When it comes to career paths and the jobs we aspire to, it’s easy to feel like there are only a few options on the table. But actually, there’s a whole world of different types of jobs and roles out there, and we’re on a mission to bring them to light and explain what they actually involve. Ahead, a look at business development—and over here, we’ve also got office assistants, marketing managers, and executive assistants.
If you work in business development, you have a single and simple mission: To pursue strategic opportunities and create value for an organization. If you work in-house, you’ll be undertaking this mission for your employer. If you work for an agency, you may undertake this mission for one or more clients.
In many ways, business development falls under the marketing umbrella so a background in marketing can be very helpful when pursuing a role in business development. You’ll be working in areas that include branding, user acquisition, user awareness, brand partnerships, etc.
To start out, you may work as a business development manager. There is plenty of potential for upward mobility; the next step might be as a business development director or chief operating officer.
Here’s what you need to know about getting into business development
Your exact job duties in business development may differ quite a bit, as you may focus on a particular area of development. Let’s look at the details.
So, what does someone in business development typically do?
Julia Rudlin is the director of business development at Terminal.io. In her words, the duties of someone in business development can “vary tremendously.”
“Some roles are more sales-focused, while others may be more technical,” says Rudlin.
One of your main duties will be to pursue and cultivate strategic partnerships and business relationships. A good example of a strategic partnership is Fitbit’s collaboration with Tory Burch. Let’s say Fitbit’s aim was to reach more female customers. By aligning itself with Tory Burch, which created stylish bands for Fitbit, it was able to further its reach with the female demographic.
If your role is sales-focused, one of your duties will be to identify new markets for the products or services of an organization, while helping to scale current markets. The overall aim here is to help the organization achieve its revenue goals.
Finally, you’ll work on growing the brand and business of an organization. In this area, your duties will include working on user acquisition, boosting user engagement, and so on.
Who is this job ideally for?
You’ll enjoy a role in business development if you’re someone who is “comfortable speaking to and working with a wide array of people,” says Rudlin.
Because so much of your role relies on promoting an organization, the better your communications skills are, the better you’ll do. You want to be able to speak with confidence and conviction.
On that note, it’s equally important, says Rudlin, to be “passionate and knowledgeable” about the industry you’re working in as well as the business you’re working for. It’s passion for and knowledge of your subject that will drive that confidence.
What are the usual job requirements?
If you’re looking to break into the world of business development, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in business management, administration, or a related field such as marketing. Hiring managers will also look favorably upon relevant work experience.
To give yourself the edge, you may want to look into gaining additional business and leadership certifications. As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to have excellent communication skills, so this is one area you could study up on.
Before applying for a role, Michelle Joosse of Hotline IT recommends you research the industry you’re looking to go into. “Research what the customers are like [and what they] want and need,” says Joosse. “Then decide whether you feel you could add value to them. If you can, then apply [for the job.]”
What’s the average salary like?
PayScale reports that the average salary for a business development manager is $71K per year. The average salary for an entry-level business development manager is $63K per year. If you’re looking to become a business development director, you’re in luck. PayScale reports the average salary for this role is $103K per year.