A business plan is the blueprint for your business. It gives your company a cohesive focus, provides direction for your everyday activities and acts as a roadmap for your overall growth.

And while every successful business needs a business plan, including a business development plan as part of it is so often overlooked. Without one, there is no reference as to how your business will achieve the goals laid out in the business plan.

In other words, without one, your business plan is simply a wish plan. You have a lovely dream for your business, but it isn’t grounded in the reality of the hard work it will take to get there.

Instead of writing an “if I build it, they will come” type of business plan, write one that includes these step-by-step business development tactics.

Networking. In today’s competitive business world, building and maintaining relationships with other people is important. Most small-to-mid size businesses get the majority of their business through word-of-mouth. Creating a strategic networking plan means you will take the time to meet people and develop relationships that will provide a great return on your time and effort.

Marketing. The world of sales and marketing has changed, and inbound marketing now reigns supreme. These strategies include regularly adding vlogs and blogs to your website, investing in Google ad words and managing social media pages for your business. Each one gets you actively talking about and promoting your business and your expertise – both of which will get you noticed.

Professional associations. There are professional associations for almost every industry. By doing your research and joining the one or ones that are right for you, you’re not only increasing your networking efforts, but you’re also gaining access to valuable business benefits. These include exclusive resources, invitations to conferences or seminars and access to a support system, which opens the door to coaching and mentoring relationships.

A strong business development plan complements your business plan, turning it from a wish plan into what you need to succeed.

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