Keys for success in 2010

Sam WilliamsUncertainty remains but better planning could help your business grow this year, according to accountant James Banham.Sam Williams

What do I need to succeed in business in 2010?

The accountant - James Banham, partner at Banham Graham

We are living in a time of uncertainty.

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There is an economist's view to support every possible outcome for the coming year. In my opinion the only sure thing is that nobody really knows.

Another uncertainty is the level of support businesses can expect from their banks. Whilst we are told banks are lending again, many businesses are not finding this to be the case.

It is an unfortunate fact that more businesses fail coming out of a recession than going into one. This is because often they have used up all their resources to survive the downturn and then have insufficient working capital to fund the upturn.

As a result I don't see that there is going to be a sudden radical change to bank lending attitudes. However there will be some lending, and you need to make sure that if you need funding to enable you to grow your business then any accessible funding is available to your business.

Another known fact is that banks will only lend to 'viable' businesses with strong management who can give them the confidence that they know where they are going and have a robust business plan in place.

Never before has it been so important to plan for the future. So what are the must-haves for businesses in 2010?

Robust financial forecasts. The process of preparing financial forecasts will give you valuable understanding of the different impacts that various possible outcomes could have on your business. It gives you the opportunity to react to changing circumstances in a timely fashion and to formulate plans that will enable you to maximise your potential returns.

Effective, timely and reliable management reporting so you can compare actual to forecast, monitor variances and take appropriate action when required.

A vision of where you want to go and a plan as to how you are going to get there with a process for reviewing the route map to accommodate changes as and when they arise.

Whatever happens to the economy over the coming year, there will be opportunities and the successful businesses will be those that spot them and are well-positioned to take advantage of them.

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Are you running a business and need advice on a tricky issue? Or are you thinking of becoming your own boss but not sure if it's for you? Then the Evening News Panel of Experts is here to help.

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