Writing a business plan

Business Plan


The style of a business plan can be very diverse. Remember it should be proportionate to what it is you want to do. For example, if you are taking on a small piece of land or a storage shed you will not need to produce a huge detailed document. 

You need to show who you are, what you want to do and how you are going to pay the bills.  If you are taking on a big asset then your business plan will be much more detailed so that you can ensure that the plans for developing and running a land or building asset are robust and realistic.

Presentation - whatever sort of presentation you choose, it is important to bring the plan alive. Do not write a plan that consists of page after page of unbroken text! Readers absorb information in a variety of ways: through text, graphically, numerically and visually. 

  • Use headings and sub-headings to break up the text and tables, graphics or pictures to illustrate key points anad bring the plan to life. 
  • Using tables and figures can significantly reduce the amount of text and picture or diagram can tell a vivid story. Be sure that every table, figure and picture is numbered, titled and referred to in the text.   

Be relevant to your type of business -  the presentation is in your control and should be relevant to your type of business. For example, if this is an artistic venture, you might want to consider your style of presentation as part of your marketing or brand.

Be relevant to your audience -  a business plan, with a new asset at its heart, will have a number of different audiences and readers eg the relevant authority (transferring organisation), funders, members of the group and other stakeholders. Each type of reader will consider a business plan from a different viewpoint, so it may be necessary to modify the content of a business plan to meet the needs of the reader. An overview of what different readers look for is outlined below.

What different readers look for: 

Public Bodies


Social impact of the asset transfer

Demand for the asset


Financial viability


Track record of delivery with examples

Team and experience

Community involvement

Adherence to legal issues and regulations

Social impact of the asset transfer

Demand for the asset


How the money will be used

Other sources of funding sought

How/when money will be repaid (if a loan)

How the money will be repaid in the event of failure/not achieving targets

Team and experience



Social impact of the asset transfer

Social impact

Demand for the asset

Job role and responsibilities

Contributions to the aims and objectives of the stakeholder

Level of pay

Impact on the stakeholder 

Job security

Team and experience 

Impact on current job role


Future plans

 Business Plan Don’ts

Don’t make claims you can’t back up
Don’t waffle
Don’t assume the reader knows the industry
Don’t leave out relevant facts and figures
Don’t overload on information
Don’t oversimplify
Don’t struggle with trying to make your plan fit a generic template

The following table provides an example template to guide the content of your business plan. 

Executive summary

This is a synopsis of a business plan. Its purpose is to summarise the plan in such a way that readers quickly become familiar with content.  This is usually written last. Come back to it once you have written everything else so you know it is a true summary.

Introduction/ background

Gives an overview of the background to the organisation and provides an insight into the proposition and its rationale.

The proposition

Describes the asset transfer offer and highlights the unique selling proposition and potential social impact.


Provides an analysis of the marketplace, identifies the marketing objectives and describes the marketing strategies and tactics.

Resources and operations

Explains the resource requirements (e.g. equipment) and operational issues (e.g. maintenance and management systems).

Governance and people

Provides details of the management team/board, staff, training and external sources of help, e.g. an accountant and a solicitor.

Legal and regulations

Describes the legal issues and regulations that need to be complied with.


The finance section will contain information on costs, sales assumptions, funding and financial projections.


Identifies the potential risks and risk management strategies.

Exit strategy

If applicable, an exit strategy can be included detailing how the end of the project will be managed.


The appendices will include information that supports the main body of the business plan, e.g. evidence of market research and sample marketing documents.




Related Resources

Business Plan Template

A Business Plan template which will help to ensure that the plans for developing and running a land or building asset are robust and realistic.

Microsoft Office document icon business-plan-template.doc