Use Your Business Plan to Chart Your Company’s Future

Business plans serve three purposes: to lay the groundwork for new enterprises as they get up and running, to guide successful businesses as they seek to achieve new heights, and to help struggling businesses overcome challenges and get back on the track to success.

Under all three scenarios, the objective is the same: to acquire customers and to generate revenue and profit. The variables are how your business will grow — and how big you want it to get. Think through your answers so you can include them in your business plan.

Companies grow in two basic ways:

  • By acquiring new customers: You can grow your clientele by

    • Heightening promotion of established products

    • Developing and marketing new uses for your established products

    • Developing and marketing new products

  • By generating increased sales volume from established customers: You can grow your business from within by

    • Making changes in your pricing or product line

    • Repackaging your products, or bundling products and services

    • Developing and marketing new products

If you’re planning for a new business, your entire emphasis will be on acquiring new customers, while established businesses will likely plan to increase business from established customers while also attracting new customers in order to achieve desired growth.

If your growth plans rely on the development of new products or new customers, dedicate sufficient patience, assets, and capabilities to the task. Product and market development often require time, which you need to account for in your business model.