Working on a business plan

Whether you’re starting a business or already running one, our guide will help you evolve and support your business plan effectively.


Be Your Own Boss

1. An introduction to business plans

Whether you’re starting a business or already running one, creating a business plan is key.

We recognise that starting a business plan can be daunting when you’re facing a blank piece of paper. That’s why we’ve developed a template of a business plan structure for you to use, along with a handy guide to take you through every section of the document. The guides ask explicit questions, designed to help you collate all the business information you need to develop a full and comprehensive plan of action. Once you understand how to make a business plan, you’ll see the benefits of having these key pieces of information collated.

2. The benefits of a business plan

Externally, there are many key benefits to creating and managing a solid business plan. Primarily, it can help secure finance, funding and measure success. It does this by giving you a clear way to present other stakeholders such as lenders, investors and potential partners with your business plan outline, your aims and how you’ll achieve them.

And it also has benefits internally. Such as helping you spot potential pitfalls before they happen, efficient finance structuring, developing your business and measuring your success.

For more information, download our Business Plan Guide.

Download the Business Plan Guide

3. What should your business plan include?

When creating a business plan, it should include:

  • An outline of your business, its aims and objectives and whatever products or services you provide – this is called an executive summary.
  • An overview of the market in which you operate.
  • Who is involved in your business.
  • Your short term and longer-term objectives.
  • Your resources and any need for external funding.
  • Your strategies for selling your product/service.
  • Your strategies for marketing your product/service.
  • Financial forecasts.

For more information, download our Business Plan Template.

Download the Business Plan Template

4. Presenting your vision

You want your plan to make an impact and leave a positive impression.

Keep it short and concise. Make it readable and confident.

Keep the presentation professional.

Clearly describe what your business does and set out your vision for your business. This includes who you are, what you do, what you have to offer and what the market you’re entering looks like. See our Market Reports for more information. Make sure your plan is realistic. Once you have prepared your plan, use it. If you update it regularly, it will help you keep track of your business' development.

5. Ongoing business planning

As your business grows and changes, your business plan should become a business growth plan. Although it might seem like more work, it follows the same business plan structure as your original and will keep your business on the right track, help avoid unpleasant surprises, enable you to be more flexible, and help you adapt to changing circumstances. And we all know that change is inevitable – whether that be the market, your employees, the political climate, or your personal circumstances.

It’s called the business planning cycle. How you choose to handle it is up to you and what’s right for your business. It could be monthly, quarterly or every six months, and you can decide which key people you want to be involved. However, we recommend an ongoing process that keeps you on top of everything. By regularly assessing your performance against the plans and targets you’ve set, you’re more likely to reach the goals in your business growth plan. See our setting targets and key performance indicators guide for more information.

6. Contact Business Gateway advisers

Our two downloads will help you in creating a business plan, and completing it to the best of your ability. You can also get in contact with your local Business Gateway office and our Advisers will be able to provide further guidance such as refine your business plan and discuss development plans.

Get the support you need right now

You can connect with us through the contact form, call us or contact your local Business Gateway office.

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