Tax Tips & Pits: Planning for success

"Entrepreneurs succeeding sometimes let their success control and lead them, rather than choosing to lead their business."

There are many reasons a small business may fail.  That likely is no surprise, but what may come as a surprise is that some fail because they are actually successful.

Entrepreneurs succeeding sometimes let their success control and lead them, rather than choosing to lead their business.  Unfortunately today’s good news is not necessarily tomorrow’s – just because things are going well now is no guarantee it will continue.

Some big picture insight may help put things in perspective.

According to Industry Canada, in 2012 there were 1.08 million small businesses – defined by having at least one employee in addition to the owner but fewer than 99 employees.

And how are upstart businesses fairing?

The survival rate in making the first anniversary has taken a beating over the past decade.  Whereas ten years ago about 95% of new businesses made it past year one, the 2012 stat is down to 80 per cent.  Fortunately, if a business does make it initially, the survival rate at year five remains at about 70%.

So, how might a business owner increase the odds of survival?

Whether operating a new venture, an established enterprise or a fledgling business, my suggestion is to have a business plan. “Failing to plan is planning to fail” is a truism, but ironically “truism” is defined as knowledge that is so commonplace it is often ignored or even perceived as meaningless.

Writing things down creates clear commitment therefore increasing the odds of completion and, by default, success, so put pen to paper.

The planning process requires research and, just as importantly, honesty. Question everything. Identify strengths and weaknesses of the business and of oneself. Define opportunities and threats within the marketplace and the economy.  Doing this means the business owner can make informed decisions and set realistic goals.

Although the process may appear complex, it actually isn’t when broken down into steps. Good info and guidance are on-line.  There is the option of working with a professional – be open-minded but remember, maintain ownership of the vision.

In the end, a business plan includes the marketing plan (product, price, promotion, unique selling proposition, competition), the operations plan (people, production, equipment, facilities), and the finance plan (at least a three year projection).

So the business plan is in hand. What’s next? – Implementation, evaluation, and more than likely, adjustment as time passes. In actual fact, the term “business plan” is a misnomer.  What in fact has been learned and developed is “business planning” – a never ending organic process mapping the path to business success.

Ron Clarke has his MBA and is a business owner in Trail, providing accounting and tax services. Email him at ron.clarke@JBSbiz.ca. To read previous Tax Tips & Pits columns visit www.JBSbiz.net.

Just Posted

Kootenay view from the top

Blue skies greeted those who ventured to the top of Granite Mountain

Trail cannabis shop gets green light from province

The Higher Path hopes to open doors in next couple of weeks

Man spotted with shotgun in East Trail leads to weapons discovery

RCMP recover numerous weapons and stolen items after search on Fifth Ave.

Smoke Eaters make big move between the pipes, sign WHL goaltender with Trail ties

Trail Smoke Eaters add WHL goaltender, Donovan Buskey, to line up at trade deadline

Butterflies for Rossland brother and sister duo heading to world ski championships

Remi and Jasmine Drolet will represent Canada in Finland

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read