A clear business plan is essential for all start-ups. This will help focus your mind and add a structure to your ideas. Writing a business plan is not a difficult process, but it will take time and determination. Remember that the more thought put into your business now, the better chance of success once the business is launched.

Start Up Loans have developed a free business plan template that start-ups can use to help apply for a loan. Take a look at the business plan headings and the type of questions you will need to answer below…

About you

Alongside general contact details, you should describe your background and why your business idea is right for you. Give a short account of your personal and business background detailing the areas that are relevant to this business.

  • Why do you want to run your own business?
  • What education, qualifications and previous work experience do you have?
  • What industry knowledge and experience do you have?
  • What other personal information might be relevant to this business?
    This may include family history in this industry, existing connection with suppliers or clients, an established mentor relationship, etc.

About the business

Alongside general company details, you should succinctly summarise what the business is all about: how will it operate, what product or service will be sold and what the vision is for the company’s future.

  • What are you going to do and how are you going to do it (your elevator pitch)?
  • What is the business mission (the main purpose of the business)? You can read more about creating mission statements in our business plans essentials series. 
  • What is the business vision (where will the business be in one, three and five years – including financial projections)?
    Try to make the business aims SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
  • What sets this business apart from the competition? You can read more about creating a USP in our business plans essentials series. Is the business’ product/service cheaper? Is the business’ product/service better quality? Is the business filling a hole in the market?
  • How will the business be staffed?
  • How will the business be financed?

About the product (s) or service(s)

  • What product(s) or service(s) is the business going to sell?
    Detail if you foresee additional products or services being offered in the future.
  • How will the product be produced or how will the service be carried out?
    Include what equipment, tools, intellectual property or other assets that will be necessary to produce or deliver your product/service.
  • How much does the product(s) or service(s) cost to produce/deliver?
  • How much will the product(s) or service(s) be sold to customers for? What is your pricing strategy?
  • How will the product(s) or service(s) be sold to the customer? What is your marketing strategy?
    Explain if you will have a shop to sell goods, visit customers yourself, take online orders, etc.
  • Are there any legal requirements that are necessary to start this business?
    Potential legal licenses a business may need include: Health and Safety Regulation; Food Hygiene and Safety; Intellectual Property, Copyrights, Patents; Online and Distance Selling; Data Protection
  • Are there any insurance requirements that are necessary to start this business?
    Potential insurance requirements may include: Public Liability, Professional Indemnity, Employers Liability, Contract Dispute, Income Protection, Critical Illness, Life Cover, Automobile Insurance, Office or Home Insurance. You can read more about what insurance you might need in our business insurance section.
  • What is the growth potential for the product(s) or service(s)?

Page one: About you, the business and the product(s) or service(s)
Page two: SWOT analysis, the market and the competition
Page three: Cost and sales forecasts

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