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How Do I Become a Business Development Officer?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2016
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To become a business development officer, you need a college degree, the ability to communicate effectively, and the ability to initiate and maintain professional relationships. A business development officer does whatever is necessary to make a company grow and succeed. Most of your time will be focused on the financial aspects and the consumer's perception of your company's brand. Also known as business planners and business development specialists, this position requires some form of college degree, superior communication skills, and the ability to interact with and evaluate all types of people. The ultimate goal of the business development officer is to help a company fulfill its mission.

Minimum educational requirements to become a business development officer are likely to be a four year bachelor's degree in some sort of business or finance related field. The best companies want you to have a master's degree in business administration (MBA). Typically, in this business, the more education you have, the more likely you are to move into a senior-level position and be well compensated for your efforts. When looking for a college or university, find schools that have coursework specifically designed for business development managers. Experience in business or finance is always going to be a plus on the path to becoming a business development officer.

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Superior communication skills are required, as you will likely be the public face that represents the overall image of the company or organization for which you work. You will be presenting the vision, mission, and future goals of the company to other high-level, key business executives, governmental authorities, and community leaders. This means you must be continually on the leading edge of any changes occurring in your particular industry and your company. Quick thinking is also required to provide fast responses that show the company in a good light. An outgoing, positive, and pleasant personality along with insight into human behavior will provide a big advantage in this position.

The ability to build and maintain business and personal relationships with people from different cultures and backgrounds is probably one of the most important characteristics of a business development manager. Since business is about people and relationships, it makes sense that the person wanting this position would need to be comfortable with positively relating to people on all levels, including top-level executives, managers, business partners, vendors, and customers. Building lasting partnerships with other businesses and vendors adds value to the products and services offered by the company for which you work. You will likely be working to develop business leads, create proposals, and follow up with many different types of people. If you don't have a natural ability to comfortably work with people, then some intense interpersonal training may be required for you to become a business development officer.

Some duties likely to be a part of a business development officer's responsibilities are attracting and bringing in new clients and customers, handling the coordination of public relations efforts, and doing what is necessary to build or improve a company's brand and to increase overall brand awareness. Some business development officers become involved in supervising and directing employees as well as encouraging and motivating them. Multitasking is quite important for a business development manager, and some companies will require you to learn the business from the bottom up and work as a regional sales manager or account manager. These positions will most likely provide you with a good sense of how the business works and in what areas the business might be improved.

Most business development officers approach their work with an overall goal in mind. For example, if a business development manager were concerned about the environment, he might work with companies involved with emerging technologies like bio-fuel, green energy, energy conservation, and even wildlife management. A business development manager with an interest in finance might work with banks and other financial institutions to help them achieve their goals and continue on to success.

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