Any business or startup will need a periodical assessment of its success and business goals to ensure long term survival in the market. With this, a carefully sketched out business development plan template is essential if you plan on expanding your business.
So, what is a business development plan?
The phrase ‘Business development plan’ is actually derived from two words: business development and plan.
Business development refers to tasks and processes aimed towards making a business or a startup much better. This includes increasing revenues, growth in terms of business expansion, increasing profitability by building strategic partnerships and making strategic business decisions.
In simple words, business development means all activities that are meant to expand business either through acquiring new customers or selling additional products or services to the existing ones.
Take note; however that business development does not equal to sales. Sales are aimed at increasing the revenue through existing customers. The basis of Business Development on the other handis about creating long term value or building a long term positive image for an organization in the minds of customers, stakeholders, markets and so on.
A business development plan is, therefore, a plan that aims to lay down the long term plan for a business organization in order to achieve those objectives. It is literally a must have for any business – big or small.
Components of a Business Development Plan Template:
The successful business development plans include several things such situation analysis, a SWOT analysis and clearly outlined goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. The plan provides guidance for all members of the organization. The essential components of a business plan are:
A business development plan should start with an executive summary. This section is important because it provides the readers a background of what the company is. Basically, a summary is meant to provide an overview of the business plan to investors, shareholders, advisors and employees to in order to generate support your plan.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
A great business development plan includes company’s metrics and KPIs. KPIs or key performance indicators are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a business is achieving its key objectives.
High-level KPIs focus on the overall performance of the business in different areas such as finance, marketing, research and development etc. Low-level KPIs may focus on processes in departments such as in marketing; there can be sales, advertising, etc.
By tracking your KPIs, you will understand how your business is performing in particular areas.So, it’s critical to identify the KPIs and list them in this section of your business plan.
The PEST analysis is another tool for understanding market growth and recognizing the position, potential and direction for your business. PEST is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors. The tool is used to analyze and assess the market for a business or an organizational unit.
A PEST analysis should be part of your business development plan in order to clarify how such external factors are favorable for expanding your business. It is usually done before the SWOT and becomes a part of the SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is a diagnostic tool to assess the potential and critical issues to your business. It is vital to include a SWOT analysis in your Business Development Plan in order to help you determine the best opportunities to pursue to achieve your growth goals.
It also helps you identify which strengths you must develop and the weaknesses you need to eliminate in order to improve your company.
Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics
The results of all the analysis made are used as inputs for the establishment of goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. Goals are basically the long term outcomes that your business development plan seeks to achieve. Objectives are far more specific and include clear, measurable outcomes you are supposed to achieve in a specific time period.
Strategies indicate how the business will accomplish its objectives by leveraging its strengths and opportunities, and overcoming its weaknesses and threats. Tactics are operational and indicate the guidelines the company will follow to achieve its strategies.
Are you prepared?
A proper business plan will guide you in purpose, including the mission, vision and values, as well as product or service, target audience and the strategies to achieve success. Hence the value of a business plan cannot be overstated.
You can consult business solution providers online who will conduct customized health checks on your business and then draft a business plan accordingly. But remember to get your business plan updated every few months to get hold of the latest marketing and financial strategies.