What on earth is business development?

Business development refers to the formation of an organization’s long-term value through clients, markets, and partnerships. Company owner(s) or assigned employee(s) within the business can work as a business developer. Anyone who can create or suggest a strategic business change can contribute towards business development. Companies often encourage employees to come up with clever, feasible ideas to maximize their overall growth potential.

In some cases, companies tap independent incubator firms, small business development centers, and business development firms. But they only assist in business establishment and fine-tuning details during the early phases of business setup.

Every business developer should know the following:

  • The overall state of the business, as well as the industry sector and growth projection
  • Client profile
  • Competitor developments
  • Primary sources of sales/revenues
  • New, unexplored opportunities
  • Costs (and possibly cost savings)
  • Long-term view, especially in terms of initiatives being proposed
  • New domains/products/sectors eligible for business expansion

Business development encompasses different departments in a company such as marketing and sales, driven by and aligned to the business development goals.

  • Marketing - This department plays a vital role in achieving sales targets, including promotion and advertising. Businesses with higher budgets implement aggressive marketing strategies such as cold calling, road shows, free sample distribution, and personal visits. On the other hand, firms with lower budgets stick to billboards, and limited print and media ads.
  • Sales - This team focuses on a specific market or set of clients, normally for a targeted revenue number. For example, they target the customer base in the new market with their sales strategies.
  • Business Planning/Project Management - The business development team decides on many aspects of the company’s operations, including business expansion, cost, and time. The project management team swings into action to attain the goal.
  • Product Management - Countries have differing regulatory standards and market requirements, fueling their work. A business development plan looks into cost, legal approvals, and regulatory adherence.
  • Negotiations, Networking, and Lobbying - Some business initiatives may need expertise in soft skills, including lobbying (which is legal in some countries), networking, and negotiating. The last two are especially needed when talking to retailers, agencies, and regulators.
  • Cost Savings - Business development mostly revolves in bolstering sales, products, and market reach. It is also important to keep the budget check to strengthen the bottom line, which include cost-cutting measures.