Owning your own business is hard. There are over 28 million small business owners in the United States alone.
How do they do it? By understanding and implementing successful business development strategies.
If you want your business to succeed, you need to have a game plan. Business development is about more than just setting goals.
Keep reading to learn more about the basics of business development for small businesses.
What is Business Development?
Business development is hard to define. It’s more of a concept culminating ideas, actions, and activities used to improve a business.
Business development sets actionable goals to bring about results such as business growth and expansion, increased revenues, and increased profitability. Initiatives to achieve these goals include the making of strategic business decisions, building strategic partnerships and business relationships, networking, and negotiating.
Business development strategies are used to assess and facilitate business expansion. Research, conducting studies and performing due diligence can be part of the business development process.
Finally, cost-savings efforts are also part of business development.
Areas of Business Development
Business development is a broad concept that involves the many moving parts of various business departments. Let’s break down how the overall business development goals affect different departments and business functions.
The marketing department has a goal of promoting and advertising the company’s products and services to end-customers. Marketing and sales are compliments to each other that work together to achieve sales goals.
When it comes to business development, marketing budgets are often affected. This could mean higher budgets that allow for aggressive marketing strategies or lower ones that call for more passive strategies.
Examples of aggressive marketing strategies include free samples, cold calling, in-person visits, and roadshows. Passive marketing efforts include online, print, and social media ads as well as billboards.
Salespeople usually focus on a particular set of clients or a particular market with a goal of reaching a targeted revenue amount. Sales goals and efforts are often determined by business development strategies.
For example, when a business development strategy calls for entrance into a new market, the sales team will target the customer base in the new market and implement appropriate sales strategies.
Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships
A company’s business development team works with the legal and finance teams to make decisions about when strategic partnerships can benefit the company.
For example, when a company enters a new market, it may be beneficial to partner with local firms. Companies can avoid certain formal requirements when they work with a local business that is already legally operating in the area.
It’s part of a company’s business development strategy to weigh the pros and cons of partnerships like these and determine which option is in the best interest of the organization.
Project Management and Business Planning
Developing a business strategy involves a lot of research, planning, cost-benefit analysis, and translation of objectives into actions.
An excellent example of how this works for a company is the translation of business plans to project management. The business development team makes the decisions and sets the path based on cost and time analysis and the project management and implementation teams make these goals a reality.
These decisions include things like opening new facilities at home and abroad and importing/exporting.
Product Management and Vendor Management
Business development strategists make decisions about product manufacturing that are then executed by the product managing and manufacturing departments.
Overhead decisions need to be made about product manufacturing and distribution with consideration of compliance with legal regulations and requirements as well as cost. Business development professionals make these assessments and then hand the plans over to the product management team for action.
Along the same lines, business development teams answer questions about the involvement of external vendors. Decisions regarding shipping and partnerships with retail sales chains need to be made.
Part of the business development team’s job is to evaluate the costs associated with these different options and direct the product and vendor management teams to take the best course of action for the business.
It’s important to remember that business development strategies are not only about increasing sales but also cutting costs.
Cost-cutting is another way to improve a business’s bottom line. Business development professionals assess spending and identify areas where costs can be cut.
These might range from simple policy changes to outsourcing certain areas of operations. In some cases, strategic partnerships may be used as a part of cost-cutting initiatives.
Some business development initiatives will involve the use of “soft skills.”
For example, in certain regions, lobbying may be necessary to enter the market. Networking and negotiating are important skills that can be used to develop relationships with third parties. These might include government authorities and regulators, agencies, and vendors.
Initiatives involving these types of skills are also part of business development.
Putting Business Development Into Action
Business development is a concept that’s hard to define. Nonetheless, it’s at the core of your business’s success. Having a plan for your business requires insight into your current operations, a set of objectives, and a way to translate those goals into action plans.
Business development planning is just the first step toward reaching your business goals. We can help you put your strategies to work.
We are a professional marketing company and are here to help businesses reach their marketing goals. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you or check out our services here.