies to achieve sustainable growth.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: This involves evaluating potential synergies, conducting due diligence , and negotiating and executing deals.
  • Brand management and marketing: This includes creating effective marketing campaigns, managing online and offline channels, and leveraging digital marketing techniques.
  • Financial analysis and funding: This includes exploring funding options, securing investments, or identifying grant opportunities.
  • Innovation and emerging technologies: This involves assessing the potential impact of disruptive technologies and integrating them into the organization's growth strategies.

The Business Development Process in Six Steps

While the specific steps in the business development process will depend on the particular company, its needs and capabilities, its leadership, and its available capital, these are some of the more common ones:

Step 1: Market Research/Analysis

Begin by conducting comprehensive market research to gain insights into market trends, customer needs, and the competitive landscape. Analyze data and gather additional information to identify potential growth opportunities and understand the market dynamics.

Step 2: Establish Clear Goals and Objectives

Leveraging that research, define specific objectives and goals for business development efforts. These goals could include revenue targets, market expansion goals, customer acquisition targets, and product/service development objectives. Setting clear goals provides a focus for the business development process.

Step 3: Generate and Qualify Leads

Use various sources, such as industry databases, networking , referrals, or online platforms to generate a pool of potential leads. Identify individuals or companies that fit the target market criteria and have the potential to become customers. Then, evaluate and qualify leads based on predetermined criteria to determine their suitability and potential value.

Step 4: Build Relationships and Present Solutions

Initiate contact with qualified leads and establish relationships through effective communication and engagement. Utilize networking events, industry conferences, personalized emails, or social media interactions to build trust and credibility. As your relationship forms, develop and present tailored solutions that align with the client's needs. Demonstrate the value proposition of the organization's offerings and highlight key benefits and competitive advantages.

Step 5: Negotiate and Expand

Prepare and deliver proposals that outline the scope of work, pricing, deliverables, and timelines. Upon agreement, coordinate with legal and other relevant internal teams to ensure a smooth contract execution process.

Step 6: Continuously Evaluate

Continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of business development efforts. Analyze performance metrics , gather feedback from clients and internal stakeholders, and identify areas for improvement. Regularly refine strategies and processes to adapt to market changes and optimize outcomes.

While it's common for startup companies to seek outside assistance in developing the business, as a company matures, it should aim to build its business development expertise internally.

How to Create a Business Development Plan

To effectively create and implement a business development plan, the team needs to set clear objectives and goals—ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). You can align these objectives with the overall business goals of the company.

Companies often analyze the current state of the organization by evaluating its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis . That can make it easier to identify target markets and customer segments and define their unique value proposition.

A substantial component of a business development plan is the external-facing stages. It should lay out sales and marketing strategies to generate leads and convert them into customers. In addition, it may explore new potential strategic partnerships and alliances to expand your reach, access new markets, or enhance your offerings.

Teams should conduct a financial analysis and do resource planning to determine the resources required for implementing the plan. Once you implement, you should track progress against the key performance indicators (KPIs) you've chosen.

Skills Needed for Business Development Jobs

Business development is a fast-growing field across industries worldwide. It is also one that calls upon a wide range of hard and soft skill sets.

Leaders and other team members benefit from well-honed sales and negotiating skills in order to interact with clients, comprehend their needs, and sway their decisions. They have to be able to establish rapport, cope with challenges, and conclude transactions. They need to be able to communicate clearly, verbally and in writing, to both customers and internal stakeholders.

Business development specialists should have a thorough awareness of the market in which they operate. They should keep up with market dynamics, competition activity, and other industry developments. They should be able to see potential opportunities, make wise judgments, and adjust tactics as necessary. Because many of their decisions will be data-driven, they need good analytical skills.

Internally, business development practitioners need to be able to clarify priorities, establish reasonable deadlines, manage resources wisely, and monitor progress to guarantee timely completion.

Finally, people who work in business development should conduct themselves with the utmost morality and honesty. They must uphold confidentiality, act legally and ethically, and build trust with customers and other stakeholders.

Why Is Business Development Important?

In addition to its benefits to individual companies, business development is important for generating jobs, developing key industries, and keeping the economy moving forward.

What Are the Most Important Skills for Business Development Executives?

Development executives need to have leadership skills, vision, drive, and a willingness to work with a variety of people to get to a common goal.

How Can I Be Successful in Business Development?

Having a vision and putting together a good team are among the factors that help predict success in business development. A successful developer also knows how to write a good business plan, which becomes the blueprint to build from.

What, in Brief, Should a Business Development Plan Include?

A business development plan, or business plan , should describe the organization's objectives and how it intends to achieve them, including financial goals, expected costs, and targeted milestones.

Business development provides a way for companies to rise above their day-to-day challenges and set a course for a successful future. More and more companies, across many different types of industries, are coming to recognize its value and importance.

American Express. " Business Development and Its Importance ."

Society for Marketing Professional Services. " What Is Business Development? "

World Economic Forum. " The Future of Jobs Report 2020 ," Page 30.

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What is Business Development? Main Concepts and Best Practices

What is Business Development

What is Business Development? How to, Best Practices, Main Concepts

What is business development introduction.

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of commerce, businesses strive not just for survival but for expansion and prosperity. At the heart of this pursuit lies a strategic process known as business development. This multifaceted approach empowers companies to identify new opportunities, foster valuable relationships, and carve a path towards sustainable growth. In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of business development, effective methodologies, best practices, and the tools that can elevate businesses to new heights.

What is Business Development?

Business development is a proactive and strategic process that aims to unlock a company’s growth potential and enhance its overall value. It involves a meticulous study of markets, customers, and industry trends to identify unexplored territories and lucrative prospects. Rather than focusing on day-to-day operations, business development centers on long-term vision and strategic planning, aligning the organization with its long-term goals.

How to Do Business Development

While business development may vary depending on the industry and company size, certain core principles can guide organizations towards success:

Market Research

Market research is the foundation of effective business development. It involves thorough data collection and analysis to gain insights into potential markets, consumer preferences, and industry trends. By understanding the needs and desires of target customers, businesses can identify gaps in the market and opportunities for growth.

In-depth market research includes competitor analysis to assess their strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. It also involves studying macroeconomic factors, technological advancements, and regulatory changes that could impact the business landscape. Armed with this knowledge, companies can make informed decisions on market entry, product development, and strategic partnerships.

Networking and Relationship Building

Building strong relationships is a crucial aspect of business development. Effective networking allows businesses to connect with potential clients, partners, and stakeholders who can contribute to their growth. Networking can take place through industry events, conferences, trade shows, and online platforms.

The key to successful relationship building is to approach interactions with a genuine interest in understanding the other party’s needs and objectives. By actively listening and offering value, businesses can establish trust and credibility, laying the foundation for potential collaborations or partnerships that benefit all parties involved.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

To achieve successful business development, alignment between the sales and marketing teams is paramount. Marketing teams should provide sales teams with insights from market research and customer data, helping them understand the target audience and positioning the products or services effectively.

In return, sales teams must communicate customer feedback and real-world observations back to marketing, allowing for adjustments in strategies. This synergy ensures that business development efforts are supported by well-coordinated sales and marketing campaigns, driving lead generation and conversion.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the roadmap that guides business development initiatives. It involves setting clear objectives, defining measurable goals, and charting the steps to achieve them. The process includes assessing the company’s current strengths and weaknesses, analyzing potential opportunities and threats, and formulating strategies to capitalize on the strengths and opportunities.

A well-crafted strategic plan outlines the specific actions required at each stage, allocates resources effectively, and sets timelines for achieving milestones. It also incorporates contingency plans to address unforeseen challenges, ensuring adaptability in a dynamic business environment.

Embracing Innovation

Innovation plays a pivotal role in business development, driving differentiation and competitive advantage. Encouraging a culture of innovation within the organization fosters creativity and empowers employees to explore novel ideas.

Businesses can engage in innovation by conducting research and development activities, exploring new technologies, and seeking feedback from customers and industry experts. They should be open to testing and iterating new concepts, products, or services, embracing the idea that failure can lead to valuable lessons and improvements.

Risk Management

Business development involves venturing into new territories, and with it comes inherent risks. Effective risk management is essential for safeguarding the company’s interests and resources.

To mitigate risks, businesses must conduct thorough risk assessments, identifying potential obstacles and challenges. They can then develop risk response plans to address these issues proactively. By being prepared for various scenarios, businesses can navigate uncertainties with greater confidence, ensuring that their growth trajectory remains on track.

Best Practices in Business Development

Implementing best practices can significantly enhance the effectiveness of business development efforts:

Customer-Centric Approach

Putting the customer at the center of business development efforts is essential for long-term success. This approach involves understanding the target audience’s needs, pain points, and preferences. Through customer surveys, feedback sessions, and data analysis, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and expectations.

Once armed with this information, companies can tailor their products, services, and marketing messages to address specific customer needs effectively. By focusing on providing value and solving customer problems, businesses can build strong brand loyalty, foster repeat business, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Continuous Learning

In the dynamic and rapidly evolving business landscape, staying updated with the latest industry trends, technological advancements, and customer preferences is crucial. Continuous learning involves monitoring industry publications, attending conferences, webinars, and networking events, and engaging with thought leaders.

Through continuous learning, businesses can anticipate market changes, spot emerging opportunities, and proactively adjust their strategies. Embracing a culture of learning within the organization encourages employees to stay curious, innovative, and adaptable, fostering a culture of growth and improvement.

Agility and Adaptability

Business development should not be rigid but agile, ready to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances. An agile approach allows businesses to respond quickly to market shifts, emerging trends, and competitive pressures.

Businesses can embrace agility by promoting open communication channels and flattening hierarchies, enabling faster decision-making. Regularly reviewing and reassessing strategies based on performance metrics and market feedback ensures that the business remains on track and can seize new opportunities swiftly.

Long-Term Relationship Building

Business development is not solely about short-term gains; it involves nurturing long-lasting relationships with clients, partners, and stakeholders. Beyond mere transactions, businesses should focus on building trust, reliability, and mutual benefit.

To achieve this, businesses should prioritize exceptional customer service, actively seek feedback, and address any concerns promptly. Demonstrating commitment to long-term partnerships encourages collaborative problem-solving, customer retention, and advocacy, all of which contribute to sustainable growth.

Measure and Analyze

Data-driven decision-making is essential for effective business development. Implementing key performance indicators ( KPIs ) and regularly analyzing relevant data provides valuable insights into the success of various initiatives.

Businesses can use analytics to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, sales conversions, customer acquisition costs, and overall revenue growth. This data enables them to identify successful strategies, replicate them, and fine-tune underperforming aspects, ensuring continuous improvement.

Business Development Tools and Methods

Crm (customer relationship management) software.

CRM software is a powerful tool that streamlines and enhances business development efforts. It enables businesses to centralize and manage customer data, interactions, and communication in one integrated platform. CRM systems track every touchpoint with prospects and customers, including emails, calls, meetings, and purchases.

Beyond basic contact management, modern CRM software provides advanced features like lead scoring, sales pipeline tracking, and automated workflows. These features help sales and business development teams prioritize leads, identify potential upselling or cross-selling opportunities, and deliver personalized experiences to customers.

Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Business intelligence tools provide businesses with a wealth of data-driven insights critical for effective business development. BI platforms collect and analyze data from various sources, transforming it into actionable information.

Through data visualization, dashboards, and interactive reports, BI tools help identify market trends, consumer behavior patterns, and emerging opportunities. Armed with this knowledge, businesses can make informed decisions, optimize their strategies, and stay ahead of the competition.

Social Media and Networking Platforms

Social media and networking platforms have become instrumental in modern business development. These platforms offer access to a vast pool of potential clients, partners, and industry influencers.

By engaging with their target audience through social media , businesses can build brand awareness, share valuable content, and foster a community around their products or services. Networking platforms like LinkedIn facilitate direct communication with key decision-makers, enabling businesses to form meaningful connections and explore collaboration opportunities.

Strategic Partnerships and Alliances

Collaborating with other organizations through strategic partnerships and alliances can significantly amplify business development efforts. By leveraging each other’s strengths, businesses can access new markets, share resources, and benefit from complementary expertise.

Strategic partnerships can take various forms, such as joint ventures, licensing agreements, or distribution partnerships. These collaborations open doors to new customer segments and enhance the company’s overall competitiveness in the market.

Main Tasks of Business Development Manager

The main tasks of a Business Development Manager (BDM) are diverse and encompass a range of responsibilities focused on driving growth and creating new business opportunities for the organization. Depending on the industry and the specific company’s needs, the tasks of a BDM may vary. However, some common main tasks of a Business Development Manager include:

  • Market research: Conducting comprehensive market research to identify potential business opportunities, analyzing industry trends, competitor activities, and customer needs. This research forms the foundation for strategic decision-making and market entry.
  • Lead generation and prospecting: Identifying and pursuing potential clients, customers, or partners through various channels, such as cold calling, email campaigns, networking events, and referrals. The BDM actively seeks out new business opportunities and creates a pipeline of potential clients.
  • Client relationship management: Building and maintaining strong relationships with existing clients, ensuring their satisfaction, addressing any concerns, and identifying opportunities for upselling or cross-selling additional products or services.
  • Sales and negotiation: Collaborating with the sales team to convert leads into clients or customers. The BDM may participate in sales meetings, presentations, and negotiations to secure new contracts and close deals.
  • Partnerships and alliances: Identifying potential strategic partnerships or alliances with other organizations that can mutually benefit both parties. The BDM works to build strong collaborative relationships to expand the company’s reach and capabilities.
  • Developing business strategies: Working with senior management to formulate long-term business strategies and action plans that align with the organization’s growth objectives.
  • Market expansion: Assessing the feasibility of entering new markets or expanding the company’s presence in existing markets. This involves analyzing market potential, regulatory requirements, and competition.
  • Innovation and product development: Collaborating with the product development team to identify new product or service opportunities, ensuring that the company stays competitive and relevant in the market.
  • Marketing and promotional activities: Developing and implementing marketing strategies and campaigns to promote the company’s products or services, enhance brand visibility, and attract potential customers.
  • Data analysis and reporting: Utilizing data analytics to measure the effectiveness of business development strategies, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), and preparing reports to assess progress and make data-driven decisions.
  • Budgeting and resource allocation: Managing budgets allocated for business development initiatives and ensuring optimal utilization of resources to maximize the return on investment.
  • Attending industry events: Participating in conferences, trade shows, and industry events to network, identify trends, and stay updated on industry developments.

Overall, the business development manager plays a pivotal role in driving the company’s growth agenda, fostering strategic relationships, and exploring new opportunities to expand the business. They act as a bridge between various departments within the organization, contributing to the overall success and long-term sustainability of the company.

What is Business Development? Summary

Business development is a pivotal process that empowers companies to unlock their growth potential, explore new markets, and foster valuable partnerships. Through market research, strategic planning, and customer-centricity, businesses can navigate the ever-changing landscape of commerce with confidence. By embracing best practices and leveraging effective tools, organizations can adapt, innovate, and thrive in an increasingly competitive world, ultimately paving the way for sustained success and prosperity.

  • A Game-Changing Business Development Strategy to Achieve Consistent Growth

Joe Pope

Your business development strategy can be key to the success or failure of your firm. In this post, we’ll explore how to create a strategy and associated plan that can propel an individual, a practice or an entire firm to new levels of growth and profitability.

Business Development Defined

Business development (BD) is the process that is used to identify, nurture and acquire new clients and business opportunities to drive growth and profitability. A business development strategy is a document that describes the strategy you will use to accomplish that goal.

The scope of business development can be wide ranging and vary a lot from organization to organization. Consider the model of how professional services organizations get new business shown in Figure 1.

business development funnel

Figure 1: The three stages of the business development funnel

The first two stages of the model, Attracting Prospects and Build Engagement, are traditional marketing functions. The final stage, Turning Opportunities into Clients, is a traditional sales function. In the traditional role, business development would be looking for new channels of distribution or marketing partners.

But roles are changing and naming conventions evolve. In today’s world many firms refer to the entire marketing and sales process as business development. I know, it can be confusing. So let’s sort it out a bit.

Business Development vs. Marketing

Marketing is the process of determining which products and services you will offer to which target audiences, at what price. It also addresses how you will position and promote your firm and it’s offerings in the competitive marketplace. The result of all this activity should be an increasing awareness of your firm among your target audience — and a stronger flow of qualified leads and opportunities.

Download the Business Development Guide

Historically, business development has been a subset of the marketing function that was focused on acquiring new marketing or distribution relationships and channels. While this role still exists in many companies, the business development title has become interchangeable with many marketing and sales functions.  

Business Development vs. Sales

Sales is the task of converting leads or opportunities into new clients. Business development is a broader term that encompasses many activities beyond the sales function. And while there is some overlap, most traditional BD roles are only lightly involved in closing new clients.  

Business development is often confused with sales. This is not too surprising because many people who are clearly in sales have taken to using the title of Business Developer . Presumably this is done because the organization believes that the BD designation avoids some possible stigma associated with sales.

Nowhere is this practice more prevalent than in professional services. Accountants, lawyers and strategy consultants do not want to be seen as “pushy sales people.” This titular bias is firmly rooted despite the fact that developing new business is an important role of most senior members of professional services firms.

Since so many clients want to meet and get to know the professionals they will be working with, the Seller-doer role is well established in many firms. The preference for Seller-doers also tends to discourage firms from fielding a full-time sales force.

As an alternative approach to leveraging fee-earners’ time, some firms have one or more Business Developers on staff. In the professional services context, these folks are often involved in lead generation and qualification, as well as supporting the Seller-doers in their efforts to close new clients. In other organizational contexts, this role might be thought of as a sales support role.

The result of this confusing picture is that many professional services firms call sales “business development” and make it part of every senior professional’s role. They may also include some marketing functions, such as lead generation and lead nurturing, into the professional’s BD responsibilities.

It is this expanded role, where business development encompasses the full range of lead generation, nurturing and sales tasks, which we will concentrate on in this post.

See also: Heller Consulting Case Story

Business Development Examples

To be clear on what this role entails, let’s consider this business development example:

Bethany is the Director of Business Development at a fictional mid-sized architecture firm. She is not an architect herself. Nor is she involved with any aspect of delivering the projects that the firm has signed. Instead, her role is exclusively focused on signing new business for her firm—with either new clients or existing ones. 

For new clients, Bethany spends much of her time responding to RFPs, communicating directly with inbound leads generated by the marketing/sales enablement team, and nurturing potential clients that she met at a recent industry conference. Bethany also collaborates with the marketing team in the development of new materials she needs to sell to new accounts.

When it comes to existing accounts, Bethany also has a role. She meets monthly with delivery teams to understand whether current client projects are on scope or if change orders are needed. Moreover, she maintains a relationship with key stakeholders of her firm’s clients. If another opportunity for more work opens, she knows that her relationship with the client is an important component to that potential deal.

In this example, Bethany is the primary driver of business development but that does not mean she is doing this alone. Imagine she has a colleague Greg who is a lead architect at the firm. While Greg’s first focus is delivering for his clients, business development—and even marketing—should still be a part of his professional life. Perhaps Greg attends an industry conference with Bethany, he as a speaker and expert and her as the primary networker. The business development dynamic should not end with Bethany and should permeate the whole organization.

In this business development example, you can see that the range of roles and responsibilities is wide. This is why it is essential for business development to not be ad hoc, but done strategically. Let’s talk about that now.

Strategic Business Development

Not all business development is of equal impact. In fact a lot of the activities of many professionals are very opportunistic and tactical in nature.This is especially true with many seller-doers. 

Caught between the pressures of client work and an urgent need for new business they cast about for something quick and easy that will produce short term results. Of course this is no real strategy at all.

Strategic business development is the alignment of business development processes and procedures with your firm’s strategic business goals. The role of strategic business development is to acquire ideal clients for your highest priority services using brand promises that you can deliver upon.

 Deciding which targets to pursue and strategies to employ to develop new business is actually a high stakes decision. A good strategy, well implemented, can drive high levels of growth and profitability. A faulty strategy can stymie growth and frustrate valuable talent.

Yet many firms falter at this critical step. They rely on habit, anecdotes and fads — or worse still, “this is how we have always done it.” In a later section we’ll cover how to develop your strategic business development plan. But first we’ll cover some of the strategies that may go into that plan.

Top Business Development Strategies

Let’s look at some of the most common business development strategies and how they stack up with today’s buyers .

Networking is probably the most universally used business development strategy. It’s built on the theory that professional services buying decisions are rooted in relationships, and the best way to develop new relationships is through face-to-face networking.

It certainly is true that many relationships do develop in that way. And if you are networking with your target audience, you can develop new business. But there are limitations. Today’s buyers are very time pressured, and networking is time consuming. It can be very expensive, if you consider travel and time away from the office.

Newer digital networking techniques can help on the cost and time front. But even social media requires an investment of time and attention.

The close relative of networking, referrals are often seen as the mechanism that turns networking and client satisfaction into new business. You establish a relationship, and that person refers new business to you. Satisfied clients do the same.

Clearly, referrals do happen, and many firms get most or all of their business from them. But referrals are passive. They rely on your clients and contacts to identify good prospects for your services and make a referral at the right time.

The problem is referral sources often do not know the full range of how you can help a client. So many referrals are poorly matched to your capabilities. Other well-matched referrals go unmade because your referral source fails to recognize a great prospect when they see one. Finally, many prospects that might be good clients rule out your firm before even talking with you. One recent study puts the number at over 50%.

Importantly, there are new digital strategies that can accelerate referrals. Making your specific expertise more visible is the key. This allows people to make better referrals and increases your referral base beyond clients and a few business contacts.

Learn More: Referral Marketing Course

Sponsorships and Advertising

Can you develop new business directly by sponsoring events and advertising? It would solve a lot of problems if it works. No more trying to get time from fully utilized billable professionals.

Unfortunately, the results on this front are not very encouraging. Studies have shown that traditional advertising is actually associated with slower growth. Only when advertising is combined with other techniques, such as speaking at an event, do these techniques bear fruit.

The most promising advertising strategy seems to be well-targeted digital advertising. This allows firms to get their messages and offers in front of the right people at a lower cost.

Outbound Telephone and Mail

Professional services firms have been using phone calls and mail to directly target potential clients for decades. Target the right firms and roles with a relevant message and you would expect to find new opportunities that can be developed into clients.

There are a couple of key challenges with these strategies. First they are relatively expensive, so they need to be just right to be effective. Second, if you don’t catch the prospect at the right time, your offer may have no appeal relevance — and consequently, no impact on business development.

The key is to have a very appealing offer delivered to a very qualified and responsive list. It’s not easy to get this combination right.

Thought Leadership and Content Marketing

Here, the strategy is to make your expertise visible to potential buyers and referral sources. This is accomplished through writing, speaking or publishing content that demonstrates your expertise and how it can be applied to solve client problems.

Books, articles and speaking engagements have long been staples of professional services business development strategy. Many high visibility experts have built their practices and firms upon this strategy. It often takes a good part of a career to execute this approach.

But changing times and technology have reshaped this strategy. With the onset of digital communication it is now easier and much faster to establish your expertise with a target market. Search engines have leveled the playing field so that relatively unknown individuals and firms can become known even outside their physical region. Webinars have democratized public speaking, and blogs and websites give every firm a 24/7 presence. Add in video and social media and the budding expert can access a vastly expanded marketplace.

But these developments also open firms to much greater competition as well. You may find yourself competing with specialists whom you were never aware of. The impact is to raise the stakes on your business development strategy.

Combined Strategies

It is common to combine different business development strategies. For example, networking and referrals are frequently used together. And on one level, a combined strategy makes perfect sense. The strength of one strategy can shore up the weakness of another.

But there is a hidden danger. For a strategy to perform at its peak, it must be fully implemented. There is a danger that by attempting to execute too many different strategies you will never completely implement any of them.

Good intentions, no matter how ambitious, are of little real business development value. Under-investment, lack of follow through and inconsistent effort are the bane of effective business development.

It is far more effective to fully implement a simple strategy than to dabble in a complex one. Fewer elements, competently implemented, produce better results.

Next, we turn our attention to the tactics used to implement a high-level strategy. But first there is a bit of confusion to clear up.

Business Development Strategy Vs. Tactics

The line between strategy and tactics is not always clear. For example, you can think of networking as an overall business development strategy or as a tactic to enhance the impact of a thought leadership strategy. Confusing to be sure.

From our perspective, the distinction is around focus and intent. If networking is your business development strategy all your focus should be on making the networking more effective and efficient. You will select tactics that are aimed at making networking more powerful or easier. You may try out another marketing technique and drop it if it does not help you implement your networking strategy.

On the other hand, if networking is simply one of many tactics, your decision to use it will depend on whether it supports your larger strategy. Tactics and techniques can be tested and easily changed. Strategy, on the other hand, is a considered choice and does not change from day to day or week to week.

10 Most Effective Business Development Tactics

Which business development tactics are most effective? To find out, we recently conducted a study that looked at over 1000 professional services firms. The research identified those firms that were growing at greater than a 20% compound annual growth rate over a three-year period.

These High Growth firms were compared to firms in the same industry that did not grow over the same time period. We then examined which business development tactics were employed by each group and which provided the most impact.

The result is a list of the ten most impactful tactics employed by the High Growth firms:

  • Outbound sales calls from internal teams
  • Providing assessments and/or consultations
  • Speaking at targeted conferences or events
  • Live product/service demonstrations
  • Presenting in educational webinars
  • Pursuing industry award opportunities
  • Business development materials
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Conducting and publishing original research
  • Networking at targeted conferences or events

There are a couple of key observations about these growth tactics. First, these techniques can be employed in service of different business development strategies. For example number three on the list, speaking at targeted conferences or events, can easily support a networking or a thought leadership strategy.

The other observation is that the top tactics include a mix of both digital and traditional techniques. As we will see when we develop your plan, having a healthy mix of digital and traditional techniques tends to increase the impact of your strategy.

Business Development Skills

Now that we have identified the key business development strategies and tactics, it is time to consider the business development skills your team will need. Business development skills require a broad range of technical skills but there are some that make a difference.

When the Hinge Research Institute studied marketing and business development skills in our annual High Growth Study , we found that the firms who grow faster have a skill advantage within their marketing and business development teams.

importance of business development plan

Let’s dive into the top three skills from this list. 

The number one business development skill high growth firms enjoy are strong project management skills. And for experienced business development specialists, this makes good sense. Staying organized, accurately tracking business development activity, and managing accounts are essential for building and maintaining strong business relationships. Activities like the proposal development see business development team resources manage and produce a strong proposal quickly, including the right stakeholders, and without sacrificing quality.

The next most important skill is simplifying complex concepts. In business development conversations, it is vital that team members are strong communicators of your firm’s service offerings and capabilities. Those who are able to take a comlex scope of work and communicate it in a way that a potential buyer can understand. Speaking in industry jargon or overly complicated charts is a fast way to see a business lead become unresponsive. Therefore, it is no surprise to see that the fastest growing professional services firms have an advantage in communicating complex information in a way that buyers understand.

The third most important business development skill is face-to-face networking. Despite the hiatus of many in-person events, high growth firms still reported that strong networking skills are a top skill enjoyed by their firms. Strong face-to-face networking skills are as much of an art as it is a science. While some can be more charismatic than others, everyone can prepare their teams with the resources and plan they need to succeed in a networking environment.

Review the other business development and marketing skills in the figure above and determine which skills your team should aim to develop. Strategy development for planning your business development plan, research for understanding the competitive landscape and industry trends, and social media prowess all play an important role in business development, too. Developing these skills should be a key priority of your business development team.

How to Create Your Strategic Business Development Plan

A Business Development Plan is a document that outlines how you implement your business development strategy. It can be a plan for an individual, a practice or the firm as a whole. Its scope covers both the marketing and sales functions, as they are so intertwined in most professional services firms.

Here are the key steps to develop and document your plan.

Define your target audience

Who are you trying to attract as new clients? Focus on your “best-fit” clients, not all possible prospects. It is most effective to focus on a narrow target audience. But don’t go so narrow that you can’t achieve your business goals.

Research their issues, buying behavior and your competitors

The more you know about your target audience the better equipped you will be to attract their attention and communicate how you can help them. What are their key business issues? Is your expertise relevant to those issues? Where do they look for advice and inspiration? What is the competitive environment like? How do you stack up?

Identify your competitive advantage

What makes you different? Why is that better for your target client? Are you the most cost-effective alternative, or the industry’s leading expert? This “positioning” as it is often called, needs to be true, provable and relevant to the prospect at the time they are choosing which firm to work with. Be sure to document this positioning, as you will use it over and over again as you develop your messages and marketing tools.

Choose your overall business development strategy

Pick the broad strategy or strategies to reach, engage and convert your prospects. You can start with the list of top strategies provided above. Which strategy fits with the needs and preferences of your target audiences? Which ones best convey your competitive advantage? For example, if you are competing because you have superior industry expertise, a thought leadership/content marketing strategy will likely serve you well.

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Choose your business development tactics

A great place to start is the list of the most effective tactics we provided above. Make sure that each technique you select fits your target audience and strategy. Remember, it’s not about your personal preferences or familiarity with a tactic. It’s about what works with the audience.

Also, you will need to balance your choices in two important ways: First, you will need tactics that address each stage of the business development pipeline shown in Figure 1. Some techniques work great for gaining visibility but do not address longer-term nurturing. You need to cover the full funnel.

Second, you need a good balance between digital and traditional techniques (Figure 2). Your research should inform this choice. Be careful about assumptions. Just because you don’t use social media doesn’t mean that a portion of your prospects don’t use it to check you out.

Online and Traditional Marketing

Figure 2. Online and offline marketing techniques

When, how often, which conferences, what topics? Now is the time to settle on the details that turn a broad strategy into a specific plan. Many plans include a content or marketing calendar that lays out the specifics, week by week. If that is too much detail for you, at least document what you will be doing and how often. You will need these details to monitor the implementation of your plan.

Specify how you will monitor implementation and impact

Often overlooked, these important considerations often spell the difference between success and failure. Unimplemented strategies don’t work. Keep track of what you do, and when. This will both motivate action and provide a great starting place as you troubleshoot your strategy. Also monitor and record the impacts you see. The most obvious affect will be how much new business you closed. But you should also monitor new leads or new contacts, at the bare minimum. Finally, don’t neglect important process outcomes such as referrals, new names added to your list and downloads of content that expose prospects and referral sources to your expertise.

If you follow these steps you will end up with a documented business development strategy and a concrete plan to implement and optimize it.

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importance of business development plan

Every business faces the challenge of crafting an effective business development strategy . But what exactly is strategic business development? In simple terms, it’s a vital tool that ensures long-term success by aligning everyone in your organization towards a common objective.

A well-defined strategy outlines what your organization aims to achieve and the necessary steps to get there. It provides a clear roadmap, guiding your transition from broad directions to specific initiatives and ongoing operations. A strategic business development plan plays a crucial role in driving growth and ensuring sustainable success.

Now, let’s explore the strategic plan further, understand its significance, and dive into the art of crafting a winning business development plan.

Strategic Business Development Plan – What Is It?

A business development strategy is crucial for achieving organizational objectives and driving growth. It involves finding and implementing effective business growth strategies. With a well-defined growth strategy, teams can better understand their goals and contribute to organizational objectives. Business development focuses on attracting and retaining new customers to enhance revenue and expand your organization. By developing a clear plan, your business can plan to achieve these goals.

According to a poll conducted by Bridges Business Consultancy, a staggering 48% of organizations and 85% of businesses fail to achieve even half of their strategic goals. This highlights the importance of creating a strategic business development plan. 

Importance of Strategic Business Development Plan

A well-crafted strategic business development plan is the key to unlock long-term success and growth for your organization. By defining clear goals and actionable plans, businesses can thrive and achieve greatness. But why exactly is a strategic business development plan crucial? Let’s dive into a few compelling reasons.

Improves transparency

Transparency has become recognized as a critical business trait for both customers and employees. By cultivating transparency, you can enhance your company’s success and reputation. From strengthening your sales team to improving employee retention, transparency has the power to make a significant impact. Implementing a strategic growth strategy ensures that everyone in your organization is aware of the goals and their role in achieving them, thus promoting transparency.

Increases sales

At the heart of business development lies growth. Increasing sales is the ultimate goal, and businesses need a plan to make it happen. A strategic business development plan allows you to identify markets and products with high-profit potential, enabling you to prioritize partnerships and make informed decisions. It also helps you reduce expenses, uncover untapped growth opportunities, and allocate resources efficiently. With a solid business development strategy , your bottom line will thrive.

In today’s competitive landscape, businesses must actively seek growth opportunities. A thoughtfully designed business development strategy enables you to expand your clientele, explore new markets, and offer innovative products or services. By identifying your differentiators and value propositions, you’ll set your organization apart from competitors and take a lead in the market.

Also Read: How To Improve Employee Productivity In 2024?

How to create a strategic business development plan.

Effective strategic management involves identifying an organization’s strengths and acknowledging its weaknesses. It goes beyond mere recognition and outlines a robust business strategy that maximizes the benefits and mitigates the drawbacks. A comprehensive corporate development plan comprises various components, each strategically aligned with distinct goals and objectives. Now, let’s delve into a detailed possess to create a business plan:

Define your purpose

A strategic plan serves as the overarching mission or vision statement for a company. When embarking on the creation of a corporate plan, it proves advantageous to initiate the process by clearly defining the goal of your organization . This entails a meticulous identification of the needs, preferences, and pain points of your ideal customers. By gaining a profound understanding of these factors, your plan can be more effectively tailored to cater to their specific requirements. Initiating the strategic planning process with a well-defined purpose sets the foundation for your company to deliver enhanced value over time.

Perform market research

After identifying your target market, it’s time to delve into comprehending their needs. To effectively persuade them to collaborate with you, you need to address the following inquiries:

  • What are the major challenges they currently face?
  • What specific services pique their interest?
  • How do they approach problem-solving at present?
  • How can your products or services uplift their current situation?

Once you have solid answers to these questions, it’s crucial to thoroughly research your competitors. Identify what makes you stand out from the crowd and emphasize this unique value proposition to potential clients, leveraging it as your competitive advantage.

Consider SWOT analysis

To gain a profound understanding of your company’s current standing, conducting a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a paramount strategy. Each element of the SWOT matrix plays a crucial role in shaping and executing an organization’s strategy. Some factors fall under internal control, while others are significantly influenced by external forces. A SWOT analysis provides a comprehensive view of your business from various perspectives. It not only sheds light on internal aspects for improvement and areas of success but also necessitates an evaluation of the external environment. This evaluation helps identify potential threats and business opportunities that can be either mitigated or seized in the future.”

Provide value to stakeholders

Investing in lasting connections with your clients is a worthwhile expense. Repeat customers not only contribute significantly to your business’s revenue but also come at a lower conversion cost. Moreover, returning customers are more open to your sales pitches, providing valuable insights for your company’s growth. However, remember that your suppliers deserve value too – it’s crucial to prioritize delivering value to them alongside your customers. And let’s not forget about the importance of prioritizing employee satisfaction in your business plan. By doing so, you’ll not only enhance employee morale but also improve customer satisfaction in the process.

Identify ways to monitor progress

Effectively monitoring the progress of your business development strategy is crucial for achieving your goals. One key approach is the utilization of key performance indicators (KPIs) tailored to your strategic objectives. Regularly tracking these KPIs provides real-time insights into the performance of various initiatives, allowing for timely adjustments and improvements. Data analytics tools play a vital role in quantifying metrics such as customer acquisition costs, conversion rates, and website traffic. Additionally, seeking feedback from customers, conducting market research, and implementing surveys can offer qualitative insights that complement quantitative data. 

Make use of technology

Embrace tools and platforms designed to enhance the efficiency of your business development activities. Utilize advanced solutions to manage leads, keep track of interactions, and engage with prospects seamlessly. Leverage social networking sites, implement marketing automation software, and integrate CRM systems to streamline your processes. Maintain flexibility and readiness to adapt to evolving consumer demands and market conditions. Regularly assess and enhance your business development approach to stay ahead and remain competitive in a dynamic business landscape.

Monitor and alter your approach

Regularly monitoring the effectiveness of your business development strategy enables you to make necessary adjustments based on valuable information and insights. Keep a close eye on the progress of your objectives and assess the efficiency of your strategy using key performance indicators (KPIs). Stay proactive by consistently evaluating market developments, gathering customer input, and monitoring competitor activities. 

A comprehensive understanding of your target market, specific objectives, and a clearly articulated value proposition are essential for crafting a successful business growth strategy.

Also Read: Modern Performance Appraisal Types that Create a Winning Culture

Summing it up.

Every successful business has its own unique qualities. That’s why it is crucial to tailor these tactics to align with your specific goals, industry, and target audience. Continuously evaluate your business development efforts and make the necessary adjustments to foster growth and triumph. 

With a well-structured strategic management approach, you can not only enjoy this process but also proudly propel your company forward. Remember, implementing a company plan requires dedication, but it is just the beginning of an exciting journey. By embracing the right planning and utilizing the appropriate resources, your organization stands a fair chance of achieving remarkable success. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. what is the primary purpose of a strategic business development plan.

A strategic business development plan serves as a roadmap for guiding your company’s growth and success. It outlines goals, identifies opportunities, and sets a clear path for achieving sustainable development. By aligning your business activities with a well-thought-out plan, you can enhance decision-making and improve overall efficiency.

2. How often should I update my strategic business development plan?

Regular updates are crucial for keeping your strategic business development plan relevant and effective. Aim to review and, if necessary, revise the plan at least annually. However, more frequent assessments may be required if there are significant changes in your industry, market conditions, or internal factors. Flexibility and adaptability are key in ensuring your plan remains a dynamic tool for success.

3. What are the key components of a successful strategic business development plan?

A comprehensive strategic business development plan typically includes key components such as a clear mission statement, a thorough analysis of the current business environment, defined short-term and long-term goals, identification of target markets, competitive analysis, and a detailed implementation strategy. It should also outline how progress will be measured and what mechanisms are in place for regular evaluation and adjustments.

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Chandler Barr is the VP of Sales at Engagedly and is focused on driving a culture of progress over perfection in a no-fault environment where employees are secure and encouraged to think creatively to solve problems. Chandler is a seasoned leader that has scaled sales teams for SaaS startups and multibillion-dollar publicly traded tech companies, as well as, led Marines to accomplish the mission during hardships overseas.

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Business development plan: A step-by-step approach

Lucia Piseddu

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A good business development plan can set you up for success. Learn how to create your own from scratch with zero experience!

If you’re just starting with business development , chances are that you’re a little confused about how you should do it. I got lost many times during my entrepreneurial journey. One of those moments was when I had to write a business development plan for the first time.

Now, the main problem was that I didn’t have a clue about what a business development plan was to start with. And of course, when I started digging, I got even more confused. I found a lot of information online, but nothing that would tell me how to do it step-by-step.

So after some years of trying and failing, I finally found my way to deal with it and build my own business development plan.

Below I’ll explain how to write a business development plan and what information you should include in practical terms. But first, let’s define what a business development plan is.

What is a business development plan?

A business development plan is a document that helps you implement your business development strategy in a step-by-step method. It involves a lot of research on the market and customers. But also, other aspects such as your competitors and buyer persona.

So, a business development plan is a detailed summary of important steps you’re going to take to grow your business. One key aspect to remember is that a business development plan is a LIVING document. This means that you have to update your plan continuously based on new information about your ecosystem.

This helps you strategize better but also ensures that it’s a document of quality insights.

A business development plan is divided into two main parts:

  • Research: in the research phase, you learn more about your market, customers, and competitors.
  • Action: you use your research and put it into action. Specifically, this translates into creating a value proposition, and content, and experimenting with ideas.

You can download our template for free at this link .

the business development school - the business development plan template

Step 1: Organize your business development plan

I’m a fan of organizing information in a structured, intuitive, and efficient way. Although it may sound basic, the first thing you should think about is to have a proper file you can consult on a daily basis.

It doesn’t have to contain every piece of information. Keep it simple by including only essential and key facts that will help you build an effective business development machine. Your business development plan needs to be easily accessible and quick to consult.

In this sense, you don’t need to get fancy and start looking for the latest software that promises you great time savings. Stick to something basic yet powerful. Google Sheets is your best ally when it comes to your business development plan.

So, the main goal of a business development plan is to keep information structured so that you can spot growth opportunities easier.

You can download our template for free at this link and start your business development plan.

Step 2: Market research

Market research is a stepping stone in a business development plan. It’s an activity to gather more information about customers’ preferences and needs. Many companies overlook this step thinking that their intuition will guide them through their challenges. Intuition can be helpful, but it’s still essential to know your customers better using research and data.

After all, most ideas start off from intuition. However, basing an entire plan on assumptions is never a smart strategy to use in business development. So, do your homework and make sure you always take educated guesses before starting to work on your business development plan.

Market research takes into account 3 variables . These will tell you the realistic size of the market you’re trying to target.

1 – Total Addressable Market or Total Available Market (TAM)

The TAM takes into account the entire market you’re operating in and basically tells you how much annual revenue there is available for your product or service.

Now, finding this information can be the first bummer. To me at least, it sounded quite impossible to find out. Later, I figured that there are many people out there that dedicate their life only to market research.

You can use Google to find out this information. But of course, you first need to know what you’re looking for. The information you need, in this case, is basically knowing how many companies or people would benefit from your product or service.

You also want to know how many companies operate in your exact space both in terms of services and geography. To get relevant market news, try Googling “your industry market trends”, “your market report”, or “your industry report”.

Many big consultancy groups and governmental institutions dedicate a lot of time to this type of research. It’s a good and reliable starting point.

PRO TIP: Choose your sources very carefully. You’ll find a lot of random information, learn to filter out what you’re reading.

2 – Total Served Market (TSM)

Once you know how big your market is, you need to check how much of it is already served by your competitors.

In this case, the information you’re looking for is all about your competition. You should ask yourself first how many of them you have.

Then you need to find out how well they’re doing and start hunting for as much intelligence as possible.

The info you need to look for is how many clients your competitors claim to have, what revenue they generate, and where they are present.

First, Google keywords to identify your competitors. Right after that, you can start digging deeper into their websites and find detailed info.

Bigger competitors will most likely have good press coverage. Read these articles to gather more insight.

Last, don’t overlook the importance of customer review websites. Customers can uncover many relevant details that your competitors don’t want to reveal. And of course, make use of technology to make the most out of your research.

3 – Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM)

The last step in your market research is to quantify how much you can realistically obtain with your business development effort.

Your SOM is your share in the market. So, to put it simply, it’s not possible to have an entire market buy only your products and services. There is a specific customer base that will buy from your company . So, your SOM refers to your market share and the people that can become your customers if they see a benefit from your products or services.

SOM takes into account your brand awareness, market insights, but also competition. It helps you forecast potential earnings and also gain customers. Based on the research, you become aware of what your competitors are offering to the market. Moreover, you will be able to tailor your products and services to meet the needs and preferences of your customers.

the business development school - business development plan market research

Step 3: Competitor analysis

The third step to do when creating your business development plan is to do a competitor analysis . So far, I discussed market research and how it helps you get to know the preferences of your target audience better. But, to grow your business sustainably and profitably, it’s vital that you analyze your competitors as well.

First, figure out who your direct and indirect competitors are. So, in a Google search, we try to identify or find the ID of each company that competes in your market. This can be found in the website’s ‘About us’ section. Then, the aim is to find key personalities such as managers and executives, and so on.

Once you have this information, you can move on to products and services. You can find this on your competitor’s website as well. This specific section defines what the company specializes in. You can use this information to compare your products to those of your competitors and try to find ways to improve them.

Continue by checking their clients, and the pricing they offer for their products and services.

PRO TIP: Read the customer reviews of your competitors to spot their strengths and weaknesses. Use the insights to improve your offer.

the business development school - business development plan competitor research

Step 4: Customer research

After identifying your market share, you can start thinking of what kind of customers within this segment, you are trying to sell your products and services to.

The best way to tackle this is by running proper customer research that will provide you with your Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona.

This is the part I like the most because it really helps you understand who you’re talking to. But how do you do it? First, if you already have some customers, start analyzing them. You want to gather more information on who they are, what they do, and their habitual traits.

For example:

  • What job titles do these people have?
  • How old are they?
  • What communication tools do they use?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What are their personalities like?
  • What are their challenges?
  • What do they do in their daily lives?

You can find all this info by simply checking social media profiles. Really, just by observing their social media platforms, you can get to know them in-depth! Take some time to check a few ones (at least 10) and you’re going to start seeing patterns.

Then, check some job descriptions about the people you’re targeting. This will highlight what are their professional responsibilities and how your product or service can help them. Last, it’s always advisable to run a survey.

Step 5: Build your Buyer Persona

Right after having run your customer research, you can now create your buyer persona.

The buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers based on data and research,

In your buyer persona, you need to include all the relevant information you found through your customer research. It should look like something below:

the business development school - buyer persona template

Step 6: Value Propositions

The customer research concludes the research part of your business development plan. Now it’s time to put your insights into action and start building your business development strategy .

The first valuable asset you need to build is a value proposition.

A value proposition is the value your customers get should they choose to buy your products and services

The value proposition helps you communicate your value as a company and you can use it on your website, sales calls, social media posts, etc. Having a clear value proposition will help you attract the right audience and persuade potential customers to work with you.

Of course, a good value proposition is based on that, and if you followed all the steps, you should have all the insights you need.

To build a value proposition we will use the Job-To-Be-Done framework. This helps you identify what are the responsibilities of your buyer persona when they’re doing their job.

For example, a typical responsibility for a recruiter is to find the right talent .

the business development school - job-to-be-done framework

Second, consider the pains and gains of your customers. Customers’ emotions are usually the reason behind their buying decisions. They influence their preferences, frequency of buying, and also which companies they buy from.

Especially the challenges are a crucial element in your value proposition because you can immediately link your solution to a concrete pain that your customers are facing.

For example, let’s go back to the example of the recruiter. We know that one main responsibility of a recruiter is to find talent. One major challenge for recruiters is to have enough time to process all the CVs they receive daily.

Now, let’s assume you work for a company that provides recruitment software that can automate CV screening.

A good value proposition, in this case, would sound like this:

Save 70% of your CV screening time using our recruitment software

the business development school - value proposition design template

Step 7: Content plan

Once you have your value proposition, the next step is to share it with your target audience. That’s when having a content plan becomes a must.

A content plan helps you strategize the type of information you want to feed your audience. It also helps you select the channels on which you should build your presence.

For content to be effective, you need to have a clear idea of your target audience when you write posts/emails, or articles. So, always consult your buyer persona before creating content.

Just like the value propositions, effective content revolves around the pain point you identified earlier. Use them to get the attention of your audience and provide valuable information that helps them alleviate these pains.

This will help you establish yourself as a valuable resource and when they will want to solve their issues, you’ll be the first to pop into their minds.

Step 8: Experiments

The last step in your business development plan is all about creativity and finding opportunities. This is the moment in which we create experiments to validate some of our business assumptions. Your experiment should be ideas that you think will bring sustainable growth to your company.

Once you identify some ideas, define some goals and set up the methodology you will follow to run this experiment. For example, if you heard of a new social media and you think your audience might be on it, build an experiment to validate if this is true and if it can bring you results.

Attach a goal to this idea, for example, generating 10 qualified leads on this new channel.

Then decide for how long you will run the experiment – ideally a couple of weeks. Once the experiment is over analyze what happened. If the experiment was successful, you need to scale this activity. If not, take the learnings for further improvements.

The business development plan is a key document that helps you map your ecosystem and strategize your business development efforts .

It consists of a research part and an action part. In the first part, you analyze your market, competitors, and customers. In the second, you use your insights to build value propositions, content plans, and experiments.

The business development plan is a live document, so you have to update it every time you have new insights. Of course, you have to use it in your daily operations to make sure you’re on the right track.

The business development plan is one of the assets you will build during our training. Would you like to shake up your business development career and work in a more structured way? Then join our next cohort .

Last, if you are a company wanting to train your business development team, our custom training solutions are the best way to take your team to the next level.

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9 steps for writing a strategic business development plan Add Add

9 steps for writing a strategic business development plan.

Updated 04 October 2023 • 7 min read

Developing a business plan can mark the start of an exciting phase, as you start charting future growth. This document serves as the roadmap for your business development strategy as you take your business to new heights.

Creating an effective business development plan can be a tough task. It requires you to think through several aspects of your business that you may not consider on a day-to-day basis.

Don’t worry — we’re here to help. This article will walk you through how to write a business development plan, so you can grow your business in the most effective way possible. 

What is a business development plan?

A business development plan is the growth roadmap for your business. It’s a strategy document that lays out where you want to take your business and how you intend to get there. 

A thorough and carefully crafted business development plan lays out your growth targets, financial projections and the tools and resources your company needs. It may also define your marketing and efforts that support your goals.

A business development plan provides clarity and helps you keep your objectives in focus during the day-to-day grind. It also provides a strong foundation for making business decisions — if you’re not sure whether a move makes sense, you can always consult your plan.

Why do you need a business development plan?

Creating a proper business development strategy can be a lot of work. But it pays dividends by providing clarity and focus. It also helps when trying to secure funding, as it shows you've thought through all the possibilities. 

A business development plan helps you:

Get clarity

A strong business development plan helps you get clear about priorities during the hectic launch phase of your business. It helps you define your goals and objectives, as well as chart out how you’ll reach them. 

Stay focused

As you dive into the day-to-day running of your business, it can be easy to get bogged down in details and lose sight of your larger goals. Your business plan provides an anchor that keeps you in place. And if you’re already in business, it can help you take a step back and refocus on the fundamentals.

Secure funding

A detailed business plan is one of the most effective ways to show investors that you can be trusted. This is especially important when you’re just starting out and have no track record of performance. Your business plan shows that you’ve thought about how your business will fare in the long run, not just in the short term.

Achieve growth

A proper business development plan should include a roadmap. This is your high-level strategy document that serves as the map to your company’s growth. It lays out how you’ll measure success, provides targets to aim for and defines your plans for hitting them.

How to write a business development plan

If you’re convinced that you need to write your own business development plan (or update the one you have), you might be wondering where to start. Let’s walk through the process. 

1. Set clear financial goals

Your business development strategy should include clear financial goals. For example, every business wants to increase sales; however, that’s not a specific goal. Instead, set a target for your sales figures within a certain timeframe, and keep it realistic by using your current numbers as a baseline.

To do this, project your revenue, profit and expenses if business were to stay the same. Then consider what a realistic target might be and include that. This number may be lower than you'd expect, but it’s more important that it’s actually achievable.

2. Refine customer profiles

Detailed customer and audience profiles help your business effectively target its marketing efforts. Your business might already have customer profiles — updating your business plan is a perfect time to update these profiles, as well. And if you don’t have profiles yet, there’s no time like the present.

You can start refining your customer profiles by examining your current customer base. Look at their demographics and habits. Then use a similar strategy to create profiles of your ideal customers.

3. Identify key growth opportunities

Next, identify your key growth opportunities. These could be new products or services, an expansion into a new market, or even a complete rebuild of your current offerings.

Whatever these opportunities are, include them in your business development plan. Articulate how and why these opportunities will help grow the business. 

4. List funding sources

Your plan should include not just the amount of funding you’ll need, but how you plan to get it — loans , equity investors or crowdfunding , for example. Now is the time to come up with an in-depth funding strategy. Doing this legwork on the front end, while developing your plan, makes it easier to focus on execution when stress inevitably creeps in. 

This part of your plan should include the sources you’ve secured, as well as those you’d like to seek funds from. It should also include how much you’ll seek from each source, what form those funds will take, and any obstacles you might encounter.

5. Determine operational needs

You’ve laid out your goals, growth opportunities and potential funding sources. Now, look over these items and determine how to make all this happen. 

Be aware that as your operational needs expand, your business expenses will also increase. For example, you may require additional equipment, a new warehouse to enable expanded logistics, or more employees to help serve customers. Whatever it is, build it into your business development plan.

6. Develop a sales and marketing strategy

Your business development plan is the perfect place to include sales and marketing strategies. Ultimately, these will be some of the key drivers for leveraging your growth opportunities and hitting your financial goals.

As you draft these ideas, run them through this simple test: Will they still hold up if you reach your growth targets, or will you need to rework them? Ideally, you want sales and marketing strategies that can grow along with your business.

7. Create your elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch is the short-and-sweet version of your company’s mission. The premise is simple: If you were to meet someone on an elevator and only had that brief ride to pitch your company, what would you say?

Some people adopt arbitrary rules on their elevator pitch, such as limiting it to a Twitter-length 280 characters. While this limitation isn’t necessary, it should give you a good idea of the brevity of an elevator pitch and the impact you’ll need to make. 

8. Identify your resource needs

You’ve identified your broad operational needs — equipment, facilities and employees. You’ll also want to identify your resource needs. These include how you might manage your technology and team members in a more specific way.

For example, if your marketing plan involves creating video content, you’ll need the proper equipment and software to create it. Your sales strategy might involve retooling your CRM or migrating to a new system. Or, your growth targets might mean that you need to move to a new accounting platform .

9. Determine how you'll measure success

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to decide how you’ll measure progress towards your goals. How will you know when you’ve hit that ambitious sales target or grown your business in that new market? 

You need to be able to measure your business performance and progress. Setting targets and KPIs for your employees may be good ways to keep things on track.

Business Development Plan Template

If you need a business development plan example, we’ve put together this template . It’ll help you shape your own business plan and outline the key sections. 

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A strong business development plan is a powerful asset for driving growth. It helps you outline your plans and stay on course, even when you’re overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks. 

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Business Development Plan: 7 Essential Elements

Business Development Plan

Having a business development plan is essential to thrive in the current competitive marketplace. This is because, at present, it’s become very much infused in many sales and marketing functions.

To get started, it’s necessary that you take stock of your past performance before developing your road map. Since creating one is no mean feat, we’re prepared to illuminate your path.

Here’s our blueprint on how to come up with your own business development plan.

What is a business development plan?

Why a business development plan is important, 1. learn to prioritize, 2. control the narrative, 7 essential elements of a business development plan, 1. set your sails, customer retention, customer lifetime value (clv), 2. center your approach, 3. define your marketing channels, 4. choose kpi and develop dashboards to monitor progress, 5. align your process suit your customer’s needs, 6. find out resource needs, 7. communicate with stakeholders.

A business development plan is fundamentally a document that contains the framework on how you’ll implement your business development strategy.

Business Development Plan

Having revealed this, it’s important that we demystify the two ideas. A business development strategy contains the concept behind the development of a business. On the other hand, a business development plan deals with all the nuts and bolts to make progress feasible.

When starting a business, it’s easy to get lost in all the excitement. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself stagnating.

To enhance your odds of success, it’s necessary to get all the details right from the word go. While a business development plan doesn’t necessarily guarantee you success, you will definitely have a clear vision on how to sidestep possible danger routes.

Having a crystal ball sounds great, right?

If you’re looking to play the long game, then you need a business development strategy plan. With one in place, it becomes easier for you to achieve your objectives. With a sense of directions and a well-mapped out strategy , you can focus your energies on what’s needful.

Once you have one, it’s a great idea to review and update it on the regular so that you can:

  • Remind yourself of your key objectives and where your priorities lie
  • Adapt to changes in the business scene
  • Assess whether you’re making headway using your strategies
  • Leverage new opportunities that you encounter

With a business plan in place, you can take a recliner and review what’s working and check out avenues to improve.

You need to pull all the stops to get a plan on how to chart your path. You can start off with simple things like encouraging your staff to share feedback can go a long way. While the process may seem time-consuming and overwhelming at first, you’re sure to reap dividends in the long run.

By planning, you’ll be able to realize the various forces that affect your success. If you’re already doing business, you’ll be able to take inventory and figure out what’s working. Objectively, you want to have more control over your business and your livelihood. By researching, you’ll also have a great opportunity to:

  • Comprehend your business finances like cash-flow management and figuring out the break-even point
  • Learn more about your industry, market, and the competition
  • Review challenges you may encounter and analyze how to beat them
  • Make sound business decisions that will give you a competitive advantage

Having a clear vision of where you see the business in the next 12 months is central to achieving your objectives.

This is because an outline of the key 3-5 achievements you believe will set you apart helps you anticipate and prepare for success. Once you have that figured out, you can handle the granular aspects of the process later on.

To ensure that you remain focused, it’s necessary that these audacious goals include revenue goals. While at it, you need to also strive to strike a balance in your operations. There’s no need to only meet a couple of your objectives and total miss out on others is there?

If you’re unsure about what else to include in your grand plan, here’s a quick overview of the key points:

While generating new sales is fantastic news to any businessperson, it’s important to ensure you don’t lose existing customers. On the road to better customer retention, you’re bound to discover that the key lies in providing stellar customer service.

If you’re not sure customer retention matters, here’s a stat that will wow you. On average, it takes about 5 times more to land a new customer than it does to keep the ones you already have.

This refers to the net revenue you can expect to get from a customer during the course of your business relationship .

If you’re a new business that’s dependent on a select number of customers, you need to diversify. Failure to do this could see you at a crossroads one or two of them decide to jump ship.

Increase customer lifetime value👇🏼 •Create a funnel with your most popular product. •HEAVILY discount it. (If you aren’t nervous, it’s not discounted enough) •Add upsells/downsells/order bumps •Email/text your satisfied customers with the special offer. Now go get it. — Alex Ramos🛩 (@iamalexxramos) October 20, 2019

To boost your chances, you need to lower your average CLV by diversifying your revenue base. Of course, this is dependent on the quality of your reach. If you have too many low-revenue customers, then it’s best to first focus on increasing your mean CLV. 

Defining your target marketing and setting up detailed buyer profiles is a key ingredient for success. Here’s a quick look at how this can work to your benefit:

A focused business development plan gives you the opportunity to qualify and score prospects to prioritize your constrained sales and marketing resources.

A well-defined target market and buyer profiles give you the legroom to come up with content that boosts your bottom line

With a targeted strategy, it’s easier for you to come up with products and services for your target market

As you work towards developing your business development plan, it wouldn’t hurt to revise previously defined buyer personas. It’s also great counsel to re-access your target market.

After you do this, you can start working towards tweaking your messaging to suit each market segment. With a focused marketing approach, you’re sure to find it easy managing your resources. Importantly, you need to give preference to the things that the best odds of creating long-term value. 

Right after you’ve ascertained your target audience, it’s time to generate leads for each market segment.

The best way to do this? By being data-driven.

This means you need to get more granular and embrace the SMART goals concept. In essence, your objectives need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-related.

To kick things off on the right foot, you need to have your first SMART goal be all about the revenue target. With a clear definition of a revenue target, you can then proceed to conceive a cascading series of SMART goals. If possible, you want them all to be based on each lead generation channel in your system.

You also need to think tactically about your target markets and the marketing channels you use. How do you plan to generate more inbound leads ? Does content marketing sound palatable?

If so, how often do you intend to publish? Which topics do you expect to garner much interest? Do you have a strategy to promote?

All these are questions that will help you gain a better understanding of your target audience. With an elaborate tactical plan, you can maintain consistency in all work departments.

Embracing a data-driven approach is sure to work great for you since you’ll be able to keep tabs on your KPI performance. By so doing, you’ll realize that you’re able to meet your goals after every quota without any surprises.

At the same time, being data-driven gives you insights on the effectiveness of your business development plan. With the right kind of intel, you can focus your resources on the strategies that work best. This may mean that you need to tweak or abandon poor-performing ones.

As you track progress, it’s important to also pick the metrics that matter. Ideally, you want to stick to those that contribute to your bottom line. To get a clearer picture, you need to reflect on your professional sales funnel for all of your marketing channels.

If you manage to set SMART goals for every step of the funnel, you’ll find it easy to track progress made. You can then share this information in dashboards for constant tracking and organization.

If you want to enhance your revenue generation process, you need to have the customer in mind. How best do you think your approach will correspond with your customers buying process? In a perfect world, you want the sales process to seamlessly happen irrespective of which salesperson on your team is involved.

In truth, this may be hard to accomplish, but, it can be done. All you need to do is identify the milestones that need to be accomplished in order to hasten the sales process.

You can define these milestones in your CRM system to ensure all salespersons know what’s expected of them. With a clear line of vision, they can breezily conceive plans to move to the next milestone.

As a manager, this will work great for you as you’ll have more insights into the sales pipeline. It’s also a brilliant strategy since it ensures a consistent sales approach form all team members.

As always, it’s vital to note that sales qualification is one of the most important stages of the sales process. In particular, SMB businesses need to have their sales qualification game on lock. This is because most of them have limited resources which they can’t expand on avenues not worth pursuing.

Without a refined qualification process, you’ll simply be setting yourself up for failure down the road. To avoid this, you need to be in tune with the intricacy of the modern buying process .

While conventional thinking will have you believe that the economic buyer holds the keys to the city, it’s a different ball game today. The B2B buying process has morphed into a process that now involves multiple stakeholders. As such, you need to make certain that your buying process shows this.

Having already discovered how to go about business expansion, it’s now time to move to the next phase. How exactly do you intend to execute your business development plan?

Are there specific attributes you’re looking for in employees? Do you have the technology to make your dreams a reality? What are your resource needs?

Importantly, you need to ascertain whether to employ a DIY (do it yourself) or a DIFM (do it for me) approach. This is because many SMB enterprises don’t have the prowess to take on complex business development plans.

Where the waters start getting murky, it’s logical to seek the services of an agency or consultant to help you out. It’s also sound advice to have your internal staff learn from them as they go about their business. You can also provide additional training to them so that they are well-versed in the business.

To achieve your revenue targets, you may realize that you need to invest more in your salespeople . As a manager, the onus is on you to think about whether hiring a sales assistant will prove beneficial. Once onboard, they may be able to keep your consultants focused on realizing more business opportunities.

In terms of technology, here’s what you’ll probably need during business development:

  • CRM software
  • Sales prospecting software
  • Dashboard software
  • Graphic design/video editing software
  • Content management system for your website
  • Webinar software
  • Marketing automation software

By figuring out your budget and resource needs, you’ll find it easier to navigate and hit target revenues.

It’s crucial that you share your business development strategy plan with stakeholders.

Having said that, you need to think above and beyond just the management team. Everyone at your company needs to know the important aspects of your business development plan. This is because, some elements like messaging, high-level goals and target markets are actually important to everyone.

It’s also important that your service, management, and sales team are all reading from the same script about the company vision. When this happens, it will be easy for them all to focus on creating long-term value.

Consultants also need not be left in the cold. Part of their onboarding process needs to involve a review of the vision and goals of the company. With a proper briefing, they’ll be able to carry out their duties better and help you move closer towards the realization of your dreams.

A comprehensive business development plan that spells out review protocols and how to achieve your goals is necessary. To get to the promised land, you need to also ensure that you have the right technology and automation.

Now that we’ve highlighted 7 essential elements you need to succeed, we’re confident you’re ready to take on the world.

When do you plan to implement a business development plan?

Is there anything holding you back from doing so?

Let us know in the comments section below!

importance of business development plan

Kevin Thomas Tully is a globally-recognized Social Selling and Big Data strategist who employed the principles of Social Selling long before the term entered the popular business vernacular. A Johns Hopkins-trained data scientist, Kevin has applied true buyer intent data, predictive analytics, and data mining to the sales and marketing process for more than a decade to gain a strategic marketplace advantage for leading brands worldwide.

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Business development and its importance.

importance of business development plan

Published: February 06, 2020

Updated: June 14, 2022

A company's growth and value can hinge on strong business development strategies, such as relationship building, market expansion and brand awareness campaigns.

A solid business development strategy can be integral to a company's growth and success. But if you ask a dozen different people, "What is business development?", you'll likely get a dozen different answers. That's because the role of business development evolves along with the company, and that role varies according to the company's size, maturity and priorities.

In simple terms, business development consists of the  strategies and actions that contribute to the growth and value of a company . Relationship building, market expansion and brand awareness campaigns are all types of business development strategies.

Those who work within business development assess a company's performance and seek out ways to improve the company's prospects for growth. Whereas salespeople work directly with individual customers to close deals, business development consists of taking more of a big-picture approach and employing various tactics to position the business for long-term growth.

Why is business development important?

When it comes to organizational growth, business development acts as the thread that ties together all of a company's functions or departments, helping a business expand and improve its sales, revenues, product offerings, talent, customer service and brand awareness.

There are a number of key areas in which someone tasked with business development can help effect change and promote growth across departments. Here are four reasons why business development is important.

  • It builds important relationships.   Whether cultivating new talent, networking with prospective partners or courting potential customers, relationship-building is an integral piece of the business development process. A savvy business developer can hone in on the relationships that demand the most attention. Connecting with clients, colleagues and other members of one's network can be fundamental to identifying new business opportunities, generating leads and making critical hires. And, strengthening existing relationships will help deliver repeat customers, or provide an opportunity to hone and enhance talent from within.It's a key strategy for boosting revenue and lowering costs.
  • It's a key strategy for boosting revenue and lowering costs.  Growth is the end game of business development, and one of the most common metrics for measuring that growth is the bottom line. Key to the business development process is devising strategies to help increase the amount of money that's coming into an organization, while making sure less money is going out. Focusing on business development can help an organization identify which markets and products have the most profit potential, and which deals to chase first. Business development also entails making decisions that help keep costs down as well as  identify areas of growth and the funding needed to facilitate such expansion .
  • It can help improve the company's overall image.  Marketing is vital to a business' growth, and a business developer can help an organization build a better brand. A business developer can work closely with the marketing team to develop campaigns that solidify the company's target audience and reach new customers and markets. A significant aspect of business development is understanding the inner workings of a company's products and services, as well as its customers. Business development leaders can use these insights to help inform new marketing campaigns that guide potential customers to products and services that could benefit them.
  • It may open up expansion into new markets.  Tapping into new areas of opportunity could be a lucrative growth strategy, and business development involves staying on top of market trends and opportunities. By analyzing demographics and customer data, a business developer can find ways to enter these markets and access new segments of customers.

Importance of business development at different stages of a company

A business development strategy for a five-person startup looks much different from a business development plan for a well-established company with 1,000 employees. That's because there are various stages of business development, and the specific functions therein differ according to a company's maturity and size.

Start-ups, mid-sized companies and large, mature organizations each require a different approach to business development.

  • Start-ups.  Laying a strong foundation for a new company is critical to its survival and growth. For startups, business development strategies focus on building that foundation by developing the best possible products and services, determining where the company fits into the market, identifying investors and funding sources, and assembling a dependable team. A business developer might also help orchestrate a launch event when the product is ready to go live to give the team and their clients an opportunity to celebrate what they've accomplished—building a completely new business from the ground up.
  • Mid-size companies.  After a business gains its footing, business development takes on a more impactful role. At this stage, the company is in a position to build on its hard work and established offerings to further its growth. Whereas founding team members may have carried out business development duties during the start-up phase, now is the perfect time to find a dedicated business developer to fill this role. Businesses in this stage can continue to develop by enhancing and adding products, seeking out new markets and investing in growth opportunities. A dedicated business developer can carry out these tasks and free up executives to focus on day-to-day operations and other managerial priorities.
  • Large, established companies.  Bigger, more mature organizations are able to draw from the resources and customer base they've built over the years, but they still need to look for new growth prospects. Growth during this phase of business development is all about ideas. Scouting out, incubating and executing new ideas—–from both inside and outside the company—can lead to innovation, new partnerships and better relationships with new and existing customers. Getting team members and customers to buy into these ideas is necessary to making this happen. Business development in this stage also focuses on expanding business relationships and identifying ways to conduct business more effectively and efficiently.

The value of a business development plan

Business development serves an important function for companies, and the results depend on the strategies a company chooses.

Crafting a well-thought-out business development plan can help your organization identify its goals and generate a punch list of tasks for your team to accomplish to help achieve growth.

Conducting a SWOT analysis is a good place to start. This means identifying the company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Consider what the business does well, along with its limitations, capabilities and competition.

Next, choose a metric by which to measure the company's success. In addition to tracking revenues, the business might also gauge its growth based on leads generated, number of employees, geographical footprint or new customers.

Finally, determine who will be responsible for business development. Consider growth-minded individuals who are skilled at networking, relationship building, sales and negotiating to make sure you have the right person to carry out this essential role.

Many successful businesses make business development a priority, and having your company set out to create its own business development plan may put your organization in a strong position to thrive.

Learn how  American Express ®   working capital solutions  can help expand your business' growth and development.

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.

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What is a business development and why is it so important

1. what is a business development, 2. why is business development so important, 3. the role of business development in an organization, 4. the benefits of having a strong business development function, 5. how to build a strong business development function, 6. common mistakes in business development.

A business development is an important aspect of any business and can be defined as the process of identifying and developing new opportunities to increase sales and profit. Businesses need to constantly strive to find new ways to grow and expand , and a business development can help them to do this. It is an essential part of any business strategy and can be used to target new markets, develop new products or services, or simply to improve the way the business operates.

There are many different types of business development, but they all share one common goal: to improve the bottom line . The most successful businesses are always looking for ways to improve their sales , profits and market share. A business development can be used to achieve all of these objectives.

There are a number of different ways to go about business development . One common approach is to identify new markets that could be profitable for the business. This involves research into potential new customers and understanding their needs and wants. Once a market has been identified, a business can then develop a plan to target this market and win new customers .

Another common approach to business development is to improve existing products or services. This could involve making changes to the way a product is produced or marketed, or developing new features or benefits that make it more attractive to customers. It could also involve improving the way the business operates, such as introducing new methods of customer service or developing new systems and processes.

Whatever approach is taken, the aim of business development is always to improve the bottom line. By identifying new opportunities and developing new products or services, businesses can increase their sales and profits , and ultimately their market share. In today's competitive marketplace , it is essential for businesses to constantly strive to find new ways to grow and expand, and business development is one way they can do this.

A business development is essential for any company that wants to stay relevant and grow. It allows businesses to identify new opportunities, enter new markets, and expand their products or services. business development can also help companies keep up with the competition, improve their customer service , and increase their profitability .

There are many reasons why business development is so important. One of the most important is that it helps businesses identify new opportunities. When a company knows what its customers want and need, it can develop new products or services to meet those needs. This can help the company increase its sales and profits.

Another reason business development is so important is that it allows businesses to enter new markets. By understanding the needs of customers in different markets, businesses can develop products or services that meet those needs. This can help businesses expand their customer base and increase their sales.

Another reason business development is so important is that it can help companies keep up with the competition. By constantly looking for new opportunities, businesses can stay ahead of their competitors. This can help them maintain their market share and improve their profitability.

Finally, business development is important because it can help companies improve their customer service. By constantly looking for ways to improve the way they serve their customers , businesses can ensure that their customers are always satisfied . This can help businesses keep their customers loyal and increase their repeat business .

Business development is all about creating value for your company through strategic partnerships, new product development, and market expansion. It's the critical link between the needs of the market and the products or services your organization offers.

The role of business development is to identify and exploit new business opportunities. This can involve anything from developing new products or services to expanding into new markets. It's about finding ways to add value to your company and grow your business.

Business development is a strategic process that begins with identifying and assessing opportunities . Once an opportunity is identified, you need to determine whether it's feasible and worth pursuing . This involves conducting market research , assessing the competition , and developing a business plan .

If you decide to move forward with a business opportunity , the next step is to implement a go-to-market strategy. This includes developing a sales and marketing plan , building a product or service, and launching it in the market.

The goal of business development is to create long-term value for your company. This can be done through organic growth or by acquiring other companies. In either case, it's important to have a solid plan in place to ensure success .

Business development is a vital function in any organization. It's responsible for identifying and exploiting new business opportunities, and for driving growth. If you want your business to succeed, you need to invest in business development.

When it comes to business, there are a lot of different moving parts. Its important to have a strong foundation in each area in order to create a well-oiled machine. One of the most important functions of a business is business development .

Business development is responsible for finding and developing new business opportunities. This can be done through a variety of means such as market research, lead generation, and networking. A strong business development function is key to the success of any business .

There are a few key benefits of having a strong business development function. First, it allows you to identify new opportunities for growth. This is important because it allows you to stay ahead of the competition and capitalize on new trends .

Second, a strong business development function can help you build relationships with key customers and partners. These relationships are important because they can lead to new business opportunities and help you better understand your customers needs.

Third, a strong business development function can help you raise capital. This is important because it allows you to invest in new growth opportunities and scale your business.

Fourth, a strong business development function can help you attract and retain top talent . This is important because it allows you to build a strong team that will help you achieve your business goals .

Overall, a strong business development function is essential to the success of any business. It allows you to identify new opportunities, build relationships, raise capital, and attract and retain top talent . If you want to be successful, you need to make sure you have a strong business development function.

Access to capital is important for all firms, but it's particularly vital for startups and young firms, which often lack a sufficient stream of earnings to increase employment and internally finance capital spending. Janet Yellen

The business development function is critical to the success of any organization . It is responsible for generating new business opportunities and driving growth. A strong business development function is essential to the long-term success of a company .

There are a few key ingredients to building a strong business development function:

1. hire the right people

The first step to building a strong business development function is to hire the right people. Business development is a highly specialized field and requires a specific skillset. Look for individuals with strong sales and marketing skills, as well as experience in your industry .

2. set clear goals

3. Develop a robust process

A robust process is essential for a strong business development function. The process should be designed to generate quality leads and convert them into customers. It should be flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs.

4. Invest in training

investing in training is an important part of building a strong business development function. Sales and marketing skills can be learned, but they need to be constantly practiced and refined. Provide your team with the resources they need to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.

5. measure results

The final step is to measure results. This will help you determine whether or not the business development function is meeting its goals . Track metrics such as revenue growth, new customer acquisition, and customer retention. Regularly review the results and make adjustments to the process as needed.

Building a strong business development function takes time and effort , but it is essential to the long-term success of any organization. By following these steps, you can set your company up for success.

How to build a strong business development function - What is a business development and why is it so important

When it comes to business development, there are a lot of moving parts. And, if not managed properly, any one of those parts can trip up your progress. That's why its so important to be aware of the common mistakes in business development and how to avoid them.

One of the most common mistakes in business development is failing to properly define your target market . Without a clear understanding of who your target market is, it will be very difficult to develop the right strategies for reaching them. Another common mistake is failing to set realistic goals . Without specific and achievable goals , it will be difficult to measure your progress and know whether or not you're on track.

Another mistake that is often made in business development is failing to properly allocate resources . This can lead to a number of problems, including wasted time and money. Additionally, if you don't allocate enough resources to your business development efforts , youwon't be able to achieve the results you're hoping for.

Finally, one of the most common mistakes in business development is failing to track your progress . Without a system in place for tracking your progress, it will be difficult to identify areas that need improvement and make necessary changes.

Avoiding these common mistakes will go a long way in helping you achieve success with your business development efforts. By taking the time to properly plan and execute your strategy, you can avoid these pitfalls and set yourself up for success .

business development is the process of identifying and developing new business opportunities, either within an existing market or in a new market. Business development can be pursued in a number of ways, including:

1. Identifying and targeting new customers;

2. developing and launching new products or services;

3. Expanding into new markets; or

4. Establishing new distribution channels.

The ultimate goal of business development is to grow the business by generating new revenue streams and increasing profitability .

There are a number of reasons why business development is so important. First, it is essential for businesses to continually grow and expand in order to stay competitive . Second, business development can help to diversify a company's revenue streams, which can protect against fluctuations in demand for their products or services. Finally, business development can provide a number of other benefits , such as improved brand awareness and increased market share .

While there are many different ways to pursue business development, it is important to remember that it is a process, not an event. Successful businesses take a strategic and comprehensive approach to business development, with a clear understanding of their goals and the resources required to achieve them. Additionally, businesses should always be prepared to adapt their plans as market conditions change.

If you're looking to grow your business, then pursuing business development is essential. By taking a strategic and comprehensive approach, you can identify new opportunities for growth and position your business for success.

- What is a business development and why is it so important

Business development is all about creating value for your company through identifying and exploiting new business opportunities. It is an essential function for any company looking to grow and succeed in today's competitive marketplace .

There are many different aspects to business development, but all of them share one common goal: to increase the value of your company . This can be done through a variety of means, such as developing new products or services, expanding into new markets, or improving your sales and marketing strategies .

Whatever specific strategies you pursue, there are a few key things to keep in mind if you want to be successful in business development . First, you need to have a clear understanding of your company's strengths and weaknesses . This will help you identify the areas where you have the most potential for growth.

Second, you need to be able to think creatively about new ways to create value for your company . This means being open to new ideas and approaches, and being willing to take risks when necessary.

Third, you need to be able to execute your plans effectively . This means having a strong team in place to help you implement your strategies and reach your goals.

Finally, you need to be persistent and patient. Business development can be a long and difficult process, but it is worth it if you are able to achieve your objectives and grow your company .

If you keep these things in mind, you will be well on your way to success in business development.

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Business development can be described as the creation of long-term value for a company through the identification of new business opportunities. These new opportunities can be found through market research, competitive analysis, and customer feedback.

The goal of business development is to bring these new opportunities to life by developing and executing strategies that will create value for the company . This value can be in the form of new customers, new markets, or new products.

Business development is important because it is the engine that drives growth for a company. Without new business development, a company will eventually reach a plateau where it is no longer able to grow. This can be a death sentence for any company, as it will eventually be overtaken by competitors who are able to continue growing .

There are many different types of business development strategies that companies can use to try and find new opportunities. Some common strategies include market expansion, product development, and acquisition.

Market expansion is the process of entering new markets with existing products or services. This can be done through exporting, licensing, or franchising.

Product development is the creation of new products or services that are designed to meet the needs of a specific market. This can be done through research and development or through acquisitions.

acquisition is the process of purchasing another company in order to gain access to their products, technology, or customers. This can be a very effective way to quickly enter a new market or expand your product offerings .

Business development is a critical function for any company that wants to stay ahead of the competition and continue growing. By identifying new opportunities and developing strategies to bring them to life, business development can help a company continue expanding and thrive for years to come.

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importance of business development plan

The importance of a business plan

Business plans are like road maps: it’s possible to travel without one, but that will only increase the odds of getting lost along the way.

Owners with a business plan see growth 30% faster than those without one, and 71% of the fast-growing companies have business plans . Before we get into the thick of it, let’s define and go over what a business plan actually is.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a 15-20 page document that outlines how you will achieve your business objectives and includes information about your product, marketing strategies, and finances. You should create one when you’re starting a new business and keep updating it as your business grows.

Rather than putting yourself in a position where you may have to stop and ask for directions or even circle back and start over, small business owners often use business plans to help guide them. That’s because they help them see the bigger picture, plan ahead, make important decisions, and improve the overall likelihood of success. ‍

Why is a business plan important?

A well-written business plan is an important tool because it gives entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as their employees, the ability to lay out their goals and track their progress as their business begins to grow. Business planning should be the first thing done when starting a new business. Business plans are also important for attracting investors so they can determine if your business is on the right path and worth putting money into.

Business plans typically include detailed information that can help improve your business’s chances of success, like:

  • A market analysis : gathering information about factors and conditions that affect your industry
  • Competitive analysis : evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
  • Customer segmentation : divide your customers into different groups based on specific characteristics to improve your marketing
  • Marketing: using your research to advertise your business
  • Logistics and operations plans : planning and executing the most efficient production process
  • Cash flow projection : being prepared for how much money is going into and out of your business
  • An overall path to long-term growth

10 reasons why you need a business plan

I know what you’re thinking: “Do I really need a business plan? It sounds like a lot of work, plus I heard they’re outdated and I like figuring things out as I go...”.

The answer is: yes, you really do need a business plan! As entrepreneur Kevin J. Donaldson said, “Going into business without a business plan is like going on a mountain trek without a map or GPS support—you’ll eventually get lost and starve! Though it may sound tedious and time-consuming, business plans are critical to starting your business and setting yourself up for success.

To outline the importance of business plans and make the process sound less daunting, here are 10 reasons why you need one for your small business.

1. To help you with critical decisions

The primary importance of a business plan is that they help you make better decisions. Entrepreneurship is often an endless exercise in decision making and crisis management. Sitting down and considering all the ramifications of any given decision is a luxury that small businesses can’t always afford. That’s where a business plan comes in.

Building a business plan allows you to determine the answer to some of the most critical business decisions ahead of time.

Creating a robust business plan is a forcing function—you have to sit down and think about major components of your business before you get started, like your marketing strategy and what products you’ll sell. You answer many tough questions before they arise. And thinking deeply about your core strategies can also help you understand how those decisions will impact your broader strategy.

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2. To iron out the kinks

Putting together a business plan requires entrepreneurs to ask themselves a lot of hard questions and take the time to come up with well-researched and insightful answers. Even if the document itself were to disappear as soon as it’s completed, the practice of writing it helps to articulate your vision in realistic terms and better determine if there are any gaps in your strategy.

3. To avoid the big mistakes

Only about half of small businesses are still around to celebrate their fifth birthday . While there are many reasons why small businesses fail, many of the most common are purposefully addressed in business plans.

According to data from CB Insights , some of the most common reasons businesses fail include:

  • No market need : No one wants what you’re selling.
  • Lack of capital : Cash flow issues or businesses simply run out of money.
  • Inadequate team : This underscores the importance of hiring the right people to help you run your business.
  • Stiff competition : It’s tough to generate a steady profit when you have a lot of competitors in your space.
  • Pricing : Some entrepreneurs price their products or services too high or too low—both scenarios can be a recipe for disaster.

The exercise of creating a business plan can help you avoid these major mistakes. Whether it’s cash flow forecasts or a product-market fit analysis , every piece of a business plan can help spot some of those potentially critical mistakes before they arise. For example, don’t be afraid to scrap an idea you really loved if it turns out there’s no market need. Be honest with yourself!

Get a jumpstart on your business plan by creating your own cash flow projection .

4. To prove the viability of the business

Many businesses are created out of passion, and while passion can be a great motivator, it’s not a great proof point.

Planning out exactly how you’re going to turn that vision into a successful business is perhaps the most important step between concept and reality. Business plans can help you confirm that your grand idea makes sound business sense.

A graphic showing you a “Business Plan Outline.” There are four sections on the left side: Executive Summary at the top, Company Description below it, followed by Market Analysis, and lastly Organization and Management. There was four sections on the right side. At the top: “Service or Product Line.” Below that, “Marketing and Sales.” Below that, “Funding Request.” And lastly: “Financial Projections.” At the very bottom below the left and right columns is a section that says “Appendix.

A critical component of your business plan is the market research section. Market research can offer deep insight into your customers, your competitors, and your chosen industry. Not only can it enlighten entrepreneurs who are starting up a new business, but it can also better inform existing businesses on activities like marketing, advertising, and releasing new products or services.

Want to prove there’s a market gap? Here’s how you can get started with market research.

5. To set better objectives and benchmarks

Without a business plan, objectives often become arbitrary, without much rhyme or reason behind them. Having a business plan can help make those benchmarks more intentional and consequential. They can also help keep you accountable to your long-term vision and strategy, and gain insights into how your strategy is (or isn’t) coming together over time.

6. To communicate objectives and benchmarks

Whether you’re managing a team of 100 or a team of two, you can’t always be there to make every decision yourself. Think of the business plan like a substitute teacher, ready to answer questions any time there’s an absence. Let your staff know that when in doubt, they can always consult the business plan to understand the next steps in the event that they can’t get an answer from you directly.

Sharing your business plan with team members also helps ensure that all members are aligned with what you’re doing, why, and share the same understanding of long-term objectives.

7. To provide a guide for service providers

Small businesses typically employ contractors , freelancers, and other professionals to help them with tasks like accounting , marketing, legal assistance, and as consultants. Having a business plan in place allows you to easily share relevant sections with those you rely on to support the organization, while ensuring everyone is on the same page.

8. To secure financing

Did you know you’re 2.5x more likely to get funded if you have a business plan?If you’re planning on pitching to venture capitalists, borrowing from a bank, or are considering selling your company in the future, you’re likely going to need a business plan. After all, anyone that’s interested in putting money into your company is going to want to know it’s in good hands and that it’s viable in the long run. Business plans are the most effective ways of proving that and are typically a requirement for anyone seeking outside financing.

Learn what you need to get a small business loan.

9. To better understand the broader landscape

No business is an island, and while you might have a strong handle on everything happening under your own roof, it’s equally important to understand the market terrain as well. Writing a business plan can go a long way in helping you better understand your competition and the market you’re operating in more broadly, illuminate consumer trends and preferences, potential disruptions and other insights that aren’t always plainly visible.

10. To reduce risk

Entrepreneurship is a risky business, but that risk becomes significantly more manageable once tested against a well-crafted business plan. Drawing up revenue and expense projections, devising logistics and operational plans, and understanding the market and competitive landscape can all help reduce the risk factor from an inherently precarious way to make a living. Having a business plan allows you to leave less up to chance, make better decisions, and enjoy the clearest possible view of the future of your company.

Understanding the importance of a business plan

Now that you have a solid grasp on the “why” behind business plans, you can confidently move forward with creating your own.

Remember that a business plan will grow and evolve along with your business, so it’s an important part of your whole journey—not just the beginning.

Related Posts

Now that you’ve read up on the purpose of a business plan, check out our guide to help you get started.

importance of business development plan

The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.

importance of business development plan

Blog · Performance Management

June 22, 2021

6 Reasons Why Development Planning is Important

Development Planning is a widely-used approach in business to support employees and help them grow professionally. We explore the 6 main reasons why this is important.

PeopleGoal Team

by PeopleGoal Team

6 Reasons Why Development Planning is Important

Why is Development Planning Important?

  • Upskills Workforce
  • Increases Productivity
  • Improves Employee Satisfaction
  • Increases Employee Retention
  • Enriches Company Culture
  • Strengthens Feedback Culture

Development Planning increases employee engagement and improves overall business performance and productivity . It is critical for employers to engage with their employees and help maximise their professional growth .

It is important to help employees understand their own strengths and weaknesses to define goals and areas for improvement. This plays an integral role in company culture and ensures that employees understand your dedication to their personal and professional success.

Development plans use SMART goals to align employee objectives with overall organization aims. Regular feedback and check-ins maximise everybody's performance and boost morale !

What is Development Planning?

Development Planning is the creation of measurable goals to support an employee's career. This includes defining how to achieve a goal and the time frame within which this should be done.

Managers work with employees to document both their career goals and their personal goals. They then identify the skills and competencies required to achieve these. Regular check-ins are scheduled throughout the year to monitor progress and provide constructive feedback .

Development Planning includes making an action plan to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.

Development Planning - what is development planning

How to Create a Professional Development Plan

Creating a development plan involves:

  • Self-Assessment - Employees must identify their individual strengths and weaknesses. This will help them find areas of improvement and discover what motivates them.
  • Setting Goals - Employees set SMART Goals . These are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. They allow you to track progress and motivate employees to improve their work performance.
  • Identifying Strategies - Employees should experiment between experiential learning on the job, learning from others through mentoring or shadowing subject experts and attending webinars or obtaining additional certifications .
  • Building Timelines - It is important employees commit to making improvements by setting deadlines.

Development Planning - how to create a development plan

Check out our guide on how to build a successful Development Plan 👈

The Development Planning Process plays a crucial role for both staff members and the organizations they work for. We have identified the following 6 main benefits:

Development Planning - why is development planning important

1. Upskilling the Workforce

Development Planning helps upskill a workforce because it encourages employees to identify their strengths and build upon their weaknesses. This informs decisions concerning training and development and can increase your employee's knowledge and improve their skill set.

Supporting employee's career development will further improve your allocation of resources and help you manage the team budget.

It has also been suggested that the greater skilled a workforce, the more productive they become. McKinsey & Company have found that in highly complex occupations, the high performers are 800% more productive than the average worker.

Development Planning - upskill the workforce

2. Increases Productivity

Individual Development Planning upskills a workforce which further increases productivity. This is because employees are given new deadlines to adhere to and can better manage their time to achieve what is asked of them.

Studies have found that planning preserves 10 times more time in the future . This is beneficial to your organization and will maximise efficiency.

Development Planning - increase productivity

3. Improves Employee Satisfaction

Employees are likely to feel better supported having made a development plan with their manager. There will be greater motivation for an employee to succeed and reach their goals. This is especially crucial for employees who lack direction and are uncertain about their future careers.

Employee engagement is important for your organization as a happy workforce will feel more compelled to work hard and achieve results.

Development Planning - increase employee satisfaction

4. Increases Employee Retention

When employees are more satisfied with their role, they are more likely to maintain their post within an organization. This is beneficial to retain top talent .

Employee retention is important for an organization as it reduces the cost of recruiting and onboarding processes. It is an unnecessary expense to constantly be training new employees. It is more efficient to retain existing employees and upskill them throughout their time with your organization.

Development Planning - increase employee retention

5. Enrichens Company Culture

Personal Development Planning helps build a company culture which is inclusive and collaborative. Building a strategic plan with employees helps them feel that they are supported. Employee engagement with a firm is crucial to drive an employee's self-confidence and motivation to succeed.

Company Culture is incredibly important. Glassdoor conducted a study that revealed that 77% of workers will consider company culture before applying for a job.

Development Planning - enrich company culture

6. Strengthens Feedback Culture

Organizations should embrace a feedback culture. Employees benefit from managers commenting on their performance as their value to a team is recognized. It further helps them to improve in areas where they are under-performing.

Managers benefit from 360 feedback as they learn where their leadership styles have been effective and where people feel they could improve. This will boost project management and ensuing team performance and productivity.

Development Planning - strengthen the feedback culture

Development Planning: Our Concluding Thoughts

Development Planning is important for all components of an organization, particularly Human Resources. Self-assessments allow employees to recognise their individual strengths and weaknesses. Subsequent goal setting ensures that they will improve, upskill and maximise their performance .

It is useful for employees to build development plans to understand their value within an organization. SMART goals help them position their work within the overall organization's goals and objectives. This improves employee's skills, satisfaction, retention and productivity. These have knock-on positive effects on company culture and feedback.

⭐ Sign up for a Demo with PeopleGoal today as we help you build customizable development plans for every employee

Click here for more ideas on how to build a successful Development Plan 👈

Build any HR process on PeopleGoal.

Create an account and start building on the PeopleGoal platform. All accounts start with a 7-day free trial and can be cancelled at any time.

Further Reading

Related articles from our blog, read on

Best Employee Training and Development Software for SMBs (2024)

Best Employee Training and Development Software for SMBs (2024)

Unleash your SMB's potential with investment in employee training and development software - transforming teams, enhancing skills, and nurturing success

PeopleGoal Content Team

PeopleGoal Content Team

How to Build a Development Plan Template

How to Build a Development Plan Template

Development Plans are an essential part of the career development process for all employees. Download our 2 templates to begin planning your next steps!

PeopleGoal Team

Career Steps: HR's Step by Step Role in Career Development

Career Steps: HR's Step by Step Role in Career Development

In this blog post, we deep dive into career steps - and how they improve transparency in career development

Lara Kelly

Career Development: The 4 Key Essentials

Career Development is important for employee growth and an organization's performance. Here we discuss the 4 key essentials every employee should consider when planning their career development!

6 Reasons Why Development Planning is Important

Development Planning is used by many organizations to support employees and help them grow professionally. We explore 6 reasons why this is important.

Top 5 Ideas for Employee Development in your Remote Teams

Top 5 Ideas for Employee Development in your Remote Teams

Employee development is a key way businesses can improve the performance and job satisfaction in their remote teams. This in turn will boost your businesses productivity and save you money in the long run by increasing employee retention.

PeopleGoal Team

Ready to see PeopleGoal in action? Start your free trial today.

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Why Is Strategic Planning Important?

Above view of team creating a strategic plan

  • 06 Oct 2020

Do you know what your organization’s strategy is? How much time do you dedicate to developing that strategy each month?

If your answers are on the low side, you’re not alone. According to research from Bridges Business Consultancy , 48 percent of leaders spend less than one day per month discussing strategy.

It’s no wonder, then, that 48 percent of all organizations fail to meet at least half of their strategic targets. Before an organization can reap the rewards of its business strategy, planning must take place to ensure its strategy remains agile and executable .

Here’s a look at what strategic planning is and how it can benefit your organization.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is the ongoing organizational process of using available knowledge to document a business's intended direction. This process is used to prioritize efforts, effectively allocate resources, align shareholders and employees on the organization’s goals, and ensure those goals are backed by data and sound reasoning.

It’s important to highlight that strategic planning is an ongoing process—not a one-time meeting. In the online course Disruptive Strategy , Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen notes that in a study of HBS graduates who started businesses, 93 percent of those with successful strategies evolved and pivoted away from their original strategic plans.

“Most people think of strategy as an event, but that’s not the way the world works,” Christensen says. “When we run into unanticipated opportunities and threats, we have to respond. Sometimes we respond successfully; sometimes we don’t. But most strategies develop through this process. More often than not, the strategy that leads to success emerges through a process that’s at work 24/7 in almost every industry.”

Strategic planning requires time, effort, and continual reassessment. Given the proper attention, it can set your business on the right track. Here are three benefits of strategic planning.

Related: 4 Ways to Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Benefits of Strategic Planning

1. create one, forward-focused vision.

Strategy touches every employee and serves as an actionable way to reach your company’s goals.

One significant benefit of strategic planning is that it creates a single, forward-focused vision that can align your company and its shareholders. By making everyone aware of your company’s goals, how and why those goals were chosen, and what they can do to help reach them, you can create an increased sense of responsibility throughout your organization.

This can also have trickle-down effects. For instance, if a manager isn’t clear on your organization’s strategy or the reasoning used to craft it, they could make decisions on a team level that counteract its efforts. With one vision to unite around, everyone at your organization can act with a broader strategy in mind.

2. Draw Attention to Biases and Flaws in Reasoning

The decisions you make come with inherent bias. Taking part in the strategic planning process forces you to examine and explain why you’re making each decision and back it up with data, projections, or case studies, thus combatting your cognitive biases.

A few examples of cognitive biases are:

  • The recency effect: The tendency to select the option presented most recently because it’s fresh in your mind
  • Occam’s razor bias: The tendency to assume the most obvious decision to be the best decision
  • Inertia bias: The tendency to select options that allow you to think, feel, and act in familiar ways

One cognitive bias that may be more difficult to catch in the act is confirmation bias . When seeking to validate a particular viewpoint, it's the tendency to only pay attention to information that supports that viewpoint.

If you’re crafting a strategic plan for your organization and know which strategy you prefer, enlist others with differing views and opinions to help look for information that either proves or disproves the idea.

Combating biases in strategic decision-making requires effort and dedication from your entire team, and it can make your organization’s strategy that much stronger.

Related: 3 Group Decision-Making Techniques for Success

3. Track Progress Based on Strategic Goals

Having a strategic plan in place can enable you to track progress toward goals. When each department and team understands your company’s larger strategy, their progress can directly impact its success, creating a top-down approach to tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) .

By planning your company’s strategy and defining its goals, KPIs can be determined at the organizational level. These goals can then be extended to business units, departments, teams, and individuals. This ensures that every level of your organization is aligned and can positively impact your business’s KPIs and performance.

It’s important to remember that even though your strategy might be far-reaching and structured, it must remain agile. As Christensen asserts in Disruptive Strategy , a business’s strategy needs to evolve with the challenges and opportunities it encounters. Be prepared to pivot your KPIs as goals shift and communicate the reasons for change to your organization.

Which HBS Online Strategy Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Improve Your Strategic Planning Skills

Strategic planning can benefit your organization’s vision, execution, and progress toward goals. If strategic planning is a skill you’d like to improve, online courses can provide the knowledge and techniques needed to lead your team and organization.

Strategy courses can range from primers on key concepts (such as Economics for Managers ), to deep-dives on strategy frameworks (such as Disruptive Strategy ), to coursework designed to help you strategize for a specific organizational goal (such as Sustainable Business Strategy ).

Learning how to craft an effective, compelling strategic plan can enable you to not only invest in your career but provide lasting value to your organization.

Do you want to formulate winning strategies for your organization? Explore our portfolio of online strategy courses and download the free flowchart to determine which is the best fit for you and your goals.

importance of business development plan

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Building effective business development in pharma.

By  Mark Lubkeman ,  André Kronimus , and  Filip Hansen

At a time of rapidly evolving scientific breakthroughs and, coincidentally, of the expiration of many blockbuster drug patents, the key to innovation and revenue growth is pharmaceutical business development. While some innovation and new revenue can come from internal pipelines and assets, business development teams are under intense pressure at most companies to supplement internal efforts with external licensing agreements and M&A. Unfortunately, those teams are frequently unable to deliver the transactions needed for innovation and growth.

Often a major reason for this shortfall is that executive team members are not fully aligned on the role of business development in achieving the company’s strategic priorities. They may agree in theory that business development should pursue partnerships, ecosystems, and collaborations, but that consensus falls apart when it comes to making decisions about specific deals.

We have identified six success factors that enable more rapid and effective decision making, which, in turn, will lead to substantially enhanced business development performance.

Subscribe to our Biopharma E-Alert.

Biopharma m&a and licensing remain strong.

Biopharma M&A deal value more than doubled between 2017 and 2019, from $138 billion to $336 billion, and valuations reached all-time highs. Most of those deals involved midsized biotech companies, for which the average premium paid was close to 70%, with an average EV/sales multiple of nearly 8x. All in all, close to 60% of new therapeutic drugs in the last five years have been externally sourced.

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed biopharma M&A activity in 2020, especially in the first half of the year. But since the core drivers of deals remain intact—scientific breakthroughs, expiring patents, and an increasing focus on key therapeutic areas or on modalities such as cell and gene therapy—deal activity will continue to rebound. A recent example is AstraZeneca’s acquisition in late December of Alexion for $39 billion.

Moreover, biopharma companies can finance transactions cheaply with today’s very low interest rates. They also have significant financial resources to pursue business development. BCG’s ValueScience team estimates that the top 20 biopharma companies have more than $700 billion in cash, short-term investments, and additional debt capacity. But as a result, many companies are pursuing the same assets, driving up valuations and the risk of overpaying.

Six Success Factors for Pharma Business Development While we focus here on M&A, the six success factors we have identified will enable business development teams to create value through both M&A and licensing. (See Exhibit 1.)

importance of business development plan

1. Prioritize what business development needs to accomplish for the company. Executive team members often have differing views about how to prioritize business units, technology areas, and technology platforms and what types of deals to pursue (early- versus late-stage R&D deals, for example, or transformative versus tuck-in acquisitions). To ensure alignment, it’s critical that team members agree on how and where they want to create value. Will they use business development to generate near-term revenues or to build the pipeline for future innovation? Will they seek to maximize the core, expand into adjacent markets, or explore new frontiers? (See Exhibit 2.)

importance of business development plan

As part of this prioritization process, the executive team needs to regularly review and agree on how much revenue growth the current internal portfolio or pipeline will deliver. Only then can it determine the revenue gaps that business development needs to address in which specific therapeutic areas or modalities—and with what urgency. It’s astonishing how often management teams are misaligned on this simple setting of objectives, which often results in business development teams wasting time assessing opportunities that are fundamentally unattractive to the executive team and will never get approved. To avoid such situations, the team should ask itself two key questions about every transaction early on: What revenue gap will the transaction fill? And who on the executive committee will champion the transaction from start to finish? By forcing these decisions early, the team can avoid a lot of wasted time.

2. Build relationships with prospective targets. Executive teams should commit to building relationships with potential partners or acquisition targets for two or three years. Proactive sourcing, screening, and relationship building are far better for deal execution than simply showing up at the target’s headquarters with a banker and an offer. An established relationship will give a prospective buyer an edge over other bidders, perhaps even preempting the bidding process altogether. Such relationships can also accelerate due diligence.

Active engagement with potential targets over several years also gives companies a better grasp of the range of potential deals available. It might, for example, make a pharmaceutical company more likely to take small equity stakes in a number of promising biotechs, perhaps supporting Phase 1 trials with its own clinical and regulatory expertise.

3. Agree on how to assess value. Depending on one’s assumptions when valuing a target, the same transaction may seem spectacularly attractive or exceptionally unattractive. So teams need to agree about how they will value all aspects of each deal and then apply that valuation with discipline. Too often, companies end up redoing their analysis and engaging in repetitive decision making because they haven’t agreed on valuation approaches or metrics from the start.

One common valuation pitfall is to focus only on core asset value, that is, the value of the cash flow generated by current and future products in the market. Valuation models need a wider lens, encompassing multiple dimensions of value, including the following:

  • Synergies. What is the value of cost, revenue, and capability synergies across the value chain—for example, in R&D, manufacturing, and sales?
  • Platform Value. What is the value of the future products a technology platform might make possible?
  • Strategic Value. What is the value of preempting a competitor from acquiring an asset, gaining access to a large proprietary data set, or being recognized as a leader in an emerging field?

Because these advantages are less tangible than core assets, large swings in valuation are possible depending on the underlying assumptions. We have found that companies with a clearly defined and endorsed valuation approach are able to use a common “language” in their deliberations, leading to better, faster decision making. These advantages are amplified when the company is highly transparent about the underlying assumptions and entertains a range of scenarios and associated probabilities.

4. Define integration issues early. Executive and business development teams are frequently so focused on due diligence and valuation that they don’t consider the integration process until after a term sheet has been signed. Integration issues should be considered at the outset, when assessing the deal’s attractiveness and viability, and in parallel with due diligence. Teams should ask such questions as: Will the acquired company be a distinct entity or be integrated into the acquiring company? What governance will be applied to the acquired assets? How will cost synergies factor into the valuation?

Knowing the answers to these questions early on is critical to realizing the full potential of the transaction. Our research shows that successful integration can drive 8% to 10% more value compared with the average transaction. Planning for that success right from the start is essential.

5. Enable agile business development teaming and governance. Even when a company has a clear vision for the transaction, it still needs an agile process and governance to execute the deal quickly and effectively. But because the business development process is highly cross-functional (and often involves many junior-level people), it can be unclear who has the authority to make decisions and who will provide the necessary analytical resources. In addition, preexisting governance committees (such as executive committees) often meet too infrequently to keep up with the fast pace of business development decision making.

To address these challenges, we recommend three best practices:

  • Designate resources. Within each function, several senior staff members with business development experience and authority should be on call. This will help build continuity and organizational learning.
  • Establish clear processes and responsibilities. All members of a business development project team should be aligned on processes, deliverables, and timelines. That should include who is responsible for what and who has what decision rights. For example, who in R&D will calculate the probability of success of a specific asset under review?
  • Create nimble governance. A few members of key governance committees should meet more frequently than the entire group (perhaps even on a weekly basis, depending on deal volume) and have the authority to mobilize the entire committee within 24 or 48 hours if there’s an urgent issue to be addressed.

6. Design an organizational structure suited to strategic priorities. Because companies have different revenue gaps and objectives and use business development in different ways, there is no single “right” organizational structure. One company might focus on early-stage and another on late-stage acquisitions. One company might be looking for deals to strengthen the core business, another to build up new therapeutic areas. A company’s business development organization must be suited to its strategic purpose, whatever that may be. There are three main approaches (with various permutations) to consider:

  • Centralize business development in one group. A central function maximizes scale, alignment of activities, and resource prioritization. This setup works well for companies looking to make relatively few late-stage or transformative acquisitions.
  • Separate R&D and commercial transactions. Assessing an early-stage R&D acquisition requires a different mix of expertise than assessing a late-stage, commercial acquisition. When a company intends to pursue both types of transactions, it’s best to keep at least some of these due diligence activities separate. But such companies can still centralize certain functions—valuation modeling, for example—in order to maximize scale.
  • Separate by business lines or therapeutic areas. It can be sensible to separate business development activities by business lines or therapeutic areas at different levels of maturity. This arrangement works well if a company has a mature business area looking for transformative deals and a smaller business unit looking for technology platform acquisitions. Here again, certain aspects of the business development process, such as valuation modeling, can be centralized for scale and efficiency.

Current market conditions present unique opportunities to tap into external innovation and drive revenue growth, but the inherently complex and cross-functional nature of business development makes it difficult for many pharmaceutical companies to execute effectively. As a result, these companies are not winning the transactions necessary for future success. We believe that the six success factors described above can significantly improve business development capabilities and are worth serious consideration by management teams.


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Most Tech Deals Focus on Growth. Most Post-Merger Integrations Don’t.

A survey of dealmakers shows that technology companies can maximize the value from M&A by aligning their predeal strategy with their postdeal priorities.


Creating Value from Midsize Biopharma Acquisitions

Although small in scale relative to the acquiring company, midsize acquisitions are becoming important to creating value in the biopharmaceutical industry.


Post-Merger Integration in Retail

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Resources for Your Growing Business

The importance of business plan: 5 key reasons.

The Importance of Business Plan: 5 Key Reasons

A key part of any business is its business plan. They can help define the goals of your business and help it reach success. A good business plan can also help you develop an adequate marketing strategy. There are a number of reasons all business owners need business plans, keep reading to learn more!

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a Business Plan?

5 reasons you need a well-written business plan, how do i make a business plan, key takeaways.

A business plan contains detailed information that can help determine its success. Some of this information can include the following:

  • Market analysis
  • Cash flow projection
  • Competitive analysis
  • Financial statements and financial projections
  • An operating plan

A solid business plan is a good way to attract potential investors. It can also help you display to business partners that you have a successful business growing. In a competitive landscape, a formal business plan is your key to success.

importance of business development plan

Check out all of the biggest reasons you need a good business plan below.

1. To Secure Funding

Whether you’re seeking funding from a venture capitalist or a bank, you’ll need a business plan. Business plans are the foundation of a business. They tell the parties that you’re seeking funding from whether or not you’re worth investing in. If you need any sort of outside financing, you’ll need a good business plan to secure it.

2. Set and Communicate Goals

A business plan gives you a tangible way of reviewing your business goals. Business plans revolve around the present and the future. When you establish your goals and put them in writing, you’re more likely to reach them. A strong business plan includes these goals, and allows you to communicate them to investors and employees alike.

3. Prove Viability in the Market

While many businesses are born from passion, not many will last without an effective business plan. While a business concept may seem sound, things may change once the specifics are written down. Often, people who attempt to start a business without a plan will fail. This is because they don’t take into account all of the planning and funds needed to get a business off of the ground.

Market research is a large part of the business planning process. It lets you review your potential customers, as well as the competition, in your field. By understanding both you can set price points for products or services. Sometimes, it may not make sense to start a business based on the existing competition. Other times, market research can guide you to effective marketing strategies that others lack. To have a successful business, it has to be viable. A business plan will help you determine that.

4. They Help Owners Avoid Failure

Far too often, small businesses fail. Many times, this is due to the lack of a strong business plan. There are many reasons that small businesses fail, most of which can be avoided by developing a business plan. Some of them are listed below, which can be avoided by having a business plan:

  • The market doesn’t need the business’s product or service
  • The business didn’t take into account the amount of capital needed
  • The market is oversaturated
  • The prices set by the business are too high, pushing potential customers away

Any good business plan includes information to help business owners avoid these issues.

importance of business development plan

5. Business Plans Reduce Risk

Related to the last reason, business plans help reduce risk. A well-thought-out business plan helps reduce risky decisions. They help business owners make informed decisions based on the research they conduct. Any business owner can tell you that the most important part of their job is making critical decisions. A business plan that factors in all possible situations helps make those decisions.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to help you create a business plan. A simple search can lead you to helpful tools, like a business plan template . These are helpful, as they let you fill in the information as you go. Many of them provide basic instructions on how to create the business plan, as well.

If you plan on starting a business, you’ll need a business plan. They’re good for a vast number of things. Business plans help owners make informed decisions, as well as set goals and secure funding. Don’t put off putting together your business plan!

If you’re in the planning stages of your business, be sure to check out our resource hub . We have plenty of valuable resources and articles for you when you’re just getting started. Check it out today!


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Why is Professional Development Important?

Learn the role of professional development in advancing your career.

Lian Parsons

Professional development is an important aspect of continuing your career growth and striving to reach your goals.

This blog post will explain what professional development is, its benefits to both employers and their employees, and how to seek different opportunities out to reach your full potential.

What is Professional Development?

Professional development is gaining new skills through continuing education and career training after entering the workforce. It can include taking classes or workshops, attending professional or industry conferences, or earning a certificate to expand your knowledge in your chosen field.

Some companies offer in-house opportunities for professional development, such as training sessions or mentoring programs, but many professional development programs are done independently. 

Professional development is important because it has the potential to open opportunities for career advancement, such as promotions. It can assist you in honing existing skills and in learning new ones. 

It can also help you stand out in a pool of applicants; showing that you have completed professional development programs or additional industry certifications on your resume can go a long way in showing your expertise in your field.

Employees who show initiative in independent learning can signal to employers that you are open to new experiences and are enthusiastic about continuing to grow. 

Benefits of Professional Development for Employers

Professional development can be instrumental in growing a stronger team.

Employers who encourage their employees to seek out professional development opportunities are in turn encouraging higher productivity and job satisfaction. 

Higher Retention Rates

According to a Business News Daily article, businesses should offer professional development opportunities to their employees to improve potential turnover.

Professional development can help to bolster employees’ confidence in their work. Greater confidence can, in turn, translate into higher overall job satisfaction, employee performance, productivity, and overall morale. 

Investing in professional development training programs also shows employees that their company is invested in their success and interested in cultivating their advancement.

Attract Better Talent

It can be challenging to find — and retain — talented employees. Offering professional development opportunities can help employers fill open positions by attracting and retaining skilled employees.

According to talent management platform Clear Company, 74 percent of employees say that a lack of professional development opportunities are preventing them from reaching their full potential. Additionally, 94 percent of employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in staff development.

Employers offering these benefits are more likely to attract potential employees who are interested in striving for excellence and pursuing advancement. 

Investing in professional development for employees can grow an existing team’s skills and entice new talent to join with the incentive of a clear learning and development plan. 

Help Employees Stay Up to Date With Industry Trends to Keep Skills Sharp

Industry trends move rapidly, and it’s important for companies to keep pace with the times. Ongoing professional development can prevent potential stagnation by maintaining — and improving — employee skills. 

Look for programs that will help you stay up to date, such as those for agile leadership for hybrid work, or for innovation strategy .

Employees engaged in professional development are also more likely to stay engaged in their work and to be enthusiastic about pursuing their goals. 

Get started on your professional development journey today.

Benefits of Professional Development for Employees

From gaining confidence in your abilities to building potential for advancement, professional development offers employees many benefits for not only your career, but your personal goals as well. 

Learn new skills

Through professional development, you may hone both hard and soft skills in your work. Hard skills pertain to job-specific knowledge you can obtain through formal training or education. Soft skills are personal competencies, such as effective communication or the skills that contribute to emotional intelligence . 

Developing both types of skills is important to reaching your professional goals — and even some of your personal ones.

Boost Confidence and Credibility

Adding additional skills or certification from a professional development program to your resume is one way to boost your confidence in your skills and show your credibility to employers.

Professional development opportunities can expose both new and experienced professionals to new ideas and expertise. Seeking out these opportunities shows ambition and the space to practice those new competencies. 

Develop Leadership Skills

A confident employee is also likely an enthusiastic employee. If you take the step to grow and develop your skills, the incentive to seek out additional opportunities can continue to expand along with it. 

If you are an employee who wants to advance your career but isn’t sure how to do so, professional development can encourage you to put your hand up for leadership opportunities you may not have sought out otherwise. 

This blog post offers helpful tips on how to choose a leadership development program.

Build Your Network

Professional development can provide many opportunities for networking. Workshops, conferences, classes, and webinars are all spaces in which professionals can meet new people within their industry and make new connections.

These connections can lead to new opportunities, mentorship, and support which may provide the next stepping stone in your career. 

Advance in your career

A well-qualified employee attracts employer attention. Employees who are invested in professional development display commitment to their work and an interest in continuing to improve.

Professional development can also boost your earning potential by increasing your value through obtaining credentials, certifications, and designations. 

Where to Take Professional Development Courses

There are a broad range of professional development opportunities. 

Harvard Division of Continuing Education’s Professional & Executive Development offers dozens of courses spanning multiple industries. Your employer may even help you pay for these opportunities if you effectively show their worth.  

There are both in-person and online options available, so choose what works best for your goals and lifestyle.

Seek out programs, workshops, seminars, mentorship programs, and more within your industry. Investing in yourself is just the first step.

Take the next step to advance your career. Find the program that’s right for you.

Browse all Professional & Executive Development programs.

About the Author

Lian Parsons is a Boston-based writer and journalist. She is currently a digital content producer at Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education. Her bylines can be found at the Harvard Gazette, Boston Art Review, Radcliffe Magazine, Experience Magazine, and iPondr.

Strategic Leadership

Senior level managers must tackle complex problems using creative problem-solving and a portfolio of skills and styles. Here’s a look at how being a strategic leader can move an organization—and your career—forward.

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College of Nursing

A call for more nurse leaders in the c-suite.

View as pdf A later version of this article appeared in  Nurse Leader ,  Volume 21, Issue 6 , December 2023 .

As the interim CEO for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, I was recently asked to speak on a panel of nurse leaders addressing health system CEOs about ongoing disruptions in the nursing workforce. As I spoke, strong non-verbal communications for the audience heightened their intrigue with the panel’s discussion. Descriptions of the now decades-long challenges of the nursing shortage, constraints that prevent nursing schools from quickly escalating the number of nurse graduates to meet the surging demand, increased career opportunities for nurses outside of healthcare even after they are trained, the resulting strategies needed by hospitals to increase recruitment and retention of nurses, and changes in care models were all top-of-mind concerns shared by the CEOs. 

A Dearth of Nurse Leaders in C-Suite Roles 

Nurse leaders have a wealth of knowledge and experience that positions them well to lead healthcare organizations, both as Chief Nursing Officers (CNO) and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Although accurate estimates of the proportion of nurses serving in CEO roles are difficult to obtain, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open that reviewed 3911 healthcare executives, only 17.5% are female. 1 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 87% of the nursing workforce identifies as female. 2 These data show that nurses are underrepresented in the CEO role. As nurses are overwhelming female and have first-hand experience in patient care, nurse leaders represent a natural source to help address the gender inequities evident in the female healthcare CEO ranks. In a recent study of Fortune 500 companies, Srivastava, Kashmiri, and Mahajan concluded that “female influence in the top management team is positively associated with (1) customer orientation of the firm and (2) long-term financial performance.” 3 In healthcare, customer orientation refers to patient care. Given a keen interest in improving both patient care and financial performance, now is the time for healthcare organizations to recruit CEOs from the ranks of highly qualified nurse leaders. 

Nurses Learn from First-hand Patient Care 

Indeed, in healthcare, our core business is patient care, and nurses are essential in delivering that care. As nurses rise to leadership positions, those nurse leaders can leverage experience in caring for patients to improve their institution’s processes and resulting operational excellence and learn to apply holistic thinking (systems thinking) skills to better address challenges associated with healthcare today. 

Incorporating effective nursing processes into healthcare is fundamental to practice. With experience, nurses learn to develop and apply strong assessment skills across a range of challenging patient situations. Through those assessments, nurses analyze key issues important to the patient and collaborate with multidisciplinary team members to develop a plan of care to help the patient meet appropriate goals. Beyond collaborating to develop a plan, nurses work diligently with the patient and other team members to implement the plan. Throughout the process, nurses collect and document data and then analyze it to assess the effectiveness of the care plan. And finally, nurses adjust patient plans to better achieve established goals, for both the patient and the organization. 

Nurses also demonstrate remarkable listening skills with patients, families, and members of the healthcare team. Nurses look at situations holistically and seek to understand patients’ goals, motivations, and barriers to care. Through these experiences, nurses develop as effective communicators, infusing reason into highly emotional situations, and they do so with exceptional compassion. These strengths of nurse leaders are directly transferrable to C-Suite decision-making, where compassion for patients, an ability to place the goals of the organization above one’s self-interests, and an understanding of whether an idea can be implemented are paramount. 

Inside Modern C-Suites 

Too often, C-Suite leaders become too far removed from the work of front-line caregivers. They may not understand the challenges of delivering patient care, and that concern gets compounded when they don’t spend time with caregivers to hear and consider suggestions. Consequently, some C-Suite decision-making is not well informed about the realities of the workplace. The importance of workplace issues ranging from inefficiencies in documentation to poor communication between members of healthcare teams to staffing and workplace safety challenges influences long-term financial performance and thus warrants inclusion in strategic decisions. 

In a recent survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives, Chief Executive Officers ranked workforce challenges as their number one concern and financial challenges as number two. 4 Aiken et al. (2023) conducted a cross-sectional multicenter survey study with 21,050 physicians and nurses at 60 nationally distributed US Magnet hospitals. Survey participants reported “high burnout, job dissatisfaction, and intentions to leave their current job.” 5 They also reported a lack of confidence in leadership to take action to resolve issues identified by clinicians. Executive leaders with nursing experience can better understand the issues and subsequently work with clinicians to implement changes that will lessen employee dissatisfaction, which improves retention. Moreover, employee satisfaction impacts patient satisfaction—and that ultimately drives revenues. 

Nurse Leaders and the Business Side of Healthcare 

Healthcare centers on the lives and welfare of people, but it is also a business. While the strengths of nurse leaders are vitally important for leadership roles, nurses can acquire business skills through advanced degrees (e.g., MBA, DNP) or experience to understand the business dynamics of healthcare. Nurse leaders can learn how employee satisfaction, operational excellence, and remarkable patient experiences all contribute to the “bottom line.” Both revenues and costs must be balanced to deliver positive operating margins. 

To gain credibility with the more traditional business-focused leaders, nurse leaders need to understand the different perspectives of C-Suite members and communicate using a language understood by each member’s respective discipline. Just as nurses learn to communicate with patients, knowing such perspectives is vital to delivering a message that resonates. The following is a summary of common perceptions of C-Suite members adapted from the American Hospital Association’s C-Suite Cheat Sheet. 6  

  • Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) tend to focus on strategy for the organization and want to be certain that planned initiatives will create a return on investment. 
  • Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) focus on patient care operations, workforce issues, and improving quality and safety. 
  • Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) speak in numbers and are focused on budgets, payer issues, and ensuring a positive bottom line. 
  • Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) value clinical data and are focused on improving clinical performance. 
  • Chief Operating Officers (COOs) focus on healthcare operations to meet financial targets and drive service line growth. 

As with any team, each member of the C-Suite team brings relevant strengths to the table. More successful leaders connect the strategic vision of the organization and leverage the team’s expertise to drive change and achieve goals. Nurse leaders can develop the requisite skills needed to bring C-Suite teams together in their efforts to improve outcomes. Focusing on the core business of patient care, achieving operational excellence, and supporting caregivers are all vital components to a health system’s success, and that success is a reward our patients deserve. 

Steps in Pivoting to the CEO Role 

The role of a CEO is broad as it includes all facets of the organization, of which nursing is only a part. CEOs are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and working with leaders to develop and execute plans to meet strategic objectives. The CEO is often a champion of the organization’s culture and ensures financial and operational excellence, growth, and strong community relationships. 

A question asked by many nurse leaders today is how do I prepare myself to become a CEO? First, conduct an honest assessment of your skills and experience. Meet with your CEO and express your desire to move into a broader leadership role. Talk with them about their role and the skills most needed to be successful. Then seek learning opportunities to strengthen your knowledge of important areas such as finance, legislative issues in healthcare, and organizational development. 

Be open to accepting interim assignments that allow you to develop needed skills. Although new assignments may require you to work outside of your comfort zone, they are very valuable to your growth and demonstrate a willingness to take on new responsibilities. These assignments allow others to see your leadership capabilities through a different lens and may lead to other opportunities in the future. 

Consider serving in a COO role. Some organizations now combine CNO and COO roles into one. Many COOs demonstrate the ability to lead the operations of a hospital or health system and in doing so work closely with the CEO. This experience and exposure often lead to promotional opportunities to the CEO role. 

Above all, be confident in your ability to lead. As a nurse you possess a critically important skill of caring for and leading people. This skill is essential to lead healthcare today. 

1. Odei BC, Seldon C, Fernandez M, et al. Representation of Women in the Leadership Structure of the US Health Care System. JAMA Network Open . 2021;4(11): e2136358. 

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed July 30, 2023. 

3. Srivastava C, Kashmiri S, Mahajan V. Customer orientation and financial performance: Women in top management teams matter! Journal of Marketing 2023;87(2):190-209. DOI:10.1177/00222429221120419 

4. Survey: Workforce Challenges Cited by CEOs a Top Issue Confronting Hospitals in 2022. Accessed July 30, 2023. 

5. Aiken LH, Lasater KB, Sloane DM, Pogue CA, Fitzpatrick KE, et al. Physician and nurse well-being and preferred interventions to address burnout in hospital practice. JAMA Health Forum . 2023;4(7): e231809.doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.1809 

6. C-Suite Cheat Sheet. Accessed July 30, 2023. 

Return to College of Nursing Winter 23/24 Newsletter


  1. The Ultimate Guide to Business Development and How It Can Help Your

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    Business development is a proactive and strategic process that aims to unlock a company's growth potential and enhance its overall value. It involves a meticulous study of markets, customers, and industry trends to identify unexplored territories and lucrative prospects.

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    In short, business development pertains to the "ideas, initiatives, and activities that help make a business better." Or that's what Investopedia says, anyway. Those in business...

  7. Your Guide to Creating a Strategic Business Development Plan

    A strategic business development plan allows you to identify markets and products with high-profit potential, enabling you to prioritize partnerships and make informed decisions. It also helps you reduce expenses, uncover untapped growth opportunities, and allocate resources efficiently.

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    A business development plan is a document that helps you implement your business development strategy in a step-by-step method. It involves a lot of research on the market and customers. But also, other aspects such as your competitors and buyer persona. So, a business development plan is a detailed summary of important steps you're going to ...

  9. 9 steps for writing a strategic business development plan

    Articulate how and why these opportunities will help grow the business. 4. List funding sources. Your plan should include not just the amount of funding you'll need, but how you plan to get it — loans, equity investors or crowdfunding, for example. Now is the time to come up with an in-depth funding strategy.

  10. Business Development Plan: 7 Essential Elements

    A business development strategy contains the concept behind the development of a business. On the other hand, a business development plan deals with all the nuts and bolts to make progress feasible. Why a business development plan is important. When starting a business, it's easy to get lost in all the excitement.

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  22. Why is Professional Development Important?

    Investing in professional development for employees can grow an existing team's skills and entice new talent to join with the incentive of a clear learning and development plan. Help Employees Stay Up to Date With Industry Trends to Keep Skills Sharp. Industry trends move rapidly, and it's important for companies to keep pace with the times.

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  24. A call for more nurse leaders in the c-suite

    Nurse Leaders and the Business Side of Healthcare Healthcare centers on the lives and welfare of people, but it is also a business. While the strengths of nurse leaders are vitally important for leadership roles, nurses can acquire business skills through advanced degrees (e.g., MBA, DNP) or experience to understand the business dynamics of ...