Finances and business planning

Business plan

A business plan should cover all aspects of your proposal and will generally include the following:

  • Executive summary.
    The executive summary is usually contained on a single sheet of paper at the front of your business plan, it should summarise what you intend to do, plus why, when and how.
  • Aims and objectives.
    This section should set out your overall aims and more detailed objectives.
  • Background.
    This section should set the scene for the business plan, describing what your project/business is now, who you are, what your experience is and why you want to do what you are proposing.
  • Legal structure.
    Your business must have a legal structure, for example, a sole trader or a private limited company (with shares or guarantee).
  • Management structure.
    A chart showing the proposed staffing structure.
  • Market research.
    In this section of the business plan you need to demonstrate the demand for your service.
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
    A 'SWOT' analysis will demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of your project and the opportunities and threats you should bear in mind.
  • Operational plan.
    This should include timelines indicating what is going to happen, when, and who will be responsible for the action.
  • Financial information.
    Details of the finances related to the proposal, including set up costs, must be given in full. This will be used by possible lenders to assess the viability of the proposal. As a minimum you should try to have budgeted figures for:
    • Income: includes fees, funding, fundraising and any other possible sources such as bank loans or donations and grants.
    • Expenditure: the regular costs of operating the business such as wages, national insurance, premises, utilities (bills), insurance, as well as expenditure on training, stationery and consumables.
  • Appendices (additional information).
    Any additional information to support the proposal can be included as an appendix to the main document.