The “how to write a business plan” guide

During this Global Entrepreneurship Week, plenty of people – from schoolchildren to  50+-year-olds – will, we hope, be inspired to start a business.  One big question many of them will ask: how do I write my first business plan?

There’s a wealth of online material available. Here are some of the most useful guides to writing a business plan. It is worth reading each one and aggregating them; there are useful, practical points to be distilled from all of them.  They won’t provide you with passion, creativity and vision – that’s down to you – but if you sift this wisdom you will have the all-important structure of a killer business plan.

Here’s your first stop. From you will find links to templates and examples of business plans.

The main clearing banks provide detailed checklists and questionnaires to help you construct a business plan. This is the Barclays version. The Lloyds sample business plan provides illustrative text. HSBC asks a structured set of questions. Santander provides specific guidance for business plans in 200 industry sectors.

An accountant is often a first point of call. The ICAEW business plan guide also takes the form of a structured set of questions. There’s a substantial set of checklists to consider from CIMA.

Here is a guide and a short video from the IoD.

Writing a business plan is a vital discipline. But remember, as Bev Hurley remarks in her video on this website, it rarely survives contact with reality!