How to Align Your Personal and Business Goals

Knowing how to set and align your personal and business goals can increase productivity, profits, and employee motivation.

Business goals don’t have to reflect employees’ personal goals, nor those of the owners or management. However, if a company member starts thinking that their work doesn’t benefit them or give them growth opportunities, their productivity and outputs may suffer.
A good leader and manager needs to have the company’s interest in mind, as its purpose stands above an individual’s. However, that becomes impossible when members don’t feel valued.

Setting the business goal to align with employees’ growth plans will help them reintegrate into the office and keep productivity and morale high. These are some of the most effective methods for workforce alignment.

Tip #1. Know the Mission and Vision

The company’s vision is the ultimate goal and the purpose behind its existence. It serves as an imperative and puts the business as a timeless entity that solves a particular problem in society. On the other hand, its mission is how it operates and how it plans to achieve the vision.

Keeping the mission and vision statements clear and easy to remember helps ground the employees and the leaders, allowing them to become part of a well-oiled machine that provides the best service possible.

Tip #2. Make Goals SMART

In the business dictionary, the goals need to be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Ensuring that all company goals and mission statements abide by these measures allows management to understand how employees and the various departments perform against expectations.

SMART goals benefit from being easier to break down into component pieces, allowing for more straightforward task allocation, management, and reporting.

Tip #3. Focus on Goals Rather Than Incentives

Providing workers with incentives doesn’t give them a lasting benefit or change the way they operate within the company. These temporary solutions usually only hurt long-term performance and productivity by enforcing a culture of coercing employees to finish work to receive a reward.

Furthermore, incentives that are not worth the apparent effort will hurt the company’s standing as a worthwhile employer and may put off future clients. Upper management can also hurt profits if they dole out incentives for tasks that should be the norm.

Tip #4. Ensure a Good Cultural Fit

Employers have the final say on the formalization of company culture and mission statement. And employees who don’t align with these goals won’t further the company’s vision and may clash with management.

Properly vetting candidates for important business positions will ensure their goals align with the leader’s personal goals and the company’s mission statement.

For example, an interviewee that looks perfect on paper but lacks the teamwork needed for the role probably won’t relish a team environment.

The Endgame

A company’s goal is usually relatively straightforward: achieve the vision and make a profit. However, employees’ personal goals can be different and more complex and thus, will need to be tackled individually for the business to succeed.


With proper management, transparent communication, and a goal-oriented culture, any company can accomplish growth and align members with its vision.

5 Money Traps to Avoid as a Small Business Owner


The benefits of starting your own business are undoubtedly attractive, but research by the Telegraph newspaper found that a third of small businesses fail within the first year. Time and time again, new business owners fall prey to the same common pitfalls. Here are 5 money traps to avoid so you can set your business up for lasting success.

1. A Lack of Planning 

Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

While plans alone won’t make you money, it’s essential to create a careful and realistic plan for your business. Without one, your chances of success are very slim.

Running a business is a journey, and therefore, you need a map to guide you. Starting a business is exciting, and it’s tempting to jump straight in, but you have to take the time to plan first. An ad hoc approach very rarely works.

First, you must define your company and get clear on your ideal client. You also need to create a realistic business budget and set short, medium, and long-term goals to pace and motivate you.

2. Neglecting Marketing

If you don’t focus on marketing now, you’ll wonder why you don’t have any customers later. You need to market your business consistently from the beginning and create an engaging brand that appeals to your ideal customer. Your company might offer a fantastic product or service, but you’ll struggle to make money if no one even knows who you are.

Furthermore, you need to get your marketing right, which means identifying your ideal client or customer and curating a careful strategy that will speak directly to them.

There are three main factors you need to get right:

  • Audience – you need to speak to the right group of people.
  • Offer – you need to create an appealing offer for this audience.
  • Message – you need to send the right message about your offer to your audience.

There’s much more to marketing than publishing a few Facebook posts or taking out an advert in the local newspaper. You need to put time, effort, and careful thought into your strategy, or you’re in danger of missing the mark. 

3. Cost-Based Hiring

Ever heard the phrase “you get what you pay for”?

It’s stuck around all these years because it’s true.

Yes, hiring inexperienced, under-qualified employees is an easy way to save money in the short term. But, in the long run, bad hires will drain your bank account. You’ll end up forking out more than expected in training or re-hiring. And you’ll run the risk of damaging your business’s hard-earned reputation.

4. Overpaying for Office Space

Rent will be one of your most significant business costs. So consider whether you need to be paying as much as you currently do.

Although it’s essential to focus on long-term goals in business, it’s better to think about the short-term when renting office space. If you’re currently paying for unoccupied desk space and have no immediate plans to hire new team members, then you’re wasting money.

One great way to cut down on office costs is to encourage flexible working and allow employees to work from home at least some of the time. That way, you might have a team of 50 but only need 25 desks. Permitting staff to work remotely also helps to cut down on heating and electricity bills.

5. Bad Bookkeeping

Poor bookkeeping is terrible news for your business. Inaccurate financial records generate time, money, and productivity losses – not to mention the impact on your sleep. Bad bookkeeping leaves you liable to make mistakes on your tax return and means you’ll probably fare poorly in the face of an audit.

Keeping excellent financial records is one of the most effective ways to protect your business against disaster and ensure that your organisation stays financially healthy for years to come. It’s never too soon to invest in bookkeeping software or, better yet, the services of a professional.

Summary 

While it’s true that many businesses do fail in the first year, this is due primarily to a lack of planning and preparation. If you’re ready to put the above common-sense steps into place and invest in the financial health of your business, then you’re better positioned than many entrepreneurs. Avoiding these money traps will not only protect your business against financial disaster but will allow you to accelerate growth and reap the rewards of entrepreneurship all the sooner.

7 Useful Finance Tips for Small Businesses

Good financial health is crucial for any business. It starts with careful financial management, but this is overwhelming for many business owners. So they put off the task of dealing with their finances. And tempting though it is, this approach won’t set your business up for the future. It’s essential to take charge of your finances to ensure your company’s financial health. Sound financial management always pays off. The following useful finance tips will show you how to strengthen your small business.

1. Get to Grips with Financial Statements

Effective money management starts with understanding your financial statements. These record business transactions and help you stay aware of your business’s financial situation. They enable you to make intelligent decisions and identify potential problems ahead of time. Here are the most important types of financial statements you need to know about:

  • The cash flow statement shows how much cash is coming in and out of your company. It helps you understand your cash position and identify any issues that need addressing.
  • The balance sheet is a snapshot of your net worth. It details your assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • The profit and loss account (or income statement) is a record of income and expenditures. It identifies whether you’re making a profit or a loss.

2. Create a Tax Plan

Understanding tax is vital for the financial health of your business. You must submit your tax return on time, and your statements must be 100% accurate. These requirements sound daunting, but it’s easy with due diligence.

Careful planning can also help you to reduce your taxes through deductions. These savings will grow along with your business. If you feel overwhelmed, hire a professional accountant to help. The investment will generate a significant return.

3. Keep a Separate Business Account

The sooner you separate your personal and business bank accounts, the better. Mixing the two can lead to confusion and tax trouble. Opening a business bank account will keep your finances transparent and save a lot of time and stress later on. It’s also worth researching high-interest business savings accounts. These can generate equity to invest further down the line. It pays to plan for the future.

4. Pay Yourself 

Business owners often skip this step during the early days, but it’s crucial to start as you mean to go on. As the owner, you need to maintain sound personal finances to avoid trouble later on. 

5. Cloud-Based Accounting Software 

We live in the Digital Age, so harness the power of technology to streamline your business. Accounting can be time-consuming. Cloud-based software is a cost-effective solution that can save you much time. You’ll have access to your accounts 24/7 from any device, which will allow you to manage your finances remotely for convenience and peace of mind. Cloud-based software will also reduce errors to ensure that your data stays accurate.

6. Measure Performance

Keeping a close eye on performance is essential for the success of any business. Create a regular time slot to review your finances. Awareness of your expenditures and return on investment (ROI) allows you to make informed choices as you grow your business. You’ll be able to cut down on costs that provide little value to your company and focus on increasing your ROIs.

7. Prepare for Audits

You need to figure out which audits your business may receive so that you can prepare for them. It’s always wise to maintain accurate financial records to ensure that you’re ready for any audit you may face. Learning about different types of audits and the associated selection process can often help you avoid them, so this pays off.

Summary

Employing these finance tips from the word “go” can help your small business grow and thrive. While it may be tempting to cut corners, it’s essential to see the bigger picture and think about the long-term financial health of your business. Adopting good habits early in the game is key to your success.

September Tax Update

This is the first of what I hope to make a regular feature on this blog. I hope you find it informative. Please contact me to discuss any of the matters discussed in further detail.

PLEASE NOTE: content is accurate as of the date of publication (31st August 2021). As with anything related to taxation these things are subject to change so please do take advice before you rely on anything in this article.

Big Tax Bills For the Self-Employed In 2022/23?

Draft legislation has been published to change the basis periods for the assessment of self-employed profits to coincide with the tax year. The proposed new rules provide that from 2023/24 onwards profits or losses will be apportioned to tax years where the period of account does not coincide with the tax year. This is intended to coincide with the start of Making Tax Digital for income tax.

The transitional rules proposed for the previous 2022/23 tax year could result in large tax bills for some sole traders and partners, particularly those with an existing 30 April year-end. The profits of the year ended 30 April 2021 will be taxed in 2021/22 under the current rules with 2023/24 taxing profits arising between 6 April 2023 and 5 April 2024 under the new rules. But what about 2022/23?

The profits taxed in 2022/23 will be those for the year ended 30 April 2022 plus the period 1 May 2022 to 5 April 2023 – in total 23 months profits!

The good news is that there will be a deduction for 11 months “overlap relief” which typically arose when profits were taxed twice at the start of the business – but those will usually be much lower than the extra 11 months being taxed in 2022/23!

The transitional provisions allow the taxpayer to elect to spread the excess profits over the next 5 tax years to smooth out the excessive tax bill.

Get in touch if you need help or advice on how much you need to set aside to cover these additional tax liabilities.

September Is The Last Month For CJRS “Furlough” Grants

The Government is pulling the plug on support to employers for furloughed staff at the end of September as they anticipate that the economy will be back to normal by October. The grant claims for employees furloughed in the month of September are 60% of the employee’s usual pay up to a maximum cap of £1,875. Make sure that you make your final claims for the month of September by 14 October and make any adjustments by 28 October 2021.

The end of furlough may trigger many businesses to assess their staffing levels going forward and many may be considering making the tough decision about which staff to make redundant.

Dealing With Redundancies Correctly

Remember that there are key steps that need to be followed as far as employment law is concerned. It is also important to treat any payments on termination of employment correctly for tax and national insurance purposes. In genuine redundancy situations, the first £30,000 paid on termination of employment is tax-free but many employers get this wrong.

The £30,000 includes statutory redundancy pay and any enhancement from the employer as well as continuing benefits such as private health insurance.

The excess is subject to income tax and employer’s national insurance.

5% VAT On Tourism And Hospitality Ends 30th September

The temporary 5% VAT rate that has applied to supplies made in the tourism and hospitality sector since the start of the pandemic comes to an end at the end of September. The rate then increases to 12.5% from 1 October until 31 March 2022 when it reverts to the standard rate.

For those businesses operating in this sector, this will mean an amendment to their accounting software and possibly prices. Note that the 20% rate continues to apply to the sales of alcohol.

Where deposits and other payments are taken before 30 September 2021 the 5% rate would apply to that supply as that would be the tax point for the supply.

5 Secrets Your Bookkeeper Wishes You Knew

Every business needs a bookkeeper, but there may be something that yours isn’t telling you. We’ve compiled a list of the most common secrets your bookkeeper most likely wishes that you knew. They will help you save time and money in your business, and get the most out of the services that you shell out for.

1. Don’t Ignore Audits

Of course, no business owner wants to be audited but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Hiring a bookkeeper reduces the chance that this will happen to you, and help you to prepare if you do have to face one.

Don’t slack off and forget about your audit trails until you actually have to face one. Adopt a bill payment solution that creates audit trails for you. It needs to track every action in the system so that your records are as transparent as possible. That way if you do face an audit, you’re far less likely to receive a fine or lose your hair due to stress.

2. Use the Cloud

It amazes me how many business owners won’t adopt cloud-based accounting software. Cloud-based technology centralises your financial information. This makes it accessible from anywhere, at any time. This is a huge time-saver. It puts all your accounting records online. Retrieving old invoices from paper files becomes a thing of the past.
Furthermore, the cloud offers a range of security benefits. Permissions-based access gives you full control over which employees have access to information. Cloud data is encrypted and heavily protected. And your records are secure from physical damage. So fire and flood won’t destroy all your records.

3. Remote Working is the Way Forward

Your bookkeeper no longer needs to do house calls. With cloud technology accountants and bookkeepers can do their work remotely. Cloud-based software means your bookkeeper can handle their duties quickly and efficiently off-site. This increases flexibility and saves time for both parties.

4. Separate Your Duties

As a small business owner, there’s such a thing as being too trusting. No one wants to believe that their employees would steal from them. But internal theft is very common. According to the latest employee theft statistics, 75% of workers have stolen from their employers at least once. And employee theft costs UK businesses around £190m every year.

To prevent this, consider separating duties to limit fraudulent activities within your business. The employee who handles financial transactions should not be in charge of recording them. This makes it easier for them to misappropriate funds and cover up their fraudulent actions.

5. Avoid Double Data Entry

Double data entry means entering data from one system into another. This is a waste of time. And it increases the likelihood that your records will contain inaccuracies. This will compound and create a big problem later on. Instead, integrate your technologies so that your records stay accurate and up-to-date. Ask your bookkeeper to connect your cloud accounting software to your expense management system. This way your records stay accurate and you can put your time to better use.

Summary

By implementing these simple bookkeeping secrets, you can save time and money in your business. Take advantage of the power of cloud-based technology so you don’t waste time on tasks that would be better automated. Separate out duties to protect your business against employee theft. And keep your audit trails accurate and up-to-date.

How to Maintain a Healthy Cash Flow

Cash Flow Chart on Desk

A healthy cash flow is the lifeblood of your small business. You need cash coming in regularly to ensure that you can continue operations and pay your staff and bills on time. However, cash flow can be precarious when you’re running a small business and late customer payments or unforeseen costs can cause huge disruption. In addition, it’s normal to expect a temporary period of negative cash flow as you scale up since you have to spend before you reap the rewards.

So how can you maintain a healthy cash flow in spite of these trials and tribulations? It may sound daunting but it simply requires a little thought and common sense. Read on to discover how to keep your cash flowing.

1. Get Your Invoices Right

Your clients won’t pay you on time if you send out incorrect invoices, and this then has a negative impact on your cash flow. Ensure that all the information on your invoices is correct and includes a price breakdown. Make sure that you include all your payment details so that it’s as easy as possible for your clients to pay you. This saves a lot of back and forth answering questions and fixing mistakes and ensures that you’ll have money in your bank account sooner rather than later.

Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that you hash out the payment details upfront when you sign a new client. Many business owners often forget this amid all the excitement and then have to waste time sorting it out later. During the onboarding process, make sure that you understand who you should send the invoice to and who to contact if any issues arise. Agree upon a payment date or ensure that the client understands when they have to pay in relation to receiving an invoice.

2. Send Your Invoices On Time

Late invoices result in late payments. You’d be surprised at just how many business owners are lax about sending out invoices, which leads to a multitude of cash flow problems later on. Invoicing your clients on time is a simple yet effective way to ensure that your cash flow stays healthy. If you find it difficult to keep on top of invoicing, set aside time each week to do it or consider investing in invoicing software.

As well as sending your invoices on time, you need to keep on top of payment deadlines and be aware of which clients are yet to cough up. This allows you to send polite reminders to jog their memory ahead of time and chase up any late payments.

3. Review Your Payment Model

If your clients pay 100% of your fees after completion, you’re taking a pretty big leap of faith. It’s wise to require a deposit or upfront payment to ensure that you don’t end up out of pocket.

Additionally, it’s worth implementing late fees to encourage your clients or customers to pay you in a timely manner. They’re less likely to forget or try to delay payment if doing so will incur a charge!

4. Create a Calendar

Cash flow isn’t just about money coming in. You also need to be aware of how much you’re paying out, and when. Create a calendar to keep track of your bills and taxes so that you know when your cash balance is going to take a dip. This allows you to prepare for any expenses and create cash flow projections. It also enables you to make payments on time, which is crucial for maintaining a good relationship with your lenders, suppliers and staff.

5. Create Cash Flow Forecasts

Expanding your business often requires you to spend more than you currently earn, creating a short-term negative cash flow. It’s important to create accurate cash flow forecasts when planning for growth so that you can expand your business in a safe and affordable way, whilst maintaining your current standard of work. It’s no good expanding if you have to completely starve your business of cash to do so.

Creating cash flow forecasts can be complicated, but there are forecasting tools to help with this. The services of a professional accountant can also be extremely useful in creating these projections and adjusting your growth budget accordingly.

6. Prepare a Safety Net

It’s never a bad idea to create a safety net. Ensure that your business has a cash reserve so that unforeseen costs don’t break the bank. Life is unpredictable and no matter how carefully you plan ahead, there will always be unprecedented expenses. An emergency cash reserve gives you some breathing space and means that you can maintain a healthy cash flow even when you have to unexpectedly shell out for equipment repairs, hidden fees or costs that you failed to account for.

Keep Your Money Moving

A stagnant cash flow will not only cause you to lose money, but also to miss out on growth and investment opportunities. If your cash flow is negative for too long, your business will no longer be able to operate. It’s important that you employ the above common-sense strategies to maintain a healthy cash flow and ensure the survival and success of your small business.

How to Avoid Common Money Leaks in Your Small Business

Money leaks in your small business eat away at your profits without you even knowing about it. It’s good practice to check for leaks regularly to ensure that you’re not wasting money. Plugging money leaks will reduce your spending. This in turn will boost your profit margins without too much extra work on your part. Here are some common money leaks to look out for, and how to fix them.

1. Online Advertising

It’s easy to let advertising fees get out of hand. Social media pay-per-click fees may seem small. But they do add up and can present a significant cost for your small business. Keep a close eye on any social media or Google advertising campaigns to ensure that you’re not running up a big bill. It’s also important that you review the effectiveness of these adverts. If they’re not bringing in business, they’re a wasted expense.

2. Subscriptions

We’ve all signed up for a free trial with no intention to continue, then forgotten all about it and ended up paying. Other times, we stop using a service but forget to cancel the subscription. It’s all too easy to let your business leak money this way, but it all adds up. Review your subscriptions and promptly cancel any that are no longer benefiting you.

3. Power Usage

Leaving the lights on overnight and forgetting to switch off devices may not seem like a big deal. But over time they can eat into your profit margins. It’s important to get into good energy-saving habits and encourage your staff to do the same.

There are other ways to cut down on electricity usage. Insulated blinds or switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs present an upfront cost. But they will save your business a significant amount of money in the long term.

4. Office Supplies

It’s easy to go over the top with office supplies, so take some time to assess what is and isn’t necessary. Multicoloured sticky notes are fun, but they’re hardly a necessary expense. Many businesses waste a lot of money on printing. But this is avoidable in the age of cloud-based software.

5. Credit Card Fees

Being lax with your credit card payments is a surefire way to create unnecessary costs. Clear your balance each month as far as possible. And pay attention to any annual or hidden fees. This way you can save your business money and boost your profit margins.

When signing up for a credit card, don’t get distracted by the attractive rewards. Make sure that you read the fine print and understand the fees before you choose a card. This will help you to use your card wisely and avoid any money leaks.

6. Smartphone Bills

If you’re not keeping a close eye on your smartphone bills, you could be paying a lot more than necessary. Review your charges every month to ensure that you and your staff aren’t exceeding your plans. Take a close look at your usage, too, because you could be paying for more than you’re actually using. Shop around too to see whether you could benefit from switching plans or providers.

It Pays to Plug

By plugging these common money leaks, you can cut down on costs without making any real sacrifices. And checking for leaks will help you make your budget go further. So make sure you don’t grow complacent. Perform these basic checks to maintain a healthy profit margin and prevent your business from losing money.

The Pros and Cons of Working With an Angel Investor

The Pros

Working with an angel investor seems ideal for small businesses, especially startups. But, it’s not without its challenges.

Angel investors will usually take an equity stake in the company. And this makes it perfect for businesses that are short of funds or collateral for loans.

Angel finance sits between bootstrapping or family funding and extensive business loans.

Angel investing provides clear benefits for small businesses. But it has specific disadvantages that you shouldn’t overlook. Here are the most significant pros and cons of working with an angel investor.

1. Ideal for Startups

To secure the support of an angel investor you will need a solid business plan. And a convincing presentation. This compares favourably to working with a financial institution. They will expect proof of profitability and a proven business model. If you apply for a loan you will need to provide collateral as security.

This makes angel investing more readily available for startups than loans.

Family and friends can also provide the starting funds, but they might be limited. Angel investors, meanwhile, are likely to have the necessary funds.

2. It’s not a Loan

Because angel investing relies on equity, it comes with specific rules. Most importantly, the investor will take a stake in the business. And they will have an exit strategy if the business doesn’t take off. This means there’s no monthly payment obligation.

A significant downside of taking out a loan is that the business owner is liable even if the business fails. With angel investors, no direct payoff is expected.

3. No Risk-Based Limitations

Angel investors most often have no problem taking a risk on a startup that shows potential. But, this doesn’t mean they are reckless. Angel investors are usually successful entrepreneurs with plenty of experience. The funding they provide usually comes from their personal resources. Also, they often work within a network that helps to dilute the risk.

The Cons

1. Greater Expectations

Angel investors are exposed to the startup’s risk. They expect high returns and often exert intense pressure in that regard.

Setting the bar high comes naturally with this type of financing. This compensates for the higher risk and no monthly obligations towards the investor.

2. Less Control

With a stake in the business, angel investors will take partial control of the company. With their experience, their influence on business operations could be seen as helpful.

Still, business owners are never too keen to relinquish control. But their choices are limited. The level of control that the owner gets to keep over the company will depend on the circumstances. There’s a risk involved with the direction of the business going forward. This balances the investor’s initial risk in financing the startup.

Working with Angel Investors

In summary, securing financing through an angel investor comes with advantages and disadvantages. Those can turn out to be relatively well balanced, as the risks and returns become mutual. Finding the right angel investor could prove to be the best way of taking a startup off the ground.

How To Write A Comprehensive Business Plan

Are you planning a new business or thinking about pivoting an existing one? Spice up your business plan to start on the right foot.

Having a detailed business plan is critical to any venture.

It helps you understand your goals and keeps you focused on what to do. At the same time, it can help secure vital investments for growing your business.

Here’s an outline that may be of help if you need to create one for your business.

The Executive Summary

Always starts with an executive summary. This is a brief outline of the business plan that contains the proposal and objectives.

It’s an overall snapshot of the proposal that will get a lot more detailed later on.

Background

The background section contains information about what the business does, how everything works, and the current stage of development.

Here, you must explain your niche and highlight how the business fits in it.

Service Provided

Offer relevant information about the services provided. In the case of a B2C company, you may substitute with product information.

Make sure to cover all the benefits, costs, and so on.

Market Breakdown and Strategy

Business plans should always contain a detailed market breakdown. This includes things such as barriers to entry, market structure, and other relevant characteristics.

The market breakdown section requires a fair amount of research. That’s why it’s the part that often takes the longest to complete in great detail.

As for the marketing strategy, this is where your business plan outlines your ideas on how to build awareness. Write about how you plan to market your business, package your offer, and sell it.

Business Operations

If you want to create a detailed business plan, don’t forget to cover the day-to-day operations. Outline how everything runs and create a clear outline from production to sales.

This is particularly relevant information to any financial investor.

Management Breakdown

This is an optional step, but if the goal of the plan is to secure funding to start strong, you wouldn’t want to skip this.

Provide a clear picture of the key roles that the business needs. Define those roles and the type of employees desired.

Proposal

Your business plan is all about getting that proposal to make sense. So, the goal is to state your requirements clearly.

At the same time, list the benefits that your proposal brings to the table.

Financial Risks

Apart from the sales and cash flow projections, an important element of this section is the projected balance sheets.

Remember, a business plan isn’t only for proposing a new business. It’s also a useful tool when you want to pivot or seek funding for a struggling venture.

So make sure to include a dedicated subsection that evaluates the risks.

Legal Information

Some industries are highly regulated and you may have to include legal disclaimers or any permits needed.

Keep everything that has to do with the law in a dedicated section, most commonly somewhere near the end.

Ensure a Good Flow

An often overlooked aspect of business plans is the flow. A comprehensive plan can get very detailed and you need to figure out how to lay the plan out and build anticipation for the proposal.

To begin with, you can use a story formula that goes: premise, context, and realisation.

Always remember that a good business plan not only has all the necessary details but also has a good flow. It’s crucial if you want to make the reader sign on the dotted line.

5 Powerful Growth Strategies for Your Small Business

Every business owner starts out brimming with motivation and enthusiasm. And yet, 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. Jump ahead to five years and that number rises to a terrifying 70%. These numbers are alarming, but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel yet. It’s important to put strong business growth strategies in place so that you make it past the first year and continue to grow. You need to know what to do when your business hits a plateau. And how to speed up business growth so that you’ll see success sooner.

Here are five powerful strategies to ensure that your small business grows.

1. Increase Market Penetration

Market penetration is the sales volume of a good or service in relation to its total target market. Increasing your market penetration should increase your market share. Ramping up your advertising efforts and creating attractive promotional offers are two reliable ways to increase market penetration. Broadening the range of products or services that you offer may also prove effective.

2. Market Development

If your market is saturated or you’re struggling to attract customers in your local area, consider market development. This means finding new customers for your current products. B2B marketing, promoting your products to a different demographic, or expanding internationally are all viable strategies.

A spa might consider selling its products via a local supermarket or cosmetics store. A restaurant might expand to offer catering for private parties and business conferences.

3. Expand Your Product Line

Expanding your range of products or services may make your business more appealing to your target market. It’s a great way to refresh customer interest and generate a buzz that will help to attract new customers, too.

Of course, it could be that you already offer a large range of products. If so, consider taking a look at how much revenue each product brings in. Phase out weaker-performing items and make room for new products to excite your customers.

4. Marketing Channels

If your marketing efforts aren’t bringing in business, consider changing channels. This doesn’t mean abandoning your current efforts but investigating new ways to reach your target customers.

Most small businesses use email, social media, and a company website. If you aren’t already employing these three marketing channels, then it’s time to do so. If you are using all three channels to communicate with your customers, then you need to ask:

  • Are the emails clear and engaging?
  • Is the website content rich, or does it only show your opening hours and contact details?
  • Do you show up on social media every day, or once in a blue moon?

On top of this, consider further expanding your marketing channels. Some of the most popular and cost-effective marketing strategies are:

  • Video content
  • Influencer marketing
  • SEO
  • Podcasts

5. Segmentation

Market segmentation means dividing your market into various groups. Then you can create targeted campaigns to appeal to each group. The most effective marketing is specific, rather than general; you can’t be all things to all people.

You may want to divide your market up by:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Profession
  • Behaviour
  • Interests

Of course, you will need data to be able to create the above segments. Email surveys, site analytics, and customer buying history are helpful for this. And using a CRM tool to optimise your segmentation process, can save you a lot of guesswork and time.

Summary

If you’re struggling to grow your small business then these, employed correctly, should help you grow at a steady and sustainable rate. Their effectiveness will depend on the needs of your specific business. For example, a business with a large customer base will benefit more from segmentation than one with a few big customers. Take some time to sit down and develop a plan that is realistic for your business. Then track your progress to help you optimise growth.