5 tips to keep your growth plan simple and doable

Don Mercer
Posted by Don Mercer
Small Business Banking

You’re prepared for growth, and you want to create a SMART plan to have your roadmap for growth. But where do you begin?

Here are 5 tips that can make creating your plan more manageable:

Back view of young man at a business desk, leaning back in thinking pose with feet up on the desk.1. One page. The good news is you should be able to keep your plan to just one page — but certainly no more than two. This doesn’t mean you won’t have pages and pages and white boards of notes and ideas as you draft the plan. But if you can whittle all your thoughts down to one page, it will be concise and easier to manage.

2. Wear the hat. Day in and day out, you are busy. Paying vendors, meeting with prospective clients, answering phones, finding someone to fill in for your receptionist who called in sick. Managing the day-to-day responsibilities of your business can be exhausting. You wear a lot of hats as a business owner. But, I encourage business owners to be sure to wear your strategy hat.

Resolve to find time every week — even if it’s just an hour or two — to step back from all your tasks and think strategically about your business and review your plan to determine if you are on track with interim milestones or need to make adjustments.

3. Half day. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on a strategic plan, but I’ve found devoting a half day of intensive effort initially can really pay off. Your goal is to assess the business’s strengths and weaknesses and find those areas with potential for meaningful growth, then lay out the steps you will take to achieve your growth goals. A sold half day of work can produce a plan that is actionable and realistic.

4. Partners. If you have a hard time pulling together all the components for your plan, lean on outside help. Set up a meeting with your accountant to help assess your company’s financials.

Your accountant may be able to help you spot strengths and weaknesses. Are costs growing faster than revenue? Are there months with traditionally strong sales? Compare the margins on various products and services to see if you should raises prices, or stop offering unprofitable or thin-margin products.

Similarly, talk to your banker. Maybe there are opportunities he or she can help you explore, such as purchasing a building, hiring more staff, upgrading equipment, or utilizing cash management techniques to speed customer payments and put cash to work more efficiently.

5. It’s alive. Your plan should not be a static document. Your business will change, the market will change, and you should be prepared to revisit and update or revise your plan. As you execute your plan you’ll want to assess results and adjust as you go along. Your SMART plan is a living document, so try to revisit it at least quarterly, or ideally monthly. Remember that grand plans are great but don’t amount to much without the day-to-day execution of your strategy.

There are lots of ways to create a growth plan. But in the midst of running your business it’s never easy to create time for a strategic assessment. I hope these tips give you some ideas to consider for getting you growth plan off the ground.

I’d love to hear your ideas for creating a growth plan. Post a suggestion or a question for me in the comments area below.


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  • Anonymous says:

    Good article. So true that business owners wear so many hats and have only limited working hours. I advise my business clients to create a financial family by including their CPA, Banker, Insurance Broker and Investment Advisor. They meet together minimally bi-annually to discuss overall business plans. This enables all the financial advisors to understand the overall goals and strategize accordingly . This is also a time saver as you have one meeting instead of four.

    Reply | 6 years ago

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