"Where do I go from here?"
It's a question too many new business owners ask themselves at almost every stage of their business. You have put weeks and months (maybe years) of work into laying the groundwork for your business and worked tirelessly to get it off the ground. You see some preliminary achievements and get this amazing sense of accomplishment.
But then, when your business stagnates a little, you get an unsettling feeling – a sense of fear.
Your business started off great, but what now? It's not growing as fast as you hoped it would, and you want it to do so much better. Between the countless hours of brainstorming, the late nights, and the bottomless cups of coffee, a feeling of worry arises. Worry that you cannot end stagnation effectively. Worry that your business is not reaching its full potential.
You are close to achieving your goals but just need to find the million dollar answer to this one simple question:
"Where do I go from here?"
Figuring out the answer to this question can be a challenge, but with the right approach and tools, it's a lot easier. In fact, all you might need is a little help from an expert.
Monique Morrison, co-founder of Jeronamo Digital Solutions and DigitalMarketer ELITE Coach, helps her clients to answer this question constantly. Not by doing it for them, but by showing them how to do it yourself.
In her recent DigitalMarketer workshop, she taught that the key to figuring out where to go with your business is creating a growth plan. Not one that focuses on the goal of just “growing your business,” but one that helps you focus and improve on specific aspects of your business that will ultimately lead to growth.
Starting a business is difficult; growing it is even harder. Figuring out how to grow your business may be the biggest challenge facing your business and it can lead your business to success or failure.
But don't panic because it is perfectly doable – especially with some advice from experts like Monique. We've broken down some tips from their workshop so you can create your own perfect growth plan and be on your way to realizing your company's full potential.
The components of a growth plan
When creating a growth plan, you need two components:
- a target
- a way to measure growth
The first component, your goal, is what makes a plan your "perfect growth plan". There is no ultimate perfect growth plan, only one that is perfect for your business. And only you know how strong your company should grow over a specified period and what can actually be achieved with the available resources.
Growth is not a sprint, but a marathon. Better to set a goal of growing your sales 20% in 6 months and actually do so than setting a goal of growing 75% in 6 months and not even getting close . Aim high, but be realistic and reasonable.
The best way to meet your growth goal is to understand how your business is already doing. Once you have this understanding, you can easily figure out what exactly you need to grow.
If you are confused, don't worry. We'll talk about it path more later in the post.
The second component, your method of measuring growth, is just as important as the first component, mostly because your growth plan really means nothing without it. If you can't keep track of whether your growth plan is working, all you really do is goal setting.
You can find all sorts of methods to measure the effectiveness of your perfect growth plan. The surest way to really spot growth, however, is through your business success metrics. Chances are, these were the things that you focus on in the first place in order to improve. Whether it's sales, number of customers, or your unique visitors to your website, be sure to measure and track your success metrics so you can actually see your growth.
Once you have these two components put together, you can create a growth plan that is actually achievable.
This leads us to the 4 steps to creating the perfect growth plan for your business.
1. Select the metrics that you want to track
The first thing you need to do is select the metrics in which you want to track progress. Remember, these metrics should correlate directly with the overall growth of your business. Against this background, ask yourself the following question: Which key figures reflect the growth of your company?
For an e-commerce business, this can mean an increase in individual transactions. For service-oriented companies, the lead-to-client conversion rate can double. Whatever you choose, they need to be measurable and correlate to real, tangible business growth.
In addition, you should always keep an eye on your earnings. Increasing customers is great until you find that your ad spend is cutting your profits in half. When you use your earnings as an anchor.
Only you know the key figures that are most important for your company. Once you've identified what they are, it's time to compile them into a table. Having them all in one place makes the rest of the process a lot easier.
2. Assess your current status
Before you can plan for the future, you need to look at the present. Now that you know the metrics that you want to improve, it is time to look at the status of those metrics. This doesn't just mean knowing what those numbers are. You need to understand too Why You are what you are. If your current monthly sales are $ 60,000, you should understand what you are doing and the decisions you are making to get there. You may find this understanding in the form of anecdotal evidence, but it can also be in the form of your other metrics.
If your current monthly revenue is $ 60,000, how many transactions does it take to hit that number? How much is spent on advertising? What is your net profit margin? All of these are things that will help you get a holistic understanding of where your business is.
This step may seem easy – it is. But it is also extremely important for the next 2 steps.
3. Set your growth goal
Now that you know what your metrics are like now, it's time to set a growth goal. To do this, you need to find out a few things.
- How much do you want to grow?
- The specific metrics you want to focus on the most
Once you have a better understanding of where your business is, you should be able to find out both of these things with relative ease. And this is how you get the perfect growth target for your perfect growth plan.
Remember to be realistic. Wal-Mart and Amazon weren't built overnight – they took decades to get where they are now. Choose a goal that is achievable. Once you hit this milestone, you will be better prepared to keep growing in the future.
4th Reach your goals and look to the future
The last and longest step is to just hold on. To keep track of the growth and goal, you can try new strategies to get there.
We know. That's intimidating. Because there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to what will work. It is different for every company based on your industry, your resources, your customer avatar and your customer value journey.
This is why, at the beginning of this process, it is so important to know how your business is doing right now. It shows you what to do when you change absolutely nothing. Then as you make changes you can see your numbers change. Not satisfied with the results? Return to field 1 and try something else.
Once you get that growth, you can find new ways to improve your business. With your newfound profits, a new warehouse, a new product launch, or a major overhaul of the website can potentially help your business grow even further. Only you know what will help your business significantly and now you have the tools to try these new things.
Just look at your numbers, project what you can do, set yourself a growth goal, and repeat the process over and over.
And once you have mastered the process, you can leave the fear of stagnation behind. If you ever find that your business is not doing as well as you'd like, take a step back and focus on what you need to fix with this process.
At the very least, we would recommend doing this process at the beginning of each year. Not only is it good to always have a good understanding of how your business is doing, but it is also good to have a goal to work towards. Setting an annual goal can help you stay focused, motivated, and productive.
Metrics are a growth tool that goes badly underused. If you can use your metrics as an interactive tool in place of a cool number, it can help you stand out and outgrow your competition.
Then you no longer have to worry about your business stagnating. All you have to worry about is what growth goal you will achieve next.