You’ve got the brilliant business idea, you might have even started setting up or running your business, but writing a business plan is vital for the launch and growth of any venture. It’s a document where you can organise all your ideas, make sure that you’ve considered and researched everything, and ultimately decide that the business is viable. Commitment to making a business plan is a commitment to the business.
A business plan is a document that details all the future plans and predictions for your business. It will explain your ideas, map out how they’ll be put into practice and provide relevant information and facts including the business details, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections, and operational and team specifics.
A business plan is essential in helping you:
|Plan your business||Put some meat on the bones of your initial idea, calculate your startup costs, and research if your business is realistic and viable.|
|Launch your business||Use your plan to secure startup funds, decide what marketing and sales channels you’ll use and plan what order you need to do things in.|
|Manage your business||Who will take care of the day-to-day running of the business, are you legally compliant, do you need assets, equipment and employees?|
|Grow your business||Look ahead to your medium to long-term sales projections and what you’ll need in place (for example, funding, a larger team, equipment and premises) to make this happen.|
The business plan is a living, working document that should be read and reviewed regularly. If there are multiple directors or partners in the business then they should all be in agreement with what is written in the plan and you will also need to share it with potential investors. The business plan will formalise all the ideas and assumptions, keep you focused, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
How long the business plan should be will depend on your business size, the complexities of it and what stage you’re at. The most important thing is that it’s user-friendly and doesn’t include any waffle. Get straight to the nitty-gritty so that your stakeholders are engaged when reading it and so that you are more likely to use and update it regularly. Your business plan will probably cover the first three to five years. It’s important to include all the right information (see the checklist below) but it’s not a document to spend too long on. It’s more important that you are spending time running the business.
A business plan should include:
Writing a business plan will allow you to take a step back and look at the business more objectively, predicting potential issues in advance and coming up with solutions or a shift in how you originally thought that you would do something.
We want to take the stress out of writing a business plan. Our free downloadable template will guide you on everything you need to include and get your business primed for success.
Take a look at these business plan sections in more detail to see examples of the sort of details you should include, depending on your type of business.
Give a topline description of:
|Market conditions and competition|
You can include your gut instincts about the market here and what you know, but be sure to also back this up with evidence and research.
|Sales and marketing plan|
Writing a business plan can take some time and some areas of the plan will be easier to tackle than others.
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