Writing a business plan should be one of your first steps when starting your business. If you have a business without a plan, it’s not too late to make one!

In short, a business plan should set out everything about your business, from what product or service you plan to sell to how you plan to your long-term goals. This can then be used to promote your business, motivate your staff, and make key decisions – as well as give confidence to potential investors or lenders.

Whilst every business plan will be unique, there are key steps that you must follow.

  1. Executive summary

This summary is your opportunity to define and introduce your business. Although this will appear first in your business plan, it is often helpful to write this last, as you can concisely summarise the details of your business.

  1. Company summary

Here is where you describe what your business does.

You should explain what product or service you are offering and why people will want to purchase it. As part of this, it is important to highlight the advantages you have over your competition.

A company summary should also include details involving copyrights and plans for research and development (R&D).

  1. Market analysis

Centering around the marketability of your business, the market analysis looks at who your competitors are and your business’s competitive landscape.

This should include detailed information about your business’s industry, including:

  • The size of the market
  • Your target markets
  • The market needs
  • Any barriers of entry

You should also include any information from market tests and identify your competition.

  1. Marketing plan

A marketing plan can help you stand out from your competitors.

Your marketing plan should establish how you intend to promote your business and generate revenue, including a description of why your product is unique and how it will help consumers.

It is also best to reiterate trademarks that you will need, such as your company name, logo, designs, and processes.

  1. Management overview

Deciding how your business will be structured is important for its success. In your management overview, you will not only identify the management, but other (potential) staff members who will be part of the day-to-day running of your business.

This is also where you should let your nominated leader know who does what and the qualifications that they have, including any CVs you may have.

  1. Financial summary

Establishing your business finances is vital. If you do not already have an accountant on board, it is advisable to consult one during this stage of planning your business.

Your financial summary should establish where your company is receiving funding, whether that be from private investment, loans, or grants.

It should also establish your running costs and how those will be covered.

An accountant can help you develop a financial analysis. This can include examining any debts you have and projecting your future costs and income.

The documents that should be included in this are:

  • Balance sheets
  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements

If you are unsure of how to prepare or obtain these, liaise with an expert.

  1. Organise your plan

Now that you have all the information required in a business plan, it is time to organise it.

For this, you must consider that this document is intended to be shared with potential investors and lenders, your team and management, and can be used in grant applications.

This is something an accountant can also advise on.

Having an accountant on hand also means that they may be able to spot any potential pitfalls to your business plan, including missed expenses or even funding opportunities.

Once your business plan has been finalised, it can be put into place. However, that doesn’t mean that your work is done!

To continue the growth and success of your business, it is vital that you regularly revisit, review, and amend your business plan.

It should be updated with your current ambitions, strategies, and goals. These will change throughout the lifespan of your business, so your plan must reflect that.

This is just as important as creating your initial plan and can be done with the guidance of an accountant.

Get in touch with our team today for further help and advice on your business plan.