You have your business idea; you’ve tested it to see if it will work. Now it’s time to get on with the task at hand. Hold your horses! First, let’s have a clear understanding of what you need to grow a small business today. And that starts with developing plans and strategies.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
WHY YOU NEED A PLAN TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
‘I know what I want to do. Why do I need a business plan, Karla?’
Planning helps you identify what you need to achieve your goals, for starters. In this case, your goal is to build and grow a successful small business.
Before you started your business, you created a business plan. And your business plan highlighted the following details.
- Company profile
- Market Research
- Sales and Marketing Strategies
- and a Financial Plan
In theory, you review your business plan every quarter in a year to check off your milestones and goals. In practice, breakdown your projects into measurable goals and put a system in place to achieve them. You could use a journal, a good old google sheet template or free plans of tools like Trello. Breakdown your goal into plans and check off tasks needed to achieve each goal.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GROW A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
Owning a business is one thing; growing a sustainable business is another. The game plan is to develop a company that helps people become better than they met you. Getting this right requires many moving parts. But I will bring it down to two major points – having a system in place and working with the right people.
HAVING A SYSTEM IN PLACE
Two companies in the same industry cannot operate the same way. They might need similar tools to build a business. But, they can never mirror each other the same way. As a business owner, you need to ensure you have a system that works best for your company.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS SYSTEM?
A business system is the building blocks of your business. It’s the method, process, people or course of actions designed to achieve specific results. A system has different parts that work together for your company’s good. Results are often duplicated, consistent, measurable and created for your customers’ benefit.
These systems are your typical business activities that ensure everything works together to help your customers. Examples of such activities are;
- Customer Relationship Management
- Inventory Management
- Service distribution
- Product distribution
- Human resources – Hiring and Training
- Finance – Accounting and Payroll
- Shipping Strategy
- Website – email marketing, content, social media engagement
- And more
Having an effective business system is a practical way to manage daily business operations.
GROWING YOUR TEAM
Part of growing a business means growing a team. Your team includes your partner(s), people you hire (in-house or outsource) and your vendors. You understand your customer’s pain point(s) – now all you need to do is have the right people help you solve the problem.
CONNECTING WITH THE RIGHT PARTNERS
Your key partners are people who help your business model work. These are your investors—partners who are willing to invest both their time, money and knowledge.
Consequently, your partners help keep you accountable for your business promise. This helps ensure you have a system that works and gives a report on what you have achieved or not. They understand why you are in business and support what you stand for.
Funny enough, you can partner with your ‘competition.’ This strategy is called Coopetition. An example is sharing a cooking space between food business owners with no dine-in setting. Another example could be partnering with local wholesale farmers to get fresh produce. You could also partner with local delivery businesses to help with your delivery services.
Yes, COVID-19 has changed how businesses work. We should develop a mindset to be innovative and creative as we prepare accordingly.
In reaction to the pandemic, Canada’s government developed a plan to conquer the COVID-19 recession and is taking action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Read Canada’s COVID-19 response plan to learn how these plans affect you, your business and your industry.
HIRING THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Who is the right person in question? People with skills you need. Yes!
However, when hiring, you need coachable people who are willing to learn how your business works. You will have to train your employees to understand your customer needs, except you want a cog-in-the-wheel to keep things going.
During the onboarding phase, train your employees to effectively use your business tools. Train them on what systems you have to manage your customers, operations, finance, sales and marketing. If the pandemic has taught us anything, we have to empathize with the customers’ needs – internally and externally.
Having both your business system and your people work in sync saves you – time and energy. And helps you save money by reducing your costs.
Make time to get a project management tool like Trello to track your progress. I suggest using the free plans first to see if it works for you. If you are not tech-savvy, you can use Google sheet or check out tools available on Google Workspace. Shop around and find what works best for your business.
Once again, I recommend using futurpreneur’s business plan writer. Having a firm knowledge of your business enables you to identify what works and what will not work. It also helps to know where you are and what you need to get done.
If you find writing a business plan too lengthy, create your one-page business canvas. This way, you have a clear view of your business at a glance.