A well considered growth plan answers several questions:
- What's in it for me?
- What will it cost?
- How long will it take?
- What other impact does this have on my current business?
- How does this effort fit strategically?
- What are the drivers and business levers for this initiative?
Companies without resource constraints can manage with a business case. This approach works well if you are adding a new department or resources specifically to address the growth opportunity. Optimal use of existing resources requires a feasibility study to determine stress points and tradeoffs.
Either way you'll want to start with research into the market potential.
This research alone can be a significant project – and results should mark a strategic checkpoint – proceed no further if the potential is insufficient.
The business case really kicks in when determining what it takes to break into the new market. Unique factors and barriers to entry become apparent, providing the next checkpoint.
Follow-up to this begins with generating a project plan which details timing targets and budgeted costs. The key to success here is to pre-determine the business levers which allow adjusting for optimum results. Where can you cut costs, how do you ramp up quickly?
Most companies implementing growth initiatives look at the bright side – the added potential, economies of scale, and cross-selling potential. It can be just as important to the health of a company to consider stress on resources, impact of mixed messages, lack of strategic focus, and opportunity cost of the time, money and effort diverted.