11.1.Information about Business Planning
Why Write a Business Plan
The business plan is an essential business tool. It is a document that sets out how the co-operative will operate.
It will help you focus your ideas and should be produced whether or not you need to raise finance for your business.
It will clarify the objectives of the co-op. What do the members want from the co-operative and what are the benefits
By preparing financial forecasts, you will be able to test the viability of your business idea, before you commit any money to it.
If you are already in business the forecasts you make can be used as a yardstick to compare projections to actual performance.
If you are trying to get finance from a bank or other financial institution you will need hard evidence that the business you intend to set up will be commercially viable and you will be able to repay any loans taken out.
There is no right or wrong way to write a business plan. The important thing is that you and your colleagues understand the plan and that it has meaning for you.
Writing the plan should help you understand how the co-operative will organise itself both on a strategic and on a day to-day basis.
Do you have the resources, finance, premises ,workers, equipment, etc. to make the co-operative work.
By its very nature business planning is not an exact science. You will be making assumptions about what you think is likely to happen from the evidence and knowledge that you have. In general, it is far better to take a pessimistic rather than optimistic approach to this process.
11.2.1 Sample Business Plan Contents Page
SAMPLE CONTENTS PAGE
Introduction or Executive Summary
Your Aims & Objectives