In conjunction with ICAEW’s support of X-Forces 3rd Anniversary, we will be releasing a series of articles supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners by answering some of the frequently asked questions we receive from individuals thinking of embarking on self-employment, through to those scaling up and employing staff. Here we explore the reasons why a Business Plan is so important when preparing to start a business!
Researching and testing your business idea.
Before starting you need to establish who and where are your competitors and how will your offer compare in terms of price, content, convenience, etc?
You then need to develop a plan showing how you will win customers, including a sales forecast by week or month for the first two years. Researching the market and your business proposition’s place in it will help improve your chance of success. It will also give you a better understanding of your target market and anticipated demand. It helps shape the decision to go ahead as well as clarifying issues such as where to locate premises, how much to spend on promotion and how much start-up finance will be required.
Will my business support me?
A business should provide you with a satisfactory income in exchange for the time that you put into it. For example you can reduce risk by beginning on a part-time basis or if you are thinking of opening a shop, try hiring a stall in a market first.
Before starting work on a full-time basis, you need to be as certain as you can be that the business will generate enough profit. This should usually involve preparing a business plan, which will not only help clarify your own vision but will also help convince others (such as the bank) that your business has a future.
The business plan should answer some key questions. These include:
X-Forces Case Study: Tommy Lowther, Sporting Force and Former 1st Battalion Light Infantry
“I have no real experience in business, I ’m just lucky that what I have done up to now has worked. However, having gone through the X-Forces experience, they guided me through my business plan and financial forecast.
They didn’t do it for me, but they certainly gave me the tools to be able to take Sporting Force to the levels that I ’m not sure I could have done myself.
With the wealth of knowledge, commitment, passion and hard work of the X-Forces team, I feel that I have a fantastic support network behind me.”
Register for X-Forces’ start-up and business planning support today through our website, www.x-forces.com or by telephone. Help for businesses can be obtained from ICAEW’s Business Advice Service. This is a free straightforward discussion with an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Further information can be found at www.businessadviceservice.com
Article by Clive Lewis, ICAEW in conjunction with X-Forces.