Picture the scene: you’re about to take the first step on an exciting new journey. You know roughly where you’re headed, but how you get there is something of a mystery.
This scenario isn’t exclusive to literal journeys, either. Owners looking to grow their business and expand it to new horizons are faced with the same, often overwhelming, anxiety.
They also have many questions: where should they start? How will they navigate from where they are now, to the profitable and popular digital agency they know they can be? How can they grow a predictable business?
Just like travelling from point A to Be on foot, the answer to all of these questions is a straightforward one that often gets missed; business owners must map out their growth journey before they take a single step forward.
Planning Your Journey
Don’t worry, we understand that the thought of planning your journey feels like a daunting task. But once the process has begun, you’ll find that knowledge really is power – you’ll be more prepared and clued in on what lies ahead. That makes for a much smoother ride.
Over the last few years, MAP have successfully supported digital agencies as they’ve turned their creative passions into tangible, deliverable services. As the relationship with each of our clients has developed, we’ve come to understand the anxiety around planning for growth (not to mention actually growing).
We’ve put this experience to good use, however. Through our client relationships, we’ve been able to identify the areas businesses most need to focus on when preparing to set out on their growth journey.
That translates to helping them to set:
- Business goals: where do they want their business to be in 90 days’ time? How about in 3 years?
- Personal goals: short and long-term, and the effect their ambitions have on their personal life and their family
- Current position: what’s the landscape like right now? What obstacles do they need to navigate?
The latter of these focuses – the current position – is particularly telling, and requires some additional attention. After all, how you can decide on where to go if you don’t know where you’re starting first?
Gauging the current position means objectively asking questions like:
- How much profit has been generated over recent time periods?
- What services can you offer with the resources you have?
- How much profit do fee-earners generate?
- What are the key financial systems contributing to cash flow and how can they be optimised?
- Who are your ideal clients and how much are current clients contributing?
- How much cash is being generated?
Answering these questions as honestly as possible is crucial. If you’re not objective and honest with yourself, then it’s much more difficult to map out accurate growth plans. But once you’ve asked those questions and provided the answers, you’ll be ready to start on your journey.
Taking The First Steps
At this point, it’s important to talk about predictability and why it’s so beneficial to growth plans. On one hand, predictability can be bad: during a suspenseful film, you don’t want to be able to guess too much of what’s about to happen.
When growing your business, however, you hope for the opposite. Predictability can, for example, help you to better develop financial forecasts with your accountants, as well as budgeting for marketing expenses and making new hires.
Don’t think that being predictable takes the fun out of running a business, though – it simply means that you’ve got a better idea of what your organisation is capable of doing, and provides some flexibility when it comes to changing your strategy. Even if the journey itself might have a few twists and turns, you can rely on your growth preparation and strategy to steer you straight.
Refining the Road
Even with that predictability, those twists and turns can throw some unexpected obstacles in your way. But what’s a journey without a few speed bumps or a wrong turning now and then?
In business, our growth plans can change when we find our ambitions evolving, or the landscape is altered by forces outside of our control – maybe sometimes, we just need to take another look at our route.
Much like peeking at Google Maps, it helps to remind yourself of where you’re up to and what lies ahead. For MAP’s clients, that means taking part in quarterly reviews, where progress can be checked upon.
These regular meetings work something like mile markers, creating structure to our client’s growth journey and providing plenty of opportunities to change the route or rethink their approach if necessary – all part of building predictability into their business.
The View from Above
For MAP’s clients, some of this might seem familiar – and it is. The process detailed above (which we’ve fondly taken to calling Mapping) plays a significant part in the MAP Methodology, the system we use to help our clients to achieve bold new heights.
Throughout Mapping, clients develop a higher-level view of the business, and of their own ambitions – both professional and personal. The figurative height of this view allows for an all-encompassing impression of the business and allows them to have:
- Better understanding of what’s to come
- Ability to foresee and adapt to upcoming challenges
- Transparency in your growth plans
- A higher chance of reaching your destination on time
Overall, the MAP methodology makes our clients’ goals more achievable, easing them into the journey ahead on a road which is much easier to navigate.
With a little bit of preparation and the right support on your side, you can have the same results. There’s really no need to feel lost on your business’ growth journey: just reach for a map, start planning, and inject some predictability into proceedings. Simple.