Whether you’re new in business or seeking a fresh start, all businesses should have a business plan. Your business plan will help you to solidify your objectives and give your business some direction.


These seven features should all be part of your business plan.


Want to skip to a particular section of this article? Click on the list below.


• Write an executive summary

• Describe your business

• Outline your management team

• Analyse the market

• Analyse your competitors

• Draw up an operations plan

• Overview your financial information

• How Appleby Mall can help



Write an executive summary


This should be a brief summary of your business – including highlights from all other sections of the business plan.


Some ideas for this section:


• Your business’s USP (Unique Selling Point).

• The reason for starting your business.

• An outline of sales and profit.

• Details of key business personnel.



Describe your business


You’ll want to provide an overview of your business here. This overview should also include some detail on your industry.


You may also want to include the legal structure of the business and how you intend to sell your goods or services. This could be online or on the shop floor.


Some ideas for this section:


• What are the opportunities within your industry?

• Is it a growing or declining industry?

• Are there any new developments within that industry?



Outline your management team


This section will outline your key staff’s responsibilities and roles. It should also detail the necessary skill sets to manage the business.


Some ideas for this section:


• Who are the key players in your business?

• How are they qualified for their positions?

• What skill sets do they have?



Analyse the market


A market analysis will help you to get a clearer idea of your ideal customer. You should cover your target demographic and recent trends in the market. Is it expanding or contracting?


You may also want to talk about barriers to entry and how your business will overcome these to remain profitable.


Some ideas for this section:


• What is the target market for the business?

• What size is it? Is it a growing or declining market?

• Who are your customers?

• Is your customer base segmented? Can each segment be targeted separately?



Analyse your competitors


A good understanding of your competitors is essential. If you’re in a competitive market, then knowing their strengths and weaknesses will give you the upper hand.


It’s also important to understand your own strengths as a business. Talk to your customers, employees and management and work out what you do best.


Some ideas for this section:


• Who are your primary competitors?

• What impact could your competitors have on your business?

• What advantages do you have over your competitors?



Draw up an operations plan


The operations plan is an overview of the logistics of the organisation. You should cover the day-to-day operations of your business and your management team’s various responsibilities.


Some ideas for this section:


• How will your business function day-to-day?

• What facilities and technology do you need?

• What are your logistical requirements for the next 3-5 years?



Overview your financial information


All financial information should be displayed in this section of the business plan.


Your current financial position can be reviewed by providing your balance sheet. Your profitability can be assessed via a profit and loss account.


You should also include some financial forecasting, which will show how your business will remain viable. This will help you to decide on any future capital injections.


Some ideas for this section:


• A forecast profit and loss account.

• A forecast balance sheet.

• A cash flow forecast.



How Appleby Mall can help


We’re more than Tax Accountant in Wolverhampton – we’re also business advisers. If you need help with your business plan and would like Appleby Mall to take a look, please get in touch with us.


We have many years of experience in writing and reviewing business plans. We’ll also help you with any financial forecasting.

Follow up on leads

Do you have a process in place to generate ‘leads’ for your business and then follow up on them to convert them into customers? 79% of marketing leads are never converted into customers because there is no lead nurturing in place to do this. Part of attracting new customers is working with those who have expressed an interest in your brand, providing information, offering incentives and encouraging them through the process of becoming a new customer. If you don’t do this then you could be seriously missing out.

Download the small business guide to conquering cash flow

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