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Business plan considerations

Proper planning prevents poor performance, and a business plan is an essential tool for every business, no matter the size.

Think of it as a roadmap for your business, outlining your business goals and the strategies and tactics you are going to take to achieve them. It could include sales targets, property acquisition, marketing and advertising, improving cash flow, managing and developing your staff or introducing new technology.

It also helps hold you to account. Businesses that plan ahead and honestly track their progress and measure their success, are more likely to succeed be more resilient.

Once you have a business plan you can use it when applying for finance or to support an expansion or special projects. It lets your employees, investors, your accountant, suppliers, finance lenders and other stakeholders know what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.

Developing your business plan

Before taking advantage of the free templates to help you write a detailed business plan, here are some tips about what to consider before you start.

  1. Determine your plan's objectives: Are there multiple purposes for your business plan? Will it be used internally or shared externally, such as with potential investors or banks? Identifying the purpose will help you tailor the contents for the right audience.
  2. Organise your financials: If you're seeking financing, lenders and investors will evaluate your financial position and stability. They'll want to know about your current available funds, the required capital and your projected revenue. If you're just starting out and lack financial information, writing a business plan based on a guide or template will help you prepare your finances.
  3. Craft your summary as the final step: Summarise the key points of your business plan, capturing essential details. Strive to be informative yet succinct, highlighting aspects such as your business purpose, target market, goals, and unique selling points. This is an opportunity to showcase your business or idea. Avoid exaggerating your position.
  4. Seek assistance: Don't procrastinate and set aside time to research and prepare. If you get stuck or are unsure of how to continue, get advice from a third party to help. Numerous government services are available to support your business planning and offer general advice, workshops, seminars, networking events, and can even connect you with a mentor or business coach such as the Business Fundamentals Program.
  5. Regularly evaluate your plan: As your business evolves, your plan must adapt to ensure you stay on the right track. Keeping your plan up to date enables you to maintain focus on your objectives. It's advisable to maintain a record of each version of your business plan.
  6. Safeguard your plan: For certain businesses, simply identifying or marking your plan as ‘confidential’ is enough of a protection. However, if you use innovative practices, products or services, you may want individuals (including your bank) to sign a confidentiality agreement to safeguard your intellectual property. Including a request within the plan, asking readers not to disclose its contents, is a sensible move.
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