Business Plan Small Business

Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming. – Richard Branson

When forming a new company, there are key elements to consider which will make a difference to your success and growth rate. For one thing, you will have to decide whether you are registering as a sole trader or setting up a limited company. Following this, you must have a clear proposition for your business, a solid business plan, and a great pitch.

Proposition

What service or product are you offering your customers? How are you different from your competitors? If you can stand out in such a competitive marketplace, it will greatly affect your long term success.

Business Plan

A solid business plan charts where you want your business to go and how you expect to get there. By focusing on every aspect of a venture’s operations at the beginning, you will be better prepared for the obstacles you will meet later. A good business plan is a guidebook for your business, so you know what you should be doing and how well you’re doing it, along the way.

Areas to focus on in your business plan are:

  • Branding –It is important to have a presence in the marketplace and be instantly recognisable. Your logo, name and tagline help define your brand and send your message to potential customers.

  • S.W.O.T. Assessment (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, Threats) – Take advantage of your strengths to maximise performance, Identify your weaknesses so you find a way to turn them around, Recognise opportunities that you can plug in to, Monitor your threats and competition so you can stay one step ahead.

  • Target Market – Knowing who will be interested in your service or product will make it easier to market your business to the right people.

  • Cost – Is your service/product cost-effective to the customer and profitable to you? Do you need funding or investors?

Composing a business plan requires time, patience, research, writing and editing, but the long term benefits far outweigh the short-lived trials and tribulations.

Pitch

If your business needs investment for it to be a success, you will need the right pitch. The process is similar to Dragons Den – you will have just five minutes to make the first impression with investors. It is important that your business idea is simple. Focus on showing what you will do with the money, rather than on the amount you need. Strengthening your company image through gaining accreditations and wards, securing new clients and improving your team will be important milestones for your business.

Pitch Small Business

Prioritise Effectively

Prioritising your time and efforts is essential. The decisions you make can have a major effect on your capital and business growth. Have a plan in place to outline your priorities. If your brand needs recognition, then network and launch campaigns to increase exposure throughout your industry. If you need to build your standing as a reputable business, then ensure that your customer service skills are impeccable and encourage your customers to interact on your website and leave testimonials. Be aware that investing heavily in a venture with no guarantee of a return, can damage your business before you even start, so having a plan can help you see how much of a gamble certain decisions represent. Having this in place will then present a better chance for prioritising business growth effectively.

Have a Business Mentor

A business mentor can provide advice and support for your new company formation. They can give you networking opportunities, offer technical advice and help generate business relationships. This is beneficial to new startups because a mentor will have undergone the same challenges and hurdles you are likely to face.

“Surround yourself around the best people you can and give them an opportunity to do what they love to do best. Each one of my staff and faculty are leaders themselves. I cannot succeed without them.” – John Stonecipher, President and CEO of Guidance Aviation Inc. and Small Business Person of the Year Winner (in Arizona).

These are just a few of the elements you need to consider and prepare for when you start your business. Other important factors are your budget, building a team of competent people that fit your culture and, of course, marketing.

Just remember, it’s all about collaboration, communication, and courage. Ultimately, all three areas are the foundation to business success.