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uk business plan template
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How to write a business plan UK | Free UK business plan template

You’ve got the brilliant business idea, you might have even started setting up or running your business, but writing a business plan and creating business proposals are vital for the launch and growth of any venture. It’s a document where you can organise all your ideas, create a company description, 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. Read our guide and download your free business plan template. 

What is a business plan?

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, management plan, operating plan, 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, start your business plan outline, 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 and run the company profile, 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. Compare to other success stories.

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 the plan outlines, the detailed information in the plan, and what is written in the plan. 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 writing your business plan should take 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.

There are lots of business plan examples out there but typically yours should include: 

  • What your business will do 
  • The business structure and operations  
  • Team members and their expertise 
  • Market analysis to see current and projected state of the market and industry
  • How your business will sell and market  
  • Startup costs and funding required 
  • Financial projections 
  • Legal requirements 

Writing a business plan will allow you to take a step back and look at the business more objectively, predicting potential issues in advance, such as financial forecasts, and coming up with solutions or a shift in how you originally thought that you would do something.

Download: Free UK business plan template

We want to take the stress out of writing a business plan. Our free downloadable UK business plan template will guide you on everything you need to include and get your business primed for success. 

uk business plan examples and business plan template UK

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Getting started on a business plan

Before you begin to make your business plan, keep these three things at the forefront of your mind. 

  • uk business plan examples and business plan template UK
    Focus on what makes you unique

    Be creative with your plan, shout about your unique selling proposition (USPs) and what makes you different. Represent your brand using language and visuals, and talk about why you and your team are best to run this business.

  • uk business plan examples and business plan template UK
    Don’t over complicate it

    Keep it concise so that you can get on with running the business and so the business plan is an easily readable and usable document. Too much detail in the plan can become confusing.

  • uk business plan examples and business plan template UK
    Be realistic and honest

    The business plan will give you an indication of where you’re supposed to be. Review it every few months, update it as you go and change your activities in line with it. It will be impossible for you to predict everything so just give it your best shot and be prepared to be flexible.

How to structure a business plan step-by-step

The business plan should follow this format with these six sections. 

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What content should a business plan include?

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. In the next section, we’ve used this framework to create some UK business plan examples featuring three fictional small businesses. 


1. The executive summary

Give a topline description of:

  • In the most basic terms, what is the business? Is it a product or service? What does it do and how?
  • Why is there a need for this business?
  • What does this business do better than similar existing businesses?
  • What experience or skills do you have that will help make this business a success?
  • How will it make money?
  • Who will your customers be?
  • Who are your main competitors?
  • How will people find out about you?
  •  What is the opportunity for investors?

2. Business details and description

  • Describe your what, where, who and why – including your product/service, brand, location, business model and size.
  • Make an extensive list of all your products/services/revenue streams (all the ways your business can possibly make money). For example, for a bar this could be:
    • Drinks
    • Food (lunch / dinner)
    • Private hire for meetings / parties / events
    • Putting on own events (music, comedy)
    • Classes (e.g. cocktail making)
    • Opening for breakfast / take away coffee

  • What will the legal structure of your company be (LTD, PLC, sole trader, partnership, charity, social enterprise)?

3. Marketing and sales strategy

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.

  • Who are your biggest competitors? (Bear in mind competitors don’t always have to be exactly the same type of business, but something that people might spend their money on instead of your product).
  • How do your competitors market and price themselves?
  • How much is currently spent in your industry and what is demand like?
  • What are the barriers to entry?
  • What trends are happening internationally within similar businesses (maybe in countries like the US who may be further ahead)?
Target market
  • Who is your target market?
  • Create a customer profile with as much detail as possible about your ideal customer.
  • Make a list of friends, clients, business contacts, companies to target that might buy from you and include any current customers.
  • Can you think of any other possible types of customer?
    • For example: if you make jewellery, as well as selling it directly to the customer you could consider selling wholesale to other businesses, or starting jewellery making classes.
The brand
  • What is your brand’s personality and characteristics?
  • What does it stand for? What’s your mission statement?
  • Do you have a tone of voice and brand guidelines?
  • How will your brand do business/work with clients / communicate with customers?
  • What brand and sales collateral will you need? (Don’t go crazy buying too much at first. Better to find out that you need it and then get it).
    • For example: business cards, leaflets, templates (invoice, e-newsletter), sales presentation.
Sales and marketing plan
  • What sales and marketing channels will you use?
    • For example: website, social media, email marketing, blogging and blogger outreach, print advertising, radio, PR, partnerships, networking, podcasts, videos, directories, referrals, PPC, SEO.
  • Plan your website – domain name, who will build it, what information and functionality does it need?
  • Decide on a marketing budget.

4. Management and employees

  • Who will make up your team and what relevant skills and experience do they have?
  • Do you need to employ people?
  • What friends/family/business contacts do you have with skills that might be able to help you (preferably for free)?
  • Do you need to outsource anything?

5. Operational set up

  • What premises do you need? Where will they be? Where will you work from?
  • What assets/tools do you require (and which of these do you already have)?
  • Are there any licences that you require? Any other legal considerations?

6. Financial plan and projections

Costs
  • Make an extensive list of all the startup and running costs that the business will have. If you don’t know the exact cost then estimate it.
    • For example: premises, insurance, licences, staff wages, your salary, stock, delivery costs, machinery, tools, computer, printer, telephone, electric, wifi, website, accountant, marketing, travel, design and print, training, photography, networking events, exhibitions, client entertaining.
Startup finance
  • How much do you need to start the business and to ensure you have enough cash flow?
  • How will you be financing it?
Pricing 
  • Include as much detail as you can about your prices, pricing structure and margins.
  • How much money do you need to make on a monthly basis to cover your costs and pay yourself and how much do you have to sell to make this figure?
Projected accounts

UK business plan example 1: GreenTech Innovations

1. Executive summary

GreenTech Innovations is a tech startup developing advanced solar panel technology that increases energy efficiency by 20%. This business addresses the growing demand for affordable and sustainable energy solutions. We stand out with our patented technology and a team of experienced professionals. Our revenue model includes direct sales to consumers and partnerships with energy companies. Our customers are environmentally conscious homeowners and businesses. Competitors include SolarCity and SunPower, but our superior technology and lower costs offer a competitive edge. We will use digital marketing and industry trade shows to gain visibility. 

2. Business details and description

GreenTech Innovations, based in London, specializes in renewable energy products. Our core product is an innovative solar panel with higher efficiency and lower costs. Revenue streams include direct sales, energy company partnerships, and government contracts. We are structured as an LTD company.

Products/services/revenue streams:

  • High-efficiency solar panels
  • Installation services
  • Maintenance contracts
  • Licensing our technology to other manufacturers
  • Government and commercial contracts

3. Marketing and sales strategy

Market conditions and competition: The renewable energy market is growing, driven by environmental concerns and government incentives. Competitors like SolarCity market themselves as premium providers; we will differentiate by offering better technology at a lower price. The UK market spends billions on renewable energy annually, with strong demand forecasted.

Target market: Our target market includes environmentally conscious homeowners and businesses. Ideal customers are tech-savvy, value sustainability, and are looking for long-term savings on energy costs.

The brand: Our brand stands for innovation and sustainability. Our mission is to make renewable energy accessible and affordable. We will communicate through a professional, approachable tone and prioritize customer education.

Sales and marketing plan:

  • Website with e-commerce capabilities
  • Social media campaigns
  • SEO and PPC advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Partnerships with green energy advocacy groups
  • Presence at trade shows and industry conferences

4. Management and employees

Our team includes Dr. Jane Smith (CEO), a solar energy expert with 20 years of experience, and John Doe (CTO), who holds several patents in solar technology. We plan to hire additional engineers, marketing professionals, and sales staff. Some tasks, such as legal and accounting, will be outsourced.

5. Operational set up

We need a manufacturing facility in London, equipped with state-of-the-art machinery for solar panel production. Our office will house our R&D lab, administrative offices, and logistics team. Necessary licenses include manufacturing and environmental permits.

6. Financial plan and projections costs:

  • Manufacturing equipment: £500,000
  • Initial inventory: £200,000
  • Facility lease: £100,000/year
  • Staff salaries: £300,000/year
  • Marketing: £100,000

Startup finance: We seek £1 million in funding through equity investment and government grants.

Pricing: Our solar panels will be priced competitively at £500 per unit, with a 30% profit margin.

Projected accounts:

  • Year 1: Revenue £2 million, Profit £400,000
  • Year 2: Revenue £4 million, Profit £1 million
  • Year 3: Revenue £8 million, Profit £2.5 million

UK business plan example 2: EcoBoutique

1. Executive summary

EcoBoutique is a sustainable fashion retailer offering eco-friendly clothing and accessories. Addressing the rising demand for ethical fashion, we differentiate ourselves with unique designs and fair-trade practices. Our team, led by experienced fashion designer Emma Green, will operate from a flagship store in Manchester and an online platform. Our revenue model includes direct sales and partnerships. Our target customers are environmentally conscious consumers. Competitors include other sustainable fashion brands, but our commitment to quality and ethical sourcing sets us apart. We seek £500,000 in funding to establish our store and marketing efforts, promising growth and strong returns.

2. Business details and description

EcoBoutique, located in Manchester, sells sustainable clothing and accessories. Revenue streams include in-store and online sales, private events, and wholesale partnerships. The company will be structured as an LTD.

Products/services/revenue streams:

  • Sustainable clothing (organic cotton, recycled materials)
  • Accessories (bags, jewelry)
  • Private hire for fashion events
  • Online store
  • Wholesale to other retailers

3. Marketing and sales strategy

Market conditions and competition: The sustainable fashion market is expanding rapidly. Competitors like Patagonia and People Tree use online marketing and brand loyalty strategies. The UK fashion industry sees significant consumer spending, with growing interest in sustainable options.

Target market: Our ideal customers are eco-conscious individuals aged 20-40, interested in fashion and sustainability.

The brand: EcoBoutique stands for ethical fashion and sustainability. Our mission is to provide stylish, eco-friendly clothing. We will use a friendly, informative tone and emphasize our commitment to fair trade.

Sales and marketing plan:

  • Website with e-commerce and blog
  • Social media and influencer partnerships
  • Email newsletters
  • Community events and pop-up shops
  • Print advertising in eco-friendly magazines

4. Management and employees

Our team includes founder Emma Green, a fashion designer with a background in sustainability, and Liam Brown, our marketing manager with extensive retail experience. We will hire sales associates and an e-commerce manager. Some services, such as accounting and web development, will be outsourced.

5. Operational set up

We need a retail space in Manchester, designed with sustainable materials, and an e-commerce platform. Licenses required include retail and health & safety permits.

6. Financial plan and projections costs:

  • Store renovation: £200,000
  • Inventory: £100,000
  • Marketing: £50,000
  • Staff salaries: £150,000/year
  • E-commerce platform: £50,000

Startup finance: We seek £500,000 through a combination of loans, personal investment, and crowdfunding.

Pricing: Clothing items priced between £30-£150, with a 40% profit margin.

Projected accounts:

  • Year 1: Revenue £1 million, Profit £150,000
  • Year 2: Revenue £1.5 million, Profit £300,000
  • Year 3: Revenue £2 million, Profit £500,000

UK business plan example 3: BizConsult Solutions

1. Executive summary

BizConsult Solutions is a consulting firm offering business strategy and digital transformation services for SMEs. We address the need for modern, tech-savvy business solutions in a competitive market. Our experienced team, led by Sarah Lee, specializes in helping businesses innovate and grow. We generate revenue through consulting fees, workshops, and retainer agreements. Our target customers are SMEs across various industries. Competitors include larger consulting firms, but our focus on SMEs and personalized service sets us apart. We will use content marketing and networking to attract clients. We seek £300,000 in funding to establish our office and marketing activities, promising steady growth and high returns.

2. Business details and description

BizConsult Solutions, based in Birmingham, offers consulting services in strategy and digital transformation. Revenue streams include hourly consulting fees, retainer agreements, and workshops. The company will be structured as an LTD.

Products/services/revenue streams:

  • Business strategy consulting
  • Digital transformation services
  • Workshops and training sessions
  • Retainer agreements for ongoing support

3. Marketing and sales strategy

Market conditions and competition: The consulting market is competitive, with demand for digital transformation services rising. Competitors include large firms like McKinsey and Deloitte, but they primarily target larger enterprises. We focus on SMEs, offering affordable, high-quality services.

Target market: Our target market is SMEs in various sectors, seeking to modernize their operations and strategies.

The brand: BizConsult Solutions is innovative and client-focused. Our mission is to empower SMEs to thrive through strategic and technological advancements. We will communicate through a professional and approachable tone.

Sales and marketing plan:

  • Professional website with case studies and testimonials
  • Content marketing (blogs, whitepapers)
  • Webinars and online courses
  • Networking events and industry conferences
  • Email marketing and LinkedIn outreach

4. Management and employees

Our team includes Sarah Lee (CEO), with 10 years of consulting experience, and Michael O’Connor (CTO), an expert in digital transformation. We will hire additional consultants and administrative staff as needed. We will outsource web development and legal services.

5. Operational set up

We need an office in Birmingham, equipped with meeting rooms and collaborative workspaces. Essential tools include project management software and CRM systems. Required licenses include business operation permits.

6. Financial plan and projections costs:

  • Office setup: £100,000
  • Marketing: £50,000
  • Staff salaries: £150,000/year
  • Technology and software: £50,000

Startup finance: We seek £300,000 through a combination of bank loans and private investment.

Pricing: Consulting fees range from £100-£300 per hour, with retainer packages starting at £2,000 per month.

Projected accounts:

  • Year 1: Revenue £500,000, Profit £100,000
  • Year 2: Revenue £750,000, Profit £200,000
  • Year 3: Revenue £1 million, Profit £350,000

Business plan writing tips

Writing a business plan can take some time and some areas of the plan will be easier to tackle than others. 

  • Make initial notes every time you think of something and don’t worry if you can’t cover all points at the start.
  • When you are ready to start to write the plan, make sure you use sections and these are in a logical order.
  • It is important that your plan is simple, accurate and easy to follow if you are going to ask others to look at it.
  • Try to avoid jargon or terms that only people in your type of industry will understand.
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