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BUSINESS VIABILITY ASSESSMENT

Whether or not there is a business plan, the viability of a business can be assessed by talking through the business with the client and looking at all aspects of the business, both as a business in general and in the context of the client’s disability.

It is worth noting that, for many people with disabilities who seek to start their own business, creation of a business plan may not be a straightforward process.  Also, there are many people without disabilities who may not have had a formal, written business plan but who have started and run successful businesses.  If, for example, a non-disabled person were starting a business which did not require startup funding, there might be no need for a written business plan.  Agencies such as Jobcentre Plus may expect a business plan before they will provide support to a disabled person.  There is a danger here that the requirement for a business plan will have arisen as a consequence of the person's disability, rather than as a business need in itself.  It is therefore not reasonable to expect everyone applying for, say, Access to Work support to already have a written business plan.  This is where a formal assessment can establish the most likely viability and sustainability of a new business.

Assessment of business viability draws on other areas, such as job design and niche carving, to judge whether the business is already or can become viable and sustainable.  The information thus gained feeds into an assessment of the financial aspects of the business.  This assessment therefore goes much further than would be the case with the more traditional business plan approach of banks and other financial institutions.  However, since those institutions are increasingly reluctant to endorse business plans, a specific viability assessment may be the only means of reaching an objective decision regarding the current or potential viability and sustainability of a business.


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