Planning

The is4profit planning section contains guides and articles to help small business owners with every element of their strategic planning, from creating an effective business plan to managing risk and preparing for growth.

How to Benchmark your Small Business

How to Benchmark your Small Business

Benchmarking is the act of comparing your business activities and processes to that of your competitors and rivals. While it can be one of the simplest ways to improve your own business, many small business owners overlook the process altogether. Whilst you may well think of yourself as an innovative, dynamic young business shaking up an aging industry, benchmarking can hold benefits for even the most pioneering of companies; industry practices exist for a reason, and you can often learn a lot from your competitors. This guide covers all you need to know about effective benchmarking as a business, from where to start to how to put the results into practice. What benchmarking opportunities exist for my business? Benchmarking is a broad term, and the potential comparisons you can make with o... »

How to Set Up a Filing and Records System for Your Business

How to Set Up a Filing and Records System for Your Business

When you started out in business, it probably wasn’t the prospect of reams of paperwork that excited you. Nevertheless, a good record-keeping system is a vital part of any business; access to information can give you a competitive edge over rivals, whilst cutting out wasted time looking for misfiled and misplaced information delivers an obvious benefit. In this article, we examine all you need to know about the basics of record keeping, including how to organise your records, how to keep them secure, and how long specific types of record must be kept. What is ‘family tree’ filing and how can it benefit my business? Most good filing and records systems are built around what is known as a ‘family tree’ system; a unified system based on a graduated hierarchy of files. A family tree filing sys... »

How You Can Increase Profitability in Your Business

How You Can Increase Profitability in Your Business

It would be nice to think, as a business owner, that you can just sit back and let the cash roll in. However, as we all know, profitability is a constant challenge, and creating and increasing it is perhaps the most fundamental – and difficult – part of running a successful business. Sometimes it is a matter of changing something obvious about your company that can provide an instant shot in the arm for your company profits. More often, however, increasing profitability is about putting the right foundations in place for gradual, long-term improvements. In this article we will examine the ways your business can boost profitability in the short and long-term – read on to find out more. What are some ways I can instantly boost my firm’s profitability? Before you look at the more techni... »

How to Build A Small Business That Lasts

How to Build A Small Business That Lasts

Britain has always been a nation of entrepreneurs. From the beginnings of the industrial revolution right through to the modern day, there has always been a zest from our citizens to take that leap of faith and gain control of their work/life balance. However, nowadays every sector is highly competitive for a new start-up which is exemplified by over 50% of the 500,000 new start-ups failing within their first year. For this reason, you need to ensure that your business is built in the correct manner – from infrastructure to tax and insurance, employees and marketing. Your business has to be set up in the right way to ensure that you are best placed to take full advantage of your target market and enter the business arena with the right tools to succeed. Below, we look at four key elements ... »

Key Issues in Running Your Business

Key Issues in Running Your Business

As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks at the expense of the bigger picture, and whilst good management is essential in order to drive growth and increase your company’s overall performance you need to see the bigger picture. This article is intended to help the ultra-busy business owner step back from those immediate problems and take a vital wider view; identifying the areas in your business that could mean the difference between success and failure. What should my permanent business priorities be? Aside from everyday issues, there are five key areas you should constantly keep in mind if your business is to enjoy success. First of, always make sure to watch your customers, they are the lifeblood of your business, your customer should always be your highest pr... »

How to Buy a Business

How to Buy a Business

If your own business is well-established and of a certain size, you may consider buying another existing one. A good purchase can see you reaping copious financial rewards, but a bad one could utterly sink you. It’s therefore vital that you investigate your potential target fully, and negotiate a deal tailored to its current positions/situation as it relates to your own. This guide will help you approach a target, investigate it, make and follow up on an offer, negotiate the final terms and ensure a smooth transition. How do I approach negotiations when buying a business? One of the first steps will involve approaching the vendor. Most businesses will have appointed professional advisers to handle the sale. Contact these first, rather than the current management. You must then register you... »

A Small Business Guide to Franchising

A Small Business Guide to Franchising

If you’ve caught the entrepreneurial bug but you are less enthused by the considerable risk and uncertainty that comes with starting a business, a franchise may be for you. Buying a franchise allows you to set up your own business, but with the backing of a proven business model behind you and support, training and assistance from an established franchisor. However, franchises are not risk-free. Just as with any business, failing to do your homework could see your whole venture tank, however bullet-proof the model seems. This article will give you an introduction to franchising from the perspective of a novice, giving you the basic knowledge needed to start looking for a franchise that suits you. We cover the advantages and drawbacks of buying a franchise, then move on to how to select and... »

Role of the Company Secretary: Does Your Small Business Need One?

Role of the Company Secretary: Does Your Small Business Need One?

Whilst the word ‘secretary’ might conjure up images of answering phones and managing appointments, a company secretary’s role is quite different. A company secretary is considered an officer of the company, and shares many legal duties with the company directors, as well as some special ones accorded to them personally. It is no longer compulsory for limited companies to appoint a company secretary, but most companies continue to do so as they fulfil a vitally important administrative role. This article covers how you can find the right person for the job, and covers what you need to know about how company secretaries work in practice. What is a company secretary? Broadly, a company secretary is the head of the administrative division of a company, given duties and responsibilities along w... »

Forming a Business: An Overview of Business Structures

Forming a Business: An Overview of Business Structures

When setting up in business, it is vital to choose the right business structure. Choose well and you will have a legal framework that plays to your business’ strengths; choose badly and you will be saddled with an inappropriate business structure exposing you to countless costs and unnecessary regulation. In this article, we will examine the various pros and cons of each business structure, as well as providing the vital practical advice you need to actually put the cogs in motion and form a business. How do I choose a business structure? What kind of company structure you decide to adopt will, in the main part, shape where your business is going. Which structure you should choose depends on a number of factors, including your tax situation, how much financial risk you are willing to take ... »

A Guide to Managing Change in Your Business

A Guide to Managing Change in Your Business

Change is inevitable in business. Even if you are staunchly resistant to it your environment will change around you and you will be left behind. Driving and monitoring change in your business constantly is, therefore, essential. Making change before you are forced to can see you gain an advantage over your competitors, and bringing about a culture of constant innovation can take your business to an entirely new level. This article will give you a rundown of how to manage change in your business, including how to identify where change is needed, preparing for and implementing change, and creating a long-term culture of change in your business. How do I know what to change in my business? Rarely is change not needed in business, but it can be difficult to identify what needs changing and wha... »

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