Business Planning

9 Small Business Planning Tips for Growth and Success

business planningThe UK is the home of nearly 5.5 million small businesses.

But the nation’s business survival rate has hit its lowest in the ten years—dropped from 93% in 2013 to 88% in 2022. It is safe to say that starting a business in the UK can be quite challenging, as not all ventures stand the test of time in the nation.

According to one survey, 20% of small businesses fail within the very first year while 60% of them fail within the three years. London has the highest business failure rate with 12.1% followed by the West Midlands with 11.9% and North West with 10.6%.

Why do small businesses fail at such a rate in the UK? Business analytics platform CB Insights cites reasons such as financial problems, poor business model, not doing market research and lack of passion.

Of course, you don’t want to meet the same fate.

That’s why it’s important to plan your venture in the right way, whether you are starting a new business or looking to grow an existing one.

With this in mind, there are many important factors that must be considered as part of your small business planning process.

These include things like developing realistic goals and objectives, determining your target market and customer base, and creating a marketing strategy that will help you achieve success.

Here’s how…



Define Your Target Market

Every successful small business has a well-defined target market.

This is the group of consumers that are most likely to buy your products or services. For example, if you are selling elderly supplements, the target audience would be older adults.

To identify your target market, you need to ask yourself some questions about your business and your products.

What is the purpose of your product or service?

Who would be most likely to use it?

What age group, gender, or income level can they serve?

Once you have answered these questions, you can start to narrow down who your target market is.

Once you have defined your target market, you can start to marketing directly to them. This means creating advertising and marketing materials that speak directly to their needs and interests. It also means knowing where to find them – whether that’s online, in print, or in person.

By targeting your marketing efforts, you’ll be more likely to reach the people who are most likely to become customers. And that’s what every small business wants.



Set Realistic Goals

Growing a small business takes time, so it’s important to set realistic goals that you can actually achieve.

If your goals are too ambitious, you may get discouraged and give up. On the other hand, if your goals are too modest, you may not push yourself to achieve your full potential.

The key is to find a balance between the two.

Start by taking a close look at your skills and experience. What are you realistically capable of achieving?

Once you have a better idea of your limitations, you can start setting goals that are challenging but attainable. It’s also important to be realistic about the time frame in which you hope to achieve your goals.

Don’t set a goal that you can’t reasonably hope to accomplish within a year or two.

Finally, remember that your goals should be flexible. As your business grows and evolves, your goals will likely change as well. But as long as you keep your eye on the prize, you’ll eventually reach the finish line.



Create a Marketing Plan

Once you are aware of your target audience and business goals, you need to develop a plan for reaching them.

What channels will you use to reach them? What kind of message do you want to send? A well-crafted marketing plan will help ensure that your marketing efforts are effective and efficient.

A company’s marketing strategy provides a map for its business plan, helping to achieve specific goals and objectives.

It takes into account the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as its opportunities and threats. The marketing strategy also spells out the target market, the budget, and the tactics or methods that will be used to reach those goals.

The key components of a marketing strategy must be aligned with the overall business strategy in order to be effective. Without a well-crafted marketing strategy, a business plan is likely to fail.

The best marketing strategies are those that are flexible and can be adapted as the market or the business itself changes. A good marketing strategy should also be measurable, so that progress can be tracked and success can be achieved.



Research Your Industry and Competition

By keeping tabs on your industry and competition, you can spot opportunities and threats early on and adjust your business strategy accordingly.

This is especially true for small businesses, which need to be nimble and responsive in order to compete with larger firms.

There are a few different ways to research your industry and competition.

First, you can sign up for newsletters and RSS feeds from trade publications or sector-specific websites. This is a great way to get timely updates on new products, technology, regulation changes, and other important developments.

You can also follow key influencers and opinion leaders on social media or attend industry events and conferences.

Finally, don’t forget to regularly check out your competitors’ websites and online presence to see what they’re up to.

By taking the time to research your industry and competition, you can make sure your small business stays one step ahead of the competition.



Create a Business Plan

Before you can start your small business, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there.

That’s where a business plan comes in.

A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals, strategies, and how you intend to achieve them. It’s important to have a business plan when starting a small business, as it will help to keep you focused and on track as you grow your business.

To create a business plan for your small business, start by doing some research and then outlining your goals, strategies, and action plan. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you can start putting together your business plan.

Remember to include information on your target market, financial projections, and marketing strategy. With a well-thought-out business plan, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your small business goals.



Work with the Right People

While a freelancer and sole trader might not need to hire a team, some small businesses need people for their varying operations.

When looking for new employees, don’t just focus on their skills and experience.

Instead, look for candidates who fit your company culture and who you can envision being a part of your team for the long haul. The right employees will not only help your business to run smoothly, but they will also be a source of inspiration and motivation.



Allocate Your Resources Wisely

Proper resource allocation is critical to any business, but it is especially important for small businesses. With limited resources, it is even more important to make sure that they are being used in the most efficient way possible. One way to do this is to identify your priorities and invest your resources accordingly.

For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you will need to allocate resources towards marketing and sales initiatives. Conversely, if your goal is to improve customer satisfaction, you will need to focus on customer service.

By focusing your resources on the most important tasks, you can ensure that your small business is using its limited resources in the most effective way possible.



Consider the Financial Aspect

It’s important to have a good handle on your finances. After all, your business’ financial health is essential to its overall success.

There are some basic yet efficient ways to do this.

First, make sure you have a clear understanding of your income and expenses.

Keep track of every pound coming in and going out, so you always know how your company is doing financially. 

Next, set a budget and stick to it. It will help you know how much money need to spend as well as the potential expenses, thereby helping you make sound financial decisions.

This way, you can stay on top of your finances and avoid overspending.

Finally, keep good records.

Good record keeping will help you track your progress and identify any financial problems early on, so you can take corrective action quickly.

And make sure to set aside some time each week to review your finances and make sure everything is in order.

This may seem like a chore, but it will pay off in the long run by helping you avoid any financial pitfalls. Luckily, there are many online accounting tools or standalone software you can use to make your accounting a breeze. Good thing is that most of them are meant for beginners or people who have little to no accounting knowledge.

By taking the time to learn about these resources and how to use them, you can save yourself a lot of headaches in the future.

This way, you can handle your “business money” efficiently and ensure that your business remains financially healthy for years to come.



Tap into the Right Technology

Technological advances empower small businesses in several ways, whether it is to interact with remote clients, collaborate with employees or sell products or services online.

But with so many different types of technology available, it can be difficult to know which is right for your business.

However, it is important to invest in the right piece of technology as required by your business.

For example, if you’re looking to improve your customer service, investing in a CRM system could be a good move. A CRM system can help you manage your sales pipeline, automate marketing tasks, and even send automated follow-up emails.

Next, a good project management tool is a must-have for any small business. Project management tools such as Trello, Slack and Teamwork help you keep track of deadlines, assigned tasks, and progress on projects. They can also help you collaborate with team members and customers.

Or if you need to boost your online presence, investing in SEO or social media marketing software could be a wise investment.

Finally, a good accounting software is essential for any small business owner. You can track your income and expenses with accounting software, create invoices and reports, and even file your taxes.

By investing in these essential technologies, you’ll be well on your way to setting your small business up for success.

So don’t be afraid to invest in the right tools for the job – it could make all the difference to your bottom line.

In Conclusion

You will need to consider important things like market research, financial planning, marketing study and right hiring for a thriving business.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful small business. Be patient as you build your business and don’t expect overnight success.

With time, hard work, and dedication, you can achieve your goals and create a thriving small business.

If you haven’t already, download The Virtual COO’s free business planning templates to help you get started.

The Virtual COO was founded to help small businesses access expertise to deal with operational problems and more, without having to hire or pay for a full-time Chief Operations Officer.

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