Creating A Good Business Plan – The Perfect Introduction To The Bank

The value of a good business plan cannot be overstated. Taking time to complete a thorough business plan before you start your franchise will help you think methodically and sharpen your ideas about your business. So what are the key things you will need to consider when preparing your business plan?

Here are 10 tips

1. Begin the plan with background material on the history of the franchise and an outline of your product or service and its USP.

2. Describe the market segments in which you compete, trends and drivers, and the nature of any existing customers or key targets.

3. Market strategy

Research and identify local competition and assess what the likely demand of the product / service will be in the specific territory and how the sales figures in the projections will be generated.

4. Management plan

Include details of the type of business (eg, sole trader, limited company) and CVs of key personnel. Set out the structure and key skills of the management team and staff.

5. SWOT analysis

An analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths might include brand name, quality of product, or management. Weaknesses might be lack of finance, or dependency on a few customers. Opportunities might be increasing demand or a competitor going out of business. Threats might be a downturn in the economy or a new competitor.

6. Operations

Analyse the capacity and efficiency of the current operations and any planned improvements. What premises does the business have? What production facilities are there and how is production organised? What is the capacity of the current facilities compared with existing and forecast demand? What management information systems are in place?

7. Provide latest financials

An up-to-date balance sheet and profit and loss and cashflow statements, highlight key figures (such as sales, key operating and financial ratios) and trends and explain anything unusual.

8. Financial data

At least two years projected figures are required, including a balance sheet, cashflow and profit and loss statement, ensuring that projections correspond with the information outlined above and they’re realistic. If it is a resale franchise, include details of the existing business being sold. Has the business been growing? Is it profitable?

9. Make sure that the plan is concise and focussed; move any detailed information (eg, market research, extensive financial information) to an appendix.

10. Read through the plan to ensure that it sets out a realistic strategy and action plan in a professional manner and ask advisers for their comments.

To summarise, here are our fundamental rules for writing a plan: 


  • Clarify the purpose of your plan before you write it
  • Focus on the key information the reader will want
  • Highlight future plans as well as describing the current situation
  • Be realistic


  • Waffle or include unnecessary detail
  • Base your plan on over-optimistic assumptions
  • Ignore competitive threats and weaknesses

The more solid information you can gather, the better the business plan will be. When requesting finance, the bank will look to assess the proposal using all of the areas covered above. A well-researched and written plan will show the bank that you are committed and understand the business, meaning that a request for finance is likely to be looked at more favourably than those who are unprepared.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your bank, we can help you to develop a financial package suitable for your specific needs, using all of the options available. By working together, we can help to ensure your business develops to its full potential.

Additional help and assistance on writing a business plan can be found at HSBC’s Knowledge Centre (, an online resource to help small business owners, whatever stage their business is at.

Lorna Smith is Senior Franchise Manager for HSBC. 

Lorna has held a number of managerial appointments within the bank and has spent several years in the branch network before moving to Corporate Banking where she specialised in payments and cash management, advising many large corporate companies.

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