There are so many ways to grow a business that is practically impossible to give you a consistent picture of what effective business development actually is. Today, business development covers everything from IT-programmers, specialized engineers, advanced marketing or key account management activities, and sales and relations development for current and prospective customers. But the backbone is SALES. The more you sell, the faster your business will grow.
Skill sets and experience for business owner or manager normally consist of a mixture of the following:
- sales experience
- proposal management or capture management
In plain English, “business development” refers to finding a way to attract more clients. The business developers’ tools to address the business development tasks are the business model answering “how do we make money” and its analytical backup and road-map for implementation, the Business Plan.
Strategic planning is a process of defining company’s strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. Various business analysis techniques can be used in strategic planning, including SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis).
Business plans are decision-making tools. There is no fixed content for a business plan. Rather the content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience. A business plan represents all aspects of business planning process declaring vision and strategy alongside sub-plans to cover marketing, finance, operations, human resources as well as a legal plan, when required. A business plan is a summary of those disciplinary plans.
Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines: finance, human resource management, intellectual property management, supply chain management, operations management, and marketing, among others. It can be helpful to view the business plan as a collection of sub-plans, one for each of the main business disciplines.
But the business plan is not a Bible, it has to be re-considered from time to time. Everyone knows that cost and revenue estimates are central to any business plan for deciding the viability of the planned venture. But costs are often underestimated and revenues overestimated resulting in later cost overruns, revenue shortfalls, and possibly non-viability. Reference class forecasting has been developed to reduce the risks of cost overruns and revenue shortfalls and thus generate more accurate business plans.
For larger and well-established companies, especially in technology-related industries, the term “business development” often refers to setting up and managing strategic relationships and alliances with other, third-party companies. In these instances the companies may leverage each others’ expertise, technologies or other intellectual property to expand their capacities for identifying, researching, analyzing and bringing to market new businesses and new products, business-development focuses on implementation of the strategic business plan through equity financing, acquisition/divestiture of technologies, products, and companies, plus the establishment of strategic partnerships where appropriate.
So, develop your business the best way you can.