Business Plans and why you need them

Whether you are stating a new business or looking to grow your existing business, you will need to prepare a business plan. Business plans are an important part of running a business, they should be a living document, constantly reviewed and updated for any changes that occur along the way.

Writing a business plan can seem a daunting challenge. The old saying ‘fail to plan, then plan to fail’ seems to be true more often than not.

Before writing your plan, make sure you have considered the following:

  • Research your market, including your competitors. You need to stand out from them, so it is important to know exactly what your competitors are offering.
  • Decide on your legal trading structure, as this will dramatically affect the numbers.
  • Calculate the numbers and flex and change them to take account of changes that could occur. The numbers are so important when starting up a new business. Make sure you know your funding requirements and your critical breakeven point.
  • Decide on your route to market. How are you going to find your customers? Internet driven marketing is often a desirable option.
  • Discuss your ideas with a third party; they can then help to identify any potential issues early on, so you can rectify them immediately.

Once you have done your research, you can start writing your business plan. Below are a few pointers to help you along the way.

  • Write from your audience’s perspective. Why are you writing the plan? Is it to secure funding? Is it to show the future plans for
    the business?
  • Attention to detail. Make your plan clear and concise, but ensure you have included enough detail for the reader to make an informed decision. This is particularly important if you are looking for funding.
  • Ensure all key areas are covered in the plan. Make sure it includes sections on the company service/product, market competition, management team, operations and financials.
  • Do your sums. The numbers will also be subject to scrutiny, so ensure that they stack up. Costs should be well documented and sales should be forecasted at a conservative but realistic figure. Ensure you get help with calculating and understanding your breakeven point.
  • Summarize your plan to mention all the key areas in the rest of the plan. This is the part that should wow the reader and make them want to read more of the details.
  • Last, but not least, make sure you implement the plan and review it regularly. Your business plan should be a living document, so change and update it when changes occur.

If you would like to discuss your business with one of our accountants, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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