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Here’s How To Leverage A Business Plan For Expansion Decisions

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For an entrepreneur considering business expansion, creating a solid business plan is essential to making informed decisions and minimizing costly mistakes. A well-crafted plan can help clarify goals, identify potential obstacles and outline the steps needed to achieve success.

 

A business plan can provide a solid roadmap for your expansion plans, but It’s important to do things like conduct thorough research, set realistic goals and regularly review and update the plan first. In doing so, entrepreneurs can identify potential risks and opportunities and make informed decisions that support long-term growth and sustainability.

 

Below, 16 experts from Forbes Business Council share their best advice for business owners who want to leverage their business plan to guide expansion decisions.

1. Conduct A Test Before Doing A Full-Scale Rollout

Test the plan with a small implementation before the full-scale rollout. Try to identify or develop a sampling that will be a close representation of your actual conditions and environment. Identify and fix issues, and also seek opportunities for improvement. Once these are accomplished, fully implement the improved plan. – Ferris Ayar, Astute Group LLC

2. Create A Clear And Thorough Plan

It is important to keep in mind that a business plan should be comprehensive and include detailed financial projections, market analysis and a clear strategy for success. Additionally, it should also provide insight into the company’s competitive advantage and long-term goals. With this in mind, make sure that the document is well-researched and easy to understand. – Pavel Israelsky, Angora Media

3. Pinpoint Your Target Market First

An entrepreneur should thoroughly research and analyze their target market when creating a business plan for expansion decisions. This is important to determine the plan’s feasibility, forecast revenue and make informed decisions, in addition to identifying potential challenges, risks and opportunities for differentiation and growth. – Mauricio Rosero, M2 Studios

4. Be Conservative And Mindful Of The Economy

When creating a business plan for expansion, it’s important to be conservative in your estimates and projections, especially in light of a potential economic recession. A recession can greatly affect market dynamics, making it harder for a business to perform as well as projected. It’s likely that financing will be harder to come by, so a clear plan will be even more necessary. – Anthony Luna, Coastline Equity

5. Determine Which Markets Could Benefit From Your Business

Conducting a market analysis is important because it provides a realistic understanding of the industry and the potential demand for the company’s product or service. This information can be used to make decisions about where and how to expand the business. The market analysis should also consider the financial aspects of the expansion, such as costs, projected revenue and potential ROI. – Trey Ferro, Spot Pet Insurance

6. Find Your Niche

For business expansion, you can claim a niche within your existing market and narrow down your audience to a very specific customer. It sounds counterintuitive but it’s a great way to optimize your focus to get higher brand loyalty and word-of-mouth growth. – Marilisa Barbieri

7. Have Your Plan Vetted By Verified Experts

In the Information Age, you should have a cohesive board with experts in finance, technology, sales, marketing, strategic partnerships, market research, cultural development, venture capital, recruiting, DEI, agility and innovation. This cohesion is the bedrock of today’s sustainable enterprise. – Ben Sever, eRemede

8. Use Your Plan To Find Areas Worth Investing In

A strong business plan is not only a critical component of success but also a foundation that companies are built, expanded and scaled upon. Writing a business plan involves analyzing your industry, competitive landscape and product market fit. When considering expansion, refer to the portions of your business plan like your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to highlight areas where you can best invest in expansion. – Christian Brown, Glewee

9. Sketch Out Everything

You have to literally simulate (or whatever gets closest to that) everything that you are planning to do and all the potential outcomes and circumstances. There are multiple obstacles and variables that are easy to avoid if you just simulate what is going to happen. Some details can be easy to miss when everything is just in the form of thoughts. Try to act it out. – Jean Paul De Silva Clauwaert, Web Content Development

10. Forecast Short- And Long-Term Performance Goals

By including accurate forecasts of performance for short- and long-term goals, that information can then be used as a baseline for judging the effectiveness of strategic decisions throughout the growth process. To accurately predict an expansion’s chances of success or failure, estimates should be based on credible data and industry standards. – Dustin Lemick, BriteCo

11. Use Agile Principles

Having a business plan goes without saying. In today’s fast-changing economy, what is most important is that your plan is based on agile principles to create a start fast, fail fast culture. This allows your people to be innovative through rapid prototyping and have a stronger perception of your product in the market because the days of dropping a new product once every six months are over. – Eric Miquelon, Avanade

13. Ensure Your Plan Includes A Thorough Future Market Analysis

A thorough future market analysis will help identify potential risks and weak sides, as well as opportunities associated with expanding into new markets. This analysis is important because it gives leaders an understanding of the feasibility of the expansion and helps to validate the decision before significant resources are invested. – Andrey Kovalev, BusinessInvitee Consulting Group

14. Start Small And Learn From Mistakes

A professional business plan is invaluable when it comes to considering an expansion. It provides a GPS route to get to a proposed result. It is exciting to have expansion goals, but start small and get your feet wet. When you encounter any issues in acquiring a new facility or company, solve and learn from them. You will become more confident and prove to banks that you can successfully merge companies and expand your business. – Francisco Ramirez, The ACE Group (TAG)

15. Outline Multiple Scenarios

Create multiple scenarios for your expansion plan in terms of timing and scale. With an ever-changing economy, it is important to have options and not be tied to a single outcome. This will also save you time and money in the long run. – Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing

16. Don't Spend Too Much Time On Hypotheticals

Business plans usually have too many hypotheticals and are outdated by the time you finish writing them. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t do your research, but a concise strategic plan is far more practical. Define what growth looks like, decide if you’re going to build or buy that growth (or do both) and then break this growth down into actionable sprints. Imperfect action beats perfect planning every time. – Simon Bedard, Exit Advisory Group

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