2) Researching for the Business Plan

To establish a new or improve an existing organisation much depends upon the Business Plan. This involves considerable research to ensure that the `direction of travel` is dovetailed to meeting needs and can access resources.  

A good Business Plan is vital for a new or even an established organisation to ensure it is continuously relevant .It will also help think through many aspects of the new organisation and plan and prioritise for the future. It will help get an overview of the new organisation, and is a useful tool for presenting ourselves to funders and supporters.

Charities do not require Business Plans but many have them for the whole organisation, or for a particular project or part (when it is sometimes called a Project Plan). However a community Interest Company (CIC) is primarily a business which utilises grants. It still has to be run as a Business and funders often want to see a Business Plan. The framework that follows outlines the issues to be included/considered under each of the headings in the Organisation Plan or Business Plan.

Executive summary
This will be written after the rest of the plan is complete. It will summarise our overall plan for the new or existing organisation. It will provide anyone reading it with a quick and clear idea of what we are planning to do. It should include the 5 main points that we want our reader`s to remember. It could include some of the following issues:
• Evolution of the organisation
• The strategic purpose of the organisation
• What the company structure will be (depends on what we want to do)
• What markets are there (We will conduct some local research )
• What products/services will we provide (based on local needs)
• The demand or need for the product/service (The need to generate own income )
• The key strengths of the organisation
• The expected financial performance
• The assumptions upon which the plan is based
• Any anticipated risks and how they will be dealt with

2.0) Introduction and Mission or Vision Statement
A brief 30-40 word statement that describes what drives an organisation, what is unique about it and identifies the outcomes and benefits it provides.

The Vision Statement -i.e.
We exist to promote, develop & deliver new projects & services which bring tangible benefits to our area .

3.0) Organisation Background
Information that will assist the reader /funder understanding the rest of the Business Plan, it may include the following:
• Why we came about and key events to date
• Our legal status? Where is the organisation located/offices?
• What does it provide to whom (projects /services?)
• What is the scale of the operation-annual turnover, number of beneficiaries in Brixham?
• How do we relate to the community in which situated? What is the `gaps` we fill? What is our relationship/partnership with other community organisations, the local partnership etc

4.0) Current Situation of the Organisation
• The achievements to date
• What are its strengths; how has it been recognised and acknowledged?
• What positive links are there to other organisations?
• What are the organisation’s weaknesses?

5.0) Market Analysis/Research
What is likely to be happening in the organisation’s environment?
Political – Political factors such as government initiatives
Economic – i.e. cuts to local services?
Social – What demographic issues are there i.e. elderly /youth?
Technological – i.e. Do we have access to appropriate technology?

Internal factors Strengths What advantages do we have? What do we do well?
Weaknesses What do we do badly? What could we improve?
External factors Opportunities What opportunities or trends are we aware of ?
Are there any new funding streams we could access/or work?
Threats What obstacles DO WE FACE? What is the competition (YES) doing? How could their activities affect our organisation?

6.0) Objectives & Targets
• What are our core objectives and targets ?
• Based upon the Market research what is or can be our niche in the market?
• What will we be able to provide that is different and is not currently on offer from another organisation.
• What will be the service/projects be delivered in the future and for the benefit of whom?
Objectives are statements (maximum 6) detailing the purpose of our organisation or project. They can be seen as the changes you want to make, through our organisation or project.

Targets are the tasks needed to achieve the aims(sometimes called outputs) – realistic numbers that you expect to achieve, it is recommended that these should be SMART. This means they should be:
 Specific
 Measurable
 Achievable
 Realistic
 Timed
Our SMART objectives might include:
1) To work with local Statutory and Voluntary Agencies and Partnerships to facilitate or deliver new projects and services.
2) To maximize the regeneration of the built and natural environment to the benefit of the local community.
3) To improve the health & wellbeing, social care, housing, educational, skills and training opportunities.
4) To become self-financing earning income from activities and grants /donations (key issue how  `earn`-discussion as may limit types of projects?)

The Annual Targets Year 1

1) To `brainstorm` members ideas in light of above and assess need, viability, cost, impact, and timescales etc.

2) Conduct research into the published needs of the area to determine priorities and evidence to support funding applications

3) To discuss with a range of local stakeholders their views, needs and preferences to gain support for above.

4) To devise a `Business Plan` incorporating anticipated impacts from demographics, reductions in government spending.

5) To establish the organisation and seek revenue and capital funding to ensure long term business viability

6) To deliver agreed projects to help establish credibility in eyes of stakeholders and local community

Objectives should match up with the detailed work plans of individuals. What are the longer-term strategic plans for the organisation.

7.0) Marketing and Publicity
• How will we target the kinds of people you most want to reach?
• How will we promote BF to supporters, partners and potential funders ?

8.0) Track record and resources
• How can we demonstrate that it can deliver the plan effectively?
• What are our key past successes?
• Key Directors /staff and their qualifications and qualities?
• Rigorous and effective systems in place?
• Organisational strengths?
• Records of achievement?
• Current and potential partners?

9.0) Financial Plan/ Implications
• What business costs will we need to have in place?
• How will the above be financed? Funding/ loans?
• What capital items will we need to purchase/do we already have or borrow?
• What equipment will we need to purchase/ do we already have? What is the value of these items?
• How will BF be paid or funded? `On –cost income from projects or services?
• What are our financial forecasts for the year of income and expenditure?

10.0) Monitoring and evaluation processes.
• How will we measure the success of the organisation or project?
• How will we make sure we reach the targets we have set?
• How will this information feed into improving the project?
• Who will analyse this information and act on it to make changes?

11.0) Implementation Plan
What phased and agreed actions need to be taken to implement the plan, provide details about each of the above tasks: when they will be done, and who will do them. This plan can be used by the Directors to monitor progress.

Exit Strategy
• What happens if we are unsuccessful in attracting funding or sustaining itself in the long term. Who is responsible for handling that activity?

On new research initiatives it costs nothing to talk to us. Our conversations are in the strictest confidence and covered by both our confidentiality agreement & Terms of Business as displayed on this website.Please call John Brennan on 01803852270 or email john@caracommunity.co.uk.