Business Plan: How To Write One

This blog post is following on from the Dragon’s Den workshop where we had to create our own business proposals. From these we were then asked to create a full business plan for this proposal.

Before you write one you may be wondering:

BusinessModelCanvas
The business model canvas is useful for setting out your layout
  • What is a business plan
  • Why I should write a business plan
  • When I should write one
  • How do I write one

A business plan is a written document of what you want to do with your company or business. It shows what your goals, objectives and ambitions are and how your business will get there. If you are thinking of starting a business or pitching an idea to a financial team – you need to write a business plan.

My Plan:

Business plans take a lot of research. You need to understand the market for your product or business. I was writing a business plan for a non-existent sporting business based in Snowdonia.

Look at those views!

Working on the assignment was tough, there was a lot to research from the available buildings which we could set up this business, what is close to this building to attract customers and what sports/nature trips we could run.

Hotel for sale that I based my business on.

The financial forecast and researching costs was especially challenging. I struggled to find information about insurance and bills for buildings of this size.

It was an interesting assignment and I am glad for the opportunity to see how setting up businesses work, as it is something I have considered doing rather heavily with my art.

I got a 2-1 grade for mine, and this is my feedback:

This Business Plan shows a strong understanding of your business proposition and many of the key elements of a business. An area I was a bit concerned about was your high value room rates, high hotel occupancy/ sales projections without the compelling customer research to underpin your assumptions. A good piece of work, nonetheless

I needed to do more market research, but I am happy with what I got. Overall I think I wrote a somewhat successful business plan (albeit, I am a zoology student and not in Business School so our lecturers were not too critical).


Writing your own

Business Plan Sections

Value Proposition – The Business Idea:

  • Write a clear description of your business idea
    • Describe the products and services
  • Questions to answer:
    • Is there a niche in the market for your idea?
    • What makes it different from other similar products/services?
    • What needs does it satisfy/what problem does it solve?
    • Why is your business idea viable?

Key Partners/ Key People:

  • Who are the people involved in the business
    • Provide details about the background, experience and skills of these people
    • What roles will they fulfil?
  • Who are your key partners?
    • These are the External Partners who are crucial to your business delivery
    • Who are your suppliers?
    • Which key resources are we acquiring from partners?

Marketing and Sales:

Market/ Customer Segments 

  • What is the size of the market
    • Target audience
    • Who are your most important customers
  • Describe your customer base and market segments.
  • Describe what market research have you done

Customer Relationships 

  • What type of relationship do our customer segments expect us to establish and maintain?
  • How are these relationships integrated with our business model?
  • Which segments will cost least to service
    • And which will provide most income/ profit?
  • Who are your competitors and how are you different / better?

Channels 

  • Describe your planned marketing route including promotions and sales.
    • Social Media
    • Emails/Flyers
  • How will you keep in touch with customers?
  • Which are most cost efficient?
  • How do you raise awareness about your products and services?
  • How do you provide post-purchase customer support?

Key Activities

What is the activity pipeline for the business – from order to delivery? What Activities do you have to do, in order to satisfy your customers? R & D, production, administration, marketing, sales, warehousing, distribution, invoicing, banking etc? Is the Value Proposition feasible to deliver? Is your Activity chain LEAN and AGILE?

Key Resources

  • Physical – premises – office/ warehousing, equipment, raw materials, machinery, vehicles, website etc
  • Intellectual – brand, patents, registered designs, copyrights, data.
  • Human – Directors, staff employed by the business. Sub-contracted human resources.
  • Financial – shareholders, bank, venture capitalists, crowd-funders.

Cost Structure

Done best as a spreadsheet/table

  • What are the key costs to your business?
  • Fixed costs?
  • Variable Costs?
  • What are the funding requirements to start the business?
  • What are the costs of production / service delivery?
  • Provide details about
    • the pricing structure
    • the supply chain
    • Intellectual Property
  • Where will the money come from?
  • What are the business costs, income/sales, gross profit for years 1, 2 & 3?

Revenue Streams

  • What is your income from sales?
  • How do you price your Value Propositions?
  • How do you get paid?
    • Pre-sale/ at time of sale/ post sale
  • How do you ensure to make the business sustainable?
  • Revenue greater than cost once the business is established.

Lastly: Is this business viable?

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