Every time you stream a movie on Netflix, play a game via Steam, or sign up for a free trial offer when you’re shopping on Amazon, a business development professional had to have picked that piece of content and broker a deal with its provider.
These business development professionals–millions worldwide–operate in fields ranging from technology and entertainment to healthcare and advertising, where they do the work of identifying and capitalizing on new business opportunities, building partnerships and teams along the way. They’re rarely seen onstage or in the media spotlight; rather, they’re the ones making the phone calls and doing what it takes behind the scenes to get the deal done.
Scott Steinberg, a business development professional himself (and the author, most recently, of Make Change Work for You) grew curious if there were any organized sources out there for best practices and continuing education for business development professionals, beyond the informal grapevine that’s provided at the exhibit halls and bars of trade shows. “Despite 39 million listings for professionals in the field and 253,000 job posts on LinkedIn,” says Steinberg, “I couldn’t find a single global trade association devoted to helping advance the profession or giving a voice to working pros in the field.”
Steinberg, who has built multiple businesses in the past, went about filling this gap with BIZDEV: The International Association for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, an organization that debuted in May this year. Since then, BIZDEV has signed up over 800 members, including senior level business development and partnership professionals from a wide range of organizations: PwC, Verizon, Anheuser Busch, Rogers Communications, even Dairy Farmers of America. And Steinberg says the signups continue apace, even in the current economic environment. (In addition to paid annual memberships, BIZDEV is offering a free 90-day membership during the current period of economic retrenchment.)
Services that BIZDEV provides include education, networking, and professional development. The association also offers market research on emerging trends, such as reports on how customer behavior is changing in the wake of COVID-19 and on the future of the meetings and events industry. It’s also debuted a publication, Influence, covering issues important to its members. There are plans for a suite of online and live events as well.
To date, the experience of starting this organization has been “challenging work–but also a blast,” says Steinberg. “While launching an association and online community is, unsurprisingly a challenge, I’ve been energized by the response. In an age of constant change, companies are having to double down and invest in the practice of business development. BIZDEV is well positioned as a bridge to new opportunities and a support system where members can turn to build meaningful relationships and forge successful business partnerships.”