Setting your sights on growing your business
Growing your business requires thought and plenty of meticulous planning. It’s very important that you take the time to plan and think for the future rather than just reacting to the first opportunity. Be objective and consider all the ‘what if’ scenarios. This will help you to spot all the opportunities and risks.
The following tips should help you along the route to growing your business:
Create a business plan
Firstly, spend time to define and map out your business plan, ideally this should be done on one piece of A4 paper. Create a simple vision of what your business model looks like and create an actionable, achievable business plan. Use a mind map or family tree to define the vision looking at the audience, departments and sales channels. You should be able to describe your entire business in one sentence.
- Customers – who is your ideal customer? Where do they live? What do they read? Consider their demographics, ideals and interests.
- Sales channels – how are you going to sell to your customers? What are the requirements/effects of that sales channel? Take a moment to map out how specific sales channels operate.
- What are the USP’s of your business? – use the classic “4 Ps” of marketing to define your brand, production process and provenance. What is the fourth p? Why do your customers buy from you specifically?
Recruit on attitude above all
Define the people you need within the business to be able to deliver your brand to your customers. Employ people based on attitude and teach the necessary skill set.
Remember that everyone, including non-customer facing staff, can have a huge impact on the reputation of your brand, and the future of your business.
It is essential to recruit your team with a positive mind-set and a can-do attitude if you are to realise your goals, on growing your business. What you don’t know should not hold you or your team back – don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are no such thing as stupid questions; just stupid answers. Find someone who knows more than you, and listen to their advice.
You and your team needs to buy into points 1-3 within your one-page business plan and be able to pull together to deliver a positive result for sales growth and target achievement.
The infrastructure challenges
Make sure your physical surroundings and equipment – offices, communication tools (land and mobile), technology– are fit for purpose. Is your internet speeds adequate? It’s important to take time in assessing the requirements for your business. If communication is poor, what are the barriers? Is your technology holding you back? Futureproof your business and invest for the future, not for the right now.
Do the paperwork
Produce a detailed sales forecast for the next 3-5 years by sales channel with associated costs of raw materials, infrastructure and people. By doing this, you will better understand the resources needed to deliver the growth plan and also see which opportunities are the easiest to realise.
Producing a forecast allows you to focus on the easy wins rather than trying to win all the sales opportunities or solve all the battles on day one. By putting the legwork into the paperwork. This will also help you to identify the core risks and avoid the pitfalls accordingly.
Stress test your business plan
Ensure you have enough cash and resources in the business to deliver on points above. Stress test your business plan and cashflow forecasts on a monthly basis to avoid the business running out of money before it achieves its growth and profit targets.
In order to set your sights on growing your business, it’s important to have/raise sufficient funds. In order to raise funds, you’ll need a great idea, great people and above all a credible plan which investors will want to buy into and provide the necessary cash resources for you and your team to deliver on that plan. Remember the mantra – idea, people, plan, cash.