There is no single recipe for success when you are starting up in business – but one key
ingredient for many successful start-up businesses is a well thought through business plan.
A good business plan should help you to:
1. Clarify and think through the ideas that you will already have about your business.
2. Identify the key strengths in your business idea, so you can build on these but also
highlight important aspects that you might have missed or an area where you might
need more help and advice.
3. Present your business idea to another person; this will be particularly important if you
are hoping to obtain finance of any sort for your business. A good plan should help
someone to quickly understand your business and re-assure them that your ideas are
well thought through and the business is viable.
4. Check the progress of your business once it is up and running. If things aren’t going as
expected, a plan should help you identify and deal with any issues quickly.
The following pages contain our business plan template which we have tried to make brief but
comprehensive. Completion of the plan itself shouldn’t take too long, but you might find that it
prompts you to do some more research, perhaps with your potential customers, before you
launch your business. We have tried to make the plan useful for all types of businesses, but you
might find some sections do not apply to you, in which case just miss them out. For example if
you are setting up a consultancy business, the suppliers’ section may not be relevant.
The final pages of the plan provide a framework for an action list – you should complete this as
you work through your plan. Use your action list to record any ideas you have and capture any
thoughts about things you have to do either before, or immediately after, you have started
your business. This will help you make sure that your plan is a practical document that helps to
get your business off to the best possible start.
Business plan – an outline
You may find it easier to complete this section last. It should contain a summary of the key
points of your business plan and why you are confident your business will succeed. Some of the
areas you might want to think about including are:
? What the business is.
? Who the key people are and what skills and experience they have.
? Why you think it will be successful.
? What product or service your business will be selling, and what your Unique Selling
Point (USP) is.
? Some brief detail of the projected financial performance of the business and how it will