How to create a business plan
We often find when creating articles around business funding, business start-up advice or business forecasting, all these activities are underpinned by one key element: business plans.
We are often surprised at how many businesses do not have a plan in place, as it is a key fundamental activity and document that can help in so many ways – from solidifying the vision for the business and keeping it on track, to helping with funding applications to take it to the next level.
Maybe it is lack of knowledge of where to start that can be the barrier to all businesses creating a business plan. Here, we’ve provided a handy guide to creating a business plan.
Don’t get too complex – the prospect of creating a business plan can be a daunting one, but this is largely because it can be over-thought. Treat it like any other kind of plan, such as a car journey, and create an outline that will be clear to anyone who reads it. A good template to follow is:
- Business overview and description (including objectives and how you plan to achieve them)
- Personnel – what resource you will need help you need in terms of personnel
- The offering and practices – what the goods or services are and what makes them unique
- Marketing – this is where the uniqueness will be useful as a differentiator to competitors
- Financial forecasts and requirements – knowing what funds will be needed at what stage is imperative for business progression.
Ensure your plan is based on sound research – any plan should be pre-empted by market research that forms the basis of the offering. Without knowing there is a demand for a product or service it is impossible to estimate success.
Refer to the plan regularly – business owners can have a habit of creating a business plan – usually spurred by a funding requirement, and then file it away. The plan should be used regularly to ensure the business is actually adhering to it and that anything going off course can be steered back in the right direction quickly. It must be an evolving document, not set in stone.
Businesses looking to grow to the next level can often benefit greatly from added support beyond regular business plans. Many accountant, such as ourselves, have developed solutions to specifically provide a greater level of support for owner-managed businesses. These solutions can help them not only to plan, but to spot and capitalise on opportunities, as well as avoid potential pitfalls. Fixed-fee freelance accountant services of this nature can be an invaluable resource in growing a business.