If you’re an entrepreneur or small start-up, developing your business plan can feel like an overwhelming task. Often, entrepreneurs will be the big visionaries behind a business – the charismatic individuals who can start a business from scratch, spot an opportunity in the market and have the drive, energy and resilience to make it happen. But they are unlikely to be the ‘details’ people.
Successful business planning requires a variety of skills. Marketing input is needed to formulate a strategic route to market, understanding the product’s features and key selling points, its distribution routes, pricing, promotional routes and marketing channels.
Financial input is required to project sales, revenues, costs and margins. Purchasing input is required to understand raw cost of materials, production costs, labour costs and overheads. Operational specialists are needed to advise on the means to get products to market and deliver to time and budget. Additionally, the HR input will be needed to work out what resources are required to deliver the company’s objectives and ensure the right talent is in place.
For a small start-up or SME, this requires input from a range of perspectives, knowledge-sets and experience levels. This is where business plan help comes in. There are a variety of sources for getting planning help; you can pay for consultancy support from a specialist provider, get in a contractor with a specialist planning skillset, or look for a mentor or coach to help you through the process.
Experienced coaches or mentors are ideal, as they will help lead you through the process and develop your own skills as you learn, rather than doing it for you and charging a commercial fee. Many mentors are also offered on a subsidised or even free of charge basis, through schemes run by local economic partnerships.
These ‘business angels’ volunteer their time to help small start-ups and SMEs to grow and they will usually be experienced and successful business people in their own right, with plenty of experience to pass on.
Get in touch with your local business services provider – business link is a good place to start for advice or your local chamber of commerce can help too. There is a regional network of providers that use a mix of government and private funding to offer business services such as mentoring and coaching to local businesses and help them grow and develop the regional economy.
Often, these organisations offer a raft of complementary business services too at subsidised costs, such as training, business advice, apprenticeships, regulatory consultancy and accreditations and alternative business finance access. Networking is usually a big aspect of these services and a great way to swap knowledge and experience with other businesses, meet new contacts, potential suppliers and potential contacts.
So get in touch with your local services provider today to find out what services are available to you to pin down a competitive business plan and take your business forward to the next stage.
Article brought to you by Rob who can recommend contacting Grow Cornwall for free business advice if you are a Cornish based SME.