Creating an SME growth plan

Creating a growth plan for your SME gives you the roadmap to follow so you can maximise your chances of driving healthy growth. It’ll allow you to act with defined objectives and provide clear direction to your teams.

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But what should you include? Chris Rhodes from Accelerus provides some good starting points such as:

“the identification and utilisation of product and or service USPs, continuing improvements in product innovation and service offering, a clear strategic vision with corresponding deployment plans that have the full backing of the workforce, together with a structured and targeted marketing plan.”

Key goals and objectives

These are how you’ll achieve growth. Growth as a goal is good, but you need to break this down into the building blocks that will allow you to achieve it. Be specific about your desired outcomes so that the plan you create to reach them can be as detailed as possible. Define your goals and objectives in whichever time frame suits your business best – this could be one year, two years, or even five years. Chunking your plan down into stages will make it more practical to execute.

Finance

How will you fund this growth to meet your goals? You should outline your current financial position including profit and loss statements and details of your cash flow. This will help you work out what extra capital you may need to fund your growth, and you should outline where this will come from in your plan. You may need to get funding from additional sources, so it’s worth researching those to work out which would be most beneficial in supporting your growth.

Learn more in our guide
to Finance for SMEs

Marketing

To grow your business there’s a good chance you’ll be looking to reach a larger customer base. And it’s a case of putting your best foot forward with the product or service you bring to them. You should outline in your plan what sort of marketing activity you’ll use and include the costs of doing so. You could also outline any campaigns you’ll run to support your growth, highlighting what products or services you could push to increase customer engagement.

It can also be beneficial to include a plan of exactly how you’ll attract new customers and what methods you can use to retain them.

Learn more in our guide
to Marketing for SMEs

Staff and resources

Your employees are your most valuable resource and must not be overlooked. In fact Chris lists “a motivated workforce” as one of the key components of a successful business growth plan. Include in your plan a detailed breakdown of the number and type of staff you’ll need to support your growth. You’ll probably need to hire additional employees so outline a strategy and provide details of any specialised skills they may need.

Learn more in our guide to
Human Resources for SMEs

Address each one of these areas thoroughly in your plan and you’ll be well on your way to creating a robust roadmap to growing your business. Chris also reminds us that business owners can effectively work out a growth strategy “by ensuring that they have a complete understanding of their chosen market, have identified the gaps within that market and developed plans to fully exploit those gaps with an appropriate service offering.”

When it comes to resources, “understanding of the cash requirements and controls is a critical ingredient of growth plans which is frequently misunderstood”. In our finance section we take a deeper look at cash flow.

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