Planning to Realize Your Growth Vision

By Tom Bixby, President & CEO, LEVEL Management Partners
Published March 25, 2016

Our 4-part series on Growth Vision began with defining Growth Vision, and continued by describing how a Growth Vision is developed. In Part 3, we discuss planning to achieve that Growth Vision.

Importance of Planning

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
Winston Churchill

It is hard to argue with those revered gentlemen. Planning is not just important, it is vital to achievement. We each can easily recall our own experiences where we had hoped to achieve a goal but never took the steps necessary to make it happen. What is your example?

I recently visited a Charlotte area company’s owners who were interested in selling their business. As they described their company, I suggested they view their business through a potential buyer’s eyes. In a few short minutes, we identified several things about their company and its operations that might concern a potential buyer. We concluded that all of those items could be improved given some time and attention. Unfortunately, their personal circumstances were such that they needed to sell quickly. As our visit concluded, they remarked how they wished we had that discussion a few years earlier! They could have planned to address those issues and reaped significant benefit today.

Who should be involved in the planning process?

If achieving your Growth Vision is important, then creating a Growth Plan is essential. Your company’s leadership team is a great place to start, as each are stakeholders in Growth Vision success. Make sure they understand and support your Growth Vision. The Growth Plan will help you identify each person’s role in achieving company growth goals.

David Shavzin, Client Partner with Level Management Partners and a leader in our Atlanta LEVEL Expert Network™, stresses team engagement in Growth Plan development.

“As you translate your Growth Vision into your Growth Plan, make it a collaborative effort. Including your management team and other key staff will engage them in the process and produce a better plan. It will also create a sense of ownership in the results, driving the entire team to work together toward achieving the Growth Vision."

Seek out and enlist anyone else who can add significant value to your planning process. Those are people who can contribute important new ideas, fresh perspectives, and proven best-practices. I always rely on a diverse group of experts covering each facet of business, our LEVEL Expert Network™. With their assistance, we can take a holistic view of the business and turn up an extraordinary collection of recommended actions to drive growth.

Organizing the Planning Team

In many smaller businesses, the company leadership team may include just the owner(s) and one or two other managers. All are extremely busy focusing on day-to-day operations and rarely have quality time set aside for strategic thinking and long-term planning. When you add a collection of outside experts to the planning team, careful coordination is needed to minimize the time commitment of inside and outside resources and maximize the value of their participation.

Make sure you have an experienced resource leading the planning program who understands everyone’s role and expertise and can effectively synthesize each contribution into a cohesive and actionable growth plan.

Prioritizing Growth Initiatives

For most companies, building a Growth Plan with a diverse, well-orchestrated team of subject-matter experts will document dozens of high-value growth initiatives. The next step is to prioritize and schedule those projects based on three key factors:

  • Amount and timing of potential value created by each project
  • Scale and availability of financial and people resources needed to execute the projects
  • Degree of potential disruption to current operations and profitability

Here again is where experienced program leadership is a critical success factor for your value growth program. When the right team comes together to discover an amazing Growth Vision with a solid Growth Plan to achieve that vision, the return on investment can be extraordinary and enterprise value growth can be life-changing for the business owner and all company stakeholders!

View Part 4 - Executing Your Growth Plan
How healthy is your business? What changes might drive sustainable growth?
© LEVEL Management Partners, Inc. All rights reserved.