Even the smallest of businesses has many issues to consider and deal with; providing the goods or services that are core to the business, maintaining solid customer relationships, finding reliable suppliers, are just for starters. You will need to consider many aspects, the inter-relationships between them.
You set your goals, and then plan to achieve them, giving consideration to what you want to achieve, where you want to be in x years time and how, in commercial terms, you are going to get there.
Whether yours is a ‘start-up’ situation, possibly an acquisition, or, even a disposal or cessation, we have the experience to help you avoid the pitfalls.
Once the business ‘idea’ is born, planning starts with research.
Know your subject
Know your market
Know your competitors
Know your suppliers.
How detailed does my business plan have to be?
The vital thing is to plan; how detailed will depend upon the circumstances of each case. The back of an envelope may be all you need!
But more realistically, the bigger the commitment, both in terms of finance and time, the greater the effort should be put into the proper planning. Remember – proper prior planning prevents p… poor performance!
Your business plan will help you flesh out your idea and get a better feeling of whether you are ready to go ahead.
Taking time to complete a thorough business plan before you start your business will reduce the risk of you missing something.
A plan will also be required by your bank and other lenders before they offer you credit, business loans or overdraft facilities.
It is important to outline all of the main points to give you and others a clear snapshot of your business idea, or where your business is heading.
Completing the plan will help you think methodically and sharpen your ideas about your business concept.
The plan will also enable a stranger to grasp your business idea without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
The following is not exhaustive but a thorough business plan will normally include the following:
Executive Summary. Who are you? Where do your skills lie? What experience do you have in the business sector that you are proposing to enter?
Business Overview comprising brief history of your business or why you have decided to start one, purpose of the business, products and services. Your current position, competitive advantages, strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, a brief overview of your plans to grow the business.
Business Strategy for the next year/3/5 years, your specific objectives and goals, tactics, steps you need to take, resources you will need. Outline strategic threats or opportunities in the short to medium term and outline the business core values.
Marketing – market research undertaken and marketing plans, how you will reach your customers, how you will use technology, how you will actually promote your business to clients, your marketing budget and how you will build credibility.
Team and management – structure and experience, external advisors, management systems.
Financial budgets and forecasts – Cash flow forecast, profit & loss forecast, balance sheet forecast, capital expenditure budget
What are the benefits of writing a business plan?
Many potential start-up businesses are daunted by the prospect of writing a business plan. But it is not a difficult process – and a good business plan focuses the mind as well as helping to secure finance and support.
The business plan will clarify your business idea and define your long-term objectives. It provides a blueprint for running the business and a series of benchmarks to check your progress against. It is also vital for convincing your bank – and possibly key customers and suppliers – to support you.
As important, the plan gives you a pattern to monitor actual performance against – it enables you to see – in ‘real time’, rather than well after the year end, if problems are arising. The results shown in your annual accounts or tax returns should never come as a surprise.
Having drafted your business plan, we can advise you with respect to the tax implications, and give further consideration to the best trading vehicle for you, having regard for commercial factors, business risk and your personal circumstances.
You may need to consider the impact on your business and cash flow of several different taxes; PAYE, VAT for example, as well as income tax and corporation tax.
But with taxation, there are penalties for failing to notify the appropriate authorities at the right time; ignorance of the law will not get you off the hook!
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