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How to Write a Business Plan

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Business Plan How To Write A Business

Writing a good business plan is a great way to focus your mind on the most important aspects of your new business.

If you do not know how to write a business plan, you are missing out on an excellent technique for gaining funding, improving your marketing skills and maintaining an objective overview at difficult times.

How to Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan can seem like a very daunting prospect, especially if you have not written one before. You may think that as you are going to be the boss of your new restaurant you do not need to write a business plan, and you may be right. However, having a business plan is great to refer back to when you are making a new decision for your business, so it is worth taking the time to write one.

Business plans come in all shapes and sizes. Before you start getting worried that you need to be a great writer and set aside a whole week to write a business plan – take a deep breath! A business plan, in its simplest form, needs to only be one side of A4, and even that can be bullet points!

Some people like to have a business plan with all manner of spread sheets and fancy power point stuff and if you are a super whiz with the computer then by all means go ahead.

Perhaps a more practical middle ground, and one that you will actually do, is to think about writing a couple of paragraphs about your plans and aims for your business. The best way to start is just to write – don’t think about what you are writing or how good it is, just let yourself flow a little. Write about where you want the business to go, how you see the restaurant operating, what type of menu you will create and the type of night you want your customers to have.

You are allowed a little bit of emotion – it can really help to see your vision in a business plan. Once you have a couple of paragraphs that will act as an overview (you can edit it later), write a list of bullet points about the more practical details – how many covers you will have, what money you have available, what special offers you may have and what competitors there are.

Now you have the information, take an hour or so to write it up into a cohesive format.

Using Your Business Plan to Gain Funding

Now you have written at least a basic business plan, you can use it to gain funding, if required. When you visit your bank manager he will be keen to understand the business planning elements of your potential restaurant, so this will be a good starting place for your discussions.

If your key function for your business plan is to gain funding, you may wish to make more of a focus on the financial, sales and marketing aspects of your plan. Think about adding points about good rates with suppliers, average spend prediction and potential rent free periods on certain property leases.

Using Your Business Plan to Maintain an Objective Overview

Rather than just stuff your business plan in the cupboard after you have launched your restaurant, you can use it as a valuable crib sheet. Look back at it every couple of months, or more in the early days, to remind yourself of your plans. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the cut and thrust of daily business life, but you may forget that great idea you had to do a ‘local seafood night’ or to launch a take away service.

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