How to start your business plan


Planning is a key element to running a successful business. To get where you want to go, you’ll need a business plan.

Most businesses don’t have any kind of plan. So, start with a simple plan that pinpoints what you want to achieve. Here’s an example:

1.  In five years’ time, I want the business to be worth £5 million

2.  To achieve this, it must make annual profits of at least £1.5 million

3.  To achieve this, it must have sales of £10 million

4.  I need to increase my sales by, on average, £1 million a year

5.  To do this, I will need to:

a. Increase my customer base by 15%

b. Increase the number of times my customers buy from me by 20%

c. Raise prices by 10%

Having developed a basic plan, it’s time to identify the constraints you think may get in the way of successful implementation. Consider the following:

1. Inside the business, what are the principal constraints on our growth? Some possibilities:

  • Lack of capital (financing)
  • Lack of credit from suppliers
  • Too many customers owing you money
  • Underperforming owners/attitude issues
  • Underperforming staff/attitude issues
  • Internal conflicts
  • Lack of direction
  • Outdated technology
  • Lack of marketing
  • Missing skills
  • Retirement and succession issues
  • Undesirable customers
  • Excessive payroll
  • High occupancy costs

2. Outside the business, what are the principal constraints on our growth?

  • The economy
  • Regulations
  • Competition
  • Demographics
  • Energy prices
  • Shipping costs

What you should find is that you can’t do much about the outside constraints but you can do a lot about internal constraints.

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