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Inspira, breathing life into business

September 2014




The leaves are beginning to turn reddy-brown and the days are getting shorter! A potentially miserable introduction, but we see this time as an exciting opportunity for a 'new season resolution' to seize our businesses by their horns and push forward, full steam ahead. What better time, we think, to review our business plans and asses our progress to date, as well as reassess our objectives for the coming months.

Business Plan on a Page

How can you plan your route if you don't know your destination?  How can you score a goal if you don't know where the goal posts are?  At Inspira we believe that every business needs some kind of plan. Most of us do write a business plan but where we can sometimes fall down is the content or the infrequency with which we review it.  A business plan should be a marker that we use to constantly review our successes and indeed our weak spots.  Business plans no longer have to be a 75-page document, especially if they are for you and your team. Here are our key tips to write your Business Plan on a Page!

- Keep it short and sweet! Being able to write succinctly about your business is an excellent skill. A shorter plan also reduces the time you spend writing, away from the action and is far easier to communicate to key stakeholders and staff.  In our constantly evolving world, chances are that your business will change too and a shorter plan is easier to manage through company transformations.
- Visualise! Begin with your vision; a concise sentence or two, or even a picture, to highlight what you intend to build.
- Business Purpose. In one sentence, describe what your product or service is and who it is for.  A good test is try to write your statement on the back of a business card.
- Goal! Include several short, mid and long term goals. Keep them clear and try to include realistic deadlines. Make them SMART!
- Strategise. Flesh out some of your ideas for how you plan to achieve your business goals.

Once your plan is finalised, don't file it away to be forgotten. The beauty of a short business plan is that it doesn't take too much time to re-read and review. You should keep your plan close by and try to review it every quarter.  Don't be afraid to make changes  - moving your own goalposts is generally fine! Make sure you keep a note of what has changed, for your records. Lastly, just because you are writing a short plan does not mean you shouldn't fully research your business!  You must be able to answer any and every possible question fired at you by investors, potential investors, staff and your customers.

Get planning!

The 4 M's

Alongside your business plan, an extremely useful tool we have used with participants on the Cass Better Business programme run by Gerard Burke of Your business Your Future is to theme your Goals around the 4 M's; Money, Markets, Management and Me.  This is a particularly relevant task for owner-managers, because the 'me' part of the goal setting process allows you to align your personal goals with your business.

If you would like expert help to produce a sound business plan, to develop your 4 M's paper, or to carry out a strategic business review, please contact us - this is work that we do regularly for a wide range of clients. Recently we carried out a strategic review for Marc Lester of WWCS, who says that we produced the most important document ever to be used within his business.  You can read the full case study here.

“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.”

Key Dates and Updates

Landmark Children and Families Act: Following the flexible working initiatives that came into force in June, as part of the Government's dedication to better quality and equality in families, pregnant women's partners are now permitted time off work for 2 antenatal appointments.  Full details of the full Act can be found here.

New Minimum Wage - From 1st October 2014, the National Minimum Wage will increase. This means you will need to ensure you pay your employees at least the following hourly rates in accordance with their age:

£6.50 for workers 21 and over
£5.13 18 - 20 yrs
£3.79 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
£2.73 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

Read more information