A small business growth plan outlines where you see your business in the next few years. Your growth plan should be scheduled quarterly. At the end of each quarter, you can review the goals you achieved and missed during that period. In this article, we will cover the following growth planning tips to help you to expand your business:
- Create your company vision
- Know your business
- Establish your goals
- Develop strategies
- Create an action plan
- Review and modify regularly
- Be adaptable
- Be smart with your money
- Focus on your strengths
- Trust yourself
Create your company vision
You should be able to define your company’s vision in 100 words or less. Next, develop your mission statement and make it publically available to clients and customers. The message should answer the key questions that drive your business. Where is your company going? What do you want your company culture to be? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, start brainstorming. If you know the answers in your mind, get them written down and refined. Once you have them written down, it’s time for the next step of creating your personal vision.
Know your business
To get the best overview of your business, you should conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Knowing which stage your business is currently at allows you to make more informed decisions on how to grow it in the future. You will need to ask yourself questions such as:
- Why is this business important?
- What does this business do best?
- What’s my unique selling point?
- What needs to be improved?
- What more could we do?
These questions can help you to develop a strategic plan to identify more growth opportunities.
Establish your goals
It would help if you had your short-term goals include everything you want to achieve in one to three years. Goals should also be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable and Timely). An example of a SMART goal would be “add a new product or service within the next year” or “increase net profit by 5% in 12 months”. If you’ve already conducted a SWOT, you should be able to predict what your business can achieve over a specific period.
Strategies are the steps you’ll take to meet your goals. You will break down your goal into various components and build different strategies for different sectors.
- Marketing: decide which marketing channels, tools and skills you will need to implement your marketing strategy.
- Sales: build a sales funnel that you can use and develop to bring in new sales or clients for your business constantly.
- Financial: To keep on top of your finances from the start, make sure to use a business current account to separate your business and personal expenses, and one that will help you manage your finances easily.
Create an action plan
Your action plan is essential for planning your business growth plan. You can do all of the research and strategy development, but without action, it means nothing. An action plan needs to be a constantly updated document. It must be up to date and easily changeable. The most important things your action plan must include are:
- Specific actions you will take
- The main areas that you will focus on
- Timelines of when you will do it
- Who will keep you accountable
- What resources will you need
- How you’re going to measure the level of action you’re taking
Review and modify regularly
Check-in regularly to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction with your goals. A weekly review of your goals, strategies and action plans can help you see if you need to make any changes. Set aside some time in your calendar for reviewing and planning your week. Weekly check-ins will help you to reflect on any progress, setbacks and changes that need to be made.
Having a business coach or a mentor is great for creating accountability for your business goals. If you have a hard time sticking to your plans, you might find it challenging to achieve your goals too. A coach or mentor or knowledgeable friend can help build accountability by questioning what’s working, tracking your progress, pointing out areas where you can improve and help you to solve problems that you might encounter.
There will always be challenges when it comes to running a business, and things don’t stay the same for very long in this world. Therefore, you must be ready for change and be able to amend your plan when need be. Your weekly reviews will help you immensely with this.
Be smart with your money
Successful businesses keep an eye on their finances. It would be best if you always had a little bit of extra money saved for emergencies and also for growth. Even the most minor things can cause considerable costs in the long run. Always make sure you stay on top of your budget and don’t go crazy investing in the latest and greatest equipment or software. When you’re self-employed, you have to pay more taxes, but you can also get tax breaks, government grants. Make sure you know what you have to pay and what you’re entitled to claim back.
Focus on your strengths
As you keep growing your business, it’s essential to keep perfecting and strengthening your skills. Don’t try to become a jack of all trades. Whatever your number one skill is, focus on that. Of course, you will have to make time for clients, networking and developing a lead generation strategy, but all of these are built on the foundation of your primary skills. You can always hire more staff or get some help on a freelance website like Fiverr or Upwork to help support you while focusing on the main thing you bring to the table.
When you’re looking to grow your small business, you’re probably aware that there will be many ups and downs along the way. However, you have to remember that you started this business for a reason, and you must constantly remind yourself of your goals and trust in yourself. With all of the above tips, you will have an excellent foundation to plan your growth strategy. Growth can be scary, it might be easier to stagnate and not take risks, but that risk could be the difference between turning your business into a success or not.
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