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Putting together a business plan for the next 12 months

Putting together a business plan for the next 12 months
Monday, January 21, 2019

For many business people, particularly whose companies are less complex to run, the difference between success and failure is measured by how much they’re able to take out of the business, whether they’re being paid on to and they’re making payments on time to their suppliers, and their ability to meet their tax obligations when they’re required to.

However, for all businesses, particularly more complex and larger businesses, you should be on a continuous drive to make the maximum possible return for the minimal amount of outlay and effort.

Ask yourself this question – if you are turning over £1m a year, what is the absolute minimum level of profitability you would find acceptable? If you want to reach that level (or you want to improve on your profitability), you need a business plan to codify what your targets actually are and so that you have a way of measuring whether you’re achieving them.

We’ll partner with you on doing a plan specifically for your company and, when we’re working on putting it together with you and helping you monitor it, we’ll focus on three key areas.

1. Are you wasting valuable time and effort with certain products or services?

Over the time your business has developed, you will likely have developed a complimentary set of products and services to maximise the sales opportunities you can exploit.

Some products and services will be more profitable than others. Some products and services will take longer to fulfil and there’s no guarantee that those more difficult products or services will produce a better return for you.

“Opportunity cost” describes the financial cost of taking one course of action over another. If your sales staff, your marketing team, and your employees involved in fulfilment seem to be spending a disproportionate amount of their time and effort on providing goods and services which produce a materially lower return than your other products and services, can you increase the price you charge to improve your company’s overall level of profitability? Or, would it be worth stopping selling that product or service and getting your team to focus more on selling and fulfilling the products and services where the rewards are much greater?

Work out the level of profit on everything you offer and then ask your team members about the various different challenges in supplying your clients and keeping them happy. If certain products or services seem to be sucking time, effort, and resources out of your business where the return is not clear, explore with your team the best way forward to improve the situation.

2. Improving productivity and efficiency

When we’re working with you to put together your business plan, we’ll go back through the previous 1-3 years of trading with you to identify all the costs you are and have been incurring. Are certain products or services requiring more after-sales time than others? Have certain costs of supply and fulfilment gone up for different products and services in the last year or two?

Sometimes, your business will be doing things it no longer needs to do or which could be done with fewer staff or cheaper suppliers. Let us find out how your spending patterns have changed in supply and fulfilment over the last few years to look for ways to do the same level of business where you can pay out less.

3. Going for growth or consolidating?

Not all businessowners want to grow their business in terms of turnover, number of staff, or range of products and services. Just because you run a company which has £1m a year turnover doesn’t mean that you’re obliged to try to increase it to £2m. You may not want to experience the stress and upheaval that is a feature of expansion.

In those cases, the key to growth is finding productivity and efficiency savings – it’s about finding the optimal combination of products and services that work best for your company and its current set-up.

If you do want to expand, a whole different set of financial considerations must be taken into account. Expansion always involves increases in fixed costs like wages, rent, IT, and so on. Some of the one-off costs can be considerable – recruitment fees, deposit on a commercial lease, legal fees, and so on.

For a while, your company will lose money month on month until your new staff are at the level you need them to be at for optimal performance. It’s a nervy time for any entrepreneur. Expansion planning requires either a sustained effort to keep cash in the business for use later on during your growth phase or taking on debt finance. Either way, you need help from accountant to plan how much money you need both to cover all the costs and to put aside additional funding because expansion does not always go to plan.

Keeping track during the year

What we’ll cover in our business plan service includes many more important factors than the three most important we’ve mentioned in this article. However, it will be worth it because, in our experience, our most successful clients have the greatest thirst for knowledge on every aspect, particularly financial, of their own business.

We’ll devise profit and loss and cash flow forecasts meaning that you can keep track via your online bookkeeping platform and your regular contact with your Panthera professional whether you’re heading in the direction you want or whether you need to make minor course corrections during the year.

Accountants with a fine eye for detail

Make more from what you’re doing - to find out more, please call 01235 768 561 or email

What our clients say

For us, there is nothing better than a happy customer. Here are just a few that let us know how much we mean to them.

Pete Dungey

Simple, efficient and most importantly, hassle-free.

We found Panthera via our search for a Xero expert. We knew the software we wanted to use, and needed a forward-thinking accountancy partner who could get us up and running, and teach us the ropes moving forward. Tory and her team have always been on hand to answer our questions, and help us to grow as a business, particularly during periods of big change, such as becoming VAT registered. They are always on hand to alleviate any concerns and help to keep our records in order, which makes our year-end accounts an absolute breeze! Being based in Bristol, our relationship is entirely email based, alongside one consolidation meeting at year end - this keeps things simple, efficient and most importantly, hassle-free.

Pete Dungey Kaleido Grafik Limited
Anita van Eijndhoven

Talk Our Language

The support and service we receive from Panthera Accounting is very good. Everything from regular meetings, a prompt e mail response and the transition of our Xero software (which we find very pro active indeed) has and is all remarkably efficient. We find Panthera talk our language and make any process as painless and easy as possible.

Anita van Eijndhoven Quidne-IT
Ash & Tim Lane

Panthera brush aside the stereotype of the typical accountant

We got in touch with Panthera Accounting by way of a recommendation; we haven't looked anywhere else since. They are an extremely professional yet relaxed group of people. We were slightly daunted by the idea of accountants but Panthera brushed aside y the stereotypes. They are very understanding when answering any questions we may have. They are completely efficient, offer sound business advice, and are fantastically priced. We will continue to recommend them.

Ash & Tim Lane Starveacre Fencing
Jayne Johnson

An Asset to my Business!

The whole team at Panthera are great! Working with them has been a huge support to my growing business. They help me to understand the numbers I need to know. They give me technology solutions like Xero so that I can process things quickly and have access to my own figures. They are quick to reply, highly knowledgeable, nothing is too much trouble and as well as making sure that everything is compliant and on time, they are enthusiastic, professional and fun to work with.

Jayne Johnson Better People
John Baker

Absolute joy - they provide a first class service on every level

Working with Tory and the team at Panthera is an absolute joy - they provide a first class service on every level; from simple Xero issues through to more complicated tax enquiries, they’re always on-hand to help me get it right. I’m certainly not their biggest customer, but I’m always made to feel like their most important one.

John Baker BKR Solutions
John Castle

Professional and Friendly

I would like to say that Panthera Accounting have helped me with my business accounts for more than 4 years now. They have consistently offered an excellent competitively priced service that works both professionally and in such a friendly way that I would highly recommend them to everyone considering using their services.

John Castle Ilexanna Limited & Birch Castle Homes Limited
Jonathan Morrison

They are always there to answer queries and sort out issues

I had been with Mr Dunn for 20 years when upon his death Panthera took over the business. They now play a bigger part in the running of my business, they do all the stuff that has to be done but I don't like doing ie book keeping, VAT, wages, and returns. They are always there to answer queries and sort out issues and make sure all Tax deadlines are met. Their costs are fair, service is great and I have and would highly recommend them.

Jonathan Morrison Wallingford Builders
Pippa Scott

Professional, friendly and personal service.

Panthera Accounting have gone above and beyond the call of duty to guide and support our Company. They offer a professional, friendly and personal service that can take the stressful and sometimes frightening feelings out of running a business. They have guided us through the working of Xero and have offered “teaching sessions” on the day to day running of the accountancy package. Our only regret is that we didn’t join their team earlier.

Pippa Scott Scott's Commercial Services Limited
Sara Southey

Panthera puts the personal back in to accountancy!

Tory and her team have provided a friendly, approachable and helpful service from the start. They have delivered a quality service, above and beyond anything I could have expected. Panthera, with the help of the Xero package, have taken the stress, strain and confusion out of managing my company and personal accounts. I look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Sara Southey Bluestones Garden Design
Tracey Miller

Panthera are fantastic.

Panthera are fantastic. Always professional, going the extra mile for their clients and delivering superb service. I recommend them all the time to my clients.

Tracey Miller Bigger, Brighter, Bolder BBB

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  1. We jump on a quick call to create the perfect service package for your business
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