August 25, 2020

Lessons Learned Series: Writing A Business Growth Plan

This year marks the 30th anniversary of SRB Communications. In honor of this accomplishment, our blog series, Lessons Learned, will highlight five key lessons that founder and CEO, Dr. Sheila Brooks learned during 30 years as an entrepreneur. This week we offer Lesson #3 – Writing Your Business Growth Plan.  If you missed Lesson #1, Pivot the Business, or #2 – Obtaining a Bank Loan, click the links.

I encourage you to invest in yourself. The clearer your vision is about your business, the sooner it becomes a reality. It’s more important now than ever to write and update your business growth plan regularly since there is no playbook for surviving through a pandemic, which can create opportunities.

What are you working towards? What are your goals? Where are you headed? These are good questions to ask yourself in life and, just as importantly, in business. Running a business requires long-term thinking and foresight. Every action you take should be pushing you towards the goal you set beforehand. Whether it’s growing your business’s sales by 10% or selling it in 10 years, knowing where you’re headed creates a path to success that is easier to see.

What is a Business Growth Plan?

A business growth plan is a strategic plan that allows you to plan, track, and execute actions that push your business forward. The growth is simply the expansion of any aspect of the business. Having a set plan helps in three critical ways:

  • It helps you realize your business goals
  • It offers a set path to push your business forward, and
  • It allows you to keep tabs on your progress

Why is a Growth Plan Important in Business?

Many people go into business not realizing what they really want out of it. I learned early in my career as an entrepreneur that you must have a business plan to ensure that your company is focused on growth. Approximately 80% of businesses in this country fail within the first year, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). By the fifth year in business, more than half of the small businesses, 45% – 51%, have closed their doors. The primary reason for small businesses to fail is a lack of adequate capital, primarily because they had no business growth plan. It is essential that an entrepreneur has a written blueprint on how they will access capital, recruit and retain the best talent, manage their operations, know their market and competitors, and so much more.

According to CB Insights, 17% of small businesses fail because they lack a business model. Ask yourself, do you want to be in business or just a consultant? If you want to be in business, you should know how to answer these questions. How big do you want the business to be? How will you know if you have reached your goals? How do you want to grow once you’ve achieved those goals? If you don’t have these types of questions answered, you’re essentially driving with no destination which is almost a guarantee to failure.

Having a business growth plan keeps you focused on what needs to be done. With a clear path to success laid out, it’s much easier to stay focused on the day-to-day and long-term picture. Maintaining your drive is imperative in keeping your business afloat, and a growth plan keeps you motivated along the way.

Early in my career, I knew that I was very clear that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start a business with full-time employees, office space, and full-service production facility. Those aspirations seemed aggressive at the time, but they served as the inspiration behind the plan that turned those aspirations into goals. The key to my success was I waited for the right time – when I could afford to pay for them. They were part of my plan, and it’s a plan that I continue to follow, revisit, and revise whenever necessary, and it helps me see how to achieve success down the road. I’m proud of where SRB Communications is 30 years later. We’ve always had a written business growth plan and always will.

The business growth plan also allows for continued reassurance that you are on the right track. The plan gives you check points and the ability to review the progress you have made. This gives you increased confidence on the actions you take. Knowing you’re headed in the right direction for your business makes each new step easier to take. Checking on your progress also lends the opportunity to see what hasn’t work in progressing you towards your ultimate goal. If you’re not seeing the growth you’d like to see, a growth plan will give you the opportunity to stop and pivot before it’s too late.

Business is a long-term game that must be played with well-defined plan in mind. You should be constantly thinking of how you can better your company and achieve the goal that you set. Nothing is too small or too big to take on if it means bringing new growth to the company. Remaining focused on your growth day in and day out drives success. It’s the “sink or swim, swim or die” mentality that allows a business to survive. In business, we must be sharks. If we stop moving forward, we die.