Starting a company Part four: Write your business plan
Now that you’ve done all your information gathering you should be ready to produce your start-up business plan. This business plan will help you map out your company and put down in writing all the research you’ve done. Business plans vary in length from a few sentences to more than 100 pages, on average; they’re 15-20 pages.
This not only gives you a chance to review your ideas but to see whether all the pieces fit together. Where your company fits in the market, who your customers are, what you sell and how, where you plan to take your company and how you’ll get there. If you’re looking for external investment, potential investors will want to see this plan to decide whether to invest in you.
The business plan can serve five purposes:
- Clarification of direction
- Creating a vision
- Attracting finance
- Attracting new members
- Management of the company
The nine main elements of a business plan include:
- Executive summary – An overview of the entire plan captured in a short paragraph
- Market Analysis – Your research on the industry, target market and competition
- Company Description – Brief description of nature of your company
- Management and Organization – Ownership, management and structure of the company
- Marketing and Sales Management – How you plan on driving sales
- Product or Service Line – Describe what you’re selling and your USP (Unique Selling Point)
- Request for Funding – Current and future funding necessities
- Appendixes – Other additional information
Of course, your business plan doesn’t need to include all these sections or maybe you want to have a more detailed plan. It’s completely up to you what you want to include as long as you have a clear idea and road map of your company for the next 12 months.
Free business plan templates can be downloaded from Gov.uk.
Let people know you’re there
Remember once all this is in place, let people know your presence prior to launching your company. Having researched your target customer earlier, you should know what the best way to reach them is. This could be through leaflets in letterboxes, social media or word of mouth. If you’ve a bigger budget, you could even try the local newspaper or radio. You need to create some noise so the launch of your company doesn’t go unnoticed.