The biggest problem with growing a business is neither the lack of desire or planning.
It’s finding and implementing the right strategies. There simply are too few sound strategies that owners can easily and effectively apply in their own businesses.
The Good I.D.E.A.
One of the best approaches to planning business growth is the I.D.E.A. concept: Identify Develop, Evaluate, Act.
Instead of re-inventing the growth-strategies wheel, I offer the following outline of the approach.
IDENTIFY—Specifically What Would You Like to Achieve?
Like all planning processes, this one starts with identification.
Specifically you start by identifying the growth you want: increased clients, revenue per client, sales volume etc. Regardless of what you plan to increase, it’s important to establish a clear measure for this improvement.
Identify the growth as measurable amounts such as “10%” or “15 over last year”. This yields an objective measure against which you can evaluate the results of your growth strategies.
DEVELOP—When & How Will You Achieve These Results?
In pursuing new growth, specific targets or milestones will help you along the way. Once you have set your long range target, develop mid-term and short-term objectives.
Ensure that these interim objectives lead to the next level, en route to achieving your long- term goal.
In and of themselves, having goals and evaluation criteria do not guarantee success.
You must also develop a clear process for what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, how you are going to do it, and most importantly, who will be responsible for each activity.
EVALUATE—How Are You Progressing?
As you move forward, it’s important to continuously evaluate your progress.
Be careful not to adjust your expectations to keep them in line with results.
When you are driving a motor vehicle, it’s important to keep your eye on the traffic around you; likewise when implementing your growth plan, you must also keep your eye on the big picture—your direction and what’s happening around you.
You may also evaluate your level of commitment to your growth strategies. It’s also critical to include your people in the process. To ensure their continued momentum, they need your encouragement and enthusiasm.
ACT—How Will You Avoid Paralysis By Analysis?
Your ongoing evaluations may point out the need to take action to adjust your plans.
These adjustments should not take the form of constantly tweaking your plan. Too much tweaking will limit your ability to know for sure what did or did not work.
Taking action may also involve ending initiatives that do not help you achieve you the results you are seeking.
Unlike natural growth, business growth is not an automatic process. Growth is not something that happens to your business: it is something that you initiate, plan and monitor.
To achieve your growth goals, you need effective growth strategies. The I.D.E.A. approach is a good way to effectively organize and manage your growth strategies.
Sound growth strategies will help you renew and grow your business.
Take the time to revisit and refine your business growth strategies.
Soon you will start to enjoy results of your growth goals.
Seems like a good idea to me.