4 Jul 2022
Your business plan is a living document – it's something you'll revisit to check that you're reaching your goals and making the most of your venture. You may also need one if you're looking for funders to support and invest in your idea. Here's how it works.
Your business plan is essentially an outline of your business and the market. It explains how you intend to make a profit and why your venture is destined for success. It includes key objectives, sales and marketing strategies, financial forecasts and more.
Writing your business plan should allow you to:
Clarify your idea
Identify potential problems
Establish your goals
Map out sales, marketing and operations
Identify issues and how to overcome them
Set out your expected financial return
Convince others to back your business
Figure out what funding you need
When using Funding Options to find finance, lenders typically require your accounts, bank statements and management accounts, if available. You won't usually have to provide your business plan (although you might be asked if you're a new business).Find business finance
The Prince's Trust website can download a free business plan template and other related resources. Although templates are undoubtedly helpful, don't forget to tailor your business plan to the target audience. Check in with the recipient to see if there are any details they want your business plan to address.
Begin with an executive summary
There's no need to include every single detail – you can elaborate elsewhere
Proofread the document before sending it out
If appropriate, use charts for clarity
1. Executive summary
Like many other business documents, business plans begin with an executive summary. (This might be easier to write after you've written everything else.) The executive summary should hook the reader.
It should provide an overview of your business plan and include details of what makes you different and how much money you intend to make/spend.
2. Your idea/business
Next, it's time to elaborate on your idea.
Identify the problem you're trying to solve or the opportunity you're tapping into. Why will people want to buy your product or service? Talk about your industry experience and business structure, i.e. who owns it and its legal structure.
3. Market information
In this section, include details of the market research you've conducted; ideally, this will comprise quantitative and qualitative research.
Outline whom you're selling to (your customer personas) and how you intend to get your idea noticed. Include an analysis of market trends, details of competitors and how you think your business stands out from the crowd.
4. SWOT analysis
Your SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – will enable you to go into more detail about how to make the most of your options. Ideally, your SWOT analysis should take up no more than a single page, and you can format it as a grid with one square dedicated to each section.
This is where you go more in-depth about how you'll run the business. Dedicate sections to marketing and sales (e.g. your pricing strategy and promotional approaches), operations (e.g. your business premises) and your team (e.g. how you'll structure it).
Your financials are essential to your business plan, particularly if you're looking for investment. You need to make sure they're accurate and realistic. You may want to consider getting expert, qualified advice regarding your forecasts.
Your information will also depend on how long you've been trading. This could be an excellent place to include visual representations like graphs and charts.
Include the following:
Profit and loss forecast
Cash flow statement
Because your business plan should be concise, you could include an appendix at the end with additional information about each section, details that the reader should know about but that you don't want to have in the body of the business plan.
If you're looking for additional finance to get your venture off the ground, or if you need to fund your established business' growth plans, Funding Options can help you find out what you could be eligible for. Just tell us how much you need, how quickly and what it's for, and our Funding Cloud technology will compare 120+ lenders.Get started
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