To the blog for small and medium sized business (SME) owners.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Business Plans - Who Needs Them?

Often a business plan is prepared at the request of a third party, typically at a time of distress or fund raising.

Should this be the case in your business the import of having setting strategy, translating strategy into a financial evaluation with timings and the ability to measure actual performance against plan will be lost.

A business plan, and its execution, should be an integral part of the business thinking; and not considered only relevant when its preparation is demanded by interested third parties.

Circumstances continually change, and as a consequence the business plan may need revision, and should, therefore, become a living document.

Third parties who may have an interest in your business plan include banks, investors, a buyer of your business, grant provider, joint venture partner, employees.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Change Management

What are the essential characteristics of a change management process?

It may be simply stated as moving the business forward through a structured implementation of new methods of working and behaviour that create value and are embraced by employees and stakeholders.

Why change current practices?

Usually the actual financial and/or forecast position dictates that a different way of working is necessary if the business is to survive. The development of new strategies to combat a downturn in business fortunes will be required together with robust plans for their implementation.

Beware! Success may not materialise unless all appropriate people are supportive of the change and participate in the implementation.

Should you require help with your change management programme contact David Willetts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Short History of Management Consulting

Ever wondered how management consulting started? This article outlines its roots and the forms it takes today. Learn more about management consulting.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dudley District Business Club

At the April 2007 Annual General Meeting of the Dudley & District Business Club, David Willetts was elected as Deputy Chairman.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Do You Have a Business Plan?

A plan may be prepared for different reasons. May be the first exposure to preparing such a document for the business owner is a request from a bank or investor in the business. Consequently there is a tendency to view the document as a one-off exercise for use by third parties.

A business plan against which to measure actual performance should be considered an invaluable guide to identify areas for improvement and pro-actively take action to achieve the plan results.

Recent UK research indicates 46% of small and medium sized business owners have a strategy for their business but no written business plan and 9% of owners admit to no strategy and no plan. It is rather like taking a journey, not recognising the hazards on the way to avoid them and not knowing where you have arrived if you arrive at all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

10 Common Business Plan Mistakes

The importance of preparing credible business plans should not be under estimated. However, there are frequent mistakes found in business plans that may have detrimental impacts on the business.

Ten of the common business plan mistakes are:

1. Projections are over ambitious
2. Poor market research into the acceptance of the product/service in the marketplace
3. Timing plans for product/service concept, development, introduction not robust
4. Inadequate skills planned to support proposed business growth
5. Incomplete financial forecasts
6. Financial forecasts do not reflect the plan narrative
7. Insufficient funding forecast for short term and long term business growth
8. Omission of key information
9. The business plan is too long or too short
10. The business owner does not 'own' the plan. The document may be prepared by the accountant but the detail should be understood and supported by the business owner.

Friday, April 06, 2007

New Fiscal Year in UK

6th April is the start of a new fiscal tax year in the UK. Several tax increase come into effect affecting individuals and small and medium sized business. For small businesses the rate of corporation tax is increased to 20% on the first 300000 GBP profit and the employer's national insurance contribution is now 12.8% of employees earnings.