Developing a robust business plan

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Developing a robust business plan

Developing a clear business plan is crucial towards getting finance and enabling your business to grow. The plan should be a living document that considers changes in the market as well as the financial situation of your business. A comprehensive plan will give the lender confidence in the projections. Getting started is always the hardest part. Writing down what you do now and where you want to be in the next 12 months is daunting.

1) Start with the basics

Who are you, where are you now, what do you do, and where do you see yourself in the future? Consider the legal requirements for your particular business or industry. Be realistic. There is no point in getting carried away with something that may not be legally or financially viable.

2) Consider your product

Really think about what you are selling. What exactly do you sell, and who do you sell to? How do you get paid? Is there an opportunity to increase payment methods to keep up with the lightning speed of technology changing how people conduct transactions? What are the terms of your business? How will you market your business or your new products or services? You may even be surprised by the open floodgates when you think about what you sell.

3) Be prepared to adjust the course

Your initial planning sessions should set a framework. A business plan is never set in stone; you must be prepared to make necessary adjustments. Market fluctuations or your personal circumstances may force you to rethink what you have written down, even a few months down the line. For now, you need to consider both sides of the coin. Don’t be so dead set on developing your idea that you dismiss possible hurdles. They will only catch up with you later. Consider all possibilities and adjust your plan accordingly. You may save time, money and effort further down the line by returning to the drawing board if your initial idea isn’t coming together.

Growing your business will require you to think about what you do now, how you do it and if you can do it better. Writing a business plan can help you do that, even if you’ve been in business for many years, making it worth investing a bit of your time in it now.

4) Marketing and Advertising your business

Marketing your company and gaining new business is the lifeblood of any new commercial enterprise. No customers, and you will soon run into negative cash flow. According to data from Startup Genome, the failure rate for startups in the UK is around 60%. More.

However, with the advent of the Internet, companies can advertise their products and services easily. Google Ads is the most popular method and works for most businesses.  However, costs can be high. One way to minimise the cost is to employ a PPC agency to help. (Try although there are many others! The Google Ad interface is not for the faint-hearted although it can be learnt. Google does offer a range of free money vouchers. See here.

Alternatives to advertising online is to adopt SEO. SEO is the process of adding content, code and backlinks to your website to rank highly in Goolge (but under the Ads). This is a slow-burn strategy that can pay dividends in the long term (6-12 months for new companies). Again, you can learn from Youtube,

Alternatively, you can employ and SEO company. This is even harder than choosing a PPC or marketing company, as anyone can set themselves up as expert! One company that claims to be the oldest (and Companies House does verify it) is

Once again there are many other to choose from. Use this guide from Google on questions to ask an SEO.