Skills you'll gain: Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Digital Marketing, Data Analysis, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Management, Market Analysis, Sales, Strategy, Strategy and Operations, Back-End Web Development, Web Development
Intermediate · Course · 1-4 Weeks
Skills you'll gain: Leadership and Management, Business Psychology, Collaboration, Communication, Entrepreneurship, Human Learning, Human Resources, People Development, Writing
Beginner · Course · 1-3 Months
There are plenty of free business development courses available for those looking to learn more about building their business. The Corporate Strategy course from Coursera provides an introduction to strategic business management and helps participants put their skills into practice. The Negotiation Skills course also from Coursera provides a comprehensive understanding of negotiation and its various components. For those getting started with digital marketing, Coursera's Getting Virtual course offers a step-by-step guide to creating a digital presence. Another great course from Coursera is 10K Women, which provides insight into creating a successful and profitable business. Finally, Learning How to Learn offers an effective approach to processing and absorbing new information by improving the way you learn.
For those just starting out, UVA's Business Strategy specialization offers an introduction to concepts such as business planning and strategy, as well as market research. For those interested in sales, The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process and Feedback Fundamentals can help. The Wharton Business Foundations Specialization can aid in deepening understanding for more experienced entrepreneurs as well. Additionally, a course in Powerpoint Presentations can help prepare for and deliver informative presentations.
Those interested in advanced business development courses may find valuable information in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Specialization, Value Creation and Innovation Specialization, Entrepreneurial Mindset Specialization and Marketing Strategy for Entrepreneurs courses.
Business development is the process by which organizations pursue opportunities to create greater value. Just like people, organizations must grow and change over time to thrive, and successful ones engage in development planning guided by strategic thinking and the pursuit of long-term goals. However, while business development is important to the ongoing viability of any organization, the specifics of a given growth strategy may involve entirely different processes from case to case.
For example, a multinational corporation’s business development strategy may include an analysis of their competitive position in the market, a capabilities analysis to determine areas of strength and weakness, and then a consideration of opportunities to divest from businesses that are no longer likely to be profitable. Alternatively, a company may identify new market opportunities and seek to diversify by establishing a new business unit or through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
In contrast, for non-profit organizations, business development typically has quite a different meaning. In this context, development is usually focused on fundraising through a variety of means, including social media campaigns, grant programs, special events, one-on-one donor cultivation, and other activities.
Regardless of the types of activities pursued, business development is a core element of the lifecycle of any long-running enterprise.
Business development expertise can be a prerequisite for many types of careers, although the actual job titles and tasks vary whether you work for for-profits or non-profits.
In the for-profit world, business development experience is often associated with upper-level management or strategic consulting, where one must be able to evaluate the costs and benefits of choices in steering the future of a company. Business development manager or partner development manager may also be an important position in some companies, particularly business-to-business (B2B) companies that must find and strike deals with prospective corporate customers.
Non-profit business development careers typically start with work as a development associate and continue on to more strategic roles as directors of development. As detailed by the National Council of Non-Profits, these development professionals must creatively pursue a wide range of activities in order to secure funding for upcoming programs, including grant writing, event planning, and soliciting donors. Non-profit development roles typically require greater social and interpersonal skills than in the business world, since building warm relationships with key donors is often a major part of the job.
Indeed! Coursera offers a wide range of accredited business courses and Specializations from top-ranked institutions, including courses in business development and related topics. With the opportunity to learn about business development remotely from leading faculty at schools like the University of Virginia and the University of London, you can be sure that learning on Coursera can be a high-value element in your own career growth strategy.
Because business development incorporates many different elements and activities to figure out how to effectively grow a business, it’s helpful to have a good foundation in business basics before you dive into this specialization. Although there aren’t any strict prerequisites, working in business development requires juggling many different facets of a company, including elements like financial standing, sales results, and company reputation. As you learn about business development, you'll also cultivate relevant skills. Communication is crucial in this arena, so you'll need to learn how to listen with an open mind, speak and write clearly, and effectively collaborate with others. In addition to skills like public speaking and sharp attention to detail, you'll also gain skills in marketing, negotiation, finance, and sales.
Someone who's passionate about business and interested in working across multiple departments to figure out how all the elements within an organization work together to create opportunities for growth is well suited to working in business development roles. Another common trait among those who do well in this type of position is an innate sense of curiosity, which is a key driving force to building stronger relationships and strong brands. Having a solid understanding of the importance of brand building for expanding business and driving change throughout the organization's marketing and sales practices are other important attributes.
If you thrive as a multitasker and you're looking for a career in business that presents different challenges every day, a career as a business developer might be a good match. There's a lot of variety within the daily tasks. One day you might be working closely with the marketing department, the next you could be working with finance. Business development professionals increase profitability, improve the customer experience, boost operational efficiencies, and participate in high-level decisions. You'll likely be involved in staying on top of the state of the business and the industry, along with keeping up with developments from competitors, customer profiles, and opportunities to expand the business.