How to structure a business plan in a quick and painless way.  

This will help you to develop the key elements of the business plan for a new venture or help develop an existing business.

You have 15 minutes to decide your plan, so spend some time thinking first and then write down your thoughts in 15 minutes.

This then forms the basis of the business plan for you to build on.

Before you begin:

  • Remember your audience. This could be the bank or potential lender such as AMC or a business partner who could be a family member or another farmer.
  •  Past financial records. If you have them, grab past accounts and any financial records i.e. budgets, cash flows etc. Even if these don’t relate at all to the proposed venture, they may show things like your ability to budget etc.
  • Consider who should be involved?  The key business owners should definitely be involved and possibly a third party to make the notes and sound ideas off.
  • Don’t look at old business plans, they will be a distraction.
  • Don’t worry about missing out bits or making mistakes, the best plans are often the first ones.
  • Don’t forget to take 15 minutes. There are 7 sections so allow roughly 2 minutes per section.


Your 15 minutes start now:

The opportunity

Briefly detail the proposal and why this provides you with an opportunity.  Write down what makes your proposed business unique.What is your vision for the new venture.

Your Background

How did you get into farming? What sectors have you worked in? What experience do you have to make the new venture a success? [Later add a CV and references as appendices]

Strengths and Weaknesses

A strength is good, but a weakness turned into a strength is better. List strengths first (so what are you good at or what areas do you enjoy most). The outline weaknesses and threats and think about how you overcome them through contingencies or careful planning.

Business Objectives

List your key business objectives making sure they are specific, measurable and realistic.  Then add what you would hope to achieve by when (i.e. set target dates.) Make sure you include what your measures of success are.

Business Environment

Estimate your market size, value and growth potential. List your competitors and where you sit in relation to them. Define your ideal customer. Consider what effect changes to the economy might have


What is your current net worth? (All assets vs. all liabilities). What is your current financial state? I.e. recent accounts, current bank balance etc.  What funds are needed to pursue the new venture? Where will these funds come from?

Other issues

Consider environmental benefits or enhancements you can bring? Think about planning permissions, tenancies, other business partners. Think about how the new venture fits with any existing venture in terms of resources (buildings, labour, management time etc.). Do any grants or other funding opportunities look likely?

Then relax and review what you have just written.  The actual business plan will take much longer, but this will help establish your key points and form the basis to your proposal.

For help with this or taking your business forward do not hesitate to contact us. T: 01684 853400 E: