Preparing a Business Plan

BY CALLUM McDONNELL

Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.
— - Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

We’re now well under way in this year’s programme. Last week, our incubants were brought to the cosier and friendlier Tangent space at the front of the Berkeley Library at Trinity.

Our two speakers, Rihanna O’ Kelly and Jason Bradshaw, came from JPA Brenson Lawlor, one of Ireland's leading Business, Accounting and Taxation Advisors. They sat next to our incubator teams and answered plenty of questions, including when they should think about incorporating, what is the fairest way to divide equity amongst the co-founders and how detailed their finances should be. Each team gladly took the opportunity to seek some good advice and validation for their ideas.

We went over what should be in a Business Plan and a Shareholders Agreement. David Ola, the Incubator Manager of TES, stressed on the importance of having a Business Plan and Co-Founder Agreement from the early stages of a business.

Business Plan vs Co-Founder Agreement

A business plan is a written document that describes your business, its objectives, strategies, the market and realistic financial forecasts. Writing your Business Plan can sometimes be tedious work and you should seek professional advice from an accountant and/or solicitor.

A Co-Founder Agreement on the other hand, is a contract between Co-Founders. It sets out the ownership, initial investments and responsibilities of each founder. This agreement should also cover any potential disputes which may arise, it can provide protection as it shows what the co-founder agreed too.

Image courtesy: Seartec

The Importance of a Business Plan

A good business plan is crucial to the success of your business. Not only will it provide a good road map on where you should be heading, it is also an essential part of securing financing. It is therefore extremely important that your business plan is free from mistakes and spell checked by at least 10 other people.

Key Elements of a Business Plan

  1. Your business plan must look extremely professional and match the language of the intended reader. The use of professional language is important, buzzwords such as “cool” “amazing” and “the next big thing” should be avoided.

  2. Always include a detailed market analysis. This will help you really understand your competitors. A potential investor will realise your market knowledge and be more confident to invest in you.

  3. Have a marketing plan and sales forecast. This should be a detailed report on how you plan to make your company profitable, including how you are currently acquiring customers and your strategy for getting more in the future.

  4. Show your financial projections and ensure you can reasonably back them up. You should use information based on your revenue growth and the market trends, combine this with your sales strategy to make accurate financial projections.

Start today!

A clear Business Plan and Co-Founder Agreement can take up some of your valuable time, but they are also extremely important and should be completed with care.

If you have any questions or issues with completing your Business Plan or Co-Founder Agreement, you may contact any member of the TES committee!