There are different types of business plans and the length of each can vary depending on what you want to achieve with it - i.e. if you are starting a new business, applying for funding or if you want to grow your business. However, there are key elements that will appear within most business plans. They are:
- Organisation: You should include a bit of information about you, your experience and your goals or objectives for the business.
- Sales and marketing plan: List out the different types of products or services that you provide and explain how you intend to approach the sales and marketing side of things.
- Market segment: This section should contain your market research to show why you feel there is a need or a demand for your services or product. This will usually focus on the market size, your potential customers and competitors.
- Operations. In this section you need to think about any legal requirements, staff, risk, insurance, stock, premises, insurance, equipment and suppliers. This pretty much covers your day-to-day trading.
- Financial plan: This may seem like a difficult task but you should aim to produce a projection of the business income, expenditure and start-up costs.
Finally, as mentioned, it’s advisable to conduct market research to provide a realistic picture of:
- The sector you are in;
- The need for your products or services;
- Who your competitors are, ;
- The price points you should consider; and
- The spending habits of potential customers.
This information is essential, as it can provide a useful insight into different factors which may affect the business.
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It also sets out how you expect the business to perform and any funding requirements.