+44 (0) 1481 710043
A business plan is a document that sums up your business – its aims, strategies, market and financial forecasts. It’s generally used as a way to secure funding but it will also help you gauge how well your business is doing. You should make sure it’s short, clear and well presented, and review it regularly as your business progresses.
Every business plan should have a title page, with your name, the business name, date, and details of circulation and confidentiality. You’ll also need a contents page, the main body of the plan, and any appropriate appendices, such as diagrams, statistics and spreadsheets.
Many business plans are judged solely on this page. It works as a ”greatest hits” summary of the key points of your plan, showing the highlights from each section and focusing on your competitive advantage, profit forecasts, how much money you need and prospects for investors.
Team and skills
Your chance to promote yourself and your team. You’ll need to include your past employment and business record, and those of your staff. Identify the strengths of your management team and how you plan to tackle any weaknesses.
Products and services
Effectively, what your business does. It should cover the type of business and what sector it is in, when you plan to start trading, what makes your product or service distinct, how products will be developed, and any patents, trademarks or design rights you hold.
An overview of your market and your position within it, plus details of your customer base and your competitors. Include any market research and competitor analysis you have done, as well as plans for how you would react to changes in the market.
The nitty-gritty on how you will sell your product or service. Detail the pricing, margins, promotion and positioning of your product, how you will reach your customers, and your chosen sales method.
Practical information on your location and premises, suppliers, production facilities, required equipment, management information and IT systems.
You will need to show:
In addition to this, you’ll need cashflow, profit and loss, and sales forecasts for the next three or five years. A smart business plan will also detail the assumptions behind your forecasts and risks that might affect those figures.
You should also consider your exit strategy. How will the business end, will you be selling it to a member of staff, selling it to the highest bidder, will you simply close it down. Many of the new .com entrepreneurs plan to sell their businesses as soon as they get started.