A solid business plan is fundamental for a small business because it defines exactly what they want to achieve and how they plan to achieve it.
It will help collate and clarify business ideas, plan for the future, help to show whether key ideas are realistic and workable, and play a central role in attracting that initial funding which is crucial to get small businesses started.
A clear plan
Defining your business will help you to decide what your business will do, the products or services it will provide and how customers will access your business.
“When putting together your small business plan, it is key that you make sure you know as much as possible about who will be buying from you”
When putting together your small business plan, it is key that you make sure you know as much as possible about who will be buying from you.
For example, understanding your target audience age demographic, what they do for a living, their lifestyles and needs – all will help you in the long term.
Assessing what future customers will think of your service and establishing how you will tell them about your business will also be beneficial and should play a large part in your business plan.
When looking for finance from banks or investors, you will need to show that all bases have been covered and that a sound business sense prevails.
For example, if you are developing a property to sell, you must have a firm grip on both realistic sale/ rental values and timescales.
These timescales are particularly important in a flat market – every extra month your property sits on the market will cost you money in interest payments, which in turn will eat into profits.
“When looking for finance, you will need to show that all bases have been covered and that a sound business sense prevails”
Market demand and willing buyers are also key factors to success and must play a significant role in your small business plan, with thorough research undertaken beforehand.
Furthermore, if ever a small business comes under problems, they are usually saved when a viable business plan is in place – if the problems are raised early enough for these plans to be implemented.
Barclays runs various local clinics, seminars and events to enable small businesses to network and proactively increase their customer base.
Important elements of a property development business plan
- If planning permits or agreements in place
- If architects are required and ready to go
- If contractors and suppliers have been costed thoroughly
- The realistic time scales for project start and finish with benchmarks for the interim
- A full marketing strategy from start to finish
- Inclusion of any supporting graphs or images as a visual representation to support your claims
- Realistic profit and timescale for the exit
Judith Gage is head of real estate for Barclays Business Banking