A business plan is a written document that includes a brief description of your business. It also contains the objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts of the business.
Banks and financial lenders usually require a business plan as part of an application for a loan. The other benefits of having a business plan include setting out long and short-term goals, measuring your progress against the goals, clarifying a business idea or proposal and highlighting potential problems before they happen.
However business plans don’t need to be overly complicated, nor full of jargon or buzz words. Instead think of a business plan as a useful summary of your business, that sells your idea and ambitions to a potential customer, supplier or even staff.
What to include in your Business Plan
Remember that anyone picking up your business plan should be able to understand exactly what your business does and where you want it to go in the next 12 months or few years. It should also include the steps you’re going to take to get the business to that point. Break the information down into simple sections:
- Business name
- Business and owner details
- Business contact details including address, email, phone number
- Home address and contact details, if different to above
- Business summary – what does your business do and offer to whom?
- Business aims – where do you want the business to be in the coming months and years?
- Financial summary – how much money are you going to invest, borrow and to reach your targets? Where will that money come from?
- Why do you want to run your own business?
- What’s your previous work experience?
- What are your qualifications and education?
- Training and courses you want to attend in the future
- Hobbies and interests
Products and services:
- What does your business offer – a service, product or both?
- Who are you selling your product or service to?
- Where are they based?
- Why do they/will they come to you for the product or service?
- How will you produce the product or service?
- How will you deliver to the customer?
- How will they pay?
- Have you got suppliers?
- Do you have a premises and equipment?
- How will you market the product or service?
- Where will the money for marketing come from?
Running your business
Remember there are a number of legal requirements if you set-up or run your own business, especially if you employ staff.
- What are the legal requirements for your business?
- What insurances do you need for your business, staff, premises, and equipment?
- If you employ staff you will need to follow employment laws and offer a pension scheme.
Don’t panic we can help you take care of the paperwork. Our members have free access to our FSB Online Legal Documents service which has a dedicated business start-up section with handy tip-sheets on Employment Law, Health and Safety regulations and business insurances. We also have our FSB Company Pension Plans to help you cover you and your staff’s retirement.
Whether you’re already running a business or want to get yours off the ground, being on top of your finances is crucial for making it a success. Make sure you clearly write down all your earnings and outgoings in your business plan. Potential investors and banks will want a realistic picture of your books.
- What are the costs for each product and service?
- How much do the individual components cost?
- What is the mark up and profit margin?
- What are your outgoings on staff, premises, bills and suppliers?
- What are your financial forecasts for the next 12 months?
If you want to find out how to borrow money or make savings, don’t forget our FSB Business Banking can help you. We offer independent, unbiased business and personal finance advice and our members already benefit from a free initial consultation, a free financial healthcheck and investment advice.
We’ve been supporting small businesses for over 40 years, so join us for peace of mind and to benefit from a range of exclusive deals and services. We’ll help you concentrate on what’s important, running your business.