Module 11 – Create Your Business Growth Plan
In the previous modules, you reviewed the major parts of your business in detail. Now it’s time to bring everything together and create a plan to make the modifications you want; what to add, remove, or change and the strategies and tactics you want to introduce. You’ll also factor in the cost and risks to be assessed.
In this module, you’ll create the Business Growth Plan which will put you on track to expand your business to the level that you desire.
What Goes in Your Business Growth Plan
Your business growth plan for next 12 months needs to include the following:
- Business Mission and Vision – A summary of your “Why?” for your business
- Ideal Customer – A description of who your ideal customer is
- Business Goals – Specific goals you want to achieve for your business in the next year.
- Marketing Strategy – The specific tactics you’ll focus on for achieving your goals, based on your assessment of your business
- Team Members – The people resources you will need to run your business, including any freelance or outsourced contractors
- Process Improvements & Tools – Changes you plan to make in order to run your business more efficiently
- Financial Forecast – Your projected revenue, costs, and profit
- Key Metrics – How you’ll measure your progress towards your goals
- Milestones and Deadlines – Specific targets to achieve and deadlines for getting it done
Completing Your Business Growth Plan
You have already worked on the “Why?” you’re in business and clarified your ideal customer. Now it’s time to go deeper.
Consider your reasons for growing your business that you listed back in the beginning of this course before you set goals that are either too large or too modest. Think in terms of financial and lifestyle goals as your business growth will affect your lifestyle.
Be specific about what you want to achieve. For example, how many new customers you want to gain and the anticipated size of your customer base at the end of the period.
Try to plan some quick actions you can take for immediate gains (such as a simple addition to an existing product that you can offer without much additional work), as well as longer-term goals (such as developing an entirely new product from scratch).
Review the current marketing assessment you did in an earlier module and make decisions on where you’ll make changes in your marketing tactics. Include changes you’ll make to existing tactics, new tactics you’ll add, costs involved, and how everything will impact your goals. Impact could be things like a specific increase in revenue or decrease in cost or time.
Do precise budgeting to decide on the right level of people resourcing. It’s important that resources are prioritized, so that areas of a business which are key to delivering your overall aims and objectives are adequately funded. If funding isn’t available, this may involve making cutbacks in other areas. Allocate resources to reflect your business’s position and future direction.
Refer back to your work in the Team Development module to see where you can make better use of the people resources you have now, as well as where it makes sense to add new team members. Lay out those responsibilities, along with the costs associated with current and new team members so that you can see what additional funding you need to tap into.
Depending on the changes you make, note any cost savings too.
Process Improvements & Tools
Decide on the changes you want to make to your business processes and tools. Record their impact on your goals and how they affect your costs, including any cost savings that will happen from the changes.
Determine Your Financial Forecast
A detailed cash flow forecast is essential for this process. This includes current revenue and expenditure as well as projected revenue and expenditure for the modifications you want to make.
Enough money must be in the pot to keep the core business running, as you need to ensure that your income continues over the growth period. Your outgoings will rise sooner and faster than your revenues. Build in some surplus to your projections in case projects run over – things often take longer than you think they will.
You need to know:
- How much investment is required to fund the growth you want
- How much cash you need to have available for yourself each month
- When investment will be needed
- When it will be available
When you work on your financial projections, you need to take into account your planned business activities. For example,
- Your promotion calendar
- Any seasonal fluctuations that affect your business
- When you get paid
- Positive and negative results from launches
- New product trials
Look back at your last year’s data to help you with some of the information for this.
Complete the spreadsheet on a month by month basis.
You’ll be able to see the cash left at the end of each month. Some months may go into the red. If this is temporary and will be compensated by income the following month, it’s acceptable. But if it means you’re not going to be able to pay your bills when they become due, you’ll have to bring in more income or borrow some cash to cover the shortfalls. Otherwise, you’ll need to go back and adjust the changes you plan to make, so that you always have enough cash available.
How to use the spreadsheet
- Add in any categories that make this personal to your business
- Play with your numbers so that you get different projections. This will help you decide which way to go. For example:
- Add in a loan of 10k and see how that changes your cash flow
- Do a projection for ‘slow and steady’ growth and one for ‘fast and furious’ growth (we looked at this in the first module) and compare the two
- Make a best-case and worst-case scenario projections
- Add in or take out different changes to your plans
- Save the different versions as separate files or tabs in your spreadsheet
Fill in the provided spreadsheet to help you complete your forecast, tailoring it as needed to suit your own business.
Once you’ve completed the spreadsheet, you may need to go back and revise the changes you plan to make, depending on how much of a financial investment you are willing to make in your business growth.
Finalize Your Business Growth Plan
There’s a template in your Action Guide for you to fill in with a summary of all the work you’ve done and to record all the changes you want to make.
Complete as much of it as you can now – we’ll return to Key Metrics and Milestones & Deadlines in the last module, so leave that blank for the time being.
- When you are creating a Business Growth Plan, a detailed cash flow forecast is essential.
- Complete your cash flow forecast on a month-by-month basis so you can see when money comes in and when it goes out
- Quick Win: Plan some quick actions you can take for immediate gains (such as a simple addition to an existing product that will add income without much additional work).
- Using the data you’ve already gathered in other modules, fill in your plan using the template in the Action Guide (all except Metrics and Milestones and Deadlines) to show your goals and the changes you want to make. This includes:
- Mission & Vision
- Ideal Customers
- Business Goals
- Marketing Strategy
- Team Members
- Processes and Tools
- Complete the financial forecasting spreadsheet to test the viability of your planned changes.
- Revise your plan as necessary based on your financial forecast and any decisions you make about what you’re willing to invest in your growth.