Writing a business plan


The challenge

A well-drafted business plan is crucial when raising finance or trying to attract investment, but it is also an essential tool for the successful management of a business. Including the right information will help you to develop your business and win new clients.

The solutions

Executive summary

Write a short executive summary that encapsulates the whole plan - preferably just one page.

About the business

  • Describe the business, including its history, structure, strategy and mission statement.
  • Highlight the skills and experience of key people like partners, directors and other key staff.
  • Outline the product or service you provide and any innovations and achievements.
  • Describe your current and anticipated personnel requirements including any training and promotion policies.
  • Include a SWOT analysis, but don't avoid weaknesses or threats: these can only be dealt with after being identified.
  • Report on your business premises and infrastructure and outline any planned expenditure.

About the market

  • Analyse turnover by market segment, indicating the profitability of each area.
  • Include information about your competitors, for example their strengths, weaknesses and market share.
  • Detail any major clients and business relationships to show your strengths and to allay any concerns over business concentration.
  • Outline your marketing activities to demonstrate how you identify and develop new business.

Financial information

This is normally provided as an appendix.

The following should be covered:

  • Profit and loss projections
  • Cash flow projections
  • Forecast balance sheets
  • Detailed explanation of any assumptions
  • Key ratios
  • Sensitivity analysis

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.

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