Planning for the future of a business often involves strategizing for growth. While it may be possible for some successful enterprises to sustain the status quo in an ever-changing market, leading business consultants suggest that most operations are on trajectories toward success or failure. Small businesses often lack the resources to sustain very gradual growth and should rely on proven marketing methods, such as sending business greeting cards. Learn how to develop short- and long-term strategies for growth.
Review the Available Data
The data available to a business owner depends on the phase of operations. New businesses should perform careful market analysis in the earliest stages of growth. More established enterprises can factor customer, sales and supplier data into a practical growth plan.
Whether a business operates at a brick-and-mortar location or online, analytics from a website, search engine and social media accounts may be valuable when planning for growth. Draft and revise any plan in light of key indicators and revenue data that reflect market response.
Make and Prioritize Goals
The objectives of business owners, managers and other stakeholders are the driving forces behind growth. In addition to sharing the same short- and long-term goals, everyone involved should agree on which goal is the top priority and combine their efforts toward success.
It may not be possible for a business to meet every goal on its list at the same time. Dedicating attention to some goals may take away from others. For this reason, business owners and managers should come up with specific measures that can be taken to achieve each objective and slate steps toward growth on a calendar.
Come Up With Actionable Strategies
Some growth strategies pertain to daily operations while others involve reorganizing the structure of a business. Actionable short-term strategies for growth might include optimizing a website or initiating new search engine marketing, social media or email campaigns.
Businesses may also experience success with targeted print media campaigns. Business greeting cards customized for specific occasions or demographics can help a business stay in touch with customers, clients or contacts. Whether a business primarily operates on the internet or at a physical location, it is important to pursue online and offline growth strategies.
Set Schedules and Timelines
Once a business owner has a strategy for growth in mind, he or she should allot time to test each approach and set dates to assess performance. The types of goals will determine the best approach to setting checkpoints along the way.
The priority of a goal should determine how soon a business takes action. In other cases, one or more prerequisite objectives may be necessary. Slate in checkpoints for sequential goals over time. Short-term goals may be achieved within months or quarters, while long-term goals may be anywhere from one year to 10 years away from realization.
Identify Relevant Metrics
Identifying and tracking relevant metrics is the only way to determine whether growth is taking place. Key indicators should shed light on the performance of a business in ways directly related to growth.
Clicks and conversions online, social media followers, revenue and other quantifiable factors can be useful indexes for growth. Make sure to calculate these numbers accurately and maintain records to discern trends over time.
Continue to Monitor the Market
A growth plan must grow along with an enterprise. The strategies that work for a business should be continued or modified as the market grows or shifts over time.
As a business owner monitors the market, he or she may want to consider new growth opportunities. Some relatively low risk endeavors might include developing new products, expanding services or targeting marketing toward emerging demographics.
Define your ideal customer
Your target market might not be the same as when you first started your business. Your offerings change, you learn what works, and you see who is interested in your business. Take a look at your current customers to understand details that appeal to your market.
Also, look for new niches that you might have missed initially. These areas of the market could be opportunities for growth.
Find out everything you can about your ideal customer. What are their interests? What issues need addressed? How much are they willing to spend? Use this information to market to target customers.
Formalize Your Business Strategy
The owner of a business that needs to secure financial backing should formalize a growth plan. Templates available online or with office software make it possible to present goals in an impressive document complete with an executive summary and visual representations of relevant data.
Any customer relations tasks a business can outsource, such as producing business greeting cards, makes it easier to focus on growth. Only one-half of startups last longer than five years and just one-third make it to the 10-year mark. Business owners and stakeholders should resolve to work together to achieve shared goals for growth.