Growing your business requires thought and meticulous planning. It’s important to take the time to plan and think for the future rather than just reacting to the first opportunity. Be objective and consider all the ‘what if’ scenarios to really help you spot the opportunities and risks. The following tips will help you along the route to growth:
Spend time to define and map out your business plan, ideally on one piece of A4 paper. Create a simple vision of what your business model looks like and create an actionable, achievable business plan. Use a mind map or family tree to define the vision looking at the audience, departments and sales channels. You should be able to describe your entire business in one sentence.
Define the people you need within the business to be able to deliver your brand to your customers. Employ people based on attitude and teach the skills. Remember that everyone, including non-customer facing staff, has a huge impact on the reputation of your brand.
Make sure your physical surroundings and equipment – offices, communication tools (land and mobile), technology – are fit for purpose. Take the time to assess the requirements for the business – if communication is poor, what are the barriers? Is your technology holding you back? Futureproof your business – invest for the future, not for the right now.
Produce a detailed sales forecast for the next 3-5 years by sales channel with associated costs of raw materials, infrastructure and people. By doing this, you will better understand the resources needed to deliver the growth plan and also see which opportunities are the easiest to realise.
Ensure you have enough cash and resources in the business to deliver on points 1-4 above. Stress test your business plan and cashflow forecasts on a monthly basis to avoid the business running out of money before it achieves its growth and profit targets.
To raise funds, you need a great idea, great people and a credible plan which investors will buy into and provide the necessary cash resources for you and your team to deliver on that plan. Remember the mantra – idea, people, plan, cash.