The thought of creating a business plan from scratch can feel daunting but it needn’t be. There is a solid framework that will guide you in presenting all of your key information in a way that is easy to create and to follow.
It does need detail – lots of it – but once you drill down into these sections, the flow of your pitch will be orderly, pique curiosity and deliver vital insights into your business. A business plan will also include information about your product or service, a plan to make it happen, and, most importantly, it will outline the essential backing you need to get your business up and running.
The Small Business Tool Kit by Sage is a great resource to gather information and access handy downloadable tools for free, but here’s what you need to include in your business plan to start on the right track:
A Description of your business and objectives
– Define your business, and service or product clearly.
– What are your USPs and why should people take notice.
Pro tip from Daniel Martin – Director & Independent Financial Adviser:
Your WHY – especially as a small business, understanding why you do what you do will help you get through harder times and push you to go further. This can then be broken down over time into your vision, mission, and core values.
WHAT – What is your value proposition? What is your offering? What is your solution/s to their problem/s?
Your products or services and their pricing
– Explain your product end price and how it was devised.
– What’s your distribution model – how will customers receive your product/service?
Who you anticipate your customers to be
– Demographics – profile your customers, their spending habits and how you’ll acquire and grow your customer base.
Pro tips from Naomi Timperley – Chair of Industry Advisory Board at Salford Business School
Customers – How well do you know your customers? Look into creating detailed buyer personas for your business to reflect this.
And from Daniel Martin – Director & Independent Financial Adviser:
WHO – Who will you be serving? Understand your client profile/s to find the interests, likes, dislikes and trends of your customers.
Who are your competitors?
– Your competition – who are they and how do they compare with your offering?
What people will be involved, in terms of staffing, existing investors, or even mentors
– Outline the organisational structure of your team. Detail how many employees you have, the management team and the founders.
– Who are your team and what expertise and experience will they add to the business? Highlighting any previous business achievements will distinguish any advantages you may have.
How you intend to make your business a success
– Growth projection – how will the business grow sustainably? Explain your steps and confirm how this will work.
Pro tip from Naomi Timperley – Chair of Industry Advisory Board at Salford Business School:
Value Proposition – A statement that answers ‘why’ someone should do business with you. It should convince a potential customer why your service or product will be of more value to them than similar offerings from your competition. Including very clearly ‘What Problem Do You Solve?’.
Any key financial figures
– Where will your key spends go and why – explain your vision and budget for this.
– Detail any specialist equipment or premises.
– Once you have a definitive list of must-haves, you can drill down to the details of what you truly need and why.
The volume of sales you expect /Profit or loss statement projected for the first three years
– Forecast for the future – where do you see your business in one to three years? Back this up with solid reasons.
Pro tip from Naomi Timperley – Chair of Industry Advisory Board at Salford Business School
A clear revenue model identifies which revenue source to pursue, what value to offer, how to price the value, and who pays for the value. It is a key component of a company’s business model.
The level of investment required
– At the end game you’ll have a crystal-clear idea of the exact investment you’ll need, and your investors should, too. Be precise, confident and ready to answer those all-important questions that can seal the deal.