Introducing SMART business planning

Many people consider writing a business plan when starting a new business venture but it can be even more beneficial to businesses that are currently trading, highlighting areas for growth, ways to measure success and opportunities to mitigate threats.

This programme has been specifically designed for established businesses looking to scale and grow.

Who is this for?

If you are a small to medium size enterprise and have been trading for a number of years, this content may be useful in helping you scale and grow.

Many SME’s don’t have a business plan, so they may be missing out on opportunities for growth and not realising their full potential.

According to research, those who complete a business plan are about twice as likely to successfully grow their business, get investment, or land a loan than those who do not.

Source: Tim Berry, Palo Alto Software

Benefits of good business planning

A solid business plan takes you from where you are now to where you want to be in the future.

  • 71% of fast-growing companies have business plans

  • Business planning can help companies grow 30% faster

What will I learn from this?

Working through these guides will give a robust framework for your business and encourage you to think of ways to improve what you already have.

You can work through the entire set 1-7 or you can dive straight into content that you know you need to address within your business.

Setting business objectives

Business objectives are the specific, measurable results that companies hope to maintain as their organisation grows. When you create a set of business objectives, you focus on specifics. This means analysing, assessing, and understanding where you are now and where you want to be in the future.

Establishing a USP and competitor analysis

A Unique Selling Point (a USP, also known as a unique selling proposition) is what gives you an advantage in the market. It's what you can offer that no-one else can. USPs come in many forms. It may be something like higher product quality, speed of delivery, a better experience, a loyalty bonus, or some kind of innovation in technology or pricing. It could be any number of things.

Creating a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is a business’s overall plan for reaching prospective customers. Usually, a marketing strategy describes a value proposition and key messages, and it has information about who the target market is - where they shop and what drives them to make a purchase.

Resource Planning

Resource planning usually involves creating a schedule that details information about those resources – what they’re used for, when, and how. By identifying all the resources you need to deliver a project or product within a specific timeframe, you’ll gain more control over your outgoings and cash flow.

Creating an operations strategy

Strategy is one of the most overused words in any business planning session. But a robust operations strategy should ensure your business is able to operate, and succeed, in any commercial situation. In short, an operations strategy explains the who, what, when, and how of a business’s operations on a day-to-day basis. It supports your overall company goals and keeps you focused on SMART objectives and targets that are realistic.

Conducting a SWOT analysis

What is a SWOT analysis? SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis is a useful tool for small business owners that want to succeed in building a company, move forward generally, or perhaps tackle a new project. Here, we’ll explain one of the easiest ways to do a SWOT analysis – giving you results that are easy to understand and ready to use.

Using a profit and loss statement

In short, a profit and loss statement sets out the itemised details of sales and purchases that have been made by your business. It subtracts the total outgoings from the total income, to show you how much profit (or loss) you have made over a specific period of time. It’s often referred to as ‘the P&L’.

News and articles