Andy Froggatt explains the importance of getting your business plan in order…

I am currently eating a particularly nice piece of ‘Royston Parkin’ parkin – a regional delight that we took along to the SY Expo here in Sheffield, where we were exhibiting and meeting fellow businesses.

The parkin is a real winner as, and you may be surprised to hear this, not everyone rushes over to speak to an accountant at these events!  The offer of a piece of cake is a great icebreaker and does help start a discussion.

So, why am I discussing parkin? It isn’t just because it is particularly relevant to this time of year as a tradition on Bonfire Night. It is baked by one of our clients, so whenever I have a piece I know I am supporting their business. The other reason why this is good news is that our client was helped tremendously by obtaining grants to assist with the purchase of upgrading their catering equipment.

For any business looking to grow, it is always important there is a strong business plan in place. The plan may contain the following:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Problem analysis
  • Proposed solution
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Sales and marketing plan
  • Operations plan
  • Management team
  • Financial plan

For our bakery-friends the business plan wasn’t sophisticated, but they were able to clearly demonstrate that the equipment they needed could accelerate their efficiency and productivity. They obtained assistance from Sheffield City Region Growth Hub to obtain a Productivity Grant, which gave them 50 per cent funding for the equipment. This allowed them to purchase better equipment with ancilliary products to move the business forward faster than they could have done on their own.

Accountants can work with Growth Hubs, which are local public/private sector partnerships led by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), as well as local councils who can also help. Whatever business you are in and at whatever stage you are at, it is worth checking what funding could be available to you.

Some funding is temporary but building a relationship with your accountant and the team of funders can keep you up-to-date with the latest grant funding. Apprenticeships and staff training will always have ‘some’ funding available, while innovation is always going to be a large area for funding opportunities.  Tax help can be given via Research & Development Tax Credits, however the bar is being raised as to the level of evidence required to obtain this.

For a small grant to help with the use of IT in your business the ‘Digital Innovation Grant’ can provide 50 per cent funding up to £5,000 to move your business forward.

We work with businesses to prepare such business plans and, as you may guess, there can be a focus on the financial side with forecasts for profit and loss account, balance sheets and cashflows. Basically, we translate your story into numbers. I am biased but numbers can help summarise the requirement of the business. The cornerstone for a new business that is profitable is the cashflow. How much does the business need and WHEN will that expenditure be needed and WHEN will the income expected actually be received. What happens if the expenditure increases and the income is delayed?

A good plan will help you get your cake and eat it. We also came up with our tag line that ‘accounts and tax are a piece of cake with Royston Parkin’.

Please email me at the address below, to discuss your business plan or if you want to know who makes our delicious ‘Royston Parkin’ parkin!