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Business Development Planning

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What is business development planning?

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Business development planning definition

A business development plan is a written document showcasing the business’ aims, both long-term and short-term, and how they intend to reach them.

The business development planning process requires all departments to work together for a common goal, often to expand commercially and increase profits, and will include the various steps to achieving that goal.

While business development planning itself doesn’t ensure success and growth, implementing the plan means your business will be putting its best foot forward. That said, the business development plan can and should be revised and reviewed at every step.

Business development planning process: step by step

The business development planning process can often take longer than collating the plan itself — but it’s worth taking your time on! A great business development planning process ensures that the strategies discussed are universally accepted in the business. 

Here are the broad steps that any business development planning process should follow:

Define goals

Management may have huge goals for the business but it’s important to be realistic too. You could debate one, three, five, and ten-year goals so your company has a roadmap of how to achieve those larger aims. These SMART goals then need to be broken down into action plans for daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly steps. 

Create a customer profile

It’s no good having a product if you’ve no idea who you’re selling it to. Many businesses have multiple customer or buyer personas but simply put, think about what many of your customers have in common. What is their age, occupation, location, etc? 

Set up marketing channels

A business doesn’t have to be on every channel, so focus on which channels work best for you. Think about your customer profile and where your customers spend their time online? Do they use specific social media channels, mailing lists, or online marketplaces? 

Establish KPIs

Your key performance indicators should be stated in a business development plan. Invest in any software needed to track them and ensure your team knows what are the key figures they should be pushing to improve. 

Collate and share

Once every department has had their input, it’s time to collate this information and then share it company-wide. Add this document into new onboarding packs so every new employee knows what is expected of them and where the business is headed. 

Business development planning template/example

Every business development plan is different, but every plan should also include the following areas:

Mission statement

Also known as an elevator pitch, a mission statement is a short paragraph detailing what the business does. It’s what you’d say at networking events or at investor meetings to explain to others where you are and where you want to be.

Long- and short-term goals

Financial milestones are the most obvious goals to include in your business development planning template, but many businesses are also looking to other areas, such as sustainability and diversity. It’s no longer enough for a business to make lots of money, so look at the business as a whole.

SWOT analysis

Looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats currently for your business allows you to make strategic decisions based on the current environment. Update your SWOT analysis annually to see if you have adapted. 

Department breakdown

Each department should have their own section in the plan, from operations to marketing, HR to sales. How will each department ensure they’re working towards the aims of the business?

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General FAQ

What is business development planning?
The process of setting up a plan for your business, analyzing where it is now and where you want it to be, with an overview of every department.

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