How to Write a Business Plan for your Social Enterprise

Big Issue Invest Regional Investment Manager, Natalia Fernandez shares her insight about how to get started with a business plan for your social enterprise

Often when we receive a request for investment we will ask the prospective investee to share their business plan.  This is not a regulatory requirement, so why do we ask for it?  It’s because your business plan tells us that you are thinking about where the organisation is headed, and this is a crucial factor  if we are to consider making an investment. But more practically, how do you write a business plan for your social enterprise? This blog aims to outline that for you and your coworkers.

What do I include in my business plan?

Some key information you should provide in this plan:

  • Your mission (statement) and details of the beneficiaries you work with or support
  • The products and/or services you provide
  • Your social impact
  • The operational plan, ie what are your strategic goals
  • Your plan for growth, if applicable
  • Your strategy for driving the market forward (with cost implications)
  • A competitive analysis to demonstrate that you know who your competitors are and how they affect your business
  • The business structure, including the management team and the board of directors/trustees.

Some plans will go into a lot of detail and start with an executive summary, this is welcome but not essential for us.  Other plans include financial information with spread sheets and timelines – these are always welcome.  If you include these make sure they are reader friendly. Remember to explain the assumptions behind your financials.

We understand that the length of your business plan and the level of detail you provide will vary dependent on the size of the organisation, the depth of information you want to share and the template you might be working with.

What happens if my social enterprise evolves over time?

Finally, your plan is an evolving document, it will and should be updated because of changes in the business’ environment, trends or competition.  It can be considered as a guide or road map giving your organisation a clear sense of direction and purpose. Check what is required before you commence as this can be time consuming and your time is valuable.

If you would like more information, a guide even on best practise, read the link following link on 10 Tips to craft a Strong Business Plan.

For more insight follow Natalia on Twitter.