What is a business plan?

Watch our short video that explains the concept of a business plan and what to include.

A business plan is a simple document that tells people about what type of organisation you are and what you are trying to achieve. It can be simple or complex, but having one is imperative in a competitive world. Some people refer to a business plan as a strategy. What’s important is not what you call it, but what you include. 

What should be included? 

Title and subtitle

Every great business plan starts with a captivating title and subtitle. You will want to make it clear that the document is, in fact, a business plan, but the subtitle can help tell the story of your organisation in just a short sentence.

Executive summary 

Although this is the last part of the business plan that you will write, it’s the first section that stakeholders will read, setting the stage for the rest of the document. It includes your organisation’s mission or vision statement, values, and goals. 

Organisational description 

This brief part of your business plan will detail your business name, years in operation, key offerings, and positioning statement. You might even add core values or a short history of the organisation. 

The opportunities you have 

The business opportunity should convince investors, funders, or members of the public that your organisation meets the needs of the market in a way that no other organisation can. 

The competitive analysis 

Understanding your competition is crucial to understanding how you can succeed, support more beneficiaries, and thrive. 

The target market 

You need to think about who you will support and how. In this section, you might need to think about geography, demographics, how customers access services or their behaviours. 


Marketing can be expensive, but you should have some basic and simple ideas about how you want to communicate with your beneficiaries and what type of messages you wish to send. 

The finances 

Outlining a financial summary of where your organisation is currently and where you would like to be in 12 months’ time will be useful in this section. 

The team 

Outline your team, its strengths, and the skills that you have at your disposal. 

Your funding requirements 

Remember that one of the goals of a business plan is to secure funding from investors, so you will need to include the funding requirements that you are seeking – the amount your business needs, for what reasons, and for how long. 

Types of business plan 

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to business plans. Choose one which suits your organisational needs and remember to update and review it regularly.

Find out more at www.voluntaryimpact.org.uk/resources.