Starting a business can be an exciting yet daunting endeavour. Writing a comprehensive business plan is a key step to setting your new business up for success.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur aged 18-30 looking for support in the UK, The Prince’s Trust offers invaluable programs and funding opportunities. This guide will walk you through crafting a strong business plan tailored to the Prince’s Trust application process.
What is The Prince’s Trust?
Founded in 1976, The Prince’s Trust is a youth charity dedicated to helping young people aged 11-30 gain the confidence and skills needed to realise their potential. The organisation provides training, mentoring, grants and loans to support youth entrepreneurship and employment.
Specifically, The Prince’s Trust Enterprise program offers training courses and funding to help young people start their own businesses. The program has three key stages:
Understanding Prince’s Trust Funding: Loans and Grants
Navigating funding channels can be daunting for fledgling ventures. The Prince’s Trust eases this burden through tailored loans and grants to empower youth-led businesses.
The Trust offers low-interest loans covering start-up costs like equipment, marketing, and initial overheads for young entrepreneurs. Repayment plans are flexible based on the financial situation.
In certain cases, the Prince’s Trust also issues grants that do not require repayment. These provide a financial cushion without debt burden. Grants are reserved for youth facing significant barriers when starting a business.
- Age between 18 and 30 years old
- Unemployed or working less than 16 hours/week
- Demonstrate a feasible, profitable business idea
- Attend an information session
- Work with a provided mentor to develop the business plan
- Submit the plan to a panel for review and final funding approval
Beyond financial assistance, the Trust offers continuous mentorship, marketing advice, networking opportunities and other resources for sustainable success.
Elements of a Strong Prince’s Trust Business Plan
Your business plan should bring your venture to life and instil confidence that you have a viable, well-researched concept. While The Prince’s Trust doesn’t prescribe an exact template, your plan should include:
This is your “Elevator Pitch.”
On average, you spend 20 – 30 seconds in a lift.
Write a concise summary of your business that lasts no more than 30 seconds.
No fluff, just the core purpose of your business and the key benefits.
Provide an overview of your company’s mission, values, goals, and competitive differentiators. Explain your motivation for starting this business. Convey your passion!
Products and Services
Describe what your business sells or does for customers. Explain the key benefits customers receive and what makes your offerings unique. You can organise details by product/service categories.
Section 4 – Target Market
Your target market is the most likely people to be interested in and buy your product.
There could be multiple buyer profiles who will be interested in your product.
List them out as your primary, secondary and tertiary markets.
Also, include buyer habits. These include
When do they buy?
How often do they buy?
How much do they spend?
Section 5 Market research
There are two types of market research.
Primary Market Research
Primary market research is:
Previous sales and feedback from customers
The research was conducted directly with prospective customers’ surveys and interviews.
Primary Market Research doesn’t need to be face-to-face; you can do it online using polling software, Google Forms or many other applications.
Secondary or Desk Research
This type of research is done by market research companies or governments about the industry or/market in general.
Primary research is better than secondary research as it proves the demand for your product service. Desk research is useful as it gives insight into the overall market, but this type of research is also relevant to your competitors and possible new entrants.
The Prince’s Trust’s business plan template uses Competitor SWOT analysis. This is where you list all of your competitors and describe their strengths and weaknesses together in one place.
It’s important not to just users have a box-ticking exercise. A competitive SWOT analysis gives you greater insight into how you can strengthen your own USP and improve upon the weaknesses in your competitor’s business.
Detail how you will promote your company to acquire and retain customers. Identify strategies based on your target demographics, such as social media, print ads, events, etc.
Explain how your business will operate post-funding when you have launched.
Production – How will you produce your product or deliver your service?
Delivery – How will your product/service reach your customers
Payment Terms and Methods – How quickly will you get paid? This will be very important for your cash flow assumptions.
Suppliers – Who are your suppliers – are they reliable?
Premises – A description of where your business will be located. Some companies may need commercial property. Others can start from home. If you need a commercial, include the lease terms you agreed with a landlord.
Equipment – Any equipment you may need to start the business.
Legal – Any legal or regulatory issues that need to be resolved or complied with the business for you to start the business.
Insurance – An insurance quote for your business from a reputable supplier.
Traditionally, banks only loan money to entrepreneurs who are highly experienced in their field.
The Princes Trust is different. It was started to help young people who do not have years of experience. If you have little experience, you must make up for it with passion.
Why do you want to start a business? Is it a hobby? Is it something that you are highly experienced in? You need to convey that you are desperate to start the business, and it’s just not a backup option.
Previous Work Experience
Enter here what type of work you’ve done in the past. Any relevant work experience within your business field will be beneficial. If you have yet to gain previous experience, mention any key managerial decision-making roles you’ve had.
List any relevant qualifications and vocational training you may have. Qualifications related to your business are ideal, but qualifications of any kind show you are a dedicated, committed person, so include them.
The Start-up loan company do not fund training as a start-up cost, so I wouldn’t mention anything that would make them think you’re not qualified to run the business now.
However, every business owner should be developing and learning, so it’s okay to include professional development.
Hobbies and Interests
If you’re not qualified in your chosen field, mention that your business is your primary interest. It would be best if you then portrayed your business as your passion project.
For partners/staff, include their credentials and roles. Demonstrate you have what it takes to succeed.
Provide projected startup costs, income statements, cash flow statements, and other key financial projections. Show the business can achieve profitability.
Specify the amount of funding you requesting and how the funds will be allocated. Ensure the costs include only essentials.
Your backup plan is how you will repay the loan if your business doesn’t go as well as expected.
It depends on the circumstances. Sometimes, you can sell the business, equipment or the lease to repay the loan.
In other circumstances, the best thing you can do is return to full-time employment to repay the loan.
Tips for a Winning Prince’s Trust Business Plan
Follow these tips to create an impressive plan:
Keep it concise – Stay focused on the most vital details. Avoid fluff.
Be persuasive – Craft a compelling narrative around your idea that excites readers.
Back up claims – Provide concrete evidence like market research data and financials to reinforce points.
Focus on essentials – Only include crucial costs in projections. Don’t pad the budget.
Highlight passion – Emphasise your motivation, commitment and, most of all – why this business should exist.
Sell your skills – Tout your qualifications but also soft skills like determination and work ethic.
Mind formatting – Use section headers, lists and emphasis tools like bolding judiciously to enhance readability.
Check for errors – Proofread closely. Ask others to review. Grammatical or math mistakes undermine professionalism.
Bringing Your Business Plan to Life
With your Prince’s Trust training and mentorship, transform your idea into a detailed plan following the sections above. Conduct thorough market research. Illustrate financials. Refine your concept.
Pulling together a polished business plan requires time and effort. But the learnings gained in the process will prove invaluable as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.
Once complete, use your Prince’s Trust business plan to have constructive discussions with mentors and strengthen areas as needed. With their feedback incorporated, confidently submit your plan as part of your startup loan application.
Of course, plans must adapt as realities change after launching. But putting in the work upfront to craft a thoughtful business plan establishes a fundamental roadmap and skills to propel your venture forward.
So what are you waiting for? Let The Prince’s Trust programs and funding speed up turning your business concept into a thriving company. Sharpen your plan. Perfect your pitch. And start fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams!