Do your business growth plans react well to change?
(UPDATED 1/20/2022) When things are uncertain (as they are today), an effective business growth plan is one that is agile. Meaning, it changes as you need it to without it feeling like every deviation from the original plan is moving mountains. After all, deviations should be expected, and good growth planning accounts for this.
Although, most business growth plans I evaluate tend to shoot for blue skies and forget to think about what happens if it doesn't work out exactly as they planned (which is strange since it rarely does).
Here's how you implement an unstoppable business growth strategy by framing your planning around agile methodology. It creates space for honest reflection and a platform for effectively reacting to real-world outcomes.
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As the owner of a start-up stage business (a growth hacking marketing agency), I've applied Agile principles to the growth of my organization, whether investing in lead generation or optimizing the sales funnel... or weighing the differences between Regus Spaces and WeWork as a solution for housing our rapid growth... and I urge my clients to leverage our growth services in a way that is sweeping, not getting tunnel vision on the problems of today.
Translating agile-thinking into an effective business growth strategy first means widening the lens to include all aspects of a business that touches growth, not just marketing or sales (hence my mention of the co-working space).
Get your teams working in harmony towards the same goals. All of your major stakeholders should know what the overarching North Star is and what their contributions and impact should look like. This usually means getting leaders in sales, marketing, operations, and senior management to the table to frame the rules of engagement. I recommend getting a 3rd party to organize, drive, and mediate this exercise.
You should always take a minute to assess, really assess, your existing circumstances. This is as much of an internal diagnostic as it is external one. And it's as much of an exercise to build on growth outcomes as it is to assess where the gaps are in your reporting model so you can properly read those outcomes. The biggest gaps I typically see are with sales tech utilization, absent marketing tech, and little to no integration/automation. These are problems are surfaced during the diagnostic and solved during Sales Enablement and Growth Infrastructure phases of our roll-out.
There are 2 facets to this: Content and tech.
With content, you have to make it manageable. You can't take on all things at once. If you have a trove of content sitting out there already, it's possible that none of it is relevant, and it can be overwhelming to think about all of the problems you have to resolve by digging into it. If you have no content, you need to build out the foundational stuff first (website, basic sales email templates), but you might feel like you have to do it all at once. You don't... start with the basics. Either way, I highly recommend creating content for your integrative growth strategy. It's one of the best tools for experimentation.
On the tech side, you have to consider Execution & Analysis... something to deliver your content and something else to help you read those outcomes. My favorite tools include:
- Hubspot's Pro Bundle for just about all execution and reporting consolidation
- SEMrush (for SEO planning and analysis)
- Basecamp (for project management)
- Pandadoc (for presentations & contracts)
The cycle: 2-week template
An easy-to-follow growth strategy roadmap starts with having structure... a schedule to keep the process flowing so you can build on velocity and move with momentum. Having a template means people will know what to expect in any given window and remove the barriers that prevent creative intuition.
EXPERIMENTATIONWeek one is reserved for standing up and analyzing experimentation. Everything we touch must be captured and recorded as an experiment, which means we have intent determined before we turn the lights on, and it's spelled out as a proper hypothesis.
Week two is all about reacting to impact. Did the experiments generate the expected/intended outcomes? What did we learn? How do we build this into the next 2-week sprint cycle? I tend to analyze at the end of week 1, so week 2 is spent iterating on our ideation.
Looking for help implementing an agile business growth plan?
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