What Exactly Does A Biz Dev Person Do In A Startup?
Business Development or Biz Dev for short is an extremely popular and growing career in the startup community. A lot of people refer to a biz dev as a salesperson. Others would refer to biz dev as a marketing professional with account executive experience. The rest just have no clue what they do except for the fact that they develop business.
Biz Dev In Startup
Biz dev wears many hats in a startup. A startup is a rapid pace business that requires rapid business expansion, and that’s where the biz dev kicks in. Business Development professional’s main goal is to expand the startup’s business. There’s a lot of things that business development professionals do, but here are the things that they usually focus on.
- Expanding, by finding new customers/clients usually based on the startup or products niche. Most of this is b2b.
- Research, by researching into different markets to see which market is most suitable for the product
- Business Planning & Execution, by coming up with strategies on how to approach various clients.
- Handle The Accounts, Biz Dev in startups follows up with existing clients to obtain feedbacks. This role is usually handed over to the Account executive after the startup grows a bit.
In a startup environment a biz dev might be doing some marketing work as well, but their main goal is to expand the business. Expanding doesn’t happen itself and it doesn’t expand well if you do not have proper planning and targeting. A business development will handle and plan all of that. If necessary, they will pick up the phone and contact various clients as well.
A Day In Life Of A Biz Dev At A Startup
For this example let’s give the business development associate a name of Jack and the startup that he works for a name of “A-fashion”, a fashion tech startup that focuses on helping indie and boutique fashion shops sell their clothing online.
Jack wakes up at 8:00AM in the morning and checks his email to ensure that all the meeting times are set, clients aren’t complaining, and check for anything else related to his work.
Jack looks through his list of potential clients that he needs to reach out to for the day. Jack locates that there will be 2 potential clients near each other in the same neighborhood. Jack drives to the clients location and communicates with them explaining what the fashion site does and what value it brings to the indie clothing store.
The first client is interested in selling their product on the site and Jack walks them through the set up process and answers any necessary questions regarding the site. Unfortunately, the second client rejects Jack’s offer, but Jack keeps the client on the list for a future follow up.
After lunch Jack will head back to the office and call potential clients for a few hours to try and schedule a meeting with them. He then follows up with existing clients to see if they have any questions or referrals.
By 5:30-6:00, Jack will respond to any emails that he missed out on and prepare the next day’s proposal and schedule. A lot of extra time will be put into creating proposals and researching into target zones for future potential clients.
As you can see, a day in life of a biz dev can be difficult, exhausting, and very much like a sales or account executive position.
Here’s a sample responsibility list for a biz dev:
- Hunts, identifies, and recruits strategic partners for our new technologies
- Closes new business deals by coordinating requirements; developing and negotiating contracts; defining partners’ needs and goals
- Develops negotiating strategies and positions for target partners
- Builds an action plan laying out goals, strategy, tactics, and timeline
- Screens potential business deals by analyzing market strategies, deal requirements, potential, and financials; evaluating options; resolving internal priorities;
- Builds and strengthens relationships with partners
Requirements for Biz Dev
Biz dev can be both an entry level or mid level position. Most startups hire biz dev as interns or recent college grads, similar to the product manager position. The most common Biz Dev roles are Business Development Associate (entry) or Business Development Manager (mid-level). Usually you will need to have excellent sales skills and communication skills to become a business development manager.
These are the requirements for a biz dev position (varies between startups)
- 0-3 years experience in sales, business development, strategy planning
- Excellent communication skills as you will be communicating with a lot of clients.
- “Must do” attitude; Assertive, passionate, and fearless
- At a tech startup, you must be both tech and business savy, can speak tech and business.
- Entrepreneurial spirit, since you will be on your own most of the time
- Bachelor’s degree in Business