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Chapter 4

Write a business development plan

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Small business guides > A complete guide to growing your business > Write a business development plan

Write a business development plan

Now that you’re in the growth stage of your business, it’s time to get to work. Set things in motion with a business development plan.

What is a business development plan?

A business development plan is just like the business plan you created when you started your business, but with a focus on growth and how to achieve it. It’s a long-term plan that outlines strategies for steady and sustainable business growth over the coming years.

Before you start, do a SWOT analysis

Before you begin writing your business development plan, you need to complete a SWOT analysis to make sure you’re focusing on the right things. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – these will form the basis of your plan.

For more information, check out the SWOT analysis section in the how to write a business plan chapter of our guide to starting a business.

How to write a business development plan

Your business development plan is the cornerstone of your growth strategy. It will keep you on track and accountable, so make sure it’s clear, specific, and realistic. Review and revise your plan as often as you can. And keep building on it as your business evolves.

What to include in a business development plan

1. Opportunities for growth
Study your target market, your competitors, and your previous progress. From there, identify opportunities for growth – whether it’s in creating new products, adding more services, breaking into new markets, a combination of these, or other opportunities. Consider your options and work out what’s best for your business.

2. Funding plan
Determine how you’ll fund your business growth. How much capital do you already have? How much more do you need and how will you get it?

3. Financial goals
Do profit, revenue, and cost projections, then use them as a basis for setting your short-term (quarterly) and longer-term (yearly) financial goals.

4. Sales and marketing activities
Figure out what sales and marketing efforts will effectively promote growth and how these efforts will change as you get bigger and better. Make sure your sales and marketing plan is sturdy enough to support your growing business.

5. Team needs
Evaluate your existing team and think about how you can improve their capabilities to meet your growth objectives. Consider hiring new employees and what skills they need to have.

A sample business development plan

How to write a business development plan

Avoid these common business development mistakes

  • Thinking short-term instead of long-term

  • Underestimating how much money it will take to grow

  • Not budgeting enough money to cover the costs of growth

  • Focusing on too many growth opportunities – think quality, not quantity

As your business grows, take note of your progress and make periodic adjustments to your business development plan to make sure it’s still relevant and meets your current needs. Business growth takes time, so be prepared to put the hard yards in.

Chapter 5: How to forecast demand

Learn the basics of demand forecasting – what it is, why you need it, and the different methods you can use to forecast demand.

Read chapter 5

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