Business Planning – Part One

The importance of a great business plan

There is truth in the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” especially when you're starting a new franchise. Those who understand the benefits of business planning are more likely to be successful than those who just react to day-to-day operational issues and are constantly fire-fighting problems.

Entrepreneurs looking to secure the financial backing for their franchise development plans often turn to a bank. One way to guarantee that you receive relevant, sector-specific support and finance is to approach a specialist franchise lender, such as Lloyds Bank. In doing so, your bank manager will have a solid understanding of the challenges that franchise owners are likely will face, and can tailor the most appropriate funding options to fit your own requirements.

It is often assumed that a business plan is needed just to secure funding. Whilst this is an important benefit of creating a business plan, it can also assist with the day to day management of the business such as monitoring continuing performance against the original benchmarks and identifying opportunities for development and potential risks to your business.

A business plan is a useful tool to help collect your  thoughts and set objectives for the business. It should demonstrate that there is sufficient demand for the product or service and that you have a good understanding of the market. It should also set out the competitive advantage or unique selling point your business may have.

Most banks can provide a business planning template to assist you. Accountants can also provide advice on producing the plan, but remember it is your document and is too important to leave to someone else to write.

The plan is a working document and should be regularly reviewed and updated, at least annually, as the business develops.