Views of a Mentor
A series created by Kevin Smith, long standing entrepreneur and mentor working with the UK's largest fully funded Entrepreneur Accelerator, sharing insights and guidance.
In the first of this series of articles we looked at the fact that there was actually quite a lot of help available to you when you set up your own business, and specifically we started to look at entrepreneur accelerators and the roles that Mentors play within that overall service. This time I wanted to take that further and start to explore the actual role a Mentor plays, how best to choose one, and then how best to maximise that relationship.
In the last two articles in this series I have looked at various aspects of finance and this time I am going to stay with the financial theme but from a very different angle – tax. But tax is a very broad topic and I wanted to focus on one unusual aspect of the UK tax system, and that is R&D (research and development) tax credits, and it is unusual in the fact that this time it is HMRC giving you money rather than taking it.
Over the last five articles I have tried to set the scene in terms of outlining what help is available to early stage businesses, and certain aspects of finance, including a valuable but often overlooked tax refund. In this article and the next I wanted to focus on two fundamental issues that will determine how your business develops and how you grow sales.
Last week’s article focussed on Business Plans; what should be in them and why you should write one. One of the key pieces of information required is of course sales figures, both actual numbers for historic sales and those forecast for the future. It is also very important to include the assumptions and how you market your goods in order to achieve those sales. It is those subjects that I am going to focus on this time.
Having written your business plan, identified your existing and potential market and your target clients, and decided how best to market and sell your product, you should now of course actually be making sales. But how open has you mind been whilst undergoing this process, and how limited are your ambitions? Many smaller companies, whether startups or more mature, have a tendency to only look at selling to the home market of the UK rather than broadening their horizons and selling internationally.