Thursday 30 June 2011

Business Planning – What’s That Then?

Everybody’s different! So too, with businesses. So too, with business owners.  As a consultant I need to relate quickly to the position of my client. What seems important to me may not to them and vice versa.
The principal of what I’m doing is the underlying process of business planning.  The components of a business plan when it is done properly are of course the very things that a business needs to have right to enable it to run smoothly, profitably and realistically. 
When a new business starts the owners very often do not have a complete insight into all the ramifications of what they’re doing.  There’s no insult or disgrace in that.  Why should anyone know everything?
What usually happens is that I get called into a business at the point when the owners have decided it should be running better and is in need of development.  To do so we need all the resources in place and in proportion.  We need a complete set of skills and realistic overview of what has happened, what is intended and it is then up to me to help decide how we are going to get there.  While this may involve some coaching or training on my part as a business consultant it does not carry any patronising feeling from me and cannot be allowed to do so.  The business is my client’s and will always remain so.  What they get from their consultant is an outside view and an external perspective.
This reflects the position that any business owner is in whereby they are looking at their business from the inside.  It is very hard to step outside and look back in. 
I recently helped a high street gallery which of course is all about the display arrangement and how welcoming the shop front appears and what happens to the customer once they cross the threshold.  I actually took the owner across the street to stand there with me for 10 minutes while we discussed the appearance of the front of the shop and what passersby seemed to make of it.  Very illuminating!
As a consultant I am very careful to maintain the ownership of the business with the business owner.  So by doing a business plan it has to be done with the owner and not for the owner.  Equally it is important that a business plan is done with the business in mind.  This seems obvious until you realise that most small businesses have a business plan originally done using a template from a poor photocopy several generations old.  In effect they are answering someone else’s questions!
This exercise does not have to be expensive.  At an entry level I have helped businesses for £200 per month for three months which has been enough to give them sufficient guidance and perspective to lift the business to a new level of profitability and turnover (not the same thing but that’s another article)
See and make contact on 07747 758596 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            07747 758596      end_of_the_skype_highlighting  or by email .. Expect a practical and meaningful business planning exercise from Bob Shepherd Associates that will retune your business approach. 

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