Despite the challenging economic conditions that 2020 brough us all, recent research reveals that two thirds of UK SMBs expect to expand this year. This level of confidence is good news. Make sure you check out our Ultimate Guide To Planning An Unstoppable Growth Strategy
However, having high expectations is not enough. Companies without an effective business growth strategy in place risk wasting precious time, money and resources on things that – rather than helping to grow the business – will doom it to failure.
A business growth strategy addresses how your company plans to evolve to meet the challenges of today and into the future. It gives your business purpose, and goes beyond a standard business or marketing plan – detailing how to achieve goals based on an examination of where the world is going.
According to Gartner:
“A growth strategy is an organization’s plan for overcoming current and future challenges to realize its goals for expansion.”
6 Steps to developING YOUr business growth strategy
Growth can be achieved in many ways. From the addition of new locations to expanding a product line. Your individual growth strategy depends on your business type and target market.
That said, there are some general steps you can use as a guide towards creating an effective business growth strategy. As follows:
1. Choose your targeted area of business growth
Define exactly what it is you want to grow – these could include
- Employee headcount
- Expansion of business premises
- Addition of new business branches
- Expansion into new locations, both at home and abroad
- Development of new product lines or services
- Expansion online e.g. selling via marketplaces
- Revenue and profits
- Customer base
Your growth plans could include a number of the above – in fact growing in one area will have a positive knock on effect in others. For example if you grow your customer base you should see an increase in revenue as a result.
2. Research your market
Once you’ve decided what you want to grow it’s time to justify why you want to grow in that area – and if it’s even possible. The best way to do this is to conduct some research, for example by running surveys and focus groups around a new product or service you plan to supply. If interest is low it’s best that you discover this sooner rather than later.
3. Set clear goals for business growth
Now that you know what you’re growing and why – you’re well on your way to determining how much you will be growing. Base your goals on your ultimate aspirations but make sure they are realistic and achievable. Make your goals concrete, too, in terms of metrics and timeline. Instead of talking about ‘increasing sales in the near future’ quantify this statement e.g. ‘to grow sales 20% quarter-on-quarter for the next three years’.
4. Map out a detailed course of action
Write a detailed growth strategy plan to share with your team. That way you’ll encourage them to buy into it. Include a list of all the action items, deadlines, responsibilities and resources required to attain your growth goals. Make use of a free growth strategy template to help you
5. Identify the best growth tools to invest in
Determine the specific resources you will need to have in order to achieve your growth goals. These could include:
- Funding: This could mean a capital investment or a reallocation of your internal budget to ensure you are able to attain your objectives.
- Tools and software: Which items will you need as part of your tech stack to expedite or gain essential insights on your growth journey? For example, do you need to invest in a CRM or analytics tools.
- Services: Will you need the help of specialist business growth consultants, web designers, or planners in your specific field?
6. Execute the plan
With your plan now complete, and all your goals in place it’s time to execute your business growth plan and drive your expected results. It’s essential to keep all your stakeholders in the picture and accountable at all stages of the plan’s execution, by maintaining clear channels of communication.
Regularly measure and compare your results as you go against projected forecasts to see if you’re on track or if you need to make any adjustments.
Ideas and ambition are great – but only if they are accompanied by a robust blueprint for your business growth journey. While developing a business growth strategy is time-consuming the long-term benefits are clear. These include helping you grow at a pace you can manage – to avoiding the temptation of securing short term gains at the expense of losing out over the long term.