Write a business plan: step-by-step
What a business plan should include
Your business plan should provide details of how you are going to develop your business, when you are going to do it, who's going to play a part and how you will manage the finances.
Clarity on these issues is particularly important if you're looking for finance or investment. The process of building your plan will also focus your mind on how your new business will need to operate to give it the best chance of success.
Your plan should include:
- An executive summary - this is an overview of the business you want to start. It's vital. Many lenders and investors make judgments about your business based on this section of the plan alone - read business plan executive summary.
- Your vision and business idea - a short description of who you are, what you plan to sell or offer, why and to whom, your business goals and key selling points - see your business, its products and services.
- Your marketing and sales strategy - provides details on customers, competitors, market trends and tactics (eg pricing, distribution and promotion) - see your business markets and competitors and marketing and sales.
- Your management team and personnel - your credentials and the people you plan to recruit to work with you - see business plan: your team's skills.
- Your operations - your premises, production facilities, your management information systems and IT - see business plan: your operations.
- Financial forecasts - this section provides details of cash flow forecasts, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets - see financial forecasts for your business plan.
Watch the short video below for an overview of what to include in your business plan.