Level Up is a program designed to assist small business owners in identifying when they are ready to expand and drive their business to the next level. Various approaches to growth will be identified and analyzed, including identifying new revenue streams, entering new market segments, expanding customer base, growing the team, acquiring new technology and equipment, adding strategic partners, opening new locations, and evaluating mergers and acquisitions. Through this program, business owners will work on putting together their path towards controlled-risk growth as they evaluate and develop their metrics, benchmarks, teams, financials, and strategies to reach the next level of growth. At the completion of the program, eligible participants may apply for a County of Riverside grant.
Our six learning modules will focus on the biggest success drivers for growing your business:
Module 1: Intelligent Planning
Every business faces a series of challenges on its path to growth. This module covers a variety of successful approaches to growth and outlines the key elements of business planning that predict success. Key topics include:
- Are you ready to grow?
- What does growth mean to you?
- What are the key drivers of growth in your business?
- How do you build a strategic plan that matches your vision?
- How do you conduct market research to validate your vision?
- How do you establish KPIs to ensure you achieve your vision?
Module 2: Financial Management
In this module, you will understand your numbers through your P&L and build your financial projections to support your growth plan. This class will teach you how to accurately project growth, model it, and stress test it to make sure capital will work effectively with your growth plan. We’ll discuss ideas for improving your cash position, evaluating your expenses, optimizing your pricing, conducting reliable financial forecasting, and more.
Module 3: Understanding Customers
There is only one boss: CUSTOMERS! Growth in your business is all about attracting new customers and/or expanding what your existing customers are buying from you. Before tackling sales, marketing strategies, and activities, it is key to understand your customers, both current and potential, to properly target your growth efforts. In this module, we will focus on identifying your target audience, understanding their pain points, what they care about, and honing your niche to drive future growth.
Module 4: Sales and Marketing
All businesses engage in sales and marketing activities, but few tie all the elements together into a cohesive strategy that adequately addresses all the steps in the customer lifecycle. From collecting leads to converting customers to creating fans, we’ll use a simple but powerful framework to evaluate where you are today, identify your areas of opportunity and gaps within your customer lifecycle, and develop a roadmap for sales and marketing that will better position your business for solid growth.
Module 5: Optimizing Operations
Operations covers the entire infrastructure — equipment, processes and procedures — that enable you to produce and deliver your product or service in a way that lets you run a successful business. These areas of your business often provide competitive advantage and determine your profitability. This module will help you assess and tighten up your operations, giving you opportunities to become more efficient, more productive, and more careful with all your resources (money, time, staff). We will also cover key issues in managing people.
Module 6: Managing People
With growth comes optimizing and expanding your staff. Understanding human capital needs based on your growth plan is critical to achieving your goals. This module will help you understand your current team, identify missing talent, develop an organizational chart that supports your growth plan, understand staffing options to minimize expense and risk, and drive a high-performing team through strong culture, leadership, training, and management.