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There a number of reasons were you will need a business plan if you are thinking of starting and running a business. Here is what I consider the first most important reasons.

  • so that YOU will build a business that is successful
  • to raise finance to make the business successful

You may say that they are the same thing. Perhaps, but most people don’t consider writing a business plan until it is made a requirement for obtaining funding from an external source.  I would say that when taking on any major venture, where the outcomes are important to you and use two of the most valuable resources that you have your time and your money ; a plan is important and necessary.

This page provides:

  1. a sample Business Plan template below as a framework to guide you on the areas that you will need to address in your business plan, and
  2. answer some questions about why a funder would require a businesss plan.

If you would like to see some examples of how these sections have been completed by other business go to our membership page.

  1. Business Plan Template 1 – This template will act as a guide to help you consider and collate the information you need to create a business plan.
  2. Below here is what one funder say about requiring a business plan.

What is a business plan?

A business plan demonstrates to us that you are ready for investment. It should contain information about your Business including its aims and objectives, background, internal structure and ability to deliver your proposal.

The plan should state what you want to do and why, how you will finance and manage the proposal, and exactly how any Funders investment will be used.

Why prepare a business plan?

A good business plan…

  • shows that your plans are feasible and realistic
  • demonstrates that your Business can successfully carry out your proposal
  • helps you plan for the future and highlight risks and opportunities
  • assesses strengths and weaknesses and guides your Business’s activities
  • shows how you will monitor success and manage setbacks

The preparation of your business plan should involve key staff, committee members, volunteers and service users if appropriate. It is an opportunity to consult with a wide range of people and find out their views. This will help to ensure that everyone in your Business understands and is happy with the business plan. If everyone is in agreement your Business is more likely to achieve its aims.

What to include in a business plan?

Your business plan will reflect your Business and its proposal. The following is a list of some of the things Funders will need to see:

1.Your Business

A statement setting out its aims, its history (why, when and how was it formed), the background to its work (for example, information about your area or the people you serve) and its finances (a statement of income, expenditure, assets and liabilities over the last 3 years, and a cash flow projection for the coming year)

2.Your people

A description of the skills and experience of your committee members, trustees / directors, staff and volunteers. A statement explaining how your Business manages any change in staff, volunteers, trustees or directors. You may want to include a diagram showing your staffing structure

3.Your work

A description of the services you provide and who they benefit. You might want to include a diagram showing how different services fit together.

You should provide an overview of all your Business’s current activities, including a description of how they are managed and financed.

4.Your proposal

A description of what you propose to do, why you want to do it, how you will do it and how you will know that you have been successful. This should include detail about how your proposal will be managed, staffed, marketed, evaluated and financed.

You should describe how your proposal differs from what you do now and provide evidence of why it is needed, and why it is the best option to meet your aim. This should include an analysis of the need for the proposal, a survey of similar or related services provided or planned by other Businesses, and an options appraisal to show that you have considered different ways of achieving your aim. You should also show links between your proposal and relevant public sector priorities.

5.Your proposal’s finances

A description of how much your proposal will cost and how you will fund it, including details on how much of your funding package is already secured and when you expect any outstanding funding to be secured. You should explain why a Funders investment is required, and the other options you have explored to fund your proposal. You should specify if there are religious constraints on the type of finance you can take. Funders will try to cater for religious needs wherever possible.

For example, Funders will cater for Islamic needs and is willing to make loans and advances in a manner that is consistent with the Islamic faith. In this instance, rather than charging interest in specific cases Funders will consider providing capital in return for a share of the profits.

You should include a cashflow forecast. Cashflow forecasts show how much money you will receive and spend together with the balance you expect to have at the end of each period. You should provide a detailed month by month forecast for the first 12 months, and an annual forecast for the life of your proposal.

We will use this information to check that your financial planning is sound. It will also show that your proposal will be financially healthy and that there is a viable Funders investment to be made.

Backing up your plan

 Your business plan must show that your proposal will work. You should include an analysis of the risks involved, details of the assumptions you made when planning and how you will react if things do not go to plan.

Putting your plan into practice

You should include a timeline of key tasks and activities or a work plan for the first year of your proposal. You should also explain how you will monitor and review your plan and who will be responsible for this.

Proposals including property

 If your proposal includes buying land or buildings, or involves building work, we would expect your plans to be well developed (to the equivalent of Royal Institute of British Architects Stage D).

You should describe the stage of progress of your property plans including details of your options appraisal; the professionals you have engaged and your plans for project management; the brief was given to your architect; the source of your costings (whether these came from a quantity surveyor or similar building professional); and an indication of the progress of your planning application.

You should include a statement on access to demonstrate that you have considered the needs of all potential users.  You should also clearly state the tenure on the property.

How detailed should a business plan be?

 Just as the content of your plan will depend on your Business and on the proposal being put forward to Funders, so will the amount of detail you put in. You may need to include more detail if your work is complex or new.

If you are a new Business you should describe why you were set up. If you are a more established Business you should focus on your track record.

Make sure that the specific proposal you want us to invest in is easily identifiable within your business plan.

Presentation

You should always include a contents page and a one page summary providing an overview (Executive Summary) of your proposal and key financial information relating to that proposal, including the level of Funders investment required.

Other Resources

For Young`People – Princes Trust    A good source of business tools.

Business is Great Britain : Support, advice and inspiration for growing your business

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