A crew of culprits exists within small businesses. They don’t discriminate. Regardless of size, industry, or specialization, they bring business growth to its knees. They cause sleepless nights, extended work hours, burnout, and stress. The wrongdoers? The missing pieces of the growth plan.
When our business was launched, we didn’t intentionally leave out critical pieces of the plan. Like most entrepreneurs, we started our business with a passion and a purpose – but not much of a plan. In fact, few of us knew what was needed to run a growing enterprise. We learned along the way through trail and error.
It’s a funny thing about the missing pieces of a plan. Most businesses grow in spite of it – to a point. Then one day, we wake up to working harder than we want for less than we had hoped. That’s when it becomes crystal clear – something’s missing.
Lost and Found
To save you the arduous process of trial and error, here are the most common pieces missing from a small business growth plan. Why not take a quick run through the list to see what you might want to add to make your growth plan, grow!
1. Mission – Your mission is the reason you’re in business. It answers the question “what do we do”. Being your core values and target audience play an integral role in crafting your mission, decisions based on your mission keep your business in integrity.
When your mission is part of your decision making process, it ensures you’ll stay the course (and not take on projects or people that aren’t a good fit for you).
2. Vision – Your vision statement defines the future you want for your business.
It’s a common misconception to believe that one’s vision changes over time. In actuality, entrepreneurs adapt their vision to accommodate what was not going so well in their business. That only serves to pull one off course.
A clear vision keep you on course no matter how rough the waters become.
3. Strategy – Strategies establish how your business will achieve its mission and vision. They create the winning performance you want.
Sadly, the terms “tactics” and “strategies” are used interchangeably, and have confused the best of us. Consequently, we use tactics thinking we’re being strategic. Whomp! Whomp!
Make sure your growth plan has a strategy…and tactics.
4. Goal – Who could imagine a business without a goal? Unfortunately, it happens more than we like to admit.
A specific target that meets your personal and professional needs and wants is mission critical. And, it’s best when it’s specific and one you’re determined to achieve.
5. Buyer Persona – Gone are the days of mass marketing! Your buyer persona really helps you stand out in the crowd of your competitors .
Your buyer persona, which is a fictional depiction of your ideal client, takes defining your target audience one step further by adding greater detail to your ideal client profile. It ensures your potential client hears the right message at the right time.
6. Proper pricing – Asking a fair and reasonable price for business services sometimes feels risky for small business entrepreneurs. As a result, services are frequently priced below market value.
Proper pricing of your products and services begins with clearly understanding your value. When clients realize how the value of your services outweighs the price, they seldom shy away from a fair price.
7. Lead generation plan – Build it and they will come? Oh, if it were only that easy!
Acquiring clients is job #1 for any small business.
Establish your lead generation goal. Find a method of lead generation that is a match for you and how you like to work. Then, develop the plan that hits your targets. Don’t forget to tweak your plan until it gets your business growing.
8. Value proposition – Did you know we have 30 seconds to make an impression? Yikes! That doesn’t leave enough time to recite our website. Consequently, we want to communicate the promise of value as quickly and clearly as possible.
Simply, your value proposition clearly states the tangible results a client receives from using your product or service. It communicates your value to their business. And, it plays a major role in converting potential to patrons.
9. Clear product/service benefits – Have you heard of “WIIFM”? It’s the station that all your clients tune into – What’s In It For Me.
Benefits answer the WIIFM for your client. They create emotion, incite passion, solve problems, and enhance results.
Your clients are looking to buy benefits from you. Understanding the difference between features and benefits spells the difference between acquiring a client or not, and influences how we speak to our clients.
10. Belief – Carol Dweck, a Sanford University psychologist, discovered that innate talent or intellect does not determine success. Rather, business success is determined by the degree to which we believe in ourselves.
A growth mindset loves to be challenged and learn. There is a willingness to work for positive results, and a belief that the outcomes in life can be controlled with effort and practice.
Whew! That’s quite a list, isn’t it? Is there any piece that we’re missing?