Even if your business is past the startup phase and making a profit, more than likely, there is still room for growth. Periodically reviewing your current sales and marketing strategies to ensure you are employing best practices is essential to growing your customer base and, in turn, increasing profitability. Typically, businesses will draft a business development strategy to outline specific goals and action items to accomplish this.
What Is Business Development?
Business development is, more or less, anything that makes a business better. This can range from marketing initiatives to networking to project management and more with the goal to acquire new clients or build strategic business partnerships and drive growth and revenue. Every business requires a unique business development strategy based on their industry and location, as well as other factors.
Some business development plans produce short term results, but the most effective are strategic and build on your business’ strategic goals. Creating this strategy can be difficult and takes a great amount of research, and a bit of chance, to work.
Key Areas For Growth
- Business development can affect any part of your business, so you’ll need to consider all of your business operations when creating a strategy. Here, we’ve outlined the major areas to look at when building your plan:
- Business Planning: Making decisions about your business’ operations
- Cost Savings: Improving the bottom line
- Marketing: Promoting and advertising your goods or services to initiate sales
- Sales: Tactics for selling your goods or services to customers
- Strategic Partnerships: Partnering with an existing business to increase leads
- Vendor Management: Choosing external vendors
Common Business Development Strategies
- While a complete strategic business development plan should be custom to your business’ needs, there are a few basic strategies that can be deployed. These initiatives cover broad areas, so they can easily be refined to fit into your business goals.
- Advertising: Position ads, physically and digitally, in front of potential clients
- Networking: Interact with others, either in person or online, to build business partnerships
- Referrals: Business partners and clients refer new business to you
- Thought Leadership: Make your expertise visible to your network and potential clients through writing books and articles and speaking at events as well as appearing on podcasts and radio shows, video blogging and influencing on social media
Creating A Strategic Business Development Plan
- Now, let’s look at how to build your business development strategy. Follow these steps:
- Assess Your Business And Industry: Get a good understanding of your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and the current state of your industry
- Define Your Target Audience: To determine your target audience, you’ll need to answer a few questions. Who is my ideal client? Where do they live? How old are they? What do they do for a living?
- Research Your Audience And Your Competitors: Learn everything you can about your target audience. What issues do they face? How can your business solve those issues? What unexplored market opportunities do you see here? Where does your audience currently shop? How do you compare to that competition?
- Identify Your Competitive Advantage: What sets you apart from the competition? What areas can you expand into? How is this an advantage to customers? This information will be key to marketing materials.
- Choose Your Strategy: How can you use your competitive advantage to attract new clients? How does this work for your audience? How does this accomplish short and long term goals? What are the costs and cost savings associated with your plan?
- Develop A Marketing Plan: Decide when you’ll begin marketing, what platforms you’ll use to market and how often you’ll display your marketing materials
- Decide How To Monitor Success: Choose a way to keep track of key metrics
Business development is a complex area. If your business doesn’t already have a business developer or cannot afford to bring one on, looking for outside sources will be essential to the growth of your business. Contact us today to see how a Transcend team member can work with your company to build strategic growth using your unique business goals.