How to write a business plan

If you’re planning to start a business, you’ll need a business plan. As you probably know, a business plan is a written document setting out your core business objectives and how you plan to achieve them over a defined period of time.

A business plan will help you and others understand how your business will generate money and become sustainable. Your plan should include information about your goals, strategies, marketing and sales plans and financial forecasts.

Why you need a business plan

Every business needs a business plan. A good business plan will do the following:

  • Organise your thoughts and ideas in a structured way.
  • Clarify your goals and identify potential problems.
  • Outline a clear strategy to follow.
  • Help you to secure external finance including loans.
  • Provide a way to measure your progress.
  • Ensure you and your team have a unified vision.
  • Allow you to plan for the future.

How to write a business plan

Your business plan should be a structured document which includes all the relevant information showing how you plan to make your business sustainable. The core sections of your plan are as follows:

Your business and key objectives

Give a brief description of your business and its main products or services.

Next, create a clean and concise summary of the goals your business is trying to achieve over a set timeframe. You can break this down into short, mid and long-term goals. Make sure your goals are measurable and realistic.

Your skills and experience

Set out the relevant experience you have for running your business. Perhaps you have worked in a similar business, or you have transferable skills from running other businesses. If you are new to business, you may have life experiences or training that you can draw from.

Your target customers, market and competition

Identify your target customers. How many of them are there? Are they growing or declining in number? What are your customer’s needs and desires?

How are you going to position yourself in your market? What makes you well placed to offer a product or service that addresses the needs of your target customer?

Describe your competition. Who else is providing similar solutions to your target customers? How is your offering better or different from what’s currently available? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?

Your sales and marketing plans:

How are you planning to reach your target customers and sell to them? What message are you going to use to attract your target customer? What is the key differentiator that will position you as leaders in the mind of your customer?

This section should cover positioning strategies, pricing, promotion, advertising, public relations, content marketing and social media.

Your operational plans:

Set out the number of staff you will be employing, your business premises, any equipment you need to run our business. Other important factors to detail are sourcing, fulfillment and technology. It is helpful to set out the milestones you’ve reached so far and the future milestones you’re aiming for.

Your financials:

Highlight the key aspects of your financial plan, showing your planned sales, expenses and profitability. If you’re using your business plan to apply to angel investors or venture capitalists for funding, include details of what funding you need and what you plan to use it for.

Need some help with starting a new business? Why not give our accounting team at Hammonds Accountants a call on 0203 007 4990 or drop us a line at . We’ll support you from start-up to becoming fully established and give you help and guidance along the way.