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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.

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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 reports and proposals

The pitfalls of writing business plans, the business communication skills, making numbers clear, making proposals persuasive, and the communicating and presenting an idea for maximum effect.

How to write a business plan: creating success

Contains sections on the structuring a business plan, researching the market, forecasting, risk measurement, legal issues and confidentiality, selling a business, and using a business plan to improve performance.

Making the business case: proposals that succeed for projects that work

Aimed at both novices and experts. It includes chapters on the nature and purpose of business cases, the essential elements of a case, persuading an audience, and practical exercises.

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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.

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.

Text analytics and the accounting profession

Article discuss the latest trends in text analytics in the accounting profession where firms are using text analytics software in accounting, auditing, tax, and business advisory for automation, compliance assurance, fraud detection, or planning purposes.

Exit planning for small business

Article on the exit planning process for small businesses owners. Areas discussed include assembling an advisory team, determining financial goals, exit strategies, succession planning and personal considerations for owners and their families.

Right and wrong approaches to marketing planning

Article looks at the difference between marketing and business plans and the four methods for marketing plans that accountancy firms use and their varying results.

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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.

Business planning templates
Business plan template from the Start Up Loans company, the UK government funded scheme which provides advice, loans and mentoring to startup businesses. An annotated version of the template provides guidance on the type of information, examples and evidence that should be included.

Growthink business plan template and guide for entrepreneurs
Detailed template and guide from the US consultancy firm, updated for 2021. The template covers the following sections: executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, and financial 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.

How to write business plans and business cases
Article from business trainers Walkerstone, setting out a detailed structure for a good business plan.

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.

Atom Content Marketing guides

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 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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