Business Improvement Vs Business Development: What Are The Differences?

Business improvement vs business development

As a business owner, you may have heard the terms “business improvement” and “business development” used interchangeably. However, while they are related, they are not the same. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between business improvement vs business development and help you understand how each of them can be used to help your business reach its goals.

Let’s dive in and learn more about the distinction between business improvement and business development.

1. What is the Business Improvement process?

What is Business Improvement Process
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The business improvement process is the practice of identifying ways to improve the performance of a business, its operations, and its products. It focuses on streamlining existing processes and creating efficiencies through standardization and automation.

Businesses can make sure their operations are always running at peak efficiency by putting in place programs for continuous improvement.

Business improvement requires a systematic approach involving both top-level executives and front-line employees. This allows for a holistic view of how the organization functions and gives everyone a chance to contribute to the improvement process.

Also, it’s important to remember that business improvement isn’t a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing process (Kaizen) that should be constantly watched and changed to meet changing needs.

Lean Analytics Process for Business Improvement
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Business process improvement initiatives are a key part of business development because they help businesses remain competitive in today’s market. By making processes better, businesses can be more productive, save money, and give better service to customers. One of the ways to do this is by using the Lean analytics process.

Additionally, business process management is also critical for staying competitive because it helps organizations identify inefficiencies, address them quickly, and develop new strategies to remain ahead of competitors. In the end, efforts to improve a business can give it long-lasting competitive advantages and help it succeed in the long run.

2. The goal of Business Improvement

Business improvement efforts may include the introduction of new tools, technologies, or processes that can help streamline existing operations, optimize resources, and provide additional value for customers. It also involves analyzing current operations and processes in order to identify areas of waste or inefficiency and then creating action plans for eliminating these issues.

Also, business improvement initiatives can involve reorganizing teams or departments in order to reduce redundancies or improving customer service processes in order to increase customer satisfaction and retention.

3. What is the Business Development process?

What is Business Development Process
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Business development is the process of creating and implementing effective strategies for achieving a company’s long-term goals. This process involves the development of a business plan and the engagement of a team to execute it (business development executives).

Business development plans typically include market research, competitor analysis, customer segmentation, product/service positioning, sales planning, and forecasting, marketing strategy, and performance measurement.

The aim is to identify, create, develop, and enhance relationships with customers, partners, and other stakeholders in order to drive the growth of the organization.

4. The goal of Business Development

The main goal of a business development plan is to increase the value of an organization through strategic activities. This involves increasing the customer base, expanding into new markets, entering into new agreements and partnerships, and introducing innovative products or services.

To achieve this goal, effective business development requires an understanding of the market, industry trends, and customer needs.

The business development team works with the organization’s marketing team to create an effective marketing strategy that promotes and sells the company’s offerings.

They also work with the sales team to ensure that they have the right resources and channels to reach out to potential customers.

Success depends on the quality of the strategy and the ability of the team to execute it. It requires an ongoing review of market conditions, customer feedback, and progress against goals. Once implemented, the business development team must continue to monitor progress against objectives and adjust strategies as necessary.

5. Business Development process

Business Process Flow
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The process begins with research and analysis to understand the current state of the business and develop a strategy to increase profits and meet goals.

Business development activities involve establishing and nurturing relationships with customers and partners, identifying new business opportunities, and managing projects to implement new ideas. Business development efforts involve developing a business plan, setting achievable objectives, and creating an action plan to achieve them.

Business development teams consist of both internal and external resources. Internal resources include salespeople, marketing professionals, finance and accounting personnel, and operations staff.

External resources may include consultants, suppliers, distributors, advisors, and vendors. Successful business development encompasses a wide range of activities and requires coordination between these different resources and departments.

A business development strategy should include both short-term goals to ensure immediate success and long-term objectives for sustainable growth.

By taking a holistic approach to business development, companies can identify weaknesses, areas for improvement, and opportunities for growth.

6. The difference between Process and Results

When it comes to the distinction between business improvement and business development, one of the key differences is the focus on process versus results. Business improvement is focused on refining the current processes that your business uses and making them more efficient. This includes the analysis of the performance of existing business processes so that potential improvements can be identified and implemented. It also involves reviewing and modifying existing business relationships with stakeholders and improving existing project management systems.

On the other hand, business development is focused on creating new business processes, expanding existing ones, and increasing sales.

Business improvement is a more process-oriented approach, while business development is more results-oriented. By focusing on both, you can create a comprehensive strategy for improving the performance of your business.

7. The difference between Short-term and Long-term

When it comes to business development and improvement, it’s important to consider the short-term and long-term effects of any decisions made. Short-term goals are those objectives that are typically set and achieved within a year or less, while long-term goals take more time to achieve and often include a variety of activities.

For example, if an automotive industry business development executive sets a goal to increase sales by 10 percent over the next year, this is considered a short-term goal.

The business developer would need to come up with a plan to reach this goal and establish certain business development activities such as advertising campaigns, sales promotions, and hiring initiatives.

On the other hand, if the same executive were to set a goal to expand their international sales over the next five years, this would be considered a long-term goal.

Business developers would need to think about more complex activities such as creating new market strategies, developing international partnerships, and other initiatives to achieve their business development goals.

It’s essential for businesses to focus on both short-term and long-term goals in order to remain competitive in their respective industries. While short-term goals can provide immediate results, long-term goals provide the foundation for continued success and growth in the future.

8. Business Development skills

Business development skills
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Business development activities require a variety of skills, such as understanding the marketplace, identifying opportunities, building relationships, and devising strategies to capture competitive advantages. It also involves creating and implementing a plan to achieve the desired objectives. A business analyst acts as a bridge between the different departments in an organization to make sure that everything is on track.

To be successful in business development, one must possess both technical and soft skills.

Hard Skills

On the technical side, they must have knowledge and understanding of the industry and its trends. They must also have an aptitude for analyzing data, making decisions based on facts, and developing creative solutions to problems.

Softs Skills

On the soft side, they must have excellent communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills. They must also be highly organized, with the ability to effectively manage multiple tasks and work in high-pressure situations. In addition, they should be able to think critically and analyze complex data to identify business development opportunities. Lastly, they must have a thorough understanding of how the business works and be able to apply the concepts learned from other areas to their activity.

9. Business Development vs Marketing

Although they are often confused, business development and marketing are two distinct processes. Marketing focuses on understanding customer needs and creating products or services to meet those needs. Business development, on the other hand, is focused on generating new leads and opportunities that can help grow the business. It is less about “selling” a product or service than it is about creating relationships, partnerships, and opportunities that can help the business grow.

Business development requires a team-based approach. It involves working with a variety of people both internally and externally to identify new opportunities, create strategies for pursuing those opportunities, and put plans in place to turn them into successful outcomes.

While marketing activities are typically conducted by marketing staff, the business development process requires a more collaborative approach. It involves working with different departments, such as sales, finance, operations, and even the team, to create an effective strategy for success.

10. The role of technology in Dusiness Development

The role of technology in business development
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Businesses today rely heavily on technology to facilitate operations, create new products and services, and reach customers around the world. Technology plays an integral role in business development, providing organizations with the tools and data they need to better understand customer needs, identify opportunities for growth, and create more effective strategies.

Creating competitive edge

From big data analytics and machine learning to social media marketing and digital transformation, technology can help businesses of all sizes gain a competitive edge by creating an efficient process for identifying new leads and opportunities.

Technology can also help organizations track progress and measure the success of their business development activities. By leveraging data-driven insights, companies are better positioned to identify areas that need improvement, optimize their processes, and make informed decisions about future investments and strategies.

In sum, technology is an essential tool for businesses looking to grow and succeed in today’s highly competitive environment.

11. How to Create a Business Development Strategy

Business Development Strategies
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Planning and execution

Creating a successful business development strategy requires research, planning, and execution. The goal of a business development strategy is to identify and capitalize on new opportunities to expand your business, increase revenue, and create long-term success.

Step 1: Market Research

The first step in creating a business development strategy is to conduct market research. Researching the competition, current industry trends, and customer needs will provide valuable insights into potential new markets and product opportunities. This research can also help you identify potential partners who may be able to help you reach a broader audience.

Step 2: Objectives and Targets

Once you’ve conducted market research, you’ll need to set objectives for your strategy.

Determine what you want to accomplish in the short and long term. This will help you prioritize the initiatives that are most important for the success of your strategy.

Step 3: Resources allocation

Next, determine what resources will be required to execute your strategy. Consider things like budget, personnel, skillsets, and technology. You’ll also need to decide what types of activities should be done in-house and which should be outsourced.

Step 4: Time perspective

Finally, establish timelines and milestones for each initiative. Establishing checkpoints along the way will help ensure that the strategy is being implemented as planned and will also give you opportunities to make adjustments if needed.

12. Strategy and tactics applied in Business Improvement

One of the most important elements of the business improvement process is developing an effective strategy. A strategy is an approach taken to solve a problem or reach a goal. It outlines what needs to be done when it needs to be done, and who should do it. Tactics are the specific actions or steps taken to carry out the strategy.

Some tactics that can be used in a business improvement strategy

• Analyzing customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.

• Improving processes and systems to increase efficiency.

• Identifying and eliminating bottlenecks.

• Analyzing current performance levels and setting goals.

• Utilizing data analysis to understand customer behavior.

• Improving customer experience.

• Implementing new technologies and software.

• Developing new products and services.

• Investing in training and development.

• Implementing marketing strategies to increase sales.

• Building relationships with suppliers and partners.

• Increasing brand visibility through PR and advertising.

13. Strategy and tactics applied in Business Development


One of the most important strategies for business development is to create a competitive advantage. This involves analyzing the competition and identifying areas where your business has a better offering than its competitors. Companies should consider how they can stand out in the market, such as by offering superior customer service, lower prices, or unique products.


Another important strategy is to establish a solid brand identity.

Branding is important because it helps potential customers to recognize and remember your company. This can involve developing a consistent style of marketing materials, having a recognizable logo, and coming up with a memorable slogan.

All of these tactics should support the overall strategy of creating a competitive advantage and establishing a strong brand identity.

Business development also involves creating partnerships with other organizations that have similar goals. By forming strategic alliances with other companies, businesses can gain access to additional resources, markets, and customers. It is important for companies to find partners that are aligned with their values and goals in order to ensure successful collaborations.

By creating a competitive advantage, building a strong brand identity, and forming strategic partnerships, businesses can become successful in an ever-changing marketplace.

14. Dos and Don’ts in Business Improvement

Dos and Don'ts in Business Improvement
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• Understand your customers’ needs and prioritize customer satisfaction.

• Set clear objectives and determine the right metrics to measure success.

• Analyze existing data and identify opportunities for improvement.

• Utilize problem-solving skills and work collaboratively with other departments to develop solutions.

• Keep up to date on the latest trends in the industry.

• Implement new technologies and processes that can help streamline operations.

• Invest in quality training programs to ensure employees are up-to-date on best practices.


• Neglect customer feedback and ignore their requests.

• Underestimate the importance of data when making decisions.

• Forget to consider potential risks associated with changes.

• Rely solely on technology without understanding its limitations.

• Remain stagnant and fail to keep up with industry trends.

• Resist change and disregard new ideas or suggestions from employees.

• Overlook the need for continual training and development.

15. Dos and Don’ts in Business Development

Dos and Don’ts in Business Development
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• Understand your target market and identify customer needs.

• Develop a business plan that outlines the strategies and tactics to reach goals.

• Develop competitive advantages and capitalize on them.

• Focus on creating value and increasing sales.

• Build relationships with customers and partners.

• Leverage technology to gain an edge in the market.

• Use data-driven decision-making when possible.

• Stay informed of trends and developments in the industry.


• Ignore customer feedback.

• Take shortcuts in research or analysis.

• Rush into decisions without proper evaluation.

• Neglect your competitors.

• Undervalue your team’s expertise.

• Rely too heavily on technology.

• Overlook the importance of marketing.

• Underestimate the power of collaboration.

16. Conclusion

The importance of business improvement and development cannot be overstated. Both are necessary for success, but the difference between them is important to understand.

In short, Business improvement is about making changes to existing processes in order to make them more efficient and effective.

Business development is about creating new opportunities for growth and exploring new markets. Both processes require different skills, strategies, and tactics.

Knowing how to properly apply both processes can lead to long-term success. By understanding the differences between business improvement and development, you can better equip your organization to reach its goals.

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About the Author

Liviu Prodan

Liviu is an experienced trainer and LifeHacker. He’s been living the ‘Corpo life’ for more than 15 years now and has been a business developer for more than 12 years. His experience brings a lot of relevancy to his space, which he shares on this blog. Now he pursue a career in the Continuous Improvement & Business Development field, as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a path that is coherent with his beliefs and gives him a lot of satisfaction.

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