There are many things out there that can cause a business to struggle. It can be disheartening when something you’ve devoted so much to isn’t working out. There’s always a chance to recover your growth though.
At Boardroom Advisors, we believe that the reasons can be narrowed down to a few possibilities– it may be that your business was lacking a firm strategic direction. It may just be that your target market is ageing out, and you need to readjust. It could just be bad luck that you need to pivot around.
Whatever is causing problems for your business, it can feel hard to know how to restart the growth you desire. However, there are things that can be done to help you start your strategic growth planning for your business again.
1. Define your growth mission
In business, growth has many different definitions. For some it’s about increasing revenue, for others it’s about market share, or the size of your customer base. Growth will be a top priority for businesses of all siazes, so it’s important to find a definition that works best for your business goals.
What do you want from your business? What is it your business doesn’t do as well? These questions can help you figure out what you want from your growth.
To your business it could be increasing the revenue you bring in over the next year. If you’re struggling with making sales, growth could mean expanding your marketing efforts. If you’re doing well in your own market but have stalled overall, you could try exploring diversification.
It all comes where you want to focus your attention on the most. You could try analyzing your business’s data to try and find out what your business is most in need of, then centre your attention there.
Your growth missions is a measurable, actionable target version of this goal. If there’s something you want to improve, quantify it and give it a deadline.
2. Planning is key to successful growth
The future of your business is laid out in your business plan. If you want your growth to be successful, you need to write a strategic plan of how you’ll achieve it or to hire an interim CIO, a short-term executive officer with experience to help you in this department.
Your plan should be built around your mission. For example, double your sales numbers in 12 months. This plan would focus on what is needed to increase sales without getting too distracted by other areas of business.
From your mission, you can explore the options available to you for achieving it. Your business plan should outline what you want, how you intend to get there, and list what actionable tactics you’ll be using.
Be sure to include a wide range of experiences from within your business. You don’t want to leave part of it out, or risk repeating the slow growth problem. If you don’t know much about sales, for example, you won’t be able to tell what’s not working for you.
Planning on this scale will take some time. As well as all the research you should perform in advance, you’ll likely need as much as a few days to plan your growth strategy. This is your future, and isn’t something to rush.
Strategic tools you can use
Strategic tools like MOST Analysis can be very useful to use. This formalises the process discussed into 4 steps:
- Mission – what you want.
- Objectives – what needs to happen to achieve your mission?
- Strategies – options for completing your objectives.
- Tactics – tasks that make up a strategy. Remember to include a deadline.
By going through each one and taking the time to explore all of your options and figure out how it all fits together, you can build a much stronger plan.
Other strategy analysis tools, such as the classic SWOT can help you understand what your business needs. This may help you figure out what your goals are.
What are the strengths and weakness of your business? What is it that you do well on and could expand further? What is it that you’re not very good at and may need shoring up?
What external opportunities and threats are out there? What chances may arise that you can seize upon? What things might pose a risk to your business?
Taking action and monitoring success
You’ve seen the importance of a business strategy for being successful. However, many businesses fail because they don’t track their progress in implementing their strategy after they’ve planned it.
This can lead to you wasting time and money and ineffective pursuits. It’s important to monitor your progress so that you can make corrections and keep your business moving towards its end goal.
Strategic reviews involve going back over your strategy at regular intervals and assessing its success. They’re meetings, like the one in which you first created your plan, where you go back and ask: “is this working?”
This demonstrates the main reason your mission, and relevant objectives, should be measurable. It means that there is an objective answer to this question. If you’re halfway to your deadline and you’ve achieved half the growth you wanted, that’s a sign that it is working.
If you’re not obtaining the growth you thought you would be, you now have a chance to rescue it. If a strategy hasn’t worked, then you can change it for another. Likewise, if one is working really well, you get the chance to take it further.
The end of your deadline isn’t when you want to find out that it was never even working. Tracking your progress means you can interact earlier, when there’s a chance to make a meaningful difference to your growth.
Start your growth
Growing your business takes time, effort, and planning. However, if you know why you want to grow and create a strategic plan to monitor your success, you can make the start to grow your business
No matter what challenges you have faced along the way, what setbacks you worked around, or the changes to your plan that you had to make, don’t forget what you’ve achieved. Growing your business is an amazing achievement, and is something you should be taking note of before the next big challenge.
If you’ve found that you’re struggling to figure out exactly what it is your business needs, you may benefit from an outside perspective. An expert who doesn’t currently work in your business can be an incredibly valuable asset to bring onboard.
They can offer impartial advice and support to grow your business. If this sounds like something you’d want, Boardroom Advisors offers part-time Executive Directors with contracts that are flexible enough to suit you.