The first step in planning your business venture, clarify your ideas, aims and objectives is to write a business plan.
This is an essential document to ensure your idea is feasible but also critical for bank loans and may also be requested by new suppliers, large customers and is useful to track progress against.
We have three templates you can use to do your business plan kindly offered by SCORE and Bank of Scotland. There are two for preparing the narrative of your plan (One for a startup business and the other for an existing business) and a cash flow template.
These free business plan templates can help you quick write a business plan. You can download the templates to your computer as they are adobe pdf files. You can click on each template to open now or right click on your mouse to save for later use.
Template for startup businesses pdf startup template
Template for existing businesses pdf existing business template
Financial planning template for startup businesses Excel financial plan template
A basic business plan outlines the answers to questions about your intentions such as:
Here is a basic structure in summary from the downloads above:
It's best to write this last after you have prepared the rest of your plan because this is simply a summary of the whole plan. It should ideally be one page but two pages will be fine.
This are covers your mission statement, company goals and objectives, business philosophy, the industry you are in and legal ownership and key employees.
Describe your key products and services, pricing and margins.
Detail your marketing activities including market research, market trends and size, external market economics, barriers to entry. As your market is made up of customers describe their characteristics.
You also need detailed information about your competitors and why you'll be able to take market share from them. And finally you need information about your promotional activities to reach out and entice your potential customers to purchase your products and services.
This part describes how you are going to produce your products and any distribution issues to get products to your customers and your key suppliers.
People are behind all successful businesses so it's important to include the key people and advisors.
If you are starting a new business then you should detail the costs you'll incur whilst starting up before day to day operations. For most businesses this is the amount they'll need initial funding for.
You financial plans should be detailed (ie: monthly) for the first year then quarterly or yearly for the following 2 years. You should include a profit and loss account, a cash flow forecast and Balance Sheet and even a break-even analysis.
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