Know you need a business plan but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Lots of people find the idea intimidating or off-putting.
But business planning is so important to your future success – including your ability to apply for a business loan – that it is worth doing.
Here at Transmit Startups, we’re dedicated to simplifying and demystifying business, to help people follow their dreams of self-employment.
Our Business Idea Template is a great place to start planning your business.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a document which sets out in detail exactly how you’ll run your business.
Your final business plan will also include details of your financial forecasts, explaining how much money you think you will make and how.
Business plan templates ask for market research, looking at how big your market is and who your customers are. You can segment your markets too.
Many business plans include a section explaining how many employees you will need, how and when you'll recruit them and how many you will recruit.
Our business plan template is a simple starting point and aims to ease you into business planning.
Why do you need a business plan?
1. It tests whether your plan can work
A business plan helps you make sure your idea is feasible. You’ll have to think through how much money it could make vs how much money you’ll have to invest. You’ll also need to really think about your customers, what they want, how you’ll sell to them and who might stand in your way…those pesky competitors you’ll need to take on.
2. It explores the financial realities
Business planning helps you understand the financial reality of your business idea. Does your business have potential to be profitable? How much will you need to charge? How long do you want to work in order to make the money you aspire to? By making cashflow, sales and other financial forecasts, you can work out whether your idea will work as a business that supports your lifestyle.
3. It provides goals and structure
Your business plan gives you a place to list specific goals and objectives for your business. You’ll have to think about how you’ll meet these goals and what the timescale is. If you think of starting a business being like a long car journey, your business plan helps you plan the route, make sure you have enough petrol, and decide who’s going to do the driving. Imagine how lost you could get without that prior preparation…
4. It helps you get finance
Not everyone starting a business needs a start up loan or business finance. There are plenty of businesses you can start with no money. However, some do need startup funding. You might need to buy stock, invest in marketing, or rent premises. If you do plan to apply for a loan, a business plan is essential. It shows lenders that you’ve thought things through and will be able to afford repayments.
How do you write a simple business plan?
Business plans don't HAVE to be complicated. If you're thinking of starting a business, you only need to write a simple business plan at first. Our business plan template is designed to help you think through your business and get into the planning mindset.
It also includes space to write down all of the information we’ll need to consider a Start Up Loan application from you. There are questions to help you think about what to write, plus top tips from our expert startup loan advisers. If something isn’t relevant, skip it. Or if you’re struggling to know what to write, just jot down some notes and come back to it later.
What’s in a business plan template?
They’re all a bit different, so we can only tell you about ours. The Transmit Startups business plan template includes the following sections:
1. Your information
The first section is just basic details about you and your business – the who, what and when questions.
2. Your business idea
Next you describe your business or business idea. Write about the main activities of the business and what products or services you offer. There are questions about any premises or licenses you might need, and who else is involved in the business. Don’t worry if these don’t apply to you, just skip forward.
3. Your market
Tell us about your customers and how you’ll reach them. Think about your competitors and how they do things. Then complete a SWOT analysis. This isn’t as hard as it sounds and our SWOT blog post can help.
4. Pricing and selling
Pricing is really important to get right. This section will help you think about pricing as part of your overall business strategy. You’ll also think about suppliers and sellers for your product or service.
5. Loan amount
Let us know how much you need to borrow and what you’ll use it for. Think about other sources of income and what expenses you might incur. Consider how much it costs to start a business.
How else can a business plan help?
If you’re a solo trader or microbusiness, your business plan might be for your eyes only. But as you grow and develop, your business plan can help your business bloom.
1. Securing investment or borrowing
A well-written business plan containing relevant figures will help you convince investors your business is a reliable proposition.
2. Satisfying suppliers and distributors
Any distributors you need will want to see your assessment of the risks and threats facing your business, and how you’re managing your supply chain. Suppliers who may need to offer you credit will want to see how well you’ve planned for the future.
3. Motivating and managing staff
Any other people involved with your business should share the same goals as you do. A strong business plan can help guide your workplans and make sure you’re all pulling the same way.
Where can I download a free business plan template?
Right here. We call ours a Business Idea Template because it's designed to be used for the earliest stages of an idea. It is tailored for the purposes of applying for a Start Up Loan with us, but we'd recommend it to anyone who wants to think about starting a business. Download our business plan template here.
Where can I get a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan?
If you prefer not to use a business plan template, read our guide on How to Write a Business Plan.