How to write a great business plan for your visa application

Most business visas require the applicants to set out their business idea in a written format by preparing a business plan. If you intend to apply for a start up or innovator visa to the UK, your business plan will play the key role in getting an endorsement. We cannot stress enough the importance of a good, professional business plan.

Even the greatest business ideas have to be presented in a coherent way to be persuasive and convince others. The success of your application for endorsement will depend on the strength of your business plan, your knowledge of the plan and your presentation of the plan to the chosen endorsing body.

The purpose of the business plan

The main reason for a business plan is to present your business idea. You have to make your business proposal as simple and clear as you can. The granting of your endorsement will depend on it.

How long should a good business plan be?

There is a great deal of misunderstanding around the business plans. Some applicants prepare business plans that are very long. However, in our view a good business plan does not have to be too long. It needs to be sufficiently detailed to describe all key information about your business enterprise, explain your role in the business, explain the innovation, viability and scalability of your business and demonstrate structured planning.

One of the most common mistakes when constructing a business plan is making it too wordy without bringing much substance. Try to avoid this approach, as the plan is presented to experienced business professionals, who are not going to be tricked by lengthy descriptions without much merit.

In short, business plan needs to present what business you want to do, who are the key individuals in your business, how you are going to implement your idea into a successful business, who your competitors are, how you are going to beat them, and how much your business will earn.

The business plan should include clearly defined goals, ways of achieving them, ways of monitoring progress and identifying threats.

Most business plans should be no longer than 25 pages. That is usually enough to present all the information about your business idea and its implementation. Of course in some circumstances the plan may need to be longer.

Home Office requirements for a business plan.

Apart from the usual requirements your business plan has to met there are Home Office specific requirements. those depend on the type of visa.

Innovation, Viability and Scalability

Innovation, viability and scalability are specific requirements for a business plan in Start Up and Innovator visas. Particular attention should be given to demonstrating how your business will meet these three key criteria. Business idea presented in your plan should be genuine and original and your business plan must be realistic and achievable.

Innovator visa criteria:

Innovation – Does the applicant have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage?

Viability – Is the applicant’s business plan realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources? Does the applicant have, or is actively developing, the
necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business?

Scalability – Is there evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets?

The applicant has to prove in his business plan that he has neccessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness.

More complex scenarios

The matter gets more complicated when an applicant or one of the applicants is not the originator of the idea used in the business plan. Because that is possible too. Innovator visa does not mean that only the person who has proposed or invented the new idea can apply for the visa. Other persons can also apply, for example those responsible for marketing the idea and organizing the sales. However, their role in developing the business plan and subsequently their role in the business has to be presented.

How to write a business plan – summary

The main points any business plan for Start up or Innovator visa should cover include:

  • defining your business idea
  • providing information about key individuals
  • addressing innovation, viability and scalability
  • information about your product or services
  • market research
  • competitor analysis
  • marketing strategy
  • identifying potential problems
  • presenting your business aims
  • ways of measuring the progress
  • financial forecasts

Business plan has to state the nature of your business, its aims and goals, its strengths and weaknesses, and the ways it plans to achieve the goals.