Q: Why do I need a business plan?
A: There are many reasons why you should write a business plan. Some people need a business plan to help them to secure funding, but a good plan is essential to running a successful business. After all, how are you going to reach your goals if you haven’t outlined what they are and how you are going to get there?
Read more in our blog post: The Business Plan… and Why You Cannot Do Without It
Q: What should I include in my business plan?
A: The precise sections of your business plan will depend on your business, but generally a business plan will consist of:
- Executive summary
- Business description
- Market/competitor analysis
- SWOT and PEST analysis
- Organisation and management
- Funding requirements
- Financial plan
Q: How should I format my business plan?
A: Your business plan is a formal document, and your tone, writing style and formatting should reflect this. Take a look at our blog posts below for some useful tips on layout, grammar, voice and more.
Q: How long should my business plan be?
A: The length of your business plan will vary depending on your business. For example, a small start-up might be only 20-40 pages, but a larger, more complex business could be up to 100 pages long. How in-depth your business plan is will also dictate its length. Read our blog posts below for advice on both of these issues:
Q: What is the difference between a business plan and a business model?
A: A business plan is a document detailing your goals, market analysis, financial projections and more, to help guide you on the path to success. A business model is how your business makes money. It explains the products and services you offer and how you will make a profit from these activities. Read more about the difference between a business plan and business model.
Q: Can I just use a business plan template?
A: Your business is unique and your business plan should be unique, too. Using a template could leave you with a business plan that doesn’t cover everything you need, or that has sections you don’t require. A professionally written business plan will do your business a much better service, and help you to stand out from the crowd when applying for funding.
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Q: When should I start writing my business plan?
A: It’s never too early to start writing your business plan! Start building up your plan slowly by writing down ideas as they come to you. It’s much better to begin by making notes as early as possible than to leave all your work until the last minute and be faced with a mammoth task. Find out more in our blog post When Should You Write A Business Plan?
Q: Why is a business plan important when seeking funding?
A: When you are trying to secure funding, investors and lenders need to know what they are giving you money for, and whether they are going to make a return. You need to be able to show them what you are going to do and how you are going to do it, with a realistic course of action. And for that, you need a good business plan.
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Q: Do I need a business plan if I’m not looking for funding?
A: Business plans have a range of uses, and they are important internal documents. They can help you to make decisions and ultimately meet your goals – and because they are living documents, they will help you throughout the lifespan of your business as long as you keep them updated. They aren’t meant to only be used when you’re setting up, and while they are vital for securing funding, they are also important for the growth of your business.
Q: I have an established business – do I really need a business plan?
A: Even if you have an established or successful business, a business plan can help you. Where do you want your business to go? What are your goals? Do you have an exit strategy? A business plan can help you to continue to grow your business, no matter how long is has already been running for.
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Q: I’m buying a business. Do I need to write a business plan?
A: All businesses can benefit from having a business plan. if you are buying a business, the previous owners may already have a business plan they can show you. You may want to use this and add to or amend it as necessary, or you may want to start your own plan from scratch. Find out more in our blog post: Writing A Business Plan When Buying A Business
Q: I’m selling my business. Do I need a business plan?
A: A business plan can help you to sell your business by showing possible buyers the history, success, and future potential of your business. Find out how to write a business plan for this purpose in our blog post: How Can A Business Plan Help You To Sell Your Business?
Q: I’m a freelancer. Do I need a business plan?
A: Whether or not you require funding, a business plan can be helpful for any business. Freelancing is no different, and when you’re doing it all on your own, the more planning you can do, the better. Find out how to write a plan for your freelancing business in our blog post: Writing A Freelance Business Plan
Q: What if I can’t stick to my business plan?
A: Your business plan should be a living document that you continue to come back to, work from, and amend as you see fit. It’s better to deviate from your business plan than to stick rigidly to a plan that isn’t working. Our blog posts below can help you to make sure you keep to your plan, change it when you need to and follow it to become a success:
Q: Why are business goals important?
A: Goals are essential to your business plan, as if you don’t know where you are going you’re not going to get there. Use your business plan to set goals and outline how you are going to reach them.
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Q: How do I write a business plan for my specific industry?
A: Take a look at our blog posts below for tips on writing business plans for a range of different businesses and industries: