After a couple of years in business, you may have hit the goals outlined in your business plan. Your organization is running smoothly and you’re thinking about what comes next. If this is the case, congratulate yourself on your well-earned success!
And in terms of next steps, it may be time for you to develop your growth strategy. Determining the best time to grow your business depends on your goals. What does success look like to you? Do you want to keep the business in the family long-term, or are you hoping to sell it in a couple of years? If you have been in business for two or more years and are outliving your business plan, it may be time to consider where your business is going in the future.
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Eve Elliott, vice president and business officer at Rockland Trust, shared answers to three common questions business owners ask when considering the creation of a growth plan.
What Types of Business Growth are There?
As with many aspects of business, there is not a one-size-fits-all growth strategy. Depending on your industry, your plan for growth may look different. If you run a daycare, for example, you might focus on growing clientele. This might also be true in a consulting field. A plumbing business, on the other hand, might look to grow its fleet of vehicles to better service the customers it already has.
Typically, these growth goals often come down to making an impact on the bottom line. Eve pointed out that an important rule of thumb for business owners to keep in mind is that growing often means spending more money. That said, one of the most important areas to consider when mapping out a growth strategy is staffing. “Money spent investing in your talent is always well spent,” says Eve.
PRO TIP: A common mistake in the growth process is getting distracted by a new shiny idea that is outside of your area of expertise. Eve advises that companies should stick to what has proven to work to help ensure their growth plans are successful.
How are Business Plans and Growth Plans Similar?
Think of a growth plan as an extension of your business plan. Your business plan outlined what you want to be known for and how to make that a reality. A growth plan takes a deeper dive into what you are known for and finds avenues to build upon your business’ success. Instead of looking month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter, map out a longer term five-year strategy.
A key component of any business plan is keeping tabs on the competition. How are your competitors reacting to market changes? Where is their focus? This helps keep you informed about what you are up against and how you can set your business apart.
What Goes into a Growth Plan?
Similar to a business plan, having a good team is fundamental because support is key to expanding your business. Keeping lines of communication open is imperative. You should regularly check in with your team of advisors, including your CPA, banker, and lawyer, to help you navigate the next phases of your business growth. At this stage, you may seek more specialization in these roles to help you achieve your specific goals.
Realistic forecasting and determining the right financial services to support your needs is also important. It’s common that business needs change as you grow and find success. Where a $10,000 line of credit was suitable before, it may not be now. Look at your larger financial picture and have an open, honest conversation with your banker about your needs.
Common Growth Pitfall: A common mistake business owners make when attempting to grow is overspending or growing too fast. Consult with your team of advisors, who can help ensure your expectations are realistic and you are in line to meet your goals.
Our business bankers have helped thousands of business owners like you, from starting a brand new business through succession planning. If you need help growing your business, reach out and our team can help ensure you’re on the right financial track.
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