WRITING a plan can seem daunting and can take time, but a well-thought-out business strategy will give you direction and make sure you have covered everything before you start trading, writes Lianne Bradbury from Supporting the Unsung Hero.
Sometimes just the act of writing your idea down will help to clarify what you need to do. A business plan is important if you want to expand or diversify your product in the future or if you are seeking financial assistance. Our top tips:
- Spend time on your business plan. Include a launch date and work backwards from this date.
- Allow up to an hour a day to work on it so it doesn’t become a burden.
- Key areas to include:
✓ Executive summary (potted version of the main plan)
✓ Aims and objectives
✓ Market research and activity
✓ Equipment and premises – are you running your business from your SFA?
✓ Operations & contingency planning
✓ Legal matters
✓ Financial analysis
✓ Appendices (supporting documents to include your timeline, customer and market research)
- Follow the order of your plan; each section should continue on from the last and some sections can only be completed once the previous one is done.
- Always leave the finance section until last.
- Once complete, use it.
- Seek support from a professional business adviser to ensure it’s completed correctly but don’t pay for someone else to complete it, you’re the expert in your business.
Discover Supporting the Unsung Hero at www.wlv.ac.uk/supportingtheunsunghero