10 – Business planning tips

Last Updated on 21 October 2020

A business plan benefits you more than anyone else. It concentrates the mind wonderfully and gives you some perspective. You may also need one if you want a business bank account or a loan. It shows that you’ve thought things through.

OVERVIEW / SUMMARY

  • In a nutshell, what are the business aims and how will they be achieved?
  • Who is involved – include CVs in the appendix if applying for finance
  • What are the financial needs likely to be? (eg investment in kit or advice)

Note: Don’t forget to calculate living costs separately for periods when your business isn’t bringing in money. This is especially important in your set-up year.

DESCRIBE THE BUSINESS IN MORE DETAIL

  • A bit of history – and your vision for the future.

MANAGEMENT OF THE BUSINESS

  • How are you set up? PAYE / Sole Trader / Limited Company?

THE MARKET

  • What do you know about where work will come from?
  • What is the likely demand at different times of the year?
  • Who are your competitors and/or collaborators?
  • What are the going rates for what you are offering?
  • For services, what’s the fee structure? Per day/hour? Prep & travel days?
  • Why should someone buy from you, not someone else? What’s unique?

GENERATING BUSINESS

  • How will you let people know what you are doing?
  • How will you reach the people with money to pay you?
  • How will you demonstrate that you are different from your competitors?
  • How will you know if you are not generating enough business?

PREMISES

  • Where will you be working? Home? Business premises? (Coffee shop?)
  • What are / will be the regular costs (overheads)?

FINANCIAL INFORMATION (I.e. all the above in digits)

  • Start-up costs if you’re starting out.
  • Cash flow forecasts. (See our cash flow templates.)

Find out more:
www.gov.uk/write-business-plan
Scotland:
www.mygov.scot/writing-a-business-plan | www.bgateway.com
Wales:
www.businesswales.gov.wales – look under ‘Starting up and Business planning’
www.arts.wales – look at ‘ Funding’ for advice for arts in Wales
Northern Ireland:
www.investni.com | www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk

For a more visual approach to planning, check out the Business Model Canvas from Osterwalder, Pigneur et al (2010)

Posted on 13 January 2020