Business Planning 2: writing the plan

With your preparation done you will then be ready to launch into the business plan having a good idea of what your organisation is about. All the other information will hang off the main Vision and Mission statements allowing you to plan a clear way forward.

Effectively you will be collecting evidence to support a proposition at the same time as considering all the pitfalls. You should not ignore any of the pitfalls but show that you have considered them, assessed the risk and how you propose to overcome them.

Remember, your business plan will be a dynamic document which you should update regularly.

If it is kept up-to-date it can be used regularly for a variety of purposes. It should drive the agenda for your Board and Management meetings, be adaptable to the needs of fundraising, staff briefings and raising finance.

You business plan should also include the more arcane information such as:

  • Three years’ audited accounts
  • The latest management accounts preferably compared to budget
  • The latest budget for the 12 month period
  • Projections for at least three years.

To demonstrate that you have considered all the pitfalls you should pick the major risks to the business and sensitise your projections to show that the organisation can take the hits.

The uncertainties may be a fall in turnover, the loss of a contract, a rise in costs, or wages, rises in interest rates. Whilst all these eventualities will not happen at the same time you must show that you have considered their effects and given some thought to the consequences. The “what if” question.

Finally, if there is one piece of advice that is vital, it is this:

Be enthusiastic about your Mission and your Business Plan. If it is obvious that you enjoy what you do, your enthusiasm is likely to inspire others.

Remember your organisation does not have a right to exist; you will have to convince others, and what better way than having a viable and well thought out Business Plan.

Read Business Planning 1: preparing your plan for potential investors

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