You're ready to grow your small business. Now what? You need a plan -- a focused, disciplined plan -- one you can readily execute to achieve your goal for growth.
To make sure your small business growth plan is well thought out and has the best possible chance of success, you want to be sure you consider these ingredients:
1. Goal for growth. To proclaim you want to grow is not enough. You need a target growth rate. It used to be that a 15 percent growth rate, which would double a company in 5 years, was note-worthy. However, given the current state of the economy, a 20-30 percent growth rate is a much better target to ensure your small business survives whatever comes its way.
2. Strategy for growth. There are numerous proven strategies for growth. You can read about the 4 most common strategies at You've Got Options! Strategies for Growing Your Small Business. Pick one!
3. Duration of the growth initiative. Given the fast pace of today's business environment, it's difficult to predict success, with any degree of certainty, of any growth initiative. It requires a level of experimentation to find the small business growth strategy that gains traction. Let "fail often, fail fast, and fail cheap" be your mantra. Better to use shorter term initiatives than a long drawn out plan that outlives its usefulness.
4. Metrics. You can't manage what you don't measure. It's the only way you can know, for certain, what's working or what's not. Additionally, you want to include "proof points" -- points along the continuum to achieving your goal for growth that help you know you're on the right track.
5. Budget. Knowing the parameters within which you have to work is important in making sure the actions you select are doable. Nothing is more frustrating than planning a stellar growth initiative only to discover you can't afford it.
6. Resources. Who and what is available to help you with your growth initiative? Growth initiatives infused with collaboration have a greater chance of success.
Depending on your growth strategy of choice, you may need to upgrade your marketing or buyer persona and tighten up your value proposition to ensure success.
I know few small business owners who are fond of the planning process. We're an enthusiastic bunch and would rather dive into the deep end of the pool. However, taking time to blend key ingredients into your small business growth plan prevents your growth initiative from being a flop.