Every startup should have a strategic business growth plan to create clear alignment and accountability. A plan with achievable and measurable goals can make the difference between success and stagnation.
This holds true for most people, from entrepreneurs to athletes. Identifying where you want to end up — and the steps you need to take to get there — will ensure you’re acting purposefully and efficiently.
What Is a Business Growth Plan?
A business growth plan is a strategic document that enables organizations to develop the strategies and implement the tactics needed to accomplish their goals. It also includes data-driven checkpoints to help executives and other stakeholders evaluate their progress and measure success.
Every department, from sales and marketing to product development, must help build this plan on a detailed level. This collaboration helps achieve alignment and empowers you to work faster and smarter. You’ll also get your board of directors aligned to what success looks like for your startup company in the coming months and years.
We want to make sure all startup leaders can reap the benefits, so we’ve put together a business growth plan template.
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Why You Need a Business Growth Plan
A strategic business growth plan drives strategy formulation (where you want your business to get to) and implementation (how you get there).
Startup founders should make sure everyone in their business, from advisors to freelancers to leadership teams, knows what they’re trying to achieve as a collective group. This instills confidence, allowing colleagues to move quickly because they know they’re heading in the right direction. It also empowers individuals to work independently, reducing the need for constant meetings to get realigned. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, it promotes measuring success with real metrics instead of gut feelings.
The Ingredients of Business Growth Planning
All that sounds great, right? But what does this plan actually look like? Our business growth plan template will help you organize your thoughts, but I’ll explain a little further here.
I like to think of a business plan as a nesting doll. Within each goal, you have smaller objectives that help you achieve your vision. Over time, small steps add up to set you in the right direction. Here’s one way to break down a business plan, using the popular Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning Model:
Most startups already have a vision statement: the long-term, overarching, big-picture mission of their company.
Example: At York IE, our vision is to change the way startups are built, scaled, and monetized.
Strategic Business Objectives
Break down the vision into two or three broad goals to achieve in the next one to three years. These goals are relevant to each arm of your business but mean something different within each team.
Example: something simple yet powerful, like “increase our customer base by X%” or “achieve $X in ARR, representing Y% growth year over year.”
For each strategic business objective, you’ll need two or three annual objectives to help you make progress. These goals should be more focused and measurable over the course of a year.
Example: If your strategic objective is to achieve $X in annual recurring revenue, an annual objective for the go-to-market team might be, “Increase team quota carry through hiring and deploying new sales enablement tools.”
For each annual objective, generate three to five tangible, impactful and actionable tasks. These are items you can check off on a list as you go along.
Examples: Launching a hiring campaign to add 10 new team members, completing a budget that demonstrates 0% to 5% profitability or rolling out a significant new product feature.
You’ve surely heard that numbers don’t lie. Of course, I am a numbers person, but it’s true! Quantitative benchmarks help us objectively determine if we’re on track.
Examples: Generate X number of leads over the next 12 months, increase website traffic by X%, maintain gross margin between X% and Y%, achieve revenue per employee of $X.
Get Started with a Business Growth Plan Template
There’s plenty more to know, but you don’t need to be an expert to get started.
Download the business growth plan template from our Fuel platform, grab your leadership team and start identifying the steps you’ll take to achieve your startup’s vision this year.