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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 – 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 – 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 – if you're seeking finance for your business, you'll need to show banks and investors why they should invest in your business.

Download our business plan template

Our template guides you through the process of creating a business plan.

Develop your business plan


Our template steps you through the process of developing a business plan with links to extra information if you need it.

You may want to check our tips below before you start.

1. Determine what your plan is for

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.

2. Prepare your finances

If you're looking for 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 business plan template provides resources to help you get your finances ready.

3. Write your summary last

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.

4. Get help

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.

5. Review your plan regularly

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.

6. Protect your 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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