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A business plan is essential if you are looking to get business finance, but it also helps you to explain many aspects of your business.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that is used to describe your business. It can be several pages long and details the objectives, sales, marketing, and financial forecasts.

A business plan is suitable for sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies. The business plan should explain your business strategy and the goals you want your business to achieve.

Why do you need a business plan?

A business plan should describe your business. A business plan will help you to:

  • clarify what your business is
  • identify potential problems
  • set specific business goals
  • measure progress

If you’re looking to secure business finance such as a loan or investment, then you’ll need a business plan as part of the application process. If not, a business plan is still a useful tool, especially if you want to move your business in a new direction.

What should a business plan include?

A business plan should include 7 key sections:

  1. an executive summary
  2. summary of your business
  3. details about the market/market strategies
  4. SWOT analysis
  5. Strategy and execution of the business inc. marketing and sales, operations, your team
  6. Finance information e.g., sales forecasts, profit and loss, cash flow statement, balance sheet
  7. Appendices–any other relevant information you think is important to include

Tips for writing a business plan

  • Use a template–there are plenty of online resources relating to business plans. You’ll find links to business plan templates on the UK government website.
  • Keep your audience in mind–who are you writing your business plan for? Depending on who you are writing for, will determine the information and style you will be writing in. Keeping your audience in mind will also help to keep your plan focussed.
  • Simplicity is key–although it may seem like a daunting task, writing a business plan doesn’t need to be difficult. It’s likely that whoever is reading your plan will have limited knowledge about your market, so keep it simple and accessible.
  • Be concise–remember a business plan isn’t a novel and people only have a limited attention span. So, keep it as short as you can but making sure you include all the crucial information. If you have 50 pages, you’ve probably got too much info.
  • Presentation is important–especially if a third party is going to read it. Consider breaking up large blocks of text with tables and graphs to summarise key points.
  • Get your finances right–If you’ve ever watched Dragon’s Den and cringed when the entrepreneur gets their finances mixed up, make sure you don’t do that in your business plan. If you’re looking for investment your financial information will be scrutinised. So, if figures are not your thing, consider getting some advice from an advisor or accountant.
  • The executive summary is the most important part-your executive summary should draw your reader in and will often be read first so the reader can quickly prize out the essential facts and figures. Even though it’s the first part of the business plan consider writing it last–keep it realistic.

If you need help with your business and are looking to:

  • increase your revenue
  • gain clarity
  • inspire creativity
  • create goals

then get in touch with me today to see if I can help your business move forward. Book a free 15-minute discovery call today to see how I can help.

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