Business development can be many things.
It really depends on company. In my mind, however, the role of business development is to find new strategic opportunities for the company and start the company on the path to execute (incubation). It is not uncommon for business developers to have a combination of strategy, marketing & sales, finance, legal, and operations background.
Based on my experience in business development,
here's the flavors I've run into (roughly from more to less common):
- Partnership development
- Strategic market development and sales
- Strategic marketing
- Mergers, acquisitions, and financing
- New business line exploration
- Channel sales
- New product development
Steve Shu specializes in incubating new initiatives with a primary focus on strategy, technology, and behavioral economics. He is author of Inside Nudging: Implementing Behavioral Science Initiatives (to be released June 2016) and The Consulting Apprenticeship: 40 Jump-Start Ideas for You and Your Business.