Mapping out a business plan takes time to write, prioritise and implement. Follow these seven simple steps to achieve a successful strategy to ensure your company’s future growth.
1. Set aside a day
You may be hard-pressed to find the time to plan anything away from the busy day-to-day running of your business. But it is essential that you break away from the daily grind and set aside at least a day for planning your future. Taking time out to write an action plan can give you the focus and practical tools to grow your business.
2. Gather the team
But don’t do this on your own. If you are a solopreneur ask a trusted friend or business owner to join you. You can then support each other brainstorm ideas. If you have a team, it is important that they are involved in your plan. Have a facilitator to chair the meeting, so you are not dictating the direction of the day.
3. Look back – Review the last 12 months
Business owners are more likely to plan accurately if they have reviewed the last year. Working through what worked and what didn’t, your strengths and shortcomings will inform what aspects of your business to drop, continue or improve.
4. Look forward – one-year plan
Once you have reflected on your last year, you can use it to write a short-term plan. For instance, did you have unexpected expenditures, disappointments that slowed your progress. Did you have successes and achievements that supported your growth? Take these into consideration when you set proposals for the next year.
5. Look forward – five-year plan
You don’t need to have a crystal ball to look into the future, but having an over-arching five-year plan helps you evaluate year on year if you are likely to achieve your long-term vision. There will be times of unexpected changes, and having a long-term plan will help you keep perspective and adjust accordingly without all your projects going to ruin.
6. Immediate actions to take
This doesn’t have to be onerous or written to perfection. Simply sit with your team or trusted colleague and write what you have to do to make the very first step towards your vision. It may be to do a quick research of the market and your competitors, a simple survey of your customers or beginning to write down systems and processes that make for the smooth running of your company. This could a list for the first day or the first week, it doesn’t matter. What matters is you take simple action after simple action.
7. Allocate and decide what to measure
You’ll of course want to grow your business in a general sense, but get specific here. Is it customer service you want improve, so they will keep coming back again and again? Or is it your employee’s skills and knowledge you want to support? Decide what to measure and schedule in regular time to perform short reviews with your team. This will keep you on track to realise your short and long-term goals for business growth.
Do you want help with goal-setting? Download our 24-hour action plan for getting where you want to go and creating the time to get there.