A strong business development plan is vital for targeted and relevant growth opportunities.

The basics of a business development plan

Starting your company is no easy feat. You created a business plan that helped your organisation start up, and you've put plenty of work into creating an organisation that's identified a need in the market and provides useful, dependable products or services to your clients.

Planning, and the benefits that come from it, don't only apply to the startup phase. A business development plan can help you set specific goals, make plans to reach them and guide growth in an efficient and understandable way. That's true whether your company is a relative newcomer or has operated for many years.

This guidance can help you understand the basics of a business development plan and the benefits that come with it.

A group business meeting in a cafe.A business development plan helps your company define and achieve its goals.

What is a business development plan?

A business development plan's most basic focus is growing your company. It lays out the steps you need to take to reach that objective. More specifically, business development generally involves a two-step process:

  • Strategic planning: Defining long-term goals and the most effective way to meet them from a high-level leadership perspective.
  • Business planning: Business planning connects the dots between the objectives set in the strategic planning phase with specific actions your company needs to take to reach them. Business planning can include everything from marketing and sales to financial strategy and staff priorities and areas of focus.

A business development plan may also be called a business plan, with the qualifier that it's intended for established enterprises – wether large or small – as opposed to companies just starting out. It's worth noting that the key benefits of a business plan, as outlined by the Australian federal government in its business resource website, are similar to those provided by a development plan. A carefully crafted development plan will offer opportunities to prioritise business activity, increase the level of control you have over your company and make your organisation more attractive to investors.

How to craft your business development plan

A business development plan can differ greatly from one company to the next. Industry, market, consumer demographics and much more all play a role. One effective tactic to consider that can inform much of your business plan is setting "SMART" goals, as HubSpot suggested. SMART goals are specific, measurable, assignable, relevant and target-based.

You can apply this framework to the objectives you set regardless of the type of company you operate or its size. Specific goals give you a defined end point to work toward. Ensuring they are also measurable means you can effectively track progress. Assignable objectives are clear enough that the entire project or its constituent tasks can be delegated to one or more employees – or yourself. Relevant goals are effective in the context of how your business operates. Target-based means there is a clear endpoint in mind, where you can assess the work completed and then start setting new goals as well.

Creating a business development plan is a commitment. You and your top employees will need to carve time out of your schedules to address strategic, high-level planning and then engage in the business planning necessary to position your company to reach them.

Expert assistance in crafting your business development plan

Wilson Porter offers the experience and expertise necessary to create and fine-tune your business development plan, from help with crafting the initial document to management advice and monitoring of key performance indicators. To learn more, get in touch with us today.