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How to Create a Growth Plan for Your Business in 6 Simple Steps The new book, "Grow Your Business," offers an easy-to-follow guide to expanding your business and making more money this year.

By Entrepreneur Staff

The following is an excerpt from Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success by the staff of Entrepreneur Media and Eric Butow, on sale now.

To grow your company, you need a plan that establishes how you will grow and why your ideal customers should buy from you. Then you need to invest in the people and tools that can turn your plans into reality. If possible, distill your growth plan into a one-page document that will help you focus on the essentials and be easy for your team to digest. Growth plans are different for each business, and you can implement different strategies depending on what type of business you have. But regardless, you need to keep your team thinking in terms of growth. Once you establish a growth mindset in your employees, you and your team can continuously look for new opportunities for growth.

What a Growth Plan Is . . . and Isn't

A growth plan may be hard to wrap your head around when you're getting started in your business. Before you offer your product and/or service to the world, you need to focus on establishing a value proposition for potential customers and find out where your ideal customers are. Once you do, you can measure your progress as you sell your product and/or service. Those measurements will help you identify new revenue streams and let you compare yourself to the competition. That comparison will tell where your strengths are so you can focus on them. And when you have a clear idea of what you do and who your customers are, you can use that information to attract talented employees. Establish a Value Proposition Before you can grow, you need to think about what sets you apart from the competition. For example, some companies compete on authority. Whole Foods Market touts itself as the place to buy healthy and organic foods. Walmart asserts that it's the low-price leader and no one can beat its prices. Whatever competitive advantage you find, stick with it. If you don't, you run the risk of devaluing your business because customers won't know what you stand for.

Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success is available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

1. Pinpoint Your Ideal Customer

You started a business so you could solve a problem for a specific audience. During the startup stage, you may have identified numerous markets you thought you might be able to serve before narrowing it down to your specific niche market. Now you need to hone your target market even further until you've winnowed it down to your ideal customer. Once you know who they are, you can address them consistently in your market or submarket as you grow.

Related: How to Leverage Virtual Sales Events to Grow Your Business

2. Define Key Indicators

You won't be able to measure growth if you can't measure change. Start by identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), which are quantifiable measurements of a company's performance in specific areas over time. (Examples of commonly tracked KPIs include net profit, liquidity ratio, customer satisfaction, and customer retention.) Then dedicate time and money to improving those indicators.

3. Verify Your Revenue Streams

Don't just think about your current revenue streams—think about new revenue streams that could make your business more profitable. Once you've started identifying possible new revenue streams, get in the habit of asking yourself (and your team) if every cool new idea you and they come up with has a revenue stream attached. If it does, ask if that stream is sustainable over the long run.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs a Chief Growth Officer

4. Research Your Competition

If your company is struggling with something, you likely have a competitor that excels at it. Don't just put your head down and try to surmount a challenge yourself. Look at similar growth businesses to inform your strategies and solutions. If you belong to an industry trade group or a networking organization (and you should), don't be afraid to ask for advice. Why have similar businesses made different choices? Do your competitors' growth choices mean that their businesses are positioned differently?

Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success is available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

5. Focus on Your Strengths

Tailoring your growth plan to focus on and maximize your strengths can help you identify strategies for success. That doesn't mean you should ignore your weaknesses, but starting from a position of strength will give your company the fuel it needs to grow.

6. Invest in Talent

Your employees have direct or indirect contact with your customers, so you should hire people who are motivated by your company's value proposition and your plans for growth. Pay and treat your employees well because their positive energy will inspire your customers. Your employees will also listen to your customers and bring back ideas from them that will help you grow your business.

For more growth strategies, pickup Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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