Writing effective Business Plans

There are plenty of templates out there to help you write effective business plans

As a Chartered Accountant specialising in Corporate Finance, I have worked with many clients to develop their Business Plans, as it is the key document to open the door to raise finance.

Let me save you some time and point out some of the regular criticisms of Business Plans that stand between you and the financiers as follows:

1. Ensure that your proposition is succinct: If you cannot explain your business proposition in the first page and explain what it is you are trying to sell to the investor then it is likely that the plan will not be read further than the first page.

2. The plan is not just a sales pitch: A plan needs to convince the investor that you know where you are going and have a vision of your business for the future.  Significantly, the investor will want to know how much money you need; what you want it for; how they will be repaid and when.

3. Teamwork: Most growing companies recognise the fact that they do not have all the required team members in place.  There is no harm in identifying the gaps, but in so doing, you need to say how they will be filled.

4. Sizing up the Competition: An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the competition is vital and is often missed out in the business plan.

5. An Integrated business model: Ensure that all the details, which are in the spreadsheets and the commentaries, are consistent.

6. Sensitivities: Ensure that you have challenged your key assumptions including in particular sales; margins and working capital movements of stock and debtors – think of all those entrepreneurs being grilled in the Dragon’s Den and be prepared!

7. ‘Typos’: It is easy to accept what is in front of you on the computer screen.  However, some potential investors do pay attention to detail and if there are typos in your business plan then they might wonder what other lack of attention to detail happens in your business.

ACF’s role ACF do have experience in advising clients on how to write their business plans. Andrew Watkin can look at your plan and with your help can “run the numbers” to see if the plan is”fit for purpose”.

If you believe Andrew can help, please contact him on email: awatkin@assyntcf.co.uk or telephone: 07860 98452.

The information contained in this briefing is based on information available as at the date posted and may be subject to amendment.  It is written as a general guide and is not a substitute for professional advice.  You are strongly recommended to obtain specific professional advice from us before you take any action.  No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of any material in this briefing can be accepted by Assynt Corporate Finance Limited  or its employees.

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