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:

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

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:

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
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