Preparing a growth plan for the future is essential for small businesses. One of the biggest reasons small businesses fail is a lack of planning. A surprising number of business leaders haven’t prioritised tangible growth strategies and haven’t expanded the size, revenue, and scope of their small businesses.
Below, we outline five easy steps businesses can take to create a growth plan for the future.
A future growth plan is simply a blueprint for how companies plan to hit their targets over a certain period of time. Most growth plans cover a relatively short time — usually one or two years — but some businesses create plans that extend well beyond that.
Future growth plans help companies lock down their objectives and focus on ways to meet those objectives. This gives investors a clearer vision of their future.
Here are five ways that companies can create a successful future growth plan:
Your value proposition will go a long way towards determining the success of your business. Do you offer better prices than your competitors? Are you a knowledge leader in a particular space? Perhaps your service, or the customer experience you offer, is what sets you apart. Whatever your value proposition is, make sure that it’s crystal-clear to your audience.
If you look at your organisation and can’t figure out what exactly sets you apart from the competition, then chances are your customers can’t either.
Once you know what your value proposition is, you’ll know who might benefit the most from it; that’s your ideal customer. Once this target audience is identified, you can figure out the best ways to reach them. Spend time discovering:
which channels do they use the most
how they like to engage
what messaging do they respond to
how do your competitors target this audience
Once you have as much information as possible about your ideal customer, you can begin to craft an omnichannel strategy and leverage digital solutions like Marketing Cloud and Social Studio to reach them where they spend most of their time.
The biggest reason businesses fail is that they’re simply not generating enough revenue. It’s critical that businesses evaluate their revenue streams and try to optimise them. Which pipelines are working; which aren’t? Why are some revenue streams not producing as expected; why are others booming? Are there any new revenue streams that can be added?
This shouldn’t be a one-off evaluation; it needs to be a regular occurrence. New technologies and changing customer behaviour can drastically affect the viability of existing revenue streams. So it’s important to monitor them regularly and make the needed adjustments.
Unless they’re creating a category, no one begins at the top. You’ve most likely started a business because you’ve identified a gap in the market or a problem that needs to be solved, so you know how you’ll fit into the marketplace.
The next step is to look around the market and see who’s succeeding. Try to figure out where they’re falling short, what they’re doing well, and what you can do better. We’re in an age of sky-high expectations for customer service, digital experiences and personalised communications, so the bar for keeping up with the competition has never been higher.
Ideally, your future growth plan should help you maximise your value proposition, and to do that, you need to maximise your talent. Once you know your differentiator and your target audience, you can put together a workforce with skills that are aligned with your goals. Finding highly motivated, inspired employees is a great place to start – skilling them up to be agile and work across functions is even better.
Creating a future growth plan helps businesses become what they want to be, whether that’s one, two, five or ten years down the line. It helps establish a shared vision and a set of common goals, making it easier to align teams and pitch to investors. Most of all, helps businesses stay on the course to success.