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How to write a business plan

A business plan is a good way to explore the feasibility of a new business before actually having to start and run it. It will assist you in seeing potential positives/negatives in your business and defines exactly what you want to achieve and how you intend to achieve it.

A sound well-written Business Plan is also essential for securing funding at any time. Before embarking on running your own business consider your personal financial needs, the feasibility of starting up a business from scratch and the financial implications that may occur, making allowances as businesses can grow and shrink rapidly.

When writing a business plan try to be clear, realistic, concise and research as much as you can. The plan may change as your business develops and grows. A good Business plan can help you to clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, set out goals and measure your progress.

A good place to start is by defining your business:

What do you want your business to do?
Your strategy?
What products or services will you provide?
What markets will you pursue?
How customers will access your products or services?
What will your approach to pricing be?

Establish your ‘Vision, Mission Statement and Values’ early on to shape the rest of your activities. A Business name is also important, something that reflects the image you want to portray to your market audience and what you’re about, making sure that your chosen name has not already been used. Know your potential customers, make sure you know enough about the type of customers you will be attracting.

Taking on the right staff and involving staff with growth and decision making is fundamental. Knowing what skills you would like staff to possess and how to utilise them effectively, this can be beneficial to both parties and the business. Brushing up on employment law can be extremely useful. Set out goals including turnover, profit & customer numbers giving each action a timescale and use monthly or quarterly meetings to review your progress.

And finally, it is good to share your plan and vision with as many people as possible – suppliers, customers, staff and associates because if people know where you are trying to get to, they are generally more likely to help you to get there.

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