One in 10 UK small businesses rely on ‘improvised’ business plans

Companies are putting themselves at risk of failure by opting for post-it notes instead of properly constructed business plans

One in 10 small and medium-sized UK companies are risking failure by relying on ‘improvised’ business plans instead of detailed written documents, according to research from One Pol and npower Business.

Alarmingly, a number of small firms are relying on a “few lines” jotted down on a post-it note at the inception of the company as their only form of long term financial planning. Far from being sufficient, these plans are then rarely seen again or added to.

The report found that a third of hospitality and events companies, such as restaurants and nightclubs, are guilty of this, with a quarter of all transport and logistics firms also relying on improvised business plans.

Despite finding that 88% of retailers think it useful to have a business plan in place to support growth, only half have done so and 15% admitted to writing their business plan on a post-it note.

With a record 581,000 businesses established last year, and 36% of business owners admitting that running a company was harder than expected in the first month of operating, aspiring entrepreneurs would do well to lay down a comprehensive written plan at the start.

Phil Scholes, head of npower business, commented:  “Our aim is to raise awareness of just how important having a proper business plan in place and working to it actually is. Clearly it has to be flexible, but there has to be some properly thought-through structure.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of this country and assistance with better and more accurate planning can only benefit the wider economy.”

Follow our step-by-step guide here to create an effective business plan or check out our dedicated business plan advice channel.

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