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How To Create a Business Growth Plan for Your Property

Campers and boaters want to enjoy the great outdoors at your property in the short term, and as the manager, you invest time and energy in providing a positive experience for them. What if you also want to expand your business in the long term?

When the time is right to grow your business, an intentional planning process is the key to your success. 

A business growth plan describes where you see your business in the future and creates a plan for getting it there.


Why You Need a Business Growth Plan

Creating a marina, campground, or RV park business plan may sound like a one-and-done activity. Instead, business planning is part of a continuous improvement process to enhance your property and streamline your operations. 

As a specific type of business planning, an action plan for business growth can help you achieve a number of goals, such as:

Risk mitigation. Planning for future losses with increased cash reserves lets you continue operations even through financial challenges.

Recoup earlier losses. Although you may have the capital to absorb losses, there are times when you need to regroup and add additional cash to your bank account.

Succession planning. When selling your business, you want to maximize its value. Business growth in the years prior can drive that value increase; it also secures a brighter future for any family members you may transfer it to.

Increased profit. You may also want growth for the sake of increased revenue and profit. 


Five Elements of a Business Growth Plan

Your business growth plan should include the following elements to explain the purpose and amount of growth, how you will achieve it, and how to measure the results.


1. Opportunities

Answering the “why” question is a common step in many business activities. Once you understand why you want to grow, you need to determine available options. 

In your campground or marina business plan, use this section to outline how you can grow based on market opportunities. Ask yourself questions like these:

  • Is our pricing optimal for our market?
  • Do I have the acreage or waterfront space available to add more sites or slips?
  • Is it possible to increase our footprint by purchasing adjacent property?
  • Are there amenities or activities I can add to differentiate our property from competitors?
  • Would our market support the addition of a restaurant or store?

2. Financial goals

Once you determine the opportunity for growth, it’s time to set financial goals. Start with a comprehensive evaluation of your current financials and then define financial measurements to achieve your growth goal.

Although goal-setting often is aspirational, revenue and profit goals require a healthy dose of realism. Be conservative when forecasting increases in revenue and don’t discount projected hikes in expenses.

With brutal honesty, you should create SMART financial goals — ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Once you’ve become clear on the opportunities you will leverage to meet realistic financial goals, it’s time to look at how you will get there.


3. Marketing plan

Most of the opportunities available to you will require some level of marketing. When building your marketing plan, you will need to consider these core components:

Your website. With the high reliance on internet travel searches, your website should be optimized for search engine optimization (SEO), especially since it often delivers that first impression.

Email marketing. Connecting with your audience by email is an important part of marketing, and email marketing best practices should be incorporated into your marketing campaigns.

Online review management. The value of online reviews cannot be overstated. Your marketing plan should include intentional review management strategies.

Online travel agencies (OTAs). Although you’ll pay fees to use them, OTAs increase your visibility and bookings. Include the use of a channel manager to streamline listing management processes, which leads us into software.


4. List of Software Solution Needs

The right software can be the difference between struggling to keep up with day-to-day operations and seamlessly scaling your business operations for growth. 

What current systems do you use?

Start by making a list of how and where your current systems are failing you. As you do so, note which systems keep your data in silos and cause unnecessary manual data input. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Can your property be found online?
  • Is booking a site a complicated process?
  • How many of your front desk processes are manual?
  • Can guests manage their own bookings and check in and out with no contact?

These and other questions that arise as you analyze your business software will guide you to the capabilities you need.

What do you need?

Here are three functionalities you will find critical for achieving your business growth plan.

Reservation management system. Manual reservation processes and outdated, legacy reservation management systems are significant barriers to achieving your growth. You need a modernized, cloud-based solution that enables efficient processes and operations on both the front and back end. For your visitors, the right solution delivers the easy-to-navigate reservation process your campers and boaters expect.

Marketing tools. The right marketing tools, including automation, segmentation, and personalization, enable you to implement sophisticated marketing plans.

Dynamic pricing tools. Dynamic pricing is the strategy of adjusting rates based on demand and external influences such as occupancy, season, and more. Executing this strategy manually is extremely inefficient, making it essential to use dynamic pricing tools to automate and streamline the process.


5. Establish a Timeline With Milestones

Establishing a timeline is the final step prior to executing your marina or campground business plan for growth. When setting deadlines, you need to break objectives into manageable steps with a milestone marking the achievement of each one.

Your timeline should include designated purchases or construction, software implementation, monthly or quarterly financial objectives, operational efficiency improvements, and marketing campaigns. In addition, remember to include how you will evaluate the achievement of each objective. 


Achieve Business Growth Plan Goals With Operational Excellence

Operational excellence is a prerequisite to business growth; you need strategies to save time and money while simultaneously enhancing your campers’ or boaters' experiences. 

Download our free ebook How to Achieve Operational Excellence for information about:

  • Elevating the guest experience
  • Improving guest and staff communication
  • Integrating with partner technologies
  • Empowering employees
  • Simplifying multi-property management

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