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Cheat Sheet

Business Plans For Dummies (UK Edition)

Having a stable, thorough and thoughtful business plan can help you to boost your business and survive in the long term — whether your company is in the UK or elsewhere. When drawing up your business plan, considering all the essential angles and elements can ensure the stability and prosperity to guide your company onwards and upwards.

Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

Many different conditions can cause a small business to fail; some of the major reasons may be down to one or a few of the following. Safeguard your business by making sure you don’t fall into any bad practices such as these:

  • Lack of a long-term company vision

  • Failure to establish clear goals and objectives

  • Misunderstanding what customers want

  • Underestimating the competition

  • Inadequate financial planning

  • Lack of strong leadership

  • Ineffective procedures and systems

  • Absence of critical business skills

  • Inability to change

  • Failure to communicate the plan

Checklist of Small Business Planning Essentials

When planning your business make sure that you have all the elements covered so that you can achieve optimum performance and results – ensure you don’t miss out any of these planning essentials:

  • Get everyone involved in setting goals and objectives

  • Learn all you can about your customers

  • Understand who your competitors are

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses in relation to opportunities and threats

  • Determine which capabilities you absolutely need to succeed

  • List all the things that you do that add customer value

  • Make sure that you do your financial homework

  • Imagine several different versions of your company’s future

What Makes a Business Work?

The successful running of a business is made up of certain major factors and elements, allowing it to adapt, survive and ultimately grow. These key elements should feature within any progressing business:

  • Plans: Company mission, vision, goals, and objectives that all work together

  • Organisation: A structure for your company that makes sense

  • Procedures: Efficient and effective ways of doing things

  • Leadership: An ability to influence and encourage others around you

  • Skills: The talents and expertise your people need to succeed

  • Culture: Beliefs and attitudes that lead to doing the right thing

Customers, Competitors, and the Businessperson

The customers, the rivals and a successful business model are the three major focal points that a business needs to analyse, consider and respond to respectively. Here are three questions to think about on each:

Three customer questions

  • Who is buying?

  • What do they buy?

  • Why do they buy?

Three competitor questions

  • How big are they?

  • Which customers are they after?

  • What is their strategy?

Three ways to win as a businessowner

  • Cut costs to the bone

  • Offer something unique

  • Focus on one customer group

Major Pieces of a Business Plan

Business plans are made up of several uniquely important corporate factors and processes. The following are the major elements of a company's business plan documents:

  • Executive summary

  • Company overview

  • Business environment

  • Company description

  • Company strategy

  • Financial review

  • Action plan

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