What is a Business Plan?

An outline of your core business objectives and how you’ll achieve them over time is a business plan. We’re here to help you and others understand how you’re going to make money and make your business sustainable. In a business plan, you’ll usually talk about your goals, strategies, marketing and sales plans, and financial forecasts. Here’s what a Business Plan looks like.

Now you can download the Business Plan template. In the document you’ll find a Personal Survival Budget template and a Cash Flow Forecast template, which you’ll need for your application:

It’s an annotated version of our Business Plan template with notes from our Business Advisers about what to include to help us understand you and your business. We encourage you to use this Business Plan template, but it’s not required, and you’re welcome to submit your own.

We recommend editing this Business Plan template on a desktop computer for the best user experience, but you can open it on any device with a document viewer and editor

Why do you need a business plan? 

Even if you’re not quite ready to apply for a Start Up Loan, you should create a Business Plan. These are just seven:

The Business Plan:

  1. Organizes your thoughts and clarifies your ideas.
  2. Setting goals and spotting potential problems helps you reach them.
  3. It gives you a clear strategy to follow when things get busy.
  4. In order to get external funding for your business (and if you’re applying for a Start Up Loan), it’s often necessary.
  5. As you go, you can measure your progress.
  6. Keeps your team on the same page.
  7. Prepares you for the future.

A business plan should have these sections: 

If you’re applying for a Start Up Loan, here are the core sections you need to include (our Business Plan template includes them). A Business Plan can include whatever you think is necessary to make your business sustainable.

Your business and key goals:

Briefly describe your business and its products or services. A clear and concise overview of your business’s goals over a set period is also included here. They’re sometimes broken down into short, mid and long-term goals, but it helps if they’re measurable (how will you know if you’ve achieved it?) and realistic (can you do it with the money, resources and time you have?). 

You will also need to explain how you intend to use the money if you are successful in applying for a Start Up Loan. If you apply for a Start Up Loan, our Loan Assessment team will want to see that it’s going to help you grow your business.

Skills and experience:

What you’ve done and how it relates to your business. You’ll feel more confident starting a business if you’ve worked in a similar business or run another one before. Consider transferrable skills you’ve developed, life experiences you’ve had, or training you’ve completed, even if this is all brand new to you.

Who your target customers are, what the market is like, and who your competition is:

A summary of key insights that show you have a strong understanding of your customers (and how to identify them), your market (and how to position yourself within it) and Get to know your competitors (and how you can differentiate yourself from them on price, quality, brand, etc).

How you’re going to sell and market:

In this section, you’ll talk about how you’re gonna get customers. You might include information about where you’ll distribute your products, what your branding and logo will be and what pricing you’ll apply. In addition, you’ll need to show how you’ll get the word out about your product/services, such as by using social media, exhibiting at a trade show or advertising online.

Operational plans:

Based on your business model, this may include information on where you’ll trade (like a home office or an external location), how many employees you’ll need, what their roles are, and what equipment you’ll need. Describe any processes that are important to your business, as well as industry, tax, or legal regulations that apply to you. You should also think about any risks you might face, how you’ll deal with them, and what you’ll do if things don’t go as planned.

Budgets and finances

In most business plans, there’s a financial section that outlines how you’ll fund all of the activities and what revenue you’ll generate. Our Start Up Loan application requires a Cash Flow Forecast, so we don’t require a lot of detail on this in your Business Plan. They should complement each other, not compete.

Here are our top tips for writing a business plan:

To help you understand some of the key things that will strengthen your application, our Business Advisers and Loan Assessment team have put together these tips. Find out how to write a business plan in our guidelines.

1.Show you know your market and your customers.

For our Loan Assessment team to feel comfortable that your business plans are viable, they’ll want to see that there’s a market who wants and needs your product/service, that you’re different from your competitors, and that you know how to get your customers to come to you. Any market research you can do, like an online survey, reading up on industry reports, or talking to potential customers, will help.

2.Back up your statements with evidence and examples.

No matter what you’re presenting, whether it’s a strong statistic, a quote from a customer, examples of similar activity or other research, facts are always more powerful. We’ll be more confident that your business plan is viable if you provide a link to more info. It doesn’t have to be detailed.

3.Your core objectives should tie everything together.

Make sure your objectives are at the heart of your Business Plan so you can show what your goals are and how you’re going to reach them. As an example, if one of your marketing goals is to generate 10 new sales per month, then you’ll need to consider how many sales each promotional channel needs to generate in order to accomplish this goal.

4.Make sure you think about any risks you’ll face and how you’ll handle them.

There are risks in every business, so don’t be afraid to mention them. Demonstrating that you know what you’re up against. Your business plan will stand out if you have a clear plan for reducing or overcoming these challenges. 

5.Make sure you’re clear and concise.

Don’t worry, we don’t need to know every detail about how your business is going to work, just enough to give us confidence that you have a plan. Use bullet points, graphs, tables, and subheadings to keep your content focused and avoid going into too much detail. 

6.Make sure your document looks good by proofreading, reviewing, and formatting it.

First impressions matter a lot in life. Don’t forget to use consistent fonts, use clear headings, and structure your document clearly. A professional-looking document doesn’t require you to be a writer or designer. Be sure to double check your spelling and grammar. Having someone proofread your work for you once you’re done can help you catch anything you might have missed.

You can design your own website. The easiest way to make sure your website can accomplish all of these goals is to hire a pro. You’ll have more time to run and grow your business.

Please download your brochure for your business plan below – Myinvestorchoice is ranked the number 1 Agency on Upwork for preparing business plans

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