Why you need a business plan

Whether you've just started out or have been running your business for years, business planning can be the key to your success. Having a business plan:

  • helps you to prioritise โ€“ it gives your business direction, defines your objectives, maps out how you'll achieve your goals and helps you to manage possible bumps in the road
  • gives you control over your business โ€“ the planning process helps you learn about the different things that could affect your success. If you're already in business, it helps you to step back and look at what's working and what you can improve on
  • helps you seek finance โ€“ if you're seeking finance for your business, you'll need to show banks and investors why they should invest in your business.

Use our Business plan tool

It will help you to develop a shorter business plan to:

  • evaluate a new business idea
  • set some goals for the year ahead
  • keep your business on track.
Go to the tool

Download a detailed business plan template

Use this template if you are seeking finance for your business or want to include more detail in your business plan.

Tips to help you write your business plan

Does your business plan have more than one purpose? Will you use it internally, or will you share it externally, for example with potential investors or banks?

Deciding what the purpose is, can help you develop your plan for the right audience. If the plan has been developed for third parties, you will need to determine what they’ll be most interested in.

Use our detailed business plan template if you are seeking finance.

Lenders and investors will want to know if your finances are in order and your business is in a strong financial position. They'll want to know how much money you currently have, how much money you need and how much you expect to make in the near future. While a bit of extra funding will help you ensure you’re covered for unexpected costs, be realistic and avoid asking for more than you need.

If you're starting out and don't have financial information yet, our template provides resources to help you get your finances ready.

Summarise the main points of your business plan using as few words as possible. You want to get to the point but not overlook important facts. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, but don't overdo it. The summary should include details about your business, market, goals and what makes you different from other businesses.

Don't leave your business plan to the last minute. It takes time, research and careful preparation to develop an effective business plan.

If you aren't confident in completing the plan yourself, consider getting a professional to look over it and provide advice.

There are a number of government services available to help you plan, start or grow your business. These services can provide general advice, workshops, seminars and networking events, and can even match you with a mentor or business coach.

Get expert help from a business adviser in your area.

As your business changes, your plan will need to change to ensure your business is still heading in the right direction. Having your plan up-to-date can keep you focused on where you are heading.

It's a good idea to keep a record of each version of your business plan.

Having an understanding with third parties when distributing a plan could be enough protection for some businesses. But if you have innovative business practices, products or services, you may want people to sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your innovations.

It may also be a good idea to include some words in your plan asking the reader not to disclose the details of your plan.

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