In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane explains why a business plan is essential when starting your own firm, whether to attract investors of just so you can see how it will work.

Once you have done the necessary market research for your project and decided to go ahead and start your own business, your next step is to write a business plan that summarises the following points about your business:

  1. Where it has come from?
  2. Where it is now?
  3. Where it is going in the future?
  4. How it intends to get there?
  5. How much money it needs to fulfil its plans?
  6. What makes it likely to succeed?
  7. What threats or disadvantages must be overcome on the way?

The document can range in length from a few sheets of paper to several hundred pages.

However, since professional readers of business plans – bankers, venture capitalists and enterprise officers – are offered more business plans than they can properly digest, the more concise your business plan, the more likely it is to be read.