What Does a Business Director Do? (Plus How to Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 24 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As a career, the role of business director can be professionally rewarding and can give you the opportunity to manage and develop business goals that help an organisation thrive. A director's role can involve important responsibilities, such as making key decisions on behalf of shareholders and ensuring that employees achieve company objectives. Learning about what a business director does can help you determine if this job is right for you. In this article, we explore the question 'What does a business director do?' by reviewing their key responsibilities and providing a list of steps to help you become one.

What does a business director do?

If you're interested in pursuing a senior leadership role, you may wonder, 'What does a business director do?' Companies appoint directors to oversee their administrative functions. This can involve managing the daily operations of an organisation, such as developing growth strategies, monitoring performance, reviewing reports and approving financial resources. Business directors typically work full-time in an office environment and have strong skills in areas of leadership, communication and negotiation.

Business director responsibilities

Here are some key responsibilities of business directors:

Establishing company policies

Business directors are often responsible for identifying a company's policy requirements and implementing them with clear guidelines. For example, a director may determine that an organisation requires a disciplinary action policy to ensure the workplace environment is safe for employees and to encourage courteous conduct from team members in group-based situations. Developing this policy may involve defining the terms of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and discussing these expectations with staff members to create workplace awareness.

Negotiating contracts

As a key responsibility, gaining quotes from multiple suppliers and negotiating contract deals that are beneficial for all parties is a major duty of a business director. Directors often perform this task with clear objectives, such as to market a company's product to new clients. Contract negotiations may involve a series of necessary steps, including drafting a formal agreement and researching data that supports the business's claims. After securing a supplier or client, business directors may also monitor the contract to make sure the company is meeting agreed supply conditions and order deadlines.

Related: How to Develop Negotiation Skills

Building positive client relationships

Another major responsibility of a business director involves building relationships with existing and prospective clients to earn their trust and ensure business activities remain stable. Directors can achieve this by maintaining consistent communication and keeping clients up to date about any relevant changes, such as delivery alterations or modifications to specific goods or services.

Relationship management may also involve providing solutions to unforeseen disruptions, which could lead to conflict if a company doesn't resolve them. For example, if there was a payment delay for a supplier, a director might take the time to contact the supplier, explain the situation and determine a revised payment date.

Related: How to Build Relationships for Career Success

Improving financial performance

As part of overseeing a company's business activities, directors are often responsible for monitoring sales analysis reports to determine whether a company is managing its finances efficiently. From these documents, they can learn how sales metrics are trending, analyse how departments are performing and monitor other useful performance measurements. This information allows directors to make informed decisions about ways they can improve an organisation's financial results. For example, a director might discover that departments are accumulating supply and equipment wastage, so they may decide to cut back on these expenditures to increase revenue for the business.

Related: How to Become a Sales Director (With Skills and FAQs)

Business director skills

Here are some skills that can benefit you as a business director:

Leadership skills

As a business director, you're likely to be in a leadership position where you're responsible for leading teams, delegating tasks and building strong relationships with employees. Therefore, having excellent leadership skills can help you in many workplace situations. For example, there may be a scenario where a team member speaks with you about work-related challenges they're experiencing. The ability to empathise is a valued leadership skill, and you could use an empathetic approach in this context to listen to the team member's concerns, sympathise with their position and offer constructive feedback.

Related: What Does Leadership Mean? (Benefits and Steps to Improve)

Communication skills

Developing effective communication skills can help you succeed as a business director. For example, one of your roles may be to organise regular team meetings to share work-related information, such as project changes or deadline dates. Having excellent verbal skills can help you present information confidently and clearly to an audience. Communication skills may also help your active listening ability when listening to team members and providing them with feedback.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Decision making skills

The daily activities of a business director can involve making many important decisions. This is why decision making skills can provide you with significant benefits in your career. For example, you might work with a supply manager and be responsible for making the final decision on which materials to source. You could also have the responsibility of looking for an effective solution to a workplace dispute.

Directors with strong decision making skills can usually improve a company's productivity. For example, making effective decisions relating to company objectives and delegating work can improve the efficiency of projects, as directors can distribute tasks to suitable employees who fully understand the aims of business operations.

Related: Decision-Making Skills: Definition with Tips

How to become a business director

Here's a list of steps that can help you become a business director:

1. Complete a bachelor's degree

A good first step to becoming a business director is to complete a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business or finance. These courses are typically three years in length and are available for enrolment at many major universities, providing you meet their entry requirements. Undertaking a bachelor's degree in business or finance can offer you the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of business and gain critical skills in the areas of communication and leadership. Here are several other skills you may develop that may help you prepare for a career as a business director:

  • ability to identify business strengths and weaknesses

  • understanding of the principles of business sustainability

  • knowledge of business decision making tools

2. Gain relevant experience

Business directors typically have many years of industry experience. As you start your career, consider gaining entry-level experience in a relevant position, such as an executive assistant role. This can allow you to build relationships with stakeholders, work on team-based projects and improve on other valuable skills. Once you're more familiar with your working environment and have demonstrated your professional competence, you can request consideration for leadership positions. Undertaking a leadership role, whether large or small, can be key if you're looking to progress into a senior director's role.

Another way you can gain valuable experience is to take up a leadership position in a non-profit organisation. Because for-profit companies often adhere to clear goals and targets, they may be reluctant to give less experienced professionals the chance to lead projects. Non-profit businesses might be more willing to give opportunities to aspiring leaders.

3. Pursue post-graduate qualifications

Although not essential, completing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can show hiring managers that you have advanced skills and knowledge in areas of strategic management and marketing leadership. Having this specialised qualification can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates and may increase your chances of securing employment.

An MBA program is typically a two-year course and provides students with a wide range of relevant skills that can help them advance in their careers and secure senior positions. Here are some of the technical skills you may develop from this program, which you can apply to a business director role:

  • knowledge of how to apply analytical skills to different business contexts

  • understanding of solutions to contemporary business issues

  • knowledge of leadership practices

  • ability to write academic and professional reports

  • understanding of how to apply big data analytics to solve organisational issues

4. Find a mentor

Finding a mentor with director experience is a great way to learn more about the intricacies of the job and improve your employment prospects. Mentors can provide professional advice relating to skill-building and can notify you of relevant networking opportunities. They can also support you during the hiring process by helping you to create an impressive resume or practising potential interview questions with you.

When searching for a mentor, consider looking for someone you trust and who shares your interests and values. Once you've found the right mentor, try to develop a good relationship with them by following their advice and responding positively to constructive criticism. This can show them you value their time and expertise.

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