Bill Hartshorne

Member Article

Taking a step back from your business

11-17th February 2013 is the launch of the UK’s inaugural National Business Planning Week. In partnership with private sector partners and the Governments Business in You campaign, the awareness campaign aims to highlight to owner-managed businesses and start-up companies the benefits of taking a step back from your business to take stock of what changes need to be made to make it a success. In recognition of National Business Planning Week, Bill Hartshorne, business advisor at Ready for Business talks about how effective business planning can make or break a new business.

A robust and realistic business plan is at the core of any successful business and yet it is alarming just how many new ventures begin with little thought or understanding of how to create a plan which will support the goals of the business beyond the initial start-up stage.

One of the key stages of the initial steps in the Ready for Business programme is business planning and it is a stage which I, as a seasoned business advisor, pay particular attention to no matter the type of business I’m working with. I quite often meet people who perhaps have experience in running a business already or who don’t need finance who feel that writing a business plan is a waste of time. But it is not just an exercise for obtaining finance, it helps you solidify your thoughts, understand your wider market and ultimately plan scenarios to deal with different alternative futures.

By listing the resources you need to achieve your business goals you are prepared for all of the different eventualities which running your own business can present but most importantly, by knowing your problems, you can better prepare for what is needed to achieve growth.

I lose track of the number of people who in the early stages of setting up a business inevitably reach a stage where an idea, in the process of becoming a reality, suddenly seems unachievable. Business planning can help you reach a goal by effectively planning the steps it takes to get there - turning a mountain into a series of more easily traversed hills by helping you commit to a clear course of action.

Business planning is of course an important step in attracting investment or financing from any of the various funding platforms available. Whether it be angel investors, private sector banking loans or grant-led funding, anyone interested in supporting your business financially will need to see evidence of an idea being turned into a clear and accessible business plan with research and understanding of the wider market. It is in this particular area in which Ready for Business is particularly unique in what it can offer.

Ready for Business has been running since summer 2012 and is currently working with growing numbers of new and start-up businesses throughout the North East to support new enterprises throughout the region. As an intense programme for entrepreneurs with a strong vision and goal for a start-up business, Ready for Business is directed at helping individuals not only source and prepare to attract financing from different areas. We go through a range of early stages to develop a business plan which is strong enough to highlight the opportunities of the business as well the potential value to a bank manager, investor or lending organisation.

Business planning is an essential activity, regardless of the stage of business you’re at and National Business Planning Week will hopefully help business owners and people considering running their own business take the chance to consider how they approach this important step in the future success of a business.

Bill Hartshorne has more than 30 years experience in commercial and business support roles and is a key member of Ready for Business, the innovative start-up initiative with the aim of creating 900 new jobs in the North East. The programme is delivered in partnership with Barclays Bank and runs a series of free, informative seminars for people interested in starting their own business. The next seminars run on Monday 18th February at Five Lamps in Stockton on Tees, Tuesday 19th February at Morton Park Business Centre in Darlington and Wednesday 20th February at Barclays Bank on Grey Street, Newcastle. For more information and to book a place on the free Ready for Business seminars, please contact Bill on 07803627092 or

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by TEDCO .

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