Is your business plan fit for purpose? Philip Hargreaves, GC Business Growth Hub’s Access to Finance Lead examines what you should include to help secure financial capital.
The green economy appears to be at the core strategy as we move into the recovery phase of COVID-19. Specifically, a £3 billion green investment package was announced as part of the Chancellor's “Plan for Jobs” following the launch of Innovate UK’s £200 million Sustainable Innovation Fund.
Here in Greater Manchester, the sustainability agenda is a top priority, with clean growth at the centre of the Local Industrial Strategy and a focal point of the Build Back Better campaign. This, along with the city-region's ambition to become carbon neutral by 2038, more than a decade earlier than originally planned, could trigger even greater growth for the region’s established Green Technologies and Services sector.
The Green Technologies and Services sector is comprised of several different sub-sectors including environmental (recycling and waste, water and wastewater treatment, air pollution) low carbon (electric vehicles, energy efficient technologies i.e. lighting, heating and ventilation, smart meters etc) and renewable energy (wind, PV. geothermal, biomass etc).
Although many people automatically associate the sector with technology development, it also includes suppliers and installers. This means that builders and architects working on retrofitting homes, electricians installing LED lighting or plumbers and heating engineers installing systems powered by renewable energy all fit under the Green Technologies and Services sector umbrella.
For businesses that are already in the sector or those looking to diversify into it, there will be a wealth of opportunities both in the short and long term as we move through the COVID-19 recovery phase. But how many businesses are in a position to fully take advantage?
Research published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in their 2020 Longitudinal Small Business Survey revealed that only 41% of SME employers had a business plan in 2019. In addition to driving an organisation’s vision and helping identify and access new market opportunities, business plans are essential for securing finance and funding. From loans and grants to equity investment, having a robust business plan is key to a successful funding application or investment pitch.
Working with clients, one of the most common questions we regularly come across is what should a business plan contain? To be effective, business planning should be done frequently, and the plan should be viewed as a living document that can react and adapt to both internal and external influences. Especially for the green tech sector, which regularly witnesses changes in government policy, agility is key. The plan should include:
Business Plan - General Layout:
- An executive summary
- Overview of the business concept and the business model
- Analysis of the industry and market
The Hub’s Green Technologies and Services specialist team has access to of the latest sector specific market intelligence reports including market size, growth forecasts, market availability and export trends
- Execution strategy, including resources, marketing and sales
- Financial analysis
Specifically, the financial analysis segment should include:
- Historic financial information if available (accounts)
- Current figures available (management accounts)
- Forecasts (cashflow, profit and loss, balance sheet)
- A breakdown of how the investment will be spent:
- Asset investment
- Working capital (all items)
- Professional Services/Consultancy
It is essential that business owners, managers, and leaders have the correct strategies in place to stay ahead of the competition and capitalise on opportunities presented by the growth and pace of changes to the industry.
If you are based in Greater Manchester, the Switched On masterclass programme can help you define your business strategy, crystallise your value proposition and create a winning business plan to establish structure, direction and help gain investment.
The programme covers three key areas including Business Planning, Sales and Marketing and offers businesses access to expert advice and the opportunity to benefit from peer-to-peer support from other businesses operating in the green tech sector and facing similar challenges.
For more information and to book your place on the programme, visit out dedicated masterclass webpage.
Philip Hargreaves, Access to Finance Lead
Philip has worked in commercial and corporate banking for the past 40 years. He is now responsible for the Hub’s Access to Finance Team.
Working closely with partners in the business and professional communities, Philip and his team are passionate about supporting local SMEs who are looking to grow.
“Fundraising in the current marketplace is often complex, requiring time and specialist understanding of all the available options. Putting the right finance in place, at the right time, can mean the difference between success and failure.”
The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information, and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the Coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit is entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub, and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.