Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Get It Right in Preparing Your Business Plan

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Get It Right in Preparing Your Business Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID DIXON

FOR anyone thinking of starting their own enterprise, it is absolutely crucial they develop a clear business plan, to clarify exactly what the company will be, what its objectives are, how it will achieve them, and of course, what its financial forecasts are.

As well as acting as a prompt to make sure you have really thought through your business idea, a clear plan will also be vital if you are looking for financial support to get your business off the ground, or grow it.

It is also useful in helping you to assess how successful your company has been performing, by looking back at your forecasts and comparing them to results.

You should also bear in mind that a business plan is a living document that will need updating and changing as your business grows.

Regardless of whether you intend to use your plan internally, or as a document for external people, it should still take an objective and honest look at your business.

Failing to do this could mean that you and others have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved and by when.

Practically, there are a number of things that you need to think about when producing your business plan.

It should include: an executive summary -this is an overview of the business you want to start.

This is vital as many lenders and investors make judgments about a business based on this section of the plan alone; a short description of the business opportunity - who you are, what you plan to sell or offer, why and to whom; a marketing and sales strategy -why you think people will buy what you want to sell and how you plan to sell to them; your management team and personnel - your credentials and the people you plan to recruit to work with you; your operations - your premises, production facilities, your management information systems and IT; and financial forecasts - this section translates everything you have said in the previous sections into numbers.

Business Link offers a useful online guide explaining exactly how to compile each of these sections, available at www.businesslink. …

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