A business plan gives an outline of your business, the market in which it will operate and how it aims
Lets Get Started
Your new Business is to make money – and should answer this question: why will your business succeed when so many others fail?
I can help you with this, which provides you with the skills, tools and confidence you need to become your own boss. But, there’s no reason why you can’t start crafting your business plan today.
The Business Plan
You’ve got a business idea. You’ve decided to start a business.
You want to get going.
But there’s a lot more to a good business than a good idea.
You need to think things through to maximise your chances of success.
Are you the right person to run the business? Will customers like your product?
A business plan will help you turn an idea into a business. It needs you to think through all the parts of your business to plan how everything will work. It will take a few weeks to write if you’re going to do it properly. Some parts will be easier to complete than others. So lets go ladies…
Stick at it because it’s not the final document that’s important, it’s the process. Although you want to have a good plan when you’re done, an OK plan is better than not to plan it gives you a feeling for your business.
Business Plan Pack
The best business plans aren’t long and complex; they explain only the most important information – what you want to achieve, how you will get there and the things you need to do along the way, it may be you change things along the way as prices change plans change.
It’s best to tackle a business plan in small chunks. This is The Business Plan divided into sections to help you develop your business idea. You can use the information in The Guide to help you complete the sections. Some of the sections of The Business Plan have tables to record the financial parts of your business.
I can help you with your business idea that you have and would like help to test and explore. The programme can then help you to see if your business idea will work and whether self employment is right for you. If through this process you find out it is, I can offer mentoring support and, if you really need it, financial support to start your business is available with banks with your business plan.
I can’t guarantee that your business will work but if you are up for a challenge and want my help to explore your business idea, get in touch.
Whose plan is this?
Business and owner details:
Business address and postcode:
Business telephone number:
Business email address:
Home address and postcode (if different from above):
Home telephone number (if different from above):
Home email address (if different from above):
1.1 Business summary:
1.2 Business aims:
1.3 Financial summary:
1.4 Your business name:
1.6 Elevator pitch:
2.1 Why do you want to run your own business?
2.2 Previous work experience:
2.3 Qualifications and education:
Details of future training courses you want to complete:
2.5 Hobbies and interests:
2.7 Additional information:
Products and services
3.1 What are you going to sell?
3.2 Describe the basic product/service you are going to sell:
3.3 Describe the different types of product/service you are going to be selling:
3.4 If you are not going to sell all your products/services at the start of your business, explain why not and when you will start selling them:
3.5 Additional information:
4.1 Are your customers:
4.2 Describe your typical customer:
4.3 Where are your customers based?
4.4 What prompts your customers to buy your product/service?
4.5 What factors help your customers choose which business to buy from?
4.6 Have you sold products/services to customers already?
If you answered “yes”, give details:
4.7 Have you got customers waiting to buy your product/service?
If you answered “yes”, give details:
4.8 Additional information:
5.1 Key findings from desk research:
5.2 Key findings from field research – customer questionnaires:
5.3 Key findings from field research – test trading:
5.4 Additional information:
What are you going to do?
Why have you chosen this marketing method?
How much will it cost?
7.1 Table of competitors
and business size
7.2 SWOT analysis :
7.3 Unique Selling Point (USP):
Unique Selling Point (USP)
Operations and logistics
8.2 Delivery to customers:
8.3 Payment methods and terms:
Name and location of supplier
Reasons for choosing supplier
If being bought
New or second hand?
8.8 Legal requirements:
8.9 Insurance requirements:
8.10 Management and staff:
8.11 Additional information:
Costs and pricing strategy
Number of units in calculation
Total product/service cost
Cost per unit
Price per unit
Profit margin (£)
Profit margin (%)
Mark up (%)
10.1 Sales and costs forecast
(e.g. Seasonal trends)
10.2 Personal survival budget
Monthly cost (£)
Gas, electricity and oil
All personal and property insurances
Food and housekeeping
Hire charges (TV, DVD etc.)
Subscriptions (clubs, magazines etc.)
Entertainment (meals and drinks)
Car tax, insurance, service and maintenance
Children’s expenditure and presents
Credit card, loan and other personal debt repayments
Total costs (£)
Income from family/partner
Part time job
Working tax credit
Total income (£)
Total survival income required (£)
10.3 Cashflow forecast
Money in (£)
Funding from The Prince’s Trust
Incomes from Sales
Total Money in (£)
Money out (£)
The Prince’s Trust
Total money out (£)
10.4 Costs table
What is included and how you worked it out
11.1 Short-term plan:
11.2 Long-term plan:
11.3 Plan B:
11.4 Plan B continued…:
As part of this, market research is a key, to help you understand your target audience. The more you do, the easier it will be in the future to make decisions about your marketing strategy, pricing, budget and sales target.
There are several methods for conducting market research and you may need more than one, if not all of these.
Do your market research
Analysing your market research
Whether there is a market for your product or service and how much demand there is
Who your target customers are and what your product is worth to them
How you will reach your target customers
Who your competitors will be and how they operate
Once you’ve done your market research, you can use your findings to help develop your brand.
Think about the impression you want to give your customers and how you can deliver that. For example, if young people are your target audience and you want to be known for being cool and creative, make sure everything from the way you dress to the language of your marketing materials shows that.
When you’ve identified your customer base and worked out your brand identity, you can start to develop your marketing materials.
Having your own website is a really powerful marketing tool. Making sure it is professional and matches your brand is really important, but something that is often overlooked is the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
A website with good SEO ensures it is picked up by global search engines like Google which constantly ‘crawl’ the internet looking for websites. As they travel the web, they build up a picture of the website and index the text they find. This data is then put into a large database which can be searched by users. The higher your website ranks, the more customers are likely to find you.
Be wary of third parties offering SEO services as they are known to use illegitimate methods to improve your visibility
Update your website as often as you can to encourage people to revisit your site. Why not consider starting a blog?
If you have the resource, include videos and podcasts to make your web content more interesting and encourage return visits
Consider creating a page about your business on sites such as Wikipedia
Think about your page titles, headers and tags carefully as these will appear in the URL. Include key words in these to improve your SEO ranking.
Use a web designer whose own website is highly ranked by Google. This will show whether or not they have a good awareness of SEO.
Plan the content very carefully. Avoid reliance on Flash or other plug-ins which are generally invisible to search engines. Your keywords should appear throughout the copy on each page with no spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Consider creating a responsive website. This means it doesn’t matter if a potential customer views it on a desktop computer, tablet or mobile, it will re-format to the right size without spoiling the overall look and feel. Making it as easy as possible for users to navigate boosts your chances of a sale.
Ask yourself what do you like or dislike when visiting websites? The best thing to approach projects like this is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers.
Use links from online directories to increase your site traffic. Good ones to consider are: You can ask them anything, and they’ll share useful advice and guidance – even on sustainability.
As a small business, reducing your environmental impact can help you to reduce your costs, run a more efficient business and appeal to a consumer market that is ‘going green’. You also have a legal responsibility for the impact your business has on the environment, so read on to find out how you can make your business more eco-friendly.
Reduce your carbon footprint: Work out the size of your carbon footprint by calculating how much you spend on travel and utilities like gas and electricity. You can then use this to spot ways to reduce the amounts you use.
Spot new business opportunities: The general public is more environmentally aware than ever so start to think of ways you could branch into green products and services in response to a growing market.
Be sustainable: Take advantage of new technologies that will help you make your business greener and, where appropriate, integrate this into your marketing materials and tell your customers all about it.
Involve your staff: Encourage your staff to understand your business values and come up with ideas on how you can make your business greener.
Plan for change: Understand how changes to environmental policy can affect your business and plan for these changes. New government regulations and tax changes might mean you have to think creatively about adapting your business.
Self employment vs. employment
Are you considering setting up your own business? Have a look over the benefits of self employment vs. employment below to help you decide if it’s a road worth taking.
Independence: Being your own boss means you have the independence to choose what work you want to take on, and how you deliver it, and who you want to work with. Your flexibility and approach is completely down to you.
Choose your destiny: As cheesy as it sounds, being self employed means the hard work you put in, and the success you generate, is entirely down to you. The idea of being ‘self made’ is definitely appealing to most budding entrepreneurs.
Office politics: As nice as it is to work with lots of other people, working alone eliminates ‘office dramas’, making your work space less stressful.
Financial success: Although there is financial risk involved in setting up your own business, being your own boss increases your financial potential as you’re not restricted by a salary. What you earn is yours.
Safety net: One of the main benefits of being employed by someone else is greater job security. When starting a new job, you should always sign a contract with your employer which outlines the conditions of your employment as well as your rights, responsibilities and duties.
Benefits: Working for someone else means you have access to certain benefits such as a pension scheme, paid annual leave and paid sick leave. This provides an added level of protection that most people find invaluable.
Regular income: Working for someone else also usually means you get a consistent wage and that you are given a period of notice if for whatever reason you are asked to leave the job. This makes financial planning much easier.
Taxes: Being paid by your employer also means that you don’t have to worry about how much tax you need to pay as this is already sorted for you. Taxes can be incredibly complicated so not having to worry about them can be a significant benefit.
When you own your own business, it can be really hard to switch off. Although work-life balance varies from industry to industry, being employed by someone else generally means that you can go home at night and relax.
Sociable: Whether the company is big or small, you’re likely to be working with others which is a great opportunity to make new friends and network. If you network that would be your sociable time when self employed.
If you have children its difficult when they are ill or off school if you have no support network, hence working for your self it makes life so much easier for you and your family, with less pressure of having a boss breathing down your neck.