A business development plan is a plan of action. It is a written document that explains the goals of your business and how you are going to achieve them. It contains background information such as market research and analysis, but more importantly, it contains the detailed steps you will take to bring new dollars to your company.
A well-conceived plan allows you to be deliberate and methodical in your business development; it also allows you to evaluate each step of the process and make adjustments when necessary. In reality, many new businesses get going without any such plan in place. Those who do have a plan often don’t include the necessary details to make success inevitable. Many entrepreneurs start with an idea for a product or service, make that idea a reality, and then take whatever business comes their way. If you ask them how they get new dollars through the door, they may give you a blank look or a vague answer: “Oh, we network, sign a contract, and get paid in 90 days.”
A sound business development plan gives your sellers a road map to success. Henry Ford’s Model T assembly line revolutionized the auto industry by breaking down the creation of an automobile into thousands of simple, repeatable steps. Not one person in his factory could have put an entire car together by himself, but everyone could do his job quickly and well. In the same way, a sound business development plan lays out a clear path to closed sales by breaking the sale down into bite-sized, repeatable steps.
One of the biggest advantages to spelling everything out in a detailed business development plan is that you can much more effectively determine what is working and what is not. If you’re not getting the results you want or expect, the problem could be with just one of your steps. If you’re keeping tabs on everything, you’ll be able to pinpoint the weak link and make the appropriate adjustments, rather than throwing everything out and starting over.
Here are a few tips to help bring your business development plan to the next level:
- Be Realistic
- Make It Actionable
- Break It Down into Bite-Sized Pieces
- Master Each Bite-Sized Piece
- Take Your Best Guess
The right plan will not only make your sales goals possible, it will also make them inevitable. The better your plan, the more your goals will not be dependent on factors you cannot control, such as market fluctuations or other economic environmental factors.