What are your business objectives?
Before embarking on a new business you need to make sure you’ve got your objectives set out. This gives you a basis to work from and a clear idea on what you’re going to do.
Here are a couple of the things you need to consider when thinking about your business objective:
What's your background?
- How long have you been thinking about and developing your business?
- What experience do you have in that particular area?
- What work have you done in preparation?
What’s your service?
- What are you offering?
- How’s it different to other similar businesses out there?
- Who will be your target audience? (Will this be based on age, gender etc.?)
When you’re writing your objectives remember to make it easy to read. You don’t need to use overly long words or lots of business jargon. Your business objectives need to be understood by people who aren’t involved in that particular area, like a bank manager if you’re planning to get financial help to get your business started.
Tip: Get a friend or relative who doesn’t know anything about your business to read your business plan. If they understand what your business is and what you want to achieve then you’ve cracked it!
Your business strategy
Every business, no matter how big or small has a strategy.
This gives you a goal to work towards and should be the central idea you refer back to whenever you make a decision about your business.
By including your strategy in your business plan, the reader will be able to see what you’re aiming for and how you plan to get there.
The strategy and overall goal will be specific to your business, and it might take a while for you to decide what yours is, but here are a a couple of examples from the experts:
Marketing your business
Marketing your business is one of the best ways of generating new customers. Whether you're a window cleaner, a landlord or a builder marketing can work for you.
There are various different ways of marketing your business, however social media is (importantly) free to use. You don't need to pay an expensive design agency or digital guru to use it, and if used correctly it's a great way of spreading the word about your business.
Here's some information to get you started:
If you’ve got a question on using social media for business ask our MoneyAware team. They’ve got bags of experience in working with social media and helping small businesses with getting more out of online.
Financial forecasts and creating a business budget
Your financial forecast
This covers what you expect certain areas of your business to cost and what you expect to generate from your product or service.
In your financial forecast you need to include:
- How you’ll price your service or product: How does this stack up against similar products or services in your area?
- What financing you need: Do you need to get a loan from your bank? Are you using your own savings? You need to include information on how you’re going to cover the initial start-up costs before you start generating an income
- Your profits and loses: Try to work out what you think you’ll spend and what you think you’ll earn over the next couple of years.
You need to be realistic when you’re working out these figures. Don’t be too optimistic or use figures that you think will impress your bank manager, as this will lead them to question just how realistic your business plan is.
Creating a business budget
To keep track of your business spending, a realistic business budget is essential. This will help you work out what your costs are and identify areas where you could cut back and make some savings to increase your profit.
4 simple steps to get your business budget underway:
Step 1. Decide what timeframe your business budget is over. It's normally best to do this on a calendar monthly basis, but you could also do it weekly or daily if that makes it easier for you to work out what you're spending.
Remember a calendar month is not the same as 4 weeks (otherwise there would only be 48 weeks in a year!). To change a weekly figure into a 'calendar monthly' one take the weekly figure and times this by 52 (the number of weeks in the year) and then divide this by 12 (the number of months in the year).
Step 2. Before you fill in your business budget write down a list of all the business related costs you have like petrol, telephone bills and stock. This way you can make sure you've covered everything before you put your business budget together.
Step 3. Download a business budget template. Some of the areas might not be applicable for your business but just fill in the costs that you have.
Step 4. Track what you spend. If you're spending more or less than the amount in your business budget you can update it with the actual costs after a couple of months.