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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Following the Budget 2021 announcement, find out what all small business owners need to know.
As you would have heard numerous times, we live in a fast moving world especially where business is concerned. New today, obsolete tomorrow. Selling your product/service is more about reaching out to your customers unlike when, it used to be the other way round. This however, could be very challenging when you are stretched and have limited resources or at least not unlimited. There’s a never ending list of tips on what every small business owner should know. However, I’d like to focus on 5 tips which is a good place to start. Please note this is practical advice for real results from feedback from businesses we have worked with.
One of the prominent ways to prevent your business from being stagnant is to stand out from the competition. One of the most common questions business owners need to ask themselves is: ‘Is my business still relevant to the target market I have and am I presenting or packaging it in the best possible way taking in to account the resources available to me?'. One of the catch phrases in businesses today is; beyond expectations or exceeding expectations. The way to achieve the above, would be to look at your business from a constructively critical view. The following 5 tips can help you revive your business:
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.
Is your businesses struggling to be seen? Does it have an active presence on social media, or are you like one of the many business owners who say that they don’t have time to post regularly on social media? Do you know that social media makes a difference? These social media platforms will bring awareness to your business, organically grow your business, and one of them may even make you some extra money! By not doing so you are letting opportunities pass you by.
Business is business and whatever the size of your company there are many principles that apply to all. Look at the following skills that big businesses use that small businesses can use too:
If you’re serious about your business you will have to resign from your day job at some point. Making this decision is like jumping out of a plane. At first, you are eager to put on the parachute and get up in the air, the idea of free falling on your own is exciting.
You are now several thousand feet up in the air, with your feet hanging out of the plane. Then the question come into your mind. Is it safe? Am I ready? Should I wait? But if you wait too long the moment might pass completely.
All credit to Rita Gunther McGrath on this blog. She’s the author of – The end of competitive advantage. She says that: ‘organisations need to forge a new path to winning: capturing opportunities fast, exploiting them decisively, and moving on even before they are exhausted. With this book she explains a new set of practices based on the notion of transient competitive advantage. She shows how some of the world’s most successful companies use this method to compete and win today.’
There are many reasons for business failure. From poor management and not following the business plan, to bad market research, to poor marketing strategies - the list goes on. From the outside, it can be easy to spot what someone isn’t doing right, but when you’re on the inside it’s not so easy to see the mistakes being made, even when you’re the one making them. Below we look at three common business mistake to avoid that could save your business from going under.