Company Growth Strategy: 7 Key Steps for Business Growth & Expansion

Sujan Patel

Published: May 01, 2024

A concrete business growth strategy is more than a marketing effort. It’s a crucial cog in your business machine. Without one, you’re at the mercy of a fickle consumer base and market fluctuations.

graphic showing person building a business growth strategy

So, how do you plan to grow?

If you’re unsure about the steps needed to craft an effective growth strategy, we’ve got you covered.

Download Now: Free Growth Strategy Template

Table of Contents

Why You Need a Business Growth Plan

Business growth, types of business growth, business growth strategy, types of business growth strategies, product growth strategy, how to grow a company successfully, growth strategy examples.

We know the why is important — so why do we think building a business growth plan is so crucial, even for established businesses? There are so many reasons, but here are three that apply to almost all businesses at some point:

  • Funding. Functionally, most businesses are always on the lookout for investors, and you’ll have an advantage if you can present a solid growth plan to convince them. Most expect it.
  • Insurance. Growth creates financial padding, like a forcefield to protect your business when unexpected issues crop up. The economic upheaval for brick-and-mortar businesses in 2020 is a perfect example.
  • Credibility and creditability. For brand new businesses, getting a loan and making sure you can pay back your bank is at the top of the priority list. There’s no real profit until that debt is managed. Having a growth plan will not only help you secure a business loan, it will be there to refer to so you’ll know what to do to continue making your payments.

Business growth is a stage where an organization experiences unprecedented and sustained increases in market reach and profit avenues. This can happen when a company increases revenue, produces more products or services, or expands its customer base.

For the majority of businesses, growth is the main objective. With that in mind, business decisions are often made based on what would contribute to the company’s continued growth and overall success. There are several methods that can facilitate growth which we’ll explain more about below.

growth potential in business plan

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As a business owner, you’ll have several avenues for growth. Business growth can be broken down into the following categories:

With organic growth, a company expands through its own operations using its own internal resources. This is in contrast to having to seek out external resources to facilitate growth.

An example of organic growth is making production more efficient so you can produce more within a shorter time frame, which leads to increased sales. A perk of using organic growth is that it relies on self-sufficiency and avoids taking on debt. Additionally, the increased revenue created from organic growth can help fund more strategic growth methods later on. We’ll explain that below.

Example : Organic growth could be putting some of your revenue aside to purchase a second machine — doubling your production without debt. This increases your ability to take more and/or larger orders. In this way, you create more revenue to invest in a third machine or fund another growth strategy.

2. Strategic

Strategic growth involves developing initiatives that will help your business grow long-term. An example of strategic growth could be coming up with a new product or developing a market strategy to target a new audience.

Unlike organic growth, these initiatives often require a significant amount of resources and funding. Businesses often take an organic approach first in hopes that their efforts will generate enough capital to invest in future strategic growth initiatives.

Pro tip: Strategic growth can be a major endeavor depending on the size of your business. Be prepared to learn a lot, work hard at it, and see slow development. For quicker results, hire someone who knows a lot to work hard at it. Another option is to spend the money on a user-friendly platform that you or an employee can manage. Strategic growth is easily a full-time job for anyone, if not for a team of professionals.

3. Internal

An internal growth strategy seeks to optimize internal business processes to increase revenue. Similar to organic growth, this strategy relies on companies using their own internal resources. Internal growth strategy is all about using existing resources in the most purposeful way possible.

Example: Internal growth could be cutting wasteful spending and running a leaner operation by automating sales with AI , or some of its functions instead of hiring more employees. Internal growth can be more challenging because it forces companies to look at how their processes can be improved and made more efficient rather than focusing on external factors like entering new markets to facilitate growth.

4. Mergers, Partnerships, Acquisitions

Although riskier than the other growth types, mergers, partnerships, and acquisitions can come with high rewards. There’s strength in numbers. A well-executed merger, partnership, or acquisition can help your business break into a new market. You can also expand your customer base or increase the products and services you offer.

A growth strategy is a plan that companies make to expand their business in a specific aspect, such as yearly revenue, number of customers, or number of products. Specific growth strategies can include adding new locations, investing in customer acquisition, or expanding a product line.

A company’s industry and target market influence which growth strategies it will choose. Strategize, consider the available options, and build some into your business plan. Depending on the kind of company you’re building, your growth strategy might include aspects like:

  • Adding new locations.
  • Investing in customer acquisition.
  • Franchising opportunities.
  • Product line expansions.
  • Selling products online across multiple platforms.

Pro tip: Your particular industry and target market will influence your decisions, but it’s almost universally true that new customer acquisition will play a sizable role.

That said, there are different types of overarching growth strategies you can adopt before making a specific choice, such as adding new locations. Let’s take a look.

There are several general growth strategies that your organization can pursue. Some strategies may work in tandem. For instance, a customer growth and market growth strategy will usually go hand-in-hand.

Revenue Growth Strategy

A revenue growth strategy is an organization’s plan to increase revenue over a time period, such as year-over-year. Businesses pursuing a revenue growth strategy may monitor cash flow , leverage sales forecasting reports , analyze current market trends, diminish customer acquisition costs , and pursue strategic partnerships with other businesses to improve the bottom line.

Specific revenue growth tactics may include:

  • Investing in sales training programs to boost close rates.
  • Leveraging technology to improve sales forecasting reports.
  • Using lower-cost marketing strategies to lower customer acquisition costs.
  • Continuing to train customer service reps to increase customer retention.
  • Partnering with another company to promote your products and services.

Pro tip: Revenue for the sake of personal income is often important at the start of a business (to pay the bills) and end of a business (as an enticement while selling the company). But while you look to the future with your company running, it’s wise to use revenue growth toward continued overall business growth.

Customer Growth Strategy

A customer growth strategy is an organization’s plan to boost new customer acquisitions over a time period, such as month-over-month. Businesses pursuing a customer growth strategy may be more open to making large strategic investments, as long as the investments lead to greater customer acquisitions.

For this strategy, you may track customer churn rates , calculate customer lifetime value (CLV), and leverage pricing strategies to attract more customers. You might also spend more on marketing, sales, and CX , with new customer sign-ups as the north star metric.

Specific customer growth tactics may include:

  • Investing in your marketing and sales organization’s headcount.
  • Increasing advertising and marketing spend.
  • Opening new locations in a promising market you’ve not yet reached.
  • Adding new product lines and services.
  • Adopting a discount or freemium pricing strategy .
  • Tracking metrics such as churn rates, CLV, and monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

Pro tip: Remember that it’s about people. Market research tools such as trend monitoring can help keep you aware of what your target audiences are genuinely interested in. This way, you can meet them where they are and get those customer sign-ups.

Marketing Growth Strategy

A marketing growth strategy — which is related, but not the same as, a market development strategy — is an organization’s plan to increase its total addressable market (TAM) and increase existing market share.

Businesses pursuing a marketing growth strategy will research different verticals, customer types, audiences, regions, and more to measure the viability of a market expansion.

Specific marketing growth tactics may include:

  • Rebranding the business to appeal to a new audience.
  • Launching new products to appeal to buyers in a different market.
  • Opening new locations in other regions.
  • Adopting a different marketing strategy, e.g., local marketing or event marketing , to appeal to different markets.
  • Becoming a franchisor so that individual business owners can buy franchises from you.

Pro tip: The idea here is to get a bigger slice of the pie by growing into already established markets. It differs from market development in that market development discovers or creates new markets instead of finding some space in existing ones. Most businesses are not trying to reinvent the wheel. They’re just getting a spot at the car show.

A product growth strategy is an organization’s plan to increase product usage and sign-ups or expand product lines.

This type of growth strategy requires a significant investment into the organization’s product and engineering team (at SaaS organizations). In the retail industry, a product growth strategy may look like partnering with new manufacturers to expand your product catalog.

Specific tactics may include:

  • Adding new features and benefits to existing products.
  • Adopting a freemium pricing strategy.
  • Adding new products to the existing product line.
  • Partnering with new manufacturers and providers.
  • Expanding into new markets and verticals to increase product adoption.

Not sure what all of this can look like for your business? Here are some actionable tactics for achieving growth.

  • Use a growth strategy template.
  • Choose your targeted area of growth.
  • Conduct market and industry research.
  • Set growth goals.
  • Plan your course of action.
  • Determine your growth tools and requirements.
  • Execute your plan.

1. Use a growth strategy template [Free Tool] .

growth potential in business plan

5. Plan your course of action.

Next, outline how you’ll achieve your growth goals with a detailed growth strategy. Again, we suggest writing out a detailed growth strategy plan to gain the understanding and buy-in of your team.

growth potential in business plan

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Writing a Business Growth Plan

Look ahead and plan for business growth and revenue increases.

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Table of Contents

When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught in the moment and focus only on the day in front of you. However, to be truly successful, you must look ahead and plan for growth. Many business owners create a business growth plan to map out the next one or two years and pinpoint how and when revenues will increase. 

We’ll explain more about business growth plans and share strategies for writing a business growth plan that can set you on a path to success. 

What is a business growth plan?

A business growth plan outlines where a company sees itself in the next one to two years. Business owners and leaders apply a growth mindset to create plans for expansion and increased revenues.

Business growth plans should be formatted quarterly. At the end of each quarter, the company can review the business goals it achieved and missed during that period. At this point, management can revise the business growth plan to reflect the current market standing.

What to include in a business growth plan

A business growth plan focuses specifically on expansion and how you’ll achieve it. Creating a useful plan takes time, but keeping your growth efforts on track can pay off substantially.

You should include the following elements in your growth plan:

  • A description of expansion opportunities
  • Financial goals broken down by quarter and year
  • A marketing plan that details how you’ll achieve growth
  • A financial plan to determine what capital is accessible during growth
  • A breakdown of your company’s staffing needs and responsibilities

How to write a business growth plan

To successfully write a business growth plan, you must do some forward-thinking and research. Here are some key steps to follow when writing your business growth plan.

1. Think ahead.

The future is always unpredictable. However, if you study your target market, your competition and your company’s past growth, you can plan for future expansion. The Small Business Administration (SBA) features a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan for growth.

2. Study other growth plans.

Before you start writing, review models from successful companies.

3. Discover opportunities for growth.

With some homework, you can determine if your expansion opportunities lie in creating new products , adding more services, targeting a new market, opening new business locations or going global, to name a few examples. Once you’ve identified your best options for growth, include them in your plan.

4. Evaluate your team.

Your plan should include an assessment of your employees and a look at staffing requirements to meet your growth objectives. By assessing your own skills and those of your employees, you can determine how much growth can be accomplished with your present team. You’ll also know when to ramp up the hiring process and what skill sets to look for in those new hires.

5. Find the capital.

Include detailed information on how you will fund expansion. Business.gov offers a guide on how to prepare funding requests and how to connect with SBA lenders.

6. Get the word out.

Growing your business requires a targeted marketing effort. Be sure to outline how you will effectively market your business to encourage growth and how your marketing efforts will evolve as you grow.

7. Ask for help.

Advice from other business owners who have enjoyed successful growth can be the ultimate tool in writing your growth plan.

8. Start writing.

Business plan software has streamlined the process of writing growth plans by providing templates you can fill in with information specific to your company and industry. Most software programs are geared toward general business plans; however, you can easily modify them to create a plan that focuses on growth. 

If you don’t have business plan software, don’t worry. You can create a business growth plan using Microsoft Word, Google Docs or a similar tool. For each growth opportunity, create the following sections: 

  • What is the opportunity? Is your growth opportunity a new geographic expansion, a new product or a new customer segment? How do you know there’s an opportunity? Include your market research to demonstrate the idea’s viability.
  • What factors make this opportunity valuable at this time? For example, your growth opportunity could utilize new technology, take advantage of a strategic partnership or capitalize on a consumer trend.
  • What are the risk factors for this opportunity? Identify factors that may make this growth opportunity challenging to execute. For example, challenges may include the state of the overall economy, intense competition or supply chain distribution issues. What is your plan for dealing with these challenges?
  • What is your marketing and sales plan? Identify the marketing efforts and sales processes that can help you seize this growth opportunity. Detail the marketing channel you’ll use ( social media marketing , print marketing), your message and promising sales ideas. For example, you could hire sales reps for a new geographic area or set up distribution deals with relevant brick-and-mortar or online retailers .
  • What are the costs involved in this growth area? For example, if you add a new product, you may need to buy new manufacturing equipment and raw materials. While marketing costs are a given, remember to include incremental sales costs like commissions. Outline any economies of scale or places where your existing operations make the new growth area less expensive than a stand-alone initiative.
  • How will your income, expenses and cash flow look? Project your income and expenses, and prepare a cash flow statement for the new growth area for the next three to five years. Include a break-even analysis, a sales forecast and all projected expenses to see how much the new initiative will add to the bottom line. Include how the new growth area will positively (or negatively) impact existing sales. For example, if you sell bathing suits and you decide to grow by adding cover-ups and sunglasses, you will likely sell more bathing suits. 

After completing this exercise for each growth opportunity:

  • Create a summary that accounts for all growth areas for the period.
  • Include summarized financial statements to see the entire picture and its impact on the company. 
  • Evaluate the financing you’ll need to implement the plan, and include various options and rates. 

Why are business growth plans important?

These are some of the many reasons why business growth plans are essential:

  • Market share and penetration: If your market share remains constant in a world where costs consistently increase, you’ll inevitably start recording losses instead of profits. Business growth plans help you avoid this scenario.
  • Recouping early losses: Most companies lose far more than they earn in their early years. To recoup these losses, you’ll need to grow your company to a point where it can make enough revenue to pay off your debts.
  • Future risk minimization: Growth plans also matter for established businesses. These companies can always stand to make their sales more efficient and become more liquid. Liquidity can come in handy if you need money to cover unexpected problems.
  • Appealing to investors: For most businesses, a business growth plan’s primary purpose is to find investors . Investors want to outline your company’s plans to build sales in the coming months.
  • Concrete revenue plans: Growth plans are customizable to each business and don’t have to follow a set template. However, all business growth plans must focus heavily on revenue. The plan should answer a simple question: How does your company plan to make money each quarter?

What factors impact business growth?

Consider the following crucial factors that can impact business growth:

  • Leadership: To achieve your goals, you must know the ins and outs of your business processes and how external forces impact them. Without this knowledge, you can’t direct and train your team to drive your revenue, and you will experience stagnation instead of growth.
  • Management: As a small business owner, you’re innately involved in management – obtaining funding, resources, and physical and digital infrastructure. Ineffective management will impact your ability to perform these duties and could hamstring your growth.
  • Customer loyalty: Acquiring new customers can be five times as expensive as retaining current ones, and a 5 percent boost in customer retention can increase profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. These statistics demonstrate that customer loyalty is fundamental to business growth.

What are the four major growth strategies?

There are countless growth strategies for businesses, but only four primary types. With these growth strategies, you can determine how to build on your brand.

  • Market strategy: A market strategy refers to how you plan to penetrate your target audience . This strategy isn’t intended for entering a new market or creating new products and services to boost your market share; it’s about leveraging your current offerings. For instance, can you adjust your pricing? Should you launch a new marketing campaign?
  • Development strategy: This strategy means looking into ways to break your products and services into a new market. If you can’t find the growth you want in the current market, a goal could be to expand to a new market.
  • Product strategy: Also known as “product development,” this strategy focuses on what new products and services you can target to your current market. How can you grow your business without entering new markets? What are your customers asking for?
  • Diversification strategy: Diversification means expanding both your products and target markets. This strategy is usually best for smaller companies that have the means to be versatile with the products or services they offer and what new markets they attempt to penetrate.

Max Freedman contributed to this article.

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Prepare a business plan for growth

Planning is key to any business throughout its existence. Every successful business regularly reviews its business plan to ensure it continues to meet its needs. It's sensible to review current performance on a regular basis and identify the most likely strategies for growth.

Once you've reviewed your progress and identified the key growth areas that you want to target, it's time to revisit your business plan and make it a road map to the next stages for your business.

This guide will show how you can turn your business plan from a static document into a dynamic template that will help your business both survive and thrive.

The importance of ongoing business planning

What your business plan should include, drawing up a more sophisticated business plan, plan and allocate resources effectively, use targets to implement your business plan, when and how to review your business plan.

Most potential investors will want to see a business plan before they consider funding your business. Although many businesses are tempted to use their business plans solely for this purpose, a good plan should set the course of a business over its lifespan.

A business plan plays a key role in allocating resources throughout a business. It is a tool that can help you attract new funds or that you can use as a strategy document. A good business plan reveals how you would use the bank loan or investment you are asking for.

Ongoing business planning means that you can monitor whether you are achieving your business objectives . A business plan can be used as a tool to identify where you are now and in which direction you wish your business to grow. A business plan will also ensure that you meet certain key targets and manage business priorities.

You can maximise your chances of success by adopting a continuous and regular business planning cycle that keeps the plan up-to-date. This should include regular business planning meetings which involve key people from the business.

To find out more, see our guides on how to review your business performance and how to assess your options for growth .

If you regularly assess your performance against the plans and targets you have set, you are more likely to meet your objectives. It can also signpost where and why you're going astray. Many businesses choose to assess progress every three or six months.

The assessment will also help you in discussions with banks, investors and even potential buyers of your business. Regular review is a good vehicle for showing direction and commitment to employees, customers and suppliers.

Defining your business' purpose in your business plan keeps you focused, inspires your employees and attracts customers.

Your business plan should include a summary of what your business does, how it has developed and where you want it to go. In particular, it should cover your strategy for improving your existing sales and processes to achieve the growth you desire.

You also need to make it clear what timeframe the business plan covers - this will typically be for the next 12 to 24 months.

The plan needs to include:

  • The marketing aims and objectives , for example how many new customers you want to gain and the anticipated size of your customer base at the end of the period. To find out about marketing strategy, see our guide on how to create your marketing strategy .
  • Operational information such as where your business is based, who your suppliers are and the premises and equipment needed.
  • Financial information , including profit and loss forecasts, cash flow forecasts, sales forecasts and audited accounts.
  • A summary of the business objectives, including targets and dates.
  • If yours is an owner-managed business, you may wish to include an exit plan . This includes planning the timing of your departure and the circumstances, e.g. family succession, sale of the business, floating your business or closing it down.

If you intend to present your business plan to an external audience such as investors or banks, you will also need to include:

  • your aims and objectives for each area of the business
  • details of the history of the business, including financial records from the last three years - if this isn't possible, provide details about trading to date
  • the skills and qualifications of the management involved in your business
  • information about the product or service, its distinctiveness and where it fits into the marketplace

If your business has grown to encompass a series of departments or divisions, each with its own targets and objectives, you may need to draw up a more sophisticated business plan.

The individual business plans of the departments and separate business units will need to be integrated into a single strategy document for the entire organisation.

This can be a complex exercise but it's vital if each business unit is to tread a consistent path and not conflict with the overall strategy.

This is not just an issue for large enterprises - many small firms consist of separate business units pursuing different strategies.

To draw up a business plan that marries all the separate units of an organisation requires a degree of co-ordination. It may seem obvious, but make sure all departments are using the same planning template.

Objectives for individual departments

It's important for each department to feel that they are a stakeholder in the plan. Typically, each department head will draft the unit's business plan and then agree on its final form in conjunction with other departments.

Each unit's budgets and priorities must be set so that they fit in with those of the entire organisation. Generally, individual unit plans are required to be more specific and precisely defined than the overall business plan. It's important that the objectives set for business units are realistic and deliverable. However complex it turns out to be, the individual business unit plan needs to be easily understood by the people whose job it is to make it work. They also need to be clear on how their plan fits in with that of the wider organisation.

The business plan plays a key role in allocating resources throughout a business so that the objectives set in the plan can be met.

Once you've reviewed your progress to date and identified your strategy for growth, your existing business plan may look dated and may no longer reflect your business' position and future direction.

When you are reviewing your business plan to cover the next stages, it's important to be clear on how you will allocate your resources to make your strategy work.

For example, if a particular business unit or department has been given a target, the business plan should allocate sufficient resources to achieve it. These resources may already be available within the business or may be generated by future activity.

In practice this could mean recruiting more office staff, spending more on marketing or buying more supplies or equipment. You may want to provide funds through current cash flow, generating more profit or seeking external funding. In general, it is always better to fund future growth through revenue generation.

However, you should do some precise budgeting to decide on the right level of resourcing for a particular unit or department. It's important that resources are prioritised, so that areas of a business which are key to delivering the overall aims and objectives are adequately funded. If funding isn't available this may involve making cutbacks in other areas.

A successful business plan should incorporate a set of targets and objectives.

While the overall plan may set strategic goals, these are unlikely to be achieved unless you use SMART objectives or targets, i.e. S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R ealistic and T imely.

Targets help everyone within a business understand what they need to achieve and when they need to achieve it.

You can monitor the performance of employees, teams or a new product or service by using appropriate performance indicators . These can be:

  • sales or profit figures over a given period
  • milestones in new product development
  • productivity benchmarks for individual team members
  • market-share statistics

Targets make it clearer for individual employees to see where they fit within an organisation and what they need to do to help the business meet its objectives. Setting clear objectives and targets and closely monitoring their delivery can make the development of your business more effective. Targets and objectives should also form a key part of employee appraisals, as a means of objectively addressing individuals' progress.

Once you've drawn up your new business plan and put it into practice, it needs to be continually monitored to make sure the objectives are being achieved. This review process should follow an assessment of your progress to date and an analysis of the most promising ways to develop your business. To find out more about these stages see our guides on how to review your business performance and how to assess your options for growth .

This process is called the business plan cycle . In some businesses, the cycle may be a continuous process with the plan being regularly updated and monitored. For most businesses, an annual plan - broken down into four quarterly operating plans - is sufficient. However, if a business is heavily sales driven, it can make more sense to have a monthly operating plan, supplemented where necessary with weekly targets and reviews.

It's important to keep in mind that major events in your business' target marketplace (e.g. competitor consolidation, acquisition of a major customer) or in the broader environment (e.g. new legislation) should trigger a review of your strategic objectives.

Regardless of whether or not there are fixed time intervals in your business plan, it must be part of a rolling process, with regular assessment of performance against the plan and agreement of a revised forecast if necessary.

Original document, Prepare a business plan for growth , © Crown copyright 2009 Source: Business Link UK (now GOV.UK/Business ) Adapted for Québec by Info entrepreneurs

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

Growth Tactics

Growth Tactics

growth potential in business plan

Creating an Effective Business Growth Plan

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As a business leader, you understand the importance of continually striving for growth and development in your enterprise. A carefully crafted growth plan can help you achieve your goals by outlining specific strategies and action plans to ensure that your company continues to thrive. In this article, we’ll explore the key components of an effective growth plan for your business and offer practical advice to help you create a roadmap to success.

What is a Growth Plan and Why Do You Need One?

A growth plan is a document that outlines the strategies and tactics that a business will use to achieve and sustain growth over a specified period. This plan should include a clear vision statement, measurable goals , and a detailed description of the strategies, action plans, and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will drive business growth. A growth plan can help you set goals and targets, identify potential challenges and opportunities, and ensure that all stakeholders are aligned with your vision. Furthermore, having a growth plan can help ensure the longevity of your business by providing a roadmap for success.

Factors Impacting Business Growth

Several factors can have a significant impact on the growth of a business. It is essential for business leaders and managers to identify and understand these factors in order to navigate the path to success. Let’s explore some key factors that influence business growth:

1. Economic Conditions

The overall health of the economy can greatly affect business growth. During periods of economic prosperity, with increased consumer spending and confidence, businesses tend to experience growth opportunities. Conversely, during economic downturns or recessions , consumer spending may decline, leading to challenges for businesses.

2. Market Demand and Competitiveness

The demand for a product or service has a direct impact on business growth. Assessing the market demand for your offerings, understanding consumer preferences, and identifying any gaps that your business can fill are crucial steps. Additionally, businesses need to evaluate the competitive landscape, including the presence of established competitors, barriers to entry, and emerging trends, in order to position themselves for growth.

3. Innovation and Technology

Keeping up with technological advancements and embracing innovation is essential for sustaining growth. Businesses that invest in research and development, adopt new technologies, and stay ahead of industry trends are often better positioned for growth. Innovation can lead to improved efficiency, enhanced product offerings, and increased customer satisfaction, all of which can drive business growth.

4. Financial Resources

Access to financial resources, such as capital for investment and working capital, is vital for business growth. Adequate funding allows businesses to expand operations, invest in marketing and advertising, develop new products or services, and hire additional staff. Businesses need to assess their financial capabilities and explore funding options to support their growth strategies.

5. Human Capital

The skills, knowledge, and expertise of the workforce are critical for driving business growth. Hiring and retaining talented employees who are aligned with the organization’s goals and values is essential. Businesses that invest in training and development programs, foster a positive work culture , and empower their employees are more likely to experience sustainable growth.

6. Regulatory Environment

The regulatory environment in which a business operates can impact growth opportunities. Compliance with industry-specific regulations, government policies, and legal requirements is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain credibility. Understanding and navigating the regulatory landscape allows businesses to identify potential obstacles and take necessary measures for growth.

7. Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Customer satisfaction and retention play a significant role in business growth. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers, refer others to the business, and contribute to its growth. Businesses need to focus on providing exceptional customer experiences, delivering quality products or services, and maintaining strong customer relationships to foster loyalty and drive growth.

These factors are just some of the many elements that influence business growth. By actively assessing and addressing these factors, businesses can create strategies and make informed decisions that contribute to their long-term success and expansion.

How to Develop a Growth Plan for Your Business

Developing a growth plan for your business is a crucial aspect of achieving long-term success. To create an effective growth plan, follow these steps:

Step 1: Define Your Growth Goals and Objectives

The first step in creating an effective growth plan is to define your goals and objectives. Think about where you want your business to be in three, five, or ten years and develop specific and measurable goals that will help you achieve your vision.

Step 2: Understand Your Business Needs

In order to create a growth plan that works for your business, you need to understand its needs. Consider the following questions:

  • What are your business goals?
  • Who is your target market?
  • What products or services do you offer?
  • What are your current strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the potential growth opportunities for your business?

Answering these questions will help you identify specific areas of your business that require additional attention and focus, and help you create a growth plan that addresses them.

Step 3: Develop a Strategy for Growth

Once you have defined your goals and identified the needs of your business, the next step is to develop a strategy for growth. Consider the following:

  • What strategies and tactics will best help you achieve your growth goals?
  • What internal resources or external partnerships will you need to execute your plan?
  • What role will new products or services play in your growth strategy?
  • Are there any particular areas of your business that you want to focus on developing?
  • How will you measure success and ensure that your strategy is working?

Developing an effective growth strategy requires careful planning and consideration of various factors that can impact your business.

Step 4: Establish an Action Plan

With your growth goals defined, business needs understood, and a strategy created, the next step is to establish an action plan. This plan should outline specific initiatives that will help you achieve your growth targets, including timelines, milestones, resource commitments, and key performance indicators.

Step 5: Monitor and Adjust Your Plan

Developing a successful growth plan requires ongoing monitoring and adjustment to ensure that you remain on track and continue to grow. Regularly review your progress against your KPIs and take corrective action as needed to keep your business moving forward.

Tips for Creating an Effective Growth Plan

When it comes to business growth, creating an effective plan is crucial to achieving your goals and moving your organization forward. Here are some tips to help you create a growth plan that will work for your company:

Set Realistic Goals

It’s important to set goals that are achievable but also challenging. Make sure you consider your current business situation and resources, as well as your desired outcomes when setting your targets.

Understand Your Market

Your target market plays an essential role in your business growth. Ensure you have a deep understanding of your customer’s needs, their pain points, and the challenges they are facing.

Consider All Growth Strategies

Exploring diverse growth strategies can help you expand your business, reach new customers, and diversify your offerings. This could include everything from developing new products and services, expanding into new markets, or improving your operations and processes .

Focus on the Long-term

While short-term objectives are vital for any business, it’s equally critical to have long-term goals in mind. This ensures that you develop a roadmap to move toward your vision and don’t get sidetracked by short-term wins.

Foster an Organizational Culture of Growth

Building this culture starts from the top and should be reflected throughout your organization. Encourage staff to be innovative , take calculated risks, and capitalize on new opportunities and ideas to drive growth forward.

Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

To effectively measure your progress toward your growth goals, it is important to identify and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These indicators can include metrics such as revenue growth, customer acquisition rate, customer satisfaction, market share, or any other relevant metrics specific to your business. Regularly monitoring these KPIs will help you assess if your growth plan is on track and enable you to make informed decisions and adjustments as needed.

Develop a Marketing and Sales Strategy

A strong marketing and sales strategy is crucial to drive business growth. Clearly define your target audience, develop compelling messaging, and identify the most effective channels to reach and engage your potential customers. Leverage digital marketing techniques, social media platforms, content marketing, SEO, and other tactics relevant to your industry to maximize your reach and generate quality leads. Align your marketing and sales efforts to ensure a seamless customer journey that leads to conversions.

Invest in Employee Development

Your employees play a significant role in driving business growth. Invest in their professional development and provide training opportunities to enhance their skill sets. Empower them to take ownership of their responsibilities and encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement. By fostering a motivated and skilled workforce, you can boost productivity , innovation, and overall business performance.

Foster Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships can be a valuable growth strategy for businesses. Look for complementary organizations or businesses with shared target audiences and explore opportunities for collaboration. By partnering with other businesses, you can tap into new markets, leverage each other’s strengths, share resources, and mutually benefit from the synergies created.

Continuously Monitor and Evaluate Your Plan

Creating a growth plan is not a one-time task; it requires ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Regularly review your progress, reassess your goals, and adjust your strategies as needed. Stay updated on market trends, customer preferences, and industry developments to ensure your growth plan remains relevant and effective. Be agile and adaptable in responding to changes and seeking new opportunities for growth.

Business Plan vs Growth Plan

Business plans and growth plans are essential tools for businesses, but they serve different purposes. While a business plan outlines the basics of a company, including its mission, product offerings, and financial projections, a growth plan focuses specifically on strategies to drive business growth. Let’s explore the differences between the two:

Business Plan

A business plan is a detailed blueprint of a company’s goals and objectives, outlining how it intends to achieve them. It typically includes the following components:

  • Executive summary: A brief overview of the company’s mission, goals, and financial projections.
  • Company description: A detailed description of the company’s mission, historical background, products or services offered, and target market.
  • Market analysis: An overview of the industry, including trends, competition, and target audience.
  • Organization and management: An overview of the company’s organizational structure , leadership team, and management style.
  • Products and services: A detailed description of the company’s products or services, including pricing, distribution, and marketing strategies.
  • Financial projections: Forecasted financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

A business plan serves as a roadmap for a company’s future, laying out how it plans to operate, grow and succeed.

Growth Plan

A growth plan is a strategic document designed to identify and prioritize strategies to drive business growth. Instead of focusing on the basics of the company like a business plan, a growth plan zooms into the company’s growth opportunities. It typically includes the following components:

  • Review of business environment: An overview of the current business conditions and the challenges and opportunities that exist in the market.
  • Mission and vision statement: A reaffirmation of the company’s goals and aspirations, and how these will translate into growth strategies.
  • Goals and objectives: Specific, measurable objectives that align with the company’s mission and growth aspirations.
  • SWOT analysis: An assessment of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Strategies and tactics: A detailed outline of the strategies and tactics that will be used to achieve the company’s goals and objectives.
  • Performance metrics: Objective measures that will be used to track and evaluate the success of the growth plan.

A growth plan offers a framework for businesses to identify and prioritize growth opportunities, set realistic growth targets, and develop actionable strategies to achieve those targets.

In summary, while a business plan outlines the basics of a company, including its mission, goals, and financial projections, a growth plan focuses on strategies to drive growth. While both plans are essential for the success of a business, they play different roles in the development and execution of a company’s strategy.

Key Takeaways

Creating an effective growth plan for your business involves identifying your goals and objectives, assessing your business needs, developing a strategy, establishing an action plan, and monitoring and adjusting your plan as needed.

By following these steps and adopting a growth mindset, you can successfully achieve your business goals, help your organization thrive, and continue to grow for years to come. Remember to set realistic, measurable targets, focus on your customers’ needs, and stay open to new opportunities. With a well-constructed growth plan, you can continue to make your business successful and continue to grow.

Creating an Effective Business Growth Plan

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The Ultimate Guide to Business Growth Plan: From Vision to Execution

A business growth plan is your blueprint for taking your organization to new heights. In this guide, we’ll demystify each element of a growth business plan using simple language and share expert tips to help you create a plan that drives your organization’s growth.

  • Key Highlights
  • Unlock Hidden Growth: Dive deep into your business and market, uncover untapped potential, and brainstorm innovative strategies to fuel your expansion.
  • Build Your Winning Plan: Craft a clear roadmap with compelling goals, market-savvy strategies, and actionable sales & marketing tactics to attract and retain customers.
  • Navigate & Conquer: Streamline operations, manage risks, and adapt your plan as needed to ensure smooth sailing on your growth journey, celebrating every milestone along the way.

Identifying Growth Opportunities

1. analyze your current business:, 2. research your market:, 3. conduct brainstorming sessions:, 1. executive summary: the big picture, 2. company overview: who you are, 3. market analysis: understanding the landscape, 4. growth plan strategies: your path forward, 5. sales and marketing plan: attracting customers, 6. operational plan: managing growth, 7. financial projections: the numbers game, 8. risk assessment and mitigation: preparing for challenges, importance of business growth plans, why business growth plans matter, factors impacting business growth, crucial factors for growth:, major growth strategies, primary growth strategies:, growth plan implementation checklist:.

Before diving into crafting your business growth plan, it’s crucial to identify potential growth opportunities within your business and the broader market. Here are some strategies to help you uncover these hidden gems:

  • Review your strengths and weaknesses: Identify areas where your business excels and areas needing improvement. Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses provides valuable insights to fuel growth and identify areas for improvement.
  • Examine customer data: Analyze customer demographics, purchase history, and feedback to understand their needs and preferences. These insights can inform new product development, targeted marketing campaigns, and improved customer service.
  • Assess your performance metrics: Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as revenue, customer acquisition cost, and customer lifetime value. Analyzing these metrics helps identify areas of growth and measure the effectiveness of your existing strategies.
  • Identify industry trends: Stay informed about emerging trends and developments within your industry. This knowledge can help you anticipate market shifts and adapt your offerings accordingly. Learn more about different market research types here: Types of Market Research
  • Analyze your competitors: Research your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, product offerings, and marketing strategies. This analysis allows you to identify potential gaps in the market and develop unique selling propositions. For small businesses, check out these helpful tips for effective competitor analysis: Market Research for Small Businesses
  • Explore new market segments: Consider expanding your target audience to reach new customer segments with untapped potential. This can open up new avenues for revenue generation and market share expansion. Explore our expert market research services here: Expert Market Research Services
  • Gather your team: Engage your team members in brainstorming sessions to generate innovative growth ideas. Encourage them to think outside the box and explore unconventional approaches.
  • Utilize creativity tools: Employ various creativity tools like mind mapping, role-playing, and scenario planning to stimulate creative thinking and generate unique solutions.
  • Prioritize and evaluate ideas: After brainstorming, prioritize potential growth opportunities based on their feasibility, potential impact, and alignment with your overall business goals.

By actively identifying growth opportunities, you build a solid foundation for your growth plan and ensure you’re focusing your efforts on the areas with the highest potential for success. Need professional assistance crafting your business growth plan? Consider expert help from skilled business writers at WiseBusinessPlans.

Begin with an executive summary that provides a high-level overview of your business growth plan. Explain your vision, goals, market opportunity, competitive advantage, and financial projections in a concise and compelling manner.

  • Expert Tip 1: "Your executive summary should grab attention and convey your growth potential. It's your plan's introduction." - Sarah Smith, Business Strategist.

In company overview , provide a detailed description of your organization, including its history, legal structure, leadership team, location, and core values. Highlight your qualifications and achievements as a leader.

  • Expert Tip 2: "Your company overview showcases your expertise and the foundation on which your business growth plan is built." - John Stevens, Business Coach.

Conduct thorough research on your industry, market size, growth potential, customer segments, competitors, and perform a SWOT analysis. Demonstrate your market knowledge and insights.

  • Expert Tip 3: "A deep market analysis is your compass for growth. Know your market inside out." - Emily Turner, Market Research Specialist.

Outline the strategies and tactics you’ll employ to achieve growth. Whether it’s expanding to new markets, launching new products, or acquiring competitors, your growth strategies should be well-defined.

  • Expert Tip 4: "Your growth strategies are your roadmap to success. They provide direction and purpose." - Mark Thompson, Growth Strategist.

Hire our professional business plan writer now!

Detail how you’ll attract, acquire, and retain customers. Describe your marketing channels, tactics, budget, and metrics for success. Highlight your expertise in customer acquisition.

  • Expert Tip 5: "Effective sales and marketing are pivotal for growth. Know your audience and tailor your strategies." - Laura Martinez, Marketing Expert.
  • Develop targeted marketing campaigns: Segment your audience and tailor your messaging to resonate with each segment's specific needs and interests.
  • Leverage digital marketing channels: Utilize social media platforms, email marketing, and content marketing to reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness.
  • Offer customer incentives: Implement loyalty programs, referral bonuses, and promotional offers to encourage repeat business and attract new customers.

In operational plan , explain how you’ll manage operations during the growth phase. Discuss production, supply chain, inventory management, quality control, and risk management strategies.

  • Expert Tip 6: "Operational efficiency is crucial during growth. Plan and execute smoothly." - David Reynolds, Operations Specialist.
  • Streamline your processes: Identify and eliminate bottlenecks within your operations to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Invest in automation technologies: Utilize technology to automate repetitive tasks and free up resources for more strategic initiatives.
  • Implement quality control measures: Establish stringent quality control procedures to ensure consistently high-quality products and services.

Provide realistic financial projections , including income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, break-even analysis, and funding requirements. Showcase your financial acumen.

  • Expert Tip 7: "Your financial projections should reflect a solid understanding of your organization's financial health and growth potential." - Susan James, Financial Analyst.
  • Develop a detailed budget: Create a comprehensive budget outlining your projected income and expenses for the duration

Checkout our free business plan samples and examples now!

Identify potential risks and challenges associated with your growth plan and explain how you’ll mitigate them. Demonstrating your ability to navigate uncertainties is crucial.

  • Expert Tip 8: " Effective risk management is a sign of a well-prepared growth plan. Be proactive and have contingency plans in place." - Robert Clark, Risk Management Consultant.
  • Market Share & Penetration: Sustain market share to prevent losses in a dynamic economy.
  • Recouping Early Losses: Aid in recovering initial losses for sustainable profitability.
  • Future Risk Minimization: Enhance efficiency and liquidity for unexpected scenarios.
  • Investor Appeal: Crucial for attracting investors with a well-defined growth strategy.
  • Concrete Revenue Plans: Focus on revenue strategies for continual business growth.
  • Leadership: Understanding business processes and external forces is vital for leadership.
  • Effective Management: Obtaining funding, resources, and infrastructure drives growth.
  • Customer Loyalty: Retaining customers is cost-effective and fundamental for sustained growth.
  • Market Strategy: Penetrate target audience through pricing adjustments or marketing.
  • Development Strategy: Expand to new markets when growth is limited in the current market.
  • Product Strategy: Introduce new products based on existing market demands.
  • Diversification Strategy: Expand both products and target markets for versatile growth.

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Here’s a checklist to help you stay on track during the implementation phase of your growth plan:

  • 1. Define clear goals and objectives: Clearly define SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for each growth initiative. This provides direction and ensures you're measuring progress effectively.
  • 2. Develop detailed action plans: Break down each growth strategy into specific action steps with assigned roles and responsibilities. This ensures everyone understands their tasks and contributes effectively.
  • 3. Allocate resources: Allocate necessary resources, including budget, personnel, and technology, to support the implementation of your growth plan.
  • 4. Establish timelines and milestones: Set realistic timelines and milestones for each element of your plan. This helps track progress and identify areas requiring adjustments.
  • 5. Monitor performance regularly: Regularly monitor key performance indicators to track the effectiveness of your growth initiatives. This allows you to make data-driven decisions and adapt your strategies as needed.
  • 6. Communicate effectively: Communicate your growth plan to all stakeholders, including employees, investors, and partners. This ensures transparency and alignment across the organization.
  • 7. Adapt and refine your plan: Be prepared to adapt and refine your growth plan based on market changes, performance data, and feedback from stakeholders. This ensures your plan remains relevant and effective over time.
  • 8. Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate successes achieved along the way. This boosts morale and motivates team members to continue their efforts towards achieving the overall growth objectives.

By following this checklist, you can turn your growth plan into a reality and achieve your business goals. Remember, a successful growth plan requires consistent effort, ongoing monitoring, and a willingness to adapt your approach as needed.

Crafting a growth business plan is a strategic endeavor that requires expertise and a deep understanding of your organization’s goals and market dynamics. By simplifying each section and emphasizing clear communication, you’ll not only create a growth roadmap but also instill confidence in your stakeholders. Your growth business plan is your tool for propelling your organization toward new horizons and achieving long-term success.

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10 Business Growth Strategies + Successful Examples

10 Business Growth Strategies + Successful Examples

Casey O'Connor

What Is a Business Growth Strategy?

How to develop a business growth strategy, 10 business growth strategies explained, examples of successful growth strategies, tips for business growth in 2023.

All businesses, regardless of size or industry, hope to achieve growth in their lifetime. 

The specific intended outcomes of business growth goals will vary depending on the size of your company, its strengths and needs, and its position in the market. 

Unfortunately, although all businesses aim to grow, only 25% of them make it to 15 years of operation. Effective methods and strategies must be executed correctly in order to expand; this is where business growth strategies come into play.

A business growth strategy is a framework of the actions a business will take to meet their growth goals, and can help your organization achieve them for scalable success. 

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about business growth strategies, including what they are, how to develop one, and ten of the most effective ones available for businesses today. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How to Develop a Business Growth Strategy 

A business growth strategy is an outline of the methods, tactics, and specific actions an organization will use to meet business goals. 

Business growth strategies can help businesses achieve a variety of different goals. 

Some business growth strategies are focused on revenue, while others prioritize the size of the customer base. 

Some business growth strategies are all about increasing an organization’s physical presence (opening a new store location, for example), while others are about developing new products or marketing to new audiences. 

A business growth strategy is basically an action plan, based on relevant market research, that explains exactly how your business will grow. It’s designed to help businesses capture more market share.

The specifics of your business growth strategy will depend on the unique needs of your business.

That being said, the process of developing the framework for new business growth strategies is more or less the same each time. 

how to develop a business growth strategy

1. Perform Market Research

Solid business growth strategies are always based on recent and relevant market data. 

Thorough market research will give you insight into current and potential customer preferences, industry trends, and your company’s position in the market relative to its competitors. 

It’s extremely important to get the lay of the land, so to speak, before you design your business growth strategy. Effective business growth goals need to be created using context from the overall market.

2. Establish Goals

You can’t have a business growth strategy without concrete goals. 

business growth strategies: SMART goals

In the beginning, try to plan short-term goals. Your business growth strategies should be focused on month-long or quarter-long periods as you get started. This will enable your team to go through the goal-setting and strategy-planning process quickly and frequently.

3. Identify Your Growth Strategy

There are a number of different specific growth strategies for your team to consider that may meet your growth needs. The growth strategy you choose will ultimately depend on your organization’s budget, opportunities, competition , and goals. 

We’ll go over some of the most effective business growth strategies in the next section of this article. 

4. Map Out Your Execution Plan

Once the high-level planning is complete, it’s time to outline the exact actions your team will take to meet your growth goals. 

business growth strategies: go-to-market-strategy

5. Create a Forecast

business growth strategies: sales forecast

6. Monitor, Measure, and Optimize

Once you start executing your business growth strategy, you need to monitor its progress in real-time. 

Make sure you’re measuring your activities and their results at regular intervals, and follow a standardized process for tracking and analyzing data.

Tip: Ensure you have the right tools in place to ensure growth with our free blueprint below.

The Optimal Technology Stack for B2B Sales Teams

Following are 10 of the most effective and common business growth strategies. 

business growth strategies

1. Market Penetration

A market penetration strategy is designed to help your organization increase its market share. The goal is to sell more of an existing product in an existing market.

One way to achieve a market penetration strategy is by lowering prices or offering promotions and discounts. 

Market penetration is a particularly effective strategy for SMB businesses because it is low-risk. 

Other effective tactics in a market penetration strategy include:

  • Discounts for bulk/volume purchases
  • Increase the number of distributors/dealers you work with 
  • Offer free trials
  • Direct marketing 

The bottom line is to sell more of your product in your existing market. In a market penetration strategy, the company is aiming to reach the maximum number of customers in the market until it becomes saturated.

2. Market Development

A market development strategy is all about selling existing products to new markets. This business growth strategy is aimed at growing the customer base. It works well for companies who are still working to find their position in a strong existing market. 

Market development relies on astute and thorough market research. Succeeding with this strategy is about more than just beating out your direct competitors. You may need to explore new geography, new customer segments, or new channels. Franchising is also a good option for certain industries.

Market development can be very lucrative; most companies achieve the most profitable growth when they’re able to move into an adjacent target market.

3. Product Expansion 

A product expansion business growth strategy relies on the creation of new products and services. These new offerings help your organization increase their market share. 

Many teams get creative with a product expansion strategy. It doesn’t always mean that you need to create brand-new products. You could also add updates to existing products, or add new varieties. You could also create bundles of existing products. 

Market research and marketing strategy analysis will help you determine the market needs and how you can most effectively tweak your offerings to meet those needs. 

4. Acquisition

Most people are very familiar with acquisitions. An acquisition is a business occurrence in which one company purchases another company. 

Acquisitions are sometimes lumped together with mergers, but the two are actually slightly different concepts. In an acquisition, one company takes over another one. In a merger, two companies join together. 

Acquisitions can be extremely profitable, but they require a lot of capital upfront, healthy cash flow, and significant debt capacity. For those reasons, acquisitions are usually completed by mature companies. 

If your organization can manage the expenses, though, they’re a great business growth strategy. Acquisitions reduce competition, give you access to proprietary technology, and expand your customer base.

5. Alternative Channels

One cost-effective business growth strategy is marketing on alternative channels. 

This strategy allows you to potentially reach new markets without creating any product changes. Exploring alternative channels is a very popular business growth strategy for small businesses who are just getting off the ground.

Consider the following alternative channels as you grow your business: 

  • Website presence
  • Yelp business page
  • New platforms for sales, like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy
  • Paid search ads
  • Wholesalers
  • Email marketing
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram)
  • Business blog 

Omnichannel marketing is growing in popularity and is a very effective way to meet sales goals in the 21st century.

6. Strategic Partnerships

In a strategic partnership, two companies join forces for mutual benefit, while each still maintaining their own brand identity and operations. 

Partnerships allow each company to access the other’s customer base. It also allows for the shared use of critical resources like manpower, equipment, and technology. 

Because there’s less at stake, partnerships are more common than mergers or acquisitions.

7. Market Segmentation

With a market segmentation growth strategy, sales and marketing teams work to carefully segment their markets based on factors such as geography, demographics, or buying preferences. 

This highly-targeted segmentation allows sales teams to focus on and specialize in segments that are less explored than others already served by the competition. 

business growth strategies: personalization is key to winning business

8. Organic Growth

The most ideal business growth strategy is known as organic growth. 

Organic growth requires little to no advertising, mergers, or acquisitions, and instead represents an optimized set of conditions that allow your marketing campaigns and products to reach many parts of your target audience without much effort on your part. 

business growth strategies: customer acquisition cost

9. Diversification

This type of business growth strategy can be risky, but also has a high return when executed correctly. 

Diversification means that sales teams sell either new products, or sell to new markets — or, in some cases, both. 

  • Horizontal diversification: sales reps sell a new product to the current market.
  • Vertical diversification: a business starts competing with its suppliers or customers. 
  • Concentric diversification: a company creates a new product that’s similar to an existing product.
  • Conglomerate diversification:  sales reps sell new products to new audiences.

Diversification requires a lot of capital and has the highest risk of failure out of all of the business growth strategies outlined in this article.

10. Cost Reduction

A cost reduction business growth strategy relies on organizations to reduce their operating costs. This frees up cash for reinvestment into growth opportunities and improves your overall bottom line.

Here are some strategies for implementing a cost reduction strategy: 

  • Use accounting software to reduce or eliminate errors
  • Go paperless
  • Consider automation and/or outsourcing where possible
  • Reduce traditional advertising methods and go digital instead

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to business growth strategies. You may find that several could fit the needs of your team, or that your needs change over time. It’s perfectly okay to use a variety of strategies over time — or even simultaneously.

Every brand with even an inkling of name recognition has successfully used a business growth strategy. Here’s a look at how some of the world’s most well-known companies have used popular business growth strategies to succeed.

Market Penetration: Facebook

business growth strategies: Facebook market penetration

When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, he shared the platform with only his fellow Harvard students. He later opened it up to Stanford, Yale, and Columbia. Later, again, he went on to share it among all the Ivy League schools, and some select Boston ones as well.

This is a perfect example of market penetration. Zuckerberg took his existing product and maximized the number of customers he “sold” it to within his market.

Strategic Partnership: Lyft & Taco Bell

business growth strategies: Lyft and Taco Bell strategic partnership

Lyft & Taco Bell joined forces for one of the most memorable (and delicious) strategic partnerships in pop culture history. 

During the partnership, Lyft offered riders free access to “Taco Mode,” during which passengers could make a pit stop at Taco Bell on the way to their destination. This drove sales up for Taco Bell, and drew hungry customers away from competitor Uber and into the backseat of a Lyft.

Diversification: Amazon

business growth strategies: Amazon diversification

It’s a well-known fact that the online retailer Amazon started as a books-only e-commerce platform. 

Over time, the company expanded to sell toys, DVDs, music, furniture, and — eventually — just about anything you could ever want. 

This is a textbook example of a diversification business growth strategy.

Here are some of our best tips for business growth in 2023. 

Carefully Consider and Combine Strategies

There are many more than the ten business growth strategies outlined here in this article, and each one has advantages and drawbacks. 

Take time — and even trial and error — discover which meets the needs of your specific business goals at any given time. 

In many cases, it’s also appropriate to use more than one business growth strategy at the same time. 

Understand Your Brand Identity 

In order for your business to grow, you need to have a very nuanced and thorough understanding of your brand, its identity, and its position in the market. 

Your business’s strengths, differentiating factors, unique selling points (USPs) , and core competencies will all help your business grow in a sustainable way.

Be Ready to Pivot

Successful and scalable business growth requires flexibility. 

Business growth strategies are great because they help sales and marketing teams stick to a plan, but they also allow teams to monitor progress and adapt strategies as needed. 

The most successful businesses are the ones that keep a careful pulse on their business progress and are ready to make changes as needed. 

Automate Everything 

Truly scalable growth requires capable systems running behind the scenes. 

Sales reps can’t afford to waste time entering data, manually setting appointments, and collating buyer insights into something actionable. 

Sales software like Yesware can help reps save time by automating administrative tasks, so they can focus on revenue-generating sales activities. 

What business growth strategies have been successful for your business?

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Table of Contents

How to make a good business plan: step-by-step guide.

A business plan is a strategic roadmap used to navigate the challenging journey of entrepreneurship. It's the foundation upon which you build a successful business.

A well-crafted business plan can help you define your vision, clarify your goals, and identify potential problems before they arise.

But where do you start? How do you create a business plan that sets you up for success?

This article will explore the step-by-step process of creating a comprehensive business plan.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a formal document that outlines a business's objectives, strategies, and operational procedures. It typically includes the following information about a company:

Products or services

Target market

Competitors

Marketing and sales strategies

Financial plan

Management team

A business plan serves as a roadmap for a company's success and provides a blueprint for its growth and development. It helps entrepreneurs and business owners organize their ideas, evaluate the feasibility, and identify potential challenges and opportunities.

As well as serving as a guide for business owners, a business plan can attract investors and secure funding. It demonstrates the company's understanding of the market, its ability to generate revenue and profits, and its strategy for managing risks and achieving success.

Business plan vs. business model canvas

A business plan may seem similar to a business model canvas, but each document serves a different purpose.

A business model canvas is a high-level overview that helps entrepreneurs and business owners quickly test and iterate their ideas. It is often a one-page document that briefly outlines the following:

Key partnerships

Key activities

Key propositions

Customer relationships

Customer segments

Key resources

Cost structure

Revenue streams

On the other hand, a Business Plan Template provides a more in-depth analysis of a company's strategy and operations. It is typically a lengthy document and requires significant time and effort to develop.

A business model shouldn’t replace a business plan, and vice versa. Business owners should lay the foundations and visually capture the most important information with a Business Model Canvas Template . Because this is a fast and efficient way to communicate a business idea, a business model canvas is a good starting point before developing a more comprehensive business plan.

A business plan can aim to secure funding from investors or lenders, while a business model canvas communicates a business idea to potential customers or partners.

Why is a business plan important?

A business plan is crucial for any entrepreneur or business owner wanting to increase their chances of success.

Here are some of the many benefits of having a thorough business plan.

Helps to define the business goals and objectives

A business plan encourages you to think critically about your goals and objectives. Doing so lets you clearly understand what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.

A well-defined set of goals, objectives, and key results also provides a sense of direction and purpose, which helps keep business owners focused and motivated.

Guides decision-making

A business plan requires you to consider different scenarios and potential problems that may arise in your business. This awareness allows you to devise strategies to deal with these issues and avoid pitfalls.

With a clear plan, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions aligning with their overall business goals and objectives. This helps reduce the risk of making costly mistakes and ensures they make decisions with long-term success in mind.

Attracts investors and secures funding

Investors and lenders often require a business plan before considering investing in your business. A document that outlines the company's goals, objectives, and financial forecasts can help instill confidence in potential investors and lenders.

A well-written business plan demonstrates that you have thoroughly thought through your business idea and have a solid plan for success.

Identifies potential challenges and risks

A business plan requires entrepreneurs to consider potential challenges and risks that could impact their business. For example:

Is there enough demand for my product or service?

Will I have enough capital to start my business?

Is the market oversaturated with too many competitors?

What will happen if my marketing strategy is ineffective?

By identifying these potential challenges, entrepreneurs can develop strategies to mitigate risks and overcome challenges. This can reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes and ensure the business is well-positioned to take on any challenges.

Provides a basis for measuring success

A business plan serves as a framework for measuring success by providing clear goals and financial projections . Entrepreneurs can regularly refer to the original business plan as a benchmark to measure progress. By comparing the current business position to initial forecasts, business owners can answer questions such as:

Are we where we want to be at this point?

Did we achieve our goals?

If not, why not, and what do we need to do?

After assessing whether the business is meeting its objectives or falling short, business owners can adjust their strategies as needed.

How to make a business plan step by step

The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include.

1. Create an executive summary

Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

Keep your executive summary concise and clear with the Executive Summary Template . The simple design helps readers understand the crux of your business plan without reading the entire document.

2. Write your company description

Provide a detailed explanation of your company. Include information on what your company does, the mission statement, and your vision for the future.

Provide additional background information on the history of your company, the founders, and any notable achievements or milestones.

3. Conduct a market analysis

Conduct an in-depth analysis of your industry, competitors, and target market. This is best done with a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Next, identify your target market's needs, demographics, and behaviors.

Use the Competitive Analysis Template to brainstorm answers to simple questions like:

What does the current market look like?

Who are your competitors?

What are they offering?

What will give you a competitive advantage?

Who is your target market?

What are they looking for and why?

How will your product or service satisfy a need?

These questions should give you valuable insights into the current market and where your business stands.

4. Describe your products and services

Provide detailed information about your products and services. This includes pricing information, product features, and any unique selling points.

Use the Product/Market Fit Template to explain how your products meet the needs of your target market. Describe what sets them apart from the competition.

5. Design a marketing and sales strategy

Outline how you plan to promote and sell your products. Your marketing strategy and sales strategy should include information about your:

Pricing strategy

Advertising and promotional tactics

Sales channels

The Go to Market Strategy Template is a great way to visually map how you plan to launch your product or service in a new or existing market.

6. Determine budget and financial projections

Document detailed information on your business’ finances. Describe the current financial position of the company and how you expect the finances to play out.

Some details to include in this section are:

Startup costs

Revenue projections

Profit and loss statement

Funding you have received or plan to receive

Strategy for raising funds

7. Set the organization and management structure

Define how your company is structured and who will be responsible for each aspect of the business. Use the Business Organizational Chart Template to visually map the company’s teams, roles, and hierarchy.

As well as the organization and management structure, discuss the legal structure of your business. Clarify whether your business is a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or LLC.

8. Make an action plan

At this point in your business plan, you’ve described what you’re aiming for. But how are you going to get there? The Action Plan Template describes the following steps to move your business plan forward. Outline the next steps you plan to take to bring your business plan to fruition.

Types of business plans

Several types of business plans cater to different purposes and stages of a company's lifecycle. Here are some of the most common types of business plans.

Startup business plan

A startup business plan is typically an entrepreneur's first business plan. This document helps entrepreneurs articulate their business idea when starting a new business.

Not sure how to make a business plan for a startup? It’s pretty similar to a regular business plan, except the primary purpose of a startup business plan is to convince investors to provide funding for the business. A startup business plan also outlines the potential target market, product/service offering, marketing plan, and financial projections.

Strategic business plan

A strategic business plan is a long-term plan that outlines a company's overall strategy, objectives, and tactics. This type of strategic plan focuses on the big picture and helps business owners set goals and priorities and measure progress.

The primary purpose of a strategic business plan is to provide direction and guidance to the company's management team and stakeholders. The plan typically covers a period of three to five years.

Operational business plan

An operational business plan is a detailed document that outlines the day-to-day operations of a business. It focuses on the specific activities and processes required to run the business, such as:

Organizational structure

Staffing plan

Production plan

Quality control

Inventory management

Supply chain

The primary purpose of an operational business plan is to ensure that the business runs efficiently and effectively. It helps business owners manage their resources, track their performance, and identify areas for improvement.

Growth-business plan

A growth-business plan is a strategic plan that outlines how a company plans to expand its business. It helps business owners identify new market opportunities and increase revenue and profitability. The primary purpose of a growth-business plan is to provide a roadmap for the company's expansion and growth.

The 3 Horizons of Growth Template is a great tool to identify new areas of growth. This framework categorizes growth opportunities into three categories: Horizon 1 (core business), Horizon 2 (emerging business), and Horizon 3 (potential business).

One-page business plan

A one-page business plan is a condensed version of a full business plan that focuses on the most critical aspects of a business. It’s a great tool for entrepreneurs who want to quickly communicate their business idea to potential investors, partners, or employees.

A one-page business plan typically includes sections such as business concept, value proposition, revenue streams, and cost structure.

Best practices for how to make a good business plan

Here are some additional tips for creating a business plan:

Use a template

A template can help you organize your thoughts and effectively communicate your business ideas and strategies. Starting with a template can also save you time and effort when formatting your plan.

Miro’s extensive library of customizable templates includes all the necessary sections for a comprehensive business plan. With our templates, you can confidently present your business plans to stakeholders and investors.

Be practical

Avoid overestimating revenue projections or underestimating expenses. Your business plan should be grounded in practical realities like your budget, resources, and capabilities.

Be specific

Provide as much detail as possible in your business plan. A specific plan is easier to execute because it provides clear guidance on what needs to be done and how. Without specific details, your plan may be too broad or vague, making it difficult to know where to start or how to measure success.

Be thorough with your research

Conduct thorough research to fully understand the market, your competitors, and your target audience . By conducting thorough research, you can identify potential risks and challenges your business may face and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Get input from others

It can be easy to become overly focused on your vision and ideas, leading to tunnel vision and a lack of objectivity. By seeking input from others, you can identify potential opportunities you may have overlooked.

Review and revise regularly

A business plan is a living document. You should update it regularly to reflect market, industry, and business changes. Set aside time for regular reviews and revisions to ensure your plan remains relevant and effective.

Create a winning business plan to chart your path to success

Starting or growing a business can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, a well-written business plan can make or break your business’ success.

The purpose of a business plan is more than just to secure funding and attract investors. It also serves as a roadmap for achieving your business goals and realizing your vision. With the right mindset, tools, and strategies, you can develop a visually appealing, persuasive business plan.

Ready to make an effective business plan that works for you? Check out our library of ready-made strategy and planning templates and chart your path to success.

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How to Create a Growth Plan for Your Business in 6 Simple Steps The new book, "Grow Your Business," offers an easy-to-follow guide to expanding your business and making more money this year.

By Entrepreneur Staff Aug 8, 2023

The following is an excerpt from Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success by the staff of Entrepreneur Media and Eric Butow, on sale now.

To grow your company, you need a plan that establishes how you will grow and why your ideal customers should buy from you. Then you need to invest in the people and tools that can turn your plans into reality. If possible, distill your growth plan into a one-page document that will help you focus on the essentials and be easy for your team to digest. Growth plans are different for each business, and you can implement different strategies depending on what type of business you have. But regardless, you need to keep your team thinking in terms of growth. Once you establish a growth mindset in your employees, you and your team can continuously look for new opportunities for growth.

What a Growth Plan Is . . . and Isn't

A growth plan may be hard to wrap your head around when you're getting started in your business. Before you offer your product and/or service to the world, you need to focus on establishing a value proposition for potential customers and find out where your ideal customers are. Once you do, you can measure your progress as you sell your product and/or service. Those measurements will help you identify new revenue streams and let you compare yourself to the competition. That comparison will tell where your strengths are so you can focus on them. And when you have a clear idea of what you do and who your customers are, you can use that information to attract talented employees. Establish a Value Proposition Before you can grow, you need to think about what sets you apart from the competition. For example, some companies compete on authority. Whole Foods Market touts itself as the place to buy healthy and organic foods. Walmart asserts that it's the low-price leader and no one can beat its prices. Whatever competitive advantage you find, stick with it. If you don't, you run the risk of devaluing your business because customers won't know what you stand for.

Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success is available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

1. Pinpoint Your Ideal Customer

You started a business so you could solve a problem for a specific audience. During the startup stage, you may have identified numerous markets you thought you might be able to serve before narrowing it down to your specific niche market. Now you need to hone your target market even further until you've winnowed it down to your ideal customer. Once you know who they are, you can address them consistently in your market or submarket as you grow.

Related: How to Leverage Virtual Sales Events to Grow Your Business

2. Define Key Indicators

You won't be able to measure growth if you can't measure change. Start by identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), which are quantifiable measurements of a company's performance in specific areas over time. (Examples of commonly tracked KPIs include net profit, liquidity ratio, customer satisfaction, and customer retention.) Then dedicate time and money to improving those indicators.

growth potential in business plan

3. Verify Your Revenue Streams

Don't just think about your current revenue streams—think about new revenue streams that could make your business more profitable. Once you've started identifying possible new revenue streams, get in the habit of asking yourself (and your team) if every cool new idea you and they come up with has a revenue stream attached. If it does, ask if that stream is sustainable over the long run.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs a Chief Growth Officer

4. Research Your Competition

If your company is struggling with something, you likely have a competitor that excels at it. Don't just put your head down and try to surmount a challenge yourself. Look at similar growth businesses to inform your strategies and solutions. If you belong to an industry trade group or a networking organization (and you should), don't be afraid to ask for advice. Why have similar businesses made different choices? Do your competitors' growth choices mean that their businesses are positioned differently?

5. Focus on Your Strengths

Tailoring your growth plan to focus on and maximize your strengths can help you identify strategies for success. That doesn't mean you should ignore your weaknesses, but starting from a position of strength will give your company the fuel it needs to grow.

6. Invest in Talent

Your employees have direct or indirect contact with your customers, so you should hire people who are motivated by your company's value proposition and your plans for growth. Pay and treat your employees well because their positive energy will inspire your customers. Your employees will also listen to your customers and bring back ideas from them that will help you grow your business.

For more growth strategies, pickup Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Entrepreneur Staff

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How To Create A Business Growth Plan

growth potential in business plan

What Is A Business Growth Plan?

Why should you have a business growth plan, what things can influence business growth, what are the key components of a business growth plan, the four key growth strategies explained, what to write in your growth plan, top tips for implementing your plan.

Let’s start with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’

This is why a business growth plan is so essential. By identifying your business growth strategies, you are not only providing a clear assessment of your small business but implementing ways to achieve your growth goals.

A small business growth plan takes into consideration the various tools that can support your goals and targets, helping you stay on track and monitor progress.

Want to know how to write a business growth plan that will help your company succeed? This guide will provide everything you need to get started.

Your small business growth plan is a projection of where you see your business in the next one to two years. A business growth plan is a systematic framework of business growth that outlines your objectives, goals, targets, and clear strategies to grow and succeed.

Essentially, a business growth plan acts as your roadmap to reaching your growth targets.

Why are business growth plans important? Creating a business growth plan not only identifies the current state of your business but the steps and activities that are needed to achieve your objectives.

Without a business growth plan, your business direction and success can be blurred or stop aligning with your overall vision and goals. Constructing a clear plan that is tailored to your business is vital for longevity and success. Navigating growth during the business growth stage of your life cycle is based on continuously boosting brand awareness and your consumer base.

At this stage in your business journey, it’s important to consider implementing your business growth plan to retain customer engagement and attract new prospects.

Thinking of creating a business growth plan? Here are the benefits:

Prioritise key areas of growth and expansion

Improved clarity helping to identify where to focus your efforts in the future, set clear goals for growth targets, improve internal accountability and evaluate your team, manage cash flow, identify financial projections, plan for success and support funding.

Business growth can be influenced by various factors and variables. Whether it’s variation in finances, demand, or audience, many factors are likely to affect growth opportunities.

That’s why it’s important to identify and recognise the factors that can influence the expansion of your small business.

Key factors that can influence business growth:

Customer loyalty

Operational skills, technological advancements, poor online presence, social responsibility, innovation and openness to new ideas, budgeting and finances.

Inception, growth, and success depend on the effectiveness of your business growth plan. Creating a business plan to highlight clear strategies to expand and what the future looks like for your business, is vital for monitoring your business performance.

It’s vital to establish growth milestones and goals.

Using SMART goals can help define the parameters you need to set attainable objectives in a realistic time frame. Using SMART goals as a tool and starting point for your business goals is a great way to strategically plan and achieve goals without the need for overcomplication.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

growth potential in business plan

Identifying key metrics for success is also vital when monitoring your business growth. It’s important to remember that establishing how you measure success depends on your specific business growth plan, as a marketing strategy and product strategy will have different metrics.

Here are the most common metrics to understand whether your business is succeeding:

Net income ratio

Break-even point, monthly recurring revenue, leads, conversion, and bounce rate, customer satisfaction.

The five stages of the business growth life cycle help to determine a timeline for your business plan. Whether you’re trying to get your business off the ground or aiming to retain customers, understanding which stages your business is currently in can help maintain momentum and morale.

Stage 1: Existence

Stage 2: survival, stage 3: success, stage 4: take-off, stage 5: resource maturity.

growth potential in business plan

Stage 1 - Existence identifies your small business among customers in your desired market.

Transitioning into stage 2 - the need to survive, cover costs, and break-even., stage 3 - a pivotal stage for financial health., which leads on to stage 4 - take-off encapsulates your growth plans and goals., finally, stage 5 - resource maturity is your wealth of financial resources to engage in detailed operational and strategic planning for continued growth and success..

The business growth life cycle illuminates the progression of your business in phases to illuminate early losses, minimise future risks and fuel market share and penetration.

Setting a timeline for your growth improves accountability and encourages your team to work towards a set deadline. Short-term timelines not only help you monitor success but stay on track towards your goals.

Employing growth strategies in your small business works to strategically increase demand and remove unprofitable outputs from your operations. Consolidating and managing financial gains is crucial for rapid growth and expansion, a goal that growth strategies clearly outline.

Consider these key growth strategies when creating your growth plan:

Market Strategy: Fuelling awareness for your product or service is a direct result of your market strategy. Generating and converting leads into paying consumers is vital for growth, increasing your market share and maintaining customer engagement. This growth strategy is vital to outperform competitors.

Market development: have you introduced your product or service to new markets without a clear plan on how to successfully capitalise on diversifying your market share, you may limit your expected growth. recognising and enhancing sales opportunities for your existing products is key to continued growth., product strategy: concisely defining what exactly your product or service’s main goals are and how you plan to achieve them is key to your small business growth. whether it’s improving customer satisfaction or sustaining product features, understanding what you want to accomplish with your product will help you effectively communicate both internally and externally., diversification: the best way to increase exposure and reduce volatility is by diversifying your supply chain. introducing a new product or service or entering new markets expands your market share, increasing profits and growing your business..

Unsure where to start with creating your business plan?

Here are our essential components to include to ensure your plan is effective and worthwhile:

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Market analysis
  • An overview of the business marketing strategy
  • Competitive analysis
  • Management and ownership details
  • Product and services description
  • Operating plan
  • Financial details, forecasts, and projections
  • Staffing and recruitment needs

Using this as a checklist will make the process less complex, breaking down each stage and building your credibility.

It’s important to remember that business growth plans are not only used by employees and leadership but also by potential investors. Accurately presenting how you plan to use capital and fuel growth in your plan is key to securing future success.

Creating a plan that is actionable and effective for your business growth goals is half of the battle. Implementation is key to reaping the benefits of your plan and delivering results, as a successful business plan incorporates all elements of your small business.

Here’s how you can implement your business growth plan:

Start by introducing your internal team to the SMART growth goals

Consider the tools and resources on offer to support your goals and strategies, analyse your results, making adaptations and improvements, continuously optimise your growth strategies, making new growth plans, consider and review competitors’ growth plans, encourage employee input by ensuring your team is effectively using their skills and expertise, don’t forget about marketing - involve marketers in your growth planning, my new venture is here to guide you on your business goals and objectives to help you grow and expand., related guides.

growth potential in business plan

Are you thinking of entering a new market or growing your current business? If the answer is yes, keep reading.

growth potential in business plan

Unsure how to keep your business objectives at the forefront of your decision-making? It’s time to create a set of KPIs that will help you to not only grow your small business, but illuminate the progress needed to achieve your goals.

growth potential in business plan

Have you made a business plan yet? If the answer is no, keep reading.

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The Ultimate Guide to Your Business Growth Plan

growth potential in business plan

Starting and growing a successful business requires careful planning and implementation of strategies. One crucial aspect of this planning is creating a business growth plan . Read on to explore the importance of a business growth plan, the key elements it should include, how to develop effective growth strategies , and the steps to successfully implement your plan. We will also address common challenges that businesses face during the growth planning process and provide solutions to overcome them. So let’s dive in and discover how you can formulate a well-crafted business growth plan to take your venture to new heights!

The Importance of a Business Growth Plan

A business growth plan is a roadmap that outlines the steps to be taken to expand and develop your business. It serves as a blueprint for achieving your goals and provides direction to your team. By having a growth plan in place, you can maintain focus, make informed decisions, and effectively allocate resources.

Expanding on the concept of a business growth plan, it’s crucial to understand that such a plan is not just a mere document but a strategic tool that can propel your business towards success. It encapsulates your vision for the future, detailing how you intend to navigate the ever-evolving market landscape and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Defining a Business Growth Plan

A business growth plan is a comprehensive document that outlines your business objectives, strategies, and action plans for achieving sustainable growth. It includes an analysis of your current position, target market, competition, and sets SMART ( specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound ) goals.

Moreover, a well-crafted growth plan delves into the intricacies of your business operations, financial projections, marketing strategies, and potential expansion avenues. It acts as a dynamic tool that can be adjusted and refined in response to market dynamics and internal capabilities, ensuring adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges.

Why Every Business Needs a Growth Plan

A business growth plan is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it provides clarity and direction to your team, ensuring everyone is working towards a common goal. Secondly, it helps identify potential risks and challenges and enables you to proactively address them. Additionally, a growth plan enhances your decision-making process by providing a framework for prioritising initiatives and allocating resources effectively.

Furthermore, a robust growth plan instils confidence in stakeholders, be it investors, partners, or employees, showcasing your strategic acumen and commitment to sustainable growth. It serves as a testament to your business acumen and foresight, setting you apart in a competitive market landscape where foresight and strategic planning are paramount.

Key Elements of a Successful Business Growth Plan

A well-crafted business growth plan consists of several key elements. Let’s explore them in detail:

Embarking on a journey towards business growth requires meticulous planning and strategic thinking. One of the fundamental pillars of a successful growth plan is setting clear and measurable goals. These goals serve as guiding lights, steering the business towards success. By defining specific targets within a specified timeframe, businesses can track their progress and make necessary adjustments to stay on course.

Setting Clear and Measurable Goals

One of the most important aspects of a growth plan is setting clear and measurable goals. This involves defining specific targets that you want to achieve within a specified timeframe. These goals should be realistic, yet ambitious, and should align with your overall business objectives.

Moreover, a comprehensive growth plan delves into the intricacies of goal-setting, ensuring that each objective is not only achievable but also contributes to the overarching vision of the company. By breaking down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, businesses can create a roadmap that leads them towards sustainable growth and long-term success.

Identifying Your Target Market

Understanding your target market is crucial for devising effective growth strategies. Identify your ideal customers, their demographics, needs, and preferences. Conduct market research to gain insights into their buying behaviour, preferences, and pain points. This information will help you tailor your offerings and marketing messages to attract and retain customers.

Analysing Your Competition

Competitive analysis is a vital component of a growth plan. Evaluate your competitors’ products, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer base. Identify their strengths and weaknesses to determine how you can differentiate your business and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Furthermore, a thorough examination of the competitive landscape allows businesses to identify gaps in the market and innovate their products or services to meet unfulfilled customer needs. By staying abreast of industry trends and constantly monitoring competitor activities, businesses can position themselves as industry leaders and stay ahead of the curve.

Developing Your Business Growth Strategies

Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, target market, and competition, it’s time to develop effective growth strategies. Let’s explore a few key strategies:

Marketing Strategies for Business Growth

Effective marketing is integral to achieving business growth. Identify the most suitable marketing channels to reach your target market. Develop a compelling brand message, create engaging content, and leverage digital marketing techniques such as SEO, social media, and email marketing to attract and retain customers.

Sales Strategies to Boost Growth

An effective sales strategy plays a crucial role in driving business growth. Train your sales team to understand customer needs, overcome objections, and close deals. Implement a customer relationship management system to track leads and manage customer interactions efficiently. Focus on customer satisfaction to encourage repeat business and referrals.

Operational Strategies for Sustainable Growth

To ensure sustainable growth, optimise your business operations. Streamline processes, invest in technology, and automate repetitive tasks where possible. Enhance your supply chain management to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Regularly review and improve your operational procedures to maximise productivity and customer satisfaction.

Implementing Your Business Growth Plan

Implementing your growth plan requires effective leadership and continuous monitoring. Here are the key steps:

Role of Leadership in Implementation

Effective leadership is crucial for the successful implementation of your growth plan. Clearly communicate the plan to your team, provide the necessary resources and support, and empower them to execute their assigned tasks. Regularly review progress, provide feedback, and make necessary adjustments to stay on track.

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Plan

Regularly monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress towards your goals. Analyse the data and identify areas for improvement. Adjust your strategies and tactics if needed, based on the insights gained from monitoring. Stay flexible and adapt to changing market dynamics to maximise your chances of success.

Overcoming Common Challenges in Business Growth Planning

While creating and implementing a growth plan, you may encounter various challenges. Let’s explore a couple of common challenges and their potential solutions:

Dealing with Financial Constraints

Lack of financial resources is a common challenge for business growth. Explore financing options such as loans, crowdfunding, or attracting investors. Focus on improving cash flow management and reducing costs. Consider partnerships or collaborations to access additional resources and expertise.

Managing Growth-Related Risks

Growing your business comes with inherent risks. Identify potential risks and develop contingency plans to mitigate them. Invest in insurance coverage to protect your business against unforeseen events. Regularly monitor market trends and consumer preferences to stay ahead of the competition and minimise risks associated with changing market dynamics.

A well-crafted business growth plan is essential for achieving sustainable growth and staying competitive in today’s dynamic business environment. By understanding the importance of a growth plan , focusing on key elements, developing effective strategies, implementing the plan with strong leadership, and overcoming challenges , you can pave the way for your business’s success. Remember, a growth plan is not a one-time effort, but rather an ongoing process that requires continuous review, adaptation, and innovation. So, start creating your business growth plan today and set your business on the path to prosperity!

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growth potential in business plan

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

growth potential in business plan

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A business plan is a document that outlines a company's goals and the strategies to achieve them. It's valuable for both startups and established companies. For startups, a well-crafted business plan is crucial for attracting potential lenders and investors. Established businesses use business plans to stay on track and aligned with their growth objectives. This article will explain the key components of an effective business plan and guidance on how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document detailing a company's business activities and strategies for achieving its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to launch their venture and to attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan helps keep the executive team focused on short- and long-term objectives.
  • There's no single required format for a business plan, but certain key elements are essential for most companies.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place before beginning operations. Banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before considering making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a company doesn't need additional funding, having a business plan helps it stay focused on its goals. Research from the University of Oregon shows that businesses with a plan are significantly more likely to secure funding than those without one. Moreover, companies with a business plan grow 30% faster than those that don't plan. According to a Harvard Business Review article, entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than those who don't.

A business plan should ideally be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect achieved goals or changes in direction. An established business moving in a new direction might even create an entirely new plan.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. It allows for careful consideration of ideas before significant investment, highlights potential obstacles to success, and provides a tool for seeking objective feedback from trusted outsiders. A business plan may also help ensure that a company’s executive team remains aligned on strategic action items and priorities.

While business plans vary widely, even among competitors in the same industry, they often share basic elements detailed below.

A well-crafted business plan is essential for attracting investors and guiding a company's strategic growth. It should address market needs and investor requirements and provide clear financial projections.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, gathering the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document is best. Any additional crucial elements, such as patent applications, can be referenced in the main document and included as appendices.

Common elements in many business plans include:

  • Executive summary : This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services : Describe the products and services the company offers or plans to introduce. Include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique consumer benefits. Mention production and manufacturing processes, relevant patents , proprietary technology , and research and development (R&D) information.
  • Market analysis : Explain the current state of the industry and the competition. Detail where the company fits in, the types of customers it plans to target, and how it plans to capture market share from competitors.
  • Marketing strategy : Outline the company's plans to attract and retain customers, including anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. Describe the distribution channels that will be used to deliver products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections : Established businesses should include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses should provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. This section may also include any funding requests.

Investors want to see a clear exit strategy, expected returns, and a timeline for cashing out. It's likely a good idea to provide five-year profitability forecasts and realistic financial estimates.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can vary in format, often categorized into traditional and lean startup plans. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These are detailed and lengthy, requiring more effort to create but offering comprehensive information that can be persuasive to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These are concise, sometimes just one page, and focus on key elements. While they save time, companies should be ready to provide additional details if requested by investors or lenders.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan isn't a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections. Markets and the economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All this calls for building flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How Often Should a Business Plan Be Updated?

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on its nature. Updating your business plan is crucial due to changes in external factors (market trends, competition, and regulations) and internal developments (like employee growth and new products). While a well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary, a new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is ideal for quickly explaining a business, especially for new companies that don't have much information yet. Key sections may include a value proposition , major activities and advantages, resources (staff, intellectual property, and capital), partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

A well-crafted business plan is crucial for any company, whether it's a startup looking for investment or an established business wanting to stay on course. It outlines goals and strategies, boosting a company's chances of securing funding and achieving growth.

As your business and the market change, update your business plan regularly. This keeps it relevant and aligned with your current goals and conditions. Think of your business plan as a living document that evolves with your company, not something carved in stone.

University of Oregon Department of Economics. " Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Business Planning Using Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro ." Eason Ding & Tim Hursey.

Bplans. " Do You Need a Business Plan? Scientific Research Says Yes ."

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

Harvard Business Review. " How to Write a Winning Business Plan ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

SCORE. " When and Why Should You Review Your Business Plan? "

growth potential in business plan

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How to Unlock Your Business's Growth Potential

Ten sources for continuous business growth..

How to Unlock Your Business's Growth Potential

The pursuit of business growth is a fundamental goal for every business. However, for investor-backed companies, particularly those supported by venture capital (VC) or private equity (PE) investors, this pursuit becomes even more critical . With investors seeking substantial returns on their investments, the pressure to fuel continuous growth becomes paramount for the companies they support. Amidst this quest for growth, businesses often encounter a common challenge known as the S-Curve phenomenon.

The S-Curve phenomenon is a distinctive revenue growth pattern observed in businesses over time. Initially, when a company introduces a new product or service, revenue growth is slow as it seeks to achieve product/market fit . After finding product/market fit, a rapid surge in revenue growth occurs. However, as the offering reaches market saturation, customer preferences change, or competition intensifies, revenue growth eventually plateaus. This revenue growth development pattern forms the characteristic S-shaped curve. To avoid that revenue growth plateaus, companies must consistently explore new sources for revenue growth.

Here are ten potential sources for continuous revenue growth that can help you confront the S-Curve head-on.

1. Improving Customer Retention and Repurchase Rate:

In the pursuit of revenue growth, many business leaders often focus on acquiring new customers, dedicating substantial resources to marketing and sales. However, it is crucial not to overlook a powerful source of growth that lies within - improving customer retention and repurchase rate. Improving the rate at which customers come back and buy as well as the customer retention rate in recurring revenue business models leads to more revenue from customers already acquired and a correspondingly higher customer lifetime value . Only a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95 percent .

To increase retention and repurchase rate, you must make customer success a key priority. Delivering exceptional customer experience along the complete customer journey and impressive value for money is the foundation for sustained growth stemming from your existing customer base.

2. Up- and Cross-selling to Existing Customers:

In connection with focusing on customer success, implementing effective up- and cross-selling strategies can significantly contribute to revenue growth. Up-selling involves encouraging customers to upgrade to a higher-priced product or service, while cross-selling suggests complementary offerings to enhance the customer's overall experience and success. In fact, according to a 2022 HubSpot blog survey of more than 500 sales professionals, 72 percent of salespeople who upsell and 74 percent who cross-sell say that it significantly drives up revenue.

3. Price Increases and Change of Pricing Strategy:

Implementing strategic price increases and changing the pricing strategy can be a potent driver of revenue growth. For instance, moving away from traditional pricing models to value-based pricing , where prices align with the perceived value delivered to customers, can yield substantial benefits. By emphasizing the unique value proposition and benefits of your products or services, you can justify higher price points, leading to increased revenue per customer.

However, considerations such as competitive analysis, customer sensitivity to price changes, the potential impact on customer retention, and the right implementation and communication strategy must be carefully evaluated. Implementing price increases incrementally and communicating the enhanced value to customers can mitigate potential risks while optimizing revenue growth.

4. Product Innovation:

Product innovation and continuously offering new products or services are crucial for sustaining revenue growth. By staying attuned to evolving customer needs and market trends, you can develop innovative solutions that cater to emerging customer demands. Launching new products not only strengthens the retention of existing customers but also entices new ones to buy, broadening the customer base.

5. Acquiring New Customers through New Acquisition Channels:

Acquiring new customers through new acquisition channels is a pivotal strategy for driving revenue growth and expanding market reach. By embracing a diverse distribution channel approach, you can extend your reach to a broader audience, uncovering untapped customer segments. Each channel offers distinct advantages, enabling companies to connect with potential customers at different stages of their buyer journey. This diversification allows businesses to maximize visibility, attract fresh leads, and cultivate a more extensive customer base.

To optimize resource allocation effectively in this regard, it is paramount you vigilantly monitor each channel's performance and return on investment. Some businesses I worked with have sold through various distribution channels, only to discover that certain channels performed poorly from an economic perspective (especially a poor ratio between customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value).

6. Targeting New Customer Segments within the Same Industry:

Targeting new customer segments within the same industry presents a strategic avenue for driving revenue growth. By tailoring offerings and marketing messages to address the unique needs of small, medium-sized, and large enterprise customers, you can expand your market share and capture previously untapped revenue potential. But keep in mind that a different customer segment usually does not only come with different needs and preferences but also with a diverging willingness to pay. To succeed, you will have to work on generating product/market fit in the specific segment and find a working go-to-market strategy for the respective customer segment.

7. Targeting Customers in New Industries:

Targeting customers in new industries unlocks a strategic pathway for diversifying revenue streams and tapping into untapped revenue potential. This expansion strategy allows you to reduce your reliance on a single industry and spread risk across various sectors.

To succeed, you must identify synergies between existing products or services and the needs of new industries. Thorough market and industry research, understanding industry-specific dynamics, and crafting tailored products and go-to-market strategies will be key.

8. Expanding into New Geographies:

Expanding into new geographies presents an opportunity for substantial revenue growth. By venturing into geographically diverse regions, you can access fresh pools of potential customers.

Success depends on solid market research, an understanding of local preferences and cultural nuances, and a well-calibrated go-to-market approach that takes all differences into account.

9. Monetization of Data:

Monetizing data represents an increasingly valuable revenue source for businesses in the digital age. With the advent of advanced analytics and data-driven insights, you can extract valuable information from your customer interactions, behaviors, and preferences. Based on such data, you can add new products and services to existing offerings, develop new business models, and even directly sell data-based products.

To succeed, you must hire great talent with the required skills and tools to properly collect, store, and analyze data. You must develop a business-led data monetization strategy that complies with data privacy regulations. And you must show real leadership commitment as regards the importance of your data monetization efforts and their potential revenue impact.

10. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and Partnerships

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) activities and partnerships offer compelling pathways for businesses seeking accelerated revenue growth and market expansion. For instance, by acquiring companies or entering into collaborations, you can access complementary offerings, facilitate entry into new markets and industries, and take out competitors. Success, however, hinges on careful analysis, planning, execution, communication, and (post-merger) integration efforts.

Effective leaders recognize that embracing a diverse range of growth sources systematically can lead to sustained growth and prevent the dreaded revenue S-Curve. By nurturing the revenue sources described above, they can chart a path to long-term prosperity in the ever-evolving digital business world.

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Writing a Business Plan: Choosing a Growth Strategy

After launch, what's going to be your growth strategy?

Potential investors who read your business plan will want to know about your growth strategy—how you plan to grow your business once it's launched and off the ground.

Your growth strategy entails more than just demonstrating how your revenue will grow. This section of your business plan is about proving to others that you have a plan for bringing your product to new customers and new markets, and perhaps even introducing new products.

The obvious objective in outlining your growth strategy is to show how these moves will increase sales. This can happen in a number of ways.

Multiple Locations

If your business requires a retail presence, outline where you might seek to open additional shops and what your geographic strategy will be. Don’t assume you can go national just because your product is regionally successful.

New Client Acquisition

Once you’ve reached your original core customers, who else might be interested in your products? If you’re a business-to-consumer company, think about offering business-to-business services, and vice-versa. Office supply stores, for example, have been very successful at catering to the needs of individuals as well as small-business owners.

New Products 

New products are an obvious way to grow sales, but their issuance often is poorly executed. Discuss your plan for introducing new products or services in the short, medium and long-term. These can be variations of your core product or completely new offerings that expand your overall base.

Franchising 

Restaurants often turn to franchising, and it is a feasible option for many other industries as well. Franchising works best when your product is consistent and customers have certain expectations about your brand.

Online Expansion

How will you use the internet to grow your sales? Will you sell your product on your own corporate website, partner with an existing internet retailer or maybe advertise online to build local brand awareness? Using the web is not mandatory for selling your product, but your growth strategy should include an online element.

Creative Marketing

Look back at the marketing section of your business plan. If you’ve already addressed facets of your business growth strategy in that section, you can use it to detail your expansion, and then refer to your marketing section as an implementation tool.

Decreasing Costs

Growth has bottom-line advantages, too. The more business you do, the more you can take advantage of learning curves and economies of scale. Learning curves allow you to become more efficient as you gain experience. Economies of scale refer to a reduction in average cost over time because of factors such as buying power and managerial specialization.

Acquisitions

A final option to address is growth through acquisition. This would come into play after your startup is more established and ready to expand into other markets. At this stage, you may want to address which companies, or types of companies, would make ideal acquisition targets. Look for companies that are a good fit for your product and distribution methods, but that also present new opportunities for growth. Any duplication from an acquisition should be balanced out with growth areas.

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Blog Business What is A Business Plan & How To Design It?

What is A Business Plan & How To Design It?

Written by: Midori Nediger Jul 11, 2023

Business Plan Blog Header

A business plan outlines the goals of your business and how it plans to achieve them.

Real important – because without it, it’s like running a business in the dark. It’s like a roadmap that guides your company’s direction and helps everyone stay on track.

Gone are the days when designing a business plan from scratch was a time-consuming and challenging task. Today, business plan templates offer a convenient solution by providing pre-designed layouts that simplify the process.

In this blog, I’m going to break it down for you. I’ll share the six things you need to know to put together a compelling, engaging business plan. Ready to get started now? Venngage’s online Business Plan Maker  lets anyone create a winning business plan quickly and easily.

Click to jump ahead:

  • How to format your business plan

Startup business plan templates

Simple business plan templates.

  • How to write your business plan
  • How to design an engaging executive summary
  • How to use charts and graphs to present data
  • How to communicate growth strategies in your business plan

How to present financial data in your business plan

How to format your business plan.

To format your business plan:

  • Start with a clear title page.
  • Include an executive summary.
  • Provide a company description.
  • Conduct a market analysis.
  • Describe your product or service offering.
  • Outline your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Include organizational or business structure and management information.

A typical business plan is an in-depth document and covers every facet of your business (present and future). Creating a traditional business plan makes sense when you have a clear growth plan for the next three to five years, are in need of major funding, or want to attract long-term partners.  

A professional business plan typically has the following sections: 

  • Table of Contents
  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Service or product line
  • Marketing and sales
  • Funding request
  • Financial projections
  • An appendix

A business plan can span a dozen or more pages because it presents the big picture, as complete as possible, to reassure others to invest in you. Investment can mean a few different things – usually financial, but also as partners or employees. 

The sections that can take a lot of research and add to the bulk of your business plan are your market analysis, marketing and sales plans, and financial projections. 

These are the sections that demonstrate your business acumen, your long-term vision, and your accountability. Whereas, sections like the executive summary are meant to grab attention, inspire and get people excited about your business. 

Start with a business plan template

To get started on your business plan, save yourself some time and use a template.

Most business plan templates will include things like a cover page, table of contents and the main sections you need. It will also have pre-formatted pages with placeholder text and charts that you can swap out. 

Green Simple Business Plan Template

It takes time to do market research, present growth plans, put together financial projections, analyze your customer base, create competitor breakdowns…the list goes on.

The last thing you want to do is spend precious time formatting the resulting document. 

Save time by building your business plan from an existing business plan template, and customize it with your own content.

With a clean, consistent structure and clear headings, this template is the perfect starting point:

business plan template

Then you’re free to customize the template with helpful visual elements like charts, tables, and diagrams, that will make your business pitch impossible to resist.

A Venngage business plan template is designed to help you communicate visually  and explain complex ideas easily. The right business plan template for you depends on the length and detail of your business plan, your brand and style, and the different sections you want to cover.

If your small business doesn’t have a dedicated design team, but you still need to learn how to write a business plan to present to investors–build off of a pre-designed business plan template:

Simple Business Plan TemplateSimple Business Plan Template

There are just a handful of our business plan templates that can be customized in the Venngage editor. Browse more business plan templates,  choose one that’s best for you and start editing right away.

Structuring your startup business plan involves organizing it into sections such as executive summary, company description, market analysis, product/service offering, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections, and operational plan.

Here are some business plan template examples:

startup business plan template

Short Business Plan Template

short business plan template

Number your pages and include a table of contents

A table of contents is crucial to help readers navigate your document and quickly find specific sections that are of interest to them.

It’s a good idea to include page numbers, main section headings, and section subheadings here for easy reference.

business plan template

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that your business plan design feels clean and professional and doesn’t distract from your content. You want your information, not your formatting, to be the focus!

How to write your business plan 

Here are three tips for writing your business plan to ensure it’s easy to read, appears professional and is memorable.

Use bulleted lists, bold text, and a clear type hierarchy for ‘skimmability’

Business plans need to be understandable at a glance to attract funding . Investors are looking for information that will help them understand your business quickly and without much effort.

Take a look at this snippet of the business plan template from above:

business plan

What stands out to you?

To me, the large green headers pop out first, making it easy to scan through the sections to find what I want to focus on.

This is because there’s a defined type hierarchy, giving more visual weight to the headers over the body text.

business plan

Next, the unique selling points of this business–superior quality products, unique glass carving and brass inlays, and excellent service–jump out. Because they’re presented in an indented list , they’re easier to see at a glance, which will likely make them more memorable.

Finally, I’m drawn to the bolded stats–“top 30% of the industry” and “4 out of 5 households spent money on renovation”.

Key statistics like these can go a long way towards convincing your investors that you’re worth their time and money. If you’re going to include them within larger paragraphs, make sure they stand out by increasing their font weight.

To sum up: make your report skimmable. Draw attention to important takeaways with indented lists, bolded text, and a clear type hierarchy.

Consider using a one-column or two-column grid

business plan

If your business plan contains only text, stick with a single-column layout that reinforces the linear flow of the document. If your business plan includes some supporting data in the form of charts and tables, use a two-column layout to juxtapose text with its corresponding data.

Maintain page margins that set text at a readable line length

When we read long passages of text, the ease at which we read depends on how the text flows on the page. Something called line length (the number of characters in a horizontal line of text) plays a huge role in readability, and is something you should consider when formatting your business plan.

To dictate line length, designers and typesetters play with the width of page margins (the edges of a document that don’t contain any text or images) with the aim of maximizing readability.

It’s generally accepted that the ideal line length sits somewhere between 40 and 90 characters per line. Any longer or shorter and you’ll find that something feels “off” about your document.

business plan

How do you achieve this in your business plan?

If you use a single-column layout, use nice wide margins (1 ½ to 2 inches) to limit your text to less than 90 characters per line.

business plan template

With a two-column layout, you might need to use narrower margins (possibly as little as ½ an inch on either side) to make sure there’s enough space for at least 40 characters per line of text.

business plan template

The last thing to remember about margins and line length–don’t play around with them from page to page. Use consistent margins across your whole document.

How to design an executive summary

An executive summary is a snapshot of your business plan. It should be concise and hook your readers. It should reassure stakeholders that your business plan will be a worthwhile read.

How you choose to structure your executive summary is key. You can deliver a lot of excellent information that simply gets lost in a sea of text and paragraphs. Even if someone reads through it entirely, they may have missed something.

To make key information stand out, use vibrant headings, incorporate visuals throughout, and break up the layout of your text.

Executive Summary Business Plan Template

Not every investor looks for the same thing. Some will care more about who you or your executive team are, while another is interested solely in the financials of the business. Identifying each section makes it easy for readers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

You can also list out the key takeaways, briefly explaining them in the executive summary. If your reader finds everything they needed to know in the executive summary, they’ll happily move onto the rest of the business plan.

Executive Summary Blue Business Plan Template

Use one feature color to tie your business plan together

Color should be used with restraint in professional documents like business plans. Instead of adding color solely for aesthetic purposes, think of color selection as another tool to highlight information you want your reader to focus on and to tie the document together.

You shouldn’t need more than a single color (ideally one of your brand colors ) to achieve this in a business plan.

In business plan charts, color should be used only to clarify trends and relationships. Use color to emphasize single important data points, differentiate between real and projected values, or group related data:

business plan template

In the rest of your business plan, keep color to a minimum. At most, use it to make headers stand out or to highlight key points in long-form text, diagrams, or tables.

The nice thing about keeping document colors this simple? It’s hard to mess up, and without any complex design work, it creates a sense of cohesion and unity within a document.

How to use charts and graphs to present your data

Since your business plan should be backed by solid data, you might want to include some of that data as evidence, in the form of  charts, tables or diagrams . Even simple visuals can communicate better than long paragraphs of text.

I’ll touch on some specific types of charts commonly used in business plans next, but first let’s review a few general chart design tactics.

Use descriptive titles and annotations to spell out chart takeaways

Avoid generic headers whenever possible. Maximize your chart’s value and impact by providing takeaway messages right in the title.

business plan

In the same vein, add direct annotations to data points or trends that support your case.

business plan

Repeating key messages within a chart, in the title, annotations, and captions, may improve viewers understanding and recall of those messages .

Aid understanding of market size and market share with area charts and pie charts

A market potential analysis is a fundamental pillar of your business plan. Market size and market share are two major components of a market potential analysis.

These numbers are typically in the millions and billions (the bigger the better, really), but most people have trouble grasping the meaning of such big numbers . At a surface level we can understand that one billion is one thousand times larger than one million, but we often struggle to comprehend what that really means.

This is the perfect opportunity to add some visual aids to your business plan.

Use bubble charts to represent market size

Bubble charts are useful for showing general proportions among numbers. Check out this one from our redesigned version of AirBnb’s first pitch deck :

business plan

Without having to think about the absolute values of these very large numbers, we can quickly see how they relate to one another.

While bubble charts are good for making quick, general comparisons, they’re less useful when it comes to precise measurements. To help readers make slightly more accurate judgements of proportion:

Use pie or donut charts to represent market share and market composition

Pie and donut charts are the industry standard for showing market share and market composition, since they’re the most widely understood method for representing part-to-whole relationships.

The way Uber breaks down their market with a simple donut chart makes their biggest segment (a key takeaway) really stand out, while the subtler differences between the smaller segments are still evident.

business plan

When you present a market analysis, use pie charts, donut charts, or bubble charts to aid the reader understanding proportions and part-to-whole relationships.

Use histograms and bar charts to represent demographic distributions in market segmentation summaries

Another part of analyzing market potential is about identifying and understanding target customers. This means segmenting customers by geography, interests, demographics…really anything that might affect purchasing behaviour.

Two standard metrics that most businesses include in a market segmentation summary are customer age and gender. These data are easily summarized in a histogram, with bars that represent age group distribution.

business plan template

Bar charts can then be used to contrast the key behaviors and lifestyle choices of the top consumer segments.

business plan template

Histograms and bar charts are standard features of a market segmentation summary. Use them together to identify and present information about top customer segments.

Outline major milestones with a Gantt chart

Stakeholders will want to see that you have a concrete plan in place to help you reach your revenue goals. When formulating your goals, use the SMART principle to provide your stakeholders with a very clear vision of how you intend to achieve them. 

Use a Gantt chart (a sort of modified bar chart) to outline the major milestones and phases of your business strategy. Try to include a multi-year plan, broken down by quarter and by project or department.

business plan

You can create your own Gantt chart with Venngage.

How to communicate growth strategies in your business plan

No matter how impressive your product line or services, your business won’t just magically grow. You concrete marketing and sales plans in place, and effectively communicate strategies to your stakeholders.

Start by acknowledging your target market – who are you going after? This is what your marketing and sales efforts will revolve around after all.

Demonstrate an understanding of the competitor landscape. You will always have direct or indirect competition, and showing how your planning accounts for it is key. Then you can talk about actual plans and strategies you wish to implement.

Present your target audience with persona guides

A product may great on its own. But its value is determined when there is a clear and obvious market for it. You can point out shortcomings of your competition, but you also need to show that your target audience exists and how you’re serving them.

A persona guide provides a great deal of context to readers of your business plan. It’s the best way for them to understand who cares about your product or service, how it aligns with their lifestyle and needs, and why your marketing and sales tactics will work.

Business Plan Persona Guide Template

A persona guide needs to be detailed, and share an intimate understanding of your target audience. The more you can divulge, the more reassuring your research and overall business plan will be.

Business Plan Detailed Persona Guide Template

Even if you don’t have a substantial customer base, you can still create an ideal persona guide to show who you’re pursuing.

Business Plan Ideal Persona Guide Template

Highlight competitors and differentiate yourself with a SWOT analysis

Every business plan should include an analysis of the competitive landscape–an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of competitive businesses.

In terms of visuals, this competitive analysis is typically summarized in a SWOT analysis matrix .

Business Plan SWOT Analysis Template

You can also present the SWOT analysis as a table or a list. The layout is up to you, but you want to focus on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to your competition.

Business Plan SWOT analysis Table Template

While the SWOT analysis framework provides valuable insights, it’s not the entire reflection of your competitive landscape. For example, it doesn’t make it easy to see at a glance the qualities that differentiate your business from your competitors.

To highlight those offerings that set you apart from your competitors, a comparison matrix is more effective. Take a look at these two templates:

Business Plan Competitor Comparison Template

With a direct competitor comparison, it’s easy to present the key differentiators between the existing options for a product or service, and your business.

Alternatively, a “ Magic Quadrant ” can be useful when you’re focused on comparing across two main metrics ( key differentiators ):

business plan

Finally, in a competitive market, there are going to be a lot of players who compete directly or indirectly with you.  A breakdown of them all may not be necessary. Instead, you can point visually to the space that you will address, that has been so far ignored up to now.

To do that, a prioritization chart can be used. By plotting competing businesses on a prioritization chart, you highlight experiences existing competitors focus on, and where your business falls. 

business plan

Use roadmaps to present your marketing and sales plans

To explain any long-term marketing or sales plan, you want visuals. It’s easier to break down strategies you’ll be deploying every month or each quarter, when you can actually show what you’re talking about.

Keep in mind, those reading your business plan may not be marketers or sales executives. Being able to lay out your approach in a way that’s organized, shows how much thought you’ve given to your growth strategies.

You can design a simple roadmap that points to what you’ll be doing throughout the year. The more detailed you can get, the better.

Business Plan Marketing roadmap Template

You can also present your product roadmap , with your marketing roadmap how the business will be growing overall.

Business Plan Product Roadmap Template

You don’t need to use a traditional roadmap layout, either. Experiment with different formats as you may find one easier to work with than another. As long as the time period for different strategies is clear, your roadmap will be easy to understand.

Business Plan Marketing Roadmap Template

Presenting financial data isn’t easy. You have to crunch a lot of numbers before you can share projections with confidence. You’ll also need to explain how you arrived at the numbers and prepare for your answers.

Understanding how to organize your information is key to walking potential investors and other stakeholders through your projections.

Use organizational flow charts and summary tables for budget breakdowns and financial summaries

The financials section of your business plan will get a lot of attention from stakeholders. Simple bar charts and pie charts won’t suffice, as they can’t present financial data in very much detail.

If your business has already been operating for some time, stakeholders will expect a detailed report of revenues and expenses. Tables are usually the best choice for this kind of financial summary, as they provide an unbiased view of the numbers and allow stakeholders to look up specific values.

business plan templates

If you’re interested in highlighting a particular trend, however, you may want to include a line chart featuring a smaller snapshot of your financial data:

business plan templates

If you’re just starting your business and you don’t have any detailed revenue data, you can still provide useful information about your budget. Outline higher-level budget allocation with an organizational flow chart .

business plan

Use line or bar graphs to visualize financial trends

You can use different types of graphs to also show how your business has performed thus far. 

You can share results over the course of a year with a line graph. This is effective to show an overall set of trends and growth rates. 

Business Plan Sales Chart Template

You can also compare previous years to highlight how your business has grown.

Your audience should be able to draw conclusions from your data within seconds. If there is simply too much information, or it’s hard to find important information, they will lose interest. 

Business Plan Revenue Projection Template

Looking for a business plan software to help save time and reduce errors? Pick from one of these 7 best business plan software to get started.

A quick summary 

A business plan is the one key document that every young business needs to present their vision to potential investors and other stakeholders.

The quality of a business plan can make or break a young business Here’s a quick recap of what we covered for you to keep in mind:

  • Get started with a template
  • Use a table of contents and numbered pages
  • Use lists, bold headings and aim for skimmability
  • Consider using a one-column or two-column
  • Maintain page margins
  • Use headings to identify the most important information
  • Use one thematic color palette for your design
  • Use descriptive titles and annotations
  • Use area and pie charts to explain market size and market share
  • Use pie/donut charts to visualize marketing share and market composition
  • Use bar charts and histograms to capture demographics data
  • Highlight major milestones with a gantt chart
  • Identify your target audience using persona guides
  • Differentiate yourself with a SWOT analysis/competitor chart
  • Use roadmaps to visualize your marketing and sales plans
  • Use flow charts and summary tables for financial breakdowns
  • Use line or bar graphs for financial trends and projection

You can always reference this post as you work on your business plan. I’ve also included additional blog posts you can reference for specific areas of your business plan.

More Resources for business planning and growth:

  • Growth Strategy Checklist: Plan Your Business Goals With These 5 Templates
  • What is a Marketing Plan & How to Create One [with Examples]
  • How to Communicate Strategy To Your Team Effectively
  • 50+ Essential Business Report Examples with Templates

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8 Growth Plan Examples for Your Business

Table of Contents

When it comes to business growth, companies have plenty of opportunities to invest. But because there are so many options of where and how to invest, deciding what’s right for your organization can be overwhelming.

This article covers eight growth plan examples to reach a more extensive customer base, surpass competitors, and expand your business.

What Are Business Growth Plan Strategies?

Business growth plan strategies help a company grow, allowing the company to potentially become stronger, larger, and more profitable. Growth might occur through raising capital from strategic investors, developing new products, and reducing advertising costs to lead to a better outcome.

Business growth plans are dynamic tools used by management to grow the company’s size and market share. But the plan itself is typically designed with investors in mind. This is so that investors may understand how the company they’ve invested in intends to spend their money and develop as a business. A thorough business growth plan will achieve that objective.

Why Are Growth Strategies Important?

A growth strategy is a set of actions and decisions meant to increase the size of your business over a specified period of time. This can be anything from opening a new store to entering a new market in order to gain market share. This can result in a growth in revenue, profit, or other variables of your business.

Moreover, growth plans provide your business with a goal and long-term direction. You can maintain your focus on the future by laying out a plan of action for areas where your business might be improved.

Through these growth strategies, You may enhance upon what is already effective and make changes to things that require improvement.

Finding the most effective plan for your business is vital because no growth strategies are universal. However, breaking down your ideas into smaller bits will help you analyze scopes of improvement and accomplish specific objectives.

Types of Growth Plans for Your Business

The types of growth plan vary based on what goals you’re trying to meet. An effective growth plan is one that is as specific as your goal and as flexible as your team. The most common types of business plans are:

Market Strategy

Growth plans should be designed around the market strategy; these range from a target market approach to a revenue-generating strategy. If you have just begun your company, these strategies might be simple and small to keep the company’s growth manageable.

Speak to your current and potential customers to learn what they want and are looking for while formulating your strategy.

Development Strategy

A development strategy tries to open up a new market for the goods and services offered by your business. This comprises creating consumer profiles and looking for new market segments and demographics to target with marketing and advertising.

Product Strategy

A product strategy plan helps entrepreneurs find new and innovative products for their company and develop a marketing plan to generate sales.

Such a plan aims to balance the need for a creative new product with the need for stability and scalability. A product strategy plan also helps the entrepreneur create a successful product launch, ensuring strong sales.

Diversification

Development and product strategy are both elements of diversification. Chunking down product sales can be an excellent way to grow your business by diversifying your offerings.

You can increase your revenue by getting into other markets and pricing your product differently. You can also increase your influence by providing a similar product in another market with the same benefits. This will help you interact with new customers and create opportunities for new sales.

growth potential in business plan

Top 8 Growth Plan Examples

A growth plan is a business development strategy designed to help an enterprise grow and increase profitability. It helps plan out long-term and short-term goals and focuses on how an enterprise can grow cash flow, sales, and other metrics.

Following a suitable growth plan can help you reach a more significant portion of the market share. Below are the top eight growth strategies frequently used by businesses.

1. Start Promotions

Promotion starts with community engagement. This can be accomplished through social media marketing and is key at any stage of your company’s growth plan. Building brand awareness and incorporating social advertising into your current marketing mix will help propel you to the next level.

2. Viral Loops

Viral loops are a marketing technique designed to generate word-of-mouth advertising. Viral loops work by creating a loop, which is a back-and-forth process that establishes and reinforces a relationship between two or more people.

3. Check Pricing

Pricing is a marketing activity that relies on the knowledge and experience of your business’s goals and the market’s needs. Companies could use low prices as a growth strategy. Consumers are frequently drawn to your brand when you provide a more affordable option than your competitors.

4. Ensure Quality

A business reflects its quality by measuring its team and customers, as well as its ability to generate revenue and competitive advantage. Businesses that frequently concentrate on raising the quality of their goods and services reap the rewards.

With a business plan, you can create a quality company culture. As a result, you can have an efficient sales and marketing strategy with increased customer trust and recommendations.

5. Word of Mouth

Word of mouth can be a great growth strategy. If you need it to be, you need to promote your products or services in a way that brings in talk.

Provide perks for influential people in your industry, such as celebrities, influencers, and top journalists. They will most likely help promote your product for you. All the more reason to learn leadership skills!

6. Strong Branding

If you want your business to grow, it’s vital that you have a strong brand. Building a strong brand means not just promoting your business but also guaranteeing your customer a consistent experience and the trust of a brand.

One way to implement a strong brand is by creating a unique value proposition for your customers that other companies cannot offer.

7. Targeted Emails

Targeted emails are an effective way of determining the most effective way of improving your business. They can be sent to targeted customers, departments, employees, and clients. They may be sent to a group of people in a personalized manner using keyword phrases that reflect their role or level of importance. You may send emails based on age, shopping habits, and region to increase engagement through relevancy.

8. Customer Experience

Good customer experience is not just about a great product. It’s also about how you and your team create unforgettable interactions with customers, investors, and partners.

You can do this by offering a live chat feature for customers on your website. You can also send personalized emails thanking customers and suggesting additional products based on past purchases.

These methods boost customer loyalty, increasing your possibility of gaining repeat customers.

Growing a business is not easy. Today we have thousands of ways to build a business and build an exit strategy. But we must have business growth plans to help guide our decisions in the short and long term. So before you strategize your first growth plan, go through these top 8 examples and analyze the areas of improvement for your business expansion.

8 Growth Plan Examples for Your Business

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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The Osborne Group

What is Business Growth Potential?

by The Osborne Group | Jan 22, 2016

In our Value Builder series we explore the eight key factors potential buyers review when looking to acquire a business – maybe yours!

“Growth is never by mere change; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney, Founder of JCPenney

A company’s future ability to generate larger profits, expand its workforce and increase production and distribution defines some of the key elements of growth potential. Growth however, introduces a variety of complexities that are not without their own challenges. By identifying the different ways in which you can grow and by determining whether the time is right for your business is crucial for success.

Those purchasing businesses typically pay a premium for those with the potential to grow. In rare cases, an acquiring company may even buy a business that has a high growth potential, but is low on other attributes. The purchaser will see a way to leverage some of their own assets to help the business grow much more quickly than it could under its current owner. This type of transaction is known as a strategic sale and by definition the buyer is called a Strategic Buyer. This differs from a Financial Buyer who is mostly interested in how much profit is being generated now and into the future.

To understand the relationship between growth potential and value, imagine that instead of generating a flat $1,000,000 in profit for the next 10 years, the hypothetical business owner expects profits to grow by 20 percent each year in the future. For a perspective, according to researcher David Birch, less than 2% of American companies grow by 20% per year for three consecutive years.

A business expecting a 20 percent growth rate over the next 10 years is worth more than double the business, which expects its revenue to remain flat.

The potential growth of your business reflects the extent to which you believe your business can grow in the future by selling more products and services to your existing customers or by acquiring new customers quickly.

A strategic buyer is looking for a 1+1=3 formula which means that by acquiring your company it allows them to reach into new markets or adds more offerings. In other words the two companies (ideally) are stronger together.

Upon completing a complimentary Value Builder questionnaire available from The Osborne Group, you will receive a Value Builder score that covers eight key factors that contribute to your overall business value.. The questionnaire is part of a system developed by internationally recognized small business expert John Warrillow. Your answers will indicate what drives up, or undermines, your company’s value. The questionnaire takes just 15 minutes to complete online and generates a detailed report an Osborne Group Certified Value Builder consultant will review with you during a complementary two-hour follow-up meeting.

In our upcoming blogs, we’ll examine other Value Builder factors and their impact on your company’s worth. Follow us here for the series:

http://localhost/osborne/category/osborne-insights-blog/

To find out how your company is performing, click here to take the Value Builder questionnaire: http://www.thevaluebuildersystem.com/osborne-group

Investing in ideas business concept and financial backing of innovation as an open lightbulb symbol for funding potential innovative growth prospect through venture capital.

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Unlocking Profit Potential: Strategies For Business Growth

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Driving profitability is crucial for the sustainability and growth of your business. While increasing sales is a common goal, there are numerous strategies to boost your bottom line. By focusing on efficient operations, optimizing pricing strategies , enhancing customer retention, and reducing overhead costs, you can create a more profitable business.

Diversifying revenue streams, investing in targeted marketing efforts, engaging employees, implementing strong financial management practices, leveraging data and analytics, and fostering a culture of innovation are all vital components. These strategies collectively ensure that your business remains robust, competitive, and positioned for long-term success.

Let’s explore effective methods to enhance profitability:

1. streamline operations.

Efficient operations have the ability to increase profitability extensively. Evaluate your processes to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Implementing lean management principles can help eliminate waste, reduce costs, and enhance productivity. Investing in technology, such as automation and AI, can further streamline operations and minimize manual errors.

2. Optimize Pricing Strategies

Revisiting your pricing strategy can significantly impact your profit margins. Conduct market research to understand your customers' willingness to pay and your competitors' pricing. Consider value-based pricing, where prices are set based on the perceived value to the customer, rather than just cost-plus pricing. Offering tiered pricing or bundles can also attract a wider range of customers and increase sales.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Of 2024

Best 5% interest savings accounts of 2024, 3. enhance customer retention.

New customer acquisition is more expensive than keeping your existing customers happy. Focus relationship building with your current customer base. Provide exceptional customer service, personalize communication, and offer loyalty programs. Happy customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and refer your business to others, driving long-term profitability.

4. Diversify Revenue Streams

Relying on a single income source can be risky. Explore opportunities to diversify your offerings . This could mean introducing new products, entering new markets, or offering complementary services. Diversification not only reduces the risk of relying on one income source, but it can also open up new opportunities for revenue growth.

5. Reduce Overhead Costs

Regularly review your overhead expenses to identify areas where you can cut costs without compromising quality. Negotiate better deals with suppliers, switch to more cost-effective vendors, or adopt energy-saving practices to reduce utility bills. Remote work can help you save on office space and related expenses.

6. Invest in Marketing

A well-executed marketing strategy can significantly boost your sales. Invest in digital marketing to reach a larger audience at a lower cost. Utilize social media, email campaigns, SEO, and content marketing to attract and engage customers. Track your marketing efforts to ensure you’re getting a good return on investment and adjust your strategies accordingly.

7. Focus on Employee Engagement

Your employees are integral to your business’s success. Invest in development and training for your team and create a positive work environment. Engaged employees are more productive, provide better customer service, and contribute innovative ideas. Happy employees are also less likely to leave, reducing turnover costs.

8. Implement Effective Financial Management

Strong financial management is key to profitability. Regularly review your financial statements to monitor cash flow, expenses, and profits. Use financial planning and analysis tools to forecast future performance and make informed decisions. Consider hiring an accountant to provide expert guidance and help increase profitability.

9. Leverage Data and Analytics

Data-driven decision-making can enhance your business strategy. Utilize analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and operational efficiency. Implementing a robust data management system can help you make informed decisions, identify opportunities for growth, and stay ahead of the competition.

10. Foster a Culture of Innovation

Encourage innovation within your organization. Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing new ideas and experimenting with new approaches. Innovation can lead to the development of new products, improved processes, and unique marketing strategies, all of which can contribute to increased profitability.

The bottom line is that increasing profitability requires a multifaceted approach, focusing on efficiency, customer retention, revenue diversification, and strategic investments. By following these tips, you can build a resilient and profitable business. Stay proactive, embrace change, and continuously seek opportunities for improvement to ensure long-term success.

Melissa Houston, CPA is the author of Cash Confident: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Profitable Business and the founder of She Means Profit . As a Business Strategist for small business owners, Melissa helps women making mid-career shifts, to launch their dream businesses, and I also guide established business owners to grow their businesses to more profitably.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever.

Melissa Houston

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What is cash value?

Types of cash value life insurance, benefits of cash value life insurance.

  • Considerations before choosing

Cash value life insurance FAQs

Cash value life insurance: build savings and protection.

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

  • Cash value is money that accumulates on a permanent life insurance policy, which can build wealth.
  • Policyholders can use their cash value to invest, save, or even borrow.
  • Cash value grows differently depending on the type of permanent life insurance you choose.
  • Compare life insurance quotes with Policygenius .

Cash value is a feature unique to permanent life insurance policies , which offers coverage for your entire life. Unlike your death benefit, you can use your cash value during your lifetime as you see fit. However, using your cash value can impact your death benefit and have tax consequences. It's important to understand the terms and conditions of your policy, including any fees or penalties associated with accessing the cash value and the tax consequences of withdrawals or loans.

Cash value is money that accumulates as you pay your monthly premium on a permanent life insurance policy. You can use this money to save or invest, which increases your policy's value over time. This adds an addition dimension to permanent life insurance policies, letting policyholders get some use out of their life insurance policy while they're still living. 

How cash value accumulates

You have to pay a premium to maintain your permanent life insurance policy, much like a subscription service or utilities. A portion of that premium goes towards your cash value account.

Depending on the type of permanent policy you have, you build cash value based on interest rates, dividends, and investment gains. Policyholders can access their cash value through loans, withdrawals, or by surrendering or canceling their policy.  

Term life insurance vs. permanent life insurance 

Like permanent life insurance, term life insurance offers a death benefit. However, there's no cash value component and your policy will expire after a specified amount of time, usually between 10 to 30 years. Hence, term life is significantly more affordable than permanent life.

The difference between term life insurance and permanent life insurance is similar to the difference between renting an apartment and owning a home. When you rent, you have a lease for a certain term. When that lease is over, you can renew, but most likely with a rent increase. 

Likewise, term insurance lasts temporarily. When your coverage is up, you can reapply. However, your premiums will likely increase as you age and your health deteriorates.

Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is a lifelong or permanent policy in which you pay a fixed premium for a guaranteed death benefit and guaranteed cash value growth. The insurance company saves a portion of your premium in its own portfolio to increase your policy's cash value. Since whole life insurance offers many guarantees, it's one of the costlier life insurance policies.

Universal life insurance

Universal life insurance allows more flexibility than a whole life policy and grows cash value based on current interest rates. You can raise or lower your death benefit, which increases or decreases your premiums based on your financial situation and needs. For example, if you find that you need less coverage because your children are grown up and your mortgage is almost paid off, you can lower your death benefit. As a result, this decreases your premiums. 

Indexed universal life insurance

Indexed universal life (IUL) , is a type of universal life insurance. So, it offers flexible premiums and coverage amounts. Unlike a universal policy, indexed universal life insurance's cash value invests your premiums in indexed stock markets and bonds based on the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ.

Variable life insurance

Variable life (VL) insurance policy , a type of permanent life insurance, was created years after universal life for people who didn't like how whole and universal life commingled their investments with the insurance company. 

This policy invests your money in subaccounts that track underlying mutual funds, bonds, and stocks. If the market does well, so do you. If the market falls, so does your cash value, making it riskier than whole and universal life.

Tax-deferred growth

Your cash value grows on a tax-deferred basis, meaning you won't have to pay taxes on your earnings until withdrawal. Alternatively, you can decide to pass down your cash value to your beneficiaries . They usually don't have to pay taxes on the inherited amount, except in unique scenarios.  

Option to borrow against the policy

Policyholders can take loans against their cash value. Unlike traditional loans, you can borrow from your policy without undergoing a credit check. Plus, policy loans generally come with lower interest rates and more favorable repayment plans. Be aware that loans reduce your death benefit if not repaid with interest.

Living benefits

Term life insurance only offers a death benefit, which your beneficiaries can access after you're gone. Permanent life insurance allows you to access your cash value benefit while you're alive. You can use your cash value for emergencies, retirement, or other financial goals. 

Considerations before choosing cash value life insurance

Higher premiums.

The cost of permanent life insurance is exponentially more expensive than a term life policy. According to Policygenius, the average monthly cost of a $500,000 term life policy for a male and female with a few health issues is $26. While the average monthly cost of a $500,000 permanent life policy of a male and female in good health is $451.

It's important to only get coverage you can afford. Before purchasing a permanent policy, consider whether the additional cost fits in your budget. 

Potential tax implications

Unpaid loans (which can cause your coverage to lapse) and cash value withdrawals is subject to taxes. You'll have to pay taxes if the withdrawn amount exceeds the amount of premiums paid into your policy. 

There are many ways to use your cash value. You can borrow from your policy via a loan, withdraw from your account, pay your premiums, or use as collateral. It's important to understand how each use impacts your premiums and coverage. 

Your insurer will likely keep your cash value if you pass away before withdrawing it. Your beneficiaries only receive your death benefit. However, you can use your cash value to purchase a paid-up additions rider, which increases your policy's death benefit. 

No, only permanent life insurance policies (whole, universal, indexed universal, variable) offer cash value. Term life insurance doesn't. 

It depends. Compared to the stock market, life insurance policies yield subpar returns. However, if you've maxed out your retirement plan (i.e., 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA)) for the year, life insurance can be an excellent investing vehicle for its tax advantages.

Find the best life insurance with cash value by comparing costs, coverage options, financial strength, and policy flexibility from multiple insurers. An independent agent can help you compare quotes from different companies and offer personalized advice.

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Tariff Tracker: Tracking the Economic Impact of the Trump-Biden Tariffs

Key finding.

  • The Trump administration imposed nearly $80 billion worth of new taxes on Americans by levying tariffs on thousands of products valued at approximately $380 billion in 2018 and 2019, amounting to one of the largest tax A tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. increases in decades.
  • The Biden administration has kept most of the Trump administration tariffs in place, and in May 2024, announced tariff Tariffs are taxes imposed by one country on goods or services imported from another country. Tariffs are trade barriers that raise prices and reduce available quantities of goods and services for U.S. businesses and consumers. hikes on an additional $18 billion of Chinese goods, including semiconductors and electric vehicles, for an additional tax increase of $3.6 billion.
  • We estimate the Trump-Biden tariffs will reduce long-run GDP by 0.2 percent, the capital stock by 0.1 percent, and employment by 142,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • Altogether, the trade war policies currently in place add up to $79 billion in tariffs based on trade levels at the time of tariff implementation and excluding behavioral and dynamic effects.
  • Before accounting for behavioral effects, the $79 billion in higher tariffs amounts to an average annual tax increase on US households of $625. Based on actual revenue collections data, trade war tariffs have directly increased tax collections by $200 to $300 annually per US household, on average. Both estimates understate the cost to US households because they do not factor in the lost output, lower incomes, and loss in consumer choice the tariffs have caused.
  • Candidate Trump has proposed significant tariff hikes as part of his presidential campaign; we estimate that if imposed, his proposed tariff increases would hike taxes by another $524 billion annually and shrink GDP by at least 0.8 percent, the capital stock by 0.7 percent, and employment by 684,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Our estimates do not capture the effects of retaliation, nor the additional harms that would stem from starting a global trade war.
  • Academic and governmental studies find the Trump-Biden tariffs have raised prices and reduced output and employment, producing a net negative impact on the US economy.

The Trade War Timeline

The Trump administration imposed several rounds of tariffs on steel, aluminum, washing machines, solar panels, and goods from China, affecting more than $380 billion worth of trade at the time of implementation and amounting to a tax increase of nearly $80 billion. The Biden administration has maintained most tariffs, except for the suspension of certain tariffs on imports from the European Union , the replacement of tariffs with tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on steel and aluminum from the European Union and United Kingdom and imports of steel from Japan , and the expiration of the tariffs on washing machines after a two-year extension. In May 2024, the Biden administration announced additional tariffs on $18 billion of Chinese goods for a tax increase of $3.6 billion.

Altogether, the trade war policies currently in place add up to $79 billion in tariffs based on trade levels at the time of tariff implementation. Note the total revenue generated will be less than our static estimate because tariffs reduce the volume of imports and are subject to evasion and avoidance (which directly lowers tariff revenues) and they reduce real income (which lowers other tax revenues).

Section 232, Steel and Aluminum

In March 2018 , President Trump announced the administration would impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. The value of imported steel totaled $29.4 billion and the value of imported aluminum totaled $17.6 billion in 2018. Based on 2018 levels, the steel tariffs would have amounted to $9 billion and the aluminum tariffs to $1.8 billion. Several countries, however, have been excluded from the tariffs.

In early 2018 , the US reached agreements to permanently exclude Australia from steel and aluminum tariffs, use quotas for steel imports from Brazil and South Korea , and use quotas for steel and aluminum imports from Argentina.

In May 2019 , President Trump announced that the US was lifting tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico .

In 2020 , President Trump expanded the scope of steel and aluminum tariffs to cover certain derivative products, totaling approximately $0.8 billion based on 2018 import levels.

In August 2020 , President Trump announced that the US was reimposing tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada . The US imported approximately $2.5 billion worth of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum, resulting in a $0.25 billion tax increase. About a month later, the US eliminated the 10 percent tariff on Canadian aluminum that had just been reimposed.

In 2021 and 2022 , the Biden administration reached deals to replace certain steel and aluminum tariffs with tariff rate quota systems, whereby certain levels of imports will not face tariffs, but imports above the thresholds will. TRQs for the European Union took effect on January 1, 2022; TRQs for Japan took effect on April 1, 2022; and TRQs for the UK took effect on June 1, 2022. Though the agreements on steel and aluminum tariffs will reduce the cost of tariffs paid by some US businesses, a quota system similarly leads to higher prices, and further, retaining tariffs at the margin continues the negative economic impact of the previous tariff policy.

Tariffs on steel, aluminum, and derivative goods currently account for $2.7 billion of the $79 billion in tariffs , based on initial import values. Current retaliation against Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs targets more than $6 billion worth of American products for an estimated total tax of approximately $1.6 billion.

Section 301, Chinese Products

Under the Trump administration, the United States Trade Representative began an investigation of China in August 2017, which culminated in a March 2018 report that found China was conducting unfair trade practices.

In March 2018, President Trump announced tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China. The administration soon published a list of about $50 billion worth of Chinese products to be subject to a new 25 percent tariff. The first tariffs began July 6, 2018, on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, while tariffs on the remaining $16 billion went into effect August 23, 2018. These tariffs amount to a $12.5 billion tax increase.

In September 2018, the Trump administration imposed another round of Section 301 tariffs—10 percent on $200 billion worth of goods from China, amounting to a $20 billion tax increase.

In May 2019, the 10 percent tariffs increased to 25 percent, amounting to a $30 billion increase. That increase had been scheduled to take effect beginning in January 2019, but was delayed .

In August 2019, the Trump administration announced plans to impose a 10 percent tariff on approximately $300 billion worth of additional Chinese goods beginning on September 1, 2019, but soon followed with an announcement of schedule changes and certain exemptions.

In September 2019, the Trump administration imposed “List 4a,” a 10 percent tariff on $112 billion of imports, an $11 billion tax increase. They announced plans for tariffs on the remaining $160 billion to take effect on December 15, 2019.

In August 2019, the Trump administration decided that 4a tariffs would be 15 percent rather than the previously announced 10 percent, a $5.6 billion tax increase.

In December 2019 , the administration reached a “Phase One” trade deal with China and agreed to postpone indefinitely the stage 4b tariffs of 15 percent on approximately $160 billion worth of goods that were scheduled to take effect December 15 and to reduce the stage 4a tariffs from 15 percent to 7.5 percent in January 2020, reducing tariff revenues by $8.4 billion.

In May 2024, the Biden administration published its required statutory review of the Section 301 tariffs, deciding to retain them and impose higher rates on $18 billion worth of goods. The new tariff rates range from 25 to 100 percent on semiconductors, steel and aluminum products, electric vehicles, batteries and battery parts, natural graphite and other critical materials, medical goods, magnets, cranes, and solar cells. Some of the tariff increases go into effect immediately, while others are scheduled for 2025 or 2026. Based on 2023 import values, the increases will add $3.6 billion in new taxes.

Section 301 tariffs on China currently account for $77 billion of the $79 billion in tariffs , based on initial import values. China has responded to the United States’ Section 301 tariffs with several rounds of tariffs on more than $106 billion worth of US goods , for an estimated tax of nearly $11.6 billion.

WTO Dispute, European Union

In October 2019 , the United States won a nearly 15-year-long World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute against the European Union. The WTO ruling authorized the United States to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods. Beginning October 18, 2019, tariffs of 10 percent were to be applied on aircraft and 25 percent on agricultural and other products.

In summer 2021, the Biden administration reached an agreement to suspend the tariffs on the European Union for five years .

Section 201, Solar Panels and Washing Machines

In January 2018 , the Trump administration announced it would begin imposing tariffs on washing machine imports for three years and solar cell and module imports for four years as the result of a Section 201 investigation.

In 2021 , the Trump administration extended the washing machine tariffs for two years through February 2023, and they have now expired .

In 2022 , the Biden administration extended the solar panel tariffs for four years , though later provided temporary two-year exemptions for imports from four Southeast Asian nations beginning in 2022 , which account for a significant share of solar panel imports.

In 2024, the Biden administration removed separate exemptions for bifacial solar panels from the Section 201 tariffs. Additionally, the temporary two-year exemptions expired and the Biden administration is further investigating solar panel imports from the four Southeast Asian nations for additional tariffs.

We estimate the solar cell and module tariffs amounted to a $0.2 billion tax increase based on 2018 import values and quantities, while the washing machine tariffs amounted to a $0.4 billion tax increase based on 2018 import values and quantities.

We exclude the tariffs from our tariff totals given the broad exemptions and small magnitudes.

Tariff Revenue Collections under the Trump-Biden Tariffs

As of March 2024, the trade war tariffs have generated more than $233 billion of higher taxes collected for the US government from US consumers. Of that total, $89 billion, or about 38 percent, was collected during the Trump administration, while the remaining $144 billion, or about 62 percent, has been collected during the Biden administration.

Before accounting for behavioral effects, the $79 billion in higher tariffs amount to an average annual tax increase on US households of $625. Based on actual revenue collections data, trade war tariffs have directly increased tax collections by $200 to $300 annually per US household, on average. The actual cost to households is higher than both the $600 estimate before behavioral effects and the $200 to $300 after, because neither accounts for lower incomes as tariffs shrink output, nor the loss in consumer choice as people switch to alternatives that do not face tariffs.

Economic Effects of Imposed and Retaliatory Tariffs

Using the Tax Foundation’s General Equilibrium Model, we estimate the Trump-Biden Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs will reduce long-run GDP by 0.2 percent, the capital stock by 0.1 percent, and hours worked by 142,000 full-time equivalent jobs. The reason tariffs have no impact on pre-tax wages in our estimates is that, in the long run, the capital stock shrinks in proportion to the reduction in hours worked, so that the capital-to-labor ratio, and thus the level of wages, remains unchanged. Removing the tariffs would boost GDP and employment, as Tax Foundation estimates have shown for the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.

GDP-0.2%
Capital Stock-0.1%
Pre-Tax Wages-0.0%
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Jobs-142,000

We estimate the retaliatory tariffs stemming from Section 232 and Section 301 actions total approximately $13.2 billion in tariff revenues. Retaliatory tariffs are imposed by foreign governments on their country’s importers. While they are not direct taxes on US exports, they raise the after-tax price of US goods in foreign jurisdictions, making them less competitively priced in foreign markets. We estimate the retaliatory tariffs will reduce US GDP and the capital stock by less than 0.05 percent and reduce full-time employment by 27,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Unlike the tariffs imposed by the United States, which raise federal revenue, tariffs imposed by foreign jurisdictions raise no revenue for the US but result in lower US output.

GDPLess than -0.05%
Capital StockLess than -0.05%
Pre-Tax Wages0.0%
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Jobs-27,000

Trade Volumes since Tariffs Were Imposed

Since the tariffs were imposed, imports of affected goods have fallen, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the biggest drops are the result of decreased trade with China, as affected imports decreased significantly after the tariffs and still remain below their pre-trade war levels. Even though trade with China fell after the imposition of tariffs, it did not fundamentally alter the overall balance of trade, as the reduction in trade with China was diverted to increased trade with other countries .

Tariff and Effective Date2017201820192020202120222023Rate
Section 232 Steel (March 2018)$15.90 $15.50 $11.40 $7.10 $13.50 $9.50 $5.50 25%
Section 232 Aluminum (March 2018)$9.00 $9.60 $8.40 $5.20 $7.50 $9.80 $5.60 10%
Section 232 Derivative Steel Articles (February 2020)$0.40 $0.50 $0.50 $0.40 $0.50 $0.60 $0.30 25%
Section 232 Derivative Aluminum Articles (February 2020)$0.20 $0.30 $0.20 $0.20 $0.30 $0.30 $0.30 10%
Section 301, List 1 (July 2018)$31.90 $30.30 $22.00 $20.10 $24.10 $26.10 $23.60 25%
Section 301, List 2 (August 2018)$13.80 $14.80 $8.50 $9.60 $10.30 $10.70 $8.20 25%
Section 301, List 3 (September 2018, increased May 2019)$159.20 $181.30 $120.00 $107.10 $119.60 $111.80 $86.50 10% in 2019, then 25%
Section 301, List 4A (September 2019, lowered January 2020)$101.90 $112.20 $113.90 $101.40 $104.70 $102.00 $84.90 15% in 2019; then 7.5%
Biden Admin Section 301 Expansion (2024 to 2026)$7.50 $8.00 $5.60 $8.90 $9.00 $15.70 $18.00 25% to 100%

Economic Effects of Proposed Tariffs

Tariffs have become a flashpoint in the 2024 presidential campaign as candidate Trump has proposed a new 10 percent universal tariff on all imports and a 60 percent tariff on all imports from China, as well as potentially higher tariffs on EVs from China or across the board.

In 2023, goods imports totaled $3.1 trillion and imports from China totaled $421.4 billion. With no behavioral effects, the universal tariff would raise taxes by $311 billion, while separately lifting the average tariff rate on Chinese goods to 60 percent would raise about $213 billion. Actual revenue raised would be significantly lower because of avoidance and evasion, falling imports, and lower incomes resulting in lower payroll and income tax revenues.

We estimate the proposed tariffs would reduce long-run GDP by 0.8 percent, the capital stock by 0.7 percent, and hours worked by 684,000 full-time equivalent jobs. The reason tariffs have no impact on pre-tax wages in our estimates is that, in the long run, the capital stock shrinks in proportion to the reduction in hours worked, so that the capital-to-labor ratio, and thus the level of wages, remains unchanged.

GDP-0.8%
Capital Stock-0.7%
Pre-Tax Wages0.0%
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Jobs-684,000

Tariffs Raise Prices and Reduce Economic Growth

Economists generally agree free trade increases the level of economic output and income, while conversely, trade barriers reduce economic output and income. Historical evidence shows tariffs raise prices and reduce available quantities of goods and services for US businesses and consumers, which results in lower income, reduced employment, and lower economic output.

Tariffs could reduce US output through a few channels. One possibility is a tariff may be passed on to producers and consumers in the form of higher prices. Tariffs can raise the cost of parts and materials, which would raise the price of goods using those inputs and reduce private sector output. This would result in lower incomes for both owners of capital and workers. Similarly, higher consumer prices due to tariffs would reduce the after-tax value of both labor and capital income. Because higher prices would reduce the return to labor and capital, they would incentivize Americans to work and invest less, leading to lower output.

Alternatively, the US dollar may appreciate in response to tariffs, offsetting the potential price increase for US consumers. The more valuable dollar, however, would make it more difficult for exporters to sell their goods on the global market, resulting in lower revenues for exporters. This would also result in lower US output and incomes for both workers and owners of capital, reducing incentives for work and investment and leading to a smaller economy.

Many economists have evaluated the consequences of the trade war tariffs on the American economy, with results suggesting the tariffs have raised prices and lowered economic output and employment since the start of the trade war in 2018.

  • A February 2018 analysis by economists Kadee Russ and Lydia Cox found that steel‐​consuming jobs outnumber steel‐​producing jobs 80 to 1, indicating greater job losses from steel tariffs than job gains.
  • A March 2018 Chicago Booth survey of 43 economic experts revealed that 0 percent thought a US tariff on steel and aluminum would improve Americans’ welfare.
  • An August 2018 analysis from economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York warned the Trump administration’s intent to use tariffs to narrow the trade deficit would reduce imports and US exports, resulting in little to no change in the trade deficit.
  • A March 2019 National Bureau of Economic Research study conducted by Pablo D. Fajgelbaum and others found that the trade war tariffs did not lower the before-duties import prices of Chinese goods, resulting in US importers taking on the entire burden of import duties in the form of higher after-duty prices.
  • An April 2019 University of Chicago study conducted by Aaron Flaaen, Ali Hortacsu, and Felix Tintelnot found that after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on washing machines, washer prices increased by $86 per unit and dryer prices increased by $92 per unit, due to package deals, ultimately resulting in an aggregate increase in consumer costs of over $1.5 billion.
  • An April 2019 research publication from the International Monetary Fund used a range of general equilibrium models to estimate the effects of a 25 percent increase in tariffs on all trade between China and the US, and each model estimated that the higher tariffs would bring both countries significant economic losses.
  • An October 2019 study by Alberto Cavallo and coauthors found tariffs on importsfrom China were almost fully passed through to US import prices but only partially to retail consumers, implying some businesses absorbed the higher tariffs, reducing retail margins, instead of passing them on to retail consumers.
  • In December 2019, Federal Reserve economists Aaron Flaaen and Justin Pierce found a net decrease in manufacturing employment due to the tariffs, suggesting that the benefit of increased production in protected industries was outweighed by the consequences of rising input costs and retaliatory tariffs.
  • A February 2020 paper from economists Kyle Handley, Fariha Kamal, and Ryan Monarch estimated the 2018–2019 import tariffswere equivalent to a 2 percent tariff on all US exports.
  • A December 2021 review of the data and methods used to estimate the trade war effects through 2021, by Pablo Fajgelbaum and Amit Khandelwal, concluded that “US consumers of imported goods have borne the brunt of the tariffs through higher prices, and that the trade war has lowered aggregate real income in both the US and China, although not by large magnitudes relative to GDP.”
  • A January 2022 study from the US Department of Agriculture estimated the direct export losses from the retaliatory tariffs totaled $27 billion from 2018 through the end of 2019.
  • A May 2023 United States International Trade Commission report from Peter Herman and others found evidence for near complete pass-through of the steel, aluminum, and Chinese tariffs to US prices. It also found an estimated $2.8 billion production increase in industries protected by the steel and aluminum tariffs was met with a $3.4 billion production decrease in downstream industries affected by higher input prices.
  • A January 2024 International Monetary Fund paper found that unexpected tariff shocks tend to reduce imports more than exports, leading to slight decreases in the trade deficit at the expense of persistent gross domestic product losses—for example, the study estimates reversing the 2018–2019 tariffs would increase US output by 4 percent over three years.
  • A January 2024 study by David Autor and others concludes that the 2018–2019 tariffs failed to provide economic help to the heartland: import tariffs had “neither a sizable nor significant effect on US employment in regions with newly‐​protected sectors” and foreign retaliation “by contrast had clear negative employment impacts, particularly in agriculture.”

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Timeline of Activity

  • The update adds import data through 2023, new data on tariff collections, and updated model results for imposed, retaliatory, and proposed tariffs. The modeling updates reflect President Biden’s tariff increases and former President Trump’s tariff proposals. Nicolo Pastrone assisted with the research for this update.
  • The update adds a new column to the “Imports Affected by U.S. Tariffs” table, reflecting import data for calendar year 2022, data updates for prior years, and tariff-rate quotas that took effect in 2022 for certain steel and aluminum imports.
  • Tariffs on washing machines expired in February 2023 after an initial three-year period and a two-year extension. The Biden administration provided a two-year suspension of solar panel tariffs for four Southeast Asian nations beginning in 2022. The update adjusts the revenue and economic results for imposed tariffs.
  • The Biden administration has reached deals to replace steel and aluminum tariffs with tariff rate quotas for the European Union and United Kingdom and steel tariffs with tariff-rate quotas for Japan. The deals also eliminate tariffs on derivative goods from the same jurisdictions and will bring an end to related retaliatory tariffs. The update adjusts revenue and economic estimates for imposed and retaliatory tariffs and adds a new table illustrating how import levels of affected goods have changed since 2017.
  • Under President Biden, the U.S. will suspend tariffs on aircrafts and other goods from the E.U. under a five-year pause in the ongoing Boeing-Airbus dispute. We have reorganized the layout of the tracker.
  • U.S. to eliminate tariffs on $2.5 billion worth of Canadian aluminum that had been imposed on August 16, 2020, to avoid Canadian retaliatory tariffs.
  • U.S. to reimpose tariffs on $2.5 billion worth of Canadian aluminum on August 16, 2020, and Canada to impose retaliatory tariffs.
  • U.S. reduces tariffs on $120 billion of Chinese goods by half to 7.5% and China reduces tariffs on approximately $75 billion of US goods in half to 2.5% and 5%.
  • U.S. postpones indefinitely the scheduled tariff of 15% on $160 billion worth of goods from China and announces plans to decrease the 15% tariff on $120 billion worth of goods from China to 7.5% (date unknown, will be included in the model when the decrease takes effect). China took corresponding measures and canceled their schedule tariff increase.
  • U.S. concludes Section 301 investigation into France's Digital Services Tax, threatens tariffs on $2.4 billion French products. Our analysis now includes tariffs on solar panels and washing machines.
  • U.S. imposes 10% and 25% tariffs on $7.5 billion European Union goods under WTO ruling.
  • U.S. postpones scheduled tariff hike from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of goods from China.
  • U.S. announces 10% and 25% tariffs on $7.5 billion European Union goods under WTO ruling, with the authority to raise the tariffs to 100%.
  • U.S. delays tariff increase from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from Oct. 1 until Oct. 15.
  • U.S. announces the 25% tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods would increase to 30 percent, effective Oct. 1, after a comment period.
  • China announces additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports, from 5-10%, and will resume tariffs on U.S. cars and car parts suspended earlier in 2019. Tariffs to begin Sept. 1 and end Dec. 15. U.S. announces 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods to increase to 15%, some beginning Sept. 1, others on Dec. 15.
  • U.S. announces 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods would be delayed from Sept. 1 until Dec. 15.
  • U.S. announces 10% tariff on $300 billion Chinese goods, to be levied on Sept. 1, lowered from the previously announced 25% on $325 billion.
  • U.S. confirms announced July 5 plans to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports, roughly $500 billion of goods, modeled as a 10% tariff.
  • U.S. again threatens additional tariffs on Chinese imports if China further retaliates, increasing threats from levies on $200 billion and another $200 billion to $200 billion and $300 billion.
  • U.S. “indefinitely suspended” previously announced tariffs against Mexican products, set to begin at a 5% rate in June and gradually rise to 25%.
  • U.S. threatens 5% tariff beginning June 10 on $346.5 billion of imports from Mexico until illegal immigration across the southern border stops. It would rise to 10% on July 1; 15% on Aug. 1; 20% on Sept. 1; and 25% on Oct. 1.
  • U.S. announces it will lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, and those nations will lift their retaliatory tariffs.
  • U.S. announces it will raise tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China from 10% to 25%, with threats to impose an additional 25% on $325 billion of goods.
  • Tax Foundation separated our automobile tariff estimate to show auto imports from Canada, and made slight estimate adjustments to correct for rounding.
  • U.S. doubles the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, which responds by doubling its tariffs on 22 U.S. products.
  • U.S. threatens a 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods if China retaliates for the previous 10% tariff, and that would extend to an additional $200 billion of goods. This would amount to a $40 billion tax increase.
  • U.S. considers increasing the proposed 10% tariff to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese imports. That would be a $30 billion tax increase.
  • U.S. reaffirms plans to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports (roughly $500 billion).
  • Russia will begin placing tariffs on U.S. goods, worth about $87.6 million. (Slight adjustments were made to our estimates to correct for rounding.)
  • U.S. announces readiness to target an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports, and an additional $300 billion after that—an increase of $100 billion from previous threats.
  • Turkey will begin placing tariffs on U.S. goods, worth about $266.5 million.

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    Jul 11, 2023. A business plan outlines the goals of your business and how it plans to achieve them. Real important - because without it, it's like running a business in the dark. It's like a roadmap that guides your company's direction and helps everyone stay on track. Gone are the days when designing a business plan from scratch was a ...

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    A business growth plan is an ideal vision for your business's future. It is where you would like it to be in the next year or two. ... and following up on the latest trends that attract potential customers. Product Strategy. The plans in this strategy are focused on the products and services themselves. If it sells well enough, more customers ...

  22. 8 Growth Plan Examples for Your Business

    3. Check Pricing. Pricing is a marketing activity that relies on the knowledge and experience of your business's goals and the market's needs. Companies could use low prices as a growth strategy. Consumers are frequently drawn to your brand when you provide a more affordable option than your competitors. 4.

  23. What is Business Growth Potential?

    The potential growth of your business reflects the extent to which you believe your business can grow in the future by selling more products and services to your existing customers or by acquiring new customers quickly. A strategic buyer is looking for a 1+1=3 formula which means that by acquiring your company it allows them to reach into new ...

  24. How to Create a Growth Plan for Your Business in 6 Simple Steps

    Related: How to Leverage Virtual Sales Events to Grow Your Business 2. Define Key Indicators. You won't be able to measure growth if you can't measure change. Start by identifying key performance ...

  25. Unlocking Profit Potential: Strategies For Business Growth

    4. Diversify Revenue Streams. Relying on a single income source can be risky. Explore opportunities to diversify your offerings.This could mean introducing new products, entering new markets, or ...

  26. Budgeting for Growth: Master Future Business Expansion

    Before you can plan for growth, you must thoroughly understand your current financial situation and future needs. Start by reviewing your existing expenses and revenue streams.

  27. How to Build a Runway: Cash Runway for Small Businesses in 5 Steps

    Step 4: Plan for Potential Disasters and Build Your Cash Reserves. In Step four, you need to build your cash reserves to plan for potential disasters. Unfortunately, businesses can face uncertain times during their lifespan. Scenario planning can help you meet those challenges. Some are economic, such as recessions. But the danger doesn't end ...

  28. Cash Value Life Insurance Explained

    However, if you've maxed out your retirement plan (i.e., 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA)) for the year, life insurance can be an excellent investing vehicle for its tax advantages.

  29. Partner Program for Wireless Resellers

    Capable device required; coverage not available in some areas. Some uses may require certain plan or feature; see T-Mobile.com. Fastest: Based on median, overall combined 5G speeds according to analysis by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data for Q2 2023. Ookla trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission.

  30. Trump Tariffs & Biden Tariffs: Economic Impact of the Trade War

    Key Finding. The Trump administration imposed nearly $80 billion worth of new taxes on Americans by levying tariffs on thousands of products valued at approximately $380 billion in 2018 and 2019, amounting to one of the largest taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government ...