BarclaysYou’ve been to the bank with your grand idea and your friendly bank manager has said “where’s your marketing and business plan?” and as it’s something you’ve ducked for a long time, you have to admit you don’t have one.

Your accountant says, “If you fail to plan, then it means you are planning to fail”. That sounds smart but it’s also true.

You sheepishly admit that you don’t know where to start. And you certainly don’t want to fail. So you ask your accountant to prepare your business plan.

“I can’t do that”, she says.  Your smart accountant adds something like “it’s got to be your business plan and only you can put it together.” Again that makes sense because, after all, your accountant is smart.

“But where do I start?” you ask.

You tell her about an entrepreneur from China who has recently raised $25 billion or so on the New York Stock Exchange when his company, Alibaba, went public. You explain that you only want to borrow about £75,000 from your bank and you are even prepared to put up your house as security… “It’s just a drop in the ocean”, you say.

LoanYour accountant makes a few suggestions – including that you read some of the brilliant Bizezia publications on the subject. The web address is: onesmartplace.com/products/online-business-library.

Your smart accountant sees that you are eager for more information so she suggests you view the index of the Bizezia publications.

She also suggests that there’s an organisation called MPlans who provide a number of free resources. In particular, she mentions The Essential Contents of a Marketing Plan (available here) written by Tim Berry of Palo Alto Software plus lots of other free resources at www.mplans.com.

Lastly, your accountant says that MPlans have a library of more than 100 free sample marketing plans, covering several industries
to help you to get inspired to create your own – available here.

How to Write a Business Plan

You go away and start writing your masterpiece… after about a week, you realise that your marketing plan is only a part of your business plan. It isn’t the whole business plan itself.

You call your accountant for some pointers and she suggests that you go back to the MPlans website and visit a page that provides insight and practical advice on how to write a business plan – it has dozens of articles on business plan writing as well as hundreds of free sample business plans and business plan templates to see real-life examples. The web address is: articles.bplans.co.uk/category/writing-a-business-plan.

Lessons from this story:

  • Opportunity - FailureDon’t go empty-handed to your bank if you want to borrow money
  • Every business needs a business and marketing plan whether it is borrowing money or not
  • Start planning early
  • Speak to your accountant at the outset

Martin Pollins

Managing Director at One Smart Place
Martin Pollins is a Chartered Accountant and MBA with wide experience in corporate finance and business management. He has served on the boards of several companies, including those listed on the London Stock Exchange, AIM and OFEX. He is Chairman and Founder of OneSmartPlace and was a Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales from 1988 to 1996. He was managing partner of PRB Martin Pollins, based in Sussex, the first Accountancy firm to advertise on British television.He went on to create and launch the CharterGroup Partnership (the UK’s first Accountancy network) and then LawGroup UK (at the time, one of the largest networks of lawyers in the UK). In recent years, he helped to raise several £millions to fund British films such as The Da Vinci Code, Bridge of San Luis Rey, Head in the Clouds and Merchant of Venice with actors such as Charlize Theron, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, F. Murray Abraham. Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne, Geraldine Chaplin, Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, Audrey Tautou, Penélope Cruz, Steven Berkoff, Lynn Collins, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes and many more.

He has written over 700 business publications (see Glossaries at http://onesmartplace.com/resources/glossaries/) and is editor of Better Business Focus (see http://onesmartplace.com/resources/better-business-focus-magazine). His Blog, on a wide range of subjects can be found at: http://onesmartplace.com/blog/
Martin Pollins

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