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What Is A Business Plan?

Updated on October 7, 2012

A business plan is a must do for everyone who wants to have their own business.  Not only will it be good for you if you need financial help but it will also help you to organise yourself and can give a clear picture of things that you still need to do to prepare for your success.

As the saying goes “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” and you will want everything to run as smoothly as possible.

Don’t let a business plan put you off

When people start talking to you about business plans it can make the whole setting up a business sound a little bit scarier. Whilst it does seem a bit daunting, really it’s just some pieces of paper that show the details of your business.

A business plan stops you feeling on the spot when someone asks you about the business and it’s much easier for you to get everything in rather than coming away and feeling that you have forgotten to say something.

Your creditor or business partner can also take a copy away with them and have a good look over it when they have more time to consider their involvement.

A business plan will make you look professional

If you are going to be apply for any kind of finance then a business plan will give your creditor (such as the bank, a business partner or someone financing a start up grant) the impression that you are serious about what you want to do as well as showing that you have put a lot of thought into it.

Your business plan will show the creditor a clear picture of what you expect to achieve from setting up your business and how you plan to achieve it.

Use your business plan like a to do list

There is a lot to do when you are starting up your own business and since you will be needing a business plan anyway then it can be used as a kind of to do list before you show it to your creditors. Whilst you are preparing your business plan it will help you to see if there are any things that you still need to do in order to get started. You might need to find an accountant, learn a new skill or find a potential business partner etc.  Or you may realise that there is a problem with something that you hadn’t yet considered so it will give you a chance you find a solution for it.

How long should a business plan be?

Your business plan shouldn’t be anymore than two pages long where possible.

Remember that you will get a chance to discuss things with people if they want to know the finer details after you have got them interested.

What needs to be in the business plan?

You will need to write up an executive summery which is a basic summery of what the business is and everything that is in your business plan. Most people will advise that you write up this bit last, even though it will go at the top of your business plan.  This is a really good place for you to get your creditors etc interested so make it stand out.

Then you can go onto providing more details such as what your finances are at the moment, what finances you will need, how you plan to run the business and when you plan to start it.

You should also include how you will advertise, make sales or do the marketing and what you expect the turn over will be, otherwise known as a financial forecast.

The business plan should show what competition you have got and how you plan on competing with it.  For example if they are selling certain goods and you think you can sell them cheaper or offer customers a better service then this is the place to indicated that.

Also state where you plan to operate your business from, whether you will be hiring, buying somewhere or working from home, whether you plan on taking on staff and how you plan on finding the staff.

Keep it simple!

Remember to keep it as simple and as easy to understand as possible because your creditors will not want to go away and research the meaning of everything.

There are many free business plan templates available online that you can use as a guide that you can adapt to suit your business needs.


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    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi rayvenperkins,

      Glad to be of help, thanks for having a

    • rayvenperkins profile image

      rayvenperkins 6 years ago from USA

      Realy helpful for me. thanks

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi Nikashi_designs,

      It's really important to keep your business going in the right direction, especially listen to customer demands. You may start find that your business needs to go in a different direction in order for it to grow, but if drifting of in the wrong direction happens then it could be quite fatal.

      No harm in keeping an open mind though; what ideas and directions you come up with may not necessarily be good for this business but they may be brilliant for another one. Remember to write all your ideas down.

      All the

    • profile image

      nikashi_designs 6 years ago

      Hi Victoria, Actually almost finished it...From what I have been reading business plans help keep your direction. I have a bad habit of wondering off course, experimenting with new products. After a while what I saw in my head has become something else. That is a surefire way to fail. So thanks again, back on course and focusing on my objective first. Take care

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi nikashi_designs,

      Congratulations on getting your business up and running, it's never too late to draft up a business plan. If you start losing track anywhere along the lines; it's great to refer back to it to remind you of your goals, even if nothing else.

      Best of

    • profile image

      nikashi_designs 6 years ago

      Thank You Victoria, this simplifies it a bit more. I m actually going in reverse order, business is open, and now writing the business plan. Your hub was short and useful. Take care

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 7 years ago from London

      Hi chim4real_2006, very happy to have

    • chim4real_2006 profile image

      chim4real_2006 7 years ago

      This article will be of great help to me.