Writing a Simple Business Plan ?
Planning is a key element to running a successful business. To get where you want to go, writing a simple business plan will help you think about what you are doing and why and if you are looking at raising finance from a bank or outside investors you may need to explain your business to other to secure this.
- As part of the process you can set concrete objectives and plan how you will achieve them.
- Writing a simple business plan helps you focus and develop your ideas. Priorities are identified. Non-priorities are dropped, saving precious time.
- Putting the plan in writing makes it easier to spot any gaps where you have more to do.
- Once written, the plan is a benchmark for the performance of the business.
- By involving your employees in the complete planning process, you continue to build up a successful, committed team.
- You should tailor your plan to the target audience. For example, you may want the plan to ‘sell’ the business to your bank manager or investors.
- Ask the intended recipient if there are any specific issues they want the plan to address or a template you should follow.
How to write your business plan
Most businesses don’t have any kind of plan. So, start by writing a simple business plan that pinpoints what you want to achieve. For example:
- In five years’ time, I want the business to be worth £5 million
- To achieve this, it must make annual profits of at least £1.5 million
- To achieve this, it must have sales of £10 million
- I need to increase my sales by, on average, £1 million a year
- To do this, I will need to:
- Increase my customer base by 15%
- Increase the number of times my customers buy from me by 20%
- Raise prices by 10%
Base your business plan on reality, or it may be counterproductive
Having developed a basic plan, it’s time to identify the constraints you think may get in the way of successful implementation. Consider the following:
- Inside the business, what are the principal constraints on our growth? Some possibilities:
- Lack of capital (financing)
- Lack of credit from suppliers
- Too many customers owing you money
- Underperforming owners/attitude issues
- Underperforming staff/attitude issues
- Internal conflicts
- Lack of direction
- Outdated technology
- Lack of marketing
- Missing skills
- Retirement and succession issues
- Undesirable customers
- Excessive payroll
- High occupancy costs
- Outside the business, what are the principal constraints on our growth?
- The economy
- Energy prices
- Shipping costs
What you should find is that you can’t do much about the outside constraints but you can do a lot about internal constraints.
Make your executive summary convincing
Arguably, your executive summary is the most important part of your business plan. More experienced readers will read it first, so they can quickly find out key facts and figures. If your executive summary doesn’t engage them and encourage them to read on, the battle is lost. An executive summary provides headline figures and condenses your strategy into key points. Although it appears at the front of the document, leave writing it until last. By all means, make it engaging and impressive – but keep it realistic. A business plan should be a tool you use to judge performance and guide your strategy and the development of your business. It should contain specific goals, deadlines and responsibilities. It must be reviewed and updated regularly. A winning business plan will help ensure your business stays focused on what it needs to do to achieve its key goals.
What should you do now?
You can call me NOW to discuss writing a simple business plan and how it can meet your retirement, lifestyle or business needs. Or complete your details above and I will share some insights by sending you my report “Boost Your Cashflow” or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRIAN RUSSELL FCA
Business Development Partner
Tel: 01661 872004
Brian Russell FCA is a Chartered Accountant specialising in business development particularly within small and family run businesses to maximise the returns available.