How to write a business plan in Australia

 

What does business success mean to you?

For some it will be a simple matter of making a good living doing what they love, while the more entrepreneurial might hope to build an empire from a business idea. No matter the aim, and no matter the stage of the journey you’re at, the way to get there remains the same.

You need a business plan.

Whatever ‘success’ might mean to you, a business plan forms its foundation. A business plan identifies your business goals and breaks down the steps you’ll need to take in order to achieve them. When properly researched, developed and followed, such a plan will make success far more likely.

In this guide we’ll be looking at all things business plans: why you need one, how to write one, and the tips that will make the process easier. We’ll also share how developing a business plan with a Succession+ business adviser will help you achieve the ideal outcome for your business whilst earning Qantas Points at the same time.

While a business plan is usually written in order to guide a business’s future, it should be said that there are other forms of business plan, such as succession plans and exit plans, that can form a path that leads an owner out of that business. Here we’ll focus on the former rather than the latter.

Why do I need a business plan?

Why bother developing a business plan at all as a business owner? There are a number of compelling reasons.

  • It gives you direction and purpose: First and foremost, a business idea without a plan is like a ship without a navigator. Sure, you might end up somewhere interesting, but it’s more likely that you’ll float aimlessly and end up nowhere. A business plan charts your course, getting you where you want to go as efficiently as possible.

  • It simplifies the complex: By breaking down big goals into small steps, business development is made less intimidating and more achievable.

  • It’s a must for finance and funding: If you need money injected into your business – and it's more than likely that at some stage you will – you’ll need to demonstrate to a lender or investor that you’re a safe bet. Presenting your business plan can form a key part of the process.

It’s easier than you might think: A business plan isn’t an all-powerful, unchangeable, do-or-die document. It’s a malleable plan that charts the next 3-5 years of your business. There are no wrong answers here – you’re simply trying to make things clearer and simpler for your future self.

How do I write a business plan?

You don't have to search hard to find a business plan template. At the same time, business plans are flexible things, and can more or less take any form you’d like, though most are made up of the following elements.

You don't have to search hard to find a business plan template. At the same time, business plans are flexible things, and can more or less take any form you’d like, though most are made up of the following elements.

  • Begin with an executive summary: The first paragraph should briefly introduce your business and the aim of the business plan. If you’re writing a business plan for your team to establish a company culture, focus on values and internal goals. If you’re writing it to attract capital, specify how much you hope to attract, from where, and how you’ll pay it back. Include your basic finances and your major achievements, but keep things concise – aim to keep this section less than half a page.
  • Conduct competitor analysis: Who are the main players in the space? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How does your business differ? This analysis should offer up detailed rundowns of each of your major competitors.
  • Plan your execution: Now that you know what you’re up against and have an idea of how you’ll differ, it’s time to form a more concrete plan. The ‘how’ is generally the most difficult aspect of writing a business plan, which is why many owners look for expert assistance like that offered by Succession+. Not only will you then get expert advice with Succession+ but your business can earn Qantas Points at the same time if you’re a Qantas Business Rewards member, which you can then use to save on future costs.

  • Plan your marketing strategy: While it could be included in the ‘execution’ phase, marketing is so important that it really deserves its own bullet point. Plan out how you will attract business with a budget, a timeline, a marketing strategy and brand messaging.

  • Share your finances, make projections: A business plan must disclose every aspect of your business finances. Provide an income statement, a cash flow statement and a balance sheet, and share the financial projections that will form targets for the rest of your efforts.

What are tips for writing a business plan?

  • Stay short and sharp: Use language that is clear and concise. Avoid jargon. Tell your story in the most brief and impactful way possible.
  • Let your passion shine through: Show people how much you care about your business. Share your mission, your values, and maybe a brief backstory. Tell the reader why.

  • Back up your statements: While the business plan itself should be concise, it should be backed up with a wealth of external materials that reinforce your point. Don’t be scared to add a lengthy appendix of supporting documents, as it allows readers to take a deeper dive should they want to.

  • Stay objective: Sometimes in the process of constructing a business plan you’ll realise that you made some naïve assumptions or were wrong about certain things. It can be tempting to sweep these under the rug, but the best business plans are as revealing to the author as they are to the audience.

  • Talk to your audience: Your business plan should take a slightly different form depending on the audience. Lenders will focus on the numbers, investors on the potential, your internal team on the goals, values and mission.

  • Get expert help: Feeling a little overwhelmed? Good news: the experts at Succession+ can help you to develop a compelling business plan that increases your likelihood of securing funding, enticing talent, and generally creating a successful business.

Earn Qantas Points while you write your business plan

What’s better than writing a compelling business plan and setting your business up for success? Earning Qantas Points while you do it. By making the most of the business planning services offered by Succession+, you can earn a Qantas Point for every $1 spent and then use these to reward yourself or reinvest them back into  your business to save on costs.

How? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3… and 4.

  1. 1. Join

  2. 2. Confirm

    Call Succession+ on 1300 665 473 and present the ABN associated with your Qantas Business Rewards account.

  3. 3. Spend

    Spend on eligible Succession+ products and services.

  4. 4. Receive

    Receive Qantas Points within 30 days of purchase.

Ready to be rewarded for running a business?

Important information

A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn Qantas Points for business. A one-off join fee of $89.50 including GST normally applies, however this will be waived for Succession Plus clients. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions. Qantas Points for business are offered under the Succession Plus Terms and ConditionsOpens external site. Any claims in relation to Qantas Points under this offer must be made directly to Succession Plus by calling 1300 665 473 or emailing admin@successionplus.com.au. Qantas Points will be credited to the member’s Qantas Business Rewards account within 4 weeks of payment. Succession Plus customers will earn 1 Qantas Point for every $1 spent on eligible Succession Plus products and services including Business Succession & Exit strategies, Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOP), Business Valuations, Business Sales and Strategic Advisory services under the Succession Plus privacy policy.

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