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Business Planning

What to Consider Prior to Starting Up

  • Will it work - is it a good idea?
  • How will you test it?
  • What are the costings?
  • Who will you sell to?
  • How do you know that (what research have you done?)

East Midlands Chamber has produced a start up checklist of things you need to think about when starting a business.


Your Business Plan

Putting together a business plan helps you to clarify what you wish to achieve, how you are going to do it, and the steps that will get you there. As your business progresses the business plan will also help you to review your progress and change your forecasts if necessary.

Use a template business plan to gather this information together. Further advice on writing your business plancan be found on the GOV.UK website and in the video below. A selection of business plan templates can also be downloaded from Business is Great.

A cash flow forecast template will help you identify the costs involved in starting and running your business as well as projected income. Throughout the life of your business the cashflow forecast can act as an early warning system, to ensure your business is on track financially.

Advice and information on producing a cash flow forecast and managing cash flow can be found on the gov.uk website.

Please enable JavaScript to watch this video: (ZNx1QlaZ3mM)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNx1QlaZ3mM&rel=0.

Market and Sector Research

  • Who will buy your product or service?
  • How much are they willing to pay?
  • Is this enough to make your business pay?
  • Who else is doing what you plan to do in your area and how?
  • What will be your Unique Selling Point (USP)?

The answers to these questions should all be addressed by market research and included in your business plan.

Identify some potential customers and test your proposed product/service on them and get their feedback on usage and price. Find out more about potential competitors, their strengths and weaknesses - how do they market themselves, what is their pricing structure, etc?

Once you know more about your potential market you will be able to make plans about how you will contact potential new customers.

This video explains how to carry out market research and the resources you can use.


Choosing the Legal Structure for Your business

The legal structure you choose for your business will determine your responsibilities in a number of areas such as required paperwork and tax as well as how you deal with profit and loss.

Find out more about different structures for businesses, charities and non-profit making organisations and what they mean in order to choose the right one for your business.

Your business name should be memorable, distinctive and unique. Find out more about choosing a business name.

The legal structure you choose can affect the name you choose. Limited companies follow guidelines published by Companies House.

Some businesses choose to register trade marks or brands. More details of what can be registered and how, can be found here.


Sources of Information on Your Market

Find the right resources and support for your business by using the Gov.UK resources.

Keynote reports – provide an overview of the UK market for specific products and services. Use the Executive Summary to find out more about the report contents.

Find statistical information on your target geographical area using NOMIS.

Information on the number of businesses in your chosen trade in your area can be downloaded from the Office for National Statistics website

Statistics on the local economy can be found in the Local Economic Assessment for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and for Derbyshire as well as on the Derbyshire Mapping Portal. and in the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan

Centre for Cities provides a range of statistics on population, business start-ups, skills, employment and earnings, CO2 emissions, housing and wellbeing.

Business Opportunity Profiles from Cobra provide a detailed guide to small business trades and sectors including key market issues and trends. Nottingham City Council Library ticket holders can access this free of charge here and Derby City Council library ticket holders here

Use company databases such as www.thomsonlocal.com and www.yell.com to find out more about companies in your local area.

Search engines such as Google maps can be used to plot businesses in an area, for example, florist shops in Nottingham.

Contact your local library to find out more about local business directories or comprehensive business databases such as Kompass or MINT in your area.