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.

Contingency Planning and Crisis Management

Disasters and serious incidents happen. Does your business have effective contingency plans in place to deal with them? This guide will give you information and advice about: Identifying key risks to your business Drawing up your contingency plan Contingency planning is essential to ensure your business continues to survive and thrive after a crisis or disruptive event. Disasters and serious incidents such as flooding, fire, or the death of a key employee are relatively rare, but they do happen. Identifying key risks to your business You need to consider three types of risk when making your contingency plans: A major disaster that immediately prevents normal business. A gradually worsening situation that makes it difficult to operate normally. A series of small events happening simultaneou... »

How to Grow Your Business

The aim of most businesses is to increase profits, and sometimes expansion is the best way to achieve this. This guide will show you how to: Plan your strategy for growth. Put that plan into action. Plan your strategy for growth Getting ready to grow. Doing the market research. Writing a business plan. Getting ready to grow If the pace of change is too slow, your business may stagnate; if it’s too fast, you run the risk of making it vulnerable in a competitive marketplace. To ensure that your business is ready for expansion, you need to plan your growth strategy carefully. Doing the market research For your business to flourish, there must be sufficient demand for the products or services you offer. Before committing to expansion, research the marketplace thoroughly and, in particula... »

Business Forecasting

Planning ahead is critical to setting and achieving objectives for your busines. This guide will show you how to: understand forecasting and what it can do for your business prepare a short-term forecast prepare a long-term forecast prepare a feasibility study What is forecasting and what can it do for businesses? Forecasting is fundamental to all businesses, however small. At several key moments you will need to plan for what you think is going to happen in the future, both short-term and longer-term – as you set up your business, when you seek financing and when you work out how much you will earn from your company. You will then need to revisit these forecasts and make changes to your strategy so that you stay on track to meet your business goals. Making regular forecasts and comp... »

Exit Planning for Small Businesses

Ending your involvement with your business can be done effectively and profitably, provided you have the right exit plan in place. This guide will show you how to: consider your aims for your business after you leave plan for selling your business use professionals to help with the sale of your business handle succession planning Thinking in advance about how to end your involvement with your business can ensure you get the rewards you deserve. What are your aims for your business after you leave? Successful exit planning begins with careful consideration of what you want: are you going to sell your business as a going concern or for its location or assets? will your customer base willingly transfer to new ownership? will the sale proceeds form part, or all, of your pension fund? are there... »

How to Bring Positive Change to Your Business

by Mamta Saha, business psychologist and founder of Think Spa London To quote the great thinker Edward De Bono; standing still can be the fastest way of moving backwards. This is more applicable than ever to today’s business world, where change is often taking place at a faster rate than ever before. Small businesses in particular need to have the willingness to embrace fresh ideas and opportunities to keep them innovating and developing their services so they can compete with larger players in their marketplace. Recent research from T-Mobile of over 2,000 small business owners found 20% of small business owners admit to worrying about change and 9% are prevented from making changes as they believe they won’t be welcomed by others in the company. With an inability to cope with change being... »

Changing Office Culture

Office jobs are becoming more and more popular in the UK as so much work is now computer based. Today, around 25% of the total British workforce is employed in an office. A friendly and comfortable working environment is important no matter what your job role, and offices are a prime example of this. The amount of work that gets done in an office can vary hugely depending on many factors, from the provision of office supplies to noise levels and the quality of the furniture. So how can you ensure you have productive and pleasant office surroundings? A friendly office has repeatedly been voted the most important element of a good workplace. Nobody wants to arrive at work to find hostility and silence awaits them. A friendly atmosphere, where everyone gets along and people are welcoming and ... »

Top 5 Tips on Growing a Small Business

Tim Campbell, founder of the Bright Ideas Trust The Government’s focus on the UK’s small businesses in the 2011 Budget highlights the importance of small business growth to the UK economy. The Government should therefore welcome the findings of a recent survey of over 2,000 small business owners by T-Mobile, which found that 48% of small businesses are expecting to see some business growth over the next six months. Tim Campbell, leading small business expert and founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, offers his advice on the steps small businesses can take to secure future growth: Make the most of your small size No business can afford to remain static in the products and services it offers, whether large or small, but small businesses are particularly well-positioned to react quickly to chang... »

Do You Have an Exit Strategy for Your Business?

When you started your business, did you have a vision about where it would take you and how you would eventually exit the business? If not, it is something you should consider and plan for so that you maximise the return on your years of investment; time and money! There are a number of different options available for disposing of a business and some important considerations to make before you close the door of your company behind you. Key Mistakes That Sellers Make Allowing too little time to complete and successfully execute an exit strategy Focusing on price rather than optimising the value of the company and the terms and conditions of sale Selling to the first person that comes along without researching the market to find out what potential buyers may be out there Trying to do it inde... »

Strategy – What’s Your Next Move?

There are over 4.5 million businesses in the UK and every year 400,000 are formed, with nearly as many failing. Most businesses stay small or plateau at a certain turnover without being able to grow – probably because business owners are working ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ it; making tactical day to day decisions rather than strategic ones. So what distinguishes a successful business? How about the following?: Knowing your strengths and weaknesses Having targets in place A business plan covering all aspects of the business Effective targets and measurements in place Ensuring that product and service offerings meet the needs of the market Ability to create a competitive edge Efficient, clear and consistent business processes Inspired and driven leadership Getting back to your c... »

How to Avoid Disaster… and Rise from the Ruins if it Hits

Chris Barling is CEO of ecommerce and EPOS systems supplier, Actinic and has been through a few ups and downs in business. So far, he’s managed to survive all of the downs and would like to share the lessons that helped his company survive. He’s also included some advice to help you recover if disaster ever strikes. Watching the cash By far the biggest reason why businesses go bust is a lack of profitability or a cash flow crisis, resulting in running out of money. This can be caused by losing a significant customer, by the bank withdrawing lending facilities, or sometimes by over-trading – where you’re very successful but run out of working capital to cope with the success. In my business, Actinic, we try to cover this eventuality by producing a cashflow forecast every m... »

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