To make a success of your business, you’re going to need a robust business plan - particularly as we face challenging times.
With a one-page business plan behind you, the company has a real sense of strategic direction and a set of core goals to refer to and track against.
But what are the key elements to include in your one-pager business plan? We’ve listed some of the foundational areas to cover, so there’s real purpose behind your return to trading.
What to include in your business plan
Lots of online resources will suggest that a business plan is an easy document to create, but a good plan will take time and plenty of thinking to get right.
As business advisers, we’ll help you put together a plan that gives you a clear strategy for the next six months and beyond, with measurable goals to include in your plan. The resulting document will help give you clarity on your direction, and where to invest time and money.
A business plan will also be an essential document if you are looking for investors or external funding. Any loan providers or private investors will want to assess the risk in your business, your cashflow position and the underlying profitability of the enterprise – so bear this all in mind when outlining the financial details of your plan.
If you haven't written a plan before, a template is useful. Start with the following headings:
Business description – your business description should include a mission statement, your key goals and your objectives as an enterprise. A good mission statement explains, 1. what you do, 2. why you do it and 3. who you do it for. It should be short and to the point and be used to inspire your marketing and drive the everyday internal running, ethos and tactics of your business operations and team thinking.
Business profile – a profile section tells me how long you’ve been in business, the specialty products or service niches that you focus on, and the key strengths of the company. It will also outline your business strategy and how you aim to achieve your targets, increase your customer base and grow the business over time.
Business environment – this section sets out the environment that you trade in as a business. So you should outline things like the key trends in your industry, your close competitors in the market, and the size of your current customer base. You can also include any research or market research you’ve compiled regarding your intended market, industries and customers, to give your plan some factual foundations.
Business strategy – a SWOT analysis demonstrates the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats in the business, allowing you to refine your business strategy and maximise your success. Identifying your key strengths and opportunities helps you to focus your efforts and resources in the most productive areas. And knowing your weaknesses and threats helps you look for areas of improvement, and where you may need to safeguard the company against specific risks, threats and competitors.
Financials – your financials section sets out the basic financial drivers of the business idea. For new businesses, this will mean outlining your projected expenses, budgets, sales targets and profitability projections etc. For existing businesses, you can include your profit and loss, balance sheet, sales trends and projected budgets etc. Cashflow and revenue forecasts will also be essential if you’re approaching lenders.
Talk to us about creating your one-page business plan
Whatever your situation, the next few months are likely to be a rocky road.
We’ll help you create a tailored business plan, to guide you through the threats and opportunities that lie ahead, with solid financial management for the next stage in your growth.