Writing a Business Plan
Marketing & Business Growth : Zone 5
A business plan is a
complete description of a business and its plans for the next 1-5 years. It explains what the business does (or will do); outlines
who will buy the product or services and why; includes financial forecasts; and indicates how much money (if any) is needed.
Most people only write a business plan when they need to raise finance for their business. A clear vision of how to achieve your
goals can be the recipe for success. You may have the best idea in the world, but without a clear vision of how to achieve your
goals, your idea is worth very little. That's why you need a written plan. Most small business owners dread or avoid the business
planning process. Same people can describe their product or service pretty well but are unable to plan.
Contents of a Business Plan
Describe it and its history to date.
How does its performance compare with its competitors?
Give copies of records if already started - profit and loss account, balance sheet, bank records, present funding.
Product or Service
What are the advantages of your product or service; what need does it fill; what are its unique features?
patent or copyright or statutory requirements if appropriate.
Discuss competitive products.
Give estimated demand in the short and long term and explain why this demand is expected.
Who are the target customers?
Who are competitors and possible future competitors? Comparison of product/service; why is yours distinctive?
Advantages of your business over competitors. Highlight any competitive advantages.
Give details of target markets, and show that a market exists; make an estimate of your current and predicted market share.
Explain the pricing policy.
Explain how the product or service will be promoted.
Give details of the selling and distribution methods.
Explain the longer term plans of the business.
Describe the premises and the equipment the business has, or will need.
Describe the production process.
Management and Organisation
What are the strengths of the people involved?
Costing and pricing.
Give financial forecasts including cashflow, profit and loss and balance sheet projections, omitting any grant or loan which may
be required. Give the breakeven point (ie the level of sales at which the business will start to make a profit).
Include details of personal savings to be invested.
Give details of all personal financial commitments (personal survival budget).
Explain all your assumptions.