Planning is a vital task for any business. It is also integral to creating an effective and meaningful business growth strategy.
You should review your business performance regularly and aim to identify:
- your business performance progress
- key growth areas
- the most likely strategy for growth
Planning for business growth
Complacency can be a major threat to a growing business. Assuming that you will remain successful, simply because you have been in the past, is unwise.
You should prepare a business plan for growth and outline the exact direction and activities needed for expansion.
You should also regularly revisit and update your business plan. This will help you identify what action you need to take to change your business and the way it operates. For example:
- change suppliers to those who can grow with you and meet your new priorities
- renegotiate contracts to take account of increased volume - see how to manage your suppliers
- train and develop employees, as well as your own role - see more on staff training and development
- update your technologies - see business growth: IT systems and processes
Strategy for business growth
As your business grows, your strategy needs to evolve to suit your new position. For example, you may change your focus from winning new customers to building profitable relationships with existing ones. See how to target your most profitable customers.
On the other hand, there are obvious risks to relying solely on existing customers. Diversifying your customer base or product mix spreads those risks. Find out how to develop a sales strategy to increase profits.
Following the same business model, but bigger, is not the only route to growth. There are other strategic growth options that might provide better business growth opportunities. These can include outsourcing or franchising your business.
Minimising the risk of business growth
Don't assume that your current success means that you will automatically be able to take advantage of these business opportunities. Every major move needs planning in the same way as a new business launch.
Don't be too opportunistic. Make sure that the new ideas suit your strengths and your vision of where the business is going. Bear in mind that every new development brings with it changing risks. It's worth regularly reviewing the risks you face and developing contingency plans. See more on risk management.
You need to be fully committed to your business strategy, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. This may involve difficult decisions. For example, making employees redundant or leaving suppliers you have become friends with. But unless you're prepared to do this, you risk putting your business at a competitive disadvantage.