How to write a killer business plan
‘Tis the season of mistletoe, mulled wine and… business plans. That’s right, December is National Write a Business Plan Month, and while business planning might be the last thing on your mind, it’s actually a really good way to prepare for a new working year.
Not sure where to start? Here’s all you need to know about writing a killer business plan.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a summary of a business that gives an overview of its operations and plans for future growth. Writing a business plan is great way to clarify exactly what your business does and set goals for the future, and it also gives you a record of how your business is doing so that you can track your progress.
Why you need one
Business plans aren’t just for start-ups or business owners looking for investments (although, of course, they are essential in those situations); every business can benefit from having a plan. All businesses need to grow, and the best way to discover problems and new avenues for the future is to write a business plan.
There is evidence that writing a business plan can have real benefits for your business. A survey conducted by Palo Alto Software revealed that 64% of respondents who wrote a business plan grew their businesses, compared to 43% who did not write plans.
What you should include
If you’re convinced, here are the basic elements that all good business plans include:
- Executive Summary: A summary of the key points in your plan, including how your business fits into the market, the solution it provides to a problem, the competition you expect to face and the goals you want to achieve. This section is usually written last.
- Business Description: An overview of what your business does and how it works, including how, when and where it was formed, the mission statement, the products/services on offer, the company’s legal structure and the basic structure of the team.
- Market Opportunity: An analysis of what you’re selling and the current state of the market, including your ideal customer and the niche you wish to fill. You can include market research that reveals a need for your business, and data and testimonials that show how your company beats the competition.
- Strategy: The practical nuts and bolts of how you will achieve your financial goals, including the pricing strategy, budget and marketing plans (both online and offline). Make sure you are specific.
- Management Team: An analysis of the people in the company who will bring the strategy to life. Detail the management team’s backgrounds, skills and individual responsibilities.
- Financial Plan: A place to show your business’ current finances and projections for the future. This section will include profit and loss accounts, a balance sheet, a cash flow statement and forecasts of future profits. If you are presenting your plan to investors, you can also include details about the funding you need and how exactly it will be used.
Tips for a brilliant plan
The key to writing a killer business plan is to keep it concise. Nobody wants to read a 100-page, overly wordy document, so make sure every point is clear, specific and simply expressed.
It’s also crucial that you know your business inside out, from the numbers to the target market to the day-to-day operations, so when you write your business plan, use it as an opportunity to get to know every aspect of your business.
You can find more advice about writing business plans, including templates, on the Gov.uk website.
Do you need help to get your business plan on paper? We have people on the team who can help, so please give us a call on 01483 332220 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.