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Festivals Toolkit: Strategic Planning: Writing a Business Plan

A plan does not have to be long winded or written to impress, it is simply a document setting out what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.

Do not assume the reader knows about you and do not use jargon. A good rule of thumb is to write like you speak, or write as if you were writing for your daily newspaper. There is no rule on length, it may be short or long, depending on what you have to say. The way you write the plan will depend to a certain extent on who will read it, but if you follow this basic outline you will not go far wrong.

Your plan will probably include sections on:

  • Your vision
  • Introduction
  • Your organisation
  • SWOT analysis (and/or TOWS Analysis)
  • Goals
  • Objectives
  • Resources
  • Recommendations
  • Summary

Your Business Plan
Once you have written your strategic plan and set out how you are going to make it happen in your operational plan, you will need a business plan to show how you are going to pay for it. Your business plan gives the financial information needed to show how your activities will affect your cashflow and your long term budgeting. It will be an essential document to show to funders to raise more money for the work you want to do.

Many festivals in the county are already working to a 3-5 year business plan, especially those that are funded by public sector organisations such as Arts Council England. However, even these may benefit from a refresher on the basic principles that underpin writing/updating their business plan.

The basic steps towards writing/updating a business plan for a festival/event should include:

  • An assessment of your current skills technical, organisational and communication
  • research into similar activities to help you establish the current level of demand and competition
  • investigating legal issues relevant to your proposed business e.g. copyright, design rights, health and safety regulations and insurance
  • critical evaluation of the above to determine if your idea is feasible and financially viable

Further information:

  • The Prince's Trust have a good guide for Writing a Business Plan (PDF format) which is straight forward. The guide can be viewed by using the link in the Related Documents Section below. 
  • Visit Business Link website for further information on writing business plans.
  • Generic Business Plan templates.

Related documents

The following document is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)

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