26 May Is failing to plan, planning to fail in business?
Around 80 per cent of UK companies fail within their first year and, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, only 42.4 per cent of businesses started in 2013 were still trading five years later.
According to UKStartUps.org, the four most common reasons that businesses fail in the UK are:
- Inexperience of the business owner
- No business or action plan
- No capital or funding
- Bad idea
In our experience, all four of these challenges can be tackled “head on” if only the business owner asked for help or knew where to look for guidance, feedback or advice.
It won’t surprise you to know that we are huge advocates of planning here at Bright Trees. We absolutely love working with businesses and helping them to grow and reach their goals and a business plan is your foundation for that growth.
But where do you start? We always advise clients to work backwards. Yes, backwards.
Think about your exit strategy or your ‘end game’. Are you looking to sell your business? Will it carry on without you operationally but with you still receiving dividends as a pension? Do you want it to become a family business with the next generation taking over?
By establishing your end game, we can understand the strategic decisions that need to be made in the short, medium and long-term so that you can achieve that goal. Whether your business reaches your initial vision for your end game, or whether you modify and adapt it along the way, having the end in mind will always help to keep you focused and provide a clearly defined pathway.
Once you have a business plan in place and a goal in mind, monitoring and achieving your goals through accountability is key.
So many business owners create a business plan when they start up and then never look at it again but they are missing a golden opportunity.
Following a clear business plan or, at least working towards the goals identified in it, ensure you maintain focus and don’t stray too far from your initial purpose, values or goals. They can also provide a fantastic point of calibration – a chance to track what is and isn’t working.
Success is achieved through discipline and structure, which is difficult to maintain alone – especially as you get busier.
Self-made success is very rare. More often than not, success is delivered when we work together as a team. So, if you are struggling, forming an accountability partnership may be an ideal solution. Accountability will provide focus and when focus is applied, outstanding results can be achieved.
Keeping a focus on your short, medium and long-term business plans can be hard in today’s digital economy as we tend to focus on things like our marketing strategy (website, brand, social media etc.), but how do we choose the right tools for the job? What is the most appropriate platform for our business? Who is our target market? And how do we prioritise our investments, both in terms of time and money?
An accountability programme, such as the one offered by Bright Trees, will clearly identify your goals and help you to break them down into manageable tasks and put appropriate measures in place to track your success.
It sounds simple – and it is – but it can’t be achieved alone.
We offer several free resources to support you in developing a plan for your business, from simply providing insight and templates, to bespoke workshops that ensure your business has a solid foundation. We can also be your accountability partner.
You can also download our free design guide, Creating A Foundation For Growth, which is available at https://brighttrees.co.uk/downloads.