Best Practice Clubs. Allen Martin (Corporate Finance)

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1 Invest Northern Ireland Best Practice Clubs Business Plans Allen Martin (Corporate Finance) March/April 2011

2 Business Plans Overview Audience Key areas to business success Standard headings within a good business plan Common pitfalls Tips

3 Business Plans - Overview It is a written document It outlines the business objectives It provides targets against which performance can be measured It can be used to secure finance

4 Audience An internal management tool to help plan, review and assess the performance of your business A document to secure external finance: - Banks - Venture Capital - Grants - Business Partners

5 Key areas to business success 1. Strategy 2. Market 3. Management 4. Operations 5. Money These 5 areas must be addressed within the Business Plan

6 Standard Headings Executive Summary - This is an overview and summary of the business. - This is a very important section of the document. Many investors/lenders will make judgements about your business on this section alone.

7 Standard Headings Background - History - Ownership - Legal structure - Description of what the Business Opportunity is - What products/services your business offers - Strategy

8 Standard Headings Marketing and sales strategy t - Who are your customers? (current and/or new) - Who are your key customers? - Why will customers want to buy? - Range of products/services - How will you sell your products/services? - Cost of sales and marketing activity? - Understanding and analysis of the competition - Evidence of market research

9 Standard Headings within a good business plan Management team Description of the credentials of the management team. - Previous background and experience - Sector knowledge and experience - Skills and qualifications e.g. sales, finance, production etc - How does management control the business and make decisions e.g. KPIs, management information - Achievements/track record

10 Standard Headings Operations - Products / services - Processes - People - Premises - Supply chain

11 Standard Headings Financial Forecasts/Projections - Knowledge and understanding of the historical numbers - Know the detail within the numbers - Profit and Loss - Balance Sheet - Cashflows - Sensitivity analysis (e.g. Break even analysis)

12 Standard Headings Key risks Demonstrate that you have assessed the risks - Financial risks - Market risks - Operational risks - Other risks e.g. Compliance & Regulatory, Health & Safety, Succession How will these risks be managed?

13 Standard Headings SWOT Analysis Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

14 Common pitfalls Lack of structure just an information dump Poor executive summary The knowledge in the promoter s head fails to get onto the page Absence of market research/competitor analysis Weak financial analysis, especially regarding cashflow requirements The financial projections are unrealistic Failure to identify and comment on risks Writing what you think the reader wants to see

15 Tips Make sure your business plan reflects that you are personally committed to your business Tailor your plan to your audience e.g. external finance/ a sales document (How much finance is needed, why it is needed, when and how it will be repaid?) Be objective and make it credible. Consider the pros and cons of the business, (the market, the competition etc) Identify the risks but explain how you will manage these risks Get someone to review and challenge the plan before presenting it to external parties Get some professional help with the financial forecasts if you lack the expertise Use it as an ongoing management and learning tool

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