You’ve read the overview and now you are ready to get on and start preparing your business plan.

Step One

Know yourself – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

This is infamous but it boils down your situation into the nuts and bolts of your business plan.

Strengths and weaknesses

Internal factors over which you have some control.

Opportunities and Threats

External factors that you cannot control.

Where to look for strengths and weaknesses

Area of business Strengths Weaknesses
Management Good at day to day operations No time for long term planning
Marketing and sales Good face-to-face with new and potential clients No idea how to create a compelling website and get it to the top of the rankings
Premises Excellent High Street position No passing trade and poor condition
Finance Good control over finance Poor cashflow
Staff Excellent at their work New to the business and inexperienced

 Where to look for Opportunities and Threats

Area of business Opportunity Threat
Market The market is growing rapidly The market is mature and it is hard to break-in
Economic situation The economy is growing The economy is in recession
Government policy Tax holidays or incentives available Incentives are available to competitors in other parts of the country
Staff Plenty of local skilled staff available Unionised and difficult staff recruitment.

There may be more industry specific factors you need to include.

Try to list 10 factors under each category, this will help to ensure that you think about all aspects of your business and of your industry as a whole.  These points will help guide you in setting your strategy at a later time.

If you need help in building your business plan then Clearways Accountants can help you with templates, guidance and financial input; just call us on 01737 244298.