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Strategies for Building Business Success 6BE 002

Guidelines for writing the Strategic Growth Plan for an Existing Small Business
This guide to writing your strategic growth plan is, as you will see, quite comprehensive, however given the diversity of organisations that students may select, it should not be seen as a definitive guide & you are encouraged to use other sources in considering the structure of your report. The main body of the report is your discussion of the significance and interpretation of your analysis of the industry/ sector & business and specific strategic recommendations for the future growth of the organisation. Your own reflective learning experience statement on undertaking this module, tables/ charts etc; PEST Analysis, SWOT Analysis for example should be put into your appendices & do not count towards your word count. Do NOT just describe these analytical tools in the main body of your report, you MUST highlight the significance of the analysis, what does it mean for the company? When you are finished writing the first draft, you will have a collection of sections on the various topics of the Growth Plan. You will then need to edit them into a smooth flowing report. The real value of entrepreneurs doing a strategic growth plan is not just having the finished product in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of research and thinking about the business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, study and research when you are not sure of the facts; to explore ideas critically takes time, but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later. The plan outline given is a generic model suitable for all types of businesses. However, you should modify it to suit the particular circumstances. The quality, structure and appearance of the work as well as the ideas expressed within are all important. It will take a number of weeks to complete the plan. Much of that time will be spent in researching the company, industry & competitors, often re-thinking ideas and assumptions. As you do this, different opportunities and ideas for possible future growth and innovations will start to emerge you need to research & think these through from an early stage. Remember the primary purpose of this report is to develop a holistic growth strategy for the business over the next 1- 5 years consequently your recommended growth strategies represent 40% of the overall report. You must, as with all assessments, provide a list of references at the end of your report.

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Small Business Strategic Growth Plan

Table of contents
Table of contents....................................................................................2 PART 1: Executive summary & Company Background ....................2

PART 2: Strategic Industry/ Market Analysis & Competitor Analysis 3 PART 4: Managing the Growth 6 Appendices (not part of the word count)................................................6

PART 1: Executive summary & Company Background

(Suggested word count 750 - 1000 words: This represents APPROX 10% overall grade) This section should explain the fundamentals of the business & effectively provides a case study of the business. Company Purpose Many companies have a brief mission statement, usually in thirty words or less, explaining their reason for being and their guiding principles. If the company has a mission statement, this is a good place to put it in the plan. Whether they have a mission statement or not identify the sector they compete within, who do they market their products/ services to? (Briefly here - you will do a more thorough explanation in the market analysis section). Is it a growing business? What changes are happening in the sector and how might the company position itself to take advantage of them? Identify key competitors. Company Background Avoid making this just a potted history of the business, but refer to; years in business, short bio of lead entrepreneur, reputation (if known) in the business community, sales and profit history (if available), number of employees. Highlight the most important company strengths/ Weaknesses of the company What significant challenges the company faces now and in the foreseeable future. What are the plans for the future of the business? Growth?

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PART 2: Strategic Industry/ Market Analysis & Competitor Analysis

(Suggested word count 1500 words: This represents APPROX 30% overall grade) Overview & trends in the industry: Brief overview & trends of the sector/ industry Trends in target market(s) in consumer preferences, and trends in product development. Consider using tools such as PEST analysis to identify their likely impact on the sector/ industry & the implications for the business. Identify the Key Success Factors for companies competing in the sector/ industry What matters in the industry / sector? (This will be elaborated on in the next section.) Key markets/ customers & their expectations/ What do they value? Using SWOT Analysis: You need to undertake an evaluation of the companys strengths & weaknesses related to factors such as finance, marketing, management, production or service levels. Also a clear identification & discussion of opportunities and threats present or emerging from the external environment eg: changes in legislation increasing market demand, access to new international markets, competitor activity, new distribution channels, supplier problems The analysis part of SWOT is where you then demonstrate how you think the company might build on strengths, limit or overcome weaknesses, capitalise on opportunities & protect the company from threats. The Growth strategies you recommend in the next section should reflect your findings in the Industry/ market analysis & SWOT analysis.

Competitor Analysis: List the organisations main competitors: Do they compete with the company across the board, or just for certain products, certain customers, or in certain locations? Compare the products/services with competition: Use the table called Competitive Analysis below to compare the company with the three most important competitors. In the first column are the key competitive factors.

Page 4 of 7 Since these vary with each market, you may want to customise the list of factors for your particular company. In the cell labelled Company, state how the company is perceived in their customers' minds, then tick for each factor whether it is a strength or weakness. Then analyse each major competitor. In a few words, state how you think they compare in the final column, estimate how important each competitive factor is to the customer. 1 = critical; 5 = not very important.

Competitive Analysis
Importance to Customer

FACTOR Products Price Quality Selection Service Reliability Stability Expertise Company Reputation Location Appearance Sales Method Credit Policies Advertising Image




Competitor A

Competitor B

Competitor C

Having done the competitive matrix, write a short paragraph stating the competitive advantages and disadvantages.

PART 3: Recommended Growth Strategies

(Suggested word count 2000 words: This represents APPROX 40% overall grade)

Page 5 of 7 This section of the report requires you to develop a holistic growth strategy for the business. It is recommended that you present this as three integrated stages. Stage one discussing short term strategies over the next 12 month period Stage two from the end of year 1 to end of year 3 Stage three end of year 3 to year 5. In your initial overview of this part of the report, you should make reference to the basis on which the company will compete , e.g. Focused Differentiation and why you believe this is appropriate. It is very unlikely there will be just one strategy, rather a number of strategic initiatives that work together over the 5 year period to achieve the growth. Your report should demonstrate how the different facets of strategy work together and make long term strategic sense over time. You should place particular emphasis on issues of innovation and competitiveness. It is important that these growth strategies should make sense in light of the analysis in the previous sections of your plan i.e. capitalising on what the organisation is good at, responding to market changes, looking to take advantage of new opportunities, overcoming looming threats or developing new innovative services, products or ways of working. You should make appropriate references to your analysis in this section. Your growth strategies will be a combination of some of the following (You must prioritise these) Market penetration of existing markets New Product or service Innovations Market Development/ International Market Development Diversification into other sectors & products (possibly related to existing business) These may be achieved through one or a combination of: Organic growth - Joint Ventures/ alliances - Acquisitions/ mergers with other firms Each strategy needs to have a clear strategic rationale linked to specific strategic objectives for the company. You need to explain the strategy, why do you think these strategies are appropriate and to discuss some of the details of each option considering where appropriate such issues as; Marketing implications, Development of innovative technical processes to increase competitiveness, Cost containment or reduction, Capital investment requirements, Overseas market growth, Improving supply chain management efficiencies, Quality control, Outsourcing of activities to improve cost efficiencies, Evaluation of suitable JV partners, Potential acquisitions & related benefits The list could be much longer!

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PART 4: Managing the Growth

(Suggested word count 1000 words: This represents APPROX 20% overall grade) In light of your strategic options identified in section 4 on growth strategies you need to highlight the following: Timing schedule for Growth Plan: A timeline with projected completion dates of strategic objectives over the 3 stages of the plan. This should illustrate how the different strategic options fit together It is best to present this in a chart format. Projected Sources of Finance - How will the strategies be funded? Loans/ venture capital? Leadership/ Structure Who the key management team to manage the growth strategy will be? If a single entrepreneur, how will their management style need to change in light of the growth. Does the organisational structure need to change? Support/ Networks What Government initiatives/ support e.g: Business Links/ Mentoring/ Consultancy could assist in helping deliver the strategy. Will the business need to develop particular networks? Premises - Are they big enough for the proposed growth? Where will the business relocate? Technology - will existing systems cope? Would new software or equipment ease pressures? Improve efficiency? Quality? Customer service? Supply Chain Management?

You must include a list of references at the end of the report

Appendices (not part of the word count)

Provide a reflective learning experience statement (500 1000 word max) on what you believe you have learnt and how you have developed in terms of 1. Understanding the processes of small business growth 2. Skills development whilst undertaking the research project, & 3. Your reflections on the module as a whole, what might you do differently if you took it again? Where available: include details & studies used in the Plan; for example: Brochures & advertising materials Industry Statistics Market Research

Page 7 of 7 SWOT Analysis PEST Analysis Competitor Analysis Table (Where appropriate) Revised Organisational structural diagrams, who is responsible for key functions? Any other materials needed to support the assumptions in this plan.