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business.gov.au Business Plan Guide

Prepared: December 2009

Table of Contents

Preparing yourself4
Analyse your business idea4
Analyse yourself4
Business planning5
Regular review5
Distributing & protecting your plan5
Advice and support6
Attending business events6
Taking on a mentor or business coach6
Using the Template7
Template overview8
Title page8
Business Plan Summary9
The Business12
The Market21
The Future24
The Finances25
Supporting documentation31
Glossary32

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This Business Plan Guide and the accompanying Business Plan Template have been developed by business.gov.au, the Australian Government's principal business resource, located within the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Copies of the latest version of this guide and the template can be downloaded from www.business.gov.au/businessplan.

If you need further information, assistance or referral about a small business issue, please contact the Small Business Support Line on 1800 77 7275.

Preparing yourself

Before you start writing your business plan, you should honestly evaluate yourself and decide if your business idea has a good chance of success. Analysis can help you anticipate any challenges you may face and help you overcome them.

Analyse your business idea

Is your idea feasible? Before you get started, find out if there is a demand for your products or services. It's also useful to find out who your competitors are and whether the market can sustain your business.

Researching all aspects of your business idea will involve gathering, analysing and evaluating information to help you write your business goals. Some questions to consider are:

• What product/service will you provide?
• Is your idea viable?
• How will you protect your ideas?
• Is there a market for your product/service?
• What skills do you need?
• Who are your competitors?
• What difference will you bring to the market?
• Do you have the financial capacity to start a business?

Analyse yourself

Are you ready to venture into business? Operating a small business is not just about working for yourself, it's also about having the necessary management skills, industry expertise, technical skills, finance and of course a long-term vision to grow and succeed. 

At the outset it’s important to consider whether you really understand what's involved and whether you're suited to business and self employment. Examine these questions:

• Why are you starting a business?
• What are your business and personal goals?
• What are your skills?
• What income do you need to generate?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of starting your own business?

Business planning

Once you've conducted research into the feasibility of your new business you're ready to write your business plan.

A business plan provides direction, keeps you on track and is usually a requirement when you seek finance. Depending on your business type, your plan could include the following sections:

▪ Business Summary: A one-page overview written after your business plan is finalised. ▪ About your business: This is typically called the management plan or operations plan. It covers details about your business including structure, registrations, location and premises, staff, and products/services. ▪ About your market: This is the marketing plan. It should outline your marketing analysis of the industry you are entering, your customers and your competitors. This section should also cover your key marketing targets and your strategies for delivering on these targets. ▪ About your future: This section covers your plans for the future and can include a vision statement, business goals and key business milestones. ▪ About your finances: The financial plan includes how you'll finance your business, costing and financial...
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