- Executive summary
A synopsis of the keys points contained within your entire business plan. This section should fundamentally explain what your business is about in an informative and exciting way. You should seek to avoid a table of contents or a simple description of your services or products. You should take a holistic view of your business, isolating key facts and the most compelling and exciting aspects of your business venture that will capture your audience’s attention. You should refer – at a high level – to your decisions in relation to your business name and your mission statement.
- Business background
Use this section to explain whether this is a new business venture or an evolution of an existing business. If the latter, what is the history? If this is a new business, consider how you intend to set this up successfully. Will you manage your business as a sole trader and what requirement, if any, is there for you to register your business with Companies House. What need/want/issue is your business addressing and what solution does it provide? How will locating your business in the UK be more beneficial than locating it elsewhere? In simple terms, explain how your business makes money.
- Organisational aims and objectives
Expand on your mission statement. Use this section as an opportunity to explain your business positioning, strength of your brand, your organizational values, core KPI’s AND SMART targets you will be working towards. What are the strengths and potential challenges to your business venture? Consider including a SWOT of your business and producing a clear set of business KPI’s and SMART objectives.
- Products and services
Describe the product or services of the business. How much will it cost you to produce or supply these? What supplier relationships do you have or need to develop to pursue your business venture? What pricing structures will you apply and how did you arrive at this? What fixed or variable costs will you have? Finally, what is the Unique Selling Point (USP) of your product or service?
- Key personnel
Explain how your business venture will be organized. Will you engage permanent, temporary or voluntary staff? Will you be the sole owner of your company or would liability be shared with others? Ensure you clearly explain the knowledge; experience and skills required to both set-up and continue to run your business. Consider how your knowledge, experience and skills (and that of others you choose to involve) qualify you to be able to run your business effectively. If you are aware of gaps in any of these areas, provide detail on how these gaps will be addressed.
- The market and competitive analysis
How have you characterized or segmented your potential market? What is the potential value of this market? What data have you relied on in your analysis and what considerations did you give to its validity and reliability? Who are likely to be your key competitors and how will you ensure your business is sufficiently differentiated from that of others? Are there any other key competitors likely to emerge over time? What makes your business more attractive or valuable to your market segment?
Provide a 3-year financial forecast containing headline figures and also key metrics, such as numbers of customers and customer conversion rates. Your financial analysis should follow a typical structure that explains the level of investment required and anticipated returns. You should provide a set of clear and coherent assumptions and a detailed breakdown of the financial inputs and expected outputs in your business. If your business is likely to require significant investment, how will you raise this capital? The financial aspects of your business should be detailed in a comprehensive financial summary included as an appendix.
- Premises, equipment and resources
What facilities do you need immediately or in the future? Where will your business be located? What equipment will you need and how will you seek to own or rent? Do you have any interdependencies on specific supplier relationships, products or services? Will you need to outsource any aspect of your business, if so, what and how?
- Risk and assumptions
What major risks do your business face and how will you mitigate or avoid these? How will you test your assumptions and what contingency plans is essential to put in place to ensure the long-term viability of your business?