The challenge of filling a blank page is nothing new for most people working in creative industries.

Whether you’re writing or designing, most professionals in this sector have developed strategies to get over any creative block and get the work done.

When it comes to building a business plan, however, many new business owners put it off, or avoid it altogether.

Preparing a business plan can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a laborious task with the right approach.

What should a business plan cover?

You will need to outline what your business does, which creative sectors you are working in and what the competition is.

It is important to set out in writing your sales and marketing strategies, operations model, and financial forecasts.

Why do you need one?

You might create a business plan to explain your business to other people, either for securing investment or attracting a business partner.

Aside from those reasons, though, it’s also a helpful way to process your ideas and spot any potential flaws.

Setting out, in detail, the way your business works and what you hope to achieve should help you to make that information clear in your own mind.

5 tips for writing your business plan

1. Know your audience

Keeping your reasons for making a business plan in mind, you should tailor it to your intended audience.

This could mean making different versions of the plan for different purposes – whether that’s selling your ideas to an investor, or explaining them to a potential business partner.

One helpful trick from the world of marketing is to create ‘buyer personas’, focusing on one or two imaginary, symbolic individuals, such as Steve, the e-commerce venture capitalist, or Kelly, the creative agency director.

2. Keep it short

You might be brimming with ideas about your business and where you see it going in the future – but it’s important to present that as succinctly as possible.

If you have a lot of additional information that backs up your plan, such as market research data and detailed financial forecasts, it may be useful to present it in an appendix.

3. Stick to the facts

For the bank manager or investor reading your business plan, it’s the concrete facts that count. They won’t buy into something that’s vague or unclear, however exciting it sounds.

It’s particularly important to get your financial information right, as this is likely to be a focus for anyone putting their own money towards your business’s success.

You should include a detailed report on your current and historical financial performance, as well as a cashflow forecast for the next few years. This is an area we can help you with.

4. Be realistic

Similarly, being over-optimistic in your expectations is likely to backfire.

You’ll need to make some assumptions and estimates, but it’s a good idea to explain how you got there, citing any sources and statistics you used.

Don’t gloss over any weaknesses either. Recognising any potential threats and outlining how you’re taking action to mitigate them is far more convincing than pretending they don’t exist.

5. Keep using it

A successful business plan should function as a roadmap for measuring your progress and making future decisions.

So, even if you’ve achieved what you initially set out to do in creating it, make sure you don’t ignore your plan.

Keep reviewing and updating it, and use it to make sure you’re on track to achieve your goals.

Talk to us

We can review your business plan and ensure your financial data is accurate, as well as supporting your business with implementing it on an ongoing basis.

Our Love My Business service focuses on three core areas of knowledge, growth and profit, to help you build your business and achieve your goals. Get in touch to find out more.