Every now and then, you will come across the term “business development”. Or hear someone say they work in business development. For some, the term is ambiguous and leaves people with more questions than they started with. So, what is business development and what are existing business development jobs?
What is Business Development?
It depends on who you ask. Some people will interpret business development to be “just sales” or any other ordinary management position in a company. And with titles such as “Vice President of Business Development” and “Business Development Executive”, it can be hard to reconcile the importance of the position with what they even do!
Investopedia defines the position as “the ideas, initiatives and activities aimed towards making a business better”. A Forbes article defines it as “the creation of long-term value for an organization.” Both definitions seem to agree on one thing. And that is the positive long-term progression of the business.
What does Business Development entail?
The goal of any business is to make money and maximize profits. Business development looks at increasing revenue through the lens of various departments. It can apply to sales, marketing, partnerships, networking, and cost reduction. To better understand the role of business development, it is helpful to look at how they function within other facets of business.
You may have the perfect product which solves a universal problem, lets say, a plunger for example. Sales are good and you’ve completely cornered the American and European market- but, who’s to say it couldn’t be better? Business development would see this as an opportunity to expand into other markets. They would assess the market in a specific region and determine that your sales could be better if you began selling your plungers in Asia. Or, perhaps your plunger needs to be slightly redesigned to work with different toilets in Asia but the cost in R&D would be remade in sales and is worth it.
It is important to note that business development is not traditional sales in the sense that they are not looking for just one customer in particular. Rather they are focused on the long-term efficacy and benefits of selling products in a particular market or by using particular sales strategies.
Let’s stick with the plunger idea. So you have determined that you can indeed sell your product in Asia somewhat successfully. Now, you need to figure out how you will accomplish that. Are you better off establishing your own infrastructure and developing organic departments to handle the sales, manufacturing and marketing? Or, would it be more sensible to work with businesses, wholesalers and manufacturers already well established in the country? It is a complicated task and involves a variety of variables which would be handled by a business developer.
The local government is placing a large tariff on your plunger out of fear that your product will interfere with local plumbing businesses. You could deal with the tariff and absorb those costs, but that would obviously mean lower than expected profits. It is also only a matter of time before someone, a potential competitor, finds a way around the tariff and begins selling a new plunger for cheaper. A business development team could network, lobby and negotiate with local authorities for lower tariffs. They will prove that your product will enhance the local economy, thus allowing you to keep your profits high and costs low.
You have successfully entered various international and domestic markets and have increased sales across the board- great! However, a lot of business development work focuses on the examination and analysis of internal business practices. Primarily, they do so in order to save money. Maybe there is a new technology available which investing in could save your company in the long run. Or perhaps there are more efficient ways to do a certain job.
Regardless of the department or function, business development can play a role in maximizing your efficiency and profits.
What are some Business Development Jobs?
A typical career path starts as a business development representative (BDR). From there, you can expect to reach a business development manager or higher leadership position. Large companies such as TikTok are hiring business development interns to “Compile market research to assist in building pitch for our platform global teams.” Careers in business development also compensate very well. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary for a Training and Development Manager is $111,340 per year, usually requiring a bachelor’s degree and the number of jobs are growing at a rate of around 8% per year. Still have questions? Check out our blog for more information on business development jobs and for all things business!