A businessman succeeding at his business growth plan, looking at high-rise buildings being constructed in the distance.

What’s the process of building a business growth plan? What essential components are needed for your business to skyrocket?

Claire Hughes Johnson’s process for better management involves setting the foundation for long-term growth, both in your company and employees. We’ll examine two of the key steps for building this foundation: codifying your company’s guiding principles and developing your company’s operating system.

Continue reading to learn how to create your ultimate business growth plan.

Codify Your Key Principles

To ensure that your company has a clear identity to guide its business growth plan from the beginning, Hughes Johnson recommends that you codify your company’s key principles in a set of guiding papers. She says that these guiding papers should include four components: your company’s mission, long-term targets, key values, and team charters.

Component #1: Company Mission

First, Hughes Johnson recommends drafting a mission statement—that is, a concise statement outlining why your company exists. She clarifies that such statements should be unique to your company and ambitious—unique because they lose value if other companies can repeat your mission verbatim, and ambitious because they need to propel your company’s growth over the long term. For example, a coffee company aiming to produce ethically sourced coffee at a reasonable price might have the following mission statement: “To eradicate unethical coffee sourcing practices in developing countries and provide high-quality coffee at fair prices.”

Component #2: Long-Term Targets

Because mission statements often tend to be abstract, Hughes Johnson explains that companies should also codify several concrete long-term targets that can motivate employees and orient the company’s actions. For instance, a new sports betting company might have the following long-term targets: “Earn 5% of the sports betting market share in three years; increase revenue by 20% annually for the next five years; and develop three features that differentiate our sportsbook from competitors.” 

Component #3: Values

Hughes Johnson notes that while long-term targets establish your company’s aims, writing down your values establishes your company’s culture. She writes that when you choose your values, the most important consideration is that they’re authentic—otherwise, your employees will recognize that they’re contrived and derive little motivation from them. For this reason, she recommends seeking feedback from your employees about your values to ensure they’re true to your company. Apple employees, for example, might say they value creativity, ingenuity, and innovation, since Apple’s goal is to drive technological progress worldwide. 

Component #4: Team Charters

Finally, to provide employees with guidance on a more fine-grained level, Hughes Johnson recommends drafting a team charter to clarify the purpose of each individual team. Such documents, she explains, provide valuable clarity to team members about their specific goals and responsibilities—unlike the mission statement, which is focused on the company’s bigger picture. In particular, she argues that team charters are essential in phases of rapid growth, since these phases often cause confusion about team members’ specific roles while the company is evolving. 

Develop Your Operating System

Hughes Johnson notes that while your guiding principles lay the groundwork for your company, your operating system—the set of underlying norms that outline how your company functions—allows your company to function effectively each day. We’ll discuss three subsystems that are essential to your overall operating system: constructing strategy, ensuring accountability, and fostering communication.

Subsystem #1: Strategy

First, Hughes Johnson explains that companies need a dedicated system for determining their strategy because they’re liable to run amok without such a system. At its core, a company’s strategy involves decisions about where to allocate resources (especially people and money) by deciding which potential sources of growth deserve more or less focus. 

To make these decisions, Hughes Johnson advises company leaders to reflect on their financial status and goals for the next year. Then, leaders should make projections about the potential costs and returns of different projects to decide how many employees, and how much money, to allocate to any given project. For example, if Meta expected its virtual reality platform to generate 10% of the company’s revenue, it might not be strategically prudent to allocate more than 10% of its total budget to the virtual-reality team.

Subsystem #2: Accountability

To best implement your strategic plans, Hughes Johnson points out that you need clear accountability standards that identify who’s responsible for which aspects of a project; otherwise, task assignments won’t be clear, leading to shoddy execution. For instance, if Google’s self-driving car team didn’t clearly delineate who was responsible for which aspects of the project (such as the software, the lane assist, and the steering), the team would be in disarray.

Further, to retain strong accountability throughout the course of a project, Hughes Johnson recommends that you meet with your team each week to review progress. She explains that such meetings are pivotal for keeping team members in the loop, as well as affording the team a chance to re-evaluate their approach if the project is proving unsuccessful. 

Subsystem #3: Communication

Just as team meetings keep members on the same page, company-wide forms of communication keep your entire company up to date on key developments. Hughes Johnson explains that by creating clear lines of communication, you can cultivate trust from your employees because they won’t fear missing out on important information. And although she acknowledges that every company has different communicative needs, she asserts that candid, easily accessible information is essential to every organization.

A Business Growth Plan With Principles & Operating System

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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