Write a Business Plan Month; top tips from our Business Start Up team

18 Dec 2018

Startup

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December is “Write a Business Plan Month”, so we asked Business Coaches Jan and Cathrine from our Start Up team to share some of their top tips for writing your business plan. Business plans help you to get all your ideas together and to provide clarity on what your business is all about; plus it will outline financial considerations and pull together your market research. A business plan is a live document and should be refined over time in line with your business’ growth, so if you’ve already got a business plan written it is worth taking a look over and checking it still works for your business’ future plans.

Read on for some of their top tips on putting together a brilliant business plan…

1)     Make sure your idea is viable

Before you start your business plan, you should make sure your idea is viable. Whether your business plan is aimed at selling your idea to investors or providing direction, research and preparation is key. You should ensure that you research the market and make sure you know all there is to know about your industry and target customers; if you have this knowledge early, this will save valuable time and money when creating your marketing strategy as you’ll already have a sound understanding of who your target market is and how they can be reached.

This knowledge also helps to increase your business credibility, which brings us on to our next step…

2)     Show your credibility

If you include any projections or assertions about your business’ performance based on market research or previous sales, make sure they’re backed up by evidence. Backed up claims increase your credibility to readers of your business plan and shows you’ve done your research and are prepared for any potential issues which may arise for your business.

Be honest, don’t embellish information or projections. A straightforward, authentic account of your business goals will be better for your credibility than any embellished figures will.

3)      Be clear about what you’re selling

A business plan should spell out exactly what your business will sell/the service you’ll deliver. It’s important to have this clear in your mind before you start looking at marketing or promotion as your product will be central to your marketing efforts.

If you have a clear vision on what your business will provide, you can focus your business plan on achieving these goals. When writing about your vision, remember that readers may not have the same level of product knowledge that you do, so keeping language simple and easy to understand will help investors/readers to understand your business goals.

4)     Pricing

The pricing of your product or service is integral to your business success. While writing your business plan you must ensure you have undertaken research into the pricing with your target market to understand whether they would be happy to pay what you will ask. If not, you may need to adapt accordingly. Pricing is an important element to get right in your business; too high and your product won’t be competitive, too low and you may struggle with making a profit; so it’s worth taking time to figure out the right price point for your services.

5)     Understand Legal Considerations

Entrepreneurs must keep up with new developments in the law, which can change quickly so your business needs to have plans in place to be adaptable; it may help to hire a solicitor to keep you up to date with legislation changes.

Depending on your business, you might need licences or permits, NDAs or tax advice. Legal considerations are vast and knowing what your business needs early on can help you avoid any potential headaches in the long run.

6) Financial Considerations

Your business plan needs to address your finances. This should include your finance plan and your projections. Be realistic about your finances and ensure you consider the start-up costs and financial viability of your business; it’s important to be honest too and base your projections on the market research you’ve already undertaken. This section is important to help keep you on track while you are starting out and our experienced business advisers can help you be realistic about your business’ projections.

If the way your business will make its money needs further explanation to someone with little knowledge, this is where you should make sure your business model is fully explained.

7)     Let our Business Coaches help you!

Setting up a business plan can be a daunting task but our team of Business Coaches can help you work through it; from assessing viability, researching your market and assisting in actually writing a business plan. Their services are free and they are completely impartial, so if they can’t help you with something they will point you to someone who can. If you’d like to speak to one of the team about your business ambitions, book yourself a free appointment and start work on your 2019 business goals.

Book an appointment on 0845 340 9980 or via startup@sthelenschamber.com