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Developing a Growth Strategy — The 7-Step Method

In the previous article, I discussed the 9 reasons advocating for the necessity of a growth strategy in every business.

Now, I will proceed to outline the approach I undertake alongside my clients when formulating a growth strategy. However, prior to delving into these steps, it is important to establish a clear demarcation of what constitutes a growth strategy and what falls outside its scope. A growth strategy is a comprehensive plan or approach implemented by a business to achieve sustained and significant expansion in its operations, market presence, and overall performance. It is not an instant solution or a one-size-fits-all remedy. Once your aim is growth, then a customized strategy tailored to your product, customer demographic, and prevailing challenges becomes imperative. For a growth strategy to be effective, there must be a harmonious amalgamation of every facet of the business, as well as full-scale implementation throughout your entire business structure. With this clarification in place, let's now delve into my method for crafting a growth strategy.

  • Step 1 - Clarity of Vision - Strategy begins with a well-defined Vision. Your vision sets the course and purpose for growth, and guides the path towards future success. A clear and compelling vision provides the framework upon which strategic decisions are built, outlining the desired destination and the aspirations of the business. This vision not only serves as a beacon of inspiration but also aligns efforts, resources, and initiatives towards a common goal. A growth strategy rooted in a strong vision not only charts the way forward but also infuses every action with purpose, ensuring that each step taken contributes cohesively to the overarching journey of growth and achievement.

  • Step 2 - Conduct an Internal Assessment - When conducting internal assessments in business, my preference is Porter's Balanced Scorecard. It provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating business performance across multiple dimensions. This strategic tool encompasses four critical perspectives: financial, customer, internal processes, and learning & growth. By analyzing financial metrics, customer satisfaction, internal operational efficiency, and the capacity for innovation and employee development, businesses can gain a holistic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. This approach facilitates informed decision-making, enabling businesses to align their strategies with their overarching goals while continually improving their operations. The integration of Porter's Balanced Scorecard empowers businesses to navigate complexity and achieve sustainable success in an ever-evolving competitive landscape.

  • Step 3 - Conduct an External Assessment - Conducting an external analysis through methods like the PESTLE analysis, along with in-depth examinations of industry and market trends, holds paramount significance in shaping a growth strategy. These analytical tools provide a comprehensive understanding of the external environment in which a business operates. PESTLE analysis delves into political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors, uncovering potential opportunities and threats. Analysing industry and market trends help us identify changes in consumer behaviors as well as competitive landscape shifts,. Armed with these insights, a growth strategy can be tailored to leverage favorable conditions, preempt challenges, and capitalize on emerging trends, ensuring a more informed and agile approach to growth.

  • Step 4 - Setting Strategic Priorities - This is a vital process that establishes the focal areas for the business’ efforts and resources. It involves carefully evaluating internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. By aligning these factors with the business mission and long-term vision, you can identify key initiatives that will drive growth and competitive advantage. Strategic priorities provide a clear roadmap for decision-making and resource allocation, enabling efficient deployment of time, capital, and talent. Whether it's expanding into new markets, optimizing operational efficiency, enhancing product innovation, or strengthening customer relationships, well-defined strategic priorities serve as a compass, guiding the business toward its desired future state.

  • Step 5 - Setting Sub-strategies - Setting sub-strategies in business involves breaking down the overarching strategic goals into more specific and actionable plans. These sub-strategies focus on distinct functional areas such as marketing, operations, finance, and human resources. By outlining clear sub-strategies, you can better allocate resources and efforts, ensuring that each facet of the business contributes effectively to the overall strategy. These sub-strategies provide a roadmap for each department or unit, aligning their objectives with the broader business goals. This approach enhances coordination, accountability, and adaptability, allowing you to address various challenges and opportunities with a structured and targeted approach.

  • Step 6 - Action Planning - Action planning forms an integral component of a growth strategy, providing the roadmap for translating strategic objectives into concrete steps. It outlines the specific actions, tasks, timelines, and responsibilities required to achieve the identified goals. By breaking down the broader strategy into actionable items, businesses ensure a structured and organized approach to implementation. Action planning bridges the gap between strategic vision and practical execution, enhancing the likelihood of successful growth outcomes.

  • Step 7 - Developing a Monitoring and Measuring Plan - Developing a monitoring and measuring plan in business is essential for tracking the progress. This plan outlines the key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, and data collection methods necessary to assess the effectiveness of the strategy. It establishes a framework for regular assessment, enabling you to gauge whether you are meeting their objectives and making necessary adjustments if deviations occur. A well-structured monitoring and measuring plan promotes transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement by ensuring that decisions are based on accurate and up-to-date information, ultimately leading to more informed strategic choices and better overall outcomes.

These are the key steps that I use to guide my clients in formulating a growth strategy. It is a process that requires time and commitment. However, upon completion, you will find yourself significantly empowered in your decision-making endeavors. This approach ensures that each aspect of your strategy is thoroughly examined and tailored to your business, fostering a sense of confidence and clarity as you navigate the path forward.

The above article is part of the Make Growth Happen Series which is tailored to help business owners take a more Holistic Approach to Business Growth.

Janice is a Certified Business Coach whose extensive knowledge and experience in various aspects of business has set her on a mission to help business leaders turn their Vision into Reality. She works with them to develop the right strategies, structure and skills needed to take their business to the next level. She is the Author of The Ten Commandments of Crisis Management. Janice also works with Christian business owners who desire to run their business based on Biblical Principles.

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