Hiring and Growth

How to Create a Business Growth Plan for 2022

Paige Smith  
business growth plan

Consistent business growth is key to strong profits and long-term business success—but how exactly do you get it? Growth isn’t always linear, nor does it look the same for every business. 

The latest info & advice to help you run your business.

Below, we’ll break down why business growth matters, then share growth strategies you can use to get ahead. 

What is business growth and why is it important? 

Growth is the process of expanding or improving your operation. It can take a lot of different forms. Depending on your goals and where you’re starting from, growth might mean expanding your business’s physical footprint, growing your customer base, or diversifying your offerings—usually for the purpose of increasing your profits.   

You may think business growth is only helpful when a) you’re struggling to make money or b) you have lofty goals to overtake your target market or triple your revenue. But what if you’re somewhere in the middle of the spectrum? 

Say, for example, that you’re running a relatively stable business with happy customers and consistent profits. In that case, do you need to work on business growth, or can you put it on the backburner? The short answer is that it’s always a good time to focus on growth. 

Every business—regardless of size, industry, or offerings—can benefit from prioritizing growth initiatives. Business growth is key to:

  • Staying on top of trends
  • Keeping customers satisfied
  • Acquiring new customers 
  • Competing with other businesses 
  • Maintaining healthy cash flow
  • Improving profits
  • Meeting long-term goals 
  • Minimizing your financial losses 
  • Protecting your business from economic disruptions

The good news, though, is that you don’t necessarily have to make major changes to your business direction or day-to-day operations to grow. You can set one smart goal at a time and go from there. 

What are growth plans and growth strategies? 

Most business growth doesn’t just happen—there’s action and strategy behind it. Whether you want to create a new product line or break into a different niche, you need a game plan. That’s where growth plans and growth strategies come into play. 

Similar to a business plan, a growth plan is a one to two-year roadmap that describes your overall growth goals, benchmarks, and how you’ll measure your success. Within your growth plan, you’ll outline your growth strategy, which is the method you’ll use to reach your goals. 

Though growth strategies can include marketing solutions, it’s important to note that a growth strategy isn’t the same as a marketing plan. Growth strategies are high-level tactics that usually pertain to multiple different areas of a business—from sales to finances—whereas marketing strategies only apply to a business’s marketing goals. 

There are four main types of growth strategies:

  1. Market: Market strategy means growing your business by winning over your current target market and target customers. 
  2. Development: Development means growing your operation by taking your current products or services to a new market. 
  3. Product development: Product development is about growing by creating new products or services for your current market. 
  4. Diversification: Diversification is a two-pronged approach to growth. You’re focused on expanding your offerings and looking into new markets.  

How to create a business growth plan

Follow these six steps to get started: 

1. Evaluate your business 

It’s hard to grow your business if you don’t know where you’re starting from. Before you set goals, take time to gather some quantitative and qualitative data about your business finances, operations, products or services, customers, and employees. You can review your recent profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement; inventory data and sales reports; and customer reviews and employee turnover rates. 

Consider your business’s strengths and accomplishments, as well as your problem areas. Understanding what works and what doesn’t is a good starting point for setting growth targets. 

2. Pinpoint your growth targets 

Once you have a better idea of where your business stands, consider your vision for the next two to 10 years. You may want to:

  • Expand your offerings
  • Open a new location
  • Hire more employees
  • Target a new sector of customers
  • Increase your revenue
  • Update your image or branding
  • Tap into a new market
  • Purchase another business 

Chances are your broad growth targets will encompass a few different areas of your operation. To increase your revenue, for example, you may have to adjust your pricing, products, sales tactics, or even your entire business model. 

3. Conduct market research

Before you invest time and money into a particular growth target, it’s a good idea to suss out whether the market will support or hinder your growth. Imagine, for example, that you have an ecommerce company selling specialty baby clothes. If you want to start offering blankets and linens in addition to the clothes, you need to find out if your current customers would be interested in that, and if not, which demographics would. 

To research industry trends, consumer attitudes, and competitors, you can: 

  • Send out customer surveys 
  • Read customer reviews 
  • Review the latest industry or consumer reports 
  • Conduct comparative pricing and product analyses 

From there, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you need to pivot or adjust your expectations for growth. 

4. Align your growth target with a growth strategy

A growth strategy helps give shape and direction to your overarching growth goals. Once you’ve nailed down your growth target, see which of the four growth strategy categories it falls into. Keep in mind that some growth targets—like improving your profits or increasing your customer base—can correspond with any of the four general strategies, while others—like introducing a new service—have a specific correlation. 

Here’s a chart to give you an idea: 

Type of growth strategyGrowth targetsPossible growth tactics 
Market
  • Grow customer base
  • Increase revenue or sales
  • Open a second location
  • Increase customer acquisition rate
  • Adjust your pricing
  • Refine your marketing methods
  • Use referral incentives
Development
  • Tap into a new market or region
  • Expand customer base
  • Increase revenue or sales
  • Form strategic partnerships with other businesses
  • Take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing
Product development
  • Create new products or services
  • Increase revenue or sales
  • Grow customer base
  • Increase employee headcount
  • Create new offerings
  • Update your value prop
  • Run promotions
Diversification
  • Expand your offerings
  • Open a new location
  • Purchase another business
  • Increase employee headcount
  • Leverage social media partnerships
  • Focus on organic growth strategies (e.g. SEO and content marketing)

5. Create SMART goals and use a growth strategy template

Setting SMART goals—goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound—is key to creating a realistic growth plan and measuring your progress along the way. Considering your timeline, finances, and resources, write out a handful of goals. 

If you want to open a second location within two years, for example, some of your goals might be to secure financing by a certain date, sign a lease by a certain date, finish onsite renovations by a certain date, and staff your location by a certain date. Once you outline your goals, list out the various tasks and resources each goal takes to accomplish, then work backward and give each task a specific timeline. 

Use a growth strategy template

Writing out your growth plan can give you direction and clarity. Here’s a sample template you can use: 

Overall growth goal: Explain your plan and vision. 

Growth strategy: Which type of growth strategy will you use?

Resources required: Explain what you need in terms of funding, people, technology, tools, or supplies. 

SMART growth goal #1: Explain your goal and timeline for achieving it, as well as the metrics you’ll use to measure progress. 

TaskPerson in chargeDue dateNotes/Resources needed
What is the task?Who’s responsible for executing it?When does the task need to be completed?What resources do you need to complete it? Are there any special considerations to take?

SMART growth goal #2: Explain your goal and timeline for achieving it, as well as the metrics you’ll use to measure progress. 

TaskPerson in chargeDue dateNotes/Resources needed
What is the task?Who’s responsible for executing it?When does the task need to be completed?What resources do you need to complete it? Are there any special considerations to take?

SMART growth goal #3: Explain your goal and timeline for achieving it, as well as the metrics you’ll use to measure progress. 

TaskPerson in chargeDue dateNotes/Resources needed
What is the task?Who’s responsible for executing it?When does the task need to be completed?What resources do you need to complete it? Are there any special considerations to take?

6. Take action and assess

Once you’ve outlined your plan, it’s time to take action. You may need to let your employees in on your goals, assign people specific tasks, reach out to your business accountant, or adjust your operations processes. 

From there, take time each month or quarter to assess what you’re doing. Check in with your employees, review progress on tasks, and update or adjust your budget. If your strategies aren’t working, don’t be afraid to change course. Growth is an ongoing endeavor that takes patience and experimentation. 

Paige Smith
Paige Smith Paige is a content marketing writer specializing in business, finance, and tech. She regularly writes for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies and small business lenders. See more of her work here:

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