Prepare your business plan for growth

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Planning to grow your business? Haul out your business plan and get started…

A business plan is a roadmap for your business and provides an outline for the future. We often write about how important it is to keep this document relevant by updating it regularly. And there’s no more important time to update it than when you start looking at ways to grow your business.

If you had listened to our advice, you would have returned to your business plan time and time again over the years to assess your position. You would have typed your actual results into the sales forecast, profit and loss and recorded all major milestones. You would have then analysed these numbers against your projections and looked for reasons as to why you were ahead or below the projected curves. These budgets and projections provide the basis for your marketing and sales strategy.

When you are reviewing your business plan to cover the next stages, it’s important to be clear on how you will allocate your resources to make your strategy work. During a period of growth, you will set new targets and revise your business plan to aim directly at these goals. You may need to conduct another round of market research as you’ll want to include data and information on any new trends that have emerged and could provide room for future growth. Have your customers’ buying patterns changed? Why is this, and what are you doing to ensure that you are meeting their changing need?

Whatever you learn will be used to refine your marketing message, or even rewrite it if need’s be. Your original sales message will no doubt need adjusting. Find out what objections customers are raising to your sales effort. Why have they purchased or declined your product or service?

To keep everyone in the business focused on growth and the new strategy going forward, share your thinking with them. It’ll be far easier if everyone works off the same page. Set down specific goals for all team members and see your plan come to fruition. If your business has grown to the point where you have a number of different departments, ensure that each has its own plan with targets and objectives. This may require a highly sophisticated business plan.

The bottom line is that a well thought out business plan provides a security blanket as you set out on your growth strategy. The effort upfront will pay off down the line and there would really be no point in dragging your attention away from current operations to focus on growth, if your plan was not properly in place.

Committing your plan to paper, provides the soil needed to see your plan grow and will make if much easier for others to give you feedback and execute your plan. It can be incredibly difficult to take what is in your head and commit it to paper, but the sooner you get started the better. Remember without the plan, there will be no guide to follow and everyone will be left floundering.

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