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A Business Plan is for You

27th April, 2018

How many business owners consider the Business Plan to be the piece of homework required when you start a business or seek funding? It is true, this is often the only time when some business owners think about a Business Plan or commission someone to write their Business Plan!

Asking someone else to write your Business Plan is a big no no – it must be yours and you MUST believe in it. What advisors can do is act as a critical friend to challenge and improve your ideas and maybe help you with the financial forecasts.

But a Business Plan is for YOU and can help when you feel your business:

  1. Is stagnant;
  2. Cannot grow as turnover and profit keep hitting a glass ceiling;
  • Is not exciting you.

If this sounds familiar take some time to step away and take a good look at your business and yourself and work out what you want to achieve personally and professionally. Then work on a Business Plan for YOU to:

  1. Consider and plan the future the next two – three – five years;
  2. Have a base from which you can develop but more importantly communicate your vision to your team;
  • Help manage profit and cash flow to where you wish it to be;
  1. Have a plan to support your ultimate exit from the business; and
  2. Only once you have used it as a catalyst for business improvement use it to raise funding if necessary.

A great place to start is Michael Porters five forces which is replicated below:

What do your competitors look like?

  • Do they compete on price;
  • Do they compete on service;
  • Do any have defendable market positions;
  • Is the market consolidating – if so, should you try and consolidate or be consolidated;
  • What do their people look like – what is their remuneration proposition.

Where is the supply chain strength?

  • Are their alternative suppliers maybe from new territories;
  • What choice do customers have, do you have a different or even better unique proposition;
  • How long is the supply chain can you influence it?

What are the substitutes?

  • This includes a do nothing proposition;
  • Is your product or service future proof or at least moving with the times;
  • Are you innovative if you are, who knows you are?

Where is the new entrants threat is it through?

  • Innovative product;
  • Technology– look at Toys R Us;
  • Or just a fact that your industry has low barriers to entry.

What Next

After you have considered the market environment get yourself five pieces of paper. Then consider these five headings:

  1. What is good about my business;
  2. What is bad about my business;
  • What does the model company in my industry look like;
  1. What are my professional goals;
  2. What are my personal goals.

You are now ready to bring together a plan to take your business to the next level:

  • Build on your strengths;
  • Mitigate any identified weaknesses;
  • Manage any conflicts identified;
  • Develop your business, staff, product or service proposition.

Once you know where you wish to take your business and how you plan to achieve your goal you can consider the financial impact of your plans and reach for success.

I am always happy to answer questions and discuss elements of my thoughts contact me at mark.hislop@adv-accountancy.co.uk

Mark Hislop

Corporate Finance Director

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02922 331169

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