From business planning to growth planning
Regular business plan reviews are essential once your business is up and running. As your company evolves, there will be more influences on it and the customers you serve, as well as new set of unknowns surrounding the directions in which you want to expand.
It is helpful to regularly engage in some strategic planning and define near- and long-term objectives, the strategy and tactics by which you’ll pursue them, and metrics for gauging your progress. The result is a growth plan, which will provide a road map for the future and position you for new opportunities.
Start by comparing the current status of your business with your original intent. Are you where you intended to be, or have you modified your mission? What are current strengths, and what areas could be improved upon? Any glaring problems or shortcomings should be addressed as quickly as possible.
Also, take a comprehensive look at the state of your market and what is shaping it. Your original expectations may be on target, or there may be emerging trends that will radically alter your industry. Needs and issues facing your existing and target customers should also be examined.
With that knowledge, project three years out, and set objectives to keep your business in step with these trends. What resources will be needed? Where can they be found (for example, new staff, training, upgraded equipment and facilities)? What costs are involved? What kind of learning curve may be required? Develop an action plan for each one with milestones to assess your progress.
Your growth plan, like your business plan, is a guide to be adapted as conditions change. You may find yourself ahead of schedule, or dealing with unforeseen factors that require a schedule revision or complete overhaul. But your business can only benefit, as there’s no such thing as too much planning.