At first glance, both a business plan and a business growth strategy may appear to be the same thing with different titles. However, there is a marked difference between the two, and that is in the level of detail they contain.
A business plan, is a high-level plan which determines where your business currently sits in the market, where you want it to be (for example), in one year’s time and what elements affect that journey.
A business growth strategy gets more granular. In a strategy we get specific about the details; the what, who, when and how longs of the overarching plan…
One of my favourite documents, the One Page Business Model Canvas, combines both of these elements and helps you consider how one plays into another.
For a business to be most successful in making a step change toward growth, you would ideally have both a business plan and a growth strategy in place.
Here’s an example of how they work together
The plan is often long term. Let’s take a look at an example I’ve used in a previous article…
In the middle of the one-page plan is a section entitled, ‘Value Proposition’. Here is where you write down a summary of your business model – For me it is a promise of the value you will deliver and how you will communicate this to your key customer segments. It is a belief from your customer about how they will experience your brand and tells your customers why they should do business with you. Your value proposition makes the benefits of your products or services crystal clear from the outset.
Great, but how exactly will you deliver on that promise? This is where the growth strategy kicks in.
The strategy sets out shorter-term activities and is likely too detailed and specific for a box on a single page.
So, how will you deliver your value? And get really specific. What processes will you put in place, what touch points can you identify along the customer journey to keep communication flowing? What software will you use, do you need training, when? What timescales do you work on in delivery? How will you manage your time to ensure that you stick to that timescale?
How will your customer experience your brand, assuming your brand has already defined? Will you include thank you cards or compliment slips, how and when will you request testimonials or reviews? What packaging or document layout will you use? Which social media channels will you employ? Do you communicate via telephone, email, messaging and when is each type appropriate..?
Without going too far down a strategic rabbit hole, I hope you can see how the business plan and the growth strategy differ? Think, plan = the model house, strategy = the architects drawings…
The big takeaway
Converting a business plan into a strategy is a crucial step in translating goals and objectives into practical actionable steps and initiatives. It involves analysing market conditions, assessing internal capabilities, and identifying key priorities and resources required to attain the success you desire. By converting the business plan into a strategy, businesses can create a roadmap that outlines specific actions, timelines, and performance metrics. This strategic approach ensures alignment across departments, promotes efficient resource allocation, and enables effective decision-making to drive the business. The conversion empowers a business owner or organisation to execute their vision with clarity and purpose, with sustainable growth and competitive advantage.
I really love working on this with my clients. Linking the strategy and the plan to identify those high pay off actions for execution without distraction.
I hope this has helped you differentiate the two and perhaps highlighted where you can spend more time working on your business. If you’d like any further pointers on business growth, let’s have a conversation and find out how I can help.