Business growth planning
What is a growth plan, how to plan for business growth or expansion, and what to include in the growth plan document
Growth planning is similar to business planning. However, it focuses mainly on revenue generation or expansion, and the actions needed to achieve it. It 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 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.
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.
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.
See also how do you develop a strategic plan.
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. See how to create your marketing strategy.
- 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. See cashflow management.
- 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. See why you should consider your exit strategy when starting up.
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 choose to pursue growth by selling more to existing customers. A more established business may decide to sell into new markets instead or offer new products or services.
Find more strategies to increase sales revenue.
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.