People always ask me, “How important is it to have a small business development plan, Tim?” Well, my answer will always be - it is vital.
Creating a business development plan is a matter of life and death in business.
Oh yes! I believe that without it, business growth is impossible. You will understand what I mean precisely in just a second.
In today’s article, I will discuss:
Here we go!
Just like any other business term, business development has many definitions.
Here are excellent definitions from a few reliable resources:
According to Novancia, Business School Paris,
Business Development is the art of identifying opportunities, turning them into business and implementing growth strategies, leading to the creation of value for all the stakeholders of the company (employees, customers, partners, suppliers).
According to Scott Pollack,
Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.
According to Sherrie Lawson,
At its basic level business development is defined as growing a business by making it more competitive, expanding products or services, and/or focusing on specific markets.
Growth and value are the key terms of these definitions.
Now, let me put a personal spin to the definition of business development.
#BusinessDevelopment is a strategy that creates more value and more opportunities to grow a business beyond its current state.
A business development plan extends across different departments, including:
However, who exactly can contribute to business development? I’d say anyone who can suggest a valuable strategic change to the business can contribute towards business development. It could be a business owner or a designated employee working in business development.
If you are the one assigned to business development, then you should have a clear view of the following:
Speaking of sales, is it different from business development? How?
Let's find out in the next section.
“Oh! so you’re in sales?”
“No! I’m in business dev!”
“Oh no, you ’aren’t!”
“Oh, yes, I am!”
Have you had this kind of conversation? If you have, then you probably ended the discussion with a long face.
Well, sales is different from business development!
Let me explain.
A business development person is responsible for driving qualified leads further down the sales funnel, but he or she DOES NOT close deals.
That’s where salespeople come in.
The primary function of a salesperson is to generate revenue. The salesperson's responsibilities are:
On the other hand, a business development person is responsible for:
While their respective functions are different, sales and business development aim to achieve the same goal - BUSINESS GROWTH.
The chart below is a nice visual of the typical sales process. If business development is working well, it should make the prospecting part of this process easier.
Now that we have defined what business development is and business development vs. sales, it’s time to teach you how to create a business development plan.
Creating a business development plan is crucial because it provides focus and direction for where you are headed and what you are trying to accomplish.
Buckle up, and here we go!
First thing’s first, identify your goals!
Identifying the business development goals you want to achieve in a specific time - a week, a month, a year - will set your course in the right direction.
The rule of thumb is to identify 3 to 5 business development goals.
If you can’t come up with 3 to 5 goals, here are a few business development goals you might consider:
In creating a business development plan, knowing your target market and who your ideal clients are is beneficial.
Here are a few benefits of a focused business development plan:
Once you identify your goals and target market, it’s time to identify the different marketing channels where you can generate the most traction.
Here are some marketing channels you can choose from:
Choosing the right metrics to track is as important as selecting the right marketing channels.
If you choose to track too many metrics, you might be wasting time and money.
Here are five metrics to help you track the impact of your business development efforts:
How you make the transition from business development to sales will depend on how you choose to have each set up within your company.
The end goal is the same no matter what, to have a seamless transition for the customer from business development to sales.
According to Lisa Woods with Managing Americans, there are four ways you can set this up for your company.
There is no right or wrong approach here. It's a matter of which one will work best for your business structure.
The important thing is to make sure you eliminate any gaps or shortfalls in the handoff process between business development and sales.
There you go! That’s how to create a small business development plan. That wasn't so hard, was it?
Why Business Development? Finally, a clear definition!
Business development vs. sales: What’s the difference and which should you hire first?
Striking the balance between selling and educating: 5 tips for creating a business development plan
So what do you think about this article? Are you ready to create a small business development plan?
Let's discuss in the comments section below.
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Header courtesy of Unsplash.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help take the guesswork out of marketing so your small business can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a constant challenge. If you are ready to eliminate the uncertainty and confusion of marketing your business, we can help.