Episode 8 – Making a business plan


Episode 8, making a business plan.
Welcome to the be your own boss podcast, the young entrepreneurs guide to
starting a business. Whether you’re thinking about business for the first
time or you have an idea that you want to develop, then this is the podcast for
you. I’m Mari and I’ll be guiding you through this 15 part series that will
keep you on track and help you think through the challenges that come with
starting a business. Part of the Welsh Government’s business Wales service, Big
Ideas Wales raises aspirations and supports young entrepreneurs ambitions
for business. Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Big Ideas
Wales supports young people through online resources, business skills
workshops and one-to-one sessions with an adviser to help your ideas become a
reality. To get in touch with us you can like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram. Message us and one of the team will get back to you.
Call us via the helpline on 03000 6 03000 Live chat on the Business Wales website or you can email us [email protected]
Welcome back everyone, last time I was talking about all the support you can
access and answered questions about meeting a business adviser for the first
time. Once you have that in place it’s time to start thinking about your
business plan, this is a crucial step for any new business it’ll show what the
business is all about, where it’s heading and how you’re going to get there. To
create a good business plan you need to be able to provide a realistic picture
of your business including time scales, budgets and sales forecasts. Now I know
budgets can seem like a scary thing but don’t let it put you off if you need to
ask for help to create accurate costs and sales projections then access the
advice online or talk to an adviser. It’s good to remember that we never know
what’s going to happen so predicting your sales and everything else that
comes with it it’s not going to be an easy task don’t be tempted to make up
totally random targets that are unlikely to be hit. You can use a business model canvas this is a visual tool to design, map and reflect on
your approach to the business model or you might choose to use the lean
approach the lean approach is something many small businesses start out using as
it keeps cost to a minimum and only growing as money starts to come in
it can also be known as bootstrapping. Remember your business plan is not set
in stone things can change and that’s okay your business will change, your idea
may change, your customer profile may change and these can all affect the
business plans. As good practice update your business plan regularly. I love
being in control of a young and upcoming company that challenges me every day,
running a business has both highs and lows, being organized is key, know where
you’re heading and how you plan to get there. Some great words of advice from
our role model Adam Amor there, always be organized. Now starting a business plan
can be tough so let me give you some helpful pointers of things you should
include, a description of your business, a profile of your target customer
including key demographic details such as age and gender, facts and figures
about the market you’re in and analysis of your competitors, operational details
your premises, equipment, distribution, a description of your brand identity and a
list of USP’s, what you plan to charge for your product or service, how you intend
to promote and market your business, financial costs, including any funding
requirements, projected sales, profits and cash flow forecasts and an action plan
for the year ahead. A business plan is an important element when applying for
finance or approaching investors so also make sure to include a one-page
executive summary, this is all of the key points of your business plan, any
necessary supporting documents such as CV’s, contracts or market research
and a confidentiality note, this is to protect your idea and inform anyone that
reads the business plan that it’s confidential. When setting out your goals
for the business you have got to think SMART- S specific, M measurable, A
attainable, R relevant and T timely. Make sure your goals are all of these
things and you won’t go far wrong. Creating that business plan is an essential
element to starting your business but all entrepreneurs have to do it. I sat
down with Dominic Bonaker from Odyssey to discuss business plans. ML: Hello Dominic you
okay? DB: Yeah I’m great thank you. ML: Good good, now introduce yourself and tell us a bit
about your business. DB: So my name is Dominic and I run a web agency called
Odyssey we’re a web development agency based in Cardiff and we make websites. ML: When did this begin tell us about your journey. DB: So a little bit about myself so
I’m 23 graduated University two years ago now I believe and it was from
University I knew that maybe a traditional career path wasn’t for me I
did go to job interviews I did have a part-time job and I did that what is
kind of expected and it just didn’t really fit with who I was as a person my
personality type so I decided that I’m gonna try and see what this kind of
entrepreneurial element or this business side of life is and so that’s kind of
how it started and it was a slow start and it was quite difficult to get myself
kind of going and moving forward but I feel that now I’m two years into it and
I’ve picking up the right types of skills and meeting the right type of
people to kind of get me in the position that I’m in now. ML: So it’s a work in
progress? DB: 100% I think as soon as you say that you’ve kind of reached your your
ultimate potential is when you realize that you’ll never get to that point it’s always that milestone is always moving
along. ML: And evolving, so how important would you say a good business plan is? DB: I do I do think it’s important because it outlines what the business is what the
intentions are and and how you are going to take the steps in in terms of getting
to the point that you want to be a good way of starting that is why, why you’re
doing this so people forget about why they actually get started in business
and a lot of people say oh I just want to make money and that’s great but the
people that make the most money are the ones that are solving the the hardest
problems or the problems that are solving the most amount that are affecting
the most amount of people so I think it is start with that build that into your
business plan and then realise that your business plan again is going to evolve
its how business works it’s never going to be this clear-cut I’ve never seen a
business plan that is the exact same in the year one as it is in year five never. ML: If there’s someone listening now really terrified of putting a business plan
together what would you tell them? DB: My first advice is stop stressing about it
and break it down into they’re kind of into its individual elements break it
down into the things that you know right now and sometimes you’re not going to
know everything so there that is the perfect opportunity to go out and test
these ideas it sometimes all you need is a simple one pager so that just
condenses everything down it doesn’t need to be this massive document that’s
100 pages long because I’m gonna be honest I don’t think anyone will ever
read it the only person that’ll read it is you so if it really does scare you write
a one pager to start off with because that will give you all the kind of the
key points to hit on and business plans are sometimes required by banks for
example if you wanted to go out and get funding and things like that again
banks are starting to move towards this this one-pager thing because they want
to they want to hear about more the idea and how it they would like to learn
about the finances which again is a completely different element to to a
whole business plan but don’t be don’t be feared like dont be scared of a business plan because I’m kind of I’m a year in and or over a year
in now and we’re still writing elements of a business plan it’s a living
document which means it’s constantly changing you’re constantly learning new
things about your target audience new technologies being introduced so you cant
you can never say that your business plan is going to be what it is for the
for the rest of your life. ML: So what do you think makes your company different then? DB: Our biggest thing is people we are a we’re a customer service company that
makes websites and I think that’s so important in in kind of today’s society
in today’s world that everyone is so fast-paced everything is automated and
we kind of flip that and say you know what it’s okay to take your time with
certain things it’s okay to to enjoy the process and the name Odyssey comes from
it literally translates into journey and that’s exactly what we wanted to do with
our clients we don’t just say okay this is the project let’s just do it and then
that’s it that’s a good bye its this is where we start these are the processes
and these are the steps in between and we don’t really put an end date on it
because I’d say about 80% of our clients stay with us long term the other ones
have already got things set up so they don’t like to move away from that which
is fine and we we grow with them and as their
business develops with we’re right next to them to say okay we can we can make
this look better online or we can implement this feature and we can help
you shape this business to a point where it fits who you actually are now
compared to where you were two, three, four years ago ML: I think you’re right that
personal touch goes a long way and it’s missing in a lot of today’s world isn’t it? DB: Yeah I agree its so everyone is so kind of just wanting
things now in this instant gratification part of society and we just don’t kind
of it doesn’t fit with us and you’re on a you’re constantly find us just having
natural conversations with people I say in fact 90% of our work comes through
referral marketing so people just passing on our name and our our good
work to other people to their friends their colleagues and
it’s so so important just to to make a good product or to deliver a good
service because it just gets passed on and again business isn’t it’s this term
of b2b business the business it’s not it’s people-to-people businesses are
made of really good people and you don’t sell to a business you sell to a person
so when people forget about that it becomes a really difficult sell if you
want to call it that. ML: And you mentioned some of the difficulties at the
beginning what exactly were they what were your biggest hurdles? DB: Um a common
one that will always affect startup businesses is cash flow cash flow is a
huge huge issue especially when you’re just kind of starting out and trying to make
a bit of money for yourself under the company name or just to quit that
part-time job or whatever and there’s so many ways in which you can just be more
efficient with your money and people say oh well the business would be so much
more successful or so much further on if I had this amount of money or this amount of money and I don’t like to see it like that I see as having limited resources is actually a
strength because it makes you more creative in what you’re trying to
achieve I don’t have a big budget with that compares to some of these other
massive agencies that have 50 60 staff so every pound and penny that we have we
have to use properly and we have to think about it and they create the most
impactful impactful campaigns or most impactful kind of messages that we send
out to people it’s so it’s so kind of twisted and how people think are just
because you have more money that you have more of an impact it’s not
necessarily the way it’s sometimes often that people that have limited resources
that are just actually using them in the correct way
having more of an impact than than anyone else. ML: So you have to be quite
organized as well? DB: Um organised is definitely something that I would
recommend for a business it’s quite important but being yeah being a bit
savvy with your money and and doing things yourself don’t pay for um I don’t
know an example but ML: Anything unnecessary really? DB: Exactly so when we were starting out we
didn’t really have cost of we didn’t really have money to spend on a designer
to develop marketing material leaflets and brochures
and things like so I went online and I just googled things honestly you
can get so so far with just googling stuff and Google’s leaflet design web
agency and millions of results come up and you’re there and you can just kind
of put them in and change the information and you’ve got a leaflet
where as an agency or a graphic designer would have cost me I don’t know 50 pounds
an hour 200 pounds a day or whatever their rate is so it’s stuff like that
that people go okay oh I’ve just closed the project I’ve got this amount of
money now that’s great and I can put all that money into marketing okay but if
you put all that money into paying an agency to do it you’ve just kind of
moved that so that I dont know amount of money becomes 50% less because you’re
paying for their fees if you did it a little bit and put a bit of time and
effort into making it yourself that money goes a lot further and then you
can put it into other things down the line ML: Thats sound advice so we got any more
nuggets of advice for someone thinking of starting their own business? DB: I would honestly to anyone I would just say just go out and try it. ML: Great advice thanks for your time. DB: No worries thank you very much ML: It’s also a good idea to carry
out a SWOT analysis when you’re thinking about your business plan it gets you
thinking about your chances of success SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats. Think about all of these in relation to your
business, the strengths and weaknesses are the things you can control and this
can include things like location, assets, expertise, reputation or what resources
are available to you and if these need to be changed then now is the time to do
it. Opportunities and threats are external
things and so this means you can’t change them just respond to them as they
happen, these could include changing consumer behavior, issues with your
suppliers and new competitors moving in to the market you need to remember that
sometimes things change and you need to be able to update your business plan
with them. That’s it for now on business plans so join me on the next episode of
the be your own boss podcast where I’ll be talking about starting your
business on a shoestring. If you have any further questions then please get in
contact with us. To get in touch with us you can like and follow us on Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram. Message us and one of the team will get back to you. Call us
via the helpline on 03000 6 03000 Live chat on the Business Wales
website or send us an email [email protected] Listen in next time.

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