Writing a business plan can feel daunting and it’s probably not the thing you’re looking forward to most if you’re setting up a new company. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a difficult or boring task. If you’re truly passionate about your business idea for a professional services company, whether it’s a beauty salon, nursery, or recruitment consultancy, you might even enjoy the process.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a document that explains what your company does, how it operates, and what your short, medium, and long-term SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) goals are. It outlines your business finances and examines your target audience, your unique selling proposition, your main competition, and the marketplace you operate in.
In a nutshell, it’s your company’s strategic blueprint, and once it’s done you can use it to support loan applications or impress potential investors.
Something that can also help your planning is a Business Model Canvas. It is a handy tool to help you build out your business plan.
Do small professional services companies need a business plan?
When it comes to business planning, size doesn’t matter so much. Even a small, home-based professional services company such as a consultancy or cleaning business, with low start-up costs and no office, needs to understand the competition and have a realistic growth plan in place to prosper.
If you plan to deliver your professional services online, you’ll still need to think carefully about how to market yourself in order to stand out and find new customers. On the other hand, if you’re starting a firm that will provide services direct from your business premises, such as a hair and beauty salon, you’ll need to consider things like property rental costs and location.
Do you need an investor or bank loan to get set up? In terms of location, factors like area footfall, shop visibility, parking/public transport links and the size/layout of your premises will impact your financial model and marketing strategy. A good business plan will help you to consider all these elements and how you will make your venture a success.
Why you should write a business plan
- It shows that you take your business seriously: investors, banks and funding bodies typically expect to see a comprehensive and well-researched business plan.
- It will help you define your unique selling proposition and get to know your competition.
- The planning process will encourage you to identify threats and challenges, plus come up with viable solutions in advance.
- It requires you to map out your projected income and will allow you to demonstrate how your business idea will make money and evolve.
- Setting short, medium and long-term SMART goals, such as launching a new service or opening in a second location, will give you a business roadmap to guide activity.
- Revisiting your business plan regularly and comparing your SMART goals to results and achievements can be a good way to benchmark your company’s performance.
- Researching your target demographic in order to get a good feel for their shopping habits and preferences will lay the foundation for your marketing strategy.
How to write a business plan for professional services firms
Our free professional services business plan template comes with a detailed outline of the type of information to cover, as well as lots of useful tips on how to structure your plan. Typically, it would cover the following sections:
- Executive summary
- Company overview
- Audience and market
- Services and pricing
- The team
- Resources and finances
Before you start working on the projections for your finance section, take a look at our guide page on how to get more accurate figures for your business plan.
Making the most of your business plan
Business planning is an ongoing process, so revisit the objectives you set for yourself monthly to make sure you’re on track. You could also use these checks as opportunities to update your plan with any new customer feedback.
Review your business plan once a year to see if it needs to be tweaked. Changes to your company, technology, competition and marketplace that may have an impact on your business strategy should inform your plan going forward.
Want help with your business planning?
Your accountant or your bank’s small business adviser should be able to give you tips and guidance. You can also use an online template, like the one we’ve designed for you below.
Business plan template for professional services companies
Want to create a business plan for your professional services company but not sure how to do it? Download our free and easy-to-use business plan template and you can get started.