Writing a Business Plan for an Arts or Cultural Enterprise

'Ruaille Buaille' by Patrick Dougherty at Sculpture in the Parklands - Winner of the 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the Business to Arts Awards.

5 Reasons to Write a Business Plan

Identify your businesses’ needs

Communicate with stakeholders

Attract the funds and resources required

Measure your progress

Direct the business

A well thought out business plan is a vital tool for any successful cultural enterprise. It will make the people involved think about the future of the business and the challenges that it will face. When writing a business plan, it’s important to consider your financial needs, your marketing and management plans, your competition, your environment and your strategy to rise to the top. Planning ahead is critical to achieve this.

If you have a cultural enterprise or business idea that you would like to develop, here are some guidelines on writing a Business Plan.

Start with The Basics – The introductory section should include the company name, when you commenced activity, key contact details (address, email, phone & fax) and the purpose of writing the plan

Description of the Business – Set out what you do, your mission and what makes your programme of activities/product or service unique and required?

Owners & Management – Describe who the owners and managers are and the education, skills and experience they have which will help make the business a success

Business Objectives – What do you want to achieve with the enterprise, and when do you want to achieve these objectives.

Marketing – Provide an overview of the market you operate in, which customers/audience are you targeting, how do you promote to them, who are your competitors and what is your advantage over them?

Production – How is your programme of activities/product or service made? What equipment and resources do you require to do this?

Financial – Identify your sources of finance to date (funding, owners input, bank loans etc). Provide a profit and loss account, balance sheet and a cashflow forecast together with key assumptions. Remember, your financial projections need to reflect your plans outlined in previous sections and withstand questioning from potential investors.

Some other tips for writing a successful business plan

Be realistic – present realistic projections of demand for your programme of activities/product or service and expected income and expenses

Be objective – identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

Be concise – keep your writing relevant and to the point

Focus on the facts – combine your own feasibility studies with market statistics

If you’d like more information on writing a business plan or are thinking of starting a cultural enterprise, we are happy to talk!

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