Business Plan Template - Guide

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1 Business Plan Template - Guide This business plan is a generic template suitable for all types of businesses. However, you should modify it to suit your particular business. Work through the sections in any order, except for the Executive Summary which should be completed last. Amend/delete any sections where necessary. It is quite common to spend weeks completing a business plan. It will be time well spent, since thinking carefully about your business now, will hopefully prevent costly, perhaps disastrous mistakes in future. Make sure you keep detailed notes on your sources of information including financial data. Amend the Business Plan Contents page numbers at the start, to match your finalised document Copyright Easyspace Ltd All Rights Reserved. Page 1 of 29

2 Business Plan Business Name Name(s) of business owners/partners Address Line 1 Address Line 2 City, Post Code Telephone Document Version: Date: Completed by: Page 2 of 29

3 Business Plan Contents Executive Summary... 5 Executive Summary... 5 Business Details... 6 Key Personnel... 7 Objectives... 8 General Company Description... 8 Products/Services... 9 Business Goals Business Objectives Legal Market Analysis Summary Target Market Competitors Market Risks Marketing and Implementation Summary Marketing Mix Branding strategy Distribution strategy Promotional strategy Sales Strategy Sales Forecast Web Plan Summary Website Marketing Strategy Development Requirements Management & Organisation Management Page 3 of 29

4 Professional and Advisory Suport Employees Financial Plan Start Up Expenses Sourcing of Finance Profit & Loss Forecast Cashflow Forecast Managing Financial Risk Appendix Page 4 of 29

5 Executive Summary Executive Summary Write this page last. Keep it no longer than two pages in length Explain the fundamentals of the proposed business products/service? Customers? Owners? Future business expectations? If applying for a loan or investment then state clearly the amount you are looking for and how you will use it, mentioning how it will help achieve profits to ensure repayment. Keep it professional and concise, but be enthusiastic Page 5 of 29

6 Business Details Company Name: Address: Telephone Number: Legal Status: The business will: (provide brief description of what the business will do) Page 6 of 29

7 Key Personnel Details of owner(s) Name Position / main responsibility Previous Employment Key Skills Experience / Training Qualifications Previous Salary Other Key Personnel (including shareholders) Name Position / main responsibility Previous Employment Key Skills Experience / Training Qualifications Previous Salary Page 7 of 29

8 Objectives General Company Description Briefly summarise what the business will do? What business sector will you operate in? Describe the industry / business sector is it a growing market? What factors will make your business succeed. Describe your background, relevant experience and strength you will bring to the business. Mission Statement: In 30 words or less explain the reason for the business existing and its guiding principles Page 8 of 29

9 Products / Services Provide details on your products / services Provide specifics on how you products / services will offer competitive advantages What will the prices be for your products/services? Keep any photos, technical specifications, sales brochures in the Appendix. Page 9 of 29

10 Business Goals Goals are where you want your business to be e.g. a goal could be to have a successful business that creates marketing leading technology Where do you hope the business will be in 3-5 years? Business Objectives Objectives are markers along the way to achieving your goals e.g. annual sales targets, or trading breakeven after 1 year or turnover of 150,000 after 1 year, etc Page 10 of 29

11 Legal Mention the legal form of ownership for your business and why you have chosen this form e.g. limited company, partnership, sole proprietor, etc? Mention licences and regulations specific to your business and how you plan on complying with these legal obligations Page 11 of 29

12 Market Analysis Summary Target Market Who will your customers be? Age, gender, income bracket, etc? Where are your potential customers? Location, etc? For business customers factor in customer industry, location, size of firm, etc? What is the size of your market? Trends in your chosen market? Growth potential? Your market research should include statistics, numbers and sources. Page 12 of 29

13 Competitors Lists your main competitors: name, size, strength, weaknesses How can you compete successfully against them e.g. can you improve upon their service &/or prices? Use the Competitive Analysis table on the following page to compare your business with your three most important competitors. In the Me column be honest and state how you will compare in your customers minds. Then decide if this factor is a strength or a weakness for your business. Under each competitor in a couple of words state how you compare e.g. much better, worse, inferior, most popular, etc In the final column on a scale of 1 to 5 estimate how important you think customers will rate each factor. 1 = very important; 5 = not very important Page 13 of 29

14 Competitive Analysis: FACTOR Me Strength Weakness Competitor A Competitor B Competitor C Importance to Customer Products Price Quality Selection Service Reliability Stability Expertise Reputation Location Appearance Sales Method Credit Policies Advertising Image Page 14 of 29

15 Market Risks What potential risks are there in your market? E.g. change in technology, change in government legislations, etc? What will you do to minimise the threat of these potential risks? Page 15 of 29

16 Marketing and Implementation Summary Marketing Mix 4 P s - product, place, pricing, promotion - Sell the benefits of your product/service e.g. Products/services: describe features and benefits for customers. Will you provide after-sale services i.e. warranty, support, etc? Where will you sell your products/services: e.g. online, offline? Specific location? What will your prices be? How important a factor will price be to your customers? Why did you choose these prices? How do your prices compare with the competition? If your prices are different from the competition, then explain why What refund, credit policies, etc will you offer? Briefly describe how you plan on promoting your business What will your budget be for promotion activities before you start your business and on-going promotions? Page 16 of 29

17 Branding Strategy A brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's product distinct from those of other sellers. It will help differentiate your business from your competitors. How will you create an effective brand strategy that will help your company get noticed in a competitive market? How will you develop, maintain and protect your brand. Distribution Strategy How will you sell your products/services: retail, direct (mail order, web, catalogue), wholesale, your own sales staff, telesales, agents, affiliates, etc?? Page 17 of 29

18 Promotional Strategy Provide more in-depth information of how & where you will promote your business products/services e.g. who will you advertise with? How often? Will you send out promotional material, brochures, etc? Page 18 of 29

19 Sales Strategy Provide more in-depth information of how you will sell your business products/services. Which sales channels will you use? How will you set them up? How will you monitor, manage and develop them? How will you acquire and maintain customers? Sales Forecast Now that you have explained how you will promote, distribute, etc your products/services it s time to provide some numbers to your business plan. Page 19 of 29

20 Web Plan Summary Website Marketing Strategy How do you plan in creating a website which conveys a specific image/message to potential clients How will you generate new sales/leads via your website? Advertising? SEO? How will you communicate via your website e.g. create a blog, build an list, marketing? How will you make money from your website? Development Requirements Details of : Domain name (web address) you will/have registered for your business Web Hosting who will you have this with? Web Design who will design your website? Technical Support who will provide technical support should you need to fix any faults or add new features or content to your website? Manage / promote website Who will look after the website on a daily basis? Page 20 of 29

21 Management & Organisation Management Who will manage the business day to day? What relevant experience do they have? Are there emergency plans in place in case they are unable or unwilling to continue in their position? If you will have more the 10 members of staff then add an organisational chart displaying management hierarchy and who is responsible for key business areas. Professional and Advisory Support List board of directors, accountants, insurance contact, banker, consultants, mentors, key advisors, lawyer Employees List staff/roles Position Total Cost Experience Skills / Qualifications Page 21 of 29

22 Financial Plan Start Up Expenses Even before your business starts operating you are likely to have many startup expenses. To ensure that you have sufficient capital from the start, it s important that you estimate as accurately as possible what these will be. Explain how you arrived at these estimate amounts provide figures and sources Provide a summary of your expected startup expenses, and if required include a spreadsheet in appendix with further breakdown details Expense Equipment Tools Vehicles Professional Fees Insurance Rent / deposit Stationary Website Marketing Consumables Licences Training Association fees Wages/recruitment Security / Health & Safety equipment Market research Other (please specify) Total You can download the Easyspace StartUp Advice Spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel format Page 22 of 29

23 Sourcing of Finance How will you fund your business? Will you be using your personal savings? Loan from the bank? Investors? Government funding i.e. grants, etc? Provide exact amounts and details of parties involved. Do you already have funds in place? If not, then when do you expect the funds to be available? Page 23 of 29

24 Profit & Loss Forecast Year 1 ( ) Year 2 ( ) Year 3 ( ) Total expected sales Less variable costs Gross profit (sales less variable costs) = Calculate your gross profit margin % (gross profit divided by total sales x 100) (A) Salaries/wages (survival income + any staff Premises (including rent, rates, utilities) Telephone and broadband Printing, post and stationery Advertising and promotion Bank charges Professional fees Insurances Year 1 ( ) Year 2 ( ) Year 3 ( ) Total expected sales Less variable costs Gross profit (sales less variable costs) = Calculate your gross profit margin % (gross profit divided by total sales x 100) (A) Salaries/wages (survival income + any staff Premises (including rent, rates, utilities) Year 1 ( ) Year 2 ( ) Year 3 ( ) Total expected sales Less variable costs Gross profit (sales less variable costs) = Calculate your gross profit margin % (gross profit divided by total sales x 100) (A) Salaries/wages (survival income + any staff Premises (including rent, rates, utilities) Break even (B) divided by (A) You can download the Easyspace StartUp Advice Spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel format Page 24 of 29

25 Cashflow Forecast Start-up TOTAL Forecast Actual Forecast Actual Forecast Actual Forecast Actual Forecast Actual Forecast Actual Forecast Actual Forecast Actual INCOME Cash from sales (incl. VAT) Cash received from debtors Capital/loans received Other (please specify) TOTAL EXPENDITURE Wages to staff (incl. PAYE & NI) Premises (rent, rates & utilities) Telephone & Broadband Printing, post & stationery Advertising & promotion Bank charges Professional fees Insurances Bank/HP Equipment & vehicle leasing Payments relating to variable costs Capital Expenditure Other Payments VAT Owner's wages/salary Owner's National Insurance Loan repayments (incl. interest) Stock Consumables Other (please specify) Other Other TOTAL Income less expenditure Opening bank balance Closing bank balance You can download the Easyspace StartUp Advice Spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel format Page 25 of 29

26 Managing Financial Risk Potential risks could be: Sales are less than forecasted Funding loan is not approved What will you do if this happens? 1. List the potential risks for your business and how it will affect you financial forecasts 2. What will you do to minimise the impact should they occur? Page 26 of 29

27 Appendix If relevant, include here details such as: Copies of leases and contracts Advertising materials Brochures Detailed lists of equipment owned or planning to purchase Letters from future customers Market research studies Maps and photos of locations Blueprints and plans Industry studies Surveys and market trends Page 27 of 29

28 Microsoft Word Tip If you re using Microsoft Word and you want to paste in your financial spreadsheet figures e.g. cahflow forecast, etc, then some of them will display better if you have the page in a landscape format as opposed to the rest of the document which should be in portrait page layout. Below explains how you can change the page layout just for a specific page, rather than the whole document: Go to the last page you want to keep vertical (Portrait) then select: Page Layout Breaks Next Page Now click anywhere in the page where you want to have the horizontal page (Landscape) and go to: Page Layout Orientation and select Landscape Do the same steps for the following page, the one after the landscaped one, but this time choose Portrait. Only do this if you want to restore the Portrait orientation back to normal. Page 28 of 29

29 Lastly, in Miscrosoft Word make sure you update the page numbers listed in the Business Plan Contents section near the start of the document. Page 29 of 29

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