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.

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... »

A Guide To Directors’ Responsibilities

A Guide To Directors’ Responsibilities

As the people responsible for the management, direction and overall strategy of a company, directors are the most important people in your company. You and the other directors have a wealth of responsibilities to bear; to your shareholders, trading partners, employees and the state, as well as to the business itself. As a director, you are given wide-ranging powers to help you fulfil these responsibilities and manage the company – but you face serious consequences should you misuse those powers. This article is intended to give you an overview of how company directors work; from appointing them to managing your powers, all the answers to the pressing questions you have as a business should be answered here. As the business owner, how do I appoint directors? If you are a private limited com... »

Monitoring Your Business: Key Performance Indicators and Drivers

Monitoring Your Business: Key Performance Indicators and Drivers

As any entrepreneur will tell you, no successful business was ever run without good decision making – and you can’t make good decisions that aren’t based on good management information. To collect this, it’s essential that every business have management accounts, so that they can keep a close and constant eye on profitability and cashflow. But for new businesses in particular, it’s easy to get lost in the fog of numbers and metrics. Identifying and selecting key figures that indicate the performance of your business – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – can help you beat yourself a path to the data that really matters. In order to really boost your performance, you also need to identify and track the key ‘drivers’ of your business. A driver is anything that majorly affects your business pe... »

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... »

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