HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN
Learn how to write a business plan that is guaranteed to make any business a successful venture with our 354-page workbook which has been created by entrepreneurial business experts…
A business plan is essential for anyone either starting up a business or running an already established one. Without a business plan your business is far more likely to fail. It is a well-known fact that any kind of plan focuses the mind and allows you to keep track of your progress. If you think about it for a minute, when you set off on a journey in your car to a destination that you have never been to before, what do you do? You make a plan. You either check your map or you input the details in to your Satnav. This is called planning and we do it every day in our normal day-to-day lives. Therefore, you should do exactly the same when starting up a business.
The benefits of a business plan are as follows:
- It allows you to lay down the foundations for a solid and successful business;
- It determines the path you propose to take with regards to short, medium and long term aims;
- It focuses the mind on what needs to be achieved and by when;
- It allows you to calculate the resources required in order to move your business forward.
For anyone who is starting their own business, writing a concise and relevant business plan can be a difficult task. However, if you follow the information provided within this article then you will easily be able to write your very own plan which is tailored for success.
There are no hard and fast rules for what you should include in your business plan; however, here are a few examples of the different sections and what you may decide to include within them:
DIFFERENT SECTIONS OF A BUSINESS PLAN
SECTION 1 : The basics
Within this section of your business plan you will note down the basics of your business including company name, when the business plan was created and last modified, all relevant contact details, date of incorporation, legal status (i.e. Limited company, LLP etc), principal activities and the name of the person creating the plan.
SECTION 2 : Business aims
In section 2 you may decide to add the short, medium and long terms goals of the company. By writing these down you will be able to focus your mind on what you intend to achieve and in what time frame. It is very important to include a time-frame because without it, you are far more likely to forget the aims. You should keep a note in your diary of key dates and milestones.
An example of a short term business aim might be:
“We aim to achieve a turnover of £100,000 within a six month time-frame. We will achieve this by employing three sales staff and one office manager. Their goal will be to obtain 12 key contracts within our chosen sector, each with a minimum return of £10,000 per annum.”
Of course, there are no hard and fast rules of what you can or cannot put in your business aims; however, the above example enables you to focus your mind, time and resources on what needs to be achieved and by when.
SECTION 3 : Key personnel
Within this section of your business plan you could include details of the key personnel within your organisation. The people who work in your organisation or company are your most valuable asset. Without them, you will achieve very little. Consider noting down the following details for each and every one of your key personnel:
Date of birth:
Experience and knowledge of the industry:
SECTION 4 : Business interests and activities
In the next section of your plan it would be wise to include all details that are relevant to the interests of your business, premise details and equipment. Here’s an example of what you may wish to include within section 4 of your business plan.
Premises: Here you will note down the details of your premise, including business rates and rental expenses. Don’t forget to look out for hidden costs such as electricity, telephone, internet etc.
Equipment: The equipment that you purchase will belong to the business and you should account for it here. Think of computers, printers, desks, chairs, cabinets etc.
Products and services: Detail the products and services that you are offering and that you also intend to offer.
Search engine statues and advertising strategies: Here, you will add details of your advertising plans and budgets. You may wish to advertise through online search engines or through local newspapers and media etc.
THE BUSINESS PLAN WORKBOOK – contains over 300 pages of expert advice and tuition!
SECTION 5 – Miscellaneous
In this section you may decide to add details or your products and services, including details relating to the current ‘state’ of the business, areas for improvement and your competitors.
New products and services: What products and services do you intend to offer now and in the future?
Pricing: What is your pricing strategy and how will you cope with a downturn in trade/business?
Customers: Who are your customers and how do you interact with them? I.e. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc, email promotions etc.
Business strengths: What is your business good at and what can you do more of?
Areas for improvement: What areas do you need to improve on or invest in?
Competition: Who are your nearest competitors?
Market predictions: How do you foresee the next 12 months trade performance?
Sales and promotions: Do you have any seasonal promotions in mind? This will depend on the type of business you operate. However, a good starting point is to think about the four different seasons and the events that occur in each of them.
Financial information (existing business): How are things looking financially at the time of writing the business plan?
Financial information (start-up costs): How much have you invested in the business starting up and are you owed any money?
Business asset statement: This is where you will include details of your assets etc.
Final tips for writing a successful business plan
1. Make the effort to write a concise and relevant business plan. It will pay dividends in the future, literally!
2. Don’t be afraid to note down the negative aspects of your business and the areas that you need to improve on. This will make sure that you focus your mind on what needs to be done.
3. This is probably the most important tip of them all Once you have written your business plan keep it in a prominent position where you can access it quickly and regularly. Don’t put it in your drawer!
Many people keep their business plan on their desk or on a notice board in their office so that it is easily accessible. A business plan is a ‘working’ document and as such, it is important you visit, amend and update it on a regular basis.
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