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Starting a Business Step 3 - Writing the Business Plan

Once you have done your market research it's time to get everything down on paper. The business plan is a way of clarifying your thoughts, spotting potential problems, setting out your goals and measuring your progress in a way that can be easily communicated. Your business plan should be constructed in such a way that it can be quickly and easily updated.

Below are a few headings that will help you formulate your ideas. The complexity and detail that you include will depends on your particular business. In the Useful Links section you'll find websites where you can download Business Plan templates.

Details and Vision

This section should include:

Aims

This section should include:

When stating what you wish to achieve, make the targets measurable so you can assess your business performance. You can find out more about creating measurable SMART targets here.

Market Research

This section should include:

You can find help on researching your market here.

Sales & Marketing

This section should include:

Finance

This section should include:

The easiest way to show this information is on a spreadsheet. Create one for your first year. On it include all your costs (including: stock, premises, equipment, materials, transport, staff and insurances) along with your monthly predictions of sales based on your market research. By using a spreadsheet you will get a good idea of when your business is likely to break even. Also by plotting your costs and sales monthly, you will be able to see your cashflow and identify the parts of the year where you will need more finance.

There is more information on obtaining finance here.

Executive Summary

Although this is the last part of the business plan to be completed it is actually the first part of your business plan presentation. It briefly summarises the main points contained within the business plan.

The Executive Summary should be brief, straightforward and uncomplicated. it should be written in a way that will entice and excite the reader so they will want to read the full business plan and find out more.

The following video from GOV.UK gives more detail to the information above. 

Useful Links:

Growth Hub providers – help with creating a business plan

Business is GREAT Britain - offers guidance on how to write a business plan along with tools and templates designed to ensure you consider all aspects of your business.

Start Up Donut - provides information on how to write a business plan.

The Prince's Trust - produce a selection of business plan templates.

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Contact us:

Growth Hub engagement officers can offer you up to 12 hours free advice and assistance. If you would like to contact the Growth Hub team or arrange a call back to discuss starting a business click here.