Management and personnel – detail the proposed or existing management team structure and list management members’ expertise. Outline any areas of weakness that could be improved, plus how they might be improved.
Operations – describe assets and premises that you have or intend to purchase.
What machinery, equipment or premises will you need to buy or do you own?
Will computers/IT be used within the business and how?
What communication, customer services and operations procedures and processes will you put in place?
Financial performance – include your financial forecasts and estimates of what you will be likely to pay out and receive for the first year.
List direct costs and outgoings as you see them.
Figure out cashflow by reviewing dates your payments will come out and ensuring that enough money will be coming in to the business to cover them.
If using the business plan to raise finance, use these figures to predict what cash you are likely to need (adding up to 20 per cent contingency to any funding requirement outlined in your forecasting).
Explain why the money is needed. Are you funding start-up? Are you funding growth? Acquiring new customers? How so?
SWOT analysis – create a one-page analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your business. Your market research will help. Outline briefly what you intend to do to make the most of your strengths and opportunities, and how you intend to smooth out creases and deal with threats.
> Strengths: you may have a great name, idea or niche product.
> Weaknesses: however, you might foresee low profit margins initially, problems recruiting decent staff or may rely on a few customers for the bulk of your sales.
> Opportunities: your biggest competitor may have gone out of business or you may have seen the chance to target a new and growing market.
> Threats: your biggest competitor may have grown or is now offering a unique service or product that you are unable to offer. A new competitor or economic pressure could also threaten your business start-up.
Future Goals for your business and what you want to achieve. Then create objectives, tasks and actions. Refer back to your written goals.
How do you intend to grow your business and achieve your targeted market share?
Where do you want the business to be in one year, three years and five years?
List what you want to achieve and by when. Note who will carry out the action or task to make this happen. Explain how you intend to reach these targets and exactly what needs to be done in order to do so.
Further Information – Include an appendix to add more detailed information, such as market research, company or product literature. You might also include more detailed financial forecasts in the appendix, along with CVs of key team members, target customer details or anything else that will add credibility to the business plan.
Have you revealed the answers to these questions in your business plan:
How will I get from where I am now to where I want to be?
How will my business operate?
What do I need to do and what finance am I likely to require?
Where do I go from here?