What Is Business Development, Anyway – And Is It Even Important?

Hannah Sullivan handles Business Development at SolePro. Access specialty Workers’ Comp products through Pogo, their digital aggregator.

In short, business development pertains to the “ideas, initiatives, and activities that help make a business better.” Or that’s what Investopedia says, anyway. Those in business development hope to increase revenue, growth and partnerships. They are strategic. They like making big decisions. And they like talking to others with the hopes of increasing their organization’s profitability.

It is like a salad. Several different ingredients go into it, making it the perfect and balanced mix. Biz dev, if you will, has a sprinkle of sales, a dash of marketing, a huge dollop of ideas, and lots and lots of time and energy. And research. And management. Okay, now I’m hungry!

What Type Of Personality Is Best For Business Development?

If you want to be in this role, you definitely need to be a go-getter. You need to get out there and take risks, and you can’t be afraid to fail. It sounds generic, and maybe it is, but it’s true. If you don’t take the leap of faith, you won’t reach your goal, and your company will not move forward the way it had been planned. As my sister and many wise people say, you always miss 100% of the shots if you never take one. 

Another trait that makes those in biz dev successful — you can’t take things too personally. Sure, there will be wins. And, there will be failures. And sometimes, there will be ego-crushing, heartbreaking, failures. Spending so much time on a project and not having it succeed can really hurt. But, then there will be huge wins, too. It’s all part of the biz. (dev.)

How To Go About Being A Business Development Professional 

Those in business development have different strategies based on their industry. But one desire is always the same: Money. Power. Glory. Oh, wait. That’s actually a Lana Del Ray song. But seriously, it’s all about growth, and with that, comes the dollar bill, y’all. (Dang it, another song. Thanks, Wyclef!)

Seriously, it seems like there are two approaches to being in biz dev. One, you can be very calculated and organized. Or, you can be very free-flowing and see what sticks. Personally, I am a mix of both. But let’s start with being super organized.

Why It Pays To Be Organized When You’re In Biz Dev

Everyone likes a plan, especially when it’s a good one. You’ve got a solid starting point, and you know the path to get you where you’d like to go. And you will probably get to that end point successfully if you follow your road map.

Wondering how to stay organized? First, starting with a SWOT analysis doesn’t hurt. This assesses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It helps you evaluate your position and allows you to create a strategy. SWOTs are based on facts, not feelings. Going with your gut is more of an “I’m kind of random and I like to see what sticks” type of thing.

Another way to develop a plan is to see what others are doing around you. Know your competitors. Who are they talking to, and how? What is their tone? What are they doing?

Why Being a Free Spirit May Not Hurt You When You’re In Business Development

Like I said above, sometimes you just need to try a variety of things to see what works. Maybe you want to be “official” and do a SWOT analysis. But maybe you aren’t feeling the direction it’s taking you. Or, let’s say you’re going after a competitor and want to try to mimic their method of communication, their design style and whatever else you’re able to imitate without coming off as a total stalker. But neither approach is working! 

The best attribute of free-spirited, and at times random, people in business development is their ability to pivot. Something not working? On to the next. Is the second option still not hitting the nail on the head? Let’s try another angle. No matter what, the flexible ones are along for the ride. And, won’t stop until they get to where they want to go.

Still Wondering If Business Development Is Important?

Yes, yes it is! It pushes organizations along. It inspires growth. It allows for new income opportunities. It brings people, and other companies, together. With it, brings more creativity. More prosper. More success. Okay, have I made my point?! 

I definitely believe business development is important, but hey, I may be biased — as that’s my role. Whether or not you’re looking into business development as a new career, or you’re wondering if Rick is really doing his “job,” I’d say business development is not only important, it’s essential.


Forbes Business Development Council is an invitation-only community for sales and biz dev executives. Do I qualify?


https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2021/10/11/what-is-business-development-anyway–and-is-it-even-important/