Prepare a business plan for growth
Business growth planning
Growth planning is similar to business planning. However, it focuses mainly on revenue generation or expansion, and the actions needed to achieve it.
What is a growth plan?
A growth plan is a granular, systematic record of ambitions for your business' future. It sets out your business goals and targets, and clear strategies and tactics for reaching them.
A growth plan considers:
- the current state of your business - including strengths, weaknesses and opportunities
- where you want your business to be in the future
- an action plan and schedule to achieve your vision
Creating a strategic plan is a key part of planning for growth.
Creating a growth plan takes time, but it helps to keep your growth efforts on track and ensures that your company expands in a targeted and organised way.
In contrast to a business plan, which focuses on a three to five year timeframe, a growth plan covers a shorter period, typically 12 to 24 months.
What to include in a growth plan?
Your growth plan should cover your strategy for improving your existing sales and processes to achieve the business growth you want. Your plan should include:
- Your marketing aims and objectives, for example how many new customers you want to gain and the anticipated size of your customer base at the end of the operating period.
- Operational information such as where your business is based, who your suppliers are, and the premises and equipment needed.
- Financial information, including profit and loss forecasts, cashflow forecasts, sales forecasts and audited accounts.
- Summary of the business objectives, including targets and target dates.
If yours is an owner-managed business, you may wish to include an exit plan. This includes planning the timing of your departure and the circumstances, eg family succession, a sale of the business, floating your business or closing it down.
Why do I need a growth plan?
There are many reasons why you may need to create a growth plan for your business. For example, you may have experienced:
- low sales
- loss of customers
- increased competition
Having a growth plan can help you prioritise your resources and take corrective action to address one of these problems. For example, if you are a small business, you may pursue strategies to increase sales revenue, such as selling more to existing customers. A more established business may decide to sell into new markets instead or offer new products or services.
Small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow can access training and mentoring support through the Help to Grow: Management Scheme. The scheme is 90 per cent funded by the government and provides access to 12-weeks of learning, 1:1 support from a business mentor and a chance to develop a bespoke business growth plan to help your business reach its full potential.
Use your business plan to attract funding
If you intend to present your business plan to an external audience such as investors or banks, you will also need to include:
- your aims and objectives for each area of the business
- details of the history of the business, including financial records from the last three years - if this isn't possible, provide details about trading to date
- management's skills and qualifications
- information about the product or service, its distinctiveness and where it fits into the marketplace
Discover how to tailor your business plan to secure funding.