Philip Barnes & Co Chartered Accountants


Our guest blog from Philip Barnes Chartered Accountants, provides the second in a series of useful guides on setting up your own business.


Every new business should have a business plan. It's the key to success. If you need finance, no bank manager will lend money without a considered plan. It is one of the most important aspects of starting a new business.


Why does a business need a plan?
Preparing a business plan will help you set clear objectives and clarify your thinking. It will also help to set targets for future performance and monitor your finances and profitability. It should help to provide early warning for when you might need to reconsider the plan.

Your plan should be a thorough examination of the way in which the business will commence and develop. It should describe the business, product or service, market, mode of operation, capital requirements and projected financial results.

Always bear in mind that anyone reading the plan will need to understand the essentials of your business quickly and easily.

Your business plan should cover the following areas:

  • Overview - an overview of your plans for the business and how you propose to put them into action. This is the section most likely to be read by people unfamiliar with your business so try to avoid technical jargon.
  • Description - description of the business, your objectives for it and how you plan to achieve them. Include details of the background to your business, for example how long you have been developing the business idea and the work you have carried out to date.
  • Personnel - details of the key personnel including youreself and any external consultants. You should highlight their skills and expertise and outline how you intend to deal with any weaknesses.
  • Product - details of your product or service and your Unique Selling Point (USP). This is exactly what its name suggests; something that the competition does not offer. You should also outline your pricing policy.
  • Marketing - provide details of your target market and your marketing plan. This may form the basis for a separate, more detailed, plan. You should include an overview of your competitors and your likely market share, together with details of the potential for growth. This is usually a very important part of the plan as it gives a good indication of the likelyhood of success.
  • Practices - you'll need to include information on your proposed operating practices and production methods as well as premises and equipment requirements.
  • Financial forecasts - outline your projected financial performance and the assumptions made in your projections. This part of the plan converts what you've already said about the business into numbers. It will include a cash flow forecast which shows how much money you expect to come in and out of the business, as well as profit and loss predictions and a balance sheet. Detailed financial forecasts will normally be included as an appendix to the plan. As financial advisers we are particularly well placed to help with this part of the plan.
  • Financial requirements - the cash flow forecast referred to above will show how much finance your business needs. The plan should state how much finance you require and in what form. You should also say what the finance will be used for and show that you will have the resources to make the necessary repayments. You may also give details of any security you can offer.


The future

Putting together a business plan is often seen as a one-off exercise undertaken when a business is starting up. However, you should update your plan on a regular basis. It can then be used as a tool against which performance can be monitored and measured as part of the corporate planning process. There is much merit in this, as if used properly it keeps the business focused on
objectives and inspires a discipline to achieve them.

How can we help?

We can look forward with you to help you put together your best possible plan for the future. Philip Barnes can help you to plan, and answer any questions you may have.

Please contact Dean Ackrill on 01827 600 33 or email him directly


Philip Barnes & Co. are Tamworth’s leading accountants, we have been advising local companies like yours for over 50 years and we can help you with everything from accounting, tax and VAT to forecasting, planning and business development.

This material is published for the information of clients. It provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.