Starting with a Vision
"A vision without strategy is an illusion." -Lee Bolman
When your desire (goal) is to grow your business, grow your client base, grow your revenues, the first necessary steps are typically the ones left out of the plan. First step is the vision and or destination. Where do you want to be specifically or what are the bench marks you want to achieve. 'We want to grow' is a blurry vision. The more targeted the vision, the greater the likelihood to achieve.
As Lee Bolman stated, there must be strategy. Strategy is the leverage to achieve the your vision with the most concentrated effort and allocation of resources. The two most common business plan mistakes I see, the plan strategy is to work hard and or focus on everything as most important. When you focus on everything, you focus on nothing.
A common vision for clients we work with is to grow revenues. In communicating the vision to the team, we always want to quantify the vision with 'grow revenue x% by what date' and communicate this to the team so that all know the vision. The strategy begins with the identification of opportunities and mapping this to tactics. One strategy can be to focus on one or two market segmentation or focus on clients within a specif revenue threshold. Another strategy can be to position your organization to be the market owner of a specif product, service or offering.
"Except in a small number of cases, business planning appeared to be positively correlated with business success as measured by our variables. While our analysis cannot say that completing a business plan will lead to success, it does indicate that the type of entrepreneur who completes a business plan is also more likely to run a successful business." Ding & Hulsey, University of Oregon