You'll find it helpful to put together a business plan to plot the future of your business – from where you are now, to where you want to be in the future, and how you intend to get there.

1. Why write a business plan?

When you write a business plan it forces you to evaluate the details of your own business proposal and identify what you need to do to make it happen. It will quickly show up any flaws or potential stumbling blocks, allowing you to make your mistakes on paper rather than in your actual business.

A well-thought-out business plan will:

Document-iconset a direction for the business and help you create an action plan

Localisation-iconhelp you and your staff focus on what's important

Information-iconshow your commitment to banks, investors, colleagues and employees

Search-iconhelp you to spot problems early on and tackle them effectively

Graph-iconset targets and evaluate your success

People-iconhelp you attract better-qualified staff.

Business planning isn't just for when you're setting up – you should keep reviewing and updating your plan regularly. A plan is always a useful asset for persuading others to invest time, money and effort in your business, and keep your plans on track.

2. What to include in your plan

To write an effective business plan you'll need to answer these four questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your business? (Your mission statement).
  2. What do you want to achieve with it? (Your objectives).
  3. How will you achieve your objectives? (Your strategy).
  4. How much will it cost? (Your budget).
What to include in your plan

3. The essentials of your plan

Top-line summary

Open your business plan with a top-line summary to help readers gain a quick understanding. You can write this last.

The language

Make sure your plan is clear and concise, free of jargon, well-researched and achievable.

If you don't have all the information you need you can still make a start, then add more as details become available.

Your business plan’s structure

Try setting out your plan into four sections:

  • Your current situation. Describe the type of business you're in and the products and/or services you provide, including details of your growth so far if relevant.
  • Where you would like to be and by when – describe your vision.
  • How you plan to get there (your strategies).
  • What should be done by whom and by when?

In each section take a look at:

  • staff
  • cashflow and profit
  • positioning
  • your business profile.

Avoid using very detailed figures as these will be more likely to change and date your plan.

4. Sample business plan

Take a look at our sample business plan for ideas on how to put your own together.

Download our guide – Sample business plan (PDF, 240KB)

Start-up success

Check out our five tips to start-up success.

Funding growth

Ready to grow? We’ll guide you through the process of exploring funding options.

Open an account with us

Mental Health UK works to deliver information, advice and support to those affected by poor mental health, their loved ones, carers, colleagues and employers.

Important legal information

Lloyds Bank is a trading name of Lloyds Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH.

Lloyds Bank plc. Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065. Bank of Scotland plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland no. SC327000. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Registered office 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 10399850. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278, 169628 and 763256 respectively.

Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH has its registered office at Thurn-und-Taxis Platz 6, 60313 Frankfurt, Germany. The company is registered with the Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, HRB 111650. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is supervised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht.

Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Please note that due to FSCS and FOS eligibility criteria not all business customers will be covered.

While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is correct, no liability is accepted by Lloyds Bank for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances. Specific advice should always be sought in each instance.