SME Adviser Series
It’s not only the nature of your work, but also the lifestage you have reached that will define the kind of advice and support you need. At Beavis Morgan, we can help you make critical decisions at each phase of your development cycle, from startup guidance to exit strategies, and everything in between.
Below is a series of articles with practical advice and tips for SMEs. For more information about how we can help you and your business, contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.
An introduction to starting your own business
If you are thinking of setting up your own business, a key initial step should be to discuss your plans with an experienced accountant and business adviser who will give you the help you need and guide you in making the right decisions both now and for the future.
Writing a winning business plan
A clear, concise and convincing business plan is one of the most important things an entrepreneur or SME business owner must do when starting a new business or when planning for growth and succession.
Choosing an accountant for your business
Choosing the right accountant is one of the most important decisions an SME business owner or manager can make. Accountants can provide a wealth of business and tax advice. Choosing a good one can save you time and help your business grow; choosing a bad one could cost you money.
Recruiting the right people for your business
A business is only as good as the people who work in it. When you are making a recruitment decision you are taking on responsibility for the cohesiveness of the staff and diversity in your workplace, in addition to choosing the kind of talent that can help to drive your business forward. It pays to plan ahead if you want to attract the best candidates, especially in difficult economic times.
Insuring Your Business
Whilst most business owners understand the need for insurance, a surprising number of businesses are uninsured, under-insured, or insured with out-of-date policies. Here we provide information about some of the more common types of insurance for SME businesses.
Market research – Do your homework
As an SME business owner, you’re probably wondering when you should start conducting market research - you may even be wondering if you need to do it at all. The answer is a resounding yes. And the sooner you start it, the more money you will save in the long run.
Failing to plan, plan to fail. We all know this. However, many businesses who create a strategy or business plan fail to execute it to any significant degree. This is because it requires change, commitment, innovation, leadership and numerous other actions to align your business in a way that facilitates the execution of your plan.
Making the transition – Start-up to growth
The life stages of a business include start-up, growth, maturity and exit. For businesses like yours in the transition and growth stage there are many common issues.
Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Plans protect and maintain critical assets, processes and resources whilst identifying operational efficiencies to maintain or improve profitability. A sound Business Continuity Plan ensures that critical resources and activities are protected such that, in the event of a disaster or unplanned disruption, the business has inbuilt resilience and the best possible chance of recovery.
Conducting a business health check
A business health check is a chance to stand back and take stock. It enables you to assess how well your business is performing, highlighting your strengths, reassessing the factors that determine future business performance, and outlining any areas for improvement.
Taking the initiative
Forming strong relationships with customers/clients is an essential component to success. But, whilst this requires time and effort, the rewards can be significant, leading to positive word-of-mouth, increased sales, additional connections and business retention.
Creating future leaders
In most businesses, there are high performers who progress through the ranks of the organisation and eventually start leading business teams. However, it cannot be assumed that just, because you have a star performer, they will be great at leading and managing people.
With the recent changes to IHT and CGT announced in the Autumn Budget now is the time for owner-managers to review their company and shareholder structures.
Improving your negotiation skills
Negotiation is an essential business skill, no matter the size of your business. The Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that a typical UK company could improve its profits by 7 per cent a year by negotiating better. Imagine the boost that would give to their bottom line.
Tips for better managing cashflow
There’s an old saying – profit is opinion, cash is fact. That’s because despite making a profit, some businesses still don’t have enough cash to pay the bills. At the end of the day, a lack of cash will kill a business. Banks and other creditors are paying increased attention to the cashflow position of their creditors, in particular their ‘free cashflow’. So what is free cashflow?
Planning for the future
Whilst it may seem a lifetime away, it's never too early to start succession planning. Exit planning should be part of an SME business owner's long-term plan. And that planning should start now.
Considering alternative funding mechanisms
SMEs need to act to remove the barriers to payment. They must take more responsibility for their own actions in getting paid, and consider alternative funding mechanisms in order to keep the cash flowing.
Protecting your business against cyber threats
Cybersecurity is not only for larger businesses and public organisations. SMEs are in fact some of the most vulnerable targets for cybercrime, and therefore this topic should be at the forefront of all business leaders’ minds.
Tax relief on charitable donations
Donations to charity from individuals are tax free. You can get tax relief if you donate through Gift Aid and straight from your wages or pension, through Payroll Giving.
Conducting competitor analysis
Keeping an eye on your competitors is essential, but when was the last time you actually completed a formal review by way of a ‘competitor analysis’?
Improving business productivity
Building long-term profitability is essential for business growth. But in order to improve profitability, business leaders need to think and to do things a little differently, so you can stand out from the competition and improve your bottom line.
Considering the tax implications of a business sale
For an SME owner manager, planning for the sale of your business or for your own retirement is something that should always be front of mind, however not all business owners know where to start.
Maximising the value of a business on exit
There are many different reasons why a business owner may decide to exit from their business. In an ideal world, the planning required to ensure a perfect exit begins before the business is even commenced; however, this is not an obstacle for businesses that are already up and running.
Leadership in 2018
The most effective leaders are those that have a great self-awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. They focus on their strengths and surround themselves with quality people to cover their weaknesses. Be careful of the trap of trying to be all things to all people and get clear on your strengths for the year ahead.