Updated: Dec 14, 2021
If you’re thinking about starting your own business and becoming your own boss, you will likely want to know:
When will I see ROI?
How much turnover and profit will I make?
How many people will I need to employ?
What support, such as accounting and telecommunications, will I need?
What potential is there for business growth?
Is there a need for my product/service?
Can I run my business from home, or do I need an office/warehouse?
A business plan helps you to answer these questions, so you can be sure whether or not you have a viable business proposal before jumping straight in.
Do I Need a Business Plan?
This is a common question for those starting up in business, particularly if you’re eager to just ‘crack on’! But this document is an essential part of grounding and forging your business foundations, direction and targets, and should not be skipped over. So, in short, the answer is YES you do need a business plan!
Why is a Business Plan Important?
A business plan outlines what your vision is for the business, opportunities in the market, your ideal target audience and finances required, as well as projected income. It is a required document if trying to obtain a loan from a bank (so they can check if your business will be a likely success). Even if you are not applying for a loan, we highly recommend writing a plan so you can be sure of your direction, goals and whether your business will be a success – after all, 42% of small business fail because there’s no market for their product. You don’t want to be in the 42% that didn’t do their research!
Who Writes the Business Plan?
You! After all, who knows your business (or business idea) better than you?
What Should Be Included in my Business Plan?
Of course, a business plan can be tailored to suit your individual needs - but here is the basis for what a business plan document should consist of:
Business Overview - with your business details.
Mission Statement - to describe your business values.
Business Background – outlining the history, structure, ownership, staffing, service/product offering, your audience and market niche.
Market Research – delving into your competitors' offerings to identify gaps in the market and strengths of your own business which can be highlighted during marketing and advertising, developing your USP (unique selling point) that will differentiate you from the crowd, SWOT analysis and product marketing.
Finances – breaking down the start-up costs, where and how you will source income, forecast sales and figuring out the product/service running or production costs against income; allowing you to figure out your breakeven point.
Executive Summary – providing an overview of your business and findings.
Don’t forget to revisit and review your business plan on an annual basis, in order to assess whether the business direction is still aligned with your goals.