A straight-talking, simple way to get started with a Business Plan!
So you know you should have one, you’ve probably thought about it more than once but in reality it hasn’t yet made the way to the top of your to-do list.
But.. set some time aside to have a go. You may be surprised just how straight forward and pain-free it can be.
Super helpful and friendly TDA Business Advisor, Alan Smith explains why and how to get started with Business Planning.
Planning your business sounds like a pretty boring job. But it is really important and will help you to focus on key areas. It doesn’t have to be a Business version of War and Peace, (unless you are applying for grant funding or a loan), it just needs to be bullet points or headlines, which you, and anyone who works with you can understand.
There are some really good one-page business planning tools you can download from the internet. Find one that you believe you can work with and get started!
You will need to answer three key questions;
- Where is my Business now?
What do you currently offer? Who are your customers? What marketing activity do you carry out? Who else has a vested interest in your business? What is your ethos or identity? Who is your competition? How much do you earn?
- Where do I want my Business to get to?
What are your aspirations? Do you want to branch into new markets? Is a competitor doing something different or interesting that could work for you? Are you looking to grow your turnover, or employ staff? Do you have an exit strategy?
- How do I get there?
What are the tools/skills/capabilities I need to help me achieve my aims? Do I have the capacity to deliver? Can simpler tasks be delegated/outsourced? Should I diversify or enter new markets?
There is a lot to think about, but getting it all out of your head, and into a format that you can work with EVERY DAY is key, and will help you to focus on the right areas.
It doesn’t matter whether you use digital technology to capture the information, or a good old-fashioned pen and paper – find something that works for you.
A digital company I know of has a massive whiteboard in their office, divided into 5 sections and covered with Post-it Notes!! It works!! The Post-its represent milestones, and they move across the board as they are achieved. Also, everyone who works in that building has sight, and access to that board – so they all have ownership of it.
Finally, if you are a new or young business, don’t over-burden yourself with Financial projections. It can be very dispiriting if you don’t reach those targets, and I want you to feel motivated. So, setting REALISTIC milestones is very important.
Be honest about the things you are good at, and the things you’re not. Use these to drive improvement. For instance, If you don’t like doing your accounts, and you spend days poring over figures, a good accountant can be a great investment – saving you time AND stress.
Finally, be confident in yourself and what you do. Don’t undervalue your proposition – be proud of it!
Ready to go? Need any help?
TDA regularly run Business Planning workshops and can walk you through the questions to ask yourself and how to use basic tools to help you get started.