How To Write A Business Growth Plan
A business growth plan is a vital tool for success. A solid plan will help you, as a business owner, take clear, precise steps towards the growth you want to see.
One of the questions I get asked the most is "How do you create a business growth plan?" Many business owners are worried about what should a growth plan contain and the other question I get asked is how do I know when my business plan is complete! It’s essential to get it right, after all.
Let’s take a look at the high level process of how to write a business growth plan.
Step 1: Decide on your ambitions
The first step in any business growth plan is to decide on the scale of your ambitions. What do you want to accomplish? What business do you really want to build?
A local business? A national business? Maybe even a global brand?
What would success look like for you?
Think about your business and the direction you want it to go in. Your strategy. During the planning period, what do you want to achieve? Can you write down the major milestones and building blocks that must be in place to help you achieve those goals. And how important is it to you to meet your goals?
These are all key points to cover at the start of your business growth plan.
Ultimately, this part of the growth plan boils down to how ambitious you are. Only you can decide what you want your business to do and how you want it to grow.
Step 2: Define your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
All great businesses measure their success. They proactively measure what is working and what's not. They also measure the right things... the things that matter in achieving their goals.
To create a business growth plan that will be useful to you and your investors, you’ll need to identify and define your unique key performance indicators (KPIs). What success criteria matters to you?
A KPI could be $ sales and website visitors, conversion rates, number of retail store listings, number of people on your email list, number of instagram @mentions... and many more.
The metrics you choose should demonstrate how much growth you’ve achieved. It might also be a specific amount in profit margin that the business generates on its product lines in a set period or the number of average customers per month.
Whatever metrics you decide on, they will be what shapes your experiences. How you measure success will influence your business growth plan, so think carefully about what you want your growth to look like.
And remember the old adage:
"What gets measured, gets done".
Step 3: Work out your business growth timeline
Consider a timeline for your business growth - this is key to setting the boundaries for your plan. This is your "planning period". The time horizon in which you will achieve your goals. Your goals also need to be realistically achievable within the timeline to be successful.
Try and think about how you want your timeline to move forward. Most business growth plans take place over three years, but yours can be longer or shorter.
For example if you have a significant capital investment project, a timeline of say 10 years may be much more relevant so that you can see that investment paying off.
Matching your growth plan to funding rounds from investors can also give you some guidance as to the best planning timeframe to use.
Step 4: Make the Plan (the detail)
It’s important to ask yourself some key questions to get the level of detail you need. Here are some of those questions:
- What exactly will you grow? Sales? Profits? Product lines? Customer base? Website visitors? Locations? No. of delivery vehicles? Staff?
- How will you grow? What will be the activities you will work on?
- How will you fund the growth initially?
- What happens to your cashflows as you expand? Sales increase yes, but costs will too...
- Will you need to buy more stock as you win more accounts? If so, how will you pay for it? Will you need financing support to fuel your stock growth?
- Where will any extra capital investment money needed for growth come from?
- What other resources will you need to support this growth? More people? And what skills and capabilities will your future business demand? What are your gaps today?
- What are the risks?
- What are the market opportunities?
- Whose support do you need on this growth journey ? Investors? Family and Loved ones? Councils, Authorities or regulating bodies?
The aim is for your business growth plan to adequately capture enough detail to demonstrate in writing WHAT you will grow and exactly HOW you will grow it.
Break the plan down into chunks of activity - and step by step share how that change in your business will be achieved, over the time frame allowed. So, for example:
- What will be the first steps you will take in Year 1 to start the change?
- Then what activities will need to happen in Year 2 to move you forward?
- And finally what major events or actions must happen in Year 3 to deliver the end goal?
If it helps, work backwards from the final state that you want and "unravel" the steps that will get you there.
Talk to stakeholders
When you’ve created your business growth plan, you’ll need to present it to the main stakeholders in your business to keep them aware of what you intend to do. This could be formal investors but don't forget about your team too. They will need to come on the growth journey with you.
You’ll want to make sure that all stakeholders are prepared to buy into the overall business strategy and support it, so you’ll have to whip up a final document presentation to share and be prepared to spend time with key stakeholders to get them onboard.
Implement and adjust where necessary
Creating a business growth plan is just the first step in the process - the next step you’ll need to do is implement it effectively into your business. Planning is a beautiful thing but even better is taking action and making it happen!
Make sure that you stay flexible and open to making minor (or major) course corrections where necessary along the way - you need to approach things sensibly and test what's working for you and your business and what's not.
Make It Happen In Your Business
Creating a business growth plan can be a time consuming process but it is vital to your ongoing business success. If you’ve never made one before, you may find that getting some external, professional advice and support will be of huge benefit.
Building a clear roadmap to success is the best way to meet your targets and achieve your goals. Your business needs a plan to grow, and it’s your job as Founder and CEO to make it happen.
- Decide on the scale of your ambition and how far you really want to take your business journey. If you are not growing and evolving your business, it is likely you are going backwards! So planing for growth is vital for continued success.
- Consider if you would benefit from getting some external help with business growth planning. Having an expert to guide you through the planning process and helping you create your 3 year plan can help with a step change in thinking about your business.
- If you would like to talk about me helping you create your 3 year business plan through our strategy workshops, then please schedule a call today.
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