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Go For It - Create your business plan

So you have a great idea and are thinking of starting a business? Don’t just wing it. Create a business plan – it’s your roadmap to business success.

 

Your business plan is a written description of your business's future and it’s a document that says what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. It will form the heart of your thinking, helping you to define goals and objectives, achieve direction and focus, and drive your idea forward.

Your plan should provide details of key decisions important to the start-up of your business including; how you are going to develop your business, when you are going to do it, how you will manage the finances and who will be involved.

Your plan should include:

  • An executive summary: briefly explain your business and plans for the future.
  • Your business idea: describe your business and your product or service, and explain how it/they are different from other businesses.
  • A sales and marketing strategy: explain how you plan to promote and sell your product or service to the potential customers you’ve identified.
  • The personnel and management team: show how you plan to structure your business and introduce your management team and their responsibilities.
  • Operations: describe how you will deliver your product or service, including the features and benefits.
  • Financial forecasts: show your current and projected financial status, including balance sheets, a cash flow statement, and revenue projections.

Getting Help With Your Plan

The ‘Go For It’ Programme will help develop your idea into a business plan.

All it takes to start the process is a call to a Go For It business adviser or visit the website to arrange a meeting. You could be joining the thousands of people who have already taken advantage of our free advice and mentoring.

The benefits of the programme include:

  • a one-to-one assessment meeting with a business adviser
  • tailored guidance to develop your business plan
  • a finance and business planning workshop
  • advice on how to access grants and funding
  • a one-to-one finance and business planning meeting
  • best practice guides, tools, videos and more to help you get started.

   

How do I apply?

To register for Go For It programme contact 0800 027 0639 or contact your Local Enterprise Agency North Down Development Organisation (NDDO) in Bangor or Ards Business Centre in Newtownards.

Go For It is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme. It is delivered free of charge through Northern Ireland’s wide network of Enterprise Agencies, by a team of highly experienced business mentors.

Case Studies

Find out how some local businesses benefited from the Go For It programme and how it helped guide them through their start up stage.

You can watch a short video here.

The first case study is a newly online business that went through the programme during COVID-19

Baby of Mine

Baby of Mine owner, Laura, pictured with her mentor Maeve

Former midwife shares her love for cloth nappies with new online business

A stay-at-home mum and former midwife didn’t let the coronavirus pandemic stop her from sharing her love for cloth nappies with the launch of her very own online business with the support of the Go For It Programme.

Laura Donaldson from Bangor, Co. Down, launched Baby of Mine in May 2020 as an online business offering high-quality reusable and eco-friendly cloth nappies to parents across the United Kingdom and Europe.

The stay-at-home mum of two young children spotted the business opportunity after using cloth nappies on her second child and falling in love with the outstanding benefits the product provides to both parent and child.

Talking about her business idea, Laura Donaldson, owner of Baby of Mine, said;

” I started using cloth nappies with our second child, when he was around four months old, and quickly became a huge advocate.

“I would never go back to using disposable nappies as cloth helps protect my son’s skin from the chemicals that disposables are made from. There is also huge savings to be made with using cloth and you can reduce your household waste by up to half."

“My passion for caring for parents and babies had never left me after leaving my job as a midwife. So that, combined with a love for cloth nappies, gave me the idea for a business that would allow me to introduce families to the benefits of reusable nappies.”

Laura turned her idea into a reality after taking part in the Go For It Programme, which is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies.

Laura said; “The Go For it Programme was fundamental in helping me get Baby of Mine up and running. My assigned business advisor provided me with so much specific help and guidance, which was amazing. She helped me to write my business plan, which included projected sales figures for the first two years and sales and marketing targets that would help with business growth. Without this help and support I don’t think the business would be where it is today. I can’t believe this service is free of charge as it was so helpful.”

Maeve Killingbeck, Business Advisor with North Down Development Organisation Limited on behalf of Ards and North Down Borough Council said:

“We are delighted to see Laura’s business up and running and doing so well in the first few months of online trading, especially under these difficult circumstances.

“She came to us with a clear idea for a business, driven by a passion to share her love for cloth nappies with other parents. We worked with Laura virtually throughout the lockdown phase of the Coronavirus pandemic to help her develop a business plan. It focused on key elements such as e-commerce, product sourcing, sales and marketing and a two-year financial forecast that gave her a clear roadmap to successfully launching her online business.“

Copperhead Cakes

Leah Kerr from Copperhead Cakes

Leah Kerr launched Copperhead Cakes in March 2018 when she decided it was time to turn her passion for handcrafted baked creations into a business after being inundated with requests from family and friends for her specially designed birthday and anniversary cakes.

Copperhead Cakes is based at Project 24 on Queen’s Parade in Bangor and specialises in designing and creating a wide range of bespoke cakes, all home baked to the highest standards, for birthdays, christenings, anniversaries and weddings, as well as corporate and novelty cakes. 

Leah worked in accountancy for over 10 years, with baking and cake decorating a creative pastime for the Fine & Applied Arts Graduate. This hobby then turned into a career when she left her accountancy job to take on a full-time position with a renowned local cake decorator in 2016. Opening her own bespoke cake business was always something she wanted to do, but it wasn’t until Christmas 2017 that she decided to do something about it with the help of Ards and North Down Borough Council and the Go For It Programme.

Leah Kerr, owner of Copperhead Cakes, said:

“After graduating from Ulster University with a BA in Fine & Applied Arts in 2003, I chose an entirely different career path in Accountancy. Needing a creative outlet, I discovered a passion for baking and creating bespoke cakes in my spare time and after a decade of developing my skills at home I had an opportunity to turn this passion into a full-time job.

“I worked with Jenny at Jenny’s Cakes in Bangor for nearly three years, honing my cake design skills, as well as working on my own creations for family and friends. This was when I started to think about branching out on my own and launching my very own cake design business. My family and friends were always telling me I should do it, so I booked an appointment with North Down Development Organisation Limited and went for it."  

Hide and Seek Travel

Jamie PallinHide and Seek Travel based in Holywood, established by Jamie Pallin offers customers a range of specialist tailor-made holidays with bespoke travel itineraries for a truly unforgettable experience.

Jamie has drawn on his own globetrotting adventures as well as over 10 years’ experience working within the luxury travel industry to establish the independent holiday company.

Jamie’s dream of opening a bespoke travel company became a reality after taking part in Go For It, a free of charge enterprise programme that is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.

Commenting on the programme Jamie said;

“Having a great concept for a business is one thing but being able to further develop it and turn that idea into a reality is quite complex and often requires knowledge outside of your skill set. Often it is hard to know where to start; that was my experience before starting the Go For It Programme. The support and guidance offered through it helped me fine tune my business idea from concept to working reality.

“I would urge anyone who has ever had the idea of starting up their own business, or even if you have just started operating your own business to apply for a place on the Go For It Programme. The skills and knowledge imparted is immeasurable and importantly Hide & Seek Travel is now officially trading. I am excited by the future ahead!”