Writing a business plan forces you to think logically and
methodically about your business model and assess its
chances of survival and assesses the viability of your idea. It
also helps clarify to other potential business partners where
the business is headed. It will also assist you when
approaching a bank for finance. It’s much better to do this before you begin business than to find out afterwards your business idea was
unrealistic! A business plan is a living document and will need to be updated. Following are a number of
key questions that you need to answer, to build a successful business plan. Remember, accountants may
also assist with the preparation of a plan. You can complete the boxes provided in bullet point form, or visit
www.anz.com/australia/business… to download a copy if you wish to type your answers.
Key products Describe your key products and services. Exactly what are you going to
provide? Be as specific as possible.
The purpose of the business Briefly describe the purpose of your business,
including why you want to start it. Explain the market you’ve identified and your competitive
advantage (what gives you an edge over competitors?). <Insert Text>
Business structure What is the structure of the business going to be? In other words
are you going to trade as a sole trader, partnership or a company? <Insert Text>
The history Briefly outline the history of your business or your idea. Don’t get carried
away – just a few lines on the history of your business idea and the major events that have shaped
it are sufficient.
Your location Where will your business be located? Explain why.
Personal characteristics What makes you think that you are suitable to run your
own business? Outline the personal traits that you believe you have, that will convince others that
you have what it takes. Include any personal background information such as previous
experience, qualifications or personal qualities. <Insert Text>
Your industry Describe briefly your industry. For example, is your industry fast-growth
or mature? Is it labour intensive or knowledge intensive (such as software programming)?
Each industry will have particular characteristics (for example tourism has seasonality, retail
location and manufacturing distribution).
Your team Briefly describe your staff (if you have them) and your support network. For
example you may have an accountant assisting you, suppliers, family or friends, other small
business owners or staff.
Suppliers Who are the main suppliers (businesses that you will be buying materials or
Your Business Market
Customers Outline the major targeted market(s) for your business. What specific types of
customers are most likely to buy off you?
Customer assumptions Explain in more detail why you think the customers you
outlined are likely to buy from you? What evidence do you have? <Insert Text>
Promotion How do you intend to get the customers you have outlined to buy off you?
Be as specific as you can and cover your advertising, promotion, word of mouth tactics and just
how you intend to get customer awareness.
Market research Outline here what market research you’ve completed. The better
your understanding of your customers and their changing needs, the better your business.
Market potential Estimate the market potential for your product or service. How much
do you think the business could turn over in the first year? <Insert Text>
Market potential assumption Explain exactly how you’ve arrived at this
estimate (such as market research, your trading history or trial marketing). <Insert Text>
Competitors Analyse the strength of your competition. Remember you ALWAYS have
competition. If not directly, then indirectly, for people’s disposable dollar. <Insert Text>
Competitor assumptions Outline any assumptions you have made about your
competitors, including what they are likely to do once you start your business. <Insert Text>
Your Business Environment
Outside influences You need to consider all the things that might impact on your
business from the outside. For example, major trends, international changes, technology impacts,
regulations that might change etc.
Outline a ‘SWOT’ analysis of your business (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). It provides an overview of what you see the best parts of your business are and the worst parts.
Describe below the strengths of your business such as what gives your business a competitive edge over the competition.
Outline the weaknesses of your business. You need to identify these so you can overcome them. Weaknesses could include lack of capital and resources, lack of skilled or trained staff,
vulnerability to competition, poor market penetration, poor business systems, etc.
What are the major opportunities you see for your business? For example, exporting opportunities, new market segments, online e-commerce potential, franchising your business model, etc.
What are the possible threats? Threats could be new technology leapfrogging you, changing markets, new competitors, external crises, changes to your customer base, etc.
Distribution channel Explain below your current distribution channels.
For example, do you market direct to other businesses (like many manufacturers), or direct to
consumers (like retailers), or do you use commission salespeople, agents, distributors, etc? <Insert Text>
Use of technology Use of technology and e-commerce. Use this opportunity to
explain how you use (or plan to use) email, a website, e-commerce and technology (such as
improved communications) to speed up your business, lower costs, keep in closer contact with
your customers, drive online sales, access new markets here and overseas, etc.
Business systems Detail below the business and management systems you currently
have in place (or are planning) that will enable you to carry out your business plan and achieve
your goals. A good way to run your business is to imagine you are going to sell or franchise your
business tomorrow. What systems would you need to have in place or documented to make that
process as simple and efficient as possible?
Finally, if you are applying for Bank finance, there are four main reasons applications
get turned down. Outline how you intend to solve each of them.
1. The idea is untested Outline the evidence you have that the idea will work,
especially if the business is a new idea, or new to the area.
2. No experience Discuss the experience of the industry you have, or the training you
Outline your previous business management or 3. No management ability training experience.
4. They need 100% finance Show what you have put into the business idea so
far such as the hours spent on research, product or service testing, cash on product testing, travel,
time planning etc.
Lastly, is there any other information that you believe to be vital for your business? Are there any other key assumptions that you have made that need to be outlined, so someone reading your
business plan will have a clear idea of what you intend to do and how?
This document is intended to provide general information only and should not be relied upon in substitution for professional legal and financial advice. While due care has been taken in preparing this document, no warranty as to the accuracy of the information contained within this document is given. No liability is accepted by any member of the ANZ Group of companies for any error or omission, or any loss caused to any person relying on the information contained in this document, except where such liability cannot be excluded.
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