How to write a business plan for a prospective employer


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Over the last few years, it has become more and more common for firms to ask front office staff to complete a business plan as part of the interview process. However, many candidates are a) surprised to be asked and perhaps don’t understand that it is now the norm, and b) have very little experience of doing this.

One of the dangers for candidates is that they don’t take this part of the process seriously enough, and don’t give enough thought to the content and presentation. On that note, it is vital that you ask the firm you are interviewing with, or your recruiter, what format they prefer the plan to come in (particularly if you are expected to present the plan). It is also important to clarify the timescale the plan should cover, i.e. the first 90 days, first year, or two years.

In many firms, staff aren’t asked to write a business plan and therefore candidates are keen to know the types of things these should contain. Below we have outlined some suggestions on presentation and content:

i. Keep it reasonably brief.
Clients don’t often have time to pour through detailed business plans, and they are mainly concerned with understanding your business and strategy at a high level. 7-8 slides or a couple of pages of A4 should suffice.

ii. Bullet points are quite popular with perhaps some brief description next to each one. However, it is important to be clear.

iii. Make it visually attractive to keep the readers interest

iv. Try and present it in person if you get the opportunity. This gives you the benefit of being able to expand on key points, provide clarity, and to address any concerns immediately.

What should a business plan contain?

Everyone has their own thoughts on this, but some of the better business plans contain:

i. An executive summary – this summarises the applicant’s experience, career aims, and business aims if hired

ii. A description of the business you want to create, i.e. clients to be targeted and services offered with a target revenue

iii. A guide to how you plan to build this business, i.e. from your existing client base, from introductions from professional intermediaries, from the firm’s own sources of new business (this is often a client’s least favourite thing to see in the current climate).

iv. A guide to the activities required to achieve the above, i.e. not only what intermediaries you will target and how many relationships you have etc, but how any cold calls and appointments you will make. How often you will need to meet a client on average to get them to invest

v. Why the firm you are interviewing with could help you achieve this. What are the key selling points and differentiators.

vi. What support you will need. Will you need an assistant, additional training, or access to cold calling support?

vii. Financials – a breakdown of year 1, 2, and 3 revenues and the business mix, i.e. investments vs. lending if you are a private banker

viii. Summary – reaffirming the skills of the candidate

A good business plan can be the difference between getting a job or not, and therefore you need to take the time to produce a high quality document.

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