I am often assured that a professional business, such as a consulting firm has a business plan and when I ask to see it, it often isn’t a business plan.
Instead, it’s an income and expense budget with a cashflow forecast. In other words, it is what banks ask for when considering a loan application, such as Start-up loans for access to finance and something small businesses ask their accountant to prepare, for no other reason than for a loan application.
Often when I ask the business owner which actions are aligned with the business plan to achieve the forecast numbers, I usually get a shrug of the shoulders, a weak smile and a; “It’s just the arithmetic of the number of clients I think I’ll provide a service for throughout the year”.
So, what should a business plan actually be?
Well, before answering that, consider this:
You have a sole trader client who is a self-employed plumber. In presenting last year’s accounts and tax return, he says to you, ‘I need help to grow my business by getting more customers’. He would therefore be expecting help in certain areas, such as; on how to improve business performance by putting business development plans in place.
You probably wouldn’t recommend a business or marketing plan because you don’t have either of these yourself. And if otherwise, it wouldn’t be the right place to begin anyway.
And because you were unable to help him, he falls prey to a more costly marketing consultant or you lose him to a more forthcoming competitor.
However, if your business already had a good business plan it would have identified your plumber’s problem and how to deal with it profitably. You would have the right suggestions for business improvement and therefore strategies to improve business performance which will address the cause of his lack of customers and cash flow.
Back to the business plan. What should it look like if you are to help your plumber client put some business growth plans in place via a business plan?
A sentence that states 5-10 years from now; what status your business looks to achieving to make it stand out. An example would be; “the biggest/most profitable small local business solutions advisor”
A sentence that states what your business does, who for and to what standards. For example; “we help small businesses to solve problems and grow”
Six statements of which must be measurable and achievable to fulfil the Mission Statement and keep moving towards the Vision:
For example; “All round business/financial advisory services to small/medium businesses”
For example; “Practical solutions at affordable prices for permanent income from every customer”
For example; “Automation everywhere to minimise employment and maximise data”
For example; “A small stable group of experienced people that will exceed planned results”
For example; “a 100% return on total assets”
The approaches I will take to ensure that the objectives are achieved.
For example; “Quarterly market intelligence report on competitor activities”
The detailed steps that named individuals will take by specific dates.
For example; “Eric will set up a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system loaded with prospects and clients by 30 June 2021”
The expected expenses incurred by implementing the business plan and the revenue receipts as a result.
For example; “New costs of £50,000.00 to get total sales to new customers of £240,000.00 for 2021”
Monthly management accounts showing actuals compared to budget.
Weekly/monthly KPI (key performance indicators) report of pre-sale statistics and trends.
Meetings to agree to corrective actions and changes. If you are an accountant wanting to grow your business and to understand how to add better value to your clients, then please click here.
If you can resonate with any of the above points or need assistance or guidance relating to a new or existing business plan or any other guidance related to your business, get in touch with us today. Please feel free to call and speak to an RBSS Business Advisor on 0333 355 1696. drop us an email, or use the form below. We provide real business solutions for start-ups and existing micro and small businesses.
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I am struck by how many of the business owners I meet that do not consider this, and when I raise the subject, they usually tell me that they are relying on a private rental property and a modest pension for their retirement with no further access to finance.
They do not see their business as a saleable asset but as a source of cashflow that will have no value when they stop working
And so often when I look at the financial structure of their business, its only assets are the debtor book, (some of which isn’t collectible), creditors at about the same value as the debtors, some cash in the bank and equipment and stock which would fetch less than book value if sold off.
It’s therefore true, such a business is really not saleable, just something to close down and walk away from; as do 250,000 other UK small businesses owners every year for this very same reason.
However, majority could be sold for a six or seven figure sum if managed differently
Such an amount would transform the owners’ retirement finances from ‘getting by’ to luxury.
Yet I get strong objections to the above proposition such as, “this business is all about me, so it isn’t saleable”
I politely disagree with the above and put it to you that any and every business is saleable
Well, it is instructive to first look at big businesses, which are all about money and return of investment (ROI) to see what they do. The aim is to not to be as ruthless as them but to learn for free what you can adapt.
Here is what they do (just in their financial management stream – there are 4 others*):
At face value, much or all of this sounds time-consuming, costly and bureaucratic. To an extent it is. However, big businesses perform the above actions for the very good reason that it works, knowing that time invested in doing this provides a very good payback and ensures their survival.
And remember, every big business was once a little one whose founders had the foresight to introduce strong business performance strategies and financial management at an early stage.
The average big business sells for 14x pre-tax profits. Yet I have seen small businesses making £50K pa close down for instead of selling as a going concern for £500K+
It may seem that chasing another order or dealing with a customer crisis is a better use of your time. However, it should account for all you do. Appropriate business and financial management would make the orders come in automatically and prevent the customer problem in the first place.
Knowledge is power and good financial management and other applicable actions gives you the power to make smart decisions that will build a saleable business worth millions.
Most of what I have instanced above are not difficult to implement. And if you find this a challenge, your Business Advisor at RBSS Consulting Ltd, Romford will do it for you, helped by low-cost apps.
Please note: not every action mentioned above will apply to your business which is a good reason to call in an experienced and professional Business Advisor for expert guidance. If you can resonate with some of the above points or are in any doubt as to which direction your business is heading in, get in touch with us today and you can be rest assured we will point and lead you in the right direction at RBSS Consulting Ltd.
Your first step is for free and takes 15 minutes by
Booking a free assessment here
to find out how much your business is worth today, what it should be worth, and the actions needed to get it there. All in a comprehensive report tailored just for you.
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“Delivering Real Business Solutions”
(*The 5 business streams are Marketing; Operations; Systems; People; Finance)
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