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How to craft an unstoppable business growth plan

In business, standing still means falling behind. To keep up and outpace rivals, companies need to grow. However, growth can be tricky. Without a good plan, mistakes happen, and they can be expensive.

So, what's the solution? A solid business growth plan. This plan maps out your business goals, how you'll reach them, and how to avoid pitfalls.

In this guide, we'll share some popular growth strategies successful companies use. We'll also offer advice on making a plan that works for you.

Here are some growth methods to consider:

  • Market Penetration: Sell more of your current products to your existing customers.

  • Market Development: Introduce your products to new customer groups or regions.

  • Strategic Partnerships: Team up with other companies for mutual benefits.

  • Workforce Development: Train and improve your team for better results.

Whatever growth method you pick, do your homework. Make sure it fits your business. Remember, with a clear plan and some effort, you can achieve the growth you aim for.

What defines an effective business growth plan

Think of a business growth plan as a roadmap for a company's future over the next year or two. This plan is divided into quarters, like the four seasons in a year. At the end of each quarter, the company looks back to see if they've achieved their goals. Depending on the progress and the current business environment, they might adjust the growth plan to stay on track.

An effective business growth plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART goals), meaning that your goals should be clear, quantifiable, and achievable within a particular timeframe and budget.

You can consider the following key factors when working on your business growth plan:

  • Start with your goals: Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your business growth plan. Knowing your goals will help you develop strategies to reach them.

  • Understand your business and its target market, know your customers, their wants, and how to reach them.

  • Build growth strategies that are flexible and adaptable. Be willing to change your plans as needed. Focus on building a flexible and adaptable organization

  • Every strategy is actionable. Your growth strategies should include specific steps that you can take to achieve your goals.

  • Each goal is communicated to and understood by all stakeholders. Everyone in your business needs to be on the same page about the business growth plan and how to achieve it. 

  • Foster collaboration and communication across the different levels of your organization.

  • Find the capital: You will likely need financing to support your growth initiatives. Securing the necessary funds will enable you to innovate, expand, and achieve your goals.

These tips will help you chart a path for steady business growth. Keep in mind that no plan is perfect. Even if you don't hit every goal, stretching beyond your comfort zone is crucial. Start setting bold goals, lay out your strategies, and ensure you have the resources to chase every opportunity.

A team of professionals in a meeting working on a growth plan

Top business growth strategies explained with examples

Now that you know some factors to consider when working on your business growth plan, let's explore specific growth strategies. Remember that the best strategy for your business will depend on your objectives, target market (or potential customers), and type of industry. Here are some of the most common growth strategies:

1. Market penetration

Market penetration measures how many people use a product or service within a given market. You can quantify market penetration as a rate that describes what proportion of the market has been saturated by your company. 

Successful market penetration strategies are driven by four key factors: product quality, pricing, marketing, and customer service. Both L.L. Bean and Caterpillar have showcased how to penetrate markets successfully. L.L. Bean has made a name in outdoor apparel mainly because of its unwavering commitment to quality. A recent survey showed 96.7% of 3,000 customers' most prized quality when considering the brand.

Similarly, Caterpillar's approach is noteworthy. They regularly check in with their customers, conducting two satisfaction surveys after a purchase — one after 300 hours of product use and another after 500 hours. This continual feedback helps them understand how customers feel over time, allowing them to adjust and refine their products.

So, how can you replicate this kind of success?

Quality is essential. From the start, infuse quality into every facet of your business services or products. This means ensuring everything, from the initial design to the final manufacturing stage, is flawless. The more meticulous you are, the less backtracking and error correction you'll need later.

Think of your suppliers as teammates. The better the parts they give you, the better your product will be. So, build a good relationship with them to catch problems early and make sure your product is the best it can be

Understand your audience. To ensure you deliver what your audience truly wants, listen to them. Whether you're crafting customer service surveys or simply talking to people, understanding their needs and pain points is invaluable. Questions like, "What do you expect from our products?" or "How can we improve?" can provide crucial insights.

Two girls smiling and interacting in a beauty salon, one works there and the other is a client

2. Market development

Imagine your business as a food truck that everyone in your town loves. At first, you only sell in your hometown and do well. But what if you took your truck to a nearby city? This would be introducing your tasty food to a new segment of people.

This idea is what is called market development. It's like taking your food truck to new places or adding new dishes to attract different folks. You're trying to sell to more people or in new areas.

Take a jewelry shop in the U.S. that's doing well. The owners might think, "Hey, maybe people in Mexico would like our stuff!" Or, think about Apple. They made phones but then added the Apple Watch and Apple TV to reach more fans, so they looked for ways to increase their sales. Smart move!

So, how does market development work?

Market development is a 2-step process, and you must do homework first. First, you'll need to do market research to check if a new product or service might be a hit. Companies often do market research to test new products or see what customers might want but don't have yet. 

When deciding on the next target market, planning how to promote the product effectively in that area is the second step. A promotion strategy will be essential to plan how to bring these new products to your target market. Here are some factors that we recommend you take into consideration when creating your market development strategy:

1- Research your development opportunities:

  • How large is the potential new market?

  • Who are your target customers in this new market? Consider their age, gender, income, job, education, and background.

  • Who are your main competitors in this market?

  • What do competitors charge for similar products or services? Should your pricing be similar to or more competitive than theirs to attract customers?

2- Set your growth goals:

Imagine you're launching an online branch of your boutique. This expansion can lead to more online sales, broader brand recognition, and potentially, a new group of customers. Because of the potential benefits, it's important to be clear on your objectives.

You might ask: What exactly do I hope to achieve with this online branch? How much growth am I aiming for?

For this online expansion, your goals could be:

  • Attract 80% more website visitors.

  • Increase online sales by 120%.

  • Gain 500 new online subscribers or members within the first month.

  • Boost overall brand recognition by 50% in a year.

Once you set your goals, consider what you'll need to make them a reality—for example, investing in online advertising or buying tools to track and analyze website traffic.

3- Develop a marketing plan:

  • Consider the most effective methods to introduce your business to the new audience.

  • Decide on your promotional tools. Will it be online advertising, email outreach, social media posts, traditional billboards, or even handout flyers?

  • Choose your communication platforms. Are you considering using Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google, or other popular platforms?

4- Implement and track your plan:

  • Once you've launched, don't just wait and hope for the best. Set clear markers for success, like how many new customers you want to gain or how much your sales should grow. 

  • You can set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like customer acquisition rate, market share, or even simple feedback on customer happiness.

  • It is essential to regularly monitor these metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented strategies.

Going into new markets can be pricey. It can cost a lot to get started and keep things running. Whether you're doing it yourself or hiring a professional, good research is a must. Always check how well your efforts are working and use that info to make better choices. 

Two women working on a market developing strategy on a writing board

3. Collaborative partnerships

Are you thinking of teaming up with another business? Two heads (or companies) are often better than one! By building solid relationships with other organizations, companies can access new markets, technologies, expertise, and resources they may not have been able to on their own.

A collaborative partnership is a relationship between two or more businesses working together to achieve a common goal. For example, a coffee shop might partner with a local bakery to offer a special deal where customers can get a free pastry with their coffee purchase.

Or think of two small businesses partnering to share a marketing team or office space; this will reduce costs by sharing resources and expertise. Successful collaboration requires trust, clear communication, and alignment with business goals. Here's a straightforward, step guide to help you find and collaborate with the right business partner:

Who's your ideal partner?

Start by thinking about businesses that either offer things that fit well with your product or target the same kind of customers. It's like finding someone whose puzzle piece fits perfectly with yours.

Do your homework:

Once you have a few names in mind, it's time to play detective. Look into their financial health, what others say about them, and what they aim for. You want a partner you can trust and align with.

Make the first move:

Found some businesses you'd love to work with? Time to introduce yourself. Share your business what you want to achieve, and see if they're up for a team-up.

Work out the specifics:

 Are you both interested? Great! Now, discuss how you'll split profits, share resources, and how long you plan to work together. This step ensures everyone's on the same page.

Get to work:

With everything agreed upon, it's time to set things in motion. Put systems in place to work seamlessly together and keep open lines of communication. Regular chats help keep things running smoothly.

A group of employees celebrating while two men do a hand shake

4. Workforce development

At the heart of every successful business is a skilled workforce. For small business owners, employee development is not just a buzzword; it's an investment in productivity and growth. 

Workforce development is all about helping your employees get better at their jobs. Think of it as giving them the tools and training they need to do well and grow with the company. When we put our employees first, our business often does better in the long run. Here's why it matters:

  • Skills and tools: It's all about helping your team learn and get the right tools to succeed.

  • Better performance: Employees who learn and grow do their jobs better.

  • Happier employees: When people feel they're growing, they're often more optimistic at work. This means they're more likely to stick around and communicate better with others.

Did you happen to know? Companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable. Engaged employees aren't just working; they're passionate about what they do and committed to your company's vision. If you're considering crafting an effective workforce development strategy, you can follow these tips:

  1. Nurture leadership: Identify and support potential leaders within your team.

  2. Promote adaptability: The future is ever-changing. Ensure your team is flexible and always ready to adapt.

  3. Diversity and inclusion: Different perspectives enrich your business. Create an environment where everyone feels welcome.

  4. Upskilling: Train your current employees in new areas instead of constantly looking outside. This diversifies their skills and optimizes what you get from your team.

  5. Continuous learning: Make growth a never-ending journey. Offer varied learning opportunities, including online courses, workshops, or mentorship sessions.

  6. Stay aligned with business goals: Your employee development should reflect where your business wants.

  7. Recognition: A simple 'thank you' or reward can mean the world. Acknowledge the growth and dedication of your team.

Investing in your employees is investing in your business. As markets evolve, a proactive approach to workforce development ensures your small business remains agile, competitive, and primed for success.

A group of employees attending a training about technology at their work

Access working capital with One Park Financial

Every successful venture follows a roadmap from its humble beginnings to its peak. And behind every such success is a strategic partner, and that's where One Park Financial comes in.

Why choose us?

  • Simple and quick: Our pre-qualification process is fuss-free and fast. Qualify in just minutes!

  • Expert guidance: Talk to our seasoned funding advisors to find the best financial options tailored for you.

  • Trusted experience: With over a decade of supporting small businesses, we understand your needs.

Are you eligible? You're on the right track if you've been in business for at least three months and pull in a minimum of $7,500 monthly revenue.

Ready to propel your business to the next level? Begin today, and our dedicated business funding manager will contact you soon, ensuring you get the working capital you desire.

Disclaimer: The content of this post has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult with your tax, legal, and accounting advisor before engaging in any transaction.

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