A business plan will make
your idea visible
A written business plan will help you outline your business idea and indicates how you will implement the idea in practice. Most and foremost, drawing up a business plan and carefully evaluating your business operations is useful for you, however, you will also need a business plan for financiers and business partners as well as applying for a start-up grant.
Invest enough time to develop your business plan. You do not have to complete the business plan in one sitting, you can refine the plan later.
A well-prepared business plan including calculations gives outsiders an idea of the profitability of a business and its prospects. The plan allows you to show that your business has a chance to succeed, even if you do not have any financial statements yet.
What is important in the business plan is not the amount of text, but the fact that you outline all the key information about your business, your skills, and future plans.
You do not have to create the business plan in the exact order of our example below, but we recommend you to consider all the aforementioned aspects when you create your plan.
- Names of the entrepreneur and/or team members
- Preliminary name of the company
- Company address
- Main industry
- Company form or mode of operation
Briefly describe your business idea with a few sentences. How would you describe your company to a stranger for the first time? What products or services do you provide? Who is your customer and how do you sell?
The competence of the entrepreneur create a basis for the enterprise. A successful entrepreneur could be described with characteristics, such as result oriented, persistent and independence. It the company is founded by a team, describe the expertise of the team. Inform, for example, whether you have experience in entrepreneurship or if you have completed entrepreneurial studies. Evaluate also your digital competence.
How does your education, skills, or work experience support becoming an entrepreneur in this industry?
What skills do you think you need to improve?
SWOT analysis is a simple yet well-functioning tool for analysis. It describes the internal strenghts and weaknesses of the business idea, entrepreneur and company, as well as the opportunities and threats.
What skills and strenghts do you have? What is the strength of your business idea?
What skills are you still lacking? What is your business idea’s weak spot?
How could you benefit from the market situation? Could you take advantage of your networks, for example?
What threats does the market and your business environment have?
What products or services do you offer to your customers?
To what price do you sell your products or services? Do you use prices according to unit, hour or contract? What is your pricing based on?
How much do you aim to sell in a day, in a week, in a month, or in a year? Evaluate your sales in, for example, euros, number of customers, unit number of products or amount of service hours.
Also visit the website of Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency > Products and services and learning environment I Know My Products.
Who are your customers, i.e. who do you sell to?
Do you sell to consumers or other businesses?
Describe your typical customer on a general level.
Specify your key customer groups.
Watch a video How to find customers?
Where is your target market geographically located?
Does your company operate in the Finnish market or does it have international potential?
How many potential customers are there in the market?
What is the market situation, i. e. supply and demand of products and services, in your industry?
What are the prospects for market development?
How and why will your company attract customers in the market?
Who are your competitors? List 3–5 key competitors.
How do you stand out from other players in the industry? What is your competitive advantage? Are you bringing something new to the industry, that others do not offer? Why are you the one the customers want to buy from?
Watch a video Is there a market for your company?
How well do you know your customers’ needs? Have you investigated your customers’ needs?
How do you market your products or services?
Which marketing channels do you use?
How and where do you sell products or services?
How do you reach out to your customers?
How can the customers find your products or services?
Where and how do customers want to shop?
What concrete goals have you set for your business for the next 3–5 years, for example? Your goals may concern, for example, turnover, number of personnel, profitability, the company’s position in the market or number of customers.
Calculations related to the business plan (financing, profitability and sales volume calculations) will help you to define your goals in numbers and euros.
What risks may be associated with your business? How likely are the risks to materialise? How severe are the consequences of each risk for your business operations? Describe how your company is prepared for the identified risks.
Company premises and location.
What acquisitions or investments do you need to make in the beginning?
What is your role in the company? Do you hire employees and/or use subcontractors?
What permits does your company need? What notifications do you have to make to the authorities, for example?
How will you take care of your company’s intellectual property rights? For example, registration of the company name, trademark, patent or design protection.
What kind of pension insurance (YEL), and social and unemployment security do you need as an entrepreneur?
Are you going to apply for a start-up grant from the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE Office)?
How will you handle accounting and billing?
How will you organise the early-stage financing of your business? Will you need external sources of finance?
What kind of contracts will your company sign (for example tenancy, salon booth rental agreement, cooperation agreement, subcontract)?
The business plan should include a financing, profitability, sales volume and cash flow calculation. Together the written part and the calculations form a business plan for your company.