A new year is just around the corner, so it’s the ideal time to evaluate how your company is performing and plan new strategies for growing your business in 2020. If you’re looking to increase your revenue in the year ahead, you may want to develop a detailed growth strategy to help you identify your business goals and provide a plan of action for achieving those goals. 

Why does your small business need a growth strategy?

Your business’s growth strategy guides your path to expansion, so it’s crucial that you get it right. (Don’t worry, we’ll walk through all the steps of developing an effective strategy shortly.) A growth plan lays out how you want your business to grow and the steps you’ll take to achieve that growth. A strategy helps you focus on what’s most important for expanding your business. It includes the following details: 

  • An overview of the expansion opportunities available 
  • A competitive analysis
  • Financial growth targets
  • An outline of your staffing requirements and the roles and responsibilities of your team members

For more guidance on growth strategies for your small business, check out the planning for growth resources offered by the Government of Canada. 

What are the benefits of growth planning?

Planning for growth allows you to assess how your company is performing and identify key areas of opportunity that can help you expand in the future. Here are some of the top benefits of planning for growth as a small business owner:

  • It provides an overview of how your business is performing as a whole
  • It helps prioritize key areas for growth, so you know where to focus your efforts in the future 
  • It helps set clear goals for growth targets, which also lets you establish accountability within your team
  • It allows you to better manage your cash flow by providing financial projections
  • It encourages you to regularly evaluate how your business is performing, and allows you to pivot if your approach isn’t delivering results

A detailed growth strategy can help you identify new opportunities for growing your revenue and expanding your business in a competitive market. Your strategy can set you on the path for sustainable growth in 2020 and beyond. 

How to develop a growth strategy for your business

A useful growth strategy lays out the goals you want your business to achieve and provides a clear roadmap for getting there. Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing a growth strategy that boosts your business performance: 

1. Look to the future

While you don’t always know what the future holds for your business, you can use past data, insights about your target customer and future projections to inform your growth plan for 2020. Using that information, you can get a better understanding of where your business stands and where the potential for growth stands for 2020 and beyond. 

2. Define your goals

A strong growth plan starts with clearly defined goals, both for the short and long term. Lay out what you’d like your business to achieve. While some of your goals can be more vague (i.e. increase brand awareness), you’ll want to also include goals tied to specific metrics. Here are some examples of business goals you may want to include as part of your growth strategy:

  • Opening a new storefront or expanding into new markets
  • Offering new products or services
  • Increasing revenue by 20%
  • Growing your website traffic by 10%

Setting clear growth goals will help you measure how your business is performing throughout the year, so you can adjust your approach if you aren’t meeting your targets. 

3. Prioritize your goals

Now that you’ve established all the goals you want to achieve in 2020, it’s time to identify which are most important to the success of your business. You won’t be able to meet all your growth goals at once, so you need to establish which targets are most important to tackle first, and which of your goals might have inter-dependencies. The goals you place at the top of your list of your priorities will likely include the following criteria:

  • They’re the most important to your business
  • They offer the best opportunity to drive revenue
  • You are capable of achieving them with current resources

4. Assess your team

As part of your growth plan, you should evaluate your staff and determine whether you’ll need to expand your team in order to meet your growth targets. Take a look at the different skill sets of you and your employees to assess whether your goals can be met by your current team members. If not, identify the roles that are missing from your team, and create a plan to fill those roles. 

5. Scope out the competition

When planning for growth, it’s always a good idea to take a look at the competitive landscape to see where you fit in and how you stand out. Before expanding your business or opening a new storefront, it’s important to evaluate how competitive the market is, and how much demand exists for your products or services. Research the following questions to get a better sense of your competition:

  • Who are your primary competitors?
  • What products or services do they offer?
  • How do they market their products and services to customers?
  • How have they priced their offerings?
  • Who are their customers?

Once you’ve researched your competition, you can determine strategies for differentiating yourself from other businesses. 

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