Having just spent the afternoon in the company of Peter Lamb, owner of Lamb’s Larder in Frant, Kent I have learned some interesting insights.

Peter started off his career working in television when he started his own sports production company based in Australia (which he still manages), and he opened Lamb’s Larder just over two and a half years ago in February 2010.  As with the sports production company Peter’s shop is a great success, and Peter attributes this to one thing:  “Before I decided to open, I spent time writing a business plan”.

He asked himself who his customers would be, where his revenue would come from, what products and services he would offer, who his competition was and what his competitive advantages would be. And most importantly, he was realistic. “Revenue projections are crucial – but they must be realistic not optimistic; you need to know exactly where all your revenue will come from” Peter says.  Being a realist also allows you to see any potential negatives and work out what you can do about them, before you make a decision about whether to go ahead with the business. Finding out what might go wrong when it’s too late to do anything about it can be fatal to a fledgling business. Peter keeps his business plan updated all the time, and continuously reviews his revenue projections. If something isn’t working, he makes a change and adapts his business plan accordingly, “business plans are fluid, if you try and stick to one religiously when there are elements that need to be worked on, your business won’t be able to adapt social and economic changes” he says.

His advice? it’s never too late to write a business plan – if you didn’t do it when you first opened or took ownership of your shop, do it now.
‘Don’t put it off, it’s the only way to know if your business is sustainable for the next one, two or ten years’

And going by the success of Lamb’s Larder and hearing Peter’s plans for expansion, spending the time getting the detail right is certainly paying off.