Starting a business is an exciting decision and it can be tempting to jump right in without a plan. However, writing a business plan can really help your business get off to a great start. Not only is having a solid plan in place useful for securing things like funding, it can also help you stay focused. Here at @UKplc Company Registrations, we want the companies we form to grow and succeed, so here is our guide to writing a business plan.
Although this will appear at the beginning of your document, you might find it helpful to wait until the end to write it. This is because it will summarise key points within the business plan. The aim is to entice readers into reading the full document, so keep it relatively short. Include a description of the business, its objectives, products and strategy. You may also include key financial information and what experience you and any partners or employees will bring to the business.
When writing a description of your new company, be sure to include the business sector, when the company started/will start trading, what type (ltd, plc, etc.) of company it is/will be, what products and/or services it will offer and how it differs from the competition. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), giving potential investors a reason to invest in you and your business. It is also worth including how your company will be structured.
A business isn’t a business without any customers and you won’t have customers if there is no demand for what you’re offering. Market research is a way to prove your company has the solution to potential customers’ problems. It’s worth mentioning the size of your market, who the competitors are and any external factors that could influence the market.
Ideally, you should include a 12-month action plan determining your budget and resources and then deciding where these will be allocated. Clear objectives should be set alongside a marketing plan. What sales figures do you forecast to achieve? How do you plan to position your products/services? What is your pricing policy? It is important to be realistic here – anything too ambitious may deter investors.
The financial section of the business plan should include the following:
If you’ve yet to start trading, a forecast with a basis in thorough research for the next five years will be needed. You will need to justify the assumptions behind this forecast and define any risks if you are writing your plan to encourage outside investment. If you are trying to secure some investment, make sure you include what investment you are looking for and how this will be used.
You may also wish to include a “SWOT” analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your business.
For more advice on business plans and other aspects of starting a business, please download the @UKplc Company Registrations Start Up Guide