Figuring out how to grow your business isn’t simple.  Often it can feel hard enough just to keep your head above water when running a company (like a duck paddling furiously).  However one thing that can help you grow your Business is a Business Development Plan.

What is a Business Development Plan?

A business development plan basically lays out the strategy for how you intend to grow your business.  It looks at exactly how you’ll implement the changes required and includes goals and measurements that allow you to keep track of your business’ progression.

Business development is a very broad topic which means you can make your plan as complex and in-depth as you choose.   It really depends on what you’re looking to get out of the process.

A range of areas to explore when creating your business development plan include.

  • Business structure
  • Competitors
  • Clients
  • Marketing
  • Revenue streams
  • Your sales funnel
  • Your company mission
  • Vision for the future
  • Business values

The more you understand about these aspects the better you’ll be able to factor them into your strategy.

What Should You Include in a Business Development Plan?

To make it worth the time and effort involved in setting up a business development plan you should cover these main aspects –

Industry Analysis & Competitive Advantage

Three key things you need to look at are

Who are your main competitors?

Whether your industry is growing

What sets you apart?

SWOT Analysis

Now if you haven’t heard of a SWOT analysis before it is basically an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.  Rather than being used in a hostage situation as we see on television shows in this case, it’s a great way to analyse your business.

Ideally in a business you’ll want to –

  • Build on strengths
  • Minimise weaknesses
  • Seize opportunities
  • Counteract threats

A SWOT analysis helps you figure out the best way to help your business be successful as it will help you to make sure that you and staff members are in a position to seize opportunities and sidestep any threats.

Key Performance Indicators

By putting Key Performance Indicators or KPIs into place it enables you to keep a finger on the pulse of your company so that you can see where you need to make adjustments and change strategies.

Target Customers

In order to effectively market to your customers you should have a customer profile in mind that includes details such as –

  • General age group
  • Customer needs
  • What challenges your customer faces

Once you have an idea of these you will be able to market your products or services much better, using appropriate advertising, highlighting benefits etc.

Goals

An essential part of a business development plan is having a clear goal for your business.   To implement strategy effectively you need direction. A general wish to grow the company just isn’t enough.

Strategy & Tactics

Strategy and tactics are the what and how of the plan.  What will you do to grow your business and how will you put it into action?

Detail each of these thoroughly.  Consider any potential challenges you’ll face and what processes our company needs to put in place.

The Benefits of Creating a Business Development Plan

Your Business’s growth shouldn’t be left to chance.   Taking the time to create a business development plan will mean gaining an overall perspective of your organisation.   It allows you to recognise where you need to focus as well as identifying priorities.

Having a plan creates accountability.   It’s also useful for building the right mind-set within your Business.  If everyone is aware of the organisation aims and what tactics they need to use, it’s much easier to get everyone on board and working towards a common goal.