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Business plans

A business plan sets out key objectives, priorities and strategies for your business and is required to raise finance for your enterprise. Find out more about business planning, the key features for a successful plan and how to continue the momentum once the business plan has been written.

What's on this page?

  • eBooks
  • Briefings
  • Online articles
  • Articles and books from the Library
  • Useful links

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Featured article

Do all business plans provide a recipe for success?
Every business owner needs an 'informal' business plan to maintain business focus and manage day-to-day operations. A formal business plan becomes necessary when seeking funding or investment. Thayn Niemand explains how to write both types.

You will need to be logged in to the website to gain full access to the range of articles available online.

Featured briefing

Writing a business plan
The purpose of a business plan is to outline the strategy and actions needed to get the business to where it wants to be. This briefing outlines the key issues to consider when putting together a ‘typical’ business plan.


The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

How to write a business plan: creating success
(Kogan Page, 2013) 
Designed to lead you through writing your own business plan. Contains chapters: the structure of the plan; summary; the business background; the market; operations; management; the proposal; the forecast; financial information; risks; legal issues and confidentiality; selling your business; improve performance with a business plan; and using business plans for bidding.

How to prepare a business plan 
(Kogan Page, 2008)
Written to help you make a business case, secure funding for your enterprise, and develop a roadmap for the future.

Making the business case: proposals that succeed for projects that work 
(Gower, 2009)
Aimed at both novices and experts who need to write a business case. The book includes an outline of the underlying logic and purpose of the business plan.

Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the terms of use set by our suppliers and any restrictions imposed by individual publishers. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms of use.


Briefings are four-page guides from Atom Content Marketing written for the busy practitioner, director and entrepreneur providing concise, practical advice on core business issues.

Finance your high-growth business


Whether you need to invest in developing new products and approaching new markets, or fund increasing levels of working capital as sales increase, the right financing lets you make the most of your growth potential.

Find the right premises for growth


If you expect your business to grow quickly, it can be difficult to get suitable premises for your needs. Though you may not need much space now, the situation could be very different in 12 or 18 months' time.

Plan and budget for growth


Business planning is particularly important for businesses targeting high rates of growth. You need to be able to respond immediately to developments in what are often young and fast-moving sectors.

Writing a business plan


Your business plan outlines your business strategy and what you need to do to achieve your goals. It helps you think through your options, identifying the best opportunities and how to make the most of them. You can also use your business plan to help convince banks, investors and other key contacts to support you.

Online articles

The ICAEW Library & Information Service provides access to a range of articles in full text from leading business, finance and management journals. This resource is available to ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users.

You will need to be logged-in to the website to gain full access to the range of articles available online.

What future for foreign exchange options

In this article, the author warns businesses with exposure to currency fluctuations to be certain of their business strategy. It highlights plans of financial services companies to withdraw from the Foreign Exchange Options (FX Options) market. It also highlights impact of the EU Referendum on the value of currencies like Sterling and euro.

The keys to guarding reputation

The article offers information on functions of board of directors' oversight of reputation risk management which are classified in five areas. Among the functions mentioned are integration of risk into business planning and strategy setting, effective communications and brand and image building, and positive culture on compliance with regulations, laws, and internal policies..

Budgeting for the next big thing

Describes the benfits of flexible budget planning systems for companies looking to capitalise on sudden opportunities.

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Useful links


Free sample business plans
A large collection of free business plans for a wide variety of business sectors. Each plan outlines the following sections: executive summary, objectives, mission, keys to success, company summary, products, market analysis summary, strategy and implementation summary, management summary, and financial plan.

Prince's Trust business plans
The Trust's 'Where to start' section provides a business plan template (Word and pdf format), plus business plan financial tables (Excel format).

FormSwift sample business plans
Free sample plans for five sector categories: bakery, restaurant, salon, personal training and trucking. Each plan includes an infographic and outline of the core elements of a successful business plan. 

Advice and guides

Business & IP Centre
The British Library's Business and Intellectual Property Centre offers information and workshops on business planning and growing your business in general.

Business plans: A practical how-to guide 
A 2014 article describing the important sections of a business plan and what they should include. Requires a free registration for full access.

Incorporation and names
Guidance from Companies House setting out the main requirements for incorporating a company in the United Kingdom. Includes guidance on choosing a name for your business.

Writing a business plan
The planning section of startups.co.uk includes information on what a business plan is and what it should cover. The website also provides news and information to get your small business going.

Articles and books in the Library collection

Selected books

How to write a business plan: creating success
(Kogan Page, 2013)
Designed to lead you through writing your own business plan, including the structure, business background, proposal, financial information and using business plans for bidding. 

The business plan workbook 
(Kogan Page, 2012)
A guide to all aspects of business planning, aimed at entrepreneurs, senior executives and students. Based on methodology developed at Cranfield School of Management and using successful real-life business plans, book brings together the process and procedures required to produce that persuasive plan.

Find more articles and books

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.
You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

Can't find what you are looking for?

If you're having trouble finding the information you need, ask the Library & Information Service. Contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat or by email at library@icaew.com.

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