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Are you planning for success? What we can learn from The Apprentice…

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If there’s something to be learnt from the candidates on this years The Apprentice, it is the importance of a good business plan!

Viewers across the country watched each of the remaining candidates as they faced a series of questions on their future business aspirations. Those who watched each interview would have noticed a common theme – The business plans needed some serious work!

It may come as no surprise that a large number of start-up businesses fail due to poor planning.

According to statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), about one-fifth of business start-ups fail in the first year. At Cottons, we speak to many individuals looking for guidance on how to best their start their new business.


While the entrepreneur in you is eager to dive right in,
you need to take a moment to ensure you have a business plan…

Your business plan

A well-written business plan is used to help focus strategy, manage milestones, manage metrics, assign and track responsibilities and performance, and manage money using projections for sales, costs, expenses, and cash.

A Business Plan should include whatever information is required to best show how you are planning to make your business sustainable. An example of a basic business plan may look as follows:

  • Your business and key objectives.
  • Your skills and experience.
  • Your target customers, market and competition.
  • Your sales and marketing plans.
  • Your operational plans.
  • A well written Financial Forecast for your business.

Businesses with a clear business plan are able to both measure their progress against set benchmarks while aiming for agreed goals.

Business plans and your bank

Financing & Business Plans

A clear, focused and realistic business plan is the best way to show your bank, partners and investors that your business qualifies for financial support. Understand your thoughts and ambitions and best present it to investors and financial institutions.

A financial institution such as a bank will want to see your plan to determine the viability of your business idea. If you’re seeking investors as a means of raising capital for your new business, they may ask to see your business plan to determine the level of risk.

When applying for a start-up grant, the awards body for the grant will expect to see a professional business plan which will be a key part of your application.

Your next step…

An experienced accountant, such as Cottons, will work with your business to best represent you to any financial institute or investors ensuring that all required data is available and correctly presented.

Cottons understanding of the market partnered with our strong reputation within our network of banks and investors allows us to quickly and smoothly arrange funding for your business.

As experienced accountants, tax and business advisors Cottons are able to help you prepare a robust document which can be used to present to any investors or financial institutions.

Aside from initial business plans, at Cottons, we can also carry out regular reviews of your business plan which enable you to track movements in the market, monitor your competition and fine-tune your business process to meet the changing needs of your customers.

If you need assistance in writing your business plan then talk to us.

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