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How to draft a Small Business Plan

Updated: Apr 22, 2019

We thought it might be useful to other budding entrepreneurs to share our experience in winning the tenancy, to setting up a business and the journey beyond. Hopefully you'll enjoy this very simple and digestible format.


Before we start, think about what your business plan is for. Is it for a pitch, to raise finance or help you scope out an idea?


Step 1 - Keep It Simple - a small business plan should be simple. Essentially it helps you think about your business in a logical way and summarise key points and your uniqueness to help with planning, a pitch or financing etc.


Step 2 - Clear and Concise - your layout should be clear and concise - what, where, when, how and importantly why. Avoid rambling, get to the point, the person reading it wants to help you, but invariably will be a busy person, so be concise.


Example:

What - We want to deliver a unique and sustainable country pub experience to Coleshill

Where - In the truly stunning and unique setting of the National Trust village of Coleshill

When - We forecast to be up and trading in 6 weeks to make use of the summer season

How - Utilising our combined business, hospitality and catering experience and using local produce and wide network of suppliers we aim to open a unique country pub . We will attract customers using a range of marketing and social media platforms.

Why - Our vision is to restore The Radnor Arms to being the centre of community life. To bring employment and tourism back to Coleshill and produce great food using seasonal produce from a range local artisan suppliers.


Obviously you can embellish with details on all the points.


Step 3 - Stand Out - What makes you different, what's your USP (unique selling point)? This is probably the most important factor you can emphasise. It could be something as simple as your drive, determination, personality and experience. Most angel investors invest in people as much as an idea or concept. But ideally the idea also needs to be unique and deliverable.


Step 4 - Marketing - how are you going to attract your customers, what medium will you use, do you understand social media, what's the competition doing etc. there's no excuses, there's tons of great free advice out there on you tube etc.


Step 5 - Get Real - don't embellish on facts and figures, know your market, research the competition, understand your finances, forecast income, know how to read a set of company accounts and don't be a dreamer. Above all get real and don't under estimate, it always costs more than you think to set up a business and attract new customers. Have a contingency fund of around 20% if you need capital investment.


Step 6 - Figures - I'll say it again, know your figures, use income and expenditure forecasts i.e. what will it cost to buy and how much and how many will you need to sell. All businesses are essentially income minus expenditure. Think about all the other associated costs there are (write them down) - staff, overheads, accountant, repairs, training, insurance, rent etc and the dreaded VAT! This list is extensive, so don't underestimate, it's why 80% business fail in the UK within the first 18 months. Most people kid themselves they don't exist so they can push the plan through and bang it all goes pear shape.


Step 7 - Get used to making mistakes, embrace them, learn and move on. Most entrepreneurs don't dwell on a mistake and they are constantly looking for free advise (or the easy path) to guide them. More often they ask for advise and do something completely different or unexpected, but that's why they stand out.


Finally - Be Proud - it's tough to start a business, so be proud, you'll be one of the SME's who contribute to over 60% of employment in the UK today. It's not easy but being your own boss is very liberating.


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