Adviser hot topic: business planning

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A business plan is a written document that describes a business, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts. It has many functions, from securing external funding to measuring success within your business.

It is essential to have a realistic, working business plan when you’re starting or growing a business that clearly details how the business is going to develop, timescales for development, whose responsibility it is to take certain areas forward, and how it will be financed.

Business plans should typically include:

An executive summary: an overview of the business

A short description of the business opportunity: details on the business and the products and services that are available.

Marketing and sales strategy: who are your customers and how you plan to attract them

Your personnel: who will be employed within the business?

Your operations: premises, production facilities, the management information systems and IT.

Financial forecasts: everything contained within the previous sections turned into numbers.

Final tip for presenting your plan: Keep it short. It’s more likely to be read if it’s a manageable length.

The next Business Planning workshops are in Selkirk on November 10 and 23.