Creating A Growth Plan

What’s a Growth Plan and when and why would you need one? Is it just a fancy way of saying business plan? Isn’t it the same as a marketing plan?

Well, you’re actually cutting thinner slices of the same onion when you’re trying to make a distinction between the three.

A business plan is a full 30-60 page document you prepare for outside investors, lenders, and other interested parties. In addition to including a marketing plan, a business plan goes in-depth regarding all facets of your business. Financial projections, product descriptions, operations plans, as well as a review of your firm’s main leadership team. Typically the business plan is taking a long-term look (3-5 years) at your company.

Similarly, a marketing plan is a comprehensive document that does a deep-dive into your got-go-market strategy.

A growth plan, on the other hand, is really a targeted series of objectives with specific activities, due dates, and responsibilities for each activity. It makes sure any growth initiative you launch is realistic and doable in an informed way, for the best possible odds of success.

Both a business plan and a growth plan are living documents you should review at least annually. Unfortunately, most business plans often sit in a drawer gathering dust after the initial outside need passes. Sometimes that happens to growth plans as well. The way we define a growth plan is as a series of 90-day sprints aimed at quickly getting to a clear objective. It’s monitored regularly plus it’s checked every time there’s a major event impacting your business, such as new regulations, a direct competitor landing a major account, one of your clients experiencing setbacks in their business, etc.

It’s easy to veer off track of when dealing with 3-5 year goals; But with 90-days there’s less chance of being overwhelmed by too many decisions. A 90-day sprint breaks down large, audacious growth goals into discrete, highly manageable pieces; Investment justifications are easier to make in bite-sized chunks; You’re future-proofing. 90-day sprints allow you to adapt as your business environment changes.

Start at the end by setting a 1-year sales goal;
Then set a 90-day sprint covering the upcoming quarter;
Break it down into objectives, key results, action steps spelling out who will do what by when;
Review every month. Check-in every 2 weeks and make adjustments as needed;
At the end of the 90-days measure your progress against the overall 1-year goal and then plan the next sprint.

Each subsequent 90-day sprint builds on the last. Analyze the results, make adjustments for improvement, and keep moving toward your desired outcome.

This system of 90-day sprints with monthly reviews and bi-weekly check-ins creates hyper-focus and predictable outcomes. It’s about building momentum. It’s very tangible. You can see it and feel it.