Did 2018 deliver?
For most small businesses 2018 was a repeat of 2017, which was a repeat of 2016, and so on… Maybe sales were up a little, or maybe they weren’t; and there were probably a few (potentially costly) changes in personnel along the way. But in general, everything pretty much stayed the same. There were no new services launched, the profit margins were tighter still getting squeezed, and the website and branding have just dated by another year.
Maybe your business is different, and please don’t take offence if you are one of the few, but for most businesses (the ones that survived 2018 that is) nothing significant changed.
Turn your future news into good news
The single biggest reason that most businesses don’t move from static and shrinking to golden and growing is that they don’t have a plan. One of the oldest and truest of all business sayings is, ‘if you don’t know where you are going, all roads will take you there.’ This is as true today as it ever was, and sums up the dangers of running a business without a plan.
Your plan can be as simple or as in-depth as you like, and it is highly likely that the path you set out on will change along the way, but the fact that you have any sort of plan will stand you in good stead.
Business plans usually cover every aspect of your strategy for success. You will need to look at your financial goals, growth targets, threats, resources and opportunities; and then there are your marketing and sales plans to consider. You might need to look at your people and decide if they have the skills to deliver your plans, or if some training is needed. Finally, you need to weigh up the operational side of the business with the infrastructure and technology that is available.
In very basic terms, you should be looking at the growth that you would like to see in the business (turnover, profits, new products, new facilities, etc) and see how best to use the resources available to reach those targets. If an investment in resources is needed then you need to judge how it will be paid for and can the business afford to grow that much. Or maybe some efficiencies can be made to facilitate the plans and strategies that you want to put in place.
A business plan can be complex and cover many different things, but without one you are leaving everything to chance – so it is always worth the time and effort investment.
Don’t wait until the new year
If the idea of creating a business plan scares you, then don’t worry. As business growth accountants, business plans are one of our favourite adventures to pursue and design. Also, as an outside pair of eyes, we are often able to spot opportunities and hidden treasure that those closer to the business might easily overlook.
Please call if you’d like some advice or a helping hand with your business plan.
The most important thing, however, is that you must have a plan. With one, you significantly improve your chances of achieving the goals that you set yourself – without one the only thing that you are guaranteed is that your business will end up ‘somewhere’. Unfortunately, ‘somewhere’ for most businesses means struggling or shutting up shop.