Do You Need A Business Plan?

The majority of successful businesses have created a business plan at some point, usually before their start-up.

What Is A Business Plan?

A business plan helps you to address all of the major components to starting your business. It is essential to create one, as it makes you carefully think through the majority of the important parts your business will be built upon. Ideally, you will create a business plan BEFORE you start your business.

Why Create A Business Plan?

A business plan is generally prepared for two reasons:

1. To enable you to obtain financing for your business

2. To help decide if the essential parts of starting a new business have all been considered.

Often new business owners, and even the more experienced ones, will sometimes overlook certain aspects of starting a business, and one of the main things overlooked is the business plan. Although a business plan is often considered to be optional, they do serve a vital purpose to business owners setting up a business.

A good business plan will help to ensure that the  majority, if not all of the possible questions have been answered, and the business strategies have been thought about. It will make sure that you have thought  about and considered such things as:

  • What are you selling?
  • How are you selling it?
  • Who are you selling it too?

Some business owners will say they don’t need a business plan as they “Have it all in my head”, This can lead to misunderstandings due to a lack of clarity.

When you try to keep things like a business plan in your head it can cause a number of issues such as:

  • You can forget things
  • Things you do remember might not be exactly as you had initially worked them out.
  • Ideas that you had at one point might have been revised and tweaked and now you are unsure which one is the one you want to use.
  • You are unable to revisit the ideas that you initially thought of, mulled over and then dismissed, but now might work.

A well prepared business plan will allow you to document what you know and have the permanent impact of writing it down.

Writing A Business Plan Is Complicated?

In the world of big business a business plan is not only essential but is a must have. When you look at some business plans you will see that the layout and sections are modelled after the layouts used for these big companies. However, for smaller businesses and especially start-ups it is not really necessary for you to prepare an overly lengthy and complex document. Your business plan need not be a time consuming, uncontrollable and over-the-top difficult process!

Preparing A Preliminary Business Plan

Preparing a Preliminary Business Plan is a straight forward step by step method that will allow you to organise your thoughts and then write down your intentions in a meaningful way. Apart from giving you a roadmap for your business it also provides you with a structured document that you can provide to, a bank or investors should you need to. By going through the steps of sitting down and preparing your Preliminary Business Plan you will have:

  • Engaged in a key strategy that will have helped you to get your thoughts organised
  • Totally focused on the intentions of your business.
  • Applied a straightforward and step by step process as you prepare your business plan.
  • Become more clear about your business, its goals and direction.

What Will A Preliminary Business Plan Cover?

 

Here are just some of the questions that your preliminary business plan should answer:

  • It will describe in detail exactly what the purpose of your business is to be.
  • It will describe who will be your customers/clients for the products/services you will be selling.
  • It will explain how you are planning to deliver your products/services to your customers/clients.
  • It will explain the pricing model that you plan to use.
  • If you are selling a product it will list your major suppliers
  • It will highlight what you think are the potential risk factors for your business.
  • What established businesses are your competitors
  • At what point do you plan on having employees and how many?

 

 

Digital Business Accounting

Many businesses, particularly those that have been around for a number of years, will be sticklers for doing things the old fashioned way, only upgrading their systems when absolutely necessary for the survival of their business. It is a fact that many accountants still prefer to keep paper records instead of digital ones and, while this may be useful, it can also be perilously dangerous. Here are some reasons you might want to upgrade to more modern practices and how your accounting department could really benefit.

The Cloud and Backing Up Data.

Since the advent of so called ‘big data’ everything is connected. Tools such as Google Drive or Dropbox are used commonly among business accountants to sync their records and keep everything bang up to date. Sure, having your documents in a handy filing cabinet to wheel out in meetings is useful, but what if there’s a fire or some property is stolen? Or what if you happen to be away from the office when you need something important? This is where cloud storage can really help – giving you access to all of your documents wherever you are, via phone, tablet, laptop or whatever’s convenient. If you have a team of accountants this will also save you a great deal of time as you’ll be able to share information and work on files simultaneously.

Computer Software.

Many old school business directors might prefer the old hat methods of accounting; sitting down with a calculator and crunching through numbers. While this can be a perfectly effective way of managing your accounts, the bigger the business and staff level, the harder it becomes. There are many software products out there such as Sage or Xero (many other products available!), which can really help with the day to day managing of your accounts. What’s even more impressive, is that you can set up access tiers for various employees and get a team working on one particular document at any given time. These software packages not only help you keep track of your accounts, but they can help you manage customer records and stock levels too. Imagine how much time that could save you and your business?

At the end of the day, running a business is about making the right decisions. Whether or not you make the right decision depends largely on what kind of information or data you have available. Computerising your business can deliver some incredible insight into the potential failings of your business, and new interpretations of data can offer new strategy ideas, keeping your business current and relevant.

6 Business Management Tips All Managers Should Know

It does not matter whether you run a small local business or you run a large business, you still need to manage your business properly for it to grow. In this quick guide I ma going to cover the following business management tips:

Hire The Best People For The Job

Making sure you get the best people for the job is crucial for both the growth of your company as well as for your sanity. Before you take on any new employee you need to ensure that apart from being fully qualified and able to undertake the job that they will also be a good fit for your existing team. It will not always be the person with the best qualifications for the job who will be the best fit.

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail

It is a common trait amongst a lot of business owners that they will make snap decisions when they are faced with challenges, but this isn’t the best way to handle things. It is not possible to have a contingency plan for every eventuality that may happen, however if you do have one then it is a lot easier to handle. For those that you don’t have a plan for then you need to not rush in and make rash decisions. Take a step back, survey the issue, involve other people who have good knowledge of the issue, work out why did it happen and then make an informed decision as to how to fix it. Once it is fixed put the procedures in place to either ensure it doesn’t happen again or if it does the way to fix it.

Have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) In Place

When you have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place then everyone knows what is happening at every stage of the workflow. With good SOPs in place, you can employ someone who knows absolutely nothing about your business, and they will be able to get to grips with the task at hand in a short space of time. If you aren’t sure of how to develop your SOPs then it would be a good idea to consult a professional to help you out. As with anything new the systems will be challenging at first, but overtime people will begin to wonder how you ever managed to run the business without them.

Declutter Your Business

Every business has something that it doesn’t need, whether that is a non productive employee, procedures that are no longer useful, a client who is more trouble than he is worth etc. You should take a long hard look at your business and get rid of anything that isn’t helping your business to move forward and be more productive. Getting rid of the clutter will not only improve the productivity of your company, but it will also give you some peace of mind that the business is more streamlined.

Re-evaluate Your Plan

Once you create a business plan it should not be put on the shelf and forgot about until next year when you create a new one. You need to re-evaluate your business plan regularly, at least every 3 month, so that you have some idea of in what direction your business is heading. You can do the evaluation on your own, with a team of your staff or hire a professional business manager to help you out. By re-evaluating regularly you can quickly find out what parts of your plan are working and what parts are failing. You can then make informed decisions about what to continue using and what to scrap.

Keep Your Accounts In Order

Your accounts are everything in your business. They tell you in what direction your business is heading and the areas of your business that you need to start paying attention to. To ensure that you stay on top of things your accounts need to be up to date. The best way to keep your accounts up to date is to hire an accountant, or put aside a set period of time each week to get your books in order.

Wrapping Up

These are just a few of the main business management tips that you should be taking notice of. Depending on the size of your company you might find that it would be more cost effective to employ a manager to help you with the running of your business.

Why You Need Business Management Software

Why You Need Business Management Software

Managing a business, especially an expanding one, is no mean task. You cannot afford to be all over the place at the same time. Business management software is basically several integrated applications that help run a business. An example of such a system is ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. Apart from your company having grown in size, there are other reasons why you need this software.  Here is a video on how it can help you.

Easier decision makingbusiness management software puts most of your data in one central place. Easy access to this data by use of mobile phones or computers means you do not have to wait for boardroom meetings to start making critical decisions.

Effective collaboration between your departmentsa major source of business failure is lack of collaboration. Having this system reduces the amount of time involved in chasing down information. When all departments view information on a single platform, it becomes easier to digest it. Once everybody is on the same page, getting something done is much simpler.

Proper document storage– most small businesses face a challenge of misplaced files. For those who use this software,missing documents is past tense. Once a document has been created and saved into the system, it can be easily retrieved by those with the proper authority. This will streamline your operations and reduce the time you have to wait for a file to be obtained.

Project tracking is easier– with a business management software, you do not need to chase an employee down to track the progress of their projects. With the help of online project management, all you have to do is to create a project and assign it to a particular staff. By clicking into the project, it will give you all the information you need to know on the level of progress.

Using this software enables you to keep abreast of your customers’ buying behavior. Your buyer’s purchasing habits can be monitored quite easily. This not only helps you anticipate a purchase but also gives you the opportunity to present to your customer the quality experience of your business.

A lot of small businesses with a workforce of 50 or less people use these systems. Every business owner wants to maximize profit. Business management software helps you to do exactly this by increasing efficiency and your customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer will not only become a repeat customer but may also generate a lot of referrals to your business.

Plan for a Successful Business

Plan for a Successful Business – Going Beyond a Business Plan

Plan for a Successful Business

To tell you the truth right off the bat; it’s impossible to determine whether a business will be successful before it starts. There are way too many internal and external factors that go into the business from its conception stages to its execution to decisively make that kind of conclusion. That said, there are definitely ways to plan for a successful business to not only increase the chances that it will succeed as initially conceived but to help it evolve and possibly succeed in a different form.

Everyone on the internet will tell you to write a business plan, but there’s more to planning for a successful business than writing a business plan and that’s what we’ll look into here:

1. Create a road map

Yes, you still have to write a business plan. Entrepreneurship is a journey; and much like a road trip to a foreign destination requires you to have a map, so a successful business requires you to have a plan. This road map is where you’ll input important information about your business like:

  • Your business’ goals
  • The products of services you’ll be providing
  • Financial projections
  • How you will organize and manage your business
  • A market analysis

Among other things.

2. Dedicate a Lot of Time to Iterative Research

Modern day businesses are evolving rapidly to keep up with market needs while simultaneously exploring new niches. Whenever a new product pops up in the market, a dozen more similar products show up seemingly out of nowhere and in no time. In order to keep up with competitors and with the market, you need to do iterative research so that your business can evolve accordingly.

Businesses that refuse to keep up with their competitors in meeting market needs end up failing. You can have a significant edge if this is a core part of your business all the way from the beginning when you conceive it. Even market giants are not immune to this phenomenon. Perfect examples of this include Kodak and Nokia.

3. Keep the Drive Alive

Chances are that you were driven to start your business by passion or a goal you needed to achieve. Plenty of businesses have a short lifespans because their drive dies long before they evolve into anything worthwhile. You need to keep the things that led you to embark on the treacherous entrepreneurial journey alive. You can do this by:

  • Constantly reminding yourself of your goals.
  • Constantly evolving the business to suit both the customers and your passion.
  • Delegating work that takes too much of your time unnecessarily.

4. Know the Business Inside Out

This is perhaps the most jarring thing you need to do. When I say know the business inside out, I don’t mean that you need to understand how the dc motors that run the conveyor belts in the factory that manufactures your products work. Well, that would be cool but that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that you need to understand who your customers are, why they buy your product, how much they’re willing to pay for it, etcetera.

The more you know about your business before and after you start it, the easier it will be for you to understand what works, what doesn’t work and what you should change at what time to achieve your business goals. It’s one of the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurship.