6. Gather market intelligence It is critical that your growth plan is well informed. If you plan to grab a larger share of the market, but the overall market is shrinking, then it might not have a lot of impact on your bottom line. Before you lay out your ideas you should monitor trends and collect as much market information and other relevant data as possible. There is a vast range of open source learning and innovation resources that is freely available. 7. Check that your growth plan is working How will you know if your plan is working? Set measures to forecast and map the growth targets you have set, using these as part of a continuous review and evaluation process so you can do more of what works and explore what doesn’t. This will keep your growth to plan and make communicating progress to key stakeholders much easier, whether they are inside or external to the business. 8. Get your team to fully buy-in No successful business operates on one person’s ideas and resources alone. Communicating your vision to those around you is vital to ensuring it is realised. You need to make sure everyone understands and is on board with any changes you wish to make, and that everyone is pulling in the right direction. If certain team members are resistant to change then you might have some difficult decisions to make about their future at the company. 9. Involve external stakeholders As well as completing a personal audit, you might find it beneficial to ask other immediate stakeholders what they think. Other people will have their own vantage points on exactly where the business is at and their own individual expertise might help you to better evaluate any strengths and weaknesses. They might also be able to identify other opportunities and complications you might not have been aware of. 10. Engage with the wider community Engaging with fellow owner-managers and other external parties can breathe fresh life into your business and provide valuable support and morale. According to alumni of our business growth programmes, one of the most valuable aspects is the peer-to-peer networks we create. This two dimensional learning arrangement is a great way to build and maintain motivation and share and generate new ideas. Professor Lynn Martin is associate dean and professor of entrepreneurship at Manchester Metropolitan University Centre For Enterprise.
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