What is business development?

Business development can seem like such a broad term, and it doesn’t pin point what exactly it covers. An article we found on Forbes puts it nicely:

“Few times in history have more ambiguous words been spoken.  Ask ten “VPs of Business Development” or similarly business card-ed folks what is business development, and you’re like to get just as many answers.

“Business development is sales,” some will say, concisely.

“Business development is partnerships,” others will say, vaguely.

“Business development is hustling,” the startup folks will say, evasively.

The assortment of varied and often contradictory responses to the basic question of “what, exactly, is business development” reminds me of the way physicists seek to explain what, exactly, is the universe.  With conflicting theories on the nature of black holes and bosons, the ultimate goal for those scientists is a Grand Unified Theory, a single definition that can elegantly explain how the universe itself operates at every level.”

Whilst this is a slightly humorous point, it holds some truths. The article offers this definition and a break down of it, here’s part of it, see what you think.

Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organisation from customers, markets, and relationships.

Long-Term Value

First, what do I mean by “long-term value?”  In its simplest form, “value” is cash, money, the lifeblood of any business (but it can also be access, prestige, or anything else a company seeks in order to grow).  And there are plenty of ways to make a quick buck for you or your company.  But business development is not about get-rich-quick schemes and I-win-you-lose tactics that create value that’s gone tomorrow as easily as it came today.  It’s about creating opportunities for that value to persist over the long-term, to keep the floodgates open so that value can flow indefinitely.  Thinking about business development as a means to creating long-term value is the only true way to succeed in consistently growing an organisation.”

The truth is business development is a sort of Pandora’s Box, where a seemingly one-dimensional field actually can become many different things. We at BCR consulting provide some of these services, so if you think you may need a little help navigating this vast field, get in contact.

Back to top