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Your Business Plan

A good Business Plan is essential for all start-up and growing companies. In a very real sense it is your route map to success.

In the Business Plan you will: -

  • Describe your project or business, and state why you think it will succeed.
  • Demonstrate that a market exists for the goods or services you will offer.
  • Define your strategy for accessing the proven market.
  • Show how your business will be organised and managed.
  • Explain your production and operations functions.
  • Discuss your costing, finance and financial assumptions.
  • Layout your financial statements: Cash-flow Analysis; Profit and Loss Account, and Balance Sheet.

Business Plan Template

There is a wide variety of Business Plan templates available from financial institutions and the banks. An even greater selection is available on the Internet. You may have a good reason for choosing a template, such as when the bank you are dealing with requests that you use their template. However, most of the time it is a matter of personal choice.

Almost all of the agencies in this Guide will be happy to work with you using the template that you have chosen. That said, we have developed the template set out below that we find easy to use for start-up and micro businesses. Notice how this closely follows the structure of the ten steps outlined above, and places your answers to the questions posed in the accepted format of a Business Plan.

Section 1 - Executive Summary

Detail the objectives of your business and the requirements of your Business Plan.

Section 2 - Introduction

Summarise the various aspects of your business, which will be later detailed under the headings below.

Section 3 - Market

  • Overview
  • Trend
  • Size and potential
  • Competition
  • Customers
  • Structure
  • Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Section 4 - Marketing Strategy

  • Objectives
  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

Section 5 - Organisation And Management

  • Management Overview
  • Staff Requirement

Section 6 - Production and Operations

  • Premises
  • Plant and Equipment
  • Operations Overview

Section 7 - Costings and Finance

  • Financial Assumptions
  • Sources of Finance

Additional Information

In addition to the sections above, your Business Plan should include a set of financial projections covering at least two years of the life of the business, and should include Profit and Loss, Cash Flow, and Balance Sheet projections.

You should also include a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation (if appropriate), and your Tax Clearance Certificate. You should provide details of any other people who are supporting your business, and a schedule of the equipment that will be required.