How do you take your business to the next level?
If you’re hoping to figure it out as you go along or, worse, blindly expanding on ambition alone, you’re going to have a hard time. And it’s going to take forever to see positive results.
That’s why you need a roadmap to follow.
Like using Google Maps to guide road trips, your business roadmap will help your company grow in the shortest amount of time by taking the most efficient routes.
Working without one is like driving blindfolded in a foreign country.
How will you know how to budget for and allocate resources your company needs to operate and grow? Will your growth be aligned with your company’s vision? How will you get everyone focused on the same goal?
To keep your brand on the path to success — and to minimize the risk of expansion — you have to design a business growth roadmap everyone can get on board with.
Today we’ll cover the essential components of a business growth roadmap to help you create one for your company ASAP.
Truth: Your Business Needed a Growth Roadmap Yesterday
When’s the right time to expand?
It’s a question that haunts businesses in their infancy and well into their thriving success. So what separates companies that seamlessly grow from those struggling and failing?
Large companies need a plan to unify all their separate departments under the same growth umbrella. When everyone knows the destination, it’s easier to caravan together on the path to achieving the same goal.
Small businesses often backburner growth strategies because they’re so bogged down in the day-to-day operations. This crucial mistake may keep you from reaching your full potential.
That’s why all companies need to set aside time to discuss their vision, write down their goals, and create a plan to achieve them.
Then, you and your crew will be able to take actionable steps in the right direction to grow strategically.
“If you decide not to grow, you may be paving a path to failure,” Patrick Latour, Senior Vice President of Growth and Transition Capital at BDC Capital, tells the BDC blog. “If you don’t grow, your competitors will, and that will put pressure on you.”
Here’s what you need to stay ahead:
The 9 Landmarks of Your Business Growth Roadmap
Your business roadmap should be able to fit on one page. That will not only make it easy to read, understand, and follow, it will force you to be direct with your goals and directions.
Every businesses’ needs are different, but every strategic growth plan should include the following 9 steps on the path to your expansion:
1. Your Mission Statement
Your Mission Statement is the declaration of why your company exists.
It explains the purpose of your business and addresses not only what you want to do for your customers, but how you plan to deliver.
You probably already have a Mission Statement, and that’s fantastic.
Your Mission Statement should:
- Outline how your brand solves problems for customers
- Clearly present the products/services you offer in your market/niche
- Describe what makes you different from other companies
- Be no more than one or two sentences—maxKeeping your Mission Statement in the forefront of your employees’ minds reminds everyone why they’re hustling so hard.
2. Your Vision Statement
Similar to your Mission Statement, your Vision Statement is a short summary of your company’s future goals.
What do you want your company to achieve in five years? Ten years? 20 years down the road?
Add a one-sentence description of where you see your company and let it guide and inspire everyone on your team to move in that direction.
3. Your Company’s Core Principles (aka a Values Statement)
Your company operates under unique guiding principles that shape your business’ core beliefs. These values enticed your employees to work for you and matter to your customers (and investors).
As such, your guiding principles will probably never change. They’re part of your founding values, but you can also use them moving forward in your strategic development.
Add these principles to your roadmap to recall the passion that inspired your company to start doing what they do best.
4. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats)
If you want to be the best, you have to admit you’re not perfect. And then take every step you can to improve.
By assessing your company objectively through a SWOT analysis, you’ll be able to understand your internal strengths and weaknesses; capitalize on opportunities you may be missing; and prepare for threats that pose a risk to your company’s growth.
Gathering this information will give you intel to proceed in the most profitable direction. So collect your data and asses your current place in your market to brainstorm about how you think you can do better.
5. Find Your Competitive Advantage
“The biggest marketing flaw in most companies is their failure to fully reap the benefits of their competitive advantages,” author Jaynie Smith tells the American Management Association.
“Either [companies] think they have a competitive advantage but don’t. Or they have one and don’t even realize it. Or they know they have a strong competitive advantage but fail to promote it adequately to their customers and prospects.”
All these reasons make it a must to highlight why your company beats the competition.
When you start with these advantages (which may not be as strong as you initially thought), you and your team will be able to find ways to either make the most of these perks to set your company apart for your customers or rethink them entirely.
6. List Your Short and Long Term Objectives
It’s a good idea to plot short and long term objectives, or measurable goals, on your growth roadmap to create a deadline and a sense of urgency.
Aim to complete your short term objectives within a year or two; long term objectives could be projected three years out or longer.
When creating your roadmap, it’s important to be very specific about your goals. Vague objectives like “increase profits” or “expand social media presence” do little to give you actual direction.
Instead, you’ll want to outline the specifics you want your initiatives to take: the what, how, and when of your goals.
These objectives will give your employees an idea of where you plan to take your company. It tells investors you’re working hard to grow profits. And it sets up all the work that needs to get done.
For example, if you want to expand to new territories, a short term goal would be finding fully-furnished temporary office rentals in three hot markets by the end of the quarter. Your long term objective would be committing to a lease and establishing roots later down the road.
Short and long term objectives should work together to keep momentum strong on your way to achieving your goals.
7. Strategies to Accomplish Your Objectives
Now that you have your goals on paper, it’s time to figure out how to make them happen.
Your roadmap doesn’t need a detailed plan of attack, but you’ll need to explain the general strategies and tactics you plan to use (or want your team to follow through with).
Ask yourself: What’s it going to take to make our vision a reality? What are the specific steps we need to complete?
This is where you transform the intangible ideas and goals into real directives you and your team can start executing.
8. Outline the Resources and Financial Means to Accomplish Your Goals
You don’t want to divert money to achieving your directives if it means you’ll be leaving another area of your company in the red.
When you take inventory of all the resources and budgets you have allocated for other parts of your business, you’ll have a better idea of what you can spare and devote to growing.
For example, if you know you historically see a huge profit in Q3, you can plan to direct some of that excess to completing an objective in Q4.
9. Determine How You’ll Measure Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
Each of your objectives should be easily measurable so you can track the effort you and your team put forth.
Determine how you’ll be tracking KPIs for your goals and then set monthly (or weekly, quarterly, etc.) targets for reaching them.
If you want to increase your social media outreach, for instance, you may set quotas for new followers, shares, or brand interactions for each of your social media platforms.
Keep checking in with your team to evaluate if your strategies need tweaking based on the data returning from your tracking.
A Well-Written Business Growth Roadmap Helps Your Business in More Ways than One
Just like your initial business proposals led to the founding of your awesome venture, let your business growth plan define your company moving forward.
Explaining how you see your company expanding will help your team work hard to achieve your shared vision. It also inspires investors to fund your progress.
Focusing your efforts also benefits your clients, who will undoubtedly see the unique value your company brings to the table. The more happy customers you have, the easier growth will be.