Belfast Telegraph

Business plan promotes you and your company

Question: I’ve applied for a bank loan for my new business and need to bring along my business plan. Can you outline the key information I need to include in it?

Karen Wilson from Invest NI’s regional business team replies:

Begin with a short description of your business — what products or services you are selling and why you think there is a market for them.

If you have already started trading give the date of commencement and summarise your progress to date.

You’ll need to break down your target market as much as you can, for example by location, age, income and so on and say how you are going to market your goods to potential buyers.

It’s important also to detail the experience, skills and qualifications you and your staff have, as this will be central to your business’s success. You may also need to include information on premises, equipment, manufacturing processes or service delivery.

The content your bank will be most interested in is your financial information. This should include cashflow forecasts for at least the next 12 months and a profit and loss forecast. It should show the amount of capital you are seeking and the sources of funding.

Ideally you should present different scenarios based on differing projected sales levels.

Overall it’s important to present enough detail to make your case but balance this with being concise. You might want to include an executive summary. Also ensure your plan looks professional as it’s important to make a good impression.

Invest NI’s website has a lot of practical advice on preparing a business plan.

Belfast Telegraph

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