What I Learned from Going Bust

Business startup lessons

Every business owner can learn valuable lessons from studying how successful businesses are born and grow. Looking out for, and replicating, key drivers of success in other businesses, can help to drive our own business forward.

However, vital insight can also be gained from business failures. In many cases, what we can learn from terminal business mistakes can prove even more illuminating than what we can glean by following the high-flyers. (more…)

10 Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Business Plan

Business Plan tips and advice

When it comes to writing a business plan, there is one single golden rule that dwarfs all others – your business plan must address each of the key concerns of your potential backer.

If you fail on this first point, all the other things you should and shouldn’t do pale into insignificance and even a great business idea might fail to get backing it needs. A good business plan keeps the investor happy, so follow these 10 Dos and Don’ts to ratchet up your chances of success: (more…)

How to Make a Cash Flow Forecast for a StartUp

cash flow forecast for start-up

How can I forecast my cash flow when the business doesn’t even exist yet?

That’s a question most new startups wrestle with as they are planning their new business. It may seem to some to be an impossible task, so we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to show how you can produce a cash flow forecast for a new business. (more…)

How Good Planning Will Make You a Better Leader

lead your business more effectively by planning ahead

Most people have some opinions on what makes a good leader. High on the list in one form or another are “resolve” and “vision” – but these are pretty nebulous terms. How are aspiring leaders meant to achieve these qualities?

Neither quality guarantees success, and if a leader suffers setbacks, changes track or fails to provide the leadership they strive to, then that “resolve” and “vision” become harder to maintain. (more…)

3 Plain and simple steps to build a winning start up strategy

startup strategy tips

You have a great business concept. Now you just need to sell it – not to customers, well, not yet. But to your backer.

Your top sales tool is a business plan. But take care. Potential investors banish the vast majority of plans to the bin, so you need to make sure business plan does the business. (more…)

Planning a shakeup – How to plan for big changes in your business

Planning for change at your business

The only thing you can be certain of in business is that things will change. This might be a slow change or a sudden sharp one, but either way, it’s important to prepare for the future.

These changes are a lot easier to predict if you are the instigator of the change. You may decide to take on a partner, move location, change the way you sell, change what you sell, or even sell the business itself. (more…)

Long term planning – how far into the future can you look

long term business planning

Long term planning is an oft-ignored aspect of running a business. Why is it so ignored? Because people think…

  1. It’s not useful.
  2. It’s not possible.

In this article, I’m going to explain why long term planning is both useful and possible, and also provide some practical advice about how far ahead you can look when devising your long term plan. (more…)

Why Your Startup Needs a Good Plan and a Flexible Strategy

what to include in your business plan

Every start-up company needs a good business plan and an effective business strategy. They’re distinct but equally necessary and you shouldn’t confuse one with the other.

You can’t expect to get past first base without a plan. A clear, well-written explanation of what you intend to sell and when you intend to sell it, is the document you will take to your bank manager if you want to get a business loan and to investors if you’re seeking financial backing. (more…)

Short term planning – how to balance your time and detail when planning

Business planning - how to plan for the short term

In a previous article, I described the differences between short term and long term planning. A challenge to both types of planning is how much detail to go into.

I’ve seen accountants trying to create perfect 30 year financial models based on the level of detail they use for tracking the day to day running of the business.

Needless to say, they quickly find an already large job turning into a mountain of work. When the time comes to update the plan (1-12 times/year depending on the organisation) the battle to ensure accurate detail in the plan needs to be taken up again.

So how do you get the right level of planning for your business? (more…)

Financial planning – 6 steps to a successful plan

steps to successful financial planning

Good planning is important for both startups and established businesses, and a financial plan is no exception.

As a new business owner, you have probably never had to produce a financial plan, so it can definitely be a daunting prospect. However, investing a little time and effort in making a financial plan for your new business can save you a lot of money and pain down the line.

So to help you get your financial plan right we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to outline the 6 steps to develop a coherent, holistic financial plan of your business. (more…)

How you think about your business affects how you plan

factors affecting your business plan

Thinking about your business in different ways affects how you plan for the future, opening up some new avenues, but making others potentially harder.

By being aware of how you view your business you’ll also invent new ways of thinking about it, which will give you a more balanced and flexible approach to financial planning. Robin Booth of Brixx.com explains how to think differently about your business, and the benefits of doing so; (more…)

A beginner’s guide to testing your financial plan

test financial plan

According to Bloomberg’s infamous, mythical study, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in their first 18 months.

The Bloomberg figure has been shown to be nonsense, but business failure statistics given by other sources still report business closure rates of 20-40% within the first 2 years of trading, which is still a very high failure rate.

In this article, I’m going to explore one of the ways to avoid the financial pitfalls many businesses find themselves in. I’m going to talk about not just having a financial plan – but understanding the discipline of testing it.

There are myriad reasons why such a large proportion of businesses don’t succeed, but for small businesses cash flow problems are one of the most common reasons. There are practical ways to stave off cash flow problems – but much better if they can be avoided in the first place. (more…)

Why financial forecasting is important for startups, and how to do it painlessly

When you are launching a new business, it’s fair to say that planning your finances isn’t the most exciting aspect of of being a startup. However, it is a crucial part of understanding whether your business has a chance of succeeding

And the good news is that there are now dedicated software, tools and apps that can quickly and easily produce financial forecasts for you.

So to help you understand more about how planning your finances can help your startup succeed, we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to share his experience with us;

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Top 10 business planning tips for start-ups

Writing a business plan is an important step in the business start-up process. And, if you want to raise funding for your new business, you simply must produce an up-to-date business plan to show potential backers.

Even if you don’t place much importance on the business planning process, the simple act of writing down your thoughts can help focus your mind on aspects of the business which you may otherwise have neglected.

So to get you started on the right path, here are 10 business planning tips to help you produce an effective plan; (more…)

Guide to successful business planning

There is a lot to be gained from business planning but many businesses will search for a million reasons to avoid it. However large or small your business is, planning for the future is critical to its success.

Apart from the obvious benefits of setting your stall out for the year ahead, creating an annual strategy will motivate, inspire and focus you on what needs to be done and when.
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Cashflow Forecasting – top tips to produce a better cash flow forecast

When you are starting a new business, you will most likely need to produce a cashflow forecast.

If you’re looking to raise money, from either a bank loan or outside investors, a cash flow will be one of the financial forecasts that you will need to produce for prospective lenders and investors.

As your business grows, a cash flow forecast becomes an increasingly important tool to help you manage the business and to avoid any sudden cash flow problems.

We all therefore appreciate the importance of a cash flow forecast, but are there any trade secrets to doing it better?

Here are some top tips to help you produce a better, more accurate cash flow forecast first time, and how you can use it to give your business a commercial advantage.
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The 10 business development truths that will give you an edge over your competitors

Business development is much more than just about marketing, sales, pitching, online wizardry, mailings, advertising, branding, social media strategies, glossy brochures, discount deals, promotional gimmicks or special events.

Every single thing a business does has a potential impact on how your business performs. Following these 10 business development truths, will help your business to grow and give you an edge over your competitors.
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Business Plans for Business Angels – Part Two

The second instalment of our two-part guide to writing a business plan for business angels, examines each of the main chapters in detail, highlighting the areas that need particular attention if you are to successfully attract funding from a business angel or private investor. (more…)

Business Plans for Business Angels – Part One

This guide has been written for ByteStart by John Courtney of Beer & Partners Ltd.

There are many books on writing business plans – all the banks provide a handy checklist for example. Yet business plans should always be written with the audience in mind. This guide is therefore aimed at helping you put your message across to one particularly critical audience – the business angel.

We see nearly 2000 plans a year and we know what our angel investors are looking for; more importantly perhaps we also know the pitfalls and howlers to be avoided. (more…)

5 warning signs your business plan is unrealistic

As you start up your business, the need for a well thought through business plan is clear.

Even if you are just going to be you sitting in your spare bedroom selling things over the internet, you need a business plan to understand how you are going to market your products or services and actually turn a profit.
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Online tools and resources to help you write an effective business plan

One of the keys to success in any venture is having an accurate and informative business plan. It will set a clear direction and ensure you spend your time productively. As a vital document, you need to invest time getting it right before you make any key business decisions.

There are numerous tools and sources of information online, that allow you to research and plan virtually any business idea. Here are a few of our favourites.
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Guide to Writing a Business Plan – Part 1 – Introduction

The following 8-part guide on how to write a business plan serves as an outline for anyone who is thinking of starting their own business, or improving an existing business.

The aim of this guide is to focus your ideas and create an easy-to-follow plan which can be shown to potential investors, bank managers and business partners.
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What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document which captures how you expect your business will grow, according to a large number of factors such as funding, how the market behaves, the people involved in the business, and – of course – how successful you are at selling your product or service.
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