How to write a business plan

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals and how you expect to achieve them. If you are starting a business, you will need a business plan to approach a financial institution for a loan, apply for a small business grant, or pitch to investors.

What to include in your business plan

There is no standard format when writing a business plan. You can include any information that you consider important for your business. It is recommended that at a minimum, your business plan should include:

An executive summary

This is where you describe your business and why you think it will succeed. It must show that a market exists for your product or service. You should explain how you plan to market the business to customers.

Your business and products

This section should include your main products and services, the legal status of the business and your long-term business goals.

Market research

Include any market analysis you have completed and your sales strategy. You should also include the price of your product or services.

Management and organisation structure

This section should include an outline of the management structure of the business. Include any requirements in terms of staff, equipment and machinery.

Financial plan

This section should include projections for expected income and costs, and your funding requirements.

Guides and templates

There is no fixed template for setting out your business plan. Each bank or support institution may have their own template.

You can use the outline of a business plan for start-ups and micro businesses on the Local Enterprise Office website.

You can also go to Enterprise Ireland for information on business strategy frameworks.

Teagasc has a workbook to help prospective farmers organise their ideas, before they develop a full business plan.

Find more guides and supports for developing a business plan from the following organisations:

You may also want to get advice from the representative body for your specific sector.

More information on starting a business

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland,
East Point Business Park
The Plaza
Dublin 3
D03 E5R6

Tel: 01 727 2000
Page edited: 14 August 2023