Many businesses have created goals for growing their business, making more money and gaining more customers and clients. Many small businesses do not produce the growth that they want to each year. This can be due to the business doing the same things as last year or increasing the amount of the same type of things and bumping against time limitations, or they don’t know what to do but hope that they succeed. Doing the same things will result in similar results unless your business gets lucky due to external circumstances. Growing your business means producing new results. It may mean producing results that your business has never produced before. This will require new thinking and new actions.

New thinking and new actions will produce the growth, however, your business still needs to maintain what it has already accomplished and built. Some businesses make the mistake of throwing out the actions that got them where they are and replace them with a completely new set of actions. This can work and is risky because it is gambles everything on the unknown and unproved. It is better to maintain what worked in the past because it worked. Even if the results were not ideal, they got your business to its current level and should only be thrown out when they are replaced with actions your business had tried and proved to be better or equivalent. Those actions got your business where it is today and allowed your business to gain a certain amount of momentum. If your business has been consistently producing these results for 6 months, it is stable. This stability and momentum will gradually die if your business stops taking those actions. Then you will have to build the stability again or have your business trapped in a pattern of flux like a rollercoaster.

To grow your business and build upon what was built in the past, your business needs to use that stability and momentum as a foundation on which to build future growth. That future growth comes from new ideas and new actions. This way, the worst case scenario is that your business maintains its current level assuming that the market conditions remain the same. The best case scenario is your business exceeds its goals. If market conditions change for the worse, your business still needs to maintain what worked and use new ideas and actions to compensate for the market decline and create new growth.

The new ideas and new actions that will create the growth will come from new market share, entering new markets, offering new products or services, building new business divisions, or building new businesses entirely. When looking at these areas for opportunities, answer who, what, where, when and why.

Who has a need or want that isn’t being met?
What do they need or want?
Where are these people located and what do we need to reach them?
What can we offer them to meet their need or want?
When will they need or want it?
Why is this an opportunity for us?
What actions do we need to take to make this successful?

Many of these questions can be answered by speaking to the market or through research. Once new ideas and new actions are created, the actions need to be planned out for the year. Then it will be easy to see the gaps in the plan that need to be filled and how the results will be produced. You will see how your business will fulfill on its goals for growth. With your road map in hand, it will become about taking the actions to test them out, tracking the results and making course corrections when required, just like a road trip.

For more on planning in a way that works, read our article here.