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How to...write a business plan

With the increasing competitiveness and commercialisation of primary care and the introduction of private service providers, it is important to know how to put together a business plan, not only for submission to a potential purchaser but also to organise your own thoughts on the viability of a project.

With the increasing competitiveness and commercialisation of primary care and the introduction of private service providers, it is important to know how to put together a business plan, not only for submission to a potential purchaser but also to organise your own thoughts on the viability of a project.

In your business plan you will need to have answers to the following questions:

1 What is the service that you are seeking to fulfil? What do you hope to get out of it? Is it extra income, improved patient services or an improved relationship with the PCT? You must decide.

2 Is there a need for such a service? Does it already exist? Are you or other providers providing it? What are the numbers of potential users?

3 What are you offering that is different? What is your unique selling point?

4 Who are you pitching your plan to? Is it the PCT for an LES? Or local industry for occupational health services? Or travel agents for travel vaccination service?

5 Who in your practice is going to be in overall charge of the new initiative? And who in the team is actually going to do the work?

6 What resources are you going to need? What is the budget needed for capital and running costs, including salaries? What profit, if any, is acceptable?

7 How are you going to monitor progress? What are the targets? How challenging are they going to be to achieve?

8 What is the length of the contract? How will it be renegotiated or renewed?

When writing your business plan, ensure that it is well presented, professionally printed and easy to read. It should cover all the above points in detail but have a concise executive summary highlighting the salient points. In order to succeed in a marketplace you need to adopt the practices of that marketplace.

Dr Jim Sherifi is a GP in Sudbury, Suffolk

Ask what you hope to get out of your new business venture Ask what you hope to get out of your new business venture

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