Many businesses will often have a short-term focus and a business plan can help them set their longer term targets.
A business plan is a written document and will normally set out aspirations and will include accounting and cash flow projections.
Although factors are likely to change as time progresses, the business plan should be updated on a regular basis to ensure it remains relevant.
The business plan helps with the setting of goals and the measurement of performance. It will often be required to secure investment or to obtain third party finance.
A business plan will often include the following sections:
1. Executive summary
A succinct summary of the business plan which will include a summary of the business, its aims, goals and a financial summary.
Including detail on the business and financing requirements.
3. Directors/Owners Background
A summary of the Directors/owners skills and experience.
4. Products and services
Detail on sales, the products and services it offers and detail on its customers.
5. The market in which the business operates
Detail on the target market showing how the customers will be interested in the products and services. This may include detail on typical customers, where they are based, the purchasing decision and the current customer base.
6. Market Research undertaken
Detail on the research and results.
7. The marketing strategy
To include how the business intends for potential customers to find out about its products and services. E.g. advertising, direct marketing, social media or tradeshows.
8. Competitor Analysis
Detail on competitors and how the business competes, including considering its competitive advantages and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis).
9. Operations and Logistics
This section will detail the processes for the customers obtaining the products and services.
10. Costs and Pricing
This section will detail the costing of the products and pricing, showing how profits will be generated.
11. Financial Forecasts
These will include sales and costs, showing the overall profits which are expected to be generated and providing detail on the cash flow arising.
This section will provide detail on alternative courses of action if different scenarios have to be undertaken, such as if the business is unable to proceed with its initial intentions. The section will demonstrate how the business will deal with unexpected events.
We will be happy to assist with the preparation of business plans for internal purposes or for gaining investment or finance.
The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the Author and other professionals may express different views. They may not be the views of Lambert Chapman LLP. The material in the article cannot and should not be considered as exhaustive. Professional advice should be sought in connection with any of the issues contained in the article and the implementation of any actions.