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What needs to be included in a business development plan?

Have you thought about what's next for your business?

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. However, creating a business development plan can help you push your organisation above and beyond its current state. 

Do you know what you need to include in a business development plan?

Growing your business effectively requires effort and direction.Do you have a plan around how to grow your business?

What is a business development plan?

A business development plan lays out the strategy for how you intend to grow your company. It examines how you'll implement the changes, along with goals and measurements that allow you to track how your business is progressing with the strategy.

Business development is a broad topic. This means you can make your plan as complex and in-depth as you choose – it all depends on what you're looking to get out of the process.

There are a range of areas you can look at when creating your business development plan to ensure you're creating a well-rounded solution. These 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 the above aspects the better able you'll be able to factor them into implementing your strategy. Knowledge and research provide you with valuable insights. Your organisation will find it much simpler putting the strategy into play the more road bumps you can smooth out when creating your business development plan.

What should you include in a business development plan?

To make the time and effort involved worthwhile, there are several main aspects you should cover in your business development plan. 

Industry analysis and competitive advantage 

Looking at external factors as well as what's happening within your company is important. You don't need to make this too in-depth. However, note down:

  • Who your main competitors are
  • Whether the industry you're in is growing, or you need to begin expanding your offerings.
  • What sets you apart?

Make sure you're aware of your competitive advantage. Can you build on that? Having something that sets you apart from everyone else will help your business grow. 

SWOT analysis

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is a breakdown of your business as it currently stands. A simple way to remember its purpose is:

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

You might feel like you know these aspects about your company already. However, this analysis requires you to dive into each, find information that backs up your thinking, and research internal and external factors. 

If you're wishing to develop your business in a certain direction, a SWOT analysis helps you figure out the best way to take advantage of any opportunity. It shows you which strengths to play on and what weaknesses might cause the business' development to stumble if not managed properly. 

A business development plan should help you identify your company's strengths.Knowing what sets your company apart from the competition helps you capitalise on it.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are highly useful for organisations to know how everything is running. 

Figure out the KPIs that represent the health of your company. Include them in your business development plan as well as how regularly they'll be tracked. Having your finger on the pulse of your company will allow you to adjust and update your strategies as needed to ensure you achieve your growth goals. You can make the KPIs you track as straightforward as revenue or the drop-off rate of prospective clients along your conversion process. 

Target customers

Do you have a character profile for your target customers? 

Understanding who you're aiming each of your products at helps you create better marketing strategies. Buyer personas makes it easier for you to answer their needs more directly, driving sales and satisfaction.

Consider your clients. Try to figure out details such as: 

  • Their general age group. Marketing to millennials requires a different approach than when targeting baby boomers. 
  • Their needs. What is the problem you're seeking to solve for them? Does your solution cover all aspects, or can you extend your service to create a full package?
  • Goals. What does the buyer want to achieve?
  • Challenges. Do you know the pain points that are making it difficult for your clients to achieve their goals? Could you offer them a service that would help them overcome these issues and accomplish their aims? 

Goals

An essential part of a business development plan is identifying and clarifying your goals. A general wish to grow isn't enough.

To implement strategy effectively you need direction. For example, each member of a rowing team may perfectly execute each stroke, but they won't get anywhere unless they're all in sync. Giving them a clear, joint direction allows them to coordinate their efforts and begin making true progress.  

Break goals down into steps. Figure out the overarching aims that you want to achieve, then split them into mid- and low-level goals. Each should feed into the overall objective.

Having goals helps sync your team together into a unit. Your team needs goals to help sync their efforts together.

Strategy and tactics

What will you do to grow your business, and how will you put it into action?

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

For example, you might decide your strategy for increasing your revenue stream is to encourage more referrals. Offering some kind of benefit to existing clients should they bring you a new customer is a tactic that helps achieve your strategy. 

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

The benefits of creating a business development plan

Your company's growth shouldn't be left to chance. Taking the time to create a business development plan means 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 company. With everyone aware of the company's aims and what tactics they need to use to achieve them, it's much easier to get everyone onboard. 

If growth is on your horizon and you want to create a business development plan to achieve it, reach out to WMC Accounting today. We're here to help your company thrive and succeed. 

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