We are passionate about helping your business grow, so for the next 7 weeks, our team of expert business advisors share their top tips across all need to know areas from insurance to marketing to find a new premises.  This week consultant Remi Harris shares her top tips on how to write a business plan to help your business this summer.

Love running your creative business, but stalling on writing your business plan? You’re not alone!

If you are asking for someone else’s money they will expect to see a plan, and it is often at that point when founders are forced to put one together, they have a bit of a meltdown.

To avoid the crisis, what you need now is something which tells the story of

(a) where you came from?
(b) where you hope to go and how you will get there?
(c) what impact your plan will have?

You probably have loads of ideas about how you could grow the business, things you would like to do and issues that might come up, but just focus on telling a CLEAR and SIMPLE story that covers the points.

Where did you come from?
Your potential backer needs to know about you and your company. When, how and why did you start the business? What are your qualifications, background and experience in the industry? If you have anyone on your team or any co-founders, what is their background? What have you done to date? Who are your customers? What products and services do you offer? What are you offering that is different or better than others?

Where do you hope to go?
Your potential backer needs to know how you are planning to grow. What is the opportunity to increase your profit that you have identified? What would you actually do to increase your profit/sell more/reach new markets/launch a new product? What research or evidence have you got to demonstrate that this is a good opportunity?  How much money do you need? What would you use the money to do?

What will the impact be?
What results will you see if you are successful? How much could you increase sales in terms of ‘units’, ‘jobs’ or revenue? How much could you increase your profit next year compared to last year? How could your company improve its cash-flow or position in the market if you can grow successfully? Would you create new jobs? Think about who you are writing for, and what they want to know. If you are writing for an investor they want to know how much the company will grow over a period of time and how much the value of their shares in your company will increase. If you are approaching a lender, as in the case of most Creative Industry Finance clients, they will want to know how you will minimise risks to the business and ensure that you can repay your loan. Alternatively, social funders will need to see social benefits and impacts of your work.

Add real figures, details from research with customers, evidence of what you have done, testimonials and images to illustrate your story.

So don’t panic! Get started now and put together a draft plan that tells your story If you get accepted onto the Creative Industry Finance programme, you will be able to work with your personal Business Advisor to produce several drafts of your business plan and strengthen your case before you submit it in application for a loan.

Remi Harris 
Remi Harris has 15-years’ experience working across the creative industries as mentor and business adviser, and is qualified with an MBA and a certificate in Business Mentoring. She has secured more than a million pounds of grants and loans for her clients. She is author of the book: Easy Money? The Definitive Guide to Funding Music Projects in the UK (2013).