Published November 24, 2008

How to Create a Business Development Strategy That Works

Successful small business owners will be quick to tell you that it wasn't dumb luck that allowed them to have a thriving business.

In most cases, careful planning and the implementation of a business development strategy was involved.

Quite simply, strategic management is the act of developing and implementing a plan designed to achieve the objectives of your business.

Typically, this involves listing the objectives, doing an analysis of current practices and developing programs and policies to correct any weaknesses and thrust the business forward in terms of meeting objectives.

Some will develop their plans using a "bottom up" method, while others will use a "top down" approach. In bottom up management, employees will make suggestions and the best of the ideas will be passed up through management until, finally, some of the ideas are adopted.

In a top down management style, the business owner or top managers will create the business development strategy and then implement the changes down through the chain of command.

Another option is the collaborative process in which managers and employees work together to develop the best business strategy.

You'll want to evaluate each idea based on its weaknesses, strengths, growth potential and risk potential. The initial development or review process may involve top managers or employees from every department may be involved. When possible, a business strategy consultant may be included.

Depending on the complexities of the strategies you plan to implement, there are several factors you'll need to take into consideration. These include ensuring there are sufficient resources, assigning responsibilities and establishing a chain of command.

You will also want to develop a timeline and points at which you will evaluate the strategies to see if they are achieving the desired goals.

Here are two common types of business strategies and the areas they encompass.

Functional Strategies

These strategies focus on broad ideas and tasks for different departments within a business.

Functional strategies may include marketing, human resources, new product lines as well as legal and financial strategies.

Operational Strategies

While functional strategies incorporate broad ideas, operational strategies are much narrower.

They typically deal with the day to day operations of the business and may focus on details such as how many cashiers are needed during a certain shift or how much stock to keep on hand.

Obviously, there is not one type of business strategy that is going to work for every business. The old saying goes "there is more than one way to crack a nut", and this is true in business, even within the same industries.

If you're in the insurance field, that doesn't mean that to find success you must copy the business model of the successful agent down the street. In fact, the contrary is often true.

For some businesses, trial and error is part of the process of finding business development strategies that work. You don't want to pull the plug too quickly, however. Some ideas may require time to reach their fullest potential.

Find what works for you and if you realize that what you are doing is not working, switch things up until you find a new business strategy that is right for your organization.