A well-written business plan is an essential tool for any business. Not only can it help you attract funding, it can also help you test your business idea.
What do I need to include in a business plan?
Most business plans cover the next 12-36 months and include the following:
- Outline the aims and goals for the business and how the business owner plans to achieve those goals.
- The background of the business
- Introduce the business's management team.
- Set of sound financial projections including:
- profit and loss forecasts,
- a breakdown of how much money will be required to set up and run the business,
- sales forecasts,
- pricing strategy.
- Overview of the market the business operates within, the customers the business plans to target and what marketing methods will be used.
- Assessment of comparative strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats posed by rivals within that market.
- The last thing to be written is usually the executive summary - which should appear at the front of the business plan. It rounds up all the detailed information contained in the main body of the business plan.
A business plan does not need to be a lengthy document but should provide the key elements.
Free business plan templates
Download free simple business planning tools from the Prince's Trust website.
Download a free business plan template from the Start Up Loans website.
Download a free business plan presentation template from Microsoft.
Download a free elevator pitch template from Microsoft.
Download a free cash flow statement from Microsoft.