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Business plan drafting

Preparing and drafting business plans for immigration purposes and strategic planning of UK trade activities.

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of business planning both for young English entrepreneurs and companies that already have experience working in the United Kingdom. A business plan is a universal tool to ensure the successful completion of the following tasks:

  • Strategic planning for new or existing business projects;
  • Attracting additional investment;
  • Obtaining loans for business development;
  • Obtaining mortgages in UK financial institutions for the purchase of commercial property;
  • Applying for a UK visa to relocate to the UK.

No matter what type of company you have or why you need a business plan, Imperial & Legal will help you draft it according to British standards in proper and correct English.

Business Plan for New UK Businesses

If you intend to set up a company, especially if you plan to do this with a partner, a good way to start is to write a business plan. It needs to be quite detailed describing your targeted markets and customers, marketing and sales strategies, and financial forecasts.

A proper business plan will help you highlight all strengths and weaknesses of your business idea, forecast how it will be developing, do detailed budgeting, allocate resources in the right way, set goals, address potential issues and minimise risks.

How can young entrepreneurs benefit from a detailed business plan?

  • Highlight all strengths and weaknesses of a business idea;
  • Forecast how the idea will be developing;
  • Do detailed budgeting;
  • Distribute resources in the right way;
  • Set realistic goals;
  • Forecast and address potential issues;
  • Minimise risks.

Business Plan for Operating UK Businesses

A business plan is often an answer to the already existing companies with the following needs:

  • Restructuring or expansion;
  • Development or improvements;
  • Prompt resolution of issues accumulated during the company’s operation.

A business plan serves as a management roadmap for owners and top management that includes options for further development of a business venture.

Business Plan for Financial Planning

Another purpose of a good business plan is to secure investment or a loan from a bank, including through private investments, private capital, venture capital, bank financing, or crowdfunding.

A business plan guarantees a return on investment in due course and helps eliminate risks.

Business Plan for UK Visas

It is required by the Home Office to provide a valid business plan when applying for most UK business visas. However, when a business plan is optional, we still strongly recommend having one. For example, if you apply for a sponsorship licence, a business plan will provide evidence that a company will be operating in the UK.

A good business plan is a mandatory requirement if you apply for a UK Innovator Founder visa or a UK Expansion Worker visa. Why do foreign entrepreneurs need a business plan to relocate to the UK?

UK Innovator Founder Visa

A UK Innovator Founder applicant, just as applicants for the cancelled UK Start-up and UK Innovator visas, must get an endorsement letter before applying for a visa. It can be issued by endorsing bodies that promote relevant business activities in the UK and are authorised by the UK government.

A business idea is evaluated against three criteria: innovativeness, viability, and scalability. Besides, you will not be able to join an already operating UK company no matter how revolutionary your business ideas are. You will have to set up a new company. An endorsing body must get answers to the following questions:

  • What business do you want to run?
  • What is the demand for your goods or services in the oversaturated UK market?
  • Will you be able to register a new UK company to sell goods and/or provide services in the country?
  • Do you have enough experience, education, and resources to fulfil your business idea?
  • Does your business idea leave room for expansion and further development?

With a business plan drafted according to British standards, you will be able to provide full answers to all the above questions and obtain an endorsement letter for your visa application.

UK Expansion Worker Visa

All the applicants for a UK Expansion Worker visa must draft a business plan and submit a copy together with a visa application.

Foreign specialists will work more effectively when they follow a properly prepared plan. Such a plan also simplifies the new company’s interaction with UK financial institutions, for example, when it comes to opening a corporate account or obtaining a loan for business development.

If you plan to get a UK Innovator Founder visa or one of the UK Global Business Mobility visas but cannot draft a detailed business plan in English yourself, you can contact Imperial & Legal’s experienced specialists. Our experienced team will be able to help you draft a business plan of any complexity as quickly as possible and to the highest standards.

Structure and Contents of Business Plan

A business plan for a UK company must contain 7–8 sections with the following information:

  • Summary — a general and brief description of your business idea, market research results, assessment of the company’s prospects, as well as indication of target parameters of the venture and resources needed;
  • Review — a mandatory section only for operating UK companies. This is the record of the company’s previous business activities, including financial indicators over the last operating period;
  • Management — description of the company’s structure. If a business plan is drafted for an operating UK company, this section should include standard reports on commercial activity as well as the partners’ feedback. The section must also include an action plan in case the company has faced any issues throughout its operation;
  • Detailed description of goods or services that you will offer in the UK. It is recommended to focus on the uniqueness of your products, including information about patents;
  • Marketing. At the beginning, include the results of the market research, competitors, and clients. An operating company must include information about its size, growth over the previous periods, and expected future growth. You must also indicate who is going to sell your products and how, what channels and resources you will use to promote them, how the price for your goods or services will be formed, and what your sales targets are;
  • Information about the company’s location, suppliers, employees, working conditions, and equipment;
  • Financial analysis — a section devoted to the company’s financial indicators. It must include a general financial forecast, cash flow for each month for several years ahead, funding timeline, results of audits (if it is an operating UK company), and the company’s performance indicators;
  • The final section is usually devoted to planning and prospects. It must include primary and secondary planning objectives, provide information on the venture’s investment needs, and detail the funding options (equity issue, investment, or bank loan) and attraction for investors.

Your business plan must describe your business idea in as much detail as possible, as well as your goals, potential issues, and effective measures to resolve them.

A properly drafted business plan is a kind of advertisement of your future or already existing UK business prepared specifically for:

  • An authorised body that can issue an endorsement letter for you;
  • Investors or banks so that you can get additional funding;
  • Home Office official so that you can get approval for your visa application.

The number of mandatory sections of a business plan as well as their layout depend on your circumstances and goals. For example, a standard business plan would be 20-30 pages of text and tables. If you want to attract additional investment, it should be more like a presentation: not very detailed but containing enough data to allow your potential investors to decide in your favour.

For any business plan, you need to gather and analyse data as well as understand business English and British formatting rules. Imperial & Legal’s consultants are always ready to provide you with qualified assistance at all the stages of business plan preparation for both start-ups and already operating companies.

FAQs about Business Plans for UK Companies

What is the difference between internal and external business plans?

Internal planning is done for the company owners and directors so that they can understand at what stage of development (for an operating company) their business is or get forecasts for the development on the British market as well as highlight existing and potential issues and find effective ways to resolve them.

An internal plan can be in any language. However, Imperial & Legal’s specialists recommend following a structure described in UK standards. To get an objective assessment of your work and prospects in the UK market, you will require external expertise. In other words, you will have to ask an independent consultant who knows the British business environment well to help you.

An external business plan is drafted to get a UK business visa, open a UK bank account or get a loan in a British bank, as well as to attract additional investment. For these purposes, you will need business English and skills in presenting your business and its brilliant prospects in a commonly accepted format. If your business is operating, it will be important to describe its previous activities in the best light. To avoid any complications, it is recommended to contact Imperial & Legal’s specialists.

What are the common mistakes made by young entrepreneurs in drafting a business plan?

Imperial & Legal’s experts share the top three most common mistakes while drafting a UK business plan:

  • Lack of preparation is at the top of the list. A foreign entrepreneur would normally have a vague understanding of the British market. That’s why, without preparation, thorough data collection, and professional consultations, they will hardly be able to assess their prospects objectively and provide a realistic forecast of the company’s development;
  • The second common mistake is neglecting the UK formatting practices. As a result, a person who will evaluate your business plan may get confused with an unfamiliar layout and refuse a prospective idea;
  • The third place, according to our experts, should be given to incorrect presentation of data and errors related to either lack of experience or the entrepreneur’s attempt to exaggerate the data. Inflated financial figures, inaccurate data about your product, and unrealistically short deadlines will cause suspicion in the person who will assess your documents and make the final decision.

You should pay close attention to the weaknesses of your venture, double-check all the data, and engage a competent expert for an objective assessment of the finished business plan. In this way, you will be able to eliminate all the above-mentioned mistakes.

Is it a normal practice to include potential and current business development issues in a business plan?

Yes, of course. A business plan is designed to demonstrate your business idea and its prospects. However, a good business plan is more than just a presentation of positives. Even the most successful ventures face challenges, so the main risks and solutions to potential crises must be included in your business plan.

Investors, banks, endorsing bodies, and the Home Office will trust your business plan more if there is an overview of the current and potential challenges and possible solutions. Mentioning challenges alongside positive indicators is a normal practice for a UK business plan drafting. It proves that you have considered all scenarios in your planning.

What is risk analysis and risk management?

Risk analysis is a separate section of a business plan or part of another section (for example, marketing or management section) that addresses the company’s potential risks.

As a rule, risk analysis is a table with five columns:

  • Risk;
  • Description;
  • Potential consequences;
  • Likelihood;
  • Risk management.

The fifth column should include information on how to avoid risks, cope with the consequences, and minimise negative impact. Good analysis of potential risks is key to a well-developed business plan.

Need help with writing a business plan?

Imperial & Legal will help you develop and draft a business plan according to UK standards in proper and correct English.