Plan For Business Success today… in 3 easy steps

Small business owner packing in the box at workplace. Cropped shot of man preparing

A plan helps you focus on where your business is going. After the last year of uncertainty and disruption, it’s essential that you start looking to the future and what you want to achieve.  Many of you will have been adversely affected by the coronavirus but what is your plan for business success moving forward?

Some of my clients have taken advantage of the Bounce Back Loans to employ a new member of staff, improve their online presence etc. Maybe you have too? Perhaps you have found a new niche for income? If so, I’d love to hear how you have been innovative during this trying time.

Hi, I’m Anna Goodwin, your friendly finance mentor.  With over 30 years of experience, I know it’s important for businesses to plan and understand why it’s crucial for business success.

Step 1: Where To Start?

Give yourself time away from the office (whether at home or work) to think about where your company is headed, where you want to take your company and how you’ll get there. I know this may not be as easy to do, given the current circumstances, but try your best to sit somewhere different to where you are working currently. Perhaps you could sit in the garden, or maybe go for a walk? Even sitting in a different part of the house may unlock some ideas for business success! The important thing is to set time aside to plan and stick to it.

If you have a management team, investors or work closely with other members of staff, you may want to include them in this discussion. However, you may decide to map a framework out yourself first before sharing your thoughts with others.

Things to consider:

Where is your business now?

Consider how it operates, its profitability and competition.

Where do you want to take it?

Create a company vision for business success and set out your objectives for the next 5 to 10 years.

What do you need to do to get there?

Take account of any changes needed and how you will do that. Does your structure need to change to achieve your vision of business success? Will you need more staff? Will you need help with financing?

Step 2: Review

Now you know where you are wanting to go, it is time to map out your current situation and your business processes and finances.

Reopening a business

Many of you will have had to shut down for most or part of the last 12 months. So this year you will have particular financial aspects to think through.

Things to consider:

Cost control
Think about any extra costs and how you can control them.

Possible extra costs:

  • Perspex screens
  • PPE equipment
  • Hygiene stations
  • Fewer customers due to social distancing


Cash control

Ensure that you keep in regular contact with your existing customers. Can they afford to pay your invoices on time or do they need to go to staged payments?

When taking on new customers, make sure your onboarding system has good credit checks in place.

Review of business processes and business finances

It is an ideal time to think through how you do things and whether there are any changes that can be made or help needed.

Things to consider:


Do you have the correct equipment for your job? Is your computer fast enough?  Do you need a new printer/scanner?  If you are working from home for the forseeable future, do you need to redesign your office space or even build an office?

Time wasters

Are there areas of your system that waste time but you don’t feel that you can dedicate the time to sort them out?  It will be time well spent if you do it! Consider it an investment in achieving business success.

Help needed

Do you need to ask for help when looking at your systems?  Maybe admin or marketing don’t come naturally to you?

Accounting system

Is 2020 the year when you finally start using accounting software? If this has been an intention for ages, take action now.  Maybe even pass over your bookkeeping and free up your time to focus on your business? Several of my clients did this in 2020 and can see a big difference in their business finances.


Are there any gaps in your knowledge that are slowing your processes down?  Is it time to book on some training courses?

Coronavirus financial support

When planning for business success, take account of any coronavirus support you have received and how your choices now will impact on your budget.

Things to consider:

Deferral of VAT between March and June 2020

You can pay in full by 30/06/21 or join the VAT deferral scheme.

Furloughing ends 30/09/21

How will this impact on your staff? Will you have to make redundancies? Take account of any likely future costs.

Bounce back loans

When will you need to start repaying these?Remember you have choices. You can:

  • Extend the length of the loan from 6 to 10 years
  • Make interest only payments
  • Extend the period of no interest from 12 to 18 months

Step 3: Planning for Business Success

Involve the right people with the right experience.  You will need people who are analytical but also creative. Remember to ask opinions of key employees, accountants, board members etc. Their opinions will make a big difference to the successful implementation of the plan.

People involved in the process should know what is expected of them. Give people the opportunity to arrange meetings so that they can brainstorm ideas. However, be clear from the outset about how much you will be able to take on their thoughts and suggestions.

Things to consider:

  • SWOT analysis – looking at internal and external drivers for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Vision statement – where do you want your business to be in 5-10 years’ time?
  • Major goals – what will you achieve by when?
  • Key actions – be as specific as you can.
  • Resources required – what will you require to achieve your goals? e.g. staff, finances, time.

Why plan for business success?

  • Gives you more focus on where your company is heading.
  • Reduces the risks to your business.
  • Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)will help you to stay on track with your progress.
  • Identifies financing needed.

and, of course, it helps you build a successful business.

A robust plan will help you to visualise where you want your business to be and will help you to recognise the steps you need to take to get there. It takes away some of the stress which arises from uncertainty (we’ve had plenty of that, haven’t we!)  Also, you are much more likely to achieve your goals and business success. You will feel more in control of your own destiny – and that has to be a good thing!

Next time, I will concentrate on keeping motivated as you move your career forward.

Anna Goodwin @2021 All Rights Reserved.