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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  Benjamin Franklin

 It’s an old quote but still very true today. Unfortunately your business won’t get far without a plan in place. You need to get down on paper all the different aspects of your business – from what it looks like, who your customers are right through to your financials, your marketing, your staffing and your premises. You'll also need to think about how you want to set the business up. These pages set out to help you through that minefield.

What goes in a business plan?

Ready to get your idea on paper? Here's some of the things that you should include in your business plan and our useful links below will also give you some examples of templates to use.

  • 1Executive summary

    Although this goes first in the document, you should write this when you’ve finished the rest of your plan. This is basically a summary of your plan and gives a snapshot of the key points of your business plan including: A summary of your business idea, customer, and what type of business you have chosen to be; your business aims and future as well as a summary of the financials.

  • 2About You

    This section is all about you, why you want to start your own business and why you think you have the experience of commitment to the business. List your experience, ability, education and training as well as why you want to run your own business and how you will make your ideas a reality.

  • 3Product and service

    Cover what your business is all about remember the person who is reading your business plan may know nothing about your idea so explain it in detail. Is it selling a product? If so, describe what it is in detail. Is it a service? If so explain how it will work and what the offer to the customer is.

  • 4Your customers

    Who will you be selling to exactly? Describe who they are, why they will want to buy your product or service, where do they live (are they local or national) and how many customers you already have lined up. If you’ve sold something already, say a little bit about your current customers.

  • 5Market research

    You should have already undertaken some market research, if not, take a look at our market research page. In your business plan you should summarise the findings of your market research and if your research has made you change the focus of the business, then say so!

  • 6Marketing

    How are you going to promote your business to people and let them know that you exist. If you want some inspiration, visit our marketing page.

  • 7Competitors

    Who are your competitors or who else is out there selling similar products and services? Have a list of who they are and what they offer and think about what could set you apart from them and make people want to choose you instead.

  • 8Operations and logisitics

    This is where you will work out how your business will work on a daily basis. Think about the processes you will put in place from the very beginning (for example making the product), through to the very end (for example how you will deliver the product and how you will take payment). List any online or offline systems you are using to help you to do this.

  • 9Costs and pricing

    You want to be making a profit so you need to start by working out what your product will cost or how long your service will take to deliver. This needs to take into account all the extra costs of running a business including premises, bills, postage, travel etc. This will then help you to think about how much that you will be able to charge for your product and service. You will also want to check out your competitors to see if what you are thinking about charging is at market rate.

  • 10Overall forecasts

    Now you know what you can charge, you now need to look at developing a sales forecast which shows how much you will be able to make in your first year. Take into account seasonal issues – will you be able to sell more at certain times of the year? Will you have a quiet period for times like holidays and Christmas?

  • 11Emergency planning

    Do you have a contingency if things go wrong? Have a think about what could affect your business – What if you don’t get launched in time? What if a competitor opens up nearby? What if you can’t get hold of stock or the price of stock increases? Show that you have thought about what if things go wrong and have a plan in place to overcome these.

  • 12Get started

    That’s just a snapshot of some of the things you need to be thinking about and that need to go into your business plan. Why not get started? Take a look at our useful links below for some templates to use.

    What type of business should I have?

    If you're going to set up a new business, you need to think about the type of structure that would suit you. There are three main types of business set-up which are:

    • sole trader
    • limited company
    • business partnership.

     

     

    This will have an impact on things like:

    • the paperwork you must fill in to get started
    • the taxes you’ll have to manage and pay
    • how you can personally take the profit your business makes
    • your personal responsibilities if your business makes a loss

    It's a confusing business, so why not speak to us and we can help.

    Think you've got it in you? Book an appointment now.