A subset of the fields of business and commerce, business development comprises a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities.
In the limited scholarly work available on the subject, business development is conceptualized as or related to discrete projects, specific modes of growth, and organizational units, activities, and practices. Sorensen integrates these different perspectives with insights from chairmen and managing directors (CMDs), senior business developers and venture capitalists from successful high-tech firms from Europe, North America and India into one general construct. In this perspective, business development refers to:
“the tasks and processes concerning analytical preparation of potential growth opportunities, the support and monitoring of the implementation of growth opportunities, but does not include decisions on strategy and implementation of growth opportunities”(Sørensen, 2012, p. 26).
These tasks and processes are performed by business developers. Given the nature of business development activities, the business development function is typically organized as a staff function.
The business developer
Business developers perform business development tasks and processes. As such, the business developer is concerned with the analytical preparation of potential growth opportunities for the senior management or board of directors as well as the subsequent support and monitoring of its implementation. Both in the development phase and the implementation phase, the business developer collaborates and integrates the knowledge and feedback from the organization’s specialist functions, for example, R&D,production, marketing, and sales to assure that the organization is capable of implementing the growth opportunity successfully. The business developers’ tools to address the business development tasks are the business model answering “how do we make money” and its analytical backup and roadmap for implementation, the business plan.