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.

Why the Flexibility to Scale Back is as Crucial as Scaling Up

Why the Flexibility to Scale Back is as Crucial as Scaling Up

Flexibility is a term regularly paraded in business, but few organisations actually practice what they preach. This isn’t through a lack of effort, but purely because once a business has defined its message and built a team, customers and staff make it challenging to actually change how a business operates. It is safe to say that the majority of business owners are aware of the need to adapt to market shifts, but what about when global events occur? That is when the ability to stay flexible really demonstrates its worth. Even though the recession is still fresh in the minds, returning business confidence is having an interesting effect on many organisations. It is leading them to forget the lessons they might have learned during the early stages of the crash. This is a concerning path to t... »

Setting Up a Business: The Project Plan

Setting Up a Business: The Project Plan

The business plan is the recognised document that outlines the results of your research, analysis and planning, and points out how your business will be set up and run. But depending on the intended audience, it may not be sufficiently detailed to assist in the management of the launch. Furthermore it often doesn’t always outline time/resources needed throughout all the pre and post-launch stages. Here we look at the additional planning which will help you to create an effective business plan and assist you with launching and running your business. Setting up a business is a project Setting up a business is a project. For the purpose of this article let’s agree that this just means it needs to be managed effectively in order to minimise the time taken to reach a successful launch (time is ... »

7 Top Tips for Business Networking

7 Top Tips for Business Networking

Most members of today’s entrepreneurial world are so busy managing essential tasks that it can seem like we never have the time to step away from the immediacy of our screens or day-to-day running. But failing to stop, look up and get out to interact with people could mean that you ultimately miss out on new connections and perspectives that will benefit your business. Networking is key to gaining this perspective and therefore should be integrated into your working life. After all, meeting face-to-face creates lasting impressions, and can introduce many new business leads. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of networking opportunities: Go beyond the surface, learn about the entrepreneur and not just the business As an entrepreneur you will have to attend numerous networking eve... »

5 Ways to Grow Your Small Business

5 Ways to Grow Your Small Business

Small businesses are growing every year and with technological innovations, new finance options and increasing support enabling the development of all types of enterprises; it is essential that you remain on top of these advantages, and focus on expanding and scaling your own small business. Getting your small firm to the next level involves planning and implementing a growth strategy. Here are five things you should consider when trying to facilitate and manage growth in your small businesses. Harness the power of technology Effective use of technology lies at the heart of many successful business growth strategies. Many small and medium-sized companies have been able to use cloud-based technologies to give them capabilities that were previously the preserve of large corporations with big... »

Franchising: Is it a Viable Business Option for You?

Franchising: Is it a Viable Business Option for You?

If you’re thinking of buying into a franchise, you’re in good company. Many entrepreneurs are attracted to the idea of getting marketing support, legal advice, and a proven business model, so they can focus on what they’re really good at: growing a business without worrying about administrative headaches. The franchise model is fairly simple. You make a payment to become a franchise partner. Then, you pay an annual fee and a percentage of your profits. In exchange, you get training, marketing and administrative support, and access to useful information to help you grow your business. This article looks at the three key benefits of franchises, and also three reasons why a franchise might not be for you. By the end, you’ll probably have a better idea whether a franchise is the right option. ... »

11 Rules for Buying a Business

11 Rules for Buying a Business

A growing number of UK entrepreneurs are choosing to buy an existing business to grow, especially with banks looking favourably upon acquisition lending, rather than facing the struggles of starting from scratch. Finding an existing business where much has been done but there remains much to do can provide the same level of exhilaration as a start-up. If you are interested in buying a business as an alternative to starting up, then follow these steps to ensure that you know what to look for and how to be prepared. Do comprehensive due diligence Leave no stone unturned. Ask about the company’s insurance claims over the past three years, and any outstanding cases. Also make sure you see all financial statements from the past three years, including declarations of cash assets, intellectual pr... »

Why Working with Local Charities Could Help your Business Succeed

Why Working with Local Charities Could Help your Business Succeed

It’s a good time to be starting a business. The economy is strengthening, the market is buoyant and banks are back in a lending mood. Bank of England figures show a net rise of £235m in lending to small and mid-sized enterprises in June. The extant mood might be positive, or even cautiously optimistic, yet starting and running a small business still requires a great deal of time and effort. It can be difficult to know where that time and effort is best spent in order to develop the partnerships that can do so much for the growth of a business. Building your business’ network In my experience of starting up and running a business, founding Holiday Rentals in 1996 and Localgiving in 2008, it can be very difficult to justify time spent away from the computer forming these partnerships –... »

How Great Customer Service Leads to Great Success

How Great Customer Service Leads to Great Success

You may have missed ‘National Customer Service Week’ last week, an event aimed at raising awareness of the influence customer service has on successful business practice. Whilst this may sound obvious, we all remember bad experiences as a customer, so it’s important not to approach the topic with complacency. What the economic turmoil has shown over recent years is that looking after existing customers is crucial in retaining their business. Fundamentally, people still buy people, so delivering great customer can also be the stand-out reason why you get chosen as a new supplier too. With this in mind, we share some tips… Make the first impression count Would you believe it’s possible to deliver great service without even speaking to someone? With your website often being the fi... »

Top 7 Challenges Businesses Face Today

Top 7 Challenges Businesses Face Today

While it may seem that the storm that was the UK recession may have passed, it unfortunately has left an uncertain and unprecedented future for the UK business marketplace. Businesses today are still facing a large number of challenges as they lay down plans to move foward. No matter if you’re a one-man band or a multi-national organisation, every business faces similar challenges in their day-to-day running. So what are these challenges? We’ve put together seven… Business uncertainty The current economic climate is something current business owners have not experienced before so many are unsure as to how to push their business forward without the guarantee of a stable future. Business growth and continuity stems from business owners being able to plan long-term and develop these pla... »

4 Steps to Accelerate Business Growth

4 Steps to Accelerate Business Growth

Every small business wants to grow and be profitable, but in order to expand you need a vision of what you want to achieve and a plan to get you there. John Bee of strategic analysis consultants White Space, identifies four critical steps to accelerate a scalable and long-term growth plan. 1) Review Performance Before you can start planning for growth, you need to review past performance to determine whether expansion is the right choice for your business. Review what you do really well, why customers choose (and like) you, and identify growth opportunities in your market. Your growth plan doesn’t necessarily have to be about doing something ‘new’. Most businesses that grow successfully do so by analysing what they do best – then simply do more of it. 2) Set Goals Once you’ve identified th... »

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