A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.
A business plan helps you to:
- clarify your business idea
- spot potential problems
- set out your goals
- measure your progress
Do I need a business plan?
Yes, regardless of whether you need to raise finance or not a business plan is a vital part of giving your new business idea the best chance of succeeding. Writing a plan helps to give you focus and acts as a map as you set off on your start-up journey.
What goes into a business plan?
Your business plan should include details of what your business or service is, who your customers will be and why they will buy from you. You will also need to include assumptions around how much people will buy and where you will market your product or service. Download one of our Business Plan templates.
How many pages should a business plan be?
There is no hard and fast rule for how many pages a business plan should be. You will need to include as much details as necessary for it to be a useful document and if you intending to use it to raise finance you will need to have completed each section on the business plan template thoroughly. It is wise to include tables and bullet points to make it more readable.
How long will it take me to write a business plan?
This depends on how much time to have to devote to it each day. If you are holding down a full -time job or running a busy home, writing the plan will take longer than if you could devote yourself to it full-time. Finding the information and figures you need can take time but don’t be tempted to rush this process. More complex ideas can take months or even years to plan whereas a simple business idea could take a matter of weeks or a couple of months to plan.
Where can I find the information I need to write the plan?
The information you require will come from several sources including already available market information which you find online or at business libraries. Depending on your requirements you may also need to contact suppliers or workspace providers to get an idea on start-up costs and running costs. Read our guide on ‘The importance of market research’.
Can I pay someone to write the plan for me?
You can hire the services of a professional business plan writer BUT before you do this remember that not only will this be costly but that the person you hire will not know your idea like you do. Remember that the process of writing the plan is useful not just having a finish document that you put in a drawer and never read.
Who will I show the plan to?
If you intend to raise finance the audience for you plan will be the loan or grant provider but before then make sure and access support from your local enterprise support organisation. Business Advisors will be able to review and provide feedback on your plan.