What is a business plan and what should it include?
A business plan is a comprehensive document setting the path of your new or existing business into the future.
It is typically created in the view of pitching to investors and raise funds but also represents an extremely useful tool for managers and owners for setting their business’s goals and objectives and monitoring its performance over time.
Sometimes confused with pitch deck, a business plan will include a set of descriptive sections and the financial projections over the next three to five years.
The descriptive sections comprise the following elements as a minimum: executive summary, goals and objectives, market demand, competition analysis, sales forecast, management and personnel, risks and opportunities.
There is no right or wrong answer as to how long the sections should be other than they should not be too longwinded or too concise. The wording should be simple, but technical where necessary, so to make the reading catching and the reader confident about your expertise.
Whether you are facing an investor, a lender or a granting body, it is paramount that you show them upon which data, statistics, analyses, or trends you have based your forecasts, and provide them with a breakdown wherever applicable.
The financial projections generally comprise cash flow, sales forecast, income statements, profit & loss, stock, financial ratios, assets, and any other relevant forecast elements.
Since a business plan is essentially based on predictions closely related to the financial projections, you want to make sure these are formulated with care and skill.
Strategic, proactive, realistic. These are the three words I would say to anyone looking to embark on a new business venture.
Do your part, analyse your whole idea and then, once you are happy with the result, put down a great business plan!
Bolasco Consulting is a small consultancy providing bespoke business strategy and planning support to start-ups and existing businesses in the UK.
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