Let me put it this way… would you book a holiday without making some arrangements and identifying what you would need to take along, like the type of clothes or making sure that your passport is in order before boarding the plane? 

There will be a few people that will take on the challenge of starting a new business without a business plan and there is nothing wrong with that, but the majority will plan and scope their ideas to make sure they give themselves the best chance to be successful in running a business. A business plan is a great way to map the way forward, identify your potential customers, work out how much money you will need and to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law, especially if this is the first time that you are starting a business.

Give yourself plenty of time before starting to write your business plan, because it does take time to conduct all the research to ensure that there is a market for your products or services. It is something that you shouldn’t take lightly, simply because starting your business could impact not only you, but also your family and in some cases close friends.

I’d also suggest that you take some time to consider what solution or problem you are planning to solve, as this will help you whilst positioning yourself within the market.

Be clear that you understand the type of business that you would like to start. There are a number of things to consider, here are a few examples of questions that you should ask:

  • Will the business be solely run by yourself or will you be considering other partners or directors? Have you thought through the best legal status that will suit your idea or have you considered your short, medium and long term plans? If you are going to have people that help you in the business have you mapped out the roles and responsibilities and who will be responsible for what? Do you need additional staff and if so, whether they will be employed or self-employed associates?

  • Have you identified a market for your products and or services? Don’t forget to have statistics to back up your findings (local, national and international (if applicable));

  • Conduct analytical research so as to produce factual information that is relative to your business idea. Identify your ‘preferred` purchasing channels and don’t forget to conduct research and gather information about your competitors;

  • Have you thought about the financial side of the business? Identify how much money you will need to get the business started this should include: a personal survival budget, any equipment or other purchases that you will need, a sales forecast and a cash-flow forecast. Be sure that you list all potential expenditure in your cash-flow forecast and your findings from your research and testing the market to support your potential sales figures.

Although all the above is not everything that is required it should give you a good idea of where to start. To assist in this process I’d suggest that you source a business plan template, these can usually be found on your local bank’s website or if you need a loan to start your business follow the guidance on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support.

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