Business Development Plan for Small Businesses

Your business may not be as successful without a Business Development Plan. Many small business owners neglect to do the business plan they need because it’s difficult to find the time. Have you ever thought about planning? If only you weren’t too busy with business.

Business planning does not have to be time-consuming. You can create a basic business plan in just two to three hours that will help you boost your business over a year.

Preparing your Business Development Plan

You can set aside time for two sessions of business planning. The days do not have to be consecutive but they should be close together in time. Your planning sessions may be as close as one week apart.

If you are a person who likes working in groups, find a friend who is also a small-business owner. These will make brainstorming easier and more enjoyable as social events. Your planning group should not exceed three people. (The smaller your group, the more contributions each member will make.

Session 1: Business Development Plan Session

1. Revisit the Vision statement

Your business vision is the foundation for all business development planning. It’s also the source of your motivation and inspiration. Are you able to see yourself with so many businesses that you feel you will need help? Trebling your sales? Being a local leader in your industry? Become a franchise operator Give your imagination free rein. How would you like your company to look in three years? In three years? In five years?

Write down your three business vision statements. Do not hesitate to create a business vision statement. It should reflect what you want your business to become and what you want out of it. Your vision statement is not for clients or customers.


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2. Assess Your Business

The second step in your development plan is to examine the current situation of your company. This is the hard part. What are your three greatest strengths as a business right now? What are your business’s top three strengths right now? 

It’s now more difficult: you must relate your strengths and weaknesses to the vision statement for next years. What will you do with the three strengths that you’ve identified to get you closer to your goals for next year? What are your three weaknesses?

These are the things you should think about and/or talk about. Next, write down three areas of your business that you believe are the most important for achieving your vision statement next year.

Let’s say, for example, that my business vision is to triple my sales next year and make my product well-known nationwide. Assume, for example, my strengths are my product’s attributes (people who use it consider it superior), my customer base (I do a lot of repeat business and the product is well-positioned in my local market), and my distribution system (I have no problem filling orders and getting my product to my customers).

However, my business’ weaknesses are that it doesn’t seem like it is attracting many new customers and the product doesn’t seem well-known outside of my local area. These were compared to my vision statement for next year. I then wrote: “Salesforce.” PR. Marketing.”


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Session 2: Business Development Plan Session

Once you have a clear vision of where you want to go, this session will help you create a plan for next year.

3. Set your priorities

The three elements of my business that I considered most important for achieving my vision statement next year in my first session were closely linked in my example. You might not think so. Consider the three elements you have selected, and rank them from most important to least important.

4. Brainstorm Actions

Concentrate on your top priority or two. What are you able to do to get the results you desire? Allow your mind to wander and think of all possible actions that you could take. This is where a partner or team of business planners can help. Other people often have great ideas that you may not have thought of.

After I had set my priorities for marketing and PR, I would then brainstorm the best ways to increase my marketing and public relations efforts to triple my sales and make my product more widely known. I could:

  • Create a website
  • Send press releases frequently
  • Do something unusual or crazy that will get me national coverage
  • A public relations specialist is available for hire
  • Make a marketing strategy
  • Send out a massive mailing campaign to send people samples of my product
  • Pay to have my name on a blimp
  • Advertise in national magazines
  • Advertise on search engines
  • Advertise on social media like Facebook and Twitter with ads

Although this is only a small list, you can get an idea. It is important to keep track of all ideas during brainstorming. Even the most unlikely idea could contain the seed of a great idea.

5. Organise Your Actions

This stage is where your ideas are transformed into an action plan.

Begin by reviewing your list. You can place checkmarks next to ideas that you like, and question marks next to those you don’t. Then draw lines around the ones you find silly or unworkable.

Examine the “good” ideas. Are there any common themes or similarities? If so, you can group these ideas.

6. Set your goals

To create your action goals, use the items marked with a check and/or groups of themed objects. Goal Setting is the First Step to Achievement explains that the key to successful goal setting involves incorporating both the action and the timeline in your goal. The following formula can be used:

“I will (specific goal) BY(specific actions I will take to achieve the goal) BY [time].”

One example of my action goals is: “I will make my product known nationwide BY creating a marketing strategy BY (a date that’s three months away).”

Another goal of mine is: “I will make my product well-known nationally by starting a Facebook ad campaign BY (a date that’s three days away).”

Do not miss the dates! These dates are important to motivate you and provide a framework for you to evaluate your progress.

You can set as many action steps as you need to reach your larger goal of making your vision for next year a reality.

7. You should plan how and when you will evaluate your progress

Now that you have an action plan, and are ready to implement it, there is one thing left. You’ll likely never see the results of your business development plan if you don’t plan when and how to evaluate them.

While the dates in your goals can be helpful, you should also include time for reviewing your progress and adding to your schedule. Which approach works best for you? Do you plan to review your progress with your business plan every week? Every month? Every three months? It is a good idea to begin each day with a session on business planning. This helps you keep your goals in mind.

Whatever you decide, choose your dates and set reminders in any scheduling software you use. It will take between twenty and an hour to evaluate your progress with your action plan.

Again, it is a great idea to work with a partner or small group on your business planning. One of the things you will do as you assess your progress is to determine what is working and what is not. It is always helpful to have more input on goals and to learn how your group members implement their own action plans.

This is the end of the second session on business development planning. Now you have decided your direction for the next year, and have created an action plan that will take you to where you want to be.

Make it Happen

Only one thing remains: put your action plan into practice! These two sessions on Business Development Plan should have fired you up to get started on your journey toward achieving your vision statement.

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