2015 Business Plan Template – FREE Download

Do you leave the success of your business largely to chance? Do you believe that by planning ahead you could reap larger rewards and ensure you are managing your business operations efficiently and in line with your longer-term objectives?  Many of our articles lately have been around the topic of Business Planning. Particularly at this time of year most commercial business owners will be revisiting what worked last year and laying the path for the new financial year.  Learn how to set SMART goals and download our FREE Business Plan Template to get started.

Looking Back: An honest assessment of the last year

If you were organised enough to prepare any sort of business plan last year, formal or informal, short or long, this is the best starting point.
  • Review your business plan and any targets, particularly financial targets
  • Did you broadly achieve what you set out to?
  • What contributed to your results? Good and bad. List everything.
  • Consider reasons why aspects of your business worked and others failed.
  • Did the economy have an impact on your business performance?
  • What else were the driving factors for success or failure?
  • Looking back, were the targets set realistic?
  • What key decisions were made in the last 12 months?
  • Would you change anything? If so, what?

Lessons learned

This exercise simply gets you thinking about your business, it’s performance, it’s potential and how it can better be managed in the coming year from the lessons you have learned. You most likely know the lessons, or did at the time, but voicing them onto paper helps to remind you of their importance.

There is no time to start like now

If you didn’t prepare a business plan last year you can still carry out this exercise by casting your mind back 12 months and note where your business has succeeded and failed on a more broader scale.

Looking forward: Setting SMART short and long-term goals

The next part of the process involves looking forward considering and detailing what your future objectives are for your business, as well as for you personally. When setting goals it is vital to set business goals in line with personal goals – the two are directly and wholly linked. Business goals should be a mechanism to achieving your personal goals. For a goal to be effective it needs to be SMART: S       Specific M      Measurable A      Achievable R      Realistic T      Time bound Some people replace “Realistic” for “Results Driven” which is equally important – there is no point in setting a goal that doesn’t focus on getting results one way or another.  

A strategy to achieving your goals

For every goal there needs to be some form of strategy. How will you meet the objective you are setting? What resources do you need, if any? What is your contingency?

Example of setting a SMART goal with a strategy

Objective:  Increase income by 10% in Q1 and 20% in Q2
Strategy 1: Raise standard price by 5% starting from 1 April. Plan for an email to be sent to clients by Jacky (Assistant) by 25 March.  Expect 3% of clients to complain and 1% to leave as a result.
Strategy 2: Ask Fred (sales manager) to contact all existing clients to arrange a meeting with the aim to cross sell an upgraded service to at least 15% of clients.
Strategy 3: Start using the financial bookkeeping software to it’s maximum potential to keep better track of results on a bi-weekly basis. Advice the bookkeeper of new requirements before the start of the new financial year.
Note that the strategy included SPECIFIC details about how much (10% and 20%) and the TIMEFRAME (Q1 and Q2) where results should be seen.

Detailing everything in a Business Plan

Business plans are documents that many people only prepare on start-up or if they need finance for expansion. In reality though it is a useful tool to have and update every year for your own internal processes. Your Business Plan is a map to avoid steering off course and leaving your business to chance. It only brings positive action in driving your business forward.   It doesn’t have to be a lengthy document. It simply needs to capture information, thoughts and ideas in a logical way so that in later months results can be compared to targets to monitor success. Share your Business Plan with your team too if you want added “buy-in” to achieving your plans.

Get started

  1. DOWNLOAD our 2015 Business Plan Template as a starting point -Add your own style to make it bespoke for your business.
  2. Combine it with other templates we have provided – DOWNLOAD here
  • SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Financial Forecast Template
Figurit are commited to helping London based commercial business owners thrive by achieving both their short and long-term personal and business goals. We provide toolkits and guidance on our blog but we have lots more to share. Contact the team to discuss where we can help you succeed. T: 020 7376 9333 E: info@lansdellrose.co.uk