You don’t have to be a cab owner with the spectre of Uber hanging over your business to know what digital disruption feels like. Businesses in every industry are grappling with the very real threat of disruption and how to take advantage of the many opportunities it brings.

Strategic planning for business growth

One fact is clear. No matter what your business, or your industry, your customers have moved online.

 In today’s always changing world, a strategic plan that takes months to formulate is simply no longer viable.

While  strategic planning  has been a cornerstone of business management best practices since the 1970s, traditional business planning techniques are no longer relevant or useful in our fast changing times.

Conditions change too quickly to keep plans current

Back in the old days, businesses would draw up a Business Plan to summarise what the business is all about and why it’s a viable proposition, and a Strategic Plan to chart the roadmap that the business will follow in the next few years to get you there.

But these days, you could call strategic planning a waste of time.

In fact, according to esteemed author on business and management, Henry Mintzberg, strategic planning simply does not work any more. He also thinks it can be downright dangerous. He believes strategic planning discourages change, narrows a company’s vision, and limits flexibility.

However, that’s not to say that planning isn’t important. It is. But it’s how you do it. And these days, agility  is everything. The ability to adapt to the new normal of volatility, and constant change, is an urgent need.

The planning around where your business is headed in the longer term needs to be addressed with a sharp focus on revenue growth in short-term growth sprints.

Growth Planning delivers agility

What sets Growth Planning apart from other business management tools is that its key focus is on revenue generation with the customer front and centre. More than simply envisioning long-term success, it maps out a clear path to drive the organic growth  of a business.

What is a growth plan?

It’s also agile. A Growth Plan is designed to help you rapidly achieve your revenue goals in short-term cycles as well as adapt to changing market conditions along the way.

A Growth Plan allows you to be agile and quickly adapt to change by reaching your goals in 90-day sprints.

Typically, a Growth Plan is short term in nature  (spanning a maximum of just one to two years). While it sets out the detail of your go-to-market strategy at a granular level, you map out execution in 90-day sprints.

This enables rapid execution and ensures your growth initiatives are undertaken in a coordinated, systematic and informed way. It also allows you to feed key learning back into the Growth Plan to fine-tune the next sprint.

Why Strategic Planning is obsolete TED talk by Martin Reeves

3 Questions to Simplify Your Strategy by Prof. Donald Sull (London Business School)

Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy by Prof. Michael E. Porter (Harvard University)

Elements of a Growth Plan

In terms of kicking it off, a Growth Plan is not something you can do overnight. Nor is it a step-by-step process. But it is a process. And to do it properly, you need to consider nine key  steps:

  • Identify business goals
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis  to assess your current situation
  • Define your client segments
  • Identify your growth strategies
  • Set your objectives for each business goal
  • Define your value proposition
  • Differentiate your business from your competition
  • Execute your digital campaigns
  • Set your tactics  to achieve your goals

A Growth Plan in itself is not a means to an end. It’s a dynamic, ongoing learning cycle with an action plan around specific activities that lets you take advantage of changes in customer buying patterns. It drives success through focused planning on the customer.

With agile planning methodologies, you can forego annual strategic planning and move towards a continuous cycle of planning . This involves a cycle of rapid execution, fine-tuning your plan based on learning acquired from the short sprints. Taking this approach brings greater value over time, allowing you to better understand demand and align your team around the same goals.

Growth planning uses agile planning methodologies with a continuous cycle of rapid execution, and fine-tuning based on learning acquired from the short sprints.

Agile is not just a software methodology

The new normal is change. Both fast paced, and unpredictable. Rather than standing on the sidelines watching disruptive  changes lay waste to your business, you can be more in tune with market trends and better able to take advantage of them by using strategic growth planning techniques. You become the disrupter rather than being disrupted!

Remember, agile is not just a software methodology. It’s a deft approach to managing your business growth.

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Watch: The 9 step Blueprint for a Growth Plan

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