Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

How to write a business plan


So: you’ve got the million dollar business idea - now all you need is a plan to make the dream a reality.

This isn’t as scary and complicated as it sounds, as we discovered when we spoke to Yoodoo, a free online resource that helps people to start-up a business, who shared their top tips with us as part of our Career Clinic.

Their experts told us, "A business plan is nothing to be scared of: it's just a way for you to get your ideas and direction straight in your head. Simply answer these simple points, split into three key areas, and prepare to make your idea a success."

The Idea

- Describe your business – what are you going to do?

- Who are you going to do it for? Who are your customers going to be?

- What problem are you solving for your customers? Good businesses solve a problem. This could be something as straightforward as ‘I’m opening a café on my high street because there is currently nowhere for people to go to rest when they're shopping.’

- What are you offering customers or clients which is different? You need to be clear about why customers or clients should go to you over someone else. For example, "my cafe will be near the shops, making it convenient; and we'll serve great coffee, fast".


- Who are your competitors? Look at similar businesses in your local area as well as online competitors. Work out what your competitors do well (and what you might copy), and also what you're going to do differently or better.

- What is the market like that you are going in to? Are there lots of competitors? Is your idea something so new that you'll have to spend time explaining to people what it is you do?

- How will you get customers to find out about you? Think about different ways of advertising and marketing - everything from word of mouth (which is free and very powerful) to leaflets or online ads.


- How much money will you need to get started? Don’t spend a penny unless you have to!

- Can you obtain this money – either from friends, family, savings or the bank?

- If you need to borrow, how much will you realistically need? When will you reach your maximum borrowing requirement, and when will you have successfully paid it off?

The key when talking to the bank is to make sure that your business plan is credible. No amount of fancy printing will make dodgy numbers look good! Once you have all your answers, get them in to a logical order and make sure they’re typed up neatly. Job done.

Picture credit: Getty images

Download a copy of this business plan below

Do you have experience of starting your own business? Tell others about your highs and lows in the comments section below.



Are women better business leaders?


Make the recession work for your business


Lists: the career woman's saviour


Reclaim Your Lunch Break top supporters

25 Jun 2015

Is the best thing about dropping everything coming back home?

by Amy Swales
10 Sep 2014

Launching an online business; 10 golden rules

"It started with just the desire that it should exist"

30 Jul 2014

Increase productivity and manage your time better with this handy infographic

From managing emails to what to wear

08 Apr 2014

Meet the mothers and daughters who run successful businesses together

by Sejal Kapadia Pocha
26 Mar 2014

Why women don’t need secret business rules from men

25 Mar 2014

Our favourite powerful women share their wisdom on careers

25 Feb 2014

Meet the panda puppies

Your cute fix sorted

25 Feb 2014

Work Life: Aerin Lauder, Image and Style Director of Estée Lauder

A one-day diary from morning latte to lights out.

18 Feb 2014

Work Life: Betty Adewole, Model

A one-day diary from morning latte to lights out.

11 Feb 2014