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Why the Time is Now for a Strategic Growth Plan

Share current LOB: SmallBusiness

Most business owners don’t like to waste time on paperwork and often like to keep plans in their heads. This distaste for formal planning may appear practical, but may actually hurt their chance for success. SunTrust Business Owner Research shows that business owners with a written plan are much more likely to indicate growth goal achievement.

Benefits of Growth Plan

In practice, committing a plan to paper forces business owners to:

  • Document the assumptions underlying their businesses, so they can be tested, refined and validated by actual performance.
  • Take time out of day-to-day operations, focus on a few concrete priorities and pick the most profitable growth path.
  • Leverage employees and relationships to help grow their business.

A good business growth plan should be short, but well thought-out. As a practical matter, if you cannot outline your top growth priorities on one or two sheets of paper, you probably haven’t thought them through enough.

To help you get your business plan out of your head and onto a piece of paper, we have outlined the five questions a good growth plan must answer. Use the attached template to put numbers to your plan.

  1. In the next year, how much do you want to grow: in revenue, customers and products?
  2. Which of the five growth paths is the single best way for your organization to grow — price, new customers, “share of wallet,” new products or new markets?
  3. What are the gaps you need to fill: time, people, skills, customers or products?
  4. How can you fill the gaps: reallocating/leveraging existing resources or new funding?
  5. Who will help you grow — can you identify 50 employees, partners or advocates that you can enlist for your team?

Growth Planning

About SunTrust Business Owner Research: SunTrust surveys small business owners and advisors as part of its ongoing business seminars and symposiums. The small business owners attending these events include both SunTrust client and non-client business owners and are representative of the broad spectrum of businesses located in the SunTrust markets. The research cited in this report is extracted from these 5,425 small business owner surveys collected between 2007 and 2011.

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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