Growing your business is a big step that requires research and planning to ensure its continued success.
Having written plans in place that are regularly reviewed and updated will help you take control of the direction your business is heading and make the growth process easier.
Writing a business plan
A complete, thoughtful business plan is one of the most valuable tools that can help your business to grow and reach long-term goals. While it is a good idea to have a business plan in place before you start your business, it is never too late to develop one, even if you have been in business for some time.
A business plan gives your business direction, defines your objectives, maps out strategies to achieve your goals and helps you to manage possible bumps in the road.
Business planning is an ongoing business activity - you should regularly review your business plan to keep it up to date.
Marketing can help you reach your target audience, boost your customer base, and increase your bottom line. Marketing is more than just clever advertising and brochures. Good marketing helps your customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition.
Marketing can help you attract new customers, focus on satisfying their needs and build lasting relationships. Marketing requires research, time and appropriate allocation of budget. Investing time in developing your marketing plan can help your business grow.
When you're writing a marketing plan you should be clear about your objectives and how you'll achieve them. A good marketing plan sets clear, realistic and measurable objectives, includes deadlines, provides a budget and allocates responsibilities.
Obtaining statistics and conducting market research can give you a better understanding of your market, your customers and their needs, as well as giving you a better insight into your competitors. This greater understanding of your market can help you better focus your marketing efforts, make informed decisions about your business and make the most of available opportunities.
An important first step is to look at where your business fits in the market. Developing a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis can help you with this. It can also help you discover how your business can improve, what you excel at and what practices other businesses are using.
When determining your fit within the marketplace, your market research should include researching your customers, competitors and your product or services.
Find out more about conducting market research.
You might be looking to create new products, find new business processes, or just be motivated to keep going. Whatever you decide, considering ways you can grow your business and adding them to your business plan, will help you towards your business goals and find new ways to achieve success.
To get inspiration and find opportunities for your business growth, you could try:
- looking at case studies of other businesses for fresh ideas
- learning a new skill that can be used to improve your business
- updating your knowledge by attending business or industry related workshops and events
- networking with other business owners or people in your industry to share ideas
- reviewing your business goals and plans to identify opportunities for improvement.
Exporting can be a profitable way of expanding your business. If you decide to export products, it is important to develop an export plan to help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses when entering the market.
Your plan should include:
- the products that you'll export
- your target markets
- the timeframe
- Customs duties
- marketing strategies