Grow Your Business

Once established, generating sales and making a profit you should be thinking about growing your business.  Whether you are a local retail or service business, a manufacturing business or professional service, you cannot afford to let your business operate without direction or focus.

You can grow your business through:

  • Increasing sales
  • Increasing profitability
  • Identifying and accessing new markets
  • Developing new products or services

Critical to achieving any of these is to have a good business plan.

A good business plan is key to any successful enterprise. But don’t forget, your business plan is primarily for you – to convince you of the viability of the new venture you are proposing.

It needs to be a realistic working plan and not merely a document to impress funding organisations or agencies. The business plan needs to be your plan. Believe in it and be able to back up all assumptions and figures behind it.

Your business plan is a working document – you will be regularly updating it and measuring your business’ progress against its key targets and milestones, which in turn change as your business grows. Your plan is a tool to identify where you are now and in which direction you wish your business to grow.

The most important reasons for its preparation are:

  • To provide a detailed, logical and flexible framework which your business will follow in the early stages of start up.
  • To collate your ideas and verify that your business idea is realistic and viable.
  • To set targets and plan for the future.
  • To act as a base against which future performance can be assessed and evaluated.
  • To use as a basis for discussion with third parties, such as banks, investors, government agencies etc. A good business plan also shows how you would use the investment you are asking for.
  • To attract the necessary start up funding needed for your business.
  • To predict future scenarios and enable you to recognise problems / threats to your business, for which you can devise preventive measures.

Suggested business plan outline:

The first page of your plan should detail the name, address and contact details of the promoters along with the business name and a confidentiality clause.

Your business plan should then include the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Aims, objectives and vision
  3. Background and Experiences of Promoter/s
  4. Legal status and licenses
  5. Management & Organisational structure
  6. Market Research and Marketing Plan
  7. Product Range / Services Offered
  8. Sales
  9. Key Financials – Cash Flow, Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet
  10. Appendices

Compiling your business plan:

There are many risks involved in starting a business. These risks can be reduced by planning carefully and above all, by seeking assistance as early as possible.

When you have finished your plan, read over it to see if you have omitted any item or, need to re-work any section and to check your spelling and grammar – it’s important the document reads well and clearly. Then give it to someone else to read – a trusted friend or colleague. This gives you the benefit of having a critical but friendly review of your plan, prior to releasing it to banks, grant agencies etc.

Do not lose sight of the fact that your business plan is your blue print for success. A well prepared and thought out plan forces you to think about the future and likely challenges ahead. It also forces you to consider your future financial requirements, marketing plan, management plan, competitors and your overall strategy for success. Take the time to get it right and you’ll take your first step into successful entrepreneurship.

 

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