Budget 2020: Tips for Tito – Make Your Voice Count!

Every year the Minister of Finance asks us what we would like to see in the budget and a “Budget Tips” portal on the National Treasury website is open. This year he asks in particular for our views on “What can government do to achieve faster and more equitable economic growth?”

Your voice is important! We’ll show you how to be heard, with hyperlinks to the channels you can choose from.

To give you the idea, last year there were many differing tips ranging from the amusing and the serious to the overly optimistic….

On 26 February 2020 the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, will be making his annual budget speech.

Traditionally, the Minister asks the public what they would like to see in the budget and a “Budget Tips” portal on the National Treasury website is open. Citizens are encouraged to submit their tips to the Minister either on that Portal or by Twitter @TreasuryRSA with the hashtag #TipsForMinFin and “#RSABudget2019” (presumably Treasury will update that hashtag to 2020). This year he asks in particular for your views on “What can government do to achieve faster and more equitable economic growth?”

If you have ideas, make your voice count! Last year there were many differing tips, from the amusing (give free Lotto tickets to regular electricity payers) and the serious (reduce corporate tax to 15% for companies with a turnover of less than R10 million to encourage job creation) to the overly optimistic (give a tax rebate to those who have upgraded security in their homes).

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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Directors: Be Careful, You Will Be Held More Accountable In 2020

Being a company director (or a senior manager) comes with onerous duties and risks which require constant management.

And 2020 is shaping up to be a year in which you will find yourself under increasing scrutiny, with the NPA now showing a distinct appetite for charging delinquent directors criminally, and with the ongoing risk of personal liability and class actions by trade unions and other stakeholders.

We discuss the standards to which you are held by the Companies Act and remind you of several specific and growing risk areas, not all of them immediately obvious but all of them important.

The past few years have seen scandals emerging in both the private and public sectors. Steinhoff, State Capture, Eskom, the Guptas and Bosasa, to name a few, have revealed how endemic corruption has become in South Africa.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is now beginning to charge those who have been involved in these scandals. This has been greeted with relief by the public, who have become increasingly frustrated that perpetrators have appeared to have escaped from accountability for their actions.

Clearly, the directors and senior managers of these affected entities are being scrutinised and face potential prosecution.

Your obligations and your risks

The Companies Act places onerous obligations on directors and senior managers who are to perform their duties:

Having the necessary skills and experience to make informed, independent decisions,
Keeping themselves up to date on the plans and activities of the company,
Having sufficient data to make carefully considered and impartial recommendations to all issues raised at directors’ meetings, and
With no conflicts of interest. If a director has a conflict or potential conflict, then that director(s) shall make full disclosure of the conflict to fellow board members.

Failure to adhere to these standards opens directors to the possibility of being liable for any damages or losses incurred. In certain instances they face the potential to be held criminally liable and directors who transgress by failing to meet their obligations can also be disbarred as directors either permanently or on a short-term basis.

Additionally stakeholders, such as unions, may undertake class action against directors personally.

Other danger areas

Now that all directors are under increasing scrutiny, you also need to bear in mind issues such as your company causing environmental damage, trading in insolvent circumstances (for example SAA directors face potential litigation here), failing to ensure your business is protected against hackers, poor accounting policies and being party to the company suffering reputational damage which leads to a collapse in the share price (Tongaat directors risk exposure to this).

As a director, remember you are in the public’s and the NPA’s sights. Be extra careful that you execute your duties in line with the dictates of the Companies Act.

If in doubt, use your accountant as a sounding board and advisor.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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Small Businesses: How to Survive and Thrive

SMMEs (Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises) play an integral role in our economy, and it is alarming therefore to read recent research showing that a massive 70% – 80% of South African small businesses fail within five years.

Why the high failure rate? What factors contribute to the success or failure of small businesses? Why are some entrepreneurs more successful than others, and what characteristics should you have (or develop) to maximise your own chances of success? What can government contribute?

Read on for the answers to these questions and more…

“Why do approximately 70% – 80% of small businesses fail within five years? Why are certain entrepreneurs more successful than others?” (Extract from UWC article below)

Recent research by the University of the Western Cape on the rate of failure of small businesses makes for interesting reading and provides insights that we all really need to take on board, particularly in these hard economic times.

SMMEs, their importance and their failure rates
Globally 60 to 70% of jobs are found in SMMEs (Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises) but in South Africa this figure is only just over 28% despite more than 95% of businesses in South Africa being SMMEs.

South Africa has a higher failure rate of SMMEs than elsewhere in the world (70% – 80% of our small businesses fail within 5 years). In previously disadvantaged communities only 1% of businesses progress from employing less than 5 people to having staff of 10 or more.

6 factors that can make or break an SMME business
The research indicates that in terms of success factors, 40% can be attributed to the entrepreneur. The characteristics of this person are crucial and they need to show:

  1. Persistence, being proactive and being a self-starter,
  2. That they do not react to events but are continually planning (good planning is an important success indicator), innovating, having an ability to learn and apply this learning and having a culture of achievement.

The factors contributing to failure are ones we are aware of:

  1. Lack of skills – government and large corporates snap up almost all of South Africa’s limited skills,
  2. Difficulty in accessing finance – lending institutions require a track record before providing funding to businesses,
  3. Poor accounting records and limited information systems,
  4. Late payment by state institutions and large corporates (Kenya is considering passing legislation that compels paying SMMEs on time).

There are others too like corruption crowding out legitimate SMMEs and low bargaining power.

Entrepreneurs – what can you do?
Have a look at the 6 factors listed above. Maximise the positives, and do something about the problem areas. Remember, your accountant is there to help you succeed so don’t be shy to ask for advice.

What can government do?
Clearly the country is missing a sizeable opportunity to grow the economy and to reduce our 27% unemployment rate.

One way to get this going is through mentoring and training. Government programs are having a limited impact and there is space for business to also play its part. Why not interview some SMME owners and determine if they have the characteristics as shown above? Those that have the attributes can be successfully mentored to get good accounting records and systems, skills can be addressed as well as access to finance.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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Take Advantage of the Venture Capital Company Allowance While You Can

Here’s some good news in the form of a way to save tax (a lot of tax), make a good investment, and directly boost both our economy and our SMEs – all in one go.

That’s where the VCC (Venture Capital Company) Allowance comes in. We’ll have a look at the substantial savings you (or your trust or company) can achieve by using the allowance correctly; at how it works both initially and subsequently; at the need to beware of costs; and at how “finding a gem” could give you a (very) substantial after-tax return.

We share some practical examples to illustrate, and end off with a warning to act quickly – the allowance is planned to fall away at the end of June 2021.

“There are two systems of taxation in our country: one for the informed and one for the uninformed” (U.S. Judge Learned Hand)

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have limited access to capital markets. As SMEs are considered to be the cheapest and most cost-effective sector in creating jobs, the Revenue authorities sought to address this by creating an attractive allowance for Venture Capital Companies (VCC) in 2009.

The VCC allowance gave a massive boost to venture capital in South Africa, and also to SMEs who have received R6 billion in investment since 2009. Venture capital now accounts for 2% of GDP (in the USA this is 4%).

For you the taxpayer it offers an attractive way to reduce your tax as you are allowed to deduct R2.5 million from your taxable income if you invest in a VCC. This is in your own capacity or via a trust; if you use a company to make the investment, it can deduct R5 million.

How it works initially

Note: The examples below relate to an investment in your own personal name, and different tax rates and net returns will apply if you invest through a trust or company.

Assume you have R2.5 million in taxable income. It is 20 February, you have little more than a week before you will have to pay provisional tax and you want to reduce your tax liability and make a good investment.

You have researched the VCCs and decide to invest R2.5 million in a VCC which invests in solar power.

You have saved yourself R1.125 million in tax.
To avoid having this tax deduction of R1.125 million reversed, you will need to be invested with the VCC for five years.

How it works in subsequent years
The VCC onward invests the R2.5 million in a qualifying SME (the SMEs need to be registered with SARS) which then installs solar power in, say, a block of flats. Of interest here is that the SME also gets a 100% deduction on the R2.5 million.

If you cash in on the investment after 5 years, this will be the position:

In summary, you received a tax deduction of R1.125 million and 5 years later paid R450 000 in capital gains tax. Your investment of R2.5 million has been refunded to you. If you discount these cash flows, this equates to an after-tax return of just over 10% over five years which is pretty good as inflation is currently just below 4%, i.e. a real return of 6%. As a comparative the stock market delivered a return of just below 6% in the last decade.

This excludes any costs you may be charged.

Beware of costs
There are many VCCs out there and they charge varying fees, so be very careful of these costs as they come in many guises such as performance fees, administration costs, annual charge etc.

It is worth getting your accountant to check these costs.

Look for the gems
As we saw above, the qualifying SME (the entity that installs the solar power), gets a 100% upfront write-off of the investment (R2.5 million in this example for a tax saving of R700 000). Some creative VCCs have used this tax saving to return income to you the investor. Take the example of a residential complex where the qualifying company installs solar power in the complex and then charges the owners of the complex for the electricity they consume using solar power (this charge is at a substantial discount to Eskom’s rate). The qualifying company returns this charge to the VCC which then pays these amounts as dividends to you, the investor.

Thus, everybody scores:

  • Residents of the complex don’t pay for the installation of the solar power and get cheap electricity,
  • The qualifying company takes its profit out of the R2 500 000 investment and tax saving of R700 000,
  • The VCC makes money from charging you fees, and
  • You, the investor, get a return (after-tax and net of all costs) of over 20% over the 5 year period, which is excellent.

Don’t delay, the clock is ticking!
The only downside to this is that the allowances will fall away in June 2021. VCC companies are lobbying government to extend this program past June 2021, but even if they are unsuccessful, you have just under 18 months to take advantage of this scheme.

Of course this sort of investment isn’t for everyone; ask your accountant whether it might suit you.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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Junk Status Is Not The End – It Can Get A Lot Worse!

There is a perception that we will be scraping the very bottom of the barrel if Moody’s does indeed downgrade our debt to the dreaded Junk Status – that ‘There’s no way to go but up’, that ‘This is the beginning of our rehabilitation process’ and so on.

Regrettably that’s not so at all. If our economy continues to go the wrong way there could be much worse in store for us – have a look at our table of the various categories used by Moody’s in its “Investment Grade” and “Non-Investment Grade” rankings.

We discuss the implications, and our way forward.

It is now widely expected that sometime in the next year or so Moody’s will downgrade South Africa’s debt to junk status. Many see this as the beginning of the process to rehabilitate ourselves. True, initially we will go through a difficult period as ±R150 billion of our debt will be sold as many offshore institutional investors cannot hold junk bonds which leads to a fall in the currency, higher interest rates and lower economic growth. But then we knuckle down and begin to reform the economy and embark on the process of returning to investment grade.

However – things can get much worse

Source : Moody’s 

We are currently Baa3 with Moody’s and are on a negative watch with them which means they will put South Africa on Ba1 (i.e. junk status) if we don’t get economic growth on an upward path and rein in our rising debt.

As you can see, we can keep dropping to Ba2 and all the way down to C which means South Africa has defaulted on its debt obligations and there’s little prospect of recovery.

It can happen – just look at Venezuela and Zimbabwe – where optimistic assumptions are made on economic growth and government expenditure but in fact the country just raises taxes, incurs more debt, until you need to borrow money just to pay off debt that falls due. Each drop on the Rating Matrix raises the cost of borrowing and the downward spiral continues.

The ultimate problem with this scenario is that it eventually becomes irreversible, which is when default on debt becomes a distinct possibility.

The reality is that until genuine reforms are put in place, we will continue to descend along the Rating Matrix ladder.

What should we be doing? 

Paying off as much debt as possible is a good start. We should also carefully consider any future expenditure and analyse just how necessary it will be, particularly if it is in foreign currency. Some analysts recommend that we should become as self-sufficient as possible (e.g. boreholes, solar power).

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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How To Detect and Dodge Financial Scams

Financial scams have always been around but their scale in today’s world is truly amazing – estimates of annual losses in the USA alone reach $120 billion.

The good news is that there are positive steps you can take to protect yourself, and perhaps the first and most important of these is getting to grips with the different types of “con” and how they work.

First question we ask ourselves therefore is “What is a ‘quick con’, and what distinguishes it from a ‘long con’?” Then – the really important bit – we look at what types of people are most vulnerable to the con artists. Make sure you aren’t one of them!

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” (wise old adage)

In the USA, $40 billion is lost every year to scammers. When you consider statistics suggesting that 65% of scam victims don’t report their losses (usually they are too embarrassed to admit they have been conned), as much as $120 billion could annually be skimmed from gullible people.

Scammers normally target people who are financially vulnerable (they have lost their jobs or their business has folded) or they take advantage of economic downturns where a large percentage of people experience financial hardship.

The quick con

Typically, it is difficult to fully get to grips with the scheme they sell you as the scheme’s workings are hard to fully understand. But the conmen tell you that the real issue is you will get astronomical returns and they will show you for example pictures of yachts cruising in the Mediterranean – messaging you “this is the life you will lead once you have made your quick fortune”.

Because they prey on the financially vulnerable, the conmen spin conspiracy theories – the reason you have fallen on hard times is the system has crushed you and this scheme bypasses all the financial regulation “nonsense” – and the like.

Conmen are also hard salesmen and they will pressurise you into making this “investment”.

The long con

You need to be really careful of these as you are up against some sophisticated operators. The main principle is to get assurance from people in your social circle that the scammer or the scheme is credible and achieves high returns (these people are wittingly or unwittingly part of the con). In addition, the scammers can point you to well-known financial experts who will vouch for the scheme (they typically are part of the con).

It is usually a Ponzi scheme which will operate successfully until no new funds come into the scheme. It then unravels very quickly, and the vast bulk of investors lose their investments.

Another type of scam is “pump and dump” where salesmen extol a little-known share, and this drives the price up. These salesmen make aggressive pitches to unsuspecting victims who get carried away by the upward momentum of the share. Once the share has gone way over its value, the conmen sell it short (the dump of the scheme) and the share price collapses.

Who is vulnerable to these scammers?

Strangely enough it is often well-to-do people (usually men) who are experiencing financial stress and are happy to take on risk. These people are well educated and financially literate.

The combination of factors that makes them gullible is (apart from being under financial stress):

  • Being put under pressure by the conmen (they need to get in “before it’s too late” and their friends “are making a killing”)
  • The scheme can be complex or opaque and so they rely on their intuition
  • Most of these people are decent and trusting, so they tend to believe the conmen and they don’t want to let the conmen down (no doubt the scammers are aware of this vulnerability)
  • Greed is a very powerful emotion and can lead to impulsive decisions which you will regret later.

Sir Isaac Newton was a great genius, but he lost all his money in the South Sea Bubble scam in the 1720’s.

So before you get caught up in a scam step back and think rationally. You should also analyse yourself and if you have any of the above traits, then be very careful of any investments that are “too good to be true”.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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Your Tax Returns Are Due: Make Sure You Fill In Your Return Correctly

The last thing you need is to have the Taxman after you with his armoury of penalties and threats of criminal prosecution; and the likelihood of that happening if you put a foot wrong is higher than ever now with SARS missing its collection targets and pressured to up its game substantially.

So do not take your tax return deadlines – your next one is 31 January if you are a provisional taxpayer using eFiling – lightly!

We share some thoughts on “the need for speed” and on the nightmare scenario that awaits taxpayers who fail to tick the right tick box in the right part of the online form and are as a result deemed guilty of “material non-disclosure”.

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax” (Albert Einstein)

Provisional taxpayers using eFiling need to have completed and submitted their 2019 income tax return on or by 31 January.

Make sure you are prepared for this and don’t underestimate the time needed to put the return together. As a starting point you should have a good filing system which makes it easy to find documentation needed to both fill in the return and upload to SARS in terms of supporting schedules.

The income tax return form runs to more than thirty pages, so there is plenty of work to be done – don’t leave it to the last minute!

Your return must be complete

The onus is on you to satisfy SARS that your return is comprehensively and completely filled in. Thus, even if you supply SARS with all the documentation and explanations required, not ticking a box in the form that is applicable can lead to SARS deducing that you have not met your obligation of full disclosure.

This is important as if SARS deems there to be a material non-disclosure in your return (remembering that SARS tends to apply a very narrow interpretation of this) then the three year prescription period for your tax return is waived and SARS can go back and start raising queries on your 2010 return for example. This can put you onto a nightmare road, so take extra care.

We are all aware that SARS has been missing its collection targets in recent years and is under enormous pressure to maximise revenue from taxpayers.

Your accountant is there to assist you – this is a good time to make use of his or her services.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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What Will The Next Decade Bring Us?

As we settle into 2020 let’s all, with the wise old saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail” in mind, start thinking about not only what the next year or so holds for us, but about what our world could look like in 2030.

Of course that means predicting the future, a notoriously difficult exercise at the best of times and perhaps a particularly challenging one in these days of increasingly frenzied change.

We can however identify a number of global trends emerging which will at the very least get us pointed in the right general direction. So let’s have a look at some of them…

“If we can win the Rugby World Cup three times, surely it is not asking too much of this country to take the High Road twice when its future is on the line? When push comes to shove, ordinary South Africans can do extraordinary things!” (Clem Sunter)

The major global trends that have recently emerged and are widely predicted to continue to dominate the world are:

  • A rising tide of nationalism and anger at the status quo which manifests itself in trying to stop immigration into Western Europe and the United States, an increasing move away from free trade and more and more civil unrest. If you put all this together, it will result in slower global economic growth and rising tensions within countries and conflicts between nations (India and Pakistan, Turkey and the Kurds/Syrians, the USA and Iran to name a few).

For South Africa, which is dependent on growing trade, this will put more pressure on an already struggling economy. Civic unrest is also a significant trend here and hopefully we can recreate the 1990s when we stunned the world by negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy.

  • Superpower tensions as China vies to overtake the USA both economically and militarily. Russia is also showing global ambitions. So far this has played itself out in US tariffs against China and sanctions on Russia, but you can expect this to hot up.

South Africa is a long way from these battle grounds and should be spared any conflicts that arise. In fact, we will probably benefit as the superpowers vie for influence which should translate into investment into our declining infrastructure.

  • The last decade has been characterised by easy money and low interest rates, which opens the distinct possibility that there will be another economic crash similar to the one in 2008.

This would not be good news for South Africa as our economy is already stretched by rising debt. We survived the last crash well as we had strong economic fundamentals and were able to fight the effects of the crash with an economic stimulus program but now we have no leeway to counteract a global recession, should there be a crash.

Another factor is whether we will drop to full junk status which will be detrimental to the economy.

  • Shadowing and shading everything is climate change which has arrived and is making itself increasingly felt. Already we have seen how a disastrous drought was one of the causes of the Syrian civil war and we know how dry parts of South Africa are. Rising levels of carbon dioxide are making the world hotter (already temperatures have risen by 1 degree centigrade and continue to rise) – if temperatures rise half a degree, it will cost the world $56 trillion to deal with the effects.

The problem with climate change is that it compounds all the above problems like rising numbers of refugees, less food etc. Desertification will drive more people into crowded cities along with more extreme weather events.

More and more climate change specialists are saying we are getting closer to a tipping point whereby climate change becomes irreversible. Why don’t we all commit in our own small ways to reduce the carbon emissions we cause and to look to ways to conserve water?

None of our problems are insurmountable!

Although we are clearly going through increasingly risky global and local times, none of our problems are insurmountable. With will and a spirit of compromise we can achieve surprising things – nobody realistically expected South Africa to win the Rugby World Cup, but we did.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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Sometimes the best management is to take a back seat

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“When the best leader’s work is done the people say
‘We did it ourselves’” (Lao Tzu)

Management is probably more of an art than a science – sometimes you need to get actively involved in an issue and other times you need to stand aside and let your staff get on with it.

Significantly, if you do not get it right, your staff can become demotivated and few companies perform well when their staff is unhappy.

First, recognise that you are not always right

It is natural to think that as the leader you have been put there because you make the correct decisions. Research shows that this is not always true.

Currently, one of the big fads is “Management By Walking Around” (MBWA) whereby you spend a lot of time observing your staff at work. Whilst doing this you usually engage in a running commentary on the best way of doing their tasks.

When the matter is relatively simple, your instructions are normally correct (but ask yourself do you really need to intervene here?) but when the matter is complex, you are just as often wrong with the advice you are dispensing. Complicated issues take plenty of thought and study before the optimal solution is discovered.

Spontaneous orders should not be issued in these cases unless you have dealt with this problem before. When you give your staff an incorrect instruction, it undermines your credibility apart from the cost of setting your remedy aside.

In a recent study of 56 managers, it was found that performance improvement was higher with managers who do not practice MBWA.

How do you know when not to intervene?

One example in a case study is a manager who deliberately spends time with hostile employees.  She believes that even if they don’t openly confront her, she will get a good idea of whether they think she is interfering too much.

Another method is to actively cultivate frank dialogue with your staff. This is not always easy to do but if you make a point of accepting their criticisms, they will be encouraged to speak their mind. We always speak about being open and transparent in our day to day interrelations with employees, so try to practise it.

A good leader makes every effort to understand his or staff so that they respect and work for the good of the business. Look for the little signals your staff send out when they have doubts about your management.

Being attuned to your staff and knowing when to step in decisively (e.g. in a crisis) or when to take a step back (unlocking a multi-faceted problem) will yield better results and will make your business a place where your employees are happy and positive.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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How to prepare your business plan

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“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” (Benjamin Franklin)

Previously we discussed why a business plan is so important, this month we look at the mechanics of compiling it.

There are many templates available (most banks have pretty good ones), and by using one you can ensure you cover all the relevant topics involved –

  1. Plan and research

A business plan involves a considerable amount of work and is a structured process.

This phase of the business plan, typically, takes about 65-70% of the time in putting together the document. The better your planning and research, the better will be the business plan.

  1. Do a company overview

When you visit a new website, you look for a “who we are”, and a “what we do” section, so you can quickly ascertain if it is worth looking at the rest of the website. Then you look at products and/or services, then the management of the business, followed by financial history (if available). A good website will have captured the essence of the business and will give you a good idea of it and more importantly how focused and how well it is run.

Doing an analogous exercise for your business puts it into clear focus. By now you have carried out your research and preparing the company overview establishes just how well you know your business and can also show up any potential flaws in your venture that you will need to address.

  1. Document your business

This is the detail part of the plan. Having completed research and done a high-level overview now you drill down into the various aspects of the company, such as production, sales, marketing, finance, human resources plus other areas unique to the business.

Don’t forget you will need to show investors, bankers or whoever the business plan is aimed at just how well you know your venture.

  1. Prepare your Strategic Marketing Plan

This is important to investors and stakeholders – what products/services you intend to launch and in what areas (Africa or Europe etc), how you will promote them, how you will make use of social media, your pricing strategy, how you will stretch your brands by line extensions etc, what market segments you are in and plan to get into, what customers you plan to attract and how you plan to grow your business through them.

As all this will cost money, show how you plan to invest this money into making your business profitable.

  1. Prepare your Financial Plan

This is really the summary of the business plan. You will need to do income statements, balance sheets and cash flows. Set out key data such as margins, detailed cost breakdowns and so on. It is important to demonstrate your mastery of your business by showing a well thought out financial plan.

Finally, your commitment and passion for the business should come through; if you know your own business, explain it in your own words.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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