In order to follow up on the assessment, that was explained in the previous article “How are you spending your time in lockdown?“, it is an opportune moment to plan the journey for your business with a growth map that beats the competition.
The first step is obviously to set the aspirations for the future and the timeline associated with it. The timeline should be anything from 12 to 36 months.
Basically, it starts with visualising the goals in terms of what the business would look like and specifically your role at that future point. In order to achieve that, and based on your present status quo illustrated in the results of the business assessment, it is important to plot the milestones and critical path to get there. You should write the goals as vivid description of what your business looks like and what a typical week looks like for you, at that point.
What do you need in the perfect business plan?
Develop a plan that is strategic and ensures success. Follow our guide below to achieve this and plan for success.
Visualise to realise
- Define a date in the future (12 to 36 months from now)
- Capture your image (in words) of your week at that time.
- Where are you?
- What is your daily routine?
- What does your business look like? (ie. Number of staff, bank balance, number of customers, monthly turnover, products/services offered, equipment, etc)
- Describe in detail any other aspects that you value, such as cars, holidays, etc.
- Make sure it is achievable and realistic but stretching.
Plotting the critical path
Now that you have a picture of the business at the future date, you need to plot your path on getting there. To do this, use the results from the health checker assessment as the starting point and the key components of the journey. As a result, you will set the journey to the growth map.
Every business idea is developed from a necessity to overcome a problem or challenge, be it physical or emotional. The “WHY” you got into the business and the “WHAT” you wanted to achieve are important cornerstones in taking the business forward.
- Why did you get into this business?
- What did you want to achieve and by when?
There is no business without buyers of the product or service offered. It is imperative to define, in detail, who are the buyers and the reasons they buy. You should appreciate the reason they buying, so that you can position the offering in the customers realm of possibilities and affordability. Customers buy products or services and Clients buy professional services and solutions you provide.
In order to accurately define your buyers you need to understand their demographics, such as: age, gender, location, education, profession, income, marital status, interests and hobbies, lifestyle etc.
- Who is the buyer ?
- Is the buyer the same as the user of your product / service?
- What is the demographic of the buyer and/or user?
- Why are they buying / using your product/service?
In this section, you need to have a clear understanding of the competitive advantages your business has over your competitor’s products or services. The value proposition must demonstrate how your offering solves a challenge and what buyers can expect from it. The only reason that your customers are buying from the perceived value of what your business provides.
- What problem does your product/service solve?
- How is your solution different from the competition?
- What is unique and credible about your offering?
The way to your buyers should be the fastest and most effective route possible taking into account the customer experience and friendliness of each touch-point or customer interaction. Before the online shopping era, the location was the most important advantage for a retailer, whereas in the 4th industrial revolution, it’s all about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning which make location irrelevant, providing you have reliable distribution channels established to allay any fear of non-supply.
- How do you reach your buyers?
- What is the integration of your various channels?
- How do your buyers know about you?
There is no business able to operate successfully in isolation. The quality and reliability of collaborators are critically important to the business and how it is perceived in the marketplace. In order to grow your business, you need to identify and secure working relationships with a variety of external partners who will complement and/or support your market offering.
- Who are your key collaborators
- Which aspects of your business must be outsourced to reduce risk?
- Who are your key suppliers?
Your business activities y=ultmately determine what gets done and how.
The effective and efficient execution of all the business processes, with the profitable customer at the centre, is of paramount importance.
Innovation and the 4 Industrial revolution which incorporates digitisation, IoT, AI in an agile process will ensure your business stays relevant for the road ahead.
- What activities are key for customer acquisition?
- What activities are key for customer fulfilment?
- Which are the support activities necessary for you to meet deliverables?
- How do we incorporate 4IR in your activities for improved communication and productivity?
Nothing is more true than people are your most important asset in a business. Whether it be staff or customers or suppliers, it is all about people and how they interact with each other and your business.
This section of the Growth Map, examines the internal resources, in terms of people, equipment, vehicles and any other key resources required to achieve the inspiration.
- List the key people and their KPI’s
- Detail the essential equipment, vehicles, etc
- Project the amount of financial resources needed to grow and sustain the business / month / year
Income is the lifeblood of any business. In this section, you need to determine the different sources of income possible, be it through, subscriptions, retainers, sales, rentals, royalties etc. The amount of income expected from each source will form the basis of your budget which should be done for 12, 24 and 36 months. However, in order to arrive at the income level, you must consider pricing policies and ensure competitiveness and the acceptance of the marketplace.
- What pricing model will the business implement?
- What sources of income will the business derive?
- How much income will each source achieve in 12, 24 and 36 months?
It is absolutely critical that you understand the costs in your business. Costs are either fixed (such as salaries, rent and insurance) or variable (such as direct labour, material or commissions). Variable costs depend on your output whilst fixed costs remain constant, regardless of how much you produce.
- How much are your fixed costs? Detailed description.
- Which are your variable costs and what is their apportionment?
- What is the cost of implementing the action required by this growth map?
Now that you have established your growth map and what you need to be done to achieve your inspiration in step 1, it is time to generate an action plan detailing each step. The actions must be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realist and Time-based) and shared with all the role players that are expected to make it happen.
- What actions need to be done, by whom and by when?
- List obstacles you expect along the way and how you going to overcome them?
- What are the costs of the required actions and the cost/benefit assessment?
At the end of the Growth Map, you need to reflect on its contents and disseminate the information to the whole team and request feedback. After some tweaking, it is time to implement and manage the change process.
Regular reviews are important to ensure the growth map is followed and the destination is palpable.
Remember that success is the incremental achievement of every step along the road and not just the destination. There can be no growth without change!