Whether you are a start-up business or a business that wants to grow the company to the next level, you may need some form of cash injection to help you on your way. But asking for money isn’t that simple. Any money lender will want to see a thorough business case and financial projections, to help them decide if investing in your idea is going to be a profitable one, or not. The business advisors at RBSS Consulting in Romford, Essex, help companies of all sizes get finance ready. Here is our four-step process that we will take you through.
1. Business Goals and Mission Statement
You’ve decided to take the plunge and begin the rewarding journey of entrepreneurship. Self-employment or starting your own business is a noble calling and is not for everyone. Do you want to sell products, services or both? What are your business goals? Do you have a mission statement? If you don’t have answers to these questions, not to worry. RBSS will help you define your business goals and mission statement. This is a necessary and vital step in creating a business plan. When networking or attending a social event, when people ask you, ‘What do you do?’ you will have a clearly defined answer formulated.
Entrepreneurs often work in solitude without having anyone to bounce ideas off of. Our business consultants are here to help you flesh out your concepts. It’s one thing to repeat your objectives to yourself or even write them down on paper. It’s a completely different ball game when you communicate your thoughts out loud to someone who can give you feedback. A mundane scheme can become revolutionary. You may be leaving money on the table by not considering other ways to diversify your product or service offerings. By diversifying, you increase your market share. A larger market share is usually indicative of more revenue and what business owner doesn’t want more revenue!
3. Research Demographic and Competition
Who is your demographic? Where are they located? How will you reach them? What are their spending habits? These are just a few of the questions we will ask you so that you can eventually build a profitable enterprise. Many novice entrepreneurs make the mistake of asking these questions after they’ve had their soft opening. If the right questions are posed and answered before opening, businesses would last longer and be of greater good to society. Are there other businesses like yours in the area you plan to serve? Do these businesses serve the same target group? Our expert business consultants will help you pinpoint your digital and brick and mortar competition.
4. Business Plan
Perhaps your parents will lend you money without a business plan, but a bank won’t. An investor, whether a bank, angel or venture capitalist worth their salt will need to see a clearly defined and well-executed business plan before they will even consider your solution and give you access to finance. All of the research results and questions answered will go into your business plan. This plan will be clearly formatted with every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed, complete with graphics, tables and examples. If you’re not a finance person, we have a consultant on staff that can generate your financial statements. This business plan will be the key in your success towards acquiring financing.
5. Due Diligence
There are the mundane but necessary things to make sure you have in place and up to date. They are the more legal requirements that we have to make sure you have in place. They relate more to the directors or owners of the company. This is in order to comply with the Anti Money Lending and Know Your Customer rules. They are the proof of identification, proof of address, a few months’ business bank statements and sometimes a CV for the directors. In some cases you may be asked for a credit report. We do this to make sure that these things don’t end up being the stumbling blocks after all the hard work has been done. Again, don’t worry about a thing. An RBSS Business Advisor will help you make sense of all this on a one to one basis.
What type of finance can RBBS Consulting help you get access to?
There are a number of ways for you to raise finance for your business. Here we explore the common avenues:
If you want to find out more about these options, they are explained on our Raising Finance page.
What's stopping you? Call the business consultants at RBSS now to help you get your business finance ready.
Whilst it is common knowledge and should be the goal of any business to grow and acquire more clients, as they truly say in the business world, it is more cost effective and easier to retain your current clients than to acquire new ones. However, with the stiff competition businesses face today and to help you compete effectively in getting more customers and keeping your existing ones, I’ll be focusing on five tips (not a magic wand) to help you achieve this.
1. After Service. Too many businesses are too busy looking for more clients to find time to look after their current clients who could, with the extra mile, quickly become their loyal customers. For example, if you gave great service to a client and that client loses your contacts, would it be easy for the client to find you again? How about if you sent the client complimentary, special offers, reminders or even a thank you for using our service. This would help keep you more printed in the client’s mind rather than them searching online and getting sidetracked by other competitors and offers. Clients too would rather stick with the same service provider if they were happy with them.
2. Keep it personal. Everyone...well almost everyone, likes to feel treated like a person and not just a number. Where possible include a handwritten ‘Thank you’ note where applicable. Build a rapport with your clients so they easily remember you. At the same time, know the boundaries so you don’t appear unprofessional or off-putting. There’s nothing wrong in asking for recommendations. That way you are also adding to your old clients. And always give your first name after your company name.
3. “Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” — Kevin Stirtz, Author, More Loyal Customers. Basically, your target audience and business objective combined are the foundation of your business. The two therefore have to be aligned and in order for the two to stay aligned, you need to know your target market well and what your business has to offer to best meet their needs. According to one study, a 5% growth in customer loyalty can result in a growth in profits from 25% to 95%.
4. Digital marketing. Like it or not, you really cannot avoid digital marketing to retain and acquire new clients. Engage with clients as much as possible to build a business community by engaging with your potential clients, knowing about them and their likes etc. From there you have more insights to what their expectations are, staying connected and in their minds. The true customer nowadays wants to feel connected and cared about. Don’t be a business that disengages as soon as the service is delivered. Keep yourself updated on the trends of your industry and what your competitors are up to, to stay on top.
5. Customer Service is the bottom line to a business “Excellent customer service is the number one job in any company! It is the personality of the company and the reason customers come back. Without customers there is no company!” - Connie Elder, Founder, PEAK 10 SKIN. Whatever shape or form your clients come in, they are your number one priority and all businesses need and should thrive for repeat clients. To add to that; the Southwest Airlines theory that, ‘how you treat your employees is how they will treat your customers’ sums up the customer service requirement. Make them your customer evangelists. Happy employees also make happy customers! A business cannot survive without both.
If any of the above points resonate with you or you just want advice or to share or offload any issues related to your business however small (or you may be thinking of starting a business), please feel free to contact us to talk to an experienced and professional Business Consultant at RBSS on 0333 355 1696 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need any help with a business startup loan, business valuation and performance health check or business plans & growth strategies, contact us. If you are based around the London or Essex areas, you may want to pop into our office which is based in Romford, Essex for a one-to-one complimentary chat.
Statistics vary by +- 5% on the number business failures within the SME community in the UK, however all statistics in the UK agree that up 60% of small and medium businesses fail within the first year and a further 30% within three years. It’s been proven that part of the reasons for business failures is lack of proper business planning, understanding business finance, cash flow challenges or lack of business support, either prior to the business starting or during the business operation. However, this does not have to be your fate. Benjamin Franklin says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
To avoid such a pitfall, I’ll be sharing five very brief tips to turn your business around or in some cases, how to avoid failure altogether.
1. Knowing your business objective is key. This is probably the stage at which you have to be true to yourself. You should be asking yourself Soul-searching questions, such as “why am I in this business and what do I seek to achieve”? This will probably lead to other related questions such as, ’Am I in this more for the money than anything else?’’ Do I enjoy this?’ If the answer to the first is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the second, you are either in the wrong business or job role or lost your passion for it. Or you may be in the right business, but performing the wrong role within the business. Who says you have to be the CEO because you started it. Maybe you are better at being the Head Chef. This could be where you are most productive, rather than leading the organisation as a whole and administering the business. What do you do if this is the case? Business Consultants at RBSS are here to assist you in thinking through and putting systems and procedures in place to achieve your business objectives. Let’s help you with a full business valuation, performance and health check.
2. Take action as soon as possible! When things start to go wrong in a business, the signs are always there. Sometimes we hope they get better and hold on for too long or take the wrong action when we do take action. The more you procrastinate, the fewer options you leave open to save your business. This could lead you down the path of making decisions out of frustration as opposed to wise and calculated ones. One of the most crucial steps would be to get in touch and be open with your accountant if you have one. You certainly do NOT want a court making the final decision for you! If you are not sure where to start, RBSS is there to give you unbiased advice.
3. If the stumbling block is mainly financial or a cash flow problem and you have the luxury of borrowing money off friends and family, then you can do so. However, the reality is, not everyone has that option. That’s where RBSS can step in. We can help you explore various finance options and secure finance that suits your business circumstances. We work closely with UK’s leading innovative business finance providers and advice on how to improve profitability and improve margins. We have helped hundreds of clients successfully raise the right kind of finance at the right time for their business. Finance is the blood of any business and the flow of it is crucial but not always available.
4. This next point is often avoided as much as possible even by large well established companies. Always contact or call a meeting with colleagues, staff members or directors including other stakeholders as soon as it is necessary. Whilst you may not be able or need to share all the gloomy information, try as much as possible to share what needs to be shared to put hearts at rest. With the speed at which bad news spreads on social media, you certainly do not want those concerned to hear the news from a third party. The above would apply especially to where there needs to be staff cuts and business needs to continue with as high a moral as possible and manage expectations. Even at this stage, staff could help structure your decision making process.
5. Review Customer Relationships. Another key point is to review your relationship with your customers. In any business, after your staff, your customers are the most important. What is your relationship with your customers like in key areas like; customer service, online presence including social media, advertising etc. With the amount of competition and speed of change and expectation, you need to be consistently reviewing and updating your position on and offline. We at RBSS can help you analyse your position in the marketplace and where you need to be, making your business still sustainable and able to compete effectively.
Notice I haven’t said much about marketing and advertising at this stage. Well there is a reason for that. It’s one step at a time. Let’s address some fundamentals. Don’t wait for things to get bad before you contact us. Contact us for a full business performance and health check. We will assess the 5 key drivers of your business and give you a health report on them. Furthermore, we will help you with key planning, methods and implementation to turn things around and make things better. Our mission is to build and fund better and sustainable businesses.
Contact our experienced and professional Business Advisors at RBSS on 0333 355 1696. We are at hand to give you unbiased advice, be it at the business planning stage, the implementation stage or the growth stage of your business.
We would love to know what you thought of this blog, please leave us a comment below
Whether it’s starting a business or running an existing successful business, we could all do with a few pointers every now and then. Here are 5 important business quotes and what you can learn from them:
1. "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."- Winston S. Churchill.
Many of us are aware of the burdensome challenges Churchill faced whilst the British army was heavily under fire, including himself. However, he proved it does take true courage and perseverance especially in the face of failure. This eventually led Britain to victory. Your business may be under fire at the moment for various reasons, lack of customers, state of the economy, cash flow issues, temporary industry setbacks, lack of funding or even a lack of clarity of the health of your business. RBSS Consulting will help you do a full business health check and performance diagnostic and offer real solutions to help you meet your business goals and thrive.
2. “I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.”- Steve Jobs
Going the extra mile is a lonely place. This also makes the extra mile a place filled with opportunities. Over time, that's what will make you successful. This is what made Jobs a great success. He didn’t care if he stood alone in his ideas and he continued to pursue them in spite of the conflicts and alienation they bought, even upon himself. With fierce competition facing many business, RBSS Consulting can help improve your business performance making your business sustainable and driving growth by showing you where to persevere.
3. "Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.’’- Albert Einstein
Being successful is not always the hardest thing in the world as it is equal parts of luck and hard work. However, if your business concentrates on adding value to its clients or customers and does this wisely, then you are on the way to success.
Nevertheless, adding value is a not as easy as people think. Einstein was true to his word and is well known for his theory of relativity and the equation E=MC2, which foreshadowed the development of atomic power which we still enjoy and value til today. As an entrepreneur, it is important you look to add sustainable value to your clients, thereby being an effective business model within your community. Value that is not easily eroded. This could be in the business model, customer service, innovation, etc. RBSS Consulting will help you with this.
4. "You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.’’- Oprah Winfrey
Success is much more likely to come your way if you’re in it for the right reasons... the right reason should be because you love what you are doing. According to statistics an average of 60% of small and medium businesses fail within the first year and 30% within three years. This has been known to be because of poor planning, lack of vision, driving profitability from day one or even over trading. We at RBSS can help you find or rekindle that passion by also finding your purpose for the business and having clarity of what to focus on in those early years.
5. On a lighter note, ‘’Spend more time smiling than frowning and more time praising than critising.’’- Sir Richard Branson
I believe I can safely say whenever Branson features in the press, he’s often caught with a big smile. We should also be aware that happy employees are central to the success of a business as emphasized in his book, ‘Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School’. This largely contributes to Virgin’s success. Appreciating and embracing your team including their ideas really makes a business. This gives employees freedom to help structure your decision making process. An entrepreneur should aim to be a lender and NOT a boss.
If you are facing any of the above challenges or would like to talk to an expert about taking your business to the next level, connect with the top business adviser in Romford, RBSS Consulting on 0333 355 1696 or drop an email at email@example.com. We provide real business solutions for startups and existing micro and small businesses.
Undeniably, customers are at the heart of every business and you need to keep on acquiring new ones to keep your business afloat. It doesn’t matter what you do, you may be a consulting firm or a bakery or a real estate agent, your business needs new customers. They not only provide increased access to finance but also help in boosting business growth.
However, it is easier said than done. In the competitive business world of today, you certainly need that extra edge over competitors to be able to draw in new customers. Here are 5 essential tips to get new customers and stay on top of the game –
1. Make it easy for customers to find you
Have you been complaining about how you just can’t seem to get new customers? Well, think for a second – is your business easy to find? It doesn’t matter how great your services are or how amazing your product is, it all boils down to the fact that are you visible to potential customers or not. Increase your online presence; put a digital marketing plan in place, make use of online directories as well. Make sure that you put yourself in front of your potential customers. Visibility is the Key to Credibility which leads to profitability.
2. Leverage your existing network
Try to put your existing network to use when it comes to getting more customers. Request your old customers to provide a referral; these could be the strongest leads for your business. Make efforts to network within your target market. For example, if you run a bakery business then join local baking groups, online baking communities and more. Then leverage this network to increase your customer base. Why not look up your local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and join their networking events?
3. Speak at events and exhibits (or host one)
Sign up for speaking at events, exhibits and meet-ups within your target market. This is the best place to put your business out there, in front of your potential customers. If there are not many relevant events, then maybe you could host one? It would be the best chance to connect with your target market.
4. See whether free trials work for you
People don’t buy what they see or hear, they buy what they experience for themselves. If you can provide a free trial of your product or service, then advertise the same. If a complete free trial is not viable for your business then you could offer a small sample for free. This is a proven way to gain new customers; ones that are more likely to turn into regular clients. This isn’t proposing offering a free service as part of your accessing the market. It also works better for some businesses than others and can be built into your model in a positive manner.
5. Run a referral program
Referrals are often undermined whereas they should be treated like gold. Plan and put in place a referral program which mutually benefits everyone. For example, ask your customers to refer a new customer and both of them could get x% off on the next order. Overtime, you will have a good number of new customers coming in from your referral program itself.
If you would like to talk to an expert about acquiring new customers, then connect with the top business adviser in Romford, RBSS Consulting on 0333 355 1696 or drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We provide real business improvement strategies and also offer business start-up plans for small businesses.