how to write a business plan

All businesses should have a business plan.  Your business plan will help you to solidify your objectives and give your business some direction.  It can be used to monitor progress, recruit talent and will help you to raise finance should you ever need it.  If there are several partners in the business it will ensure that you are all singing from the same hymn sheet and will hence reduce the risk of contention in the future.

As a basic, your business plan should include the following:

  1. Executive Summary

This should be a brief summary of your business including highlights from all other sections of the business plan.  For example, you could include your USP – Unique Selling Proposition, why your business is in existence and perhaps an outline of sales and profit.  You may also want to include details of the key business personnel here too.

  1. Business Description

You will want to provide an overview of your business here.  You may also want to include information of not just the business but also the industry in which it operates.  What are the opportunities within that industry, is it a growing or declining industry?  Also, are there any new developments within that industry?  You may want to include the legal structure of the business and route to market for example, online or via a shop floor.

  1. Management Organisation

Who are the key players in the business and how are they qualified to be in this position?  What skill sets do they have to undertake their tasks?  This will show that you and your employees have the necessary skill sets to manage and run the business.

  1. The Market

What is the target market for the business, what size is it and is it a growing or declining market?  Who are the customers?  Are they segmented and can each segment be targeted separately are just some of the questions that you need to answer in this section of the business plan.  You may want to talk about barriers to entry and how your business will overcome these to remain profitable.

  1. Competitor Analysis

A good understanding of your competitors is essential and your business plan should give an overview of who your primary competitors are and what impact they could have on your business and its profitability.  You will also want to include how your business has a strategic advantage over its competitors and how it will maintain this going forward.

  1. Operations Plan

The operations plan is an overview of the logistics of the organisation.  It should include an overview of how the business will function and management team responsibilities.  You will want to add facility and IT requirements too.  Projected operational requirements for the next 3-5 years should be listed too.

  1. Financial Overview

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 will want to include some financial forecasting to show how the business will remain a viable proposition going forward.  This could be a forecast profit and loss account, forecast balance sheet and a cash flow forecast.  This will help you to decide if you need any capital injections in the business going forward.

If you need help with your business plan and would like Appleby Mall to take a look, please complete our contact form.  We’re chartered accountants and business advisers with many years experience of writing and reviewing business plans.

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