How do I write a Business Plan?

3 Aug

Writing a Business Plan is a really good way to focus on exactly what you want to do with your business.  It can be useful for opening a business bank account, and applying for loans/insurance and so on, but really it is a document for YOU.  It is something you should return to regularly so that you can re-focus.  You might go back to it six months down the line and change everything, or you might look at it again and realise that you are not doing something that you had planned to, and change your business accordingly.

You might be the only person who ever sees your business plan, so it can take whatever format suits you.  There are various templates that you can download, or you can design it yourself.  However, it should include the following:

  • Your Name
  • Business Name
  • Business Contact Details (Registered Address, Phone, Email, Website)
  • Legal Status (Sole Trader, Partnership, Limited Company, Social Enterprise)
  • Mission Statement (writing the rest of the plan should help you come up with this!)
  • Key Personnel – You and any staff/partners, your contact details and relevant skills/experience
  • Your Business Idea
  • Your Goals (Financial and other, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years)
  • What Your Business Does (Products/Services)
  • What is your Unique Selling Point? (Research your competitors, why would a customer choose your business?)
  • Legal/Insurance Requirements (Do your research and get some quotes)
  • Market Research (Speak to your prospective customers and find out what they want and what they’re willing to pay!)
  • Pricing (What will you charge?  Consider your overheads and outgoings, and what your customers want to pay)
  • Marketing (Where and how will you advertise?  What will this cost?  How do you know it will reach your target base?)
  • Premises (Are you working from home, opening a shop, using a shared office?  What will it cost?  Consider rent, rates, bills, shopfitting)
  • Suppliers (Where will you buy your stock/equipment?)
  • Finance (What will your start up costs be?  How will you meet these costs?  What are your financial forecasts?  Can you afford to live?)

That might seem like quite an extensive list for a document that might never be seen by anyone else!  But this could be the most important thing you do.  It will help you keep your focus, and it keeps all the vital information together in one place.  Most of all, writing it should make you really excited about starting your business!  If it doesn’t, you need to consider why not.  Running a business is hard work and you need to feel passionate and excited about it to make it a success!  Noone really enjoys paperwork, but it is a necessary part of being your own boss.  You don’t need to write this all in one go, try taking on a section at a time.

If you would like some help writing your business plan, please get in touch with us on 0800 043 2440.

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