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Getting business planning advice

When you’re deep in the day-to-day running of your business it can be hard to see things with fresh eyes.

An advisor can provide an experienced, unbiased perspective to help you understand and plan to get to where you want your business to go.

How advisors can help

Advisors can help you:

  • build, review and monitor your business plan
  • identify business problems and opportunities
  • prioritise the way you use your resources
  • navigate difficulties as they come up
  • get funding to support your business
  • connect you with their networks.

When to consider getting advice

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Advice can be useful at all times, but you should consider getting help with your business planning when you’re:

  • starting a business
  • looking for funding or investment
  • not meeting your current business plan
  • encountering unforeseen changes in your industry that may impact your business, eg new technology
  • looking to expand your business
  • considering exporting your product
  • looking to commercialise an idea that may require R&D.
GettingOutOfAPickle

Case study

Getting out of a pickle

Julia makes premium relishes that she sells at local markets, to supermarkets and from her online store. After checking her monthly results, Julia finds she’s not meeting her profit targets set out in her business plan.

One option is to increase her marketing budget, but being relatively new to business, Julia goes to a business advisor to explore how to get her business back on track.

Together they identify that slow sales are not to blame – it’s because margins on her products are too low. Spending more on marketing will simply mean losing more money.

So they work together to find a price tag that won’t put off customers but will make the profit Julia needs. 

Where to get advice

Depending on the advice you need, you can get help from:

If you’re unsure you’ll get the type of advice you need from those above, ring them first to discuss what you hope to get out of it.

If you’re unsure you’ll get the type of advice you need from those above, ring them first to discuss what you hope to get out of it.

Good questions to ask yourself before getting advice

To make sure you get the most out of your meeting, it’s good to think about:

  • What are your business goals, eg money, expansion or work-life balance?
  • What’s important to your business?
  • What decisions are you trying to make?
  • What do you need help with?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What type of advice do you need?

Before your first meeting

  • Make sure you can clearly explain:
  • what your business does, or what you’re looking to do
  • who your customers are and why they would buy your product
  • who your competitors are – what your customers buy or use instead of you
  • the opportunities or problems your business is facing
  • your short and long term goals
  • your finances – bring along what you have
  • your existing business plan – if you have one bring it along
  • what you’d like help with, eg a set project or ongoing support and advice.
If you don’t have all of this information, use any gaps to prompt your conversation with your advisor.

If you don’t have all of this information, use any gaps to prompt your conversation with your advisor.

Common mistakes

Avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Not getting help when you need it.
  • Only seeking help when you’re looking for funding.
  • Getting too emotionally connected to your business to process and take on feedback from an advisor.
  • Not regularly reviewing your business plan.

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