Key Components For Writing A Business Plan When Starting In Business

Key Components For Writing A Business Plan When Starting In Business

Key Components for Writing a Business Plan When Starting in Business

The two activities which gave me the best preparation possible for the launch of Busy Lives! were attending a three-day course on starting your own business and writing a business plan. I knew exactly what my services were going to be, but I had not considered the entire big picture and everything else that was needed. Writing my business plan gave me not only an insight as to what was required but clarity and understanding of what my business would achieve within a competitive marketplace.

Writing a business plan enables you to have a robust strategy for moving forward. If you are in the process of starting your own business or at a stage in your business where you require a business plan, I hope the contents of this blog post give you a good starting point.

 

Overview

  • Why do you need a business plan?
  • When should you make a business plan?
  • Key components of a business plan
  • Final Top Tips
  • How Busy Lives! can support you with this

 

Why do you need a business plan?

Whatever your business, a business plan is essential. It will allow you to strategically break down all the necessary elements involved in running a business and allow you to see if your business will succeed. It is also a crucial document to have if you are applying for a grant or a loan.

An effective business plan will outline your business structure and future goals. This can also help secure potential lenders and business partners. Having a strong business plan can show potential lenders what to expect from your business and help them decide if your business is worth investing in.

As well as drawing in outsiders, your business plan is a tool you can use to create a blueprint of what your business is going to achieve. This is especially helpful when you are starting out.

 

When should you make a business plan?

It is advisable to create your business plan before leaving your current career.  A well-thought out business plan can help you make sure you are really ready.

Update your plan regularly, to ensure your business continues to grow and this is a ‘living document.’ – I update mine every 6 or 12 months.

 

Key components of a business plan

Below are key parts of a business plan. Not every business will require every section. Take the time to read through and decide if you need this. And remember, you can always add and remove sections as your business grows and changes.

Depending on your business, your business plan can take many forms, for example a small one-person business plan may focus on personal goals for development, target customers and finances.

Front Page

Use this to provide key snap shot information about your business.

Include your:

  • Your brand logo
  • Contact name
  • Business name
  • Address
  • Post code
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Business idea
  • Start date
  • Business structure
  • Last updated

 

Table of contents

  • A table of contents is a useful guide for the reader. It shows the different parts of the business plan which can be quickly referenced by page number and demonstrates your thought process in compiling it logically.

 

Executive summary

  • This section should be at the start of your business and plan. The executive summary outlines what your business is going to accomplish.
  • This section can also include your business’ mission statement and what services / products your business is going to provide.
  • If you are applying for funding / finance this is the place to detail what you want. In general, you should keep this section to half a page but no more than a full page.
  • If your business is already established this section can detail what you have already achieved and how you are planning to move forward.

Top tips

  • You should consider at your executive summary as your ‘elevator pitch’. It needs to be short and to the point.
  • Write your executive summary after you have written the rest of your plan. Your executive summary should be a condensed form of your business plan so writing it last can make sure you have included all the important points.

 

Business description

  • This is where you write your business description. Include key information such as your business’ goals and what makes your business stand out from the crowd. (Once you are established, you can include your business’ history).
  • One of the most important things to include in your business description is your mission statement. A mission statement should be short and clearly display your unique selling point. For example: if your business focuses on environmental issues make sure your mission statement incorporates this.

Top tips

  • Your business goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Related Targets). Vague goals can negatively impact on your direction moving forward and profits.
  • When writing your business’ history do not record everything. Stick to major milestones and basic information.

 

Management and organisation

  • This section is for you to outline your business’ chain of command. This can be a diagram or a list detailing high-profile people / outsourced business and their skills / job responsibilities.
  • This is also the place to state whether your business is a limited company, sole-trader, or partnership.

Top tip

  • Detailing the skills and experience of important people in your business can entice investors. A business with lots of skilled and experience people is less of an investment risk.

 

Legal Matters

When setting up a business you must ensure you adhere to all legalities such as:

  • Making sure you have the required insurance, permits, licences or registrations.
  • You adhere to H&S guidelines and practices.
  • Your business complies with current GDPR regulations (data protection).

 

Breakdown of products and services

  • Detail your business’ products and services stating how these will meet an existing or future need in the marketplace.

Top tip

  • As well as pointing out the features of your products / services ensure you state how these features benefit your customers.

 

Market analysis

  • This is your opportunity to showcase your knowledge of your industry. Use statistics and dates to prove your points and state where your business will sit in this industry. This also be the place to detail the demographics of the customers you market to. Include your sale forecasts and market strategy.
  • Use your research to detail why your business is going to be profitable. For example: online searches for the product / service your business provides have increased by X % over the last X months.

Top tip

  • When deciding your target customers aim to be as specific as you can. Your marketing should be pitched as if you are talking directly to them.

 

Marketing plan

  • Your marketing plan should detail the steps you are going to take to promote your business. You can also include your planned budget for this. There are several things you should include in this section including:

 

Marketing Strategy

  • Detail what current strategies you have in place and where you intend to get most of your business from. For example: word of mouth referrals. From this you can detail how you are going to move forwards and increase your sales either by implementing new marketing plans or building on existing ones.

 

Market Analysis

  • A market analysis is where you conduct research into your business’ market. This includes discovering who your potential customers are and what their shopping habits are. How much your customers are willing to pay for something and how large your target market is.

 

Geographical Segmentation

  • This is a strategy where you either serve customers in a particular area only or where your customers will have different preferences based on their geographical location.
  • If geographical segmentation is applicable to your business then here is the place to document this and group your customers based on location; this can be done by region, city or neighbourhood.

 

Demographical and Behavioural Segmentation

  • Demographical segmentation is where you divide your customers based on their demographics. This can include age, gender, income, location, education and ethnicity.
  • For example, a budget gardening business may choose to focus on customers with lower incomes.
  • Behavioural segmentation requires you to know more about your customers habits including their spending habits and brand interactions.
  • For example a budget car business may decide to focus on customers who have purchased a second-hand car in the past five years.

 

Competitor Analysis

  • This is really key to not only know who your competitors are but ensure you pitch your pricing accurately. Here you need to compare your business to those that already exist. Map out your competitor’s strengths and weakness and how their business differs.
  • Reflect how you can benefit from their weaknesses to make a success of yours.

 

 

SWOT Analysis

  • This is a really important section to spend time on. Break down the different aspects of your business and you running it. Doing this will help you to identify where you need to professionally develop or outsource parts of your business to in the future.
  • Whenever you identify a weakness you need to find a solution.
  • Lastly, when you have mapped this out. Prioritise which identified weaknesses and threats need to be tackled in the short or long term.

Pricing

  • Use your competitor analysis with what they are charging on average as a starting point.
  • Pricing is an important element and will have a direct impact on your business. When pricing your products / services it is important to cover all your costs – this includes materials, labour, property, marketing, networking, distribution costs and a monthly salary.
  • Don’t forget to factor in Tax and National Insurance.

Top Tip

  • Check your pricing against the number of hours you intend to work each week across a whole year. Is it still financially viable? You may find you need to adjust what you charge in light of this.

 

Funding

  • If you are trying to get funding it is a good idea to include a funding section which plainly states how much money you are looking for and how you are going to use it. If you are going to need more money later, state that too.
  • If you do not have an exact number in mind provide a range. For example: £2,000.00 -£3,000.00
  • It a good idea to include a timeline showing investors what they can expect from your business.

Top tips

  • Make sure your funding request is realistic.
  • Demonstrate ‘Best Value’ where you can obtaining three quotes on equipment and resources.
  • Low investments with high returns are more desirable than high investments with low returns.

 

Finances

  • This is the place to plan out your business’ financial goals and your expectations based on your research. State your estimated revenue for the upcoming year.
  • This is also the place to make a budget. For new businesses you need to research your estimated costs and how you will budget for them. If you are unsure of a cost always budget more to make sure you are not left short.
  • It is also vital for you to consider and include your own living costs. As a business owner your monthly income is not guaranteed, especially when you are starting out. This is something you will need to factor in and budget for before starting your new business venture.
  • For a new business, you will need to do a personal balance sheet and a projection of your business’ balance sheet. When making these make sure you remain realistic and work both best-case and worst-case scenarios. Remember to consider your living expenses and ensure you have budgeted for this.

Top tip

  • Have two financial figures. A realistic one for what you need to earn as a minimum to meet your expenditure including your cost of living. The second one is your financial goal that you aim to achieve.
  • When writing your income and cash flow statements your first year should be broken down to monthly segments, your second year can be quarterly and thereafter it can be yearly.

 

Appendix of official documents

  • One final thing you may require is an appendix of related documents. This can include permits, certificates and legal documents as well as industry memberships and identification numbers.

 

Final top tips

  • Less is more. Keep your business plan to the point.
  • Make it easy to read. Investors receive countless business plans. If it is hard to read, they will not read it.
  • Make it professional. Ensure you proofread the document and lay it out in a clear and professional, consistently formatted manner.

Not every business will require everything detailed above. Use what you find useful and tailor you plan to suit your needs.

When you do revisit your plan, you will most likely find that you have achieved some goals and so sections of your plan are no longer relevant. This is a good thing and shows your business has progressed. It also means it is time for you to set new goals. However, you may also find you have not achieved some goals. If this is the case then sit down and find out why you have not reached this goal, adjust it if needed and plan is needed to be put in place for it to succeed.

 

How Busy Lives! can support you with this

Busy Lives! was created when I left a busy career that left me time poor and unable to give sufficient priority to what really mattered to me. I now provide a wide range of business support for people in that position or are wanting to start their own business.

 

I am happy to help by:

  • Discussing the content with needed for writing a business plan for your business.
  • Working alongside you to help you write your business plan.
  • Listening to your ideas and content then typing your business plan for you.
  • Formatting your business plan so that it looks of a high professional standard.
  • Researching your competitors for the competitor analysis section of your business plan.
  • Sharing the business plan template that I use.

 

Find out more about my Business Support Services

 

Let you help you gain precious time back. Ring Busy Lives! 07565 722 031

Drop me a message on this website, LinkedIn or Messenger on Facebook

Or Email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk

 

 

 

Preparing for the New Financial Year

Preparing for the New Financial Year

Preparing for the New Financial Year

Unless you use one of the accounting software packages that takes and uploads the photographs of all your expenditure receipts and invoices, you are still required by HRMC to keep paper records of all these for 6 years. This is regardless if you are a Sole Trader or Limited Company. In this blog post I share how I organise my paperwork for this and also keep track of everything financially on Microsoft Excel.

Receipts more than your invoices tend to make the most mess or get lost! They are all different sizes and find their way into your pockets or bag at random times. The main reason they get ‘shoved’ somewhere impractical is that there isn’t an easy system in place to file them effectively.

Likewise with paperwork, if there isn’t a system in place that’s easy to access it often just goes in a pile of other papers you have which becomes lost, thrown or shoved in a draw as you don’t know where to put it.

What follows is a simple and quick way to stay on top of your business financial filing.

 

Overview

  1. What you need

  2. Setting up for your folder New Financial Year

  3. Setting up excel to track your income and expenditure for the New Financial Year 

  4. The way this now works

  5. How Busy Lives! can support you with this

 

 

  1. What you need 

You just need four items to gather and you’re set up for the year ahead.

  • 1 x A4 Lever Arch folder
  • 2 x File Dividers labelled by month
  • 12 x A4 Plastic wallets
  • 2 x Sheet of bright A4 coloured paper or card

 

What are the best A4 folders to use?

Lever arch folders clasp

The type of folder you buy can really make a difference. To a certain extent it will depend on your budget as they range from £2.00 up to £30.00. The most important consideration when purchasing any is to open and close the lever arch mechanism a couple of times and check it  closes correctly. If it looks anything like the picture here avoid, as when you go to turn to a specific month all the contents will either become stuck or fall out.

 

I often get asked which are the best A4 folders to buy. In terms of the clasp mechanism I would definitely go for an ‘Ergogrip Binder’ as it is the best one I’ve come across for durability and also stays in place on your shelf looking professional and smart.

In terms of Lever Arch, go for one which is a thick PVC which will stand up on its own without falling over. I also like to be able to insert my own label down the spine so that I can update it when it has a new use, without the folder becoming ‘scruffy’ to the eye with writing scrubbed out and new titles written.

What are the best file dividers to use?

There are many types of file divider on the market. Try to avoid the paper ones if possible as they don’t tend to wear well when the folder is used frequently. My preference are these A4 Monthly ones which have a reinforced tab and hole punch spine. They always look as good as when you purchased them and you’re not having to count the months every time like the 1 -12 file dividers to remember which financial month you’re in!

 

 

Setting up for your folder New Financial Year 

  1. With one of your sets of file dividers place an A4 plastic wallet after each month in your folder.
  2. Insert the mixed file dividers and wallets into your folder commencing with April on top and the last three months of the financial year after December.
  3. Put your coloured card or paper in a plastic wallet on top of this in your folder. You can also print Expenditure on the paper / card if you wish.
  4. Now put your second set of file dividers on top of this. Again start with April at the top.
  5. Put your coloured card / paper in a plastic wallet on top of this in your folder. You can also print Income on the paper / card if you wish.

 

 

The way this now works 

Income Section – This top section of your folder can now be used for inserting and filing invoices you send each month. I always put the latest dated invoice on top within each month.

Expenditure Section – File your expenditure invoices within the month of your order, again with the latest date at the top.

Receipts from that month simply go in the plastic wallet behind your invoices.

 

Top Tip

If you also like to tack both your income and expenditure on excel this is a quick and simple way to ensure you’ve entered everything. I simply highlight the date on invoices and receipts after I’ve entered them onto my excel spreadsheet. Easy and quick cross check!

 

Setting up excel to track your income and expenditure for the New Financial Year 

There are some brilliant digital financial packages out there such as: Zero and QuickBooks. I highly recommend you speak to your accountant as to which package would suit you and your business. If the size of your business doesn’t warrant this and you still use excel to track your income and expenditure you may find the following useful.

Create and name the following sheets giving them a tab colour if you wish:

  • Annual Expenditure
  • 12 Month Cash Forecast
  • Expenditure
  • Car Related
  • Bank Statements
  • Income Invoices
  • Client Analysis
  • Thank you

The Pictures below show how each of the pages is then set up:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Tip

If you are really busy with client work find a regular time each week / month when you can update it.

Alternatively, update the sheet after you send a batch of invoices out to clients or have cross checked against your bank statement for when the money went into the bank.

 

  1. How Busy Lives! can support you with this

Busy Lives! was created when I left a busy career that left me time poor and not able to give sufficient priority to what really mattered to me. I provide services like these for local small businesses and this frees up their time to focus on bringing in greater income for their own business. A ‘win-win!’

I am happy to help by:

  • Setting up your financial folders.
  • Filing your paperwork and receipts keeping your folders up to date.
  • Showing and teaching you how to use excel to manage your finances.
  • Letting you have a copy of the excel finance master I’ve created and use with my business.
  • Dealing with your invoices, bills and reconcilliation on QuickBooks or Zero on either a weekly or monthly basis.

Let you help you gain precious time back. Ring Busy Lives! 07565 722 031

Drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook

Or Email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk

 

 

Effective Minute Taking

Effective Minute Taking

It is often a common misconception that anyone can effectively minute take! You’d be surprised how different four or five sets of minutes from the same meeting can vary. I used to have minute taking as one of the tasks when I recruited for my Clerical team in my previous career. This blog post breaks down the key elements needed to minute take effectively and completes the set of three posts surrounding the focus on meetings.

 

Overview

  1. Why are accurate minutes important?
  2. How to take effective minutes
    1. Preparation
    2. During the meeting
    3. After the meeting
  3. How Busy Lives can help

 

Why are accurate minutes important?

The minutes taken at a meeting serve as a record of the meeting. They detail what happened at a meeting including who attended the meeting, what important points were made, any goals, action plans or due dates set as well as anything else of importance.

Meeting minutes are useful documents as they document key ideas brought up at meetings as well as the discussions that preceded and followed the them.

Generally, minutes taken in a business setting do not need to record everything word-for-word, that kind of minute taking is for legal or specific HR meetings and known as transcription or transcribing. In a business setting it is okay to condense some discussions and leave out irrelevant ones.

Additionally, having a record of the meeting means that anyone who was not in attendance will remain informed.

 

How to take effective minutes:

Preparation:

The first thing to do is decide who is going to take the minutes. I feel it is key  is to get someone outside of the organisation or one of your clerical team to take minutes as they will be impartial. Having someone else to take minutes means every participant can fully engage with the meeting and make their contributions.

When choosing your minute taker, it is important for them to have a good ear and the ability to stay focused and record details accurately, this means they must be a good multi-tasker.

Once the minute taker has been selected, they need to ensure they are aware of any company formats / styles and ensure they can comply with these. They should also get a copy of the meeting agenda, names of all the attendees and relevant papers which will be referenced to.

Some people find it useful to make a template for the meeting. I always use one. This can be as simple as the agenda items within a table to listed on a piece of paper with space under each item for them to write notes.

During the meeting

During the meeting, the minute taker needs to record important information.

This includes:

  • The date and location of the meeting.
  • Time the meeting started.
  • Who attended and who did not attend sending apologies.
  • Any corrections to the previous meeting’s minutes as a matter of accuracy.
  • Any changes to the agenda or its order.
  • Key points made throughout the meeting and who by.
  • The results of any votes.
  • Any goals / action points agreed, who by and their due dates.
  • The time and date of the next meeting.
  • The time the meeting ended.

When writing the minutes, unless it is a legal proceeding, the minute taker can summarise any arguments or discussions. They must record discussions objectively and not include any personal observations.

The minutes should be numbered to align with the agenda items. During the meeting it may be easier to make summary notes rather than full sentences depending upon your speed. Later, the minute taker can then expand on their notes and make coherent paragraphs. While quick notes are easier to take it is important to have all the important information accurately recorded.

 

Top tips if you are new to minute taking:

  • Ask for permission to record the meeting. Be sure to let the participants know if this is planned. Once the recording is made do not try to make a word-for-word transcript simply use it for reference when summarising notes.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification – if the meeting attendees move topics without deciding an outcome on the previous topic, be sure to ask them for a decision or plan of action if needed.
  • Always ensure your completed minutes are ‘sharp’ with their presentation and have a high standard of professionalism.

 

Top tips:

  1. Arrive in advance and in good time before the meeting commences so you can get set up and be informed of any pertinent information you need to know.
  2. Check with the Chair before the meeting commences if they would like names / initials against important points that are made or not.
  3. If you are minute taking where you don’t know the members present draw a quick shape of the table and as people introduce themselves write their names down corresponding with where they are sitting. When they then speak within the meeting you will be accurately be able to record the initials of who said what.
  4. Use a handout reference code where circulated papers are discussed within the agenda. Members will all know which exact papers were drawn upon and discussed at a later date.
  5. If possible position yourself next to the Chair at the meeting. You may not be actually contributing but are still playing a key role at the meeting. It also helps if you subtly need to prompt the Chair if they miss an agenda item for instance.

 

After the meeting

Once the meeting is over, the minute taker should take their notes and make them into an articulate document. Make sure the minutes are clear and reflect the meeting and each section is numbered to align to the appropriate agenda item. It is a good idea to do this as soon as possible after the meeting ends.

Make sure all decisions and further actions are clearly recorded and everything is written with enough detail to be understood. If other documents need to be referred to include them in either as an attachment, appendix or state where the documents can be found.

Once the minutes have been finished double check all spellings and grammar. Send the minutes to the Chair primarily to approve and be signed off before you distribute them to all names parties.

The next meeting will review the minutes and amendments may be required. If this is so, change the minutes as needed then present them for filing with a version number clearly depicted in the heading.

 

Top Tip:

If possible edit and produce your final set of minutes within 24 – 48 hours of the meeting taking place if possible. This will make a difference as the content will still be fresh in your head.

 

How Busy Lives! can support you with this

Busy Lives! was created when I left a busy career that left me time poor and not able to give sufficient priority to what really mattered to me. I now provide a wide range of business support for people in that position.

I am happy to help by:

  • Helping you prepare for an important meeting.
  • Composition and circulation of any agenda and related documentation before your meeting.
  • Chairing your meeting so that you can concentrate on also contributing within the meeting.
  • Minute taking during the meeting so that you can concentrate on achieving your goal.

 

Let you help you gain precious time back. Ring Busy Lives! 07565 722 031

Drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook

Or Email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk

 

 

 

Recruitment Procedures

Recruitment Procedures

Recruitment Procedures

This blog post is a sharing of my knowledge and experience of recruiting and interviewing over my years in Education. It incorporates: what went well, what to avoid and the background organisation required to make the whole process run smoothly, which can really make a difference on the day.

As a Head teacher, I recruited over 100 new staff over a number of years at every level of the organisation. This was due to amalgamating two schools, expanding the school to become a large three form entry primary school and, perhaps what I am most proud of, many staff leaving due to career progression.

Sections in this post:

  • Organisational steps for your recruitment process
  • 5 tops tips to include on your advert
  • Application forms & templates
  • Communication is key
  • Help

 

Section 1: Organisational Steps for your recruitment process

Advert

  1. Confirm content of advert.
  2. Advertise the post where you believe your target employees are most likely to access.

Initial enquiry responses

  1. Confirm and use one email account throughout if your business has multiple.
  2. Send packs out to interested people. Include:
  • Thank you for your interest in the post and next steps.
  •  Application form.
  •  Job description.
  •  Job specification.
  1. Compile an overview of interest received on excel. Include:
  • Contact information.
  • Date when the application pack was sent to them.
  • Date when the applicant has applied.
  • Shortlist outcome
  • You may wish to track equality measures such as age, gender and ethnic origin.

After the closing date

  1. Confirm with the interview panel if they would like applications sent electronically or printed out. (Remember if sending electronically, this needs to be secure in order to adhere to GRDP.)
  2. Create a summary sheet for the panel of the received applications. You can quickly cut and paste this from your excel master you’ve created.
  3. Send the applications received to the interview panel. Also include in their pack a copy of the advert, JD and Job Specification for their reference.
  4. Put applications in alphabetical order and assign a letter / number to each. (If the panel have a large number to shortlist this is invaluable for them and help not waste time looking for specific ones from their piles during the shortlisting meeting.)
  5. Ensure the interview panel have at least five working days to read through the applications to prepare.
  6. Check all the interview panel are still able to attend both the shortlisting and interview days. Confirm and remind them of the date, time and place for the shortlisting meeting.
  7. Ask the panel to put the applicants into three categories in their preparation as they read through them: Yes / Maybe / No.
  8. Write provisional questions and tasks to be used for the interview ready to discuss on the ‘Shortlisting day.’
  9. Compile a panel shortlisting overview grid if required. This helps to quickly see common trends on who to interview and also demonstrates that equal opportunities has been applied if anyone was ever to challenge you on this.
  10. Prepare the letters to be sent to applicants inviting them to interview.
  11. Prepare the letters to be sent to the referees.

On the shortlisting day

  1. Send invite to selected applicants for interview.
  2. Send requests for references.
  3. Decide on the final format of the day and work out timings for the number you are interviewing.
  4. Top tip: Build in time for refreshment and comfort breaks during the day.
  5. Finalise the question and tasks for the day.
  6. Decide if applicants will have access to the questions for ten minutes prior to their formal interview. If you decide to go with this remember to build into the days timings that someone / your hospitality person will need to give them out.
  7. Check if a buffet lunch has been booked for the panel and book if required.
  8. Confirm timings and expectations for the day with all members of the panel.

Before interview day

  1. Collate references under the applicant name – chase if required.
  2. Confirm attendance from shortlisted applicants.
  3. Collate a pack for each member of the interview panel with everything they need in the correct order.
  4. Ensure each of the panel have a collated recruitment pack of the following:
  5. Timing schedule for the day
  6. Sets of Interview questions & tasks for the number being interviewed
  7. Copy of applications in order of interview time
  8. References

Section 2: 5 tops tips to include on your advert

These look like common sense, but you would be surprised how many adverts miss one or more of these out!

  • Location – State your exact location on your advert, being vague may just stop the right person from applying because they don’t know where they are going to travel to and how!
  • Hours – Make it clear on your advert the hours you expect your new employee to work each week. If possible state if the timings of the day are fixed or flexible. This can really make a difference and will save both them and the panel time later on in the process.
  • Pay – State the salary that they will be earning. Be careful here as the amount is not what it will cost the business with tax, N.I. and pension contributions added on.
  • Skill set required – Make it clear what sort of person you are looking for and the key skills or experience that will be vital for the post.
  • Communication preference – If there is one format of communication you prefer over another make it clear on the advert. You may not wish to be inundated with phone calls and prefer email or post for instance.

Section 3: Application Forms & Templates

It’s a personal / company preference if you use these or not. I would always say yes!

Why?

  • Everyone is clear on the precise information that is needed.
  • Information is in a common place from each applicant and you don’t have to go searching for the same piece of information from what they’ve send in.
  • Not only does it set expectations and shows your business is of a professional calibre, but it also gives you a valuable insight if the applicant is able to complete a form correctly. You would be surprised!
  • Regardless if it’s the application or reference request form it assists the interviewing panel to be able to quickly compare like for like.
Application form top tip!
  • If you know you’re going to have large numbers of people apply for the post, you may wish to include a sentence at the bottom of the application form: “If you have not heard back from us after a period of two weeks you have not successful on this occasion on being shortlisted to go through to the next stage.”

Section 4: Communication is key

All it takes is one assumption that everyone knows what is happening for things to go wrong! This can be in the lead up to the interview day, during or after. Common assumptions can easily scupper your recruitment procedures:

  • No one is free to welcome applicants and make them feel comfortable whilst they are on site.
  • A waiting and / or task room hasn’t been booked out for the applicants to use.
  • If lunch is booked, what time is it booked for? Has a lunchbreak being built into the interview days schedule? Are the applicants also being provided with lunch?
  • Interview panel are not clear what time to turn up. There is nothing worse than a member of the interview panel arriving during the first interview with an applicant. Again, impressions that gives the applicant.
  • Discussion and decisions haven’t taken place with the panel for the what if scenarios. For instance if your first of five applicants are thirty minutes late, do you wait and make everyone else late or keep to the schedule and time?

 

Section 5: Help

If any or all of this seems overwhelming then Busy Lives! can help. I can take on as much or little of the organisation and processes as you wish. I have done different aspects for different clients:

  • Lead and organise the whole recruitment process.
  • Conduct or be part of the panel for the formal interviews and tasks.
  • Shortlist for the panel.
  • Provide questions and tasks for the panel to use at interview.
  • Organise, format and write the paperwork required for all or part of the process.
  • Collate and organise the packs for the panel.
  • Provide business support, PA and hosting duties for the business.
  • Collate applicant information onto a database and analyse demographics.

For more information contact me