Writing a business plan: How to stand the best chance of the bank manager saying “yes”
Whatever stage you are in your business, the chances are you will need help with financing. The obvious port of call is going to your bank manager but do you have a business plan? Here are sometop tips for putting a plan together.
(1) don’t avoid the inevitable Write the plan
You may have the best idea and your presentation skills may help when you are in front of the bank manager, but you will have to invest some time putting a business plan together if you are looking to get finance from the bank or any other potential lender. don’t try and cut corners you may have to spend time researching and liaising with advisers to provide the right details. It will help the bank manager make an informed decision.
(2)give the right detail but don’t feel you have to write an essay
A good plan should contain the right detail, but at the same time be succinct. Avoid flowery language and before you put pen to paper, be clear with yourself about the what’s, why’s and how’s of your business and needing extra finance.
(3)write an executive summary
Although this will be written last once you have written the full business plan, the executive summary goes at the beginning and will need to capture theattention quickly, highlighting the most important points. Like the rest of us, bank managers are time short and some won’t bother reading past the executive summary if they feel there is not going to be the right detail in the plan.
(4) About your business
Give a clear overview of your businessand company values. If already trading, provide a brief overview of the history of the business.
(5) Why now?
Whatever the reason be clear in your plan, why are you doing this and why the timing is important. Whatever the reason do spell it out, so you present a compelling case for funding.
(6) don’t forget to do your research Look at your competitors
Make sure you list the advantages and disadvantages of all your competitors (i.e. those in the close vicinity). What will make prospective clients or customers come to you? What’s going to be different? Are you going to be offering additional services? How are you going to beat the competition and ensure your business is not vulnerable?
Do a SWOT analysis.Look both internally and externally at the business. What are the internal strengths and weaknesses of the business. But also look externally at the wider market and the opportunities and threats that the market will present.
(7) Your management team
The bank manager will want? to see the team structure of the business. He/she will be interested in the various career credentials of those involved. What have you/your team achieved in the past? Have you won any industry awards? Do you/they have some very loyal clients? Remember to:
Define each management role and who will fill it/is already filing it
Describe the background and experience of each team member
Clarify how you intend to cover the key areas of production, sales, marketing, finance and administration
Show how many mentors and other supporters you will/already have access to
(8) Marketing How are you going to let people know about your business?
Bobby Lane is a partner at audit, accountancy, outsourcing and business advisory practice Shelley Stock Hutter, where he has been overseeing business growth since 2003. He's a regular speaker and expert on professional new business and marketing. Having qualified as a chartered accountant while with BDO, he's served as a business agony uncle on BBC Radio London and has particular expertise in the media, fashion, leisure and health/beauty sectors.