The top 9 tips for writing your business plan in 2019

Melanie Richardson

08/04/2019

We’ve worked with thousands of businesses over the years here at Swindells. We’ve learned the nuances in different sectors, how to gain access to funding and how to increase the chances of success. The reasons for writing a business plan are varied, from structuring your idea, to securing funding & investors whilst providing an actionable route to success for your internal stakeholders.

 

We’ve compiled a list of the top nine tips and things to consider when you’re writing your business plan in 2019.

 

 

Tailor your business plan to your audience

 

You don’t just need one…you may need a plan for investors, one for partners and one as a  guide internally for stakeholders in the business. Each of these audiences will want to focus on different details in the business and a generic one-size will not fit all. Make the effort to tailor each plan depending on your audience. For example, research the bank or investors and understand how they work, what they invest in and outline how they would align with your business.

 

Get to the hook early on

 

People will read multiple business plans each day, our attention spans are decreasing and our time is more limited. Make sure that you get to the point early and hook the reader with the most exciting part of your business, be that the financial opportunity, new technology or another differentiating point…

 

Know your competition

 

Without understanding other players in your intended market, you can’t ensure differentiation and your audience will not understand the context of your idea and how it will work. Make sure you understand what it is that your competitors are offering in terms of a service or product, their attributes and how yours differs and solves the problem better, quicker or more cheaply.

 

Make sure you answer these key questions:

 

  • Who is your target audience? What is their demographic and what issues do they face?

 

  • How will you reach your target audience and what channels will you use?

 

  • What do you want your target audience to think about your business?

 

  • What differentiates you from your competition?

 

 

Don’t be overly optimistic

 

Make sure your plan is consistent across the board. For example, make sure you account for marketing activities in your operating budget. Consistency and supporting data are essential for any projections you are making. Be conservative in financial estimations and projections; gone are the days where huge numbers are not scrutinised like in the dot com boom. Investors are more conservative and discerning, make sure your plan is realistic but exciting.

 

Use visual elements to bring your plan to life

 

A large percentage of people are visual learners, if you constrict yourself to just using words you might be alienating many of your audience or not presenting your ideas in the most optimal way. Charts, graphs and infographics all help to tell your story so make use of them!

 

Seek a second opinion

 

Once you have a first draft it is prudent to ask an expert to review it, sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees and you need a fresh pair of eyes to stimulate some further thinking. If you have a friend who has experience in business and with investors get in touch and ask if they could spare a few moments to discuss it with you. If you don’t, you might like to ask an expert such as an accountant or start-up coach to review it with you at a cost.

 

To pay for this seems profligate at such an early stage, however it will ensure more success in the future, really you can’t afford not to. We work with startups to review business plans and if you have any questions do get in touch with Melanie Richardson our managing partner who will be able to help (contact details below)

 

Implementation

 

A plan without action is a dream. Your plan is your guide to action and the only way to achieve your business goals is through action. Once you are happy get started, don’t labour over it too long and put off the actual work

 

Never provide amateur and inflated financial projections

 

If you don’t get this right there’s no point in starting, you won’t be taken seriously. Your idea’s financial information with face specific scrutiny. Cash flow should be fully documented, sales predictions need to be well founded and costs must be included too.

 

 

If you’re not confident with figures do get in touch with our Managing Partner: Melanie Richardson who has had years of experience helping business obtain funding.

 

Melanie managing partner East Sussex Accountants

Email: melanier@swindellsaccounting.co.uk

Tel 01825 763366

 

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