TODAY Wiltshire start-ups can win a business plan from Smart Coaching & Training

By Anita Jaynes on 1 September, 2015

Smart Coaching & Training

Today as part of The Business Exchange’s Start-up September initiative new businesses in Wiltshire can win a complimentary business plan, courtesy of Isla Baliszewska of Smart Coaching & Training.

The competition is open to all businesses that have started out in the last two years and are based in Wiltshire. To enter please follow us on Twitter @tbesw and tweet us with the hashtag #Iwanttowin. All participants will be entered into the daily draw pulled at 8pm.

Here is an insight into why it’s so important to have a business plan.

Yes, Business Plans ARE a good idea

American football revolves around the ‘play’, a strategy designed to move the ball down the field. The objective of the game is to win points by getting to the end zone, scoring points in different ways as the ball moves towards the end zone and the touch down or field goal.

Your business plan is your strategy of plays on the journey towards your end zone, be that an exit strategy, a sustainable venture or a life-style business.

Here are three things to consider before you take pen to paper, finger to keyboard or ball to field.

  1. Be inspired to create, revisit and review your plan, embrace your vision, your end zone.
  2. Know who is your targeted reader and clearly address the questions they would have – think about the plays.
  3. Do some risk assessment – what are all the possible plays; which would work best and why.

If you do not enjoy the process of creating the strategy and seeing the plays, maybe you should think again about running a business, or perhaps you need someone on side to hold your hand. Make it fun! Get excited! Run with the ball! Get a coach! Bring your vision into the plays.

Know who your audience is and the focus of the plan, be that to raise finance, introduce investors, address stakeholders, for management planning. Be clear; what do those people need to know; what questions will they ask? How can you explain your plays and strategies clearly?

Julie Meyer, CEO of Ariadne Capital, said companies should ‘think big, start small and grow fast’. This is a useful starting point; thinking big means seeing all the opportunities and options, weighing the pros and cons, identifying barriers and liabilities, putting contingency plans in place.

So WHY have a business plan? Maybe you need buy-in, investment, support growth, manage cash-flow. But here are two very important reasons:

Firstly, whether you started a business because you had a passion for something, wanted to make a difference, saw a gap in the market, make money or change the world, you need a vision. You also need a strategy to get to that vision. If you and your people do not know what plays are to be made they won’t see the end zone, the goals, the vision.

Secondly, business plans keep you on track. Yours might be a full strategic plan, a mini-plan, a mindmap, a flow chart, or written on the back of a beermat. Whatever you choose, revisit it regularly, do a reality check, set the direction, see what is working, make changes where appropriate, and ensure you are still aligned with your business vision.

Isla Baliszewska of Smart Coaching & Training

Each day of September Start-ups in the county also have the opportunity to win a copy of ‘The Startup Coach’ book by Carl Reader. To enter the daily draw for this follow us on Twitter @tbesw and tweet us with the hashtag #Iwanttowin @carlreader. All participants will be entered into the daily draw pulled at 8pm.