Business Plan Guide

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Business Idea

Describe your business idea, what it is you’ll be doing.
What type of service or product will you be offering?
Who your customers will be?

1.2 Personal Details

What skills/experience do you have that will help with the business idea?
Summarise your work experience and your CV.
What qualities do you have which will help you run your own business?
What additional skills do you think you might need?
What other support will you have, e.g. family support?

1.3 Physical, Legal and Financial Factors

Will your business be based from home or from an office?
Will you operate within or outwith the Western Isles?
Do you need special equipment for your business?
What type of business will you have: sole trader, partnership etc.?
How much money will you need to start up?
How will you access this money?
How much will it cost to make a sale?
Will you need any other types of assistance?

2.0 MARKET RESEARCH

2.1 Customer Profile

Who will your customers be?
What do they want?
Why do they buy?
How do they hear about your competition?
How many do you have through your test marketing?
Customer references should be included in the appendices.

2.2 Competition Analysis

How do your competitors weigh up?
List five competitors and how their services meet customer requirements.
Where are they based and what areas do they operate in?

2.3 Suppliers

Who are they?
Why have you chosen them?
What are your other options?
How do they market themselves, e.g. price over quality etc.
What do they demand from you?

3.0 SWOT Analysis

3.1 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Write a list in relation to:
Yourself
Customers
Suppliers
Competitors

4.0 MARKETING

4.1 Service/Product

What range of services or portfolio of products will you offer.
Describe your service or products.
What image will it give and why?
What add-ons can you offer?

4.2 Pricing

High, medium or low?
How will price affect your image?
How does it compare with your competitors?
Cost out a typical job?
What would you charge a customer on an hourly rate?

4.3 Location/Place

Where will your business be based and why?
Is the location or method of distribution appropriate in terms of costs, market competition, accessibility, image, staff, security, etc.
What image will it give?

4.4 Promotion

What are the main ways you will promote your business?
Includes: sales promotion; advertising; special offers; trial offers; mail shots; leaflets; etc.
Why would you use each one?
How do they relate to the sales figures?
How do your competitors promote themselves?

5.0 SALES TARGETS

What do you expect your sales to be in month 1 of your business?
What will be the maximum sales in a month?

6.0 FINANCIAL ANALYSIS

Draw up a list of your start up costs.
Calculate what you personally will need to take in drawings each month (Personal Survival Budget).
What will it cost to run your business (overheads and direct costs)?
Do you know your profit margins and the break even point?
Sources of Finance

7.0 TIME MANAGEMENT AND SUPPORT

How will you manage your business?
Outline a typical day/week.
Who will staff the business?
Do you have support from friends and family?
What will happen if you become ill?

8.0 FUTURE PLANS

What do you and your business hope to achieve over the next year?
Where do you want your business to be in the next five years?
What are your aims and objectives?

APPENDICES

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Client Quotations
  • Customer Testimonials
  • Plant & Fittings - Costs
  • Insurance Quote
  • Legal Requirements - Licences/Insurances
  • Advertising Quotes
  • Examples of Promotional Material