Introducing your business
Setting out your current situation, your vision for the future and how you will get there.
The first step in producing a business plan is to provide an overview of the current situation. If you haven’t completed it already, you can fill out a template which helps to describe your current business situation. This will help you to introduce what your business does (or will do) in your business plan.
You can also explain more about the history of your business in this section – when it was set up, a timeline of purchases/changes and what you have achieved to date. If you are starting a new business or diversifying, then you can use the introduction to describe the industry and its opportunities, why you want to be in this sector and what has brought you to this situation.
You should also provide some key details about your business at this point:
- Address, phone, email
- Legal status: sole trader, ltd, etc.
- Advisors: bankers, consultants, solicitors
- Management team: names and short biographies
Your vision for your business
A vision statement will explain to readers where you want the business to be in five years’ time or longer. It can be based on your personal objectives, and perhaps those of anyone else involved in the management of your business. There is a template to help with exploring your objectives here.
Here are some examples of vision statements:
Your mission - how you will achieve your vision
A mission statement will explain how you do what you do and what is important in the way you run your business – your values. The strengths explored on your SWOT analysis may help define your mission statement, and you can use this values list to help you consider which values are most important to your business.
Objectives are shorter term goals which allow you to monitor performance against your plan. They should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
- Specific – Have an objective which you can focus on, which is not vague and therefore difficult to achieve
- Measurable – Business objectives should be reviewed on a regular basis and action taken when you’re veering off target for meeting your goals
- Achievable – You and/or your team should be able to meet the objective within the set deadline, even if it is challenging
- Relevant – Think about the vision and mission for your business and ensure that your objectives work towards these
- Time-bound – Ensure that there is a deadline to work towards, which can help motivate you to achieve the objective
The risk matrix and SWOT analysis will help you to develop your objectives by giving you areas to focus on – if you haven’t already completed these then click the links below. The planning wheel template can then be used to formalise five or six objectives, how you will measure them and the timescales involved.
Having regular team meetings and one-to-one discussions can help you to meet your objectives by ensuring that everyone is clear on what’s required of them and giving you the opportunity to monitor progress.