Create a Business Plan
The single most important part of planning and implementing your new business is creating a viable business plan. So many new businesses
avoid this step and yet
this should be the document that you refer back to, revise and review, constantly throughout the life of your business.
You may not need start up finance but at some point in the future, as your business grows, you may need the help of your friendly local bank manager
and without a business plan no lender will ever take your business seriously.
Your ideas may be spinning around inside your head but all small businesses need a well documented business plan with
costings, investment, marketing and future expected sales and revenue clearly laid out.
You should review it whenever any path that you take changes and you should constantly refer to it to ensure that
you are making decisions that are in line with your plan.
Consider the way you would like your business to be in five years and in ten. What would be ideal? What would be acceptable?
Think big and then go back... take inspiration from the ideal but then ensure that your business plan is firmly realistic.
Create a spreadsheet and charts so that you can visualise growth. Set goals for your business that can be revised as it progresses.
Ensure that you constantly think of your own skills, products and associated expenditure.
To begin, jot down all your thoughts and ideas and then slowly formulate the plan for your small business. As a small business start up you may get
it all wrong but as the months progress you can change and revise the plan until it becomes viable.
You may be able to visualise the future of your small business but a business plan will show if that future is realistic.
Once your small business start up plan is in place you need to assess the risks associated with your business.
If you are investing money then there is always a financial risk.
If you are investing time then this is also financial because you are not earning money elsewhere during this period.
You need a risk management strategy to minimise the loss if something goes wrong.
What if nobody buys your products? What if nobody wants your services? You may gain a few clients or customers and then it goes quiet - what will you do?
This is what risk management does; it gives you a coping strategy for when things go wrong.
It also shows you what you need to do to minimise risk. If your small business start up stores details of clients or customers
on a database or you use your computer to document your business finances etc. then you need a back up strategy. You need to back up everything and
keep a copy elsewhere - this way if the worst happens you can carry on in business with the minimum disruption.
If there is a quiet period will you still be able to survive? How will you pay your normal monthly expenses? If clients are slow paying
do you have enough money in reserve to keep your business ticking over until payments are received?
Think of all the bad things that could happen and then write down what you will do for each - this is the beginning of your risk management strategy.
At this point it may be wise to consider whether you should be a sole trader or a limited company. Take advice from a professional - it will
be money well spent.