What is the role of business development?

Businesses leaders and entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for growth opportunities. Whether it's new avenues to explore, opportunities to pursue, and areas in which to develop, there's always a new way to develop their business.

Every healthy business should be engaged in business development in one form or another. That may mean searching for new clients, researching developing markets, or cutting costs to boost efficiency. Because although some businesses are great, they can always be better.

So what is the role of business development in a company? And what do successful businesses in the modern world do in order to continually grow and successfully develop?

We are going to take a look at the role of business development in companies today, what it is, who's behind it, and how it is implemented.

What is the role of business development?

The role of business development is simply to grow a business in a sustainable way and make it more profitable than it currently is. Development is integral for any business that wants to become more efficient and expand beyond its current reach.

Business development feeds into different departments within a business. It can mean many different things depending on the department that is developing and the changes that they implement. Some businesses will opt to employ a business development manager who oversees all development within the business. Others will have a managerial team and heads of departments who collectively act as the business developer of the organisation.

So let's jump in and take a closer look at exactly what is meant by business development.

What is business development?

Business development is a general term for all of the ideas, campaigns, and initiatives that work to make a business grow or to become better and more efficient. Essentially, business development is any activity within a business or organisation that leads to the business becoming more profitable.

However, business development also incorporates things that may not immediately make a business more profitable but that have long term profitability. For example, customer retention schemes might initially cost the business more but over time it will, if all goes as planned, pay off.

Some companies, especially bigger ones, view business development as a continual process, while others actively engage in business development when the time is appropriate.

How does business development work?

Every business has different teams and departments that are responsible for various aspects of the business' management. The number of departments usually depends on the size of the business.

Here we will take a look at different departments within a business and explore some of the options they have when it comes to developing that department and, in turn, the business as a whole.


The marketing team in a business is focused on advertising the company or its products and services to clients, customers, and the wider public. They look at ways to present the business in order to generate more sales.

Business development in this department can be anything from advertising campaigns to targeted cold calls. The ultimate aim of marketing development is to open the business to a bigger market and therefore increase sales.


Almost every business development role has some element of sales. The sales team is focused on increasing the overall sales of a business and immediately raising the profits. They put the marketing work into direct action with customers and clients. The sales and marketing teams are closely linked in this way - the better the marketing, the better the sales.

The sales team can develop their side of the business by setting certain sales goals within a time period. To achieve these goals they either need to increase the sales with existing customers or clients, find new customers or clients, or strike a combination of the two.

Sales management often involves researching potential customer and client markets, as well as sustaining and growing pre-existing sales relationships.


Many businesses choose to form strategic partnerships with other businesses or organisations that are mutually beneficial to both parties. Partnering with other firms means both organisations can pool their expertise, ideas, and capital to grow with one another.

Therefore, many businesses will have partnership management teams that look to grow and develop the business by fostering relationships with other businesses.

Project management

Project management is crucial for putting words into action. For example, if a business chooses to develop by expanding into other countries, it is up to the project management team to implement the research of the other departments and to bring the new goals to life. There may be new buildings to construct or modify based on regulations, or there may be temporary personnel that need hiring. The project management team puts the business development plan into action and makes the development dreams a reality.

Networking and lobbying

All businesses need ambassadors, whether in a formal capacity or not, to meet with future investors, clients, and potential partners. Many bigger businesses will also have lobbying personnel who work with regulators, local government, and legal authorities.

When it comes to business development, networkers and lobbyists are integral to ensuring the right people are aware of the business development plans and are on board with what they are doing.


Of course, every good business needs a good managerial team. Management makes key decisions in business development plans such as which department gets what money, what are the overall goals of the business as a whole, and how can costs be cut. Cutting costs is as important as growing profits for business development and the management team often make the crucial decisions of what costs are cut and where.

What does a business development manager do?

Some businesses hire a business development manager who is specifically in charge of developing the business. This means they will often undertake the early stages of work that is then handed to a department, or they will instruct the departments to begin that early research themselves. So business managers have to be skilled in many different areas and have a solid grasp of a wide range of departmental disciplines and knowledge.

Business development managers spend a lot of time researching the market and future potential markets looking for new business opportunities and trying to work out if developing in certain directions is likely to yield much gain. They also need to keep abreast of what's going on in the world, global trends, and how the financial market is likely to fare if the business has gone public.

They also need to build and foster relationships with a wide variety of people. From customers to head office directors, middle managers to floor staff, it is important that business development managers know the company inside out and a large part of that is knowing everyone who is a part of that company. They may also be required to lead training sessions or organise for the right trainers to be brought in.

All in all, it is safe to say that business development managers have an incredibly demanding but often very satisfying job that requires multiple skill sets and excellent adaptability.

What are the ethics of business development?

Of course, business development cannot be pursued at any and all costs. There are environmental, social, and legal ethics that must be adhered to. It is important that such ethics are abided by to sustain both a better world and the good reputation of an organisation.

Business ethics saw major changes in the 1960s as the emerging big corporations realised that the consumer-based society that was being fostered had ethical and moral concerns about the practices of big business.

In the modern world, the promotion of ethics is now a major factor in the marketing of a brand. Companies must strike a balance between behaving in an ethical manner and ensuring that their profit targets are still met. Many customers show loyalty to businesses that have a clear code of ethics at their heart.

There are laws and regulations to set the standards in business ethics. However, there are some instances - such as if a company opens a manufacturing base in another country - where these regulations are harder to implement.

Although many businesses cut corners and do not adhere to good ethics, research shows that customers increasingly care deeply about the ethical practices of a business. For example, environmental considerations are important to many people and more and more companies make a point to explain the ways in which they take ecological considerations into account as they conduct their operations.

Business ethics also extend to a business relationship with its clientele and customers. Customers want to know that they are being treated and dealt with fairly and equally regardless of who they are. Ultimately, no business exists without its customers, so it is vital that they feel well looked after and that their custom is truly valued.


Business development encompasses all the different aspects of a business and refers to the many ways in which they can be improved, grown, or made more efficient. This may come in the form of extra expenditure, cost cuts, a change of focus, and many other forms that might be unique for every business.

Every successful business should be looking to develop itself in some way because a healthy business is a growing business.