Business development plan

4 min read

Creating a business development plan or business development strategy is an essential undertaking for any serious business owner seeking long term success.

Spending time developing a business plan for growth will pay dividends over the life of your business. It will lend structure to your endeavours and provide a pathway to expansion and stability. 

If you haven’t yet invested in one, we’ve written this short guide to inspire you to create your own business development plan.

To help you even further, we’ve included a free downloadable business development plan template at the end of this article.

What is a business development plan?

First, we need to come to terms with what a business development plan is, how it functions and the purpose behind it.

A business development plan is a document which describes the goals you’ve set for your business and the methods you’ll deploy to achieve them. 

It outlines the metrics you’ll use to measure your achievement of these goals and strategies you’ll engage with to overcome challenges.

In a nutshell, it’s all about winning new business and the methods you’ll undertake to get there.

A business development plan will often depict:

  • Your growth opportunities and the way you intend to achieve this growth, such as rolling out new products or entering new markets. 
  • How you intend to fund the pursuit of this growth opportunity.
  • The financial goals you’ve set, such as cashflow and intended profits or debts.
  • The operational needs of your growth strategy, such as new team members, suppliers, or equipment.
  • A sales and marketing strategy which aligns with these goals and sets out tactics, deliverables, and targets.
  • A team strategy which lays out your employee’s responsibilities, KPI’s and organisational structure.

Let’s say you have a successful business selling makeup in Australia. A business development plan could see you expand into the NZ or US markets or perhaps bringing aboard new product lines to expand the scope of your offerings.

Why is business development important?

Maintaining the status quo and remaining static in your approach to running your business is not the end of the world. But if you intend to grow your profits, remain futureproof and increase the resilience and stability of your business, you need to invest in a business development plan.

If you don’t structure your pathway to growth, you’re running a higher risk of underperformance, stagnation, and business decline.

If you want more business, you should plot your way to that achievement in a structured and strategic manner.

How do you develop a business development strategy?

So how do you go about creating a business development strategy or plan? 

One avenue is to book a consultation with a business advisor who specialises in business growth strategies. Even if you choose this option, you’ll still need to have a good handle on the following aspects of a business development or growth plan to seed any professional advisory discussions.

Open a blank document and create a section for each of the following chapters of your growth or business development plan:

    • The opportunity
      Identify your new growth opportunities, such as a new product, service, location, market, business model or similar.
    • Market and target audience research
      To understand the opportunity better, undertake research into who your new target audience will be and what the market for this opportunity looks like. Include competitor research and analysis.
  • Sales plan
    Create a fresh sales plan to cater to this new opportunity. This will include sales funnels, lead management, pricing, sales goals, and cashflow/profit forecasts. It also includes the tools or software you’ll use to implement your sales plan.
  • Marketing plan

A fresh marketing plan needs to be constructed to align with the opportunity, including branding, advertising, digital marketing strategies, design, lead generation, websites, promotional activity, and marketing partnerships.

  • Production and distribution
    Create a plan as to how you intend to deliver your new products or services or enter new markets. Include production, delivery, payment collection, new employees, suppliers, and any necessary licenses, permits or compliance aspects.
  • Partnerships

Are you served by pursuing new partnerships with other companies or organisations to assist in the marketing, selling or production of new products or services? If so, outline possible partners and how this would function.

  • Legal

Pursue any legal consultations you’ll need to understand any new laws you should to be aware of including liabilities, risks, licenses, and copyright/intellectual property concerns.

  • Measuring success

Create a goal and metric oriented set of KPIs to guide how you will define success or failure. Include sales goals, cashflow projections, key deliverables, and team targets.

  • Financing

Create a budget for your new business development plan. Understand how much you project this pursuit will cost and include detail on how you intend to finance your growth strategy, with either loans, profits, or outside investment.

What does a business development manager do?

A business development manager is tasked with the management and rollout of your business development or growth strategy. Many believe a business development manager is purely focused on sales growth and targets, but they should in fact be tasked with several deliverables outside pure sales.

A business development manager’s duties could include:

  • Identifying and pursuing new opportunities for business growth.
  • Undertaking in-depth research into new markets.
  • Creating lead funnels and cultivating a sales plan.
  • Working with other teams such as marketing and design to pursue business and sales growth in tandem with other deliverables.
  • Working to maintain and create repeat business with all current customers.
  • Actively pursuing new customers in a systemised way.
  • Working toward sales and growth goals by tracking KPIs.
  • Creating new relationships with partners or associations.

Business development plan template

Creating and enacting a strategic growth plan or business development plan is an intelligent and pragmatic way to ensure you have every chance of winning new business, increasing cash flow and achieving greater market penetration. 

Whatever your specific business goals are, it certainly pays dividends to plot your way to expansion with a solid business development plan, as opposed to an ad hoc approach.

To assist you in your construction of a business development plan for growth, we’ve taken the liberty of creating a free downloadable business development plan template for you to fill in. Download here.