Growth planning needs to be an integral part of your post-crisis strategy.
When developing marketing strategies or writing a consulting proposal for prospective clients and partners, growth should always be at the forefront of one’s mind.
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We outline the steps you need to complete to develop a growth plan below.
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During a crisis, it can be difficult to look ahead to the future. The plans that were made for 2020 will require updates for companies to make it through to the end of the year.
But to manage the crisis – as it continues to unfold – businesses still need to have a strong idea about where they want their organization to be in 2021 and beyond.
To do this, businesses need to determine their overall goals – which will have been affected by the global pandemic.
There are a number of different goals that companies can aim for. Here are a few examples:
- Increase client or customer acquisition by 10%
- Develop an X number of products
- Increase sales per quarter by 15%
- Launch a new website
- Revamp branding
- Reach new audience segments
- Earn 5% more revenue in Q3
- Partner with new affiliates
Once you have determined these long-term goals for your business, you need to understand which ones to prioritize over others.
For some organizations, goals that are achievable could be prioritized over entering new markets due to limited resources.
It is generally a good idea to look at how much input is required to complete the desired action – what will be the return on investment for undertaking a project?
There is no point in launching searching for new clients or freelancers to bring in more revenue if the process will cost more than you make, or if it burns out your team.
Once you determine your goals, you can start looking at individual metrics that will benefit your growth planning.
Choosing goals does not mean that you can reach them without following a number of other steps.
An overarching goal like earning more revenue needs a few other metrics to be completed before it can be accomplished, as you can see from the business infographic above.
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To earn more revenue, you need more clients to complete transactions on your site. These transactions can only be fulfilled if the customers are interested in your service.
You will need to create awareness campaigns around your services to reach your audience, enticing enough for them to visit your site.
Each of these stages is an individual goal in itself and requires the teams involved to outline metrics that can help them reach their targets.
Thus, to ensure that there is revenue growth, the following key performance indicators should be monitored:
- Conversion rates
- Cost per acquisition
- SEO rankings
- Click-through rates
- Repeat sales
- Client retention score
- Cart abandonment rate
Growth planning needs to be implemented at every stage of the business cycle to be a success, and you need to understand the changes required to make it happen.
For instance, if your cart abandonment rate is too high, you may want to consider Magento extensions that will make the checkout process easier for customers.
Once goals and metrics have been identified, companies can look at their competitors to determine where and their company can grow.
Most businesses exist within a niche, amongst other companies that have similar products, services, or target markets as them.
There is no way to avoid having competitors unless your product or service is completely revolutionary. And even in such a case, new competitors might emerge eventually.
Whatever the situation may be, businesses need to be aware of their competitors, as well as to analyze them.
While most companies develop a thorough analysis early on in their creation, this crisis has changed the way business is conducted.
New rivals will have entered the niche market – or found different ways of implementing products to better suit the changing environment.
Businesses will need to work on another competitor analysis to understand how the pandemic period has affected the market.
Create a competitor analysis by looking at the following areas:
- Define the competitors selling similar products or services to your company
- Determine their pricing models
- Which audience segments overlap?
- Which of their audience groups have you, not mass texted or mailed?
- What marketing efforts are they undertaking?
- What kind of online reviews/ feedback have they received?
- What are they delivering that you aren’t?
- What are you offering that your competitors aren’t?
By answering these questions, you can ascertain which areas can be improved in your business, or what gaps in the market exist for you to exploit.
If your pricing models are similar to your competitors, you can consider reducing prices. If you can offer after-sale services, that could give you an edge.
There may be audiences you haven’t considered reaching out to that could give you another competitive advantage.
A thorough analysis of the market and how your competitors exist within it will help your growth planning strategy beyond the current pandemic.
A growth plan is only as good as the people working on it. Whether you are a solopreneur or the head of a conglomerate, the ambition of your company needs to match your resources.
Look at the goals and metrics you have settled on and identify what kind of human resources will be needed to accomplish them.
Do you have enough people in specific growth-related departments? Do they have the requisite skills to perform the tasks? What kind of training would they require?
You will need to identify gaps in your personnel and outline ways to fill those vacancies as quickly as possible.
These assessments will also have to take into account your financial resources, are you equipped to bring more people on board?
Should you consider lending plans or should you scale back your goals?
The team assessment phase isn’t an easy one, but it is crucial to growing your business responsibly.
Build a Growth Plan
Being growth-minded and aiming high is how businesses sustain themselves. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t document what they are planning for the future.
A growth plan can be referenced whenever anyone needs a reminder, and can also be updated for changing circumstances.
The necessary elements of a growth plan include the following:
- An executive summary, including problems and solutions
- Primary goals
- Scope of upcoming projects
- SWOT analysis
Once the growth plan has been committed to paper, it becomes a living document that propels the team towards a bigger and better future.
Growth planning can seem like a challenge when the world around us is changing, but that is precisely why businesses need to focus on reaching for the stars.
To recap, here’s what growth planning entails for businesses and consultancies: Tips to Build a Growth Plan for Your Business During Crisis.
- Choosing achievable goals
- Determining metrics to reach those goals
- Analyzing competitors and market gaps
- Assessing team resources available and required
- Building a documented growth plan
With these steps, companies can start to create a future for their businesses well past the pandemic, and into 2021.
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