Business Growth

We’ve all heard the harrowing statistics — just half of startups survive for longer than five years, and only a third of them see their ten year anniversary. Starting a business takes a special breed; you need to be fearless, determined, and dedicated if you want to see your brand through to success.

A huge component of that lies in your business’s growth plan. Your strategy needs to be concise, deliberate, compelling, and aggressive. Below, we’ll discuss some of the steps you need to take to start building a reliable business growth plan.

Developing an Actionable Business Growth Plan

Establish a Value Proposition

If you’re hoping for your business to be successful in the future, you need to have faith in your brand and understand what sets you apart from your competition. Start thinking about why consumers would look to you, specifically, for whatever product or service you provide.

No matter what answer you come up with, use it as fuel to create a value proposition and share that with consumers and other brands. Nail down your proposition and stick to it. The firmer you hold to those key benefits, the stronger-defined your brand will be. This can be implemented from the moment you recognize what direction you want to take your business in.

Paint a Picture of the Perfect Customer

You’ve outlined why you’re the perfect seller; now it’s time to outline the perfect buyer. Start crafting a buyer persona that will allow you to form a clear picture of who you’re marketing to and why. Think about the demographics you’re looking to target and what sorts of things may impact them socially or financially.

Once you have an understanding of your target customer, bring in your value proposition and start marketing to that customer. Potential buyers will begin flowing in if you’re marketing straight to them.

Consider the Customer Experience

Customer experience is an integral part of any business that centers around sales. It’s one thing to hook consumers– it’s another to provide them with a shopping or service-based experience that compels them to return to you time and time again. Build relevance with customers and work on crafting an integrated customer experience.

Ask Yourself About Expansion

The earlier on in your business’s life that you understand your long-term goals, the better equipped you’ll be to make them a reality. If you’re considering branching out into new markets or customer segments in the future, work that into your growth plan. A business looking to branch out into a new sector in a few years will operate much differently than one that’s set in stone.

swahrey(swah-rey) Dessert Bar

In 2015, Leslie Anne Ciccone and her husband created (swahrey), a dessert bar, in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, to satisfy their cravings for something sweet. They quickly attracted loyal customers with their tasty treats. When Mrs. Ciccone was ready to expand operations, she opted for an SBA loan from First Home. She chose First Home primarily because of the employees. She appreciated their kindness, their interest in building a long term relationship, and their ongoing support. “It’s nice to have people around you that are actually cheering you on and excited by your success,” Mrs. Ciccone says. Given the inherent risks associated with loans to restaurants, an SBA loan made the most sense for them.

The funds have been used to purchase new equipment, pay off debt, hire a full-time employee, and develop specialty packaging that has already helped increase (swah-rey)’s brand awareness and sales. Mrs. Ciccone is strategically planning to open new stores in the future and hopes to continue to grow with First Home.

Once you’ve put together your business growth plan, you’ll need to begin working immediately to pursue the goals you’ve outlined in that document. This will look different for each business — the key here is to work aggressively to meet goals that help you achieve whatever is outlined in your strategy.

For some businesses, this might look like crafting a new marketing campaign designed to target a new demographic. For others, it may involve bringing in new, visionary talent to help make innovative changes that are geared towards creative or technological advancements.

wellsprings residencesWellsprings Residence Assisted Living Facility

Providing personalized care to their residents is a priority for Susan and Reginald Kornegay, who own and operate Wellsprings Residence Assisted Living Facility in Apopka, Florida. They found kindred spirits at First Home Bank. The Kornegays first met SBA Lending Division President Thomas G. Zernick at an event where he spoke. “He was very personable and informative,” Mrs. Kornegay says. The couple had a very different experience with their previous bank when they inquired about a loan. She says they felt like a “cog in a machine” and were denied a loan simply because they had not been in business for more than three years.

In contrast, First Home visited them at their facility and determined they were an excellent candidate for an SBA loan that would enable them to purchase their facility rather than lease it. While securing the loan required significant paperwork, Mrs. Kornegay says that the responsive First Home team made the process faster and smoother. The next phase is to expand their operation to accommodate more residents. The Kornegays intend to build on their positive relationship with First Home for years to come.

The bottom line is that whatever your business needs to fulfill its growth plan should be the top priority. Team up with other members of your staff to come up with creative and practical ways to start tackling your plan one goal at a time. If you need a little guidance along the way, get in touch with us! Our mission is to blend bold vision and uncompromising delivery in order to ensure that your business receives the financial help it takes to reach success.

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