Ask any business owner what they need more of and most of them will tell you – it’s time! Essential administration and day-to-day tasks take up a huge amount of valuable time, so why not get a head start in business with these 5 time-saving templates. And the good news is, they won’t cost you a penny.
Why use business templates?
It makes sense not to waste time setting things up from scratch if someone else has already done the hard work for you. Running a business involves so much, so why not save valuable time where you can.
There are plenty of online business templates suitable for small businesses that will help to automate and streamline processes. Using a template doesn’t mean it can’t be adapted to suit you and your business. Business templates help to provide consistency and clarity.
Here are 5 time-saving templates that you simply must try.
Business Plan template
Every business should have a business plan. Why? A business plan is essential for managing your business more effectively.
You’ll need a business plan when you are pitching to raise money for funding, and your bank may require one before giving you certain services, such as an overdraft or a special business account. A good business plan will detail your idea, your USP (unique selling point), the competition, the market, your growth plan, your team and your financial costs. It basically sets out your ideas and illustrates that they are financially viable.
And your business plan isn’t just about raising funds. It will help you to explore and understands the strengths and weak spots in your ideas, map out future growth and set specific objectives. The process is important because it will enable you to explore possibilities and even come up with better ideas. It will help you to manage cash flow and even support a strategic exit.
Importantly, using a template will give you some structure. Writing a business plan from scratch is quite daunting. Everything on a business plan template can be customised if necessary to suit you and your business. The non-profit youth organisation, The Princes Trust, have some great free resources for those setting up a new business, including a business plan pack, a business plan template and a financial table template.
Staff rota template
Staying on top of employee scheduling is vital for the smooth running of your business. When you are working with a small number of employees, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to structure when it comes to scheduling. A quick phone call, or a shout across the office is, more often than not, enough to sort out who is doing what and when.
However, as the business grows and you take on more staff, you’ll want easy access to information about who is working, who is on holiday, and who is available to cover when someone is ill, or you are extra busy.
Trialling a staff rota template from a scheduling software company is a great way to see how effective structured employee scheduling can be. It makes sense to plan ahead so you don’t end up with a sub-standard team.
Employee performance review template
Managing your staff is an important part of maintaining a productive and happy workforce. This is vital for the success of your business. The employee performance review is an important means of communicating with and motivating your team.
Encouraging performance evaluation and career development is good for your business. It will also enable you to identify where additional training is required. Setting objectives can give focus to your employees and help to make staff feel valued. Using an employee performance review template is a great place to start. Having more frequent reviews can take the pressure off of the traditional annual review. ACAS (the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) offer a range of employee review templates.
Marketing plan template
Understanding your market and identifying market opportunities is essential to the success of your business. Carrying out a SWOT analysis (looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) could give you the edge over your competitors. Marketing Donut have a great free marketing plan template, which is suitable for most businesses.
Contractor agreement template
Many businesses are moving towards flexible employment to cut costs and deal efficiently with fluctuations in workload. If your business intends to use contractors, then you’ll need contractor agreements to define the roles and responsibilities of your professional relationship. A well-written agreement will help you to avoid disputes and where necessary protect you in a court of law. It is always worth seeking legal advice for contractor agreements, but using a contractor agreement template to establish a working document will save you time and money.