Writing a Business Plan
A worthwhile Business Plan should include information on the following areas:
• Who is the promoter
• What is their business history to date?
• Include relevant experience in the project sector
• Include relevant educational qualifications. What characteristics of the promoter background are especially relevant for this project.
• Gives details of the new project
• What industry is it in
• Detail any recent changes in the industry and its impact
• Do not include technical jargon in this section. If the information is overcomplicated the reader will loose interest – Simple is Best
Remember that the reader is probably not from a technical background; therefore leave out the technical information wherever possible.
THE MARKET FOR THE PROJECT:
• Is the market growing or shrinking
• Is it a new market
• Is it recession proof
• Is the market subject to regulation
• Is the product price sensitive, what is the mark-up*
• Local market or nationwide
• Detail the factors that influence the market
*Mark-up is the % added to your cost price and it is important to know the breakdown of the costs and selling price in your market as this will differ from market to market.
• Include brief details of the main competitors and make the case of how you can compete successfully with them.
If you have an existing business, the financial accounts for the past two years should be included. The lender will want to establish your ability to make a profit and repay the loan. The past two years trading performance will help to this end.
Additionally the financial feasibility of the current project will be assessed based on financial projections. The following financial projections should be included with the business plan.
• Profit Loss reports for 2 – 3 years forward
• Cash flow report for same period.
• Balance sheets
• Detailed list of assumptions which underlie the projections
• All projections are based on certain assumptions. It is for the lender to ascertain if your assumptions are fair and reasonable or merely “fanciful “.
When completing the financial projections, be objective. Don’t try to massage the figures to give the result you would like to see.
If the resulting projections are not showing a sustainable profit establish what needs to change to achieve a reasonable profit.
Always consider the possibility that the project is not commercially viable.
Always be ready to support any assumptions or information you have included in the Business Plan. If you cannot provide support, do not include.
Include a summary of the project at the end, and reiterate the main points in your application. The summary should not exceed 10 lines.