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How to craft an unstoppable business growth plan & strategies

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. 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.

Elements of an effective business growth plan

A growth plan is a structured and detailed roadmap that outlines the objectives and steps a company intends to take over a specific period to achieve desired growth. A growth plan can encompass multiple areas: revenue, market share, product development, and geographic expansion. A growth plan typically includes:

  • Clear growth goals.

  • A timeline for reaching these goals.

  • Ways to track progress.

  • Possible problems and how to deal with them.

Think of a growth plan as the big picture that shows everyone in the company where they're heading.

While the growth plan shows the big picture, growth strategies are the steps to get there. These strategies explain "how" a company will reach its growth goals. To make sure your growth strategies work well, here are some tips:

  • Set clear 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: Know what your customers want and how to reach them. Also, be aware of your competitors.

  • Be flexible: Sometimes, things change, and plans need to adjust. Make sure your strategies can change if they need to.

  • Make every strategy actionable. Make sure everyone in your company knows about the growth plan and strategies. They should know what the plan is and how to make it happen.

  • Find the capital you need: Growing might cost money. Make sure you have the funds to support your growth plans.

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

Proven business growth strategies with examples

Now that you know some factors to consider when working on your growth plan, let's explore specific strategies. The best plan for your business will depend on your objectives, target market (or potential customers), and your business type or industry.

1. Market penetration: Increasing your share of a market

Market penetration measures how many people use a product or service within a given market. The higher your market penetration, the more people are using your product or service

To build a successful market penetration strategy for your business, you should focus on critical factors such as product quality, pricing, marketing, and customer service. Companies such as 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 conducts two satisfaction surveys after each client's purchase — the first after 300 hours of product use and another after 500 hours. This continual feedback has helped them understand how customers feel over time, allowing them to adjust and refine their products. 

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: Expanding your reach to new markets

Imagine you own a food truck business that everyone in your town loves. At first, you only sell in your hometown and do well. But what if you want to reach more customers? This is where market development comes in. 

Market development is the process of expanding your reach to new markets, either by entering new geographic areas or by targeting new customer segments.

It would be best to start by researching your target market to develop a successful market development strategy. What are your customer's needs and wants? What are their pain points? Once you understand your target market, you can develop products or services that meet their needs and promote them in a way that resonates with them.

Here are some factors to consider when creating your market development strategy:

  • Your target market: Who are you trying to reach? What are your customer's needs and wants?

  • Your competitive landscape: Who are your competitors? What are they doing well? What could they be doing better?

  • Your resources: What resources are available to invest in market development? Consider effective marketing strategies to introduce your business to a new audience.

  •  How to 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. 

Following these tips, you can develop a successful market development strategy to help you expand your business and reach new customers.

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

3. Collaborative partnerships: Working together to achieve more

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:

  1. Identify 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.

  2. Do your research: 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.

  3. Have a clear plan in place: A plan outlining goals, profit and resource sharing, and dispute resolution is crucial before making any moves.

  4. Communicate regularly. Communication is vital to any successful partnership. Communicate regularly with your partner to discuss progress, address challenges, and celebrate successes.

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

4. Workforce development: Investing in your employees, investing in your future

Every successful business has one thing in common: a team of skilled and engaged workers. The key is workforce development, which is all about helping your employees learn new things and get better at their jobs. Employees who feel that the company cares about their growth are happier and work harder. In fact, companies that really support their employees can make 21% more profits.

Another thing to consider is that having a mix of different kinds of people with different skills can lead to fresh ideas and better problem-solving. Here's a simple way to set up a good workforce development strategy:

  1. Set clear goals: First, think about what you want to achieve. Do you want your employees to learn new skills? Do you want them to work faster or stick around longer? Knowing your goals will guide the next steps.

  2. Look at your current team: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your workforce? What skills do your employees need to develop? Once you understand your existing workforce, you can identify the areas where you need to focus your workforce development efforts.

  3. Plan your training: Once you know what skills are needed, plan. Decide what kind of training you'll give, how you'll give it, and how you'll check if it worked.

  4. Put your plan to work: Start the training! This could be training at your company, sending employees to special courses, or even online classes.

  5. Check the results: After training, see how things went. This will show you if your training worked and where you might need to make changes.

Putting time and effort into training your employees is a smart move. It's a win-win. Your company does better, and your employees feel valued and happy.

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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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