Writing a business plan
Writing a business plan is very important as it helps you explain your key objectives, priorities, strategies and details on how you intend to manage your business. A good business plan also has the added benefit of forcing you to focus on your key objectives.
Try to keep your business plan as short as possible. Add an executive summary at the beginning to grasp the attention of the reader and put financial forecasts at the end. Once you have written your business plan make it look professional with a nice cover and content page. Remember, if your business is simple you do not need to complicate things and should not be overwhelmed by the following list of points to include.
A good start for your business plan is to explain the background to your idea. You can include how long you have been developing the idea, the work you have carried out and any relevant experience you have. After this give details about the product or service; what will make it stand out from other products or services and what are the key features? Include all the advantages but also any possible disadvantages. A successful business plan should be very upfront and honest.
After you have written the background to your idea describe your market and competitors. Include your target audience and the key characteristics of the target groups. Also explain what competition you face, why will customers go to you instead of competitors and how will you position your product or service? Make clear what sales method you will use and how you intend to carry it out.
The next essential part of the business plan is the Marketing and PR. Focus on how your business idea will generate profits and where this will come from. Explain how you intend to promote the business, for example through advertising, social media websites and your network of friends. Banks and investors will want to be sure you are committed to the business so it is worthwhile thinking about this from the start. Also include your business operations such as; pros and cons of location, equipment and facilities you will need, list of employee roles and selected suppliers.
The final part of the business plan should be a financial forecast. If necessary get advice from small business advisers at banks, Business Link and Enterprise Agencies. They will often help you to put together your financial forecasts free of charge. Remember there is more than enough freely available information for you to launch your business, so don’t be too quick to spend money!