MentorsWork 2022 SME Business Planning Tips

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The latest phase of the MentorsWork program, offering free professional mentoring, opened earlier this month.

Small business owners are encouraged to hire the services of a mentor to help them carry out their 2022 plan to grow their business.

MentorsWork is a government-funded program to help support business analysis, sales and marketing, and financial and operational planning, as well as professional development.

Offered by the Small Firms Association (SFA) and Skillnet Ireland, business owners also benefit from online tools, as well as masterclasses and workshops. The application should be sent by the end of November and the information is at https://mentorswork.ie

In terms of basic business planning, the organizers of MentorsWork say small businesses can expect mentors to challenge them in areas such as:

Define aims

You need to stay in visionary mode, focused on growth, deals and opportunities. If you can make bigger sales someday, you can do it 365 days! Identify what drives business, set goals and always push for improvement.

Review of operations

Do you have the right stock that your customers want – and enough? How efficiently are you stocking up on inventory and keeping expenses under control? Are better terms of supply or better prices available, bearing in mind that a reliable quality supply is crucial?

Client experience

You gain customers with great service; there is always something more you can do or say that doesn’t necessarily add cost but adds immense value to the relationship.

Marketing

Basically, how can you make your product better known to the public?

A social media presence is great, but if you’re not “social media savvy,” find an employee or family member who is. Images or videos for Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are produced inexpensively and customers identify well with the visuals.

Depending on your product, service or market, a local radio advertisement, billboards or supermarket posters can be just as effective. Marketing planning starts with “who is my customer and how can I reach them?” If your business is large enough, hire a marketing manager or public relations professional to help you.

An online showcase

If you haven’t already, explore ecommerce platforms. More and more people are shopping for their products and services easily online. It is convenient to browse the goods comfortably and hit the “buy” button, rather than finding a parking lot, standing in line and spending precious time in the shops.

Track finances

Always have an up-to-date balance sheet showing the assets, inventories and liabilities of your business. You need to be clear on the numbers if you have more debt than assets or, hopefully, own more than you owe. Keep up to date with accounts receivable and payable, free cash flow and payroll commitments.

Don’t be a busy fool; make sure that your efforts are generating the right feedback and, if not, ask why. Accounting software tools or hiring an accountant are helpful in knowing your finances.

Plan and delegate

Identify goals and processes in as many areas of the business as possible. Stick to your plan and don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to those who can do them better or faster.

For those specific business questions and more that a small business needs to answer, MentorsWork just might be the answer! https://mentorswork.ie/


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