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Business Development is not just for “big” business, here’s why…

When discussing business development with leaders and owners, many think only about sales or revenue generation. They seem unaware that there is much more to this activity than filling your sales pipeline. Additionally, many think that this activity is limited to the domain of “big business” but it actually applies to all businesses.

Business development activities often include supply management, marketing, operations, finance and human resources alike. Your business development plans should be all about implementing strategies and creating opportunities across your organization. This could include new market penetration, product development, and existing market expansion along with diversification strategies. The key is to facilitate multi-faceted progression, not just on the top line. It means you should have clearly defined development processes in all aspects of your business. Your goal is to stimulate expansion, improve profitability, foster improved efficiency and boost revenue.

In the broadest definition, business development takes on a very wide scope. It’s all about the ideas, activities and ongoing initiatives to make things better across your organization. This, in my opinion, should not be handed off to one person or one department but should include the managers and experts from every department. For example, your next key competitive or cost saving initiative might involve digitization of your customer service offering by employing A.I. bots. This, of course, crosses many departments and they all need to be engaged and committed to the initiative’s successful implementation.

Developing active cost saving and process improvement initiatives can contribute significantly to your profitability. Many times these plans and programs are managed by your accounting or finance teams but, again, can cross many departmental lines and are more effective with input from all sides.

Product development and manufacturing improvements are areas that can redefine your market position so they are key elements of your business development strategy. These initiatives can include vendor and supply development, facilities expansion, capital investments and marketing activity, so, again, will demand the inclusion of many functional areas in the process.

Of course no business development strategy would be complete without a competitive overview. How has the market changed? How will it change? What are your competitors developing or expanding into? What is the next logical step for you? Should you focus on a specific channel or market segment? Do you have the necessary human resources in place to facilitate your plans? These are questions that need to be addressed as part of an all-inclusive business development plan.

Not to be forgotten, your networking and lobbying efforts within industry associations, personal networks, government agencies, and the like also contribute to your business development plans. All of these efforts, together with clarifying your vision, setting goals, implementing plans, measuring results, following up and making corrections as required are integral parts to creating a comprehensive business development strategy. The key to your company’s continued evolution is to have clearly defined business development processes in all facets of your business.

For more ideas and advice on your strategic initiatives and business development plans, contact us at for a free consultation.

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