New business development (NBD) is one of the main strategic options for the 'mature' company. The authors discuss the reasons why NBD should be considered and suggest a framework for developing new businesses. The results of a two year investigation of a sample of 14 UK companies' NBD initiatives are presented. Half of the sample have either abandoned or are reducing their new business activities. The reasons are manifold and relate to a failure to define specifically the role of the NBD initiatives; a lack of appreciation of the risks, long time spans for development and the high financial commitment associated with NBD; a weakening of the mainstream business (this in itself suggesting that companies often leave NBD 'too late'); and a naive approach toward marketing. Some lessons for mature companies' future involvement in NBD are drawn. © 1983.
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