Updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Get the latest advice for businesses in Scotland on the response to the outbreak, including financial support and business relief

Create a development plan for your business

Set out your goals and work out strategies to achieve them

Get in touch

Get in touch

Call us on


0800 783 6000

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

Or tell us what support you need


Check out the top questions employers ask

Read FAQs
Quick find tool

Don’t wing it. Think goals. Think strategy. Think tactics.

Businesses can’t tread water forever. You have to take account of riptides and the odd shark, be they competitors, developments in technology, strains on labour markets or swinging changes in your sector.

The War of the Worlds author H G Wells said: “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”

Your plan is more than a wishlist. It’s about action, and survival when the tide turns.

Do you have a cunning plan?

Who are you?

This is an evaluation of your company. What does your business do? How do you differ from competitors? Where do you rank yourself compared to business rivals? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What resources do you have?

Who is your customer?

This is about identifying your current and future markets. Customers drive your business. Talk to them. Understand why they come to you. Find out what their needs are, and how they are not being met. Conduct focus groups and customer surveys to see how you are viewed from the outside in.

What’s happening in your industry?

This is about identifying movement in the marketplace. Look beyond your own business to what is happening sector-wide. Can you predict any trends? Can you forecast any challenges or more developments that will work in your favour? If you can, try to figure out what direction your competitors are moving in.

What are your business objectives?

These can be both short and long term. What skills and knowledge will you and your employees need to attain these goals? Look in the direction you want to go. If you have significant growth ambitions how will the employees you have support this aim? How can you prepare them for the challenges ahead? You don’t necessarily have to hire new people. Look at your current workforce.

Who are your employees?

This is about staff development. What skills do they have? What knowledge will they need to help you attain your objectives? What ambitions do they have for their own careers? How can you match your goals to their own? What training can you give them? You can’t develop one without the other. Let them know how their career will progress along with the business.

Who can you partner up with?

You don’t need to operate in isolation. Strategic relationships can benefit both parties. How can you work together? And don’t forget the help we can offer in identifying the skills you have in your team and how you can grow them.

10 questions to ask...


What are your main objectives? Do they involve new products, new staff, improved marketing or company culture, new legal or financial considerations?


Have you worked out the strategies and tactics to achieve your goals?

Daily changes

How will your plan affect the day-to-day running of your business?


What weaknesses within the business will hamper you?


Have you let your employees know your plans? How can they help?


Have you identified potential risks around your strategy?


Do you have the resources to implement your plan? What creative ways  can you employ to fill gaps? eg in recruitment, you can take on a Modern Apprentice.


Who within your team will be responsible for implementing your plan and does everyone understand their role?


How will you review your progress and have you created a timeline to keep you on track?


Have you factored in elements of trial and error? When should you abandon ship or head back to shore?

Our support or DIY help

Create development plans for employees

These handy tools can help you figure out what your skills base is, including creating job specifications that will help you fill any gaps. Let your team match your business objectives.

Find out more

Skills for Growth

This free service does what it says on the tin, combining consultancy from Investors in People with support from our Employer Engagement Advisers. Grow through skills.

Find out more

Social share

Stay in the loop

Sign up to our newsletter for monthly business updates.

Your details will remain completely confidential and we won't share them with any third parties.