Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A new consideration to business planning

One thing that has been noticed by me is that entrepreneurs and SMEs are working hard at just trying to open and keep their doors open. They need help accessing funds and sometimes need more access to much-needed markets due to poor connections through gatekeepers. 

There are some who make money while others, the majority, struggle. What is lacking across all those plains is enough guidance on how not only to make money but also how to keep more of what is made. 

In many instances, some try to employ rules of governance as if they are dealing with employees rather than business developers; however small they may be. The end result is that many don't know or understand the rules within which they must/can operate so that they are more profitable and efficient in their daily dealings. 

Apart from consultations and training, there is a growing need for business advisory services. Accountants may think that certain things fall into the realm of attorneys and vice-versa; and this is only when the prospect actually works with either of them. This is particularly common with issues pertaining to incorporations and related matters. There are too many poorly structured entities from the get-go. Unfortunately, this is only recognized when the entity is seeking funding.  

Business planning needs to start before the business even gets up and going. There are a number of issues to be addressed with reference to the type of structure you are going to use and why. Too often the answer to questions asked is that they were told to do so, but they never understood why? 

A good business advisory service will have a battery of other professionals with who they function so that the client benefits from the expertise for their required levels. This can range from rudimentary to those who have significant wealth. 

E.g. I tend to work with a battery of legal professionals since the law is a vast area, and one cannot be everything to all people. Those I use for incorporations are different from those I would work with for real property deals, and would be different from those who deal with international trade law. 

For a long time, the shoestring budget has been touted as a method of starting a business. However, it gained such a reputation that the ongoing trend is to underfund startups and expansions within this sector. Businesses need access to funding and to technical assistance to help them get structured correctly; this increases their chances of survival. 

Not enough businesses have plans in place for what they should do with the funds that come in as revenue so that they can keep more of what they make and then move to be not only a business owner but enter the realm of investment if they so choose. 

Given the contributions that SMEs through entrepreneurs make to economies, it's time for them to have a bit more respect given to them. They create substantial employment, make significant contributions to the GDPs of countries, yet they are marginalized by many in terms of access to finance, little to no incentives, and taxes at levels that make absolutely no sense. 

Too many people, in government who plan for the SMEs don't have a full understanding of business. E,g, An entity moving from just a few thousand dollars to five figures within a short time doesn't mean that you extrapolate the information and say that they are making money and therefore pull the plug on them. They haven't even reached breakeven and are therefore unable to meet such onerous demands of the tariff structures imposed on them. In many instances, the owners haven't even been able to pay themselves yet since they are pouring back the revenues into the entity without personal remuneration. Yes, the struggle is real. 

All the money that you make is not yours to keep. Plan to keep most of what you make legally of course, but it's a process that requires careful planning. 

There are a number of moving parts to consider when you're getting into business that must be included in your planning. Look us up via our website: make contact and let's discuss how you can plan your future sensibly when we make an appointment. 

Happy Independence Barbados, we wish you the best as you consider your planning for your entity going forward for the years to come. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The importance of business plans [10 reasons]

 The debate continues about whether or not business plans are necessary. Some say they are not needed, yet in today's world, the functionality of the business plan cannot be eradicated. They have been used for various purposes; govern operations and funding are two of the main areas. 

The process allows the business owner to critically think about their business and then along with the writer/preparer of the document develop a document which cements these plans. 

If we were to look at 10 reasons for a business plan and the processes required well the following should help to make it clear. 

  1. Good business plans are NOT cheap. You have to research the information that goes into the business plan and it needs to be current; not over a decade old. This was seen in many instances where people opted for cheaper plans and they didn't realize their objective and the client then had to seek additional help. Accessing the up-to-date information to go into the plan is expensive, they are prepared through studies done by individuals and institutions who fill that role. 
  2. You can get technical assistance for preparing a business plan; some even provide total/partial funding to assist you in getting this process completed.
  3. You need to work with your team to get a solid business plan done - Yes, your team should comprise an accountant, legal, financial advisor, operations, marketing, and your business advisory support. These are broad headings since your team may be larger when you drill down. 
  4. Proper business structure - too many people are forming businesses without using the correct structure for their operation. Your business structure is key to your success, especially if you operate under the broad categories of for-profit/not-for-profit. 
  5. The business plans, especially those seeking funding, will be scrutinized heavily by financiers. Don't try to sell heat with your financials, they will be converted using ratio analysis to see a more realistic picture than the currency's initial stories. 
  6. Use assumptions that make sense. Telling someone that the market is a certain large size and that you can control 1% of that market as a segment is not as easy as one would initially think. You end up shooting yourself and your business in both legs when you cannot deliver. Your credibility is then shot and it seems like you are not competent to run such an operation. 
  7. Understand money follows management. This is not a cliche. Have a solid management team in your planning complete with what their required roles entail. 
  8. Due diligence will be done. Are you statutorily compliant? Is your reputation for treating staff well sound, do you pay your bills on time; these and others are questions that will be asked and answered. 
  9. Is your business well thought out? 
  10. Not all the money you pay for the business plan is for the vendor to keep, they have resources they have to pay for as well to ensure you get the best results for your plan. 
Also, consider getting your business model worked out. This enables you to enhance your performance within a competitive market. To get more information and access to resources, contact and learn what you need to do. We have teams that can help you. 

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