When establishing a new business, it is crucial that the plans are clearly documented and that you have a strategic business tool which can not only help you during the start-up phase but can also support you moving forward. This is why a business plan, which defines both short- and long-term goals and also develops with the business is so important. A business plan needs to be prepared at the outset and then continually developed throughout the lifespan of the business.
The key question though is what should be included? The following are what we would recommend as being the key elements of a business plan:
Executive summary – outlining what the business is, how it will operate and who the key members of the team are. In essence it will be constructed to answer the key questions of why the business exists, what is being provided (services or products), who are the customers, who are the competitors (how you compare), what are the roles for key personnel and what are the goals and what strategic relationships that need to be built.
Vision statement and business goals – this is where you state what you are looking to achieve and what your clear goals are. It is very important to follow the SMART goals model (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based).
Products and services – a key area of what the business is offering. Of course, it’s not just a list of the products or services but a detailed explanation of what they are, how they can help and how they are different to others. You should also consider whether there are any benefits with copyright or trademarking.
Customers and competitors – defining your target audience through key demographics such as location, age, size and type. When completed you then track how your products or services can benefit these demographics and what are the exact problems you are looking to solve. The same can then be completed for your competitor analysis. A key item for conclusion will be the SWOT analysis where you evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Structure and operational configuration – will the business be made up as a sole trader, a partnership, a limited liability partnership (LLP) or a limited company, of course you will need to think about tax and personnel liabilities when deciding the structure. Next will be the operational structure which will involve business processes, location, team and equipment.
Financial plan – arguably one of the most important elements as it will detail start-up costs or costs for expanding the business. It will include business expenses, funding requirements and projections for future revenue.
If you have any questions or need any help with developing your business plan, please feel free to call us on 01993 706403 or e-mail email@example.com.