Business planning

The business plan should be a living working document, which is the foundation on which to build your enterprise. It will help to evaluate the viability and sustainability of your idea.

The plan is usually a requirement for funding applications and therefore it should clearly set out what your enterprise will do, its operating model, its mission and values and how they will be achieved. This will allow you to clearly demonstrate to key customers, partners and any potential funders what your enterprise is and what it can offer.

What you need to think about…

Research

Before you start to plan, it’s important to conduct research to answer the following questions about your business:

  • Is there a genuine market for your idea?
  • How much demand will there be for your product or service?
  • What trends currently affect the sector?
  • Who will buy your product or service?
  • Who will be your competitors and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are there any potential business partners with whom you could collaborate?

These questions will help you to focus your ideas to ensure that your plan is robust.

Planning

Your research will directly influence your planning, and will help you to assess:

  • Your operating location(s)
  • What, if any, premises you need
  • How many staff you require
  • How you will market your enterprise
  • How you will raise finance (sales, grants, loans, contracts and/or trade)
  • Your pricing structure
  • How you will manage demand

Please see Inspire2Enterprise’s Business Plan Template for Social Enterprises. The template also contains guidance regarding writing your business plan.

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