05/08/2010

By Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurs at Smith & Williamson

With huge cost-cutting measures set to sweep across Government and local authority departments, and an agenda for a new and entrepreneurial ‘Big Society’, businesses should be looking to capitalise on the bonanza of opportunities that will surely flow to private enterprise. Many of these should be identifiable from websites like www.supply2.gov.uk the supplier route to government.

But be in no doubt that there will be plenty of competition in this new Big Society, especially with the lack of graduate jobs and the encouragement for the UK to become a nation of entrepreneurs.

So here’s a timely reminder of the fundamental issues you need to focus on to make sure your business is in pole position to seize opportunities as they arise.

• Ensure your business strategy is appropriate for the market. Things have changed- have you kept up?

• Will your business plan guide you to a successful future? Have you reviewed and adapted it in line with current economic reality?

• Is your management team as strong as it should be? Are tough times putting the spotlight on team members who may be struggling or out of their depth?

• Are your products or services fit for purpose? Is there still sufficient demand?

• Do you have the best deals with your suppliers? Is your supply chain secure, or are your suppliers facing their own business challenges?

• Are you getting the most out of your staff? Are they well informed, onside and fully aware of how they can contribute to the business?

• Are your overheads fixed or variable? Can you easily reduce them if there is a downturn in future trade? You could be in trouble if sales drop but costs stay the same.

• What are your key business risks and how are you monitoring them? Do you have a clear risk management strategy in place?

• Cash is king! Do you have enough, or can you access additional funding in the event of need?

Remember that all directors, including non-executives, are responsible for the management and well-being of the company. If you have concerns about any aspect of the business, raise them with your colleagues. Don’t give up until they have been properly addressed and, if necessary, take external advice and guidance.

For help with your business strategy or to attract investment and develop your business, contact Guy Rigby on 020 7131 8213 or email guy.rigby@smith.williamson.co.uk

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