We have been doing a lot of growth planning for our small business lately. Planning growth in a small business is something that I'm passionate about, so I really enjoy the whole process. Our bookkeeping services are designed to help all of our clients businesses grow. Planning growth in a business doesn't come easy to everyone and they often have to hire an outside consultant to help. Below I'm going to take you through an incredibly over simplified growth planning process. This blog isn't meant to be a template for how to plan growth. Rather, I want to point out no matter how you plan the growth of your small business it all leads back to marketing and sales.
Develop an Organizational Chart
An organizational chart is an essential piece of your growth planning. Many small businesses don't take the time to develop an organizational chart because... well because they are small. It can seem like an unnecessary item to put effort into, but it can really help with growth.
I prefer that the organizational chart be put into a visual bubble chart rather than a list format using Word or a similar program. A bubble chart that is clearly laid out can help you visualize the company from every aspect. You can look at the details of each department as well as the overall business. For each position on the organizational chart you should write a detailed job description. This process of building an organizational chart as well as detailed job descriptions will really help you get ready to scale.
Building a solid business process is the key to scaling any business. Having a set of business processes is a solid foundation for business growth. Once the process is dialed in the business is ready to scale. Yet this is another step that is often overlooked or ignored by entrepreneurs. Building processes seems like a waste of time because it costs time, which costs money. There is an urgency to sell when you are new to business. However, making a sale to a broken business process is a huge mistake. It's like putting the cart before the horse. It doesn't make sense to sell before the business process is solid, but that is exactly what most entrepreneurs do.
Why the Growth Path Leads to Marketing and Sales
So why does growth planning always lead back to marketing and sales? Let's walk through the logic together as I just had this epiphany a few weeks ago. So let's say that someone actually follows the above steps when starting a business. They build out a detailed organizational chart with job descriptions for each position. Then they take the time to write a formal set of detailed processes. By this time they are most likely really proud of themselves that they have taken the time to do things right. And then they ask themselves, "Ok now what? Oh crap we need to make sales!"
I spend a lot of time working on our own business as well as helping our clients with their business strategy. It does not matter what business you are in or how much you plan; no matter what at some point you are going to have to learn how to market and sell your business. Marketing and sales are everything when it comes down to the success or failure of a business. Another thing is that sales and marketing are totally different and quite often in larger businesses work against each other rather than with each other. Understanding how to properly market your business so that sales happen may seem simple, but it is incredibly complex.
No matter what business you are in and how much growth planning you do, your success will depend upon your ability to market and sell your business.
Measure and Report on Key Metrics
The last thing I want to mention is the importance of measuring and analyzing your key metrics. You can't plan to grow without a financial plan. In order to grow you need some sort of measurable goal that you are aiming for. That could be funds raised, number of employees, profitability or whatever goal is important to you. If sales and marketing are so important wouldn't you take the time to put something in place to measure the effectiveness of both? Decide what your key metrics are and put a system in place that allows you to measure and report on them. Think outside the box of just sales or net income. What are the metrics you really need to measure in order to succeed? Having a system in place to measure your key metrics will keep your business aligned with your true goals.