Hopefully you already have a business plan for your business. This business plan should cover all of the essential information about the business, such as finances and staffing as well as the future goals of the company and a variety of other items as part of a detailed plan that should cover three to five years. However, like any goal-setting process, such long-term goals and strategies can leave you struggling to measure your successes and stay motivated in the short-term. This is where a growth plan can help.
A growth plan should focus on much shorter time periods (90 days is a popular period), and focuses entirely on customer-related benefits and improvements. The point is to create a strategy that will increase market-share and revenue for the business by acquiring new customers. Here are the steps to follow to create a successful growth plan for your business in 2017.
- Define your growth goals: the key to a growth plan is to understand where the business is now – and where you want the business to get to in terms of success.
- Undertake a SWOT analysis: consider the strengths and weaknesses of your own business and the opportunities and threats in the marketplace. And remember that threats and opportunities may not be immediately obvious and may not seem like direct competition at all (for example a juice bar would present a threat not just to other juice bars and drink vendors, but also to a greengrocer as a result of people purchasing readymade juice rather than buying the ingredients and making it themselves).
- Define your client base: once you understand your business, it is time to understand exactly who your client base is. As with the SWOT analysis, you may find that your actual client base may not be who you think it is. You might even find that this process will open your eyes to a previously untapped client base that could yield immediate impact.
- Create growth strategies: now that you know what you can do and who might be interested in it, you can create a strategy to achieve the goals laid out in step one.
- Develop measures of success: to maximise the success of a growth strategy, you need clear measureable results that can provide rapid feedback that you can then react to.
Understand your USP: your Unique Selling Proposition is the thing that sets you apart from your competition and is vital for business growth.
- Develop your marketing strategy: your marketing strategy should focus on your USP and should be targeted towards your client base. This includes both the message you create and the media that you use. Failing to understand where your customers get their news and entertainment will mean that they fail to see – and respond to – your advertising.
- Define the details: The final step in creating your growth plan is to set out a step-by-step series of actions to follow.
By following this 8-step process, you should have your business growing throughout 2017 and beyond!
By Jennifer Lowe