Things change and develop with time, and so there may come a point where your business plan no longer serves your business in the way it needs to. This was the case for Seema Mangoo, founder of Hourglass Business Services. Here's why she decided to revisit her business plan and make changes after the initial start-up stage.
Tell us a little about your business
Hourglass Business Services is one-stop shop for small businesses. We help organisations grow by managing certain aspects of their business and taking over their time-consuming tasks such as projects, admin and research, online marketing and website maintenance.
Why did you decide to change your business plan, and at what stage did you do it?
I decided to change my business plan 18 months into trading because I had gained an incredible amount of industry knowledge and business operations experience within those months of trading - it was time for an update. At the time, the business was growing quickly, and I wanted to expand with care and consideration.
How did you change it?
I made my targets more specific, covering all aspects of the business in more detail than I previously done.
Marketing was quite a weak area for the business, so I used this opportunity to review what was working and what wasn’t, using my results as an avenue to explore the potential of expansion into other areas. Within the first 18 months I had taken on team members, therefore I added their roles and how I could utilise them further as well as review any service gaps.
What was the impact on your business?
At the time I felt like a very new business, but having changed my business plan it built my confidence in running the business and my offerings. When speaking to potential clients I knew exactly the types of clients I wanted to work with and the benefits I could offer them through working with me.
The new focussed process has been great as it has allowed me to explore additional opportunities, such as finding a coworking space and joining paid networks.
What was the biggest challenge?
For me the biggest challenge were the financial aspects of the business plan. It’s such an important part of business planning, I wanted to make sure I was getting it right and not being too risky with my forecasting.
What do you wish you'd known beforehand?
I wish I knew of the financial support available for traditional service-based businesses. Funding stories are mainly around tech and/or products, so I didn’t really look into it. However, the support I have received from Virgin StartUp has been invaluable!
What's next for your business?
Branching out into Online Business Management to manage on behalf of, rather than just assist, business owners with their teams, tasks and targets, whilst still offering VA services where required. I’m also looking to expand the team and the services we offer to cover those gaps in service where specialist knowledge is necessary.
Any other tips?
I would naturally say outsource those admin/project tasks sooner rather than later. Even for me it took me some time to pass on parts of my business admin but once I did, it increased my productivity.
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