Why produce a business plan?

Starting a social enterprise is challenging, rewarding, stimulating and exciting. A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.

Business Plan from Stefano Caprile on Vimeo.

A business plan helps you to:

  • clarify your business idea
  • spot potential problems
  • set out your goals
  • measure your progress
  • You’ll need a business plan if you want to secure investment or a loan from a bank.

It can also help to convince customers, suppliers and potential employees to support you. A plan is a living document that will need updating and changing over time. The process of talking it through and collating information can help focus your ideas and plan for the future.

What can it be used for?

Business plans are live documents that can be continually referred and changed, and help with delivering to internal organisational objectives. Internally going through the process of business planning can help to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analyis link) which allow you to see the business as a whole and see any risks and decide how these will be managed.

You may be asked to show your business plan to external agencies, such as banks, other investors and interested stakeholders.

What does a business plan include?

There’s lots of different ways of preparing business plans, but each should include a description of the social enterprise business, its objectives, short, medium and long term strategies, the services and activities its undertakes, the market it is in and how it will reach its customers, details of its operations, governance and finances including financial projections.

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