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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

what's the use of business plan

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.



A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

what's the use of business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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What Is a Business Plan? Definition and Planning Essentials Explained

Posted february 21, 2022 by kody wirth.

what's the use of business plan

What is a business plan? It’s the roadmap for your business. The outline of your goals, objectives, and the steps you’ll take to get there. It describes the structure of your organization, how it operates, as well as the financial expectations and actual performance. 

A business plan can help you explore ideas, successfully start a business, manage operations, and pursue growth. In short, a business plan is a lot of different things. It’s more than just a stack of paper and can be one of your most effective tools as a business owner. 

Let’s explore the basics of business planning, the structure of a traditional plan, your planning options, and how you can use your plan to succeed. 

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that explains how your business operates. It summarizes your business structure, objectives, milestones, and financial performance. Again, it’s a guide that helps you, and anyone else, better understand how your business will succeed.  

Why do you need a business plan?

The primary purpose of a business plan is to help you understand the direction of your business and the steps it will take to get there. Having a solid business plan can help you grow up to 30% faster and according to our own 2021 Small Business research working on a business plan increases confidence regarding business health—even in the midst of a crisis. 

These benefits are directly connected to how writing a business plan makes you more informed and better prepares you for entrepreneurship. It helps you reduce risk and avoid pursuing potentially poor ideas. You’ll also be able to more easily uncover your business’s potential. By regularly returning to your plan you can understand what parts of your strategy are working and those that are not.

That just scratches the surface for why having a plan is valuable. Check out our full write-up for fifteen more reasons why you need a business plan .  

What can you do with your plan?

So what can you do with a business plan once you’ve created it? It can be all too easy to write a plan and just let it be. Here are just a few ways you can leverage your plan to benefit your business.

Test an idea

Writing a plan isn’t just for those that are ready to start a business. It’s just as valuable for those that have an idea and want to determine if it’s actually possible or not. By writing a plan to explore the validity of an idea, you are working through the process of understanding what it would take to be successful. 

The market and competitive research alone can tell you a lot about your idea. Is the marketplace too crowded? Is the solution you have in mind not really needed? Add in the exploration of milestones, potential expenses, and the sales needed to attain profitability and you can paint a pretty clear picture of the potential of your business.

Document your strategy and goals

For those starting or managing a business understanding where you’re going and how you’re going to get there are vital. Writing your plan helps you do that. It ensures that you are considering all aspects of your business, know what milestones you need to hit, and can effectively make adjustments if that doesn’t happen. 

With a plan in place, you’ll have an idea of where you want your business to go as well as how you’ve performed in the past. This alone better prepares you to take on challenges, review what you’ve done before, and make the right adjustments.

Pursue funding

Even if you do not intend to pursue funding right away, having a business plan will prepare you for it. It will ensure that you have all of the information necessary to submit a loan application and pitch to investors. So, rather than scrambling to gather documentation and write a cohesive plan once it’s relevant, you can instead keep your plan up-to-date and attempt to attain funding. Just add a use of funds report to your financial plan and you’ll be ready to go.

The benefits of having a plan don’t stop there. You can then use your business plan to help you manage the funding you receive. You’ll not only be able to easily track and forecast how you’ll use your funds but easily report on how it’s been used. 

Better manage your business

A solid business plan isn’t meant to be something you do once and forget about. Instead, it should be a useful tool that you can regularly use to analyze performance, make strategic decisions, and anticipate future scenarios. It’s a document that you should regularly update and adjust as you go to better fit the actual state of your business.

Doing so makes it easier to understand what’s working and what’s not. It helps you understand if you’re truly reaching your goals or if you need to make further adjustments. Having your plan in place makes that process quicker, more informative, and leaves you with far more time to actually spend running your business.

What should your business plan include?

The content and structure of your business plan should include anything that will help you use it effectively. That being said, there are some key elements that you should cover and that investors will expect to see. 

Executive summary

The executive summary is a simple overview of your business and your overall plan. It should serve as a standalone document that provides enough detail for anyone—including yourself, team members, or investors—to fully understand your business strategy. Make sure to cover the problem you’re solving, a description of your product or service, your target market, organizational structure, a financial summary, and any necessary funding requirements.

This will be the first part of your plan but it’s easiest to write it after you’ve created your full plan.

Products & Services

When describing your products or services, you need to start by outlining the problem you’re solving and why what you offer is valuable. This is where you’ll also address current competition in the market and any competitive advantages your products or services bring to the table. Lastly, be sure to outline the steps or milestones that you’ll need to hit to successfully launch your business. If you’ve already hit some initial milestones, like taking pre-orders or early funding, be sure to include it here to further prove the validity of your business. 

Market analysis

A market analysis is a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the current market you’re entering or competing in. It helps you understand the overall state and potential of the industry, who your ideal customers are, the positioning of your competition, and how you intend to position your own business. This helps you better explore the long-term trends of the market, what challenges to expect, and how you will need to initially introduce and even price your products or services.

Check out our full guide for how to conduct a market analysis in just four easy steps .  

Marketing & sales

Here you detail how you intend to reach your target market. This includes your sales activities, general pricing plan, and the beginnings of your marketing strategy. If you have any branding elements, sample marketing campaigns, or messaging available—this is the place to add it. 

Additionally, it may be wise to include a SWOT analysis that demonstrates your business or specific product/service position. This will showcase how you intend to leverage sales and marketing channels to deal with competitive threats and take advantage of any opportunities.

Check out our full write-up to learn how to create a cohesive marketing strategy for your business. 

Organization & management

This section addresses the legal structure of your business, your current team, and any gaps that need to be filled. Depending on your business type and longevity, you’ll also need to include your location, ownership information, and business history. Basically, add any information that helps explain your organizational structure and how you operate. This section is particularly important for pitching to investors but should be included even if attempted funding is not in your immediate future.

Financial projections

Possibly the most important piece of your plan, your financials section is vital for showcasing the viability of your business. It also helps you establish a baseline to measure against and makes it easier to make ongoing strategic decisions as your business grows. This may seem complex on the surface, but it can be far easier than you think. 

Focus on building solid forecasts, keep your categories simple, and lean on assumptions. You can always return to this section to add more details and refine your financial statements as you operate. 

Here are the statements you should include in your financial plan:

  • Sales and revenue projections
  • Profit and loss statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet

The appendix is where you add additional detail, documentation, or extended notes that support the other sections of your plan. Don’t worry about adding this section at first and only add documentation that you think will be beneficial for anyone reading your plan.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. So, to get the most out of your plan, it’s best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering. 

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you’ll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual. 

This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix. We recommend only starting with this business plan format if you plan to immediately pursue funding and already have a solid handle on your business information. 

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea. 

The structure ditches a linear structure in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It’s faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations. This is really best for those exploring their business idea for the first time, but keep in mind that it can be difficult to actually validate your idea this way as well as adapt it into a full plan.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan. This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. It basically serves as a beefed-up pitch document and can be finished as quickly as the business model canvas.

By starting with a one-page plan, you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan. This plan type is useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Now, the option that we here at LivePlan recommend is the Lean Plan . This is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27-minutes . However, it’s even easier to convert into a full plan thanks to how heavily it’s tied to your financials. The overall goal of Lean Planning isn’t to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the Lean Planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and stable through times of crisis.

It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Try the LivePlan Method for Lean Business Planning

Now that you know the basics of business planning, it’s time to get started. Again we recommend leveraging a Lean Plan for a faster, easier, and far more useful planning process. 

To get familiar with the Lean Plan format, you can download our free Lean Plan template . However, if you want to elevate your ability to create and use your lean plan even further, you may want to explore LivePlan. 

It features step-by-step guidance that ensures you cover everything necessary while reducing the time spent on formatting and presenting. You’ll also gain access to financial forecasting tools that propel you through the process. Finally, it will transform your plan into a management tool that will help you easily compare your forecasts to your actual results. 

Check out how LivePlan streamlines Lean Planning by downloading our Kickstart Your Business ebook .

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Kody Wirth

Posted in Business Plan Writing

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What is a Business Plan? Definition, Tips, and Templates

AJ Beltis

Published: June 07, 2023

In an era where more than 20% of small enterprises fail in their first year, having a clear, defined, and well-thought-out business plan is a crucial first step for setting up a business for long-term success.

Business plan graphic with business owner, lightbulb, and pens to symbolize coming up with ideas and writing a business plan.

Business plans are a required tool for all entrepreneurs, business owners, business acquirers, and even business school students. But … what exactly is a business plan?


In this post, we'll explain what a business plan is, the reasons why you'd need one, identify different types of business plans, and what you should include in yours.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a documented strategy for a business that highlights its goals and its plans for achieving them. It outlines a company's go-to-market plan, financial projections, market research, business purpose, and mission statement. Key staff who are responsible for achieving the goals may also be included in the business plan along with a timeline.

The business plan is an undeniably critical component to getting any company off the ground. It's key to securing financing, documenting your business model, outlining your financial projections, and turning that nugget of a business idea into a reality.

What is a business plan used for?

The purpose of a business plan is three-fold: It summarizes the organization’s strategy in order to execute it long term, secures financing from investors, and helps forecast future business demands.

Business Plan Template [ Download Now ]


Working on your business plan? Try using our Business Plan Template . Pre-filled with the sections a great business plan needs, the template will give aspiring entrepreneurs a feel for what a business plan is, what should be in it, and how it can be used to establish and grow a business from the ground up.

Purposes of a Business Plan

Chances are, someone drafting a business plan will be doing so for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Securing financing from investors.

Since its contents revolve around how businesses succeed, break even, and turn a profit, a business plan is used as a tool for sourcing capital. This document is an entrepreneur's way of showing potential investors or lenders how their capital will be put to work and how it will help the business thrive.

All banks, investors, and venture capital firms will want to see a business plan before handing over their money, and investors typically expect a 10% ROI or more from the capital they invest in a business.

Therefore, these investors need to know if — and when — they'll be making their money back (and then some). Additionally, they'll want to read about the process and strategy for how the business will reach those financial goals, which is where the context provided by sales, marketing, and operations plans come into play.

2. Documenting a company's strategy and goals.

A business plan should leave no stone unturned.

Business plans can span dozens or even hundreds of pages, affording their drafters the opportunity to explain what a business' goals are and how the business will achieve them.

To show potential investors that they've addressed every question and thought through every possible scenario, entrepreneurs should thoroughly explain their marketing, sales, and operations strategies — from acquiring a physical location for the business to explaining a tactical approach for marketing penetration.

These explanations should ultimately lead to a business' break-even point supported by a sales forecast and financial projections, with the business plan writer being able to speak to the why behind anything outlined in the plan.

what's the use of business plan

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Free Business Plan [Template]

Fill out the form to access your free business plan., 3. legitimizing a business idea..

Everyone's got a great idea for a company — until they put pen to paper and realize that it's not exactly feasible.

A business plan is an aspiring entrepreneur's way to prove that a business idea is actually worth pursuing.

As entrepreneurs document their go-to-market process, capital needs, and expected return on investment, entrepreneurs likely come across a few hiccups that will make them second guess their strategies and metrics — and that's exactly what the business plan is for.

It ensures an entrepreneur's ducks are in a row before bringing their business idea to the world and reassures the readers that whoever wrote the plan is serious about the idea, having put hours into thinking of the business idea, fleshing out growth tactics, and calculating financial projections.

4. Getting an A in your business class.

Speaking from personal experience, there's a chance you're here to get business plan ideas for your Business 101 class project.

If that's the case, might we suggest checking out this post on How to Write a Business Plan — providing a section-by-section guide on creating your plan?

What does a business plan need to include?

  • Business Plan Subtitle
  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • The Business Opportunity
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Target Market
  • Marketing Plan
  • Financial Summary
  • Funding Requirements

1. Business Plan Subtitle

Every great business plan starts with a captivating title and subtitle. You’ll want to make it clear that the document is, in fact, a business plan, but the subtitle can help tell the story of your business in just a short sentence.

2. Executive Summary

Although this is the last part of the business plan that you’ll write, it’s the first section (and maybe the only section) that stakeholders will read. The executive summary of a business plan sets the stage for the rest of the document. It includes your company’s mission or vision statement, value proposition, and long-term goals.

3. Company Description

This brief part of your business plan will detail your business name, years in operation, key offerings, and positioning statement. You might even add core values or a short history of the company. The company description’s role in a business plan is to introduce your business to the reader in a compelling and concise way.

4. The Business Opportunity

The business opportunity should convince investors that your organization meets the needs of the market in a way that no other company can. This section explains the specific problem your business solves within the marketplace and how it solves them. It will include your value proposition as well as some high-level information about your target market.


5. Competitive Analysis

Just about every industry has more than one player in the market. Even if your business owns the majority of the market share in your industry or your business concept is the first of its kind, you still have competition. In the competitive analysis section, you’ll take an objective look at the industry landscape to determine where your business fits. A SWOT analysis is an organized way to format this section.

6. Target Market

Who are the core customers of your business and why? The target market portion of your business plan outlines this in detail. The target market should explain the demographics, psychographics, behavioristics, and geographics of the ideal customer.

7. Marketing Plan

Marketing is expansive, and it’ll be tempting to cover every type of marketing possible, but a brief overview of how you’ll market your unique value proposition to your target audience, followed by a tactical plan will suffice.

Think broadly and narrow down from there: Will you focus on a slow-and-steady play where you make an upfront investment in organic customer acquisition? Or will you generate lots of quick customers using a pay-to-play advertising strategy? This kind of information should guide the marketing plan section of your business plan.

8. Financial Summary

Money doesn’t grow on trees and even the most digital, sustainable businesses have expenses. Outlining a financial summary of where your business is currently and where you’d like it to be in the future will substantiate this section. Consider including any monetary information that will give potential investors a glimpse into the financial health of your business. Assets, liabilities, expenses, debt, investments, revenue, and more are all useful adds here.

So, you’ve outlined some great goals, the business opportunity is valid, and the industry is ready for what you have to offer. Who’s responsible for turning all this high-level talk into results? The "team" section of your business plan answers that question by providing an overview of the roles responsible for each goal. Don’t worry if you don’t have every team member on board yet, knowing what roles to hire for is helpful as you seek funding from investors.

10. Funding Requirements

Remember that one of the goals of a business plan is to secure funding from investors, so you’ll need to include funding requirements you’d like them to fulfill. The amount your business needs, for what reasons, and for how long will meet the requirement for this section.

Types of Business Plans

  • Startup Business Plan
  • Feasibility Business Plan
  • Internal Business Plan
  • Strategic Business Plan
  • Business Acquisition Plan
  • Business Repositioning Plan
  • Expansion or Growth Business Plan

There’s no one size fits all business plan as there are several types of businesses in the market today. From startups with just one founder to historic household names that need to stay competitive, every type of business needs a business plan that’s tailored to its needs. Below are a few of the most common types of business plans.

For even more examples, check out these sample business plans to help you write your own .

1. Startup Business Plan


As one of the most common types of business plans, a startup business plan is for new business ideas. This plan lays the foundation for the eventual success of a business.

The biggest challenge with the startup business plan is that it’s written completely from scratch. Startup business plans often reference existing industry data. They also explain unique business strategies and go-to-market plans.

Because startup business plans expand on an original idea, the contents will vary by the top priority goals.

For example, say a startup is looking for funding. If capital is a priority, this business plan might focus more on financial projections than marketing or company culture.

2. Feasibility Business Plan


This type of business plan focuses on a single essential aspect of the business — the product or service. It may be part of a startup business plan or a standalone plan for an existing organization. This comprehensive plan may include:

  • A detailed product description
  • Market analysis
  • Technology needs
  • Production needs
  • Financial sources
  • Production operations

According to CBInsights research, 35% of startups fail because of a lack of market need. Another 10% fail because of mistimed products.

Some businesses will complete a feasibility study to explore ideas and narrow product plans to the best choice. They conduct these studies before completing the feasibility business plan. Then the feasibility plan centers on that one product or service.

3. Internal Business Plan


Internal business plans help leaders communicate company goals, strategy, and performance. This helps the business align and work toward objectives more effectively.

Besides the typical elements in a startup business plan, an internal business plan may also include:

  • Department-specific budgets
  • Target demographic analysis
  • Market size and share of voice analysis
  • Action plans
  • Sustainability plans

Most external-facing business plans focus on raising capital and support for a business. But an internal business plan helps keep the business mission consistent in the face of change.

4. Strategic Business Plan


Strategic business plans focus on long-term objectives for your business. They usually cover the first three to five years of operations. This is different from the typical startup business plan which focuses on the first one to three years. The audience for this plan is also primarily internal stakeholders.

These types of business plans may include:

  • Relevant data and analysis
  • Assessments of company resources
  • Vision and mission statements

It's important to remember that, while many businesses create a strategic plan before launching, some business owners just jump in. So, this business plan can add value by outlining how your business plans to reach specific goals. This type of planning can also help a business anticipate future challenges.

5. Business Acquisition Plan


Investors use business plans to acquire existing businesses, too — not just new businesses.

A business acquisition plan may include costs, schedules, or management requirements. This data will come from an acquisition strategy.

A business plan for an existing company will explain:

  • How an acquisition will change its operating model
  • What will stay the same under new ownership
  • Why things will change or stay the same
  • Acquisition planning documentation
  • Timelines for acquisition

Additionally, the business plan should speak to the current state of the business and why it's up for sale.

For example, if someone is purchasing a failing business, the business plan should explain why the business is being purchased. It should also include:

  • What the new owner will do to turn the business around
  • Historic business metrics
  • Sales projections after the acquisition
  • Justification for those projections

6. Business Repositioning Plan

businessplan_6 (1)

When a business wants to avoid acquisition, reposition its brand, or try something new, CEOs or owners will develop a business repositioning plan.

This plan will:

  • Acknowledge the current state of the company.
  • State a vision for the future of the company.
  • Explain why the business needs to reposition itself.
  • Outline a process for how the company will adjust.

Companies planning for a business reposition often do so — proactively or retroactively — due to a shift in market trends and customer needs.

For example, shoe brand AllBirds plans to refocus its brand on core customers and shift its go-to-market strategy. These decisions are a reaction to lackluster sales following product changes and other missteps.

7. Expansion or Growth Business Plan

When your business is ready to expand, a growth business plan creates a useful structure for reaching specific targets.

For example, a successful business expanding into another location can use a growth business plan. This is because it may also mean the business needs to focus on a new target market or generate more capital.

This type of plan usually covers the next year or two of growth. It often references current sales, revenue, and successes. It may also include:

  • SWOT analysis
  • Growth opportunity studies
  • Financial goals and plans
  • Marketing plans
  • Capability planning

These types of business plans will vary by business, but they can help businesses quickly rally around new priorities to drive growth.

Getting Started With Your Business Plan

At the end of the day, a business plan is simply an explanation of a business idea and why it will be successful. The more detail and thought you put into it, the more successful your plan — and the business it outlines — will be.

When writing your business plan, you’ll benefit from extensive research, feedback from your team or board of directors, and a solid template to organize your thoughts. If you need one of these, download HubSpot's Free Business Plan Template below to get started.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


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Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

Streamline Your Business Planning Activities with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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15 Ways to Use and Get Incredible Value From a Business Plan

Male and female entrepreneurs standing next to one another by two sets of bookshelves. Discussing ways to use their business plan.

14 min. read

Updated October 27, 2023

What is a business plan used for? That fully depends on your business stage and specific business needs. 

If you’re just starting, you’ll use a business plan to deal with uncertainty and navigate early doubts and questions. If you’re seeking funding then you’ll be using your business plan to explain your value to potential investors and lenders. 

When  created correctly , a detailed plan can help you successfully start, manage, and grow your business. Of course, this is just a simple introduction to the purpose of a business plan. Let’s explore and explain the uses of a business plan for each business stage.

  • How to use a business plan when starting your business

When starting a new business, your business plan is meant to help you explore, define, and connect. You’re evaluating the type of business you’ll be running, who your target market will be, and defining how sections of your business will operate. Here are the key methods for using a business plan to successfully start your business.

YouTube video

1. Evaluate and develop your business idea

Is  your business idea  valid? Should you even pursue it? Will it sell enough to cover costs and expenses? Who else is doing something like this?  

Your business plan will help you answer these critical questions. It guides you through the process of making the right educated guesses for every area of your business. This includes initial financial planning and outlining expected sales, costs of goods sold, expenses, and cash flow. You’ll also set up your strategy, tactics, major milestones, and success metrics.

Evaluating your idea by developing a plan ensures that you’re prepared and minimizing risk. You don’t need to have everything perfectly developed. However, you should know enough to determine if your idea is valuable and sustainable. Shouldn’t you be able to write these down for yourself before you take the risk? 

You want to keep things short and simple. Start with a lean business plan, which is a collection of bullet-point lists and projections. Use it for yourself and your team members only, not to show to outsiders. 

At the end of the day, your goal is to be able to deal with the big questions. Is this really a good idea? Will it work? Can you feasibly do it?  

2. Inform your branding and mission

Writing a business plan  doesn’t just help evaluate your business idea. It also ensures that you’re outlining core business operations that allow people to recognize, like, and trust your company. This is encompassed by your branding, value proposition, and company mission.

Branding is all about how your business looks and feels. Your mission statement then helps define what your brand stands for. Then your value proposition officially defines how your products and services effectively serve your potential customers.

Trying to please everybody is usually a shortcut to failure. Creating these upfront streamlines your focus toward the right people. Through effective market research, you create an informed brand position that is designed to reach and resonate with a specific audience. 

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3. Identify professional gaps

Just like you can’t serve everyone, you also can’t be an expert on everything involved in running a successful business. Maybe you have industry expertise, solid management skills, or a specialized skillset. However, there may be other areas such as accounting, customer service, or marketing that you are completely unprepared to take on.

Creating a business plan allows you to explore operational areas that you are unfamiliar with and assess what skill gaps you need to fill. Even without experience, you’ll attempt to outline the functions of your marketing plan, financial forecasts, sales channels, etc. As part of this exercise, you can also mention specific roles or areas of operation that you need to outsource or fill.

This will directly tie the onboarding of professionals to your milestones and startup strategy. This will help you determine the right time to bring on more people. It will also prove to investors that you are thinking ahead and already understand your weaknesses. 

4. Connect with mentors

Your business plan can be a great introduction to working with mentors, counselors, and business development organizations. The best example is in the U.S. Where more than 1,000 Small Business Development Centers offer workshops, counseling, and mentorship for small business owners and entrepreneurs. They really appreciate business owners having a business plan as part of the relationship.

Aside from these formal relationships with mentors, there are informal relationships that can evolve into mentorship over time. It may be another business owner, someone you’re pitching to, an employee, or someone you randomly connect with at a networking event. 

This is where your business plan can be a great tool for explaining a business to somebody who might be able to help with it. Just keep a  lean and streamlined version of your plan , or even just your executive summary, ready to share.  

5. Connect and partner with suppliers

Business owners use forecasts and financial statements to manage their sourcing, suppliers, contractors, and inventory. You’ll anticipate sales and expenses ahead of time, review actual results, and revise accordingly. 

Regularly scrutinizing your projected sales and costs can better inform your purchasing decisions and optimize inventory. Too much inventory can be a drain on cash. Too little can hurt production and sales. 

Understanding the state of your financials will also make it much easier to approach suppliers and vendors. You’ll be prepared to discuss growth plans, negotiate product or service pricing, and changes to inventory. Your business plan can even be a key part of proposing a strategic alliance with a supplier.

The importance of a business plan in this instance is making sure you’re fully prepared to have these conversations. You’re not scrambling when you suddenly start bleeding cash or take on an excess of inventory. Instead, you’re using your plan to look ahead and prepare. 

  • How to use a business plan to pursue funding

An inevitable step for most existing businesses is the  pursuit of funding . It can occur early in the lifespan of a business to help get it off the ground. It may also take years until it becomes necessary for a business to achieve an escalated level of growth. Here are the specific ways that you can use your business plan to successfully gain funding and present it to potential investors.  

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6. Solidify your funding needs

In years of angel investment, I’ve seen many attempts to raise investment run aground over entrepreneurs and owners not knowing how much money they need. Investors always want to know how much money you need and what it will be spent on. Bankers expect you to apply for loans for some specific amount. 

Before you seek out a loan or make a pitch, you’ll need to understand how much funding you require. You can use your business plan to estimate that total. It will also demonstrate why you need that money, what you’ll do with it, and how it will help the business. 

That process starts with your educated guesses about sales, costs, expenses, and cash flow. If your projections indicate that you can get by without other people’s money, then heave a sigh of relief because you don’t need investment or loans. If the projects show a deficit, then that deficit is likely how much money you need in funding. 

7. Support for loan applications 

Your business plan is your best-supporting documentation when submitting a loan application. Most commercial bank loans and especially Small Business Administration-backed loan applications require a business plan as part of the process. Your business plan should include your essential financials including sales, costs, expenses, and cash flow statements. Again, it should also show why you need funding, how you’ll spend it, and how you’ll pay it back. 

These days it doesn’t always take a long formal business plan document. Often a lean business plan is enough to support a loan. That will include those essential numbers, plus short summaries of strategy, tactics, major milestones, and metrics. 

8. Guide your pitch to investors

I’ve seen founders fail a pitch because they couldn’t answer common questions that come up. Questions such as:

  • What are you projecting for marketing expenses? 
  • How much is your gross margin?
  • What’s the headcount assumption?

This can be a death sentence for your chance at funding. Investors can immediately tell if you don’t have a plan to back up your pitch. 

Another important myth to dispel is that investors don’t read business plans. The truth is that investors will often reject a proposal based on just a summary, without having read the whole plan. But when they like the proposal, the summary, and the  pitch , they need the full business plan to guide due diligence. 

In 12 years with an angel investment group, I’ve never seen an investment made without investors reading a business plan in detail. In short, you need to have your business plan prepared. It will enhance your pitch and make it far easier to move on to the next step to gain funding.

9. Manage funding once received

Having a business plan doesn’t just help you gain funding, it also helps you  effectively manage it . You’ll have this outlined in an initial use of funds report and actively engage with investors through the ongoing business planning process. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be forced to stick to the strategy you set out with, and are instead able to optimize how to leverage your funding. 

Track results including essential numbers and execution. Review those results regularly and revise as necessary. Use that process to provide updates as needed for your bankers or investors. That way you aren’t scrambling to pull together your financial statements and strategy when asked for them.

  • How to use a business plan to manage and grow your business

The best and most common ongoing use of your business plan is to steer, manage, and grow your business. The business plan is for you to use to better run your business. Think of business planning for your business as a system that mimics navigation in your car. 

The long-term goals are the destination. The strategy, tactics, execution, and essential budgets are the route. Tracking and reviewing real-time information are the choices you make when driving. They help you determine if you should adjust you’re route or stay on course. 

Recognizing this primary use of the business plan also helps you focus on what you need and don’t need for your business plan. You can opt to work with a one-page business plan  instead of a big formal business planning document. Here are the key ways you can use your business plan for effective business management and growth.

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10. Establish a strategy and the tactics needed to execute it

Use your business plan  to clarify your strategy , determine the tactics necessary to support it, and track your execution. No need to write elaborate text explanations. You can deal with just bullet points that summarize and remind you of the main aspects of your plan. 

Think of this as a tool for maintaining focus. Most business owners and entrepreneurs want to do everything they can to please every customer. I certainly always did with my business. 

But what we learn in the real world is that there is the principle of displacement in small businesses. What we do rules out what we can’t do. 

11. Monitor and measure business performance

This ties directly into establishing your strategy and tactics but deserves its own focus. Your business plan is not only useful for defining milestones, key performance indicators, and success metrics. It’s also an invaluable tool for tracking and measuring this data on an ongoing basis. 

Having these metrics sit directly within your plan ensures that you’re always linking tactile performance back to your broader strategy. It makes  performance reviews and revisions  much easier to complete. And should you need funding at a later stage, it makes it much easier to prepare your plan for a professional pitch.

12. Explore potential scenarios

A what-if analysis, more often called a scenario analysis, allows you to explore what might happen to your business in different scenarios. 

What if we open another location? What if we change pricing? What if we add another employee? What happens if we don’t reach our sales goals?

You can use your business plan as a tool for scenario analysis. Save your current plan as the most likely scenario. Then leverage your forecasts to develop at least a worst-case and best-case financial scenario. From here, you can outline specific strategies within your plan to take advantage of opportunities and prepare for crisis events. 

13. Plan revisions in response to a crisis

Speaking of a crisis, you can easily use your plan to develop an emergency response strategy. For example, when COVID changed everything almost overnight, business owners with well-established business plans were able to adapt far more quickly. Using their plan like a performance dashboard puts strategy, tactics, metrics, milestones, and essential projections all in one place. 

This enabled these owners to look quickly at educated guesses on revenue decline and then adjust spending to compensate. They had a view of milestones due, and performance against metrics, and were able to adjust timing, scheduling, and priorities to deal with the crisis. 

14. Determine the right time for growth initiatives

Similar to crisis planning, you can also use your business plan to better  prepare your business to take on growth initiatives . Rather than blindly guessing if you’re needing to invest further to achieve growth, you can instead coordinate around swings in revenue, costs, expenses, and priorities. 

For example, there may be an optimal time to launch a new website, a second location, or even an additional product. Any of these initiatives bring with them an opportunity for substantial gains, as well as an incredible risk if not executed properly. In any of these circumstances, you can use your plan to better understand how introducing a website, location, product, or anything else will affect your business.

What timeframe do you need to gain traction? What’s the necessary ROI that makes it a success? Do you have enough cash to invest in it right now?

You can answer all of these questions, and take full advantage of growth opportunities with your business plan.

15. Update your plan based on actual results

Using your business plan to track your strategy, tactics, and execution is the first step. The next step is to engage in regular plan reviews to maintain an accurate view of your actual results. 

The point of reviewing your plan and tracking results is so that you can steer your business with course corrections as required.  Plan vs. actual business plan analysis  is perfect for this. 

When a business plan review turns up results different than expected, you will always have the dilemma of whether to change the plan or the execution. When results are better than expected, then you have to decide whether you change the plan to take advantage of what’s working. And when you have bad news, you have to decide whether the disappointment means changing the plan or just improving execution.  

In any case, using your plan in this way means you spend more time reviewing and less time pulling together data. 

  • Additional ways to use your business plan

Outside of this list, there are some special and less common use cases for your business plan. If you’re planning to sell your business, a business plan can help inform buyers beforehand. A business plan can also inform parties involved in a divorce or estate execution. It can also be useful for developing a continuity plan when a business is being passed on to a relative or employee. 

Lastly, a business plan is key for determining the valuation of a business for purposes including sale, legal settlements, and taxation. All of these use cases tend to deal with helping streamline legal aspects of selling, transitioning, or valuing a business. Similar to how having a business plan prepped helps you prepare to pursue funding, it can also eliminate the need to do any additional work in these scenarios.

How do you ensure that you actually use your plan? Leverage growth planning 

Business planning is the best way to get what you want from your business. It coordinates strategy, tactics, business activities, and teamwork, and pushes results to the forefront. More than likely, you’ll find  even more specific use cases  for your own business beyond the fifteen listed here.

There are many types of business plans out there, and you don’t always need a formal business plan document. If your full intention is to leverage your plan as an internal management tool, then you should start with a one-page plan.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

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  • How do you ensure that you actually use your plan? Leverage growth planning 

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A Business Plan is a Roadmap for a Business to Achieve its Goals

What is a business plan? Definition, Purpose, and Types

In the world of business, a well-thought-out plan is often the key to success. This plan, known as a business plan, is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies , and financial projections. Whether you’re starting a new business or looking to expand an existing one, a business plan is an essential tool.

As a business plan writer and consultant , I’ve crafted over 15,000 plans for a diverse range of businesses. In this article, I’ll be sharing my wealth of experience about what a business plan is, its purpose, and the step-by-step process of creating one. By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of how to develop a robust business plan that can drive your business to success.

What is a business plan?

Purposes of a business plan, what are the essential components of a business plan, executive summary, business description or overview, product and price, competitive analysis, target market, marketing plan, financial plan, funding requirements, types of business plan, lean startup business plans, traditional business plans, how often should a business plan be reviewed and revised, what are the key elements of a lean startup business plan.

  • What are some of the reasons why business plans don't succeed?

A business plan is a roadmap for your business. It outlines your goals, strategies, and how you plan to achieve them. It’s a living document that you can update as your business grows and changes.

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These are the following purpose of business plan:

  • Attract investors and lenders: If you’re seeking funding for your business , a business plan is a must-have. Investors and lenders want to see that you have a clear plan for how you’ll use their money to grow your business and generate revenue.
  • Get organized and stay on track: Writing a business plan forces you to think through all aspects of your business, from your target market to your marketing strategy. This can help you identify any potential challenges and opportunities early on, so you can develop a plan to address them.
  • Make better decisions: A business plan can help you make better decisions about your business by providing you with a framework to evaluate different options. For example, if you’re considering launching a new product, your business plan can help you assess the potential market demand, costs, and profitability.

The Essential Components of a Business Plan

The executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, even though it’s the last one you’ll write. It’s the first section that potential investors or lenders will read, and it may be the only one they read. The executive summary sets the stage for the rest of the document by introducing your company’s mission or vision statement, value proposition, and long-term goals.

The business description section of your business plan should introduce your business to the reader in a compelling and concise way. It should include your business name, years in operation, key offerings, positioning statement, and core values (if applicable). You may also want to include a short history of your company.

In this section, the company should describe its products or services , including pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other relevant information could include production and manufacturing processes, patents, and proprietary technology.

Every industry has competitors, even if your business is the first of its kind or has the majority of the market share. In the competitive analysis section of your business plan, you’ll objectively assess the industry landscape to understand your business’s competitive position. A SWOT analysis is a structured way to organize this section.

Your target market section explains the core customers of your business and why they are your ideal customers. It should include demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and geographic information about your target market.

Marketing plan describes how the company will attract and retain customers, including any planned advertising and marketing campaigns . It also describes how the company will distribute its products or services to consumers.

After outlining your goals, validating your business opportunity, and assessing the industry landscape, the team section of your business plan identifies who will be responsible for achieving your goals. Even if you don’t have your full team in place yet, investors will be impressed by your clear understanding of the roles that need to be filled.

In the financial plan section,established businesses should provide financial statements , balance sheets , and other financial data. New businesses should provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years, and may also request funding.

Since one goal of a business plan is to secure funding from investors , you should include the amount of funding you need, why you need it, and how long you need it for.

  • Tip: Use bullet points and numbered lists to make your plan easy to read and scannable.

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Business plans can come in many different formats, but they are often divided into two main types: traditional and lean startup. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says that the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

Lean startup business plans are short (as short as one page) and focus on the most important elements. They are easy to create, but companies may need to provide more information if requested by investors or lenders.

Traditional business plans are longer and more detailed than lean startup business plans, which makes them more time-consuming to create but more persuasive to potential investors. Lean startup business plans are shorter and less detailed, but companies should be prepared to provide more information if requested.

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A business plan should be reviewed and revised at least annually, or more often if the business is experiencing significant changes. This is because the business landscape is constantly changing, and your business plan needs to reflect those changes in order to remain relevant and effective.

Here are some specific situations in which you should review and revise your business plan:

  • You have launched a new product or service line.
  • You have entered a new market.
  • You have experienced significant changes in your customer base or competitive landscape.
  • You have made changes to your management team or organizational structure.
  • You have raised new funding.

A lean startup business plan is a short and simple way for a company to explain its business, especially if it is new and does not have a lot of information yet. It can include sections on the company’s value proposition, major activities and advantages, resources, partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

What are some of the reasons why business plans don't succeed?

Reasons why Business Plans Dont Success

  • Unrealistic assumptions: Business plans are often based on assumptions about the market, the competition, and the company’s own capabilities. If these assumptions are unrealistic, the plan is doomed to fail.
  • Lack of focus: A good business plan should be focused on a specific goal and how the company will achieve it. If the plan is too broad or tries to do too much, it is unlikely to be successful.
  • Poor execution: Even the best business plan is useless if it is not executed properly. This means having the right team in place, the necessary resources, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Unforeseen challenges:  Every business faces challenges that could not be predicted or planned for. These challenges can be anything from a natural disaster to a new competitor to a change in government regulations.

What are the benefits of having a business plan?

  • It helps you to clarify your business goals and strategies.
  • It can help you to attract investors and lenders.
  • It can serve as a roadmap for your business as it grows and changes.
  • It can help you to make better business decisions.

How to write a business plan?

There are many different ways to write a business plan, but most follow the same basic structure. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  • Executive summary.
  • Company description.
  • Management and organization description.
  • Financial projections.

How to write a business plan step by step?

Start with an executive summary, then describe your business, analyze the market, outline your products or services, detail your marketing and sales strategies, introduce your team, and provide financial projections.

Why do I need a business plan for my startup?

A business plan helps define your startup’s direction, attract investors, secure funding, and make informed decisions crucial for success.

What are the key components of a business plan?

Key components include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, products or services, marketing and sales strategy, management and team, financial projections, and funding requirements.

Can a business plan help secure funding for my business?

Yes, a well-crafted business plan demonstrates your business’s viability, the use of investment, and potential returns, making it a valuable tool for attracting investors and lenders.

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The Business Planning Process: 6 Steps To Creating a New Plan

The Business Planning Process 6 Steps to Create a New Plan

In this article, we will define and explain the basic business planning process to help your business move in the right direction.

What is Business Planning?

Business planning is the process whereby an organization’s leaders figure out the best roadmap for growth and document their plan for success.

The business planning process includes diagnosing the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, improving its efficiency, working out how it will compete against rival firms in the future, and setting milestones for progress so they can be measured.

The process includes writing a new business plan. What is a business plan? It is a written document that provides an outline and resources needed to achieve success. Whether you are writing your plan from scratch, from a simple business plan template , or working with an experienced business plan consultant or writer, business planning for startups, small businesses, and existing companies is the same.

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The Better Business Planning Process

The business plan process includes 6 steps as follows:

  • Do Your Research
  • Calculate Your Financial Forecast
  • Draft Your Plan
  • Revise & Proofread
  • Nail the Business Plan Presentation

We’ve provided more detail for each of these key business plan steps below.

1. Do Your Research

Conduct detailed research into the industry, target market, existing customer base,  competitors, and costs of the business begins the process. Consider each new step a new project that requires project planning and execution. You may ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your business goals?
  • What is the current state of your business?
  • What are the current industry trends?
  • What is your competition doing?

There are a variety of resources needed, ranging from databases and articles to direct interviews with other entrepreneurs, potential customers, or industry experts. The information gathered during this process should be documented and organized carefully, including the source as there is a need to cite sources within your business plan.

You may also want to complete a SWOT Analysis for your own business to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential risks as this will help you develop your strategies to highlight your competitive advantage.

2. Strategize

Now, you will use the research to determine the best strategy for your business. You may choose to develop new strategies or refine existing strategies that have demonstrated success in the industry. Pulling the best practices of the industry provides a foundation, but then you should expand on the different activities that focus on your competitive advantage.

This step of the planning process may include formulating a vision for the company’s future, which can be done by conducting intensive customer interviews and understanding their motivations for purchasing goods and services of interest. Dig deeper into decisions on an appropriate marketing plan, operational processes to execute your plan, and human resources required for the first five years of the company’s life.

3. Calculate Your Financial Forecast

All of the activities you choose for your strategy come at some cost and, hopefully, lead to some revenues. Sketch out the financial situation by looking at whether you can expect revenues to cover all costs and leave room for profit in the long run.

Begin to insert your financial assumptions and startup costs into a financial model which can produce a first-year cash flow statement for you, giving you the best sense of the cash you will need on hand to fund your early operations.

A full set of financial statements provides the details about the company’s operations and performance, including its expenses and profits by accounting period (quarterly or year-to-date). Financial statements also provide a snapshot of the company’s current financial position, including its assets and liabilities.

This is one of the most valued aspects of any business plan as it provides a straightforward summary of what a company does with its money, or how it grows from initial investment to become profitable.

4. Draft Your Plan

With financials more or less settled and a strategy decided, it is time to draft through the narrative of each component of your business plan . With the background work you have completed, the drafting itself should be a relatively painless process.

If you have trouble writing convincing prose, this is a time to seek the help of an experienced business plan writer who can put together the plan from this point.

5. Revise & Proofread

Revisit the entire plan to look for any ideas or wording that may be confusing, redundant, or irrelevant to the points you are making within the plan. You may want to work with other management team members in your business who are familiar with the company’s operations or marketing plan in order to fine-tune the plan.

Finally, proofread thoroughly for spelling, grammar, and formatting, enlisting the help of others to act as additional sets of eyes. You may begin to experience burnout from working on the plan for so long and have a need to set it aside for a bit to look at it again with fresh eyes.

6. Nail the Business Plan Presentation

The presentation of the business plan should succinctly highlight the key points outlined above and include additional material that would be helpful to potential investors such as financial information, resumes of key employees, or samples of marketing materials. It can also be beneficial to provide a report on past sales or financial performance and what the business has done to bring it back into positive territory.

Business Planning Process Conclusion

Every entrepreneur dreams of the day their business becomes wildly successful.

But what does that really mean? How do you know whether your idea is worth pursuing?

And how do you stay motivated when things are not going as planned? The answers to these questions can be found in your business plan. This document helps entrepreneurs make better decisions and avoid common pitfalls along the way. ​

Business plans are dynamic documents that can be revised and presented to different audiences throughout the course of a company’s life. For example, a business may have one plan for its initial investment proposal, another which focuses more on milestones and objectives for the first several years in existence, and yet one more which is used specifically when raising funds.

Business plans are a critical first step for any company looking to attract investors or receive grant money, as they allow a new organization to better convey its potential and business goals to those able to provide financial resources.

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9 Ways to Use Your Business Plan It's not just for financing--your business plan can help you spot future success or failure, attract suppliers and employees, and more.

Sep 27, 2005

Editor's note: This article was excerpted from Business Plans Made Easy , a guide to creating a high-impact business plan.

The process of writing a business plan helps you take a thorough, careful and comprehensive look at the most important facets of your business, including the contexts in which it operates. Just raising questions can sometimes lead to a solution, or at least ensure that if conditions change you won't be forced to make decisions hastily. The ongoing "what if this or that happens?" inherent in the planning process keeps you alert. In other words, the planning process itself makes you a far more capable manager than you would be without it. For many, this is a more valuable result than securing funding.

In many ways, writing a business plan is an end in itself. The process will teach you a lot about your business that you are unlikely to learn by any other process. You'll spot future trouble areas, identify opportunities, and help your organization run smoothly, simply through the act of writing a plan.

Evaluating a New Venture Lisa Angowski Rogak is an entrepreneur who started several newsletters in much the same way. She devised a plan focusing on marketing strategy and cash flow projections to see if she could come up with a way to sell the newsletters while keeping her bills paid. She then prepared a sample issue to be used in a direct mail and publicity campaign. "Planning is the key to the success of your newsletter," says Rogak, whose latest venture is Williams Hill Publishing. "It's the single most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your newsletter."

That's the kind of encouragement that helps entrepreneurs persevere, whether they have an existing concern that's hitting a rough spot or a startup concept that nobody else seems to believe in. Numbers can lie, of course, and nobody can create a spreadsheet that really tells the future. But evaluating financial data is to entrepreneurship what evaluating lab results is to a medical doctor. If your vital signs are good, odds are your future will be as well

But what if the odds don't look so favorable? What if the first pass through your cash flow projection or income pro formas contains more red than a fire station paint locker? Sure, you can go back and look for an error or an overly pessimistic or conservative assumption. You can even try altering a few of the inevitable numbers that you really have no way of estimating accurately to see where the pressure points are, if nothing else.

But what if you do that, even pushing your alterations past the point of credibility, and your plan still doesn't make sense? Well, in that case, you've probably done yourself the really big favor of finding out something isn't going to work before you sink your money into it. Nobody knows exactly how often this happens, but it's safe to say that a lot of businesses are never attempted because the plan convincingly says that they shouldn't be.

Is that bad? Well, it may feel bad. But think how much worse you would feel if you went ahead with the venture, and things turned out as the plan forecast. Business planning is a powerful tool for evaluating the feasibility of business ventures. Use it.

It would be a shame to keep the benefits of a well-done plan to yourself. And you shouldn't. You can use your plan to find funding. But a good plan can also help sell your products, services, and your whole company to prospects and suppliers. Furthermore, a plan is a valuable tool for communicating your visions, goals and objectives to other managers and key employees in your firm.

Selling with Your Plan As a rule, your business plan is only likely to be required in the later stages of being selected as a supplier. Let the customer's process decide when or if you'll present your plan. As an added benefit, working your way through the early stages of vendor selection will give you a chance to rework your plan, if necessary, to stress the areas you've learned are more important to your potential customer. Informing Suppliers and Customers Increasingly, companies large and small have been trying to trim the number of suppliers and customers they deal with and develop deeper and stronger relationships with the ones they keep. An essential part of this is getting to know more about existing and prospective vendors and clients. So don't be surprised if one day, when you're trying to set up a new supplier relationship or pitch a deal to a big company, the person you're negotiating with asks to see your business plan.

Why do suppliers care about business plans? Suppliers only want to sell to people who can pay, which is one important reason a new supplier is likely to want to see your business plan before taking a big order. Remember, if a supplier is selling to you on credit--letting you take delivery of goods and pay for them later--that supplier is, in effect, your creditor. Suppliers who sell for other than cash on delivery have the same legitimate interest in your business's strategy and soundness as does a banker.

Say a supplier's analysis of customer records shows it has a knack for developing long-term profitable relationships with moderate-sized companies that emphasize excellent service, price at a premium level, and provide only the best merchandise. Business plans provide all the information such a company will need to find and clone its best customers. So if a supplier asks to see your plan, be willing to share it. It could be the start of a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

Customers are likely to be concerned about how well your respective strategies fit with theirs. For instance, say your mission statement says that you intend to produce the best-in-the-world example of your product no matter what the cost. Your customer, meanwhile, is a high-volume, low-price reseller of the type of products you make. Even if your offering fits the customer's need this time, odds are good that the relationship won't work out over the long haul. If, on the other hand, a look at your business plan reveals that your companies share the same kind of strategies and have similar objectives in type if not scope, it's an encouraging sign.

Managing With Your Plan

The spread of the open-book management theory means a lot more employees are seeing their companies' business plans than ever before. When employees get the key information managers are using to make decisions, they understand management better and make better decisions themselves, and efficiency and profitability often increase as a result.

Many companies hold annual meetings at which they present and discuss an edited version of their business plan to all employees. Others provide new hires with their business plan-type information as part of their indoctrination in company culture. Both are effective approaches. You can also use bulletin boards or company newsletters to publish smaller sections of your plan, such as your mission statement or some details of financial objectives and how you're progressing.

One drawback to using a plan to help inform and manage your employees is that many won't understand it. Some firms provide employees with rudimentary training in matters like how to read a financial report before they hand out the company's plans. Often this training is done by the CEO and can take considerable time. But don't be afraid to share details of your business plan with employees. They may turn out to understand it better than you.

Monitoring Your Business's Performance Using a business plan to monitor your performance has many benefits. If your cash flow is running much shorter than projected at the moment, even though you're not currently in trouble, that information may help you to spot disaster before it occurs. By comparing plan projections with actual results, you gain a deeper understanding of your business's pressure points or the components of your operation that have the most effect on results.

  • Spotting trouble early. A teenager taking driver's education is told to look through the rear window of the car in front to try to see the brake lights on the vehicle ahead of that one. The idea is that if the novice driver waits until the car immediately ahead slams on the brakes, it may be too late to stop. Looking forward, past the immediate future, helps traffic move more smoothly and averts countless accidents.

The same principle applies in business planning. You don't have to be a wizard to get some solid hints about the future beyond tomorrow, especially when it comes to the operations of your own business. You can look at virtually any page of your business plan and find an important concept or number describing some expected future event that, if it turns out to be diverging from reality, may hint at future trouble.

Say your profit margins are shrinking slowly but steadily and seemingly irreversibly. If you can see that within a few months your declining margins will push your break-even point too high to live with, you can take action now to fix the problem. You may need to add a new, higher-margin product; get rid of an old one; or begin marketing to a more profitable clientele. All these moves, and many more you could take, have a good chance of working if your careful comparison of plan projections with actual results warns you of impending danger. Wait until the last minute, and you could be peeling yourself off the windshield.

  • Understanding pressure points. Not all tips that come from comparing plans with results have to do with avoiding danger. Some help you identify profit opportunities. Others may show how seemingly minor tweaks can produce outsized improvements in sales or profitability. For example, the plan for a one-person professional service business indicated that rising sales were not, in general, accompanied by rising costs. Fixed items such as office rent and insurance stayed the same, and even semivariable costs such as phone bills went up only slightly. The bulk of any extra business went straight to the bottom line, showing up as profit improvement. But one cost that didn't seem especially variable went up sharply as business volume climbed. That was the number of transactions.

Ordinarily this would be a given and not necessarily a matter of grave concern. A large enterprise could absorb these costs, but for this single professional, however, added paperwork came at a very high cost--her own time. As a part of checking her plan against results, she noticed this unexpected increase in transactions and calculated that she spent around an hour on paperwork for each transaction no matter how large or small. She realized that one of the most important pressure points in her business was related to the size of a transaction. By refusing small engagements and seeking clients who could offer big jobs, she would reduce the amount of time spent on otherwise unproductive paperwork and increase the time she could spend completing client requirements.

Ultimately, she was able to trim what had been 100 annual transactions down to 75, while increasing the amount of her dollar revenue. The result was a free 25 hours to spend working on more business or just vacationing. If you can see and relieve a pressure point like that, you can really keep your business from boiling over.

There are few things to equal the sensation of filling in all the numbers on a cash flow projection, hitting the recalculate button, and scrolling to the bottom of your spreadsheet to see what the future holds. If the news is good and you see a steady string of positive cash balances across the bottom row, you know that, assuming your data is good and your assumptions reasonable, your business has a good chance of making it.

Do the Numbers Add Up?

Many businesses fail because of events that are impossible to foresee. If you'd begun a car dealership specializing in yacht-sized gas guzzlers right before the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s, you would be in the same position as a driver heading at 100 miles per hour into a brick wall--through no fault of your own. The same might go for a software startup that comes out with a new program just before Microsoft unveils a top-secret, long-term development effort to create something that does the same job for a lot less money.

It's probably not a bad idea, as part of your business planning process, to try to include some information in your business plan about the activities or intentions of the potential embargos and Microsofts. If nothing else, crafting a scenario in which the unthinkably awful occurs may help you to deal with it if it does. But some things are just wild cards and can't be predicted. For these you just have to trust the luck of the draw.

So what numbers have to add up? Certainly you have to be selling your products and services at a profit that will let you sustain the business long term. You'll also have to have a financial structure, including payables and receivables systems and financing, that will keep you from running out of cash even once. If you have investors who want to sell the company someday, you may need a plan with a big number in the field for shareholders' equity on the projected balance sheet.

When you're asking yourself whether the numbers add up, keep the needs of your business and your business partners, if you have any, in mind. Even if it looks like it'll take an air strike to keep your business from getting started, you don't want to do it if the numbers say that long-term it's headed nowhere.

Attracting Good People It takes money to make money, sure, but it also takes people to make a company, that is, unless you're a one-person company. Sometimes even then a plan can be an important part of your effort to attract the best partners, employees, suppliers and customers to you.

  • Prospective partners. Partners are like any other investors, and it would be a rare one who would come on board without some kind of plan. Partners want to know your basic business concept, the market and your strategy for attacking it; who else is on your team; what your financial performance, strengths and needs are; and what's in it for them. Luckily, these are exactly the same questions a business plan is designed to address, so you're likely to please even a demanding prospective partner by simply showing him or her a well-prepared plan. The one difference is a plan probably won't contain the details of a partnership agreement. And you'll need one of these to spell out the conditions of your partnership, no matter how well you and your prospective partner know, understand and trust one another.
  • Prospective employees. Although employees may not be making cash contributions to your business, they're making an investment of something equally important--their own irreplaceable time. The kinds of employees you probably want are careful, thorough, good at assessing problems and risks, and unwilling to leap into hazardous waters. As it happens, these are just the kind of people who are going to want to see a written plan of your business before they come on board.

Now, it's not going to be necessary, if you're running a restaurant, to show your full business plan to every waitperson or assistant dishwasher who fills out a job application. It's the most desirable employees--the talented technologists, the well-connected salespeople, the inspired creative types, and the grizzled, seen-it-all managers--who are most likely to feel they can and should demand to see details of your plan before they cast their lot with you.

So even if you don't show your plan to more than a few prospective employees, when you need it, you may really need it bad. Make sure you're ready when a promising but inquisitive job candidate shows up at your doorstep. Another thing, as we've pointed out, not all businesses have plans. So by having one, you'll be making yourself a more desirable employer.

Plan for the Possibility of Failure

There's no point in planning for failure, but there is a point in writing a business plan that's willing to admit the possibility of failure. It's only natural to create a plan that will describe a roaring success, but you have to be careful not to present an overly optimistic view, especially of such elements as sales, costs and profit margins.

It's tempting to noodle around with the numbers until you come up with the desired result. And if you only make small changes here and there, it may seem all right. What difference does it make? Say you increase your projected market share by 1 percent here, reduce expected costs by 2 percent there, and lower your estimate of required startup capital by a few percentage points as well.

A number of similarly small changes, in sum, can make a big difference in the bottom line of your plan and turn what otherwise looks like a loser into a projected winner. But don't be seduced. You may be asking for investments from friends and family you care about as well as putting your own life savings into the enterprise. Arm's-length investors' feelings may not be so important, but if you mislead them in your plan, you may open yourself up to accusation of misrepresentation.

Looking at things in your plan through rose-colored glasses may even doom your business to failure if it causes you to seek insufficient startup capital, underprice your product or service or expect unrealistically rapid growth. Temper your enthusiasm. If your plan indicates that the business idea isn't sound, by all means look for errors. But don't make the mistake of skewing your plan to fit an idea that isn't sound.

Update Your Plan Writing a business plan is one of those skills that improves with practice. The first one or two times you create one, you may feel a little unsure of yourself and even less certain that what you're doing has value.

If you go on to start several ventures during your career, you'll naturally write several business plans, and each one will be better than the last. It's likely as well that with better planning skills will come improved business skills, boosting the odds that each successive company you start will do better than the one before.

But there's no reason that only serial entrepreneurs should get the benefit of regular business planning sessions. If you start just one company or even if you never start a company at all, you can and should be constantly honing your business planning skills by updating and rewriting your business plan.

Updating a plan is normally easier than starting from scratch. Instead of trying to figure out what your basic business concept is, you only have to decide whether it's changing. Instead of wondering where you'll find the current market research you need, you just have to go back to the original source for updated figures. You'll usually be able to reuse the financial formulas, spreadsheets, management biographies and other more or less evergreen contents of your plan.

It's important, however, that a plan update not be a mechanical task, limited to plugging in the most recent sales figures. Take the time to challenge some of the core assumptions of your prior plan to see if they still hold up. Have profit margins been higher than you expected? Then start planning how to make the most of any extra cash you generate. Is your new retail store unit not performing as well as others or you expected? Then now's the time to figure out why. Has competition for your new product arisen sooner than you guessed? Take a look at other products with an eye to seeing if they are also more vulnerable than you think.

In large corporations with strict planning routines requiring annual, semiannual and quarterly plans and plan updates, managers spend at least part of their time working on or thinking about a new plan or plan update. All that information flowing up to senior managers in the form of plans helps keep the brass informed. It helps those in the trenches, too. It's a fact that everybody is judged by past performance. And the best way to ensure that a year from now you'll be looking back on your performance with satisfaction and pride is to plan now and often.

Here are eight reasons to think about updating your plan. If one applies to you, it's time for an update.

  • A new financial period is about to begin. You may update your plan annually, quarterly or even monthly if your industry is fast changing.
  • You need financing, or additional financing. Lenders and other financiers need an updated plan to make financing decisions.
  • Significant markets change. Shifting client tastes, consolidation trends among customers and altered regulatory climates can trigger a need for plan updates.
  • New or stronger competitors are looking to your customers for their growth.
  • Your firm develops or is about to develop a new product, technology, service or skill. If your business has changed a lot since you wrote your plan, it's time for an update.
  • You have had a change in management. New managers should get fresh information.
  • Your company has crossed a threshold, such as moving out of your home office, reaching $1 million in sales or employing 100 people.
  • Your old plan doesn't seem to reflect reality anymore. Maybe you did a poor job last time; maybe things have just changed faster than you expected. But if your plan seems irrelevant, redo it.

David H. Bangs has been working with small-business owners for more than 20 years and is the author of 11 small-business books.

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Biden is canceling $7.4 billion in student debt for 277,000 borrowers. Here's who is eligible.

By Aimee Picchi

Edited By Alain Sherter

Updated on: April 12, 2024 / 3:29 PM EDT / CBS News

The Biden administration on Friday said it's canceling $7.4 billion in student debt for 277,000 borrowers, with the recipients scheduled to receive emails today to alert them to their loan discharges. 

The latest effort extends the debt relief provider under President Joe Biden after the Supreme Court last year blocked  his administration's plan for broad-based student loan forgiveness. With the latest batch of loan cancellations, the White House said it has forgiven about $153 billion in debt for 4.3 million student borrowers. 

Biden, who had made student loan relief a major campaign pledge, is tackling an issue that affects about 43 million Americans with a combined  $1.7 trillion in student debt. It's a burden that some borrowers and their advocates say has harmed their ability to save for a home or achieve financial milestones, an issue that was echoed by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a conference call with reporters. 

"I talked to a teacher in New York this week who took out a loan for $30,000," Cardona said Friday, "and after over a decade of paying and being a teacher the debt was $60,000, and she was saying that the interest was so high that the payments that she was making wasn't even touching her principal."

He added, "We are fixing a broken system. We're relentless and taking steps to transform a broken system into one that works people across the country."

Here's what to know about who is eligible for the latest round of forgiveness.

Who qualifies for the student loan forgiveness?

Three groups of people qualify under the latest round of debt relief, the White House said. 

  • $3.6 billion for 206,800 borrowers enrolled in the SAVE plan.

About $3.6 billion will be forgiven for nearly 207,000 borrowers enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan, an income-driven repayment program, or IDR, that the Biden administration created last year. 

The White House said borrowers who are getting their debt discharged under SAVE had taken out smaller loans for their college studies. The plan allows people to receive forgiveness after they made at least 10 years of payments if they originally took out $12,000 or less in loans to pay for college; borrowers with larger loans are eligible after 20 or 25 years of repayment, depending on what types of loans they have. 

 "You sacrifice and you've saved for a decade or more to make your student loan payments, and you originally borrowed $12,000 or less, you're going to see relief," Cardona told reporters. "An overwhelming number of those who qualify for SAVE were eligible for Pell grants and come from low- and middle-income communities."

  • $3.5 billion for 65,700 borrowers in income-repayment plans.

These borrowers will receive forgiveness through "administrative adjustments" to repayment plans where loan servicers had made it tougher for some borrowers to qualify for relief.  

"These are people who paid for a long time but were being deprived of relief because of administrative and servicing failures," Cardona said. "These people met the contract of their loan" and will receive forgiveness.

  • $300 million for 4,600 borrowers through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).  

The PSLF program is designed to help public servants like teachers and government employees achieve debt forgiveness after 10 years of repayment. It's a program that started in 2007 but had been plagued with complex rules that effectively hampered people from getting their debt discharged, with only 7,000 receiving loan forgiveness prior to the Biden administration. 

With the latest round of discharges, the Biden administration has forgiven $62.8 billion in loans for 876,000 borrowers through PSLF. 

Are there legal challenges to Biden's debt forgiveness plans?

In two separate lawsuits, Republican attorneys general in 18 states are pushing to have the SAVE plan tossed and to halt any further student debt cancellation. They say the SAVE plan oversteps Biden's authority and makes it harder for states to recruit employees. They also contend the plan undermines a separate cancellation program that encourages careers in public service.

It's unclear what the suits could mean for loans that have already been canceled. A court document filed by Kansas' attorney general says it's "unrealistic to think that any loan forgiveness that occurs during this litigation will ever be clawed back."

—With reporting by the Associated Press.

  • Biden Administration
  • Student Loan

Aimee Picchi is the associate managing editor for CBS MoneyWatch, where she covers business and personal finance. She previously worked at Bloomberg News and has written for national news outlets including USA Today and Consumer Reports.

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IR-2024-108, April 12, 2024

WASHINGTON — With the April tax deadline arriving next week, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded millions of last-minute tax filers that the agency has a variety of free tools and resources available on IRS.gov.

From tax preparation, answers to tax law questions, refund tracking, tax law research to business topics and more, IRS.gov has everything needed for taxpayers to file on time or get an easy, automatic six-month extension to file. The IRS also has special Saturday hours available at 70 Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country to help taxpayers.

“Millions of taxpayers across the nation will be working on their tax returns during the final hours, and people should remember they have many ways to get last-minute help,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “We have a variety of free tools on IRS.gov that can help with basic tax law questions, provide free filing options, update refund status and even provide ways to request an extension for more time to file. We’re continuing our expanded special assistance for taxpayers right through the final weekend of tax season with special Saturday hours at 70 locations.”

For most of the nation, the tax deadline is April 15. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17 to file and pay taxes due this year. This is because these states observe the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 this year and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia. Other taxpayers in disaster areas, certain active-duty military members and citizens living abroad automatically get more time to file; more details are below.

For taxpayers who need an extension of time to file their taxes, there are several options to get an automatic extension through Oct. 15. Although an extension grants extra time to file, it does not extend the obligation to pay taxes due on April 15, 2024. To avoid penalties and late fees, taxpayers who owe should pay either their full tax bill or at least what they can afford to pay by the April 15 deadline.

The IRS estimates 19 million taxpayers will file for an automatic extension.

The IRS has already received more than 100 million tax returns, with tens of millions more expected to be filed as the tax deadline approaches.

“Delivering tax season is a massive undertaking, and we greatly appreciate people in many different areas working long hours to serve taxpayers as the tax deadline approaches,” Werfel added. “This effort reaches far beyond the IRS and includes hard-working tax professionals, software providers, the payroll community as well as our colleagues in the state tax agencies. Their work helping taxpayers makes a difference.”

Get tax help, day or night

For those needing last-minute help, taxpayers will find filing information for individuals as well as businesses and self-employed on IRS.gov. For last-minute filers looking for free resources, IRS Direct File remains an option as does IRS Free File . Anyone can use IRS Free File to submit an extension of time to file regardless of their income.

IRS.gov is an important resource that can help in a number of areas:

  • For answers to tax law questions, taxpayers will find tools like the Interactive Tax Assistant or they can use the Frequently Asked Questions tool to find answers to dozens of topics.
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Go paperless

The IRS encourages all taxpayers to file electronically and choose direct deposit to avoid refund delays. Filing on paper can significantly delay a refund. Tax software helps individuals steer clear of mistakes by doing the math. It also guides people through each section of their tax return using a question-and-answer format.

Some taxpayers get automatic extensions

Special rules offer some taxpayers more time without having to request an extension:

  • U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside of the United States and Puerto Rico get an automatic two-month extension, until June 15, to file their tax returns. However, tax payments are still due April 15 or interest will accrue on the unpaid tax.
  • Members of the military on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico also receive an automatic two-month extension to file. Those serving in combat zones have up to 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file returns and pay any taxes due. Details are available in Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide .
  • When the U.S. president makes a disaster area declaration, the IRS can postpone certain tax deadlines for taxpayers in affected areas. Taxpayers in qualified disaster areas do not need to submit an extension electronically or on paper. Information on the most recent tax relief for disaster situations can be found on the Extension of time to file your tax return page.

Find information on free local tax prep

The IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals, including:

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  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers.

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program also offers free tax help for taxpayers, particularly those age 60 and older.

The VITA/TCE Site Locator can help eligible taxpayers find the nearest community-based site staffed by IRS-trained and certified volunteers. Demand is high for this service, so taxpayers may experience longer wait times for appointments. Taxpayers can use the locator tool to find an available site near them. It’s updated throughout the tax season, so individuals should check back or increase the distance from their location in their search if they don't see a nearby site listed.

MilTax , Military OneSource’s tax service, offers online software for eligible military members, veterans and their families to electronically file a federal return and up to three state returns for free.

Assistive technology options

At the online Alternative Media Center , taxpayers will find a variety of accessible products like screen reading software, refreshable Braille displays and screen magnifying software. These products include tax forms, instructions and publications. Many can be downloaded or viewed online as Section 508 compliant PDF, HTML, eBraille, text and large print.

Having trouble paying? IRS has options to help

For those who owe a payment with their tax return, the IRS has a number of payment options .

For taxpayers that are unable to pay in full by the tax deadline, the IRS recommends they should file their tax return and pay what they can, and apply for an online payment plan . By filing by the deadline, taxpayers will avoid failure to file penalties and interest – even if they’re unable to pay. Taxpayers can explore various payments options; they can receive an immediate response of payment plan acceptance or denial without calling or writing to the IRS. Online payment plan options include:

  • Short-term payment plan – The total balance owed is less than $100,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest. Additional time of up to 180 days to pay the balance in full.
  • Long-term payment plan – The total balance owed is less than $50,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest. Pay in monthly payments for up to 72 months. Payments may be set up using direct debit (automatic bank withdraw) which eliminates the need to send in a payment each month, saving postage costs and reducing the chance of default. For balances between $25,000 and $50,000, direct debit is required.

Though interest and late-payment penalties continue to accrue on any unpaid taxes after April 15, the failure to pay penalty is cut in half while an installment agreement is in effect. Find more information about the costs of payment plans on the IRS’ Additional information on payment plans webpage.

Adjust withholding to prevent tax "surprises"

Tax filing season is an excellent time for taxpayers to check their withholding to avoid a tax surprise when filing in 2025. Life events like marriage, divorce, having a child or an income change can all impact taxes.

The Tax Withholding Estimator helps people bring the tax they pay closer to what is owed. Employees can assess their income tax, credits, adjustments and deductions, and determine whether they need to change their withholding by submitting a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate to their employer, not the IRS.

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Using Dual SIM with an eSIM

An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to use a cellular plan from your carrier without having to use a physical nano-SIM. Learn how to set up and use Dual SIM. 1

How can you use Dual SIM?

Use one number for business and another number for personal calls.

Add a local data plan when you travel outside of the country or region.

Have separate voice and data plans.

Both your phone numbers can make and receive voice and FaceTime calls and send and receive messages using iMessage, SMS, and MMS. 2 Your iPhone can use one cellular data network at a time.

If you want to use 5G with Dual SIM on iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max, make sure that you have iOS 14.5 or later .

What you need

An iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, or later with iOS 12.1 or later

A wireless carrier that supports eSIM

To use two different carriers, your iPhone must be unlocked . Otherwise, both plans must be from the same carrier. If a CDMA carrier provides your first SIM, your second SIM won't support CDMA. Contact your carrier for more information.

If you have an enterprise or corporate cellular service plan, check with your company administrator to see if they support this feature.

Set up another cellular plan on your iPhone

Use two phone numbers

Learn about Dual SIM status icons

Change your cellular data number, manage cellular settings.

Erase your eSIM

All iPhone models that support eSIM can have multiple eSIMs and use Dual SIM with two active SIMs at the same time.

You can use Dual SIM by using a physical SIM and an eSIM. iPhone 13 models and later also support two active eSIMs. iPhone models without a physical SIM tray support two active eSIMs.

Learn how to activate a cellular plan on an eSIM .

Label your plans

After your second plan is activated, label your plans. For example, you can label one plan Business and the other plan Personal.

You'll use these labels when you choose which phone number to use for making or receiving calls and messages, to designate a number for cellular data, and to assign a number to your contacts so you know which number you will use.

If you change your mind later, you can change your labels by going to Settings, tapping either Cellular or Mobile Data, and then tapping the number whose label you want to change. Then tap Cellular Plan Label and select a new label or enter a custom label.


Set your default number

Choose a number to use when you call or send a message to someone who isn't in your Contacts app. Choose which cellular plans you want to use for iMessage and FaceTime. You can choose either or both numbers.


On this screen, choose a number to be your default, or you can choose which number is to be used only for cellular data. Your other number will be your default. If you want your iPhone to use cellular data from both plans, depending on coverage and availability, turn on Allow Cellular Data Switching.

Use two phone numbers for calls, messages, and data

Now that your iPhone is set up with two phone numbers, here's how to use them.

Let your iPhone remember which number to use

When you call one of your contacts, you don't need to choose which number to use every time. By default, your iPhone uses the same number that you used the last time you called that contact. If you haven't called that contact, your iPhone uses your default number. You can also specify which number to use for your calls with a contact. Follow these steps:

Tap the contact.

Tap Preferred Cellular Plan.

Tap the number you want to use with that contact.


Make and receive calls

You can make and receive phone calls with either phone number.

When you're on a call, if the carrier for your other phone number supports Wi-Fi calling, you can answer incoming calls on your other number. When you're on a call using a line that isn't your designated line for cellular data, you need to turn on Allow Cellular Data Switching to receive calls from your other line. If you ignore the call and you have voicemail set up with your carrier, you’ll get a missed-call notification and the call will go to voicemail. Check with your carrier for Wi-Fi calling availability and find out whether additional fees or data usage applies from your data provider.

If you're on a call and your other line shows No Service, either your carrier doesn't support Wi-Fi calling or you don't have Wi-Fi calling turned on. 3 It could also mean Allow Cellular Data Switching is not turned on. When you're on a call, an incoming call on your other phone number will go to voicemail if you set up voicemail with your carrier. 4 However, you won't get a missed-call notification from your secondary number. Call Waiting works for incoming calls on the same phone number. To avoid missing an important call, you can turn on call forwarding and forward all calls from one number to the other. Check with your carrier for availability and to find out whether additional fees apply.

Switch phone numbers for a call

You can switch phone numbers before you make a call. If you're calling someone in your Favorites list, follow these steps:

Info button

Tap the current phone number.

Tap your other number.

If you're using the keypad, follow these steps:


Enter the phone number.

Tap the phone number, near the top of the screen.

Tap the number you want to use.

Send messages with iMessage and SMS/MMS

You can use iMessage or SMS/MMS to send messages with either phone number. 5 You can choose a number to use before or after you start a conversation. Here's how.

Choose a number before you send an iMessage or SMS/MMS message

Open Messages.

Tap the New button, in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Enter your contact's name.


Switch numbers during a conversation

Tap the number you're using, near the top of the screen.

Choose the number you want to use instead.


The icons in the status bar at the top of the screen show the signal strength of your two carriers. Learn what the status icons mean .

You can see more status icons when you open Control Center .


When Carrier 1 is in use, the other line will show No Service.


The status bar shows that the device is connected to Wi-Fi and Carrier 2 is using Wi-Fi Calling.


With Allow Cellular Data Switching turned on, the status bar shows that Carrier 1 is using 5G, and Carrier 2 is using the cellular data of Carrier 1 and has Wi-Fi calling enabled.

One number at a time can use cellular data. To change which number uses cellular data, follow these steps:

Go to Settings.

Tap either Cellular or Mobile Data.

Tap Cellular Data.

Tap the number you want to use cellular data.


If you turn on Allow Cellular Data Switching, then while you're on a voice call on your voice-only number, that number automatically switches to use voice and data. 6 This lets you use both voice and data while on the call.

If you turn off Allow Cellular Data Switching and you're active on a voice number that isn't your designated cellular-data number, then cellular data won't work while you're on the call.

To turn on Allow Cellular Data Switching, follow these steps:

Tap Mobile Data.

Turn on Allow Cellular Data Switching.

To change your cellular settings for each of your plans, follow these steps:

Tap the number you want to change.

Tap each option and set it as you normally would.


Use Dual SIM with an eSIM and your Apple Watch .

If you can't set up your eSIM or if you have trouble using your eSIM, learn what to do .

eSIM on iPhone is not offered in China mainland. In Hong Kong and Macao, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation), and iPhone XS feature eSIM. Learn about using Dual SIM with two nano-SIM cards in China mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao .

This uses Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) technology, which means that both SIMs can make and receive calls.

Or if you're using iOS 12, update to iOS 13 or later to receive calls when you're using your other number.

4. If data roaming is on for the number that uses cellular data, then Visual Voicemail and MMS will be disabled on your voice-only number.

Additional fees might apply. Check with your carrier.

Your data line switches automatically for the duration of your call. This cellular-data switching won't work if you're currently using Data Roaming. Check with your carrier for availability and to find out if additional fees apply.

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  • April 16, 2024   •   29:29 A.I.’s Original Sin
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The Sunday Read: ‘What I Saw Working at The National Enquirer During Donald Trump’s Rise’

Inside the notorious “catch and kill” campaign that now stands at the heart of the former president’s legal trial..

By Lachlan Cartwright

Read by David Linski

Produced by Jack D’Isidoro and Aaron Esposito

Narration produced by Anna Diamond

Edited by John Woo

Original music by Aaron Esposito

Engineered by Corey Schreppel and Steven Szczesniak

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At the center of the criminal case against former President Donald Trump in Manhattan is the accusation that Trump took part in a scheme to turn The National Enquirer and its sister publications into an arm of his 2016 presidential campaign. The documents detailed three “hush money” payments made to a series of individuals to guarantee their silence about potentially damaging stories in the months before the election. Because this was done with the goal of helping his election chances, the case implied, these payments amounted to a form of illegal, undisclosed campaign spending. And because Trump created paperwork to make the payments seem like regular legal expenses, that amounted to a criminal effort at a coverup, argued Alvin Bragg, the district attorney of Manhattan. Trump has denied the charges against him.

For Lachlan Cartwright, reading the indictment was like stepping through the looking glass, because it described a three-year period in his own professional life, one that he has come to deeply regret. Now, as a former president faces a criminal trial for the first time in American history, Cartwright is forced to grapple with what really happened at The Enquirer in those years — and whether and how he can ever set things right.

There are a lot of ways to listen to ‘The Daily.’ Here’s how.

We want to hear from you. Tune in, and tell us what you think. Email us at [email protected] . Follow Michael Barbaro on X: @mikiebarb . And if you’re interested in advertising with The Daily, write to us at [email protected] .

Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Isabella Anderson, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Elena Hecht, Emma Kehlbeck, Tanya Pérez, Frannie Carr Toth and Krish Seenivasan.

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2024 federal budget's key takeaways: Housing and carbon rebates, students and sin taxes

Budget sees nearly $53b in new spending over the next 5 years.

what's the use of business plan

What's in the new federal budget?

Social sharing.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland today tabled a 400-page-plus budget her government is pitching as a balm for anxious millennials and Generation Z.

The budget proposes $52.9 billion in new spending over five years, including $8.5 billion in new spending for housing. To offset some of that new spending, Ottawa is pitching policy changes to bring in new revenue.

Here are some of the notable funding initiatives and legislative commitments in budget 2024.

Ottawa unloading unused offices to meet housing targets

One of the biggest pillars of the budget is its housing commitments. Before releasing the budget, the government laid out what it's calling Canada's Housing Plan — a pledge to "unlock" nearly 3.9 million homes by 2031.

A man in  a hooded sweatshirt walks past  a row of colourful houses

The government says two million of those would be net new homes and it believes it can contribute to more than half of them. 

It plans to do that by:

  • Converting underused federal offices into homes. The budget promises $1.1 billion over ten years to transform 50 per cent of the federal office portfolio into housing.
  • Building homes on Canada Post properties. The government says the 1,700-plus Canada Post offices across the country can be used to build new homes while maintaining postal services. The federal government says it's assessing six Canada Post properties in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia for development potential "as a start."
  • Rethinking National Defence properties. The government is promising to look at redeveloping properties and buildings on National Defence lands for military and civilian use.
  • Building apartments. Ottawa is pledging a $15 billion top-up to the Apartment Construction Loan Program, which says it will build 30,000 new homes across Canada.

Taxing vacant land?

As part of its push on housing, the federal government also says it's looking at vacant land that could be used to build homes.

It's not yet committing to new measures but the budget says the government will consider introducing a new tax on residentially zoned vacant land. 

  • Freeland's new federal budget hikes taxes on the rich to cover billions in new spending
  • Are you renting with no plans to buy? Here's what the federal budget has for you

The government said it plans to launch consultations on the measure later this year.

Help for students 

There's also something in the budget for students hunting for housing.

A student with short black hair and wearing a denim jacket reads through university course materials in a seated indoor area on campus, with other students seated and working behind them.

The government says it will update the formula used by the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program to calculate housing costs when determining financial need, to better reflect the cost of housing in the current climate.

The government estimates this could deliver more aid for rent to approximately 79,000 students each year, at an estimated cost of $154.6 million over five years.

  • Updated Federal budget's funding boost for defence spread out over multiple years
  • Liberals pledge $9B in new money for Indigenous communities in 2024 budget

The government is also promising to extend increased student grants and interest-free loans, at an estimated total cost of $1.1 billion this year.

Increase in taxes on capital gains

To help cover some of its multi-billion dollar commitments, the government is proposing a tax hike on capital gains — the profit individuals make when assets like stocks and second properties are sold.

The government is proposing an increase in the taxable portion of capital gains, up from the current 50 per cent to two thirds for annual capital gains over $250,000. 

what's the use of business plan

New investment to lead 'housing revolution in Canada,' Freeland says

Freeland said the change would impact the wealthiest 0.1 per cent.

There's still some protection for small businesses. There's been a lifetime capital gains exemption which allows Canadians to exempt up to $1,016,836 in capital gains tax-free on the sale of small business shares and farming and fishing property. This June the tax-free limit will be increased to $1.25 million and will continue to be indexed to inflation thereafter, according to the budget.

The federal government estimates this could bring in more than $19 billion over five years, although some analysts are not convinced.

Disability benefit amounts to $200 per month 

Parliament last year passed the Canada Disability Benefit Act, which promised to send a direct benefit to low-income, working-age people with disabilities. 

Budget 2024 proposes funding of $6.1 billion over six years, beginning this fiscal year, and $1.4 billion per year ongoing, for a new Canada Disability Benefit.

Advocates had been hoping for something along the lines of $1,000 per month per person . They'll be disappointed.

According to the budget document, the maximum benefit will amount to $2,400 per year for low income individuals with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 — about $200 a month.

  • Federal government plans to lease public lands for construction through new housing strategy
  • Alberta premier says she's prepared to take Ottawa to court over housing deals

The government said it plans for the Canada Disability Benefit Act to come into force in June 2024 and for payments to start in July 2025.

Carbon rebate for small businesses coming 

The federal government has heard an earful from small business advocates who accuse it of reneging on a promise to return a portion of carbon pricing revenues to small businesses to mitigate the tax's economic costs.

  • What's behind the carbon tax, and does it work?
  • Federal government scales back carbon tax rebates for small businesses

The budget proposes to return fuel charge proceeds from 2019-20 through 2023-24 to an estimated 600,000 businesses with 499 or fewer employees through a new refundable tax credit.

The government said this would deliver $2.5 billion directly to Canada's small- and medium-sized businesses.

Darts and vape pods will cost more 

Pitching it as a measure to cut the number of people smoking and vaping, the Liberals are promising to raise revenues on tobacco and smoking products.

Starting Wednesday, the total tobacco excise duty will be $5.49 per carton. The government estimates this could increase federal revenue by $1.36 billion over five years starting in 2024-25.

A man exhales vapor while using a vape pen in Vancouver.

The budget also proposes to increase the vaping excise duty rates by 12 per cent effective July 1. That means an increase of 12 to 24 cents per pod, depending on where you live. 

  • 'Stay the hell away from our kids': Health minister vows to restrict nicotine pouches — but how?

Ottawa hopes this increase in sin taxes will bring in $310 million over five years, starting in 2024-25.

More money for CBC 

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge has mused about redefining the role of the public broadcaster before the next federal election . But before that happens, CBC/Radio-Canada is getting a top-up this year. 

Image of CBC logo on a building, from worm's-eye view.

The budget promises $42 million more in 2024-25 for CBC/Radio-Canada for "news and entertainment programming." CBC/Radio-Canada received about $1.3 billion in total federal funding last year.

The government says it's doing this to ensure that Canadians across the country, including rural, remote, Indigenous and minority language communities, have access to independent journalism and entertainment.

Last year, the CBC announced a financial shortfall, cut 141 employees and eliminated 205 vacant positions. In a statement issued Tuesday, CBC spokesperson Leon Mar said the new funding means the corporation can balance its budget "without significant additional reductions this year."

Boost for Canada's spy agency 

A grey and white sign reading Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

As the government takes heat over how it has handled the threat of foreign election interference, it's promising more money to bolster its spy service.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is in line to receive $655.7 million over eight years, starting this fiscal year, to enhance its intelligence capabilities and its presence in Toronto.

  • CSIS chief defends his spies' work after PM casts doubt on reliability of agency's reports
  • Trudeau says it's his job to question CSIS intelligence, call out 'contradictions'

The budget also promises to guarantee up to $5 billion in loans for Indigenous communities to participate in natural resource development and energy projects in their territories.

These loans would be provided by financial institutions or other lenders and guaranteed by the federal government, meaning Indigenous borrowers who opt in could benefit from lower interest rates, the budget says. 


what's the use of business plan

Catharine Tunney is a reporter with CBC's Parliament Hill bureau, where she covers national security and the RCMP. She worked previously for CBC in Nova Scotia. You can reach her at [email protected]

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Prudential Regulation Authority Business Plan 2024/25

Related links related links.

  • PRA annual reports and business plans
  • CP4/24 – Regulated fees and levies: Rates proposals 2024/25

Maintain and build on the safety and soundness of the banking and insurance sectors, and ensure continuing resilience

Be at the forefront of identifying new and emerging risks, and developing international policy

Support competitive and dynamic markets, alongside facilitating international competitiveness and growth, in the sectors that we regulate, run an inclusive, efficient, and modern regulator within the central bank, the pra’s strategy.

Our strategy for 2024/25 will be delivered through our strategic goals, extracts of which are below. For the full detail of our workplan against each strategic priorities, see pages 10 to 41 of this Business Plan . 

Foreword by Chief Executive Sam Woods

Sam Woods Deputy Governor, Prudential Regulation Chief Executive of the PRA

First, this will be our first full year operating under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA 2023), which established a new, post-Brexit regulatory framework for the UK. FSMA 2023 expanded our rulemaking responsibilities and gave us a new secondary objective to support the competitiveness and growth of the United Kingdom.

Competitiveness and growth have always been important considerations for the PRA. Nonetheless, this new objective represents a significant change, and embedding it into our approach has been a major priority for the organisation as a whole, and for me personally as CEO. That effort will continue this year.

Our business plan includes a range of initiatives aimed squarely at promoting the UK’s competitiveness and growth. Some of the most significant are:

  • Our ‘Strong and Simple’ project, which aims to simplify regulatory requirements for smaller banks, thus reducing compliance burdens without compromising on strong standards.
  • The ‘Solvency UK’ reforms of insurance capital standards, which will reduce bureaucracy in the regulatory regime, while also allowing insurers to invest in a wider range of productive assets.
  • The Banking Data Review, which aims to reduce burdens on firms by focusing our data collection on the most useful and relevant information.
  • Improvements to our authorisation processes – we have made significant progress in improving the speed and efficiency of authorisations without sacrificing the robustness of our controls; maintaining this progress will be a key focus for next year.
  • Reforms to ring-fencing, following the independent review led by Sir Keith Skeoch.

The second point I want to highlight is our ongoing programme of work to maintain the resilience of the UK’s banking and insurance sectors, which is at the heart of our role. The events of 2023 (including the high-profile failures of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Credit Suisse (CS)) demonstrate the importance of a focus on resilience – and while I am encouraged by how the UK banking and insurance sectors have remained stable through a stressful period, we cannot take this for granted.

A major priority this year will be the implementation of the Basel 3.1 standards, which will complete the long process of post-financial crisis regulatory reform. While I expect the capital impact of these reforms to be limited for UK banks, they will nonetheless play a vital role in maintaining sufficient consistency in risk measurement across firms and jurisdictions – which is the cornerstone of the bank capital regime.

Another major priority this year will be ensuring firms have adequate standards of operational and cyber resilience. Following FSMA 2023, we have new powers to oversee the services provided to regulated firms by so-called ‘critical third parties’, and we will be implementing that regime over the coming year. And in March 2025 we will reach an important milestone with the full implementation of our wider operational resilience policy.

The day-to-day work of supervision will continue alongside these reforms. As always, our supervisory teams continue to work with PRA-regulated firms to ensure high standards of financial and operational resilience, governance, risk management, and controls. Stress testing remains a key element of our approach to resilience, and alongside colleagues from the wider Bank of England we will deliver a desk-based stress test of banks, and a system-wide exploratory scenario, in 2024. We will also work towards the next round of insurance stress tests in 2025.

I have really only scratched the surface of the work we are doing this year, as you can see from a glance at this document’s contents page. In order to deliver this work, we will need to run an efficient and effective regulator, and I am particularly excited by the potential of our data and analytics agenda to create new opportunities to improve how we work. And if past years are anything to go by, we will continue to engage with innovation in many forms across the industry, whether in the form of new entrants or new approaches to doing business in areas like digital money.

I am very much looking forward to the challenges that the next year will bring, and to working together with a team of very committed colleagues at the PRA to deliver on this business plan.

11 April 2024

Overview of responsibilities and approach

The PRA has two primary objectives: a general objective to promote the safety and soundness of PRA-authorised persons, and an objective specific to insurance firms for the protection of policyholders.

The PRA has two secondary objectives:

  • the competition objective, which is focused on facilitating effective competition in the markets for services provided by PRA-authorised persons in carrying on regulated activities; and
  • the competitiveness and growth objective, which is focused on facilitating, subject to alignment with relevant international standards, (a) the international competitiveness of the economy of the UK (including, in particular, the financial services sector through the contribution of PRA-authorised persons), and (b) its growth in the medium to long term.

In its December 2022 recommendations letter to the Prudential Regulation Committee (PRC), HM Treasury (HMT) set out aspects of the Government’s economic policy to which the PRA must have regard, while building on the important themes of openness, competitiveness, competition, and innovation, as well as delivering energy security and net zero.

In December 2023, the PRA published a consultation paper (CP)27/23 – The Prudential Regulation Authority’s approach to policy , which sets out the PRA’s approach to policymaking as it takes on expanded rule-making powers introduced through FSMA 2023. These expanded powers will enable the PRA to replace relevant assimilated law (previously known as retained EU law) with PRA rules and other policy material, and move towards a more British system of regulation, with most of the technical rules made by independent UK regulators within a framework set by Parliament. In addition, FSMA 2023 introduces new accountability measures that require the PRA to keep its rules under review , and to establish a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) Panel composed of external members, which will scrutinise and provide input into the PRA’s CBA framework. These measures should enable the PRA to deliver policies that are well suited to the UK’s financial sector. In addition:

  • In December 2023, the PRA took a significant step towards implementing the remaining Basel III standards in the UK by publishing the first of two near-final sets of rules with policy statement (PS)17/23 – Implementation of the Basel 3.1 standards near-final part 1 , which takes account of responses received to CP16/22 . The near-final rules aim to promote the safety and soundness of PRA-regulated firms and support their international competitiveness by making capital ratios more consistent, comparable, and aligned with international standards. The PRA will publish its second near-final policy statement in 2024 Q2 on the remaining aspects of the Basel 3.1 package, which include credit risk, the output floor, reporting, and disclosure requirements. The PRA plans to implement the Basel 3.1 standards over a 4.5-year transitional period beginning on 1 July 2025 and ending on 1 January 2030. Among other things, the PRA will also continue to support international efforts to monitor and promote the implementation of Basel 3.1.
  • In December 2023, the PRA published PS15/23 – The Strong and Simple Framework: Scope Criteria, Liquidity and Disclosure Requirements , taking account of feedback to CP4/23 . The policy addresses liquidity and disclosure requirements for Simpler-regime Firms and Pillar 3 remuneration disclosure. The PRA will move further towards finalising and implementing the Strong and Simple prudential framework for Small Domestic Deposit Takers (SDDTs) during 2024. footnote [1]
  • Following the publication of discussion paper (DP)3/22 – Operational resilience: Critical third parties to the UK financial sector , in December 2023, the PRA published CP26/23 , jointly with the Bank of England (‘the Bank’) and FCA (‘the supervisory authorities’). CP26/23 sets out the supervisory authorities’ proposed requirements for critical third parties (CTPs), footnote [2] including the mechanism for identifying potential CTPs, recommending them for designation by HMT, incident notification triggers and requirements, and proposed CTP Fundamental Rules. In 2024, the PRA will continue to work with the supervisory and other authorities to develop the final policy and oversight approach.
  • In September 2023, the PRA published CP19/23 – Review of Solvency II: Reform of the Matching Adjustment , which marks a significant milestone in the PRA's reforms to the Solvency II regime for the UK insurance market. Following the publication of PS2/24 – Review of Solvency II: Adapting to the UK insurance market and PS3/24 – Review of Solvency II: Reporting and disclosure phase 2 near-final , the PRA will publish its final rules, subject to alignment with anticipated legislation, in 2024.

The PRA’s objectives and priorities are delivered through regulation and supervision, and by developing standards and policies that set out expectations of firms. The PRA’s approach to supervision is forward-looking, judgement-based, and focused on the issues and firms that pose the greatest risk to the stability of the UK financial system and policyholders. This approach is set out in the  PRA’s approach to supervision of the banking and insurance sectors .

The PRA’s regulatory focus is primarily at the individual firm and sector level, with the most important decisions taken by the PRC, which works with the Bank’s other areas of remit, including its role as supervisor of Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs), the UK’s Resolution Authority, and its committees, including the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), which has responsibility for the stability of the entire UK financial system. The PRA also works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), including through the Chief Executive of the PRA being a member of the FCA Board and the Chief Executive of the FCA being a member of the PRC.

The PRA regulates 1,330 firms and groups. footnote [3] These consist of 730 deposit-takers (banks, building societies, credit unions, and designated investment firms footnote [4] (DIFs)), and 600 insurers of all types (general insurers, life insurers, friendly societies, mutuals, the London market, and insurance special purpose vehicles (ISPVs)).

Chart 1: PRA supervised deposit-takers, as at January 2024

Chart 2: pra supervised insurers, as at january 2024, the pra’s strategy, shaping the pra’s strategy.

Each year, the PRA is required by law footnote [5] to review and, if necessary, revise its strategy in line with its statutory objectives:

  • the general primary objective to promote the safety and soundness of PRA-authorised firms;
  • specifically for insurance firms, a primary objective to contribute to the securing of an appropriate degree of protection for those who are or may become policyholders;
  • a secondary objective to act, so far as is reasonably possible, in a way that facilitates effective competition in the markets for services provided by PRA-authorised firms; and
  • a new secondary objective to act, so far as reasonably possible, in a way that facilitates the UK economy’s international competitiveness and its growth over the medium to long term, subject to alignment with international standards.

In addition to the statutory objectives, the PRA’s strategy is shaped by other responsibilities, such as the requirement to implement legislation and other changes necessary to meet international standards, and to continue to adapt to market changes in areas such as financial technology (FinTech), climate change, and digitalisation.

When considering how to advance its objectives, there are a set of regulatory principles to which the PRA must also have regard. This includes regulatory principles from FSMA 2000, and considerations from HMT’s December 2022 letter to the PRC on the Government’s economic policy, the Equality Act 2010, the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, and the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. In its pursuit of its objectives, the PRA will review all the regulatory principles, identify which are significant to the proposed policy, and judge the extent to which they should influence the outcome being sought.

Furthermore, as part of the Bank, the PRA contributes to the delivery of the Bank’s wider financial stability and monetary policy objectives, for example by:

  • maintaining and, where appropriate, strengthening or updating prudential standards;
  • being at the forefront of identifying new and emerging risks, and developing international policy; and
  • ensuring that banks and other financial institutions can continue to provide essential services.

Strategic priorities for 2024/25

This year’s business plan continues to be structured around the PRA’s four strategic priorities, as set out in its 2023/24 Business Plan . The PRA’s strategic priorities for 2024/25 will remain unchanged because the PRA updated its priorities in 2023 to take account of its new powers, new secondary objective, and expanded role brought about by FSMA 2023. The strategic priorities for 2024/25 are to:

  • maintain and build on the safety and soundness of the banking and insurance sectors, and ensure continuing resilience;
  • be at the forefront of identifying new and emerging risks, and developing international policy;
  • support competitive and dynamic markets, alongside facilitating international competitiveness and growth, in the sectors that we regulate; and
  • run an inclusive, efficient, and modern regulator within the central bank.

PRA Business Plan 2024/25

Maintain and build on the safety and soundness of the banking and insurance sectors and ensure continuing resilience.

During the decade following the financial crisis of 2007-09, the PRA designed and implemented extensive reforms that materially improved the safety and soundness of firms, insurance policyholder protection, and financial stability. Since then, the robust regulatory standards that the PRA has implemented and its strong international collaboration have played a key role in maintaining the resilience of the banking and insurance sectors, consistent with its objectives and those of the FPC. The PRA will continue to ensure that the firms it regulates remain adequately capitalised and have sufficient liquidity and stable funding profiles, with appropriately defined impact tolerances for disruption to their business services. The PRA’s regulatory framework encourages PRA-regulated firms to take a holistic approach to managing risks by identifying, monitoring, and taking action to remove or reduce systemic risks.

The PRA’s role as a rulemaker was further expanded following the introduction of FSMA 2023. Under the new regulatory framework , the PRA will continue to be a strong, accountable, responsive, and accessible policymaker, and make rules to meet its regulatory obligations, while adopting a risk-based approach, as set out in CP27/23 , in a way that is tailored to the specific features of financial services in the UK. Among other things, the PRA will continue to faithfully implement agreed international standards and reforms in a way that best serves the UK. For example, in 2024 the PRA will publish its final rules on the implementation of the Basel 3.1 standards and on replacing relevant and/or remaining firm-facing Solvency II requirements from assimilated law with the PRA’s own rules, which will become part of the PRA’s Rulebook and other policy materials. In addition, the PRA will move further towards finalising and implementing the Strong and Simple prudential framework , which provides a simpler but robust set of prudential rules for non-systemic, domestic-focused banks and building societies in the UK.

The PRA will also continue to pay particular attention to the business opportunities and threats that are posed by changes in the economic environment, both in the UK and other jurisdictions, that could pose risks to the UK.

The PRA will continue to promote a strong risk culture among regulated firms, including a conscious and controlled approach to risk taking activities, and ensure that this is supported by adequate financial and non-financial resources. At the same time, the PRA will maintain a robust regulatory regime that is able to respond to the external factors that pose the greatest risk to firms’ safety and soundness.

Risk factors also include global geopolitical risks, which have intensified over the past year. The PRA will continue to ensure that PRA-regulated firms are resilient to such risks by liaising with both domestic and international regulatory counterparts and continuing to monitor and engage with affected firms. Effective international collaboration remains central to addressing global risks and maintaining UK financial stability as well as the safety and soundness of internationally active firms.

The PRA will monitor and assess firms’ ability to manage cyber threats through the ongoing use of threat-led penetration testing ( CBEST and STAR-FS ) and the cyber questionnaire ( CQUEST ). In collaboration with the FCA, including in response to known technology, cyber and third-party incidents, the PRA will continue to monitor and engage with firms on their execution of large and complex IT change programmes. Furthermore, the FPC’s cyber stress testing has broadened the PRA’s understanding of how operational disruptions such as cyberattacks may affect financial stability.

The PRA will continue to engage in collective action to develop a view on sector-wide risks, support the building of firm- and sector-level resilience, and enhance the sector’s ability to respond to system-wide disruption. This will include ongoing sector engagement through the Cross-Market Operational Resilience Group (CMORG), which delivers industry guidance, response capabilities, and technical solutions, and through cross-jurisdictional coordination via the G7 Cyber Experts Group (CEG). Through CMORG, the PRA will deliver a sector-wide simulation exercise (SIMEX24) to assess the sector’s resilience to major operational disruption. The PRA will continue to develop its ability to respond to operational incidents in the sector through its authorities ( Authorities Response Framework ) and sector ( Cross Market Business Continuity Group ) response mechanisms.

Financial resilience – banking

Implementation of the basel 3.1 standards.

In March 2023, the PRA concluded its consultation on proposals published in November 2022 about the parts of the Basel III standards that remain to be implemented in the UK (‘Basel 3.1’). In September 2023, the PRA announced that it would split the publication of the near-final Basel 3.1 rules in two, moving implementation back by six months to 1 July 2025 to reduce the transitional period to 4.5 years and ensure full implementation by 1 January 2030, in line with the proposals set out in CP16/22. The first near-final PS17/23 – Implementation of the Basel 3.1 standards near-final part 1 , covering market risk, credit valuation adjustment risk, counterparty credit risk, and operational risk, was published in December 2023. The PRA will publish the second near-final PS, covering the remaining elements of credit risk, the output floor, as well as Pillar 3 disclosure and reporting requirements, in due course.

The near-final rules from the two PSs will be made final once Parliament has revoked the relevant parts of the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR). The PRA expects this to happen later in 2024. In addition to finalising Basel 3.1 rules, the PRA will continue to increase its supervisory focus on firms’ implementation plans.

Bank stress testing

The concurrent stress testing of firms is one of the key tools used by the PRA and the Bank to support their microprudential and macroprudential objectives. Banking stress tests examine the potential impact of a hypothetical scenario on the major UK banks and building societies that make up the banking system, and on the system as a whole. The PRA normally runs two types of banking stress test – the annual cyclical scenario and other exploratory scenarios.

In 2024, the PRA will support the Bank in taking stock of and updating its framework for concurrent bank stress testing. The stocktake will draw on lessons from the first decade of concurrent stress testing, and so ensure that the framework continues to support the FPC and PRC in meeting its objectives. The PRA will also contribute to supporting the Bank’s desk-based stress test in 2024, which is being conducted in place of an ACS. The desk-based exercise will make use of the PRA’s risk expertise along with models developed in the PRA and elsewhere in the Bank to test the financial resilience of the UK banking system under more than one adverse macroeconomic scenario. Stress testing exercises involving firm submissions of stressed projections are currently expected to resume in 2025.

In addition, the Bank is conducting a system-wide exploratory scenario (SWES), working closely with and with the full support of the PRA, FCA, and TPR (The Pensions Regulator). The exercise was launched in June 2023 and aims to improve the understanding of the behaviours of banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFI) in stressed financial market conditions. The participating firms in this exercise are representative of markets that are core to UK financial stability.

Private equity and credit

The evolving macro environment is expected to challenge firms’ approach to risk management, increasing the need for robust governance, risk management, and controls. One area of focus for the PRA will be exposures to NBFI, particularly any challenges that may manifest around the trend toward illiquid private equity financing and private credit. The PRA will continue to closely monitor private asset financing and the way that firms consider the risks they could face from these activities. In particular, the PRA will look for further improvements in firms’ ability to identify and assess correlations across financing activities with multiple clients.

Replacing assimilated law

HMT has prioritised the CRR as one of the initial areas of focus in the process of transferring assimilated law into the supervisory authorities’ rules and legislation following the enactment of FSMA 2023. The latter granted the PRA expanded rulemaking powers to replace assimilated law with PRA rules, thereby moving towards a more British system of regulation. In 2024/25, the PRA will consult on proposed rules to replace, with modifications where appropriate, the relevant firm-facing provisions in Part Two of the CRR.

Model risk management (MRM) and internal ratings-based approach/hybrid models

Banks’ use of and reliance on models and scenario analysis to assess future risks has increased significantly over the past decade. The introduction of new, sophisticated modelling techniques – including the potential use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) – has highlighted the need for sound model governance and effective model risk management practices.

In 2023, the PRA published a supervisory statement (SS)1/23 – Model risk management principles for banks , which applies to firms with internal model (IM) approval to calculate regulatory capital requirements. It is structured around five high-level principles that set out the core disciplines necessary for a robust model risk management framework to manage model risk effectively across all model and risk types. The adoption of these principles will help banks to develop good practices of model risk management, raising prudential standards at banks operating in the UK. The new policy comes into effect on 17 May 2024. Banks within the scope of the policy are expected to conduct an initial self-assessment against these principles, and, where relevant, prepare remediation plans to address any identified shortcomings.

During 2024, the PRA will focus on how banks are embedding and implementing the expectations set out in SS1/23. In particular, the PRA will seek to understand the extent to which banks’ management teams are adopting the principles and promoting the management of model risk as a risk discipline in its own right across their firms.

The PRA has published a range of policy statements on changes to the internal ratings-based (IRB) approach to credit risk over recent years. footnote [6] The PRA will continue to work with firms as they progress their model approval and review submissions in line with these requirements and expectations. The PRA will focus on the ‘hybrid’ approach to mortgage modelling, and the IRB repair programme, both carried forward from previous years.

Where appropriate, firms are holding post-model adjustments (PMAs) in the form of risk-weighted asset (RWA) add-ons, helping to mitigate potential capital underestimation while they develop their new models. During 2024, the PRA will continue to assess the adequacy of the PMAs to ensure any potential capital underestimation is addressed.

Liquidity risk management

The events of 2023 brought a further focus on the liquidity and funding risks faced by deposit takers, in particular the deposit outflows experienced by CS and SVB leading up to their acquisition and resolution, respectively.

The PRA will continue its close supervision of firms’ liquidity and funding risks in light of recent stresses. Through its ongoing supervision of banks and building societies, the PRA will follow up on how firms are taking account of the lessons they learnt from the events at CS and SVB. The PRA will continue to use its regular programme of Liquidity Supervisory Review and Evaluation Processes (L-SREPs) across PRA-authorised firms to assess their liquidity and funding risks, in quantitative and qualitative terms, and to ensure appropriate financial and non-financial resources are in place to manage and mitigate these risks.

The PRA will also continue to engage with firms and within the wider Bank on PRA-authorised firms’ access to the Bank’s Sterling Monetary Framework .

The PRA will also monitor closely how firms consider changes in depositor behaviour in the current funding environment and proactively take into consideration forthcoming changes in bank funding and liquidity conditions. footnote [7]

Credit risk management

The PRA is closely monitoring firms’ credit risk management practices given the uncertain credit risk outlook across key markets. The PRA’s assessment will include a focus on how credit risk management practices have evolved – in particular, how they can remain robust and adaptable to changing conditions, whether there is appropriate consideration of downside and contagion risks, as well as firms’ monitoring and planning for the impacts of customer refinancing. The PRA will undertake a thematic review of smaller firms’ credit risk management frameworks during 2024/25.

The PRA will monitor changes to firms’ business mix and credit exposures, and continue to monitor vulnerable segments, including cyclical sectors and key international portfolios, as well as traditionally higher-risk portfolios such as buy-to-let, credit cards, unsecured personal loans, small to medium-sized enterprises, leveraged lending, and commercial real estate. In addition, counterparty credit risk will remain a key area of supervisory focus through 2024, especially exposures to NBFI across certain business lines.

Separately, in 2024, the PRA will continue to progress its review of regulatory policies to assess whether the policy framework for trading book risk management, controls, and culture is adequate, robust, and accessible.

The UK banking system is well capitalised. However, the overall operating and risk environment remains challenging, and firms must manage their financial resilience to ensure that the financial sector can continue to support businesses and households. The PRA will continue to assess firms’ capital positions and planning, including firms’ use of forward-looking capital indicators, stress testing, and contingency plans.

The PRA intends to review its Pillar 2A methodologies (see section ‘Review of the Pillar 2 framework’ of PS17/23 ) for banks after the rules on Basel 3.1 are finalised, with a view to consulting on any proposed changes in 2025.

Securitisation regulation

HMT has prioritised the Securitisation Regulation as one of the initial areas of focus in the process of transferring assimilated law into regulatory rules and legislation following the enactment of FSMA 2023. The PRA will publish its final policy (simultaneously with the FCA) on final rules to replace or modify the relevant firm-facing provisions in the Securitisation Regulation and related Technical Standards in 2024-25.

The PRA also intends to consult on draft PRA rules to replace firm-facing requirements, subject to HMT making the necessary legislation. The PRA has gathered views and evidence from firms through DP3/23 – Securitisation: capital requirements , which will inform its approach to capital requirements for securitisation.

Financial resilience – insurers

Solvency uk implementation.

In June 2024, the PRA will publish its final policy on the matching adjustment (MA) reforms set out in CP19/23 – Review of Solvency II: Reform of the Matching Adjustment . The majority of these reforms will take effect from end-June to allow PRA-authorised firms to take immediate advantage of new investment opportunities. The remaining Solvency II reforms consulted upon in CP12/23 – Review of Solvency II: Adapting to the UK insurance market will take effect on 31 December 2024.

To facilitate implementation of the reforms consulted on in CP12/23 and CP19/23, the PRA will streamline the application processes for new internal model permissions and variations of existing permissions. There will be similar proposals for MA permissions, if the final policy is the same as set out in the CP. The PRA remains committed to assessing and providing decisions on applications for permissions as quickly as possible and aims to do this within the timescales published in the associated statements of policy. This will be supported by the establishment of dedicated, specialised teams for reviewing applications.

In practice, delivering timely decisions will in part depend on good engagement between firms and the PRA during the application process, and on the preparation of high-quality and complete applications by firms. To facilitate this, the PRA will publish templates for use by firms , including templates for reporting the updated Matching Adjustment Asset and Liability Information Return (MALIR) and the Analysis of Change (AoC) and Quarterly Model Change (QMC) for internal models. These measures are intended to assist with a smooth transition to the Solvency UK regime.

A variety of proposals were made in responses to CP19/23 to further reform the MA in the form of so-called ‘sandboxes’, which would allow an element of self-certification of eligibility, or a route to further expand eligibility in response to innovations in primary financing markets. In 2024, the PRA will explore these proposals with industry with the goal of determining whether they can be developed into schemes that further advance the objectives of the Solvency II review.

Solvency II reporting reforms

To deliver the regulatory reporting and disclosure reforms consulted on in CP14/22 and CP12/23 , the PRA published PS3/24 – Review of Solvency II: Reporting and disclosure phase 2 near-final , including finalised templates and instruction files. The PRA will also publish a finalised single taxonomy package in 2024 Q2, which encompasses proposals in CP14/22 and CP12/23 , and deletions published in PS29/21 . The PRA will engage with firms, including through industry roundtables, to prepare them in meeting the new reporting requirements coming into force from 31 December 2024.

Solvency II transfer

The PRA will publish a CP in 2024 H1 that will set out how it will transfer the remaining Solvency II requirements from assimilated law into the PRA Rulebook and other policy material such as supervisory statements or statements of policy (‘the UK framework’).

This will provide a more comprehensive Rulebook and will make it easier for firms to access and navigate the rules that apply to them.

Insurance stress testing

Stress testing forms an important part of the PRA’s supervisory approach and risk assessment of insurance firms, helping to assess and identify the vulnerabilities of life and general insurance sectors to a range of risks in different scenarios.

Major life insurers participate in regular and concurrent stress testing prescribed by the PRA, and the next test will take place in 2025. For the first time, the PRA will publish the individual results of the largest annuity-writing firms to help inform stakeholders about the level of firms’ resilience in the scenarios set out, and thereby strengthen market discipline.

The PRA will continue to engage with the industry on the technical, operational, and communication aspects of the stress test, and will publish an approach document for the life insurance stress test 2025. The 2025 test will for the first time include an exploratory scenario to assess exposure to the recapture of funded reinsurance contracts.

For general insurers, the PRA has previously conducted four general insurance stress test exercises between 2015 and 2022. In 2025, the PRA will run its first dynamic stress test . The objectives of the exercise will be to:

  • assess the industry’s solvency and liquidity resilience to a specific adverse scenario;
  • assess the effectiveness of insurers’ risk management and management actions following an adverse scenario; and
  • inform the PRA’s supervisory response following a market-wide adverse scenario.

The dynamic nature of the 2025 exercise represents a significant change from previous exercises and will involve simulating a sequential set of adverse events over a short period of time. The PRA has begun engaging with industry trade bodies and will provide more details of this exercise (including participation, design, and timelines) during 2024. Results of this exercise will be disclosed at an aggregate industry level.

Cyber underwriting risk

As the scope of technology continues to expand globally, cyber underwriting risk has become increasingly relevant, as reflected in the actual and planned growth of cyber insurance within the UK sector. As well as being inherently volatile and systemic in nature, cyber underwriting risk is diverse in how it can manifest in different lines of business.

Given the uncertainty of this risk, robust risk management, risk appetite-setting, and stress testing will be important factors in ensuring that capital and exposure management capabilities reflect firms’ actual exposures.

Monitoring and assessing cyber underwriting risk will be at the core of the PRA’s supervisory focus, particularly for firms with material exposures. The PRA will share the aggregate findings of its recent thematic project focused on cyber underwriting risk with industry, and continue to monitor the risk landscape and market dynamics to identify and assess potential risk drivers, including areas such as contract (un)certainty risk.

Model drift

The PRA will continue its scrutiny of internal models used by insurers to calculate capital requirements and aid risk management, to identify potential trends in the strength of firms’ calibrations, and as an indicator of the effectiveness of firms’ risk management.

In its 2023 model drift analysis , the PRA identified a number of findings across firms using internal models within the non-life sector. These are related to levels of allowances for inflation uncertainty, potential optimism in expected underwriting profits, potential optimism in the cost and benefit of reinsurance, and the limited allowance for economic and geopolitical uncertainties.

In 2024, the PRA will address perceived systemic trends that may weaken the robustness of models used across the market as a whole. The PRA will also focus on specific model drift within individual firms, with an emphasis on improving the effectiveness of internal model validation, so that firms can develop the capability to self-identify and address potential challenges.

Funded reinsurance

In 2024, the PRA will continue to pay close attention to the rapidly increasing use of funded reinsurance transactions in the UK life insurance market, and the risks that the growth in their use may pose to policyholder protection and UK financial stability. The PRA is particularly focused on the risk of an erosion in standards for assets used as collateral in these transactions, and individual and sectoral concentrated exposures to correlated, credit-focused counterparties.

As well as preparing to examine exposures to the recapture of funded reinsurance in the 2025 life insurance stress test, in 2024. The PRA will also, subject to responses to CP24/23 – Funded reinsurance , finalise and implement its policy expectations for UK life insurers that use funded reinsurance arrangements. As stated in the PRA’s letter on ‘ Insurance supervision: 2024 priorities ’, these policy expectations will cover how firms should manage risks associated with funded reinsurance at both individual transaction and at aggregate level. This will include the expectation that firms place limits on their activities to ensure sound risk management.

Impact on general and claims inflation

Claims inflation continues to be a significant risk for general insurers. Following a thematic review, the PRA published a Dear Chief Actuary letter in June 2023 setting out its findings that, while reserves have increased, there remains material uncertainty and the potential for excessive optimism with respect to reserving, pricing, and capital and reinsurance planning.

The PRA expects a continued lag in the emergence of claims inflation in the data, which insurers should be alert to. The PRA will continue to monitor the ongoing impact through the regulatory data collected and supervisory activities throughout 2024. Should the PRA’s assessment of this risk change, further focused work may be considered.

Market-wide stresses in March 2020 and September 2022 highlighted gaps in insurers’ liquidity risk management frameworks and, consequently, the importance of having comparable, accurate, and timely information on insurers’ liquidity. The PRA will build on the existing liquidity framework, currently based on risk management expectations set out in SS5/19 – Liquidity risk management for insurers , and develop liquidity reporting requirements for insurance firms most exposed to liquidity risk. The information collected will be used to supervise firms’ liquidity positions more effectively and produce meaningful peer comparisons. The PRA will work closely with firms to inform them about its development of these requirements and explore the necessity of a minimum liquidity requirement as part of a future policy consultation.

In addition, the Bank has signalled its intention to develop a new lending tool for eligible NBFIs to help tackle future episodes of severe dysfunction in core markets that threaten UK financial stability. The development of the PRA’s approach to supervising liquidity will therefore inform the design of the lending tool as it relates to insurers.

The reforms to Solvency II offer life insurers opportunities to expand the range of credit risk assets that are used to back their annuity liabilities, and enable them to meet their commitment to invest in assets that contribute to the productivity of the economy and the transition to net zero. These opportunities require sophisticated credit risk management, and insurers’ capabilities will remain a key focus. Increased activity in the bulk purchase annuity (BPA) market is expected to lead to further growth in firms’ exposure to credit risk, and potentially to concentrations in exposure to internally valued and rated assets.

The PRA will continue to focus on the effectiveness of firms’ credit risk management capabilities and seek further assurance that firms’ internal credit assessments appropriately reflect the risk profile of their asset holdings. The PRA will assess how firms’ credit risk management frameworks are evolving in line with its supervisory expectations, and also review the suitability of firms’ current and forward-looking internal credit assessment validation plans and approaches. In both cases, the PRA will seek to provide feedback on a firm-specific or thematic basis as appropriate.

Regulatory reforms

Operational risk and resilience (including the implementation of the critical third-party regime).

Operational disruption can impact financial stability, threaten the safety and soundness of individual firms and financial market infrastructures, or cause harm to consumers, policyholders, and other parts of the financial system. The PRA defines operational resilience as the ability of firms and the financial sector to prevent, respond to, recover, and learn from operational disruptions, including cyber threats.

The FCA, Bank, and PRA’s operational resilience policies came into force in March 2022 . Firms have now identified their most important business services, set impact tolerances, and commenced a programme of scenario testing. The PRA will continue to work closely with the FCA to assess firms’ progress, with a particular focus on the ability of firms to deliver important business services within defined impact tolerances during severe but plausible scenarios over a reasonable time frame, and no later than March 2025.

The PRA will also continue to monitor threats to firms’ resilience, including their growing dependency on third parties, while respecting the principle of proportionality.

Critical third parties to the UK financial sector

Section 312L of FSMA 2023 gave HMT the power to designate certain third-party service providers as ‘critical’ if they provide services to the financial sector, which, if disrupted or subject to failure, could cause financial stability concerns or risks to the confidence in the UK’s financial system. Prior to designating these parties, HMT must consult with the Bank, PRA, and FCA (the authorities the Act appoints as Regulators of the new regime). FSMA 2023 also gives the Regulators new powers to oversee the services provided by critical third parties (CTPs) to regulated firms. In December 2023, the PRA, Bank, and FCA jointly published CP26/23 – Operational resilience: Critical third parties to the UK financial sector , proposing how these powers could be used to assess and strengthen the resilience of services provided by CTPs to firms and FMIs, thereby reducing the risk of systemic disruption. The PRA will continue to work with other authorities to develop the final policy and oversight approach in 2024.

Additionally, the PRA is developing regulatory expectations on incident reporting, aligned with its operational resilience expectations.

Review of enforcement policies

Enforcement supports and supplements the PRA’s regulatory and supervisory tools by ensuring that it has credible mechanisms for holding regulated firms to account when they do not meet requirements and expectations. Enforcement policies also provide a wider deterrent effect. The PRA is therefore committed to holding individuals to account and, when appropriate, taking regulatory and/or enforcement action against those individuals that breach its standards. The PRA clearly sets out, for the benefit of the whole regulated community, the actions and standards of behaviour that are considered unacceptable ( The Bank of England’s approach to enforcement ).

In January 2024, following a review of its policies and public consultation, the PRA published PS1/24 – The Bank of England's approach to enforcement , which sets out the revised approach to enforcement across the Bank’s full remit (including when acting as the PRA).

The PRA is committed to conducting any enforcement investigations as promptly and efficiently as possible. In line with that aim, PS1/24 introduced a new Early Account Scheme (EAS or ‘the Scheme’), which provides for a new path for early cooperation and greater incentives for early admissions with the aim of reaching outcomes more quickly in specific cases.

Diversity and inclusion in PRA-regulated firms

Enhancing diversity and inclusion (D&I) can support better governance, decision-making, and risk management in firms by reducing groupthink and promoting a culture that allows employees to feel able to speak up and challenge the status quo.

In September 2023, the PRA published CP18/23 – Diversity and inclusion in PRA-regulated firms . Under the proposals, all in-scope firms would need to understand their D&I position, develop appropriate strategies to make meaningful progress, and monitor and report on progress. The proposals are flexible and carefully tailored to recognise that firms are at different stages of their work on D&I, and, most importantly, are best placed to develop their own D&I solutions.

The PRA also outlined that the proposals in CP18/23 contribute towards its secondary objectives of ensuring effective competition and facilitating competitiveness and growth, because enhanced D&I can help support greater innovation and make firms more attractive in the labour market.

In 2024, the PRA will continue its industry engagement, assess responses to CP18/23, and provide a further update in due course.

The PRA maintains flexibility to adapt and respond to changes in the external environment, economic and market developments, and any other risks that may affect its statutory objectives or priorities. The PRA has continued to use its horizon-scanning programme to achieve the following aims:

  • identify emerging external risks, regulatory arbitrage, and potentially dangerous practices;
  • highlight features of the regulatory regime that are not yet delivering the desired results; and
  • allocate supervisory and policy resources to tackling the highest-priority risks in a timely manner.

Consistent with its mission, the PRA will continue to contribute to lessons learned internationally, policy/standards evaluation, and, in particular, internationally agreed standards with the aim of promoting the safety and soundness of the firms it regulates. For example, in 2024/25, the PRA will continue to focus on identifying and addressing emerging risks internationally, working closely with the BCBS on its response to consultations launched in 2023 (including on cryptoassets; disclosure for climate-related financial risks; and the Basel Core Principles and other outstanding work in support of its 2023/24 work programme and strategic priorities ). The PRA will also continue to work closely with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) on its finalisation of the Insurance Capital Standard (ICS), Insurance Core Principles on valuation (ICP 14) and capital adequacy (ICP17) .

In addition, the PRA will continue to monitor the potential for capital and profit erosion in firms that are slower to adopt new technologies, as well as firms’ involvement in new technologies, and changes in the profile of cyber-risks they face.

International engagement and influencing regulatory standards

The PRA plays a leading role in influencing international regulatory standards and will continue to participate actively in global standard-setting bodies, such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) , the IAIS, and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) .

Building on the BCBS’s report on the 2023 banking turmoil , the PRA will work with international stakeholders and the BCBS to strengthen supervisory effectiveness and identify issues that could merit additional guidance at a global level. The PRA will work with BCBS to pursue additional follow-up analytical work based on empirical evidence to assess whether specific features of the Basel Framework have performed as intended, such as liquidity risk and interest rate risk in the banking book, and assess the need to explore policy options over the medium term, alongside supporting the BCBS in pursuing its medium-term programme on evaluating the impact and efficacy of Basel III, and in light of lessons drawn from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, the PRA pursues international collaboration through less formal mechanisms, for example through regular bilateral and trilateral engagements, ensuring close collaboration on a number of supervision, risk, and policy topics of joint interest. The PRA also collaborates internationally on joint global thematic reviews with other regulatory authorities, for example, to address a joint interest in banks’ exposures to NBFIs and the use of critical third parties.

The PRA will also continue to support international efforts to monitor and promote consistent implementation of Basel 3.1, as well as the implementation and monitoring of the ICS.

Supervisory co-operation

Effective international collaboration remains crucial to addressing global risks, and is central to maintaining UK financial stability, the safety and soundness of internationally active firms, and reducing regulatory arbitrage.

The PRA will continue to promote international collaboration through supervisory colleges and set out clear expectations for firms wanting to branch into the UK. The PRA will also maintain its existing memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and, if needed, expand the number of jurisdictions with which it has an MoU to facilitate the supervision of international groups and therefore enhance the safety and openness of the UK for financial services activities.

The PRA will continue to support HMT via its international collaboration activities (eg The Berne Financial Services Agreement ) and with assessments of other jurisdictions to facilitate safe access to overseas markets for UK firms, among other benefits.

Overseas bank branches

The PRA will consult on targeted refinements to its approach to banks branching into the UK, reflecting lessons from the failure of SVB to ensure the PRA’s framework for assessing branches captures activities of potential concern. The PRA is committed to the UK remaining a responsibly open jurisdiction for branches, and expects the vast majority of branch business to be unaffected by any changes. The PRA also intends to consult on clarifying expectations for group entity senior manager functions (SMFs) footnote [8] and expectations of booking arrangements.

Operational and cyber resilience

The PRA engages internationally on operational and cyber resilience, in support of its supervision objectives and to raise international standards. The PRA co-chairs the G7 Cyber Expert Group (CEG), which works to coordinate cyber resilience strategy and management across G7 jurisdictions. The PRA also co-chairs the European Systemic Cyber Group (ESCG), which helps European authorities develop systemic capabilities to prevent and mitigate risks to the financial system that might emanate from cyber incidents. The PRA has also led work at the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on cyber incident reporting. In 2024, the PRA will continue to engage with standard-setting bodies and bilaterally with other jurisdictions on third-party risk management and CTPs.

Managing the financial risks arising from climate change

Climate change presents a source of material and increasing financial risk to firms and the financial system. Managing the risks to firms’ safety and soundness from climate change requires action and remains a key priority for the PRA. The Bank first set out expectations around enhancing banks’ and insurers’ approaches to managing the financial risks emanating from climate change in April 2019 via SS3/19 –  Enhancing banks’ and insurers’ approaches to managing the financial risks from climate change . The PRA has since provided further guidance via two Dear CEO letters, footnote [9] incorporating observations from supervisory processes and the 2022 Climate Biennial Exploratory Scenario exercise , as well as by providing thematic feedback via Dear CFO letters footnote [10] to promote high-quality and consistent accounting for climate change .

As noted in its 2024 priorities letter to firms, the PRA expects firms to make further progress and demonstrate how they are responding to the PRA’s expectations, and to set out the steps they are taking to address barriers to progress. The PRA will continue to assess firms’ progress in managing climate-related financial risks. In 2024, the PRA will commence work to update SS3/19 and publish thematic findings on banks’ processes to quantify the impact of climate risks on expected credit losses.

The PRA, alongside the FCA, will continue to work with industry through the Climate Financial Risk Forum to produce practical guides and tools that help financial firms embed the financial risks from climate change into their operations. The PRA will also continue to engage with domestic and international partners, including international standard-setters, to contribute to the development of international frameworks in support of managing climate-related risks.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Following the publication of a feedback statement (FS)2/23 – Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning , the PRA and FCA intends to conduct the third edition of the joint survey on machine learning in UK financial services , in 2024 Q2. Responses to the survey will allow the PRA and FCA to further explore how best to address the issues/risks posed by AI/ML in a way that is aligned with the PRA’s and FCA’s statutory objectives. The PRA will also continue to monitor firms’ compliance of its expectations, as set out in SS1/23 , and will seek to explore further updates where necessary.

International policy on digitalisation and managing associated risks

The PRA aims to be at the forefront of identifying and responding to opportunities and risks faced by PRA-authorised firms as they seek to use technology in innovative ways to attract and retain customers, reduce costs, and increase efficiencies.

External context and business risk are important facets of the PRA’s approach to supervision. Developments are monitored, with specialist input from the Bank’s Fintech Hub , to identify risks such as fragmentation of the value chain, novel outsourcing arrangements, and concentration risks across and within firms.

In order to take a responsive and responsibly open approach, the PRA will continue to consider policy proposals to respond to digitalisation and adapt its supervisory approach accordingly. Through the New Bank Start-up and Insurer Start-Up Units, the PRA will continue to engage with applicant firms that have novel uses of technology. The PRA will continue to work closely with domestic and international partners, and through engagement with industry and stakeholders, to take a pro-active approach to digital innovations within the financial sector.

The PRA is a significant contributor to discussions on digitalisation in international standard-setting fora, and will continue to support the BCBS’s work on the developments in the digitalisation of finance and the implications for banks and supervisors . The PRA will also continue be an active part of the IAIS Fintech Forum.

Digital money and innovation

In February 2023, HMT published a consultation and Call for Evidence on the future financial services regulatory regime for cryptoassets , focused on enhancing market integrity, custody requirements, and transparency. The consultation closed in October 2023 with the publication of an update on the government’s plans for its legislative approach to the regulation of stablecoins. HMT confirmed that tokenised deposits would continue to be regulated as deposits. The PRA will continue to work with HMT and the FCA to ensure that the regulatory perimeter and the boundaries between different activities are clearly and robustly delineated.

In November 2023, the Bank, PRA, and FCA published a cross-authority package on innovations in money and payments . As part of this, the PRA published a Dear CEO letter to provide clarity on the PRA’s expectation on how deposit-takers should address risks arising from the emergence of multiple forms of digital money and money-like instruments. footnote [11] It published the letter alongside the Bank’s proposed regime for systemic payment systems using stablecoins and related service providers , and the FCA’s proposed regime for stablecoin issuers, custodians, and the use of stablecoins as a means of payment. A roadmap paper was also published to explain how these regimes fit together.

The PRA will continue to contribute to the Bank’s broader work on innovation in money and payments, which in 2024 will include work on wholesale payments and settlements – and their interaction with retail payments.

In 2024, the PRA will continue to work within the global regulatory community to finalise a set of amendments made to the international standard on the treatment of banks’ cryptoassets exposures. These amendments were published for consultation by the Basel Committee in December 2023, following the finalisation of the standard in 2022.

Once the amendments are finalised, the PRA will implement the standard within the UK, following the PRA’s policymaking process. Alongside this, the PRA will continue to engage with international partners, including the BCBS, to assess bank-related developments in cryptoassets markets, the role of banks as issuers of stablecoins and tokenised deposits, custodians of cryptoassets, and potential channels of interconnections with the cryptoassets ecosystem.

The PRA advances its primary and secondary objectives by making rules that support competitive and dynamic markets in the sectors that it regulates. The PRA will go further in developing proportionate and efficient prudential requirements, thereby reducing the burden on firms where appropriate, and pursuing its secondary objectives. The PRA also remains committed to playing an active role in international standard-setting, given the important role of global rules in safeguarding the UK’s open economy through ensuring safe financial markets.

Regulatory change – embedding the PRA’s approach to rule-making

FSMA 2023 has significantly changed the powers and responsibilities of the PRA, allowing it to ensure the UK financial services framework is fit for the future, reflecting the UK’s position outside of the EU. FSMA 2023 also introduces enhanced objectives and accountability requirements that support the PRA’s transparency and accountability to Parliament.

FSMA 2023 provides a framework to repeal and replace assimilated law relating to financial services. Most technical rules will now be made by operationally independent regulators within a framework set by Parliament, enabling the PRA to deliver policies better suited to the UK financial sector. The PRA’s responsibility, in cooperation with HMT and FCA, is to ensure that the new rules are made in accordance with the PRA’s remit and statutory objectives, including the new secondary competitiveness and growth objective.

The PRA has worked closely with HMT and FCA on the sequencing of the repeal and the replacement of the files of assimilated law. Once the replacement material is in PRA rules, the PRA will have the power to evaluate these rules, amend them if needed, and/or create new rules when required.

The PRA has already made good progress with respect to the files that HMT has prioritised into the first two ‘tranches’, including key files such as Solvency II, Securitisation, CRR, among others. The PRA has consulted on significant parts of tranches 1 and 2 in 2023 and will continue this work throughout 2024 and 2025. The completion of the repeal and replacement of Solvency II and Securities Regulation files is expected by the end of 2024, and the last of the PRA's tranche 1 and 2 files is planned for implementation in 2026. Work on the remaining files that were not included in tranches 1 and 2 will begin in 2024.

The PRA is consulting its stakeholders as it develops its approach to policymaking in light of the new requirements. In December 2023, the PRA published CP27/23 , setting out the proposed approach to policy under the regulatory framework as amended by FSMA 2023, and building on the previously published DP4/22 – The Prudential Regulation Authority’s future approach to policy . CP27/23 outlines the PRA's planned approach to maintain robust prudential standards, which are the cornerstone of UK financial stability and long-term economic growth, while addressing risks and opportunities in a responsive manner, appropriately adapted to the circumstances of the UK. Responses to CP27/23 will inform the PRA’s finalised approach document to be published in 2024 H2.

Secondary competitiveness and growth objective (SCGO)

FSMA 2023 gave the PRA a new secondary objective which requires the PRA to act, so far as reasonably possible, to facilitate the UK economy’s international competitiveness (including in particular the financial services sector through the contribution of PRA-authorised persons) and its growth over the medium to long term, subject to alignment with international standards. FSMA 2023 maintained the PRA’s other objectives without change.

In addition to specific policy measures, the PRA has taken practical steps to embed the SCGO in its operations, including through internal changes, and the launch of a research programme to deepen its understanding of the ways prudential requirements can affect the international competitiveness and growth of the UK economy.

The PRA will continue to look for ways in which it can facilitate the UK’s competitiveness and growth when discharging its general functions. The approach focuses on strengthening the three regulatory foundations that were set out in CP27/23, specifically:

  • Maintaining trust among domestic and foreign firms in the PRA and UK prudential framework via a range of policies, including those that promote strong prudential standards appropriately calibrated for the UK, and the alignment of said policies with international standards.
  • Adopting effective regulatory processes and engagement, including providing for the efficient handling of regulatory processes, such as authorisations and data collections, as well as facilitating the accessibility of the PRA Rulebook to reduce the operating costs of firms.
  • Taking a responsive and responsibly open approach to UK risks and opportunities, including making rules that account more effectively for the needs of the UK. This approach means responding faster to emerging risks and opportunities in the UK financial sector, for example, by using regulatory tools to support innovation safely. To this end, in 2024, the PRA will hold a pilot roundtable to gather stakeholders’ views on how the PRA can help to reduce the barriers to innovation that the industry faces.

The policy initiatives discussed in the rest of this section provide examples of how the PRA will advance its secondary objectives in 2024/25.

Furthermore, the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) is evaluating the PRA’s approach to its new secondary objective. Both the outcome of the IEO’s evaluation and the PRA’s response to it will be included in the PRA’s – ‘Secondary Objectives Report’ to be published alongside the PRA’s Annual Report 2023/24. The Secondary Objectives Report will also give an overview of all the PRA’s policy initiatives that have advanced the SCO and the SCGO .

Strong and Simple framework

In 2021, the PRA published FS1/21 – A strong and simple prudential framework for non-systemic banks and building societies , that set out a vision to simplify prudential requirements for smaller, domestic-focused banks and building societies, while maintaining those firms’ resilience.

As outlined in the PRA 2023/24 Business Plan , the PRA will continue its planned programme of work on creating a simpler but equally resilient prudential framework for smaller, domestically focused banks and building societies, known as the Strong and Simple framework. This framework is designed to maintain the financial resilience of banks and building societies operating in the UK, while reducing costs associated with prudential requirements for non-systemic banks and building societies. In 2023/24, the PRA published its final policy on scope criteria and simplified liquidity and disclosure requirements for SDDTs in PS15/23.

In December 2023, the PRA published PS16/23 – The Strong and Simple Framework: Scope criteria, liquidity and disclosure requirements , which finalises the scope of the framework. The PS builds on the first layer of the Strong and Simple framework, which focused on the smallest firms and is known as the SDDT regime. The overall aim of the framework is to maintain the financial resilience of banks and building societies operating in the UK, while addressing the ‘complexity problem,’ under which the same prudential requirements are applied to all firms, regardless of size, even though the costs of interpreting and operationalising those requirements are higher for small firms, relative to the associated public policy benefits.

In 2024/25, the PRA will move further towards finalising and implementing the Strong and Simple prudential framework for SDDTs. A key step will be to implement the simplifications to liquidity requirements that were introduced in Phase 1. The PRA will also finalise the rules for the Interim Capital Regime, which will allow firms eligible to be SDDTs to stay under capital rules equivalent to those currently in place until the simplified capital regime for SDDTs is implemented. The PRA plans to consult on a simplified capital regime for SDDTs in 2024 Q2.

Insurance Special Purpose Vehicles regime

In 2017, the PRA introduced a framework for the authorisation and supervision of ISPVs to provide guidance for parties wishing to obtain authorisation as an ISPV, or for insurers and reinsurers seeking to use UK ISPVs as risk mitigation in accordance with Solvency II.

The UK ISPV regime has not seen as much activity as originally envisaged. While new issuances of insurance-linked securitisations (ILS) transactions in the UK over the last two years have exceeded USD400 million, there are steps to be taken which can improve the regime and increase its usage.

The PRA has been in discussion with industry on this matter with the aim of understanding the key areas of the regime in which market participants would recommend changes.

The PRA expects to consult on a package of reforms to the UK ISPV regime. These reforms are intended to:

  • allow a wider range of transaction structures in the UK regime;
  • improve the speed of the application process, and thereby also reduce costs for applicants; and
  • clarify the PRA’s expectations of UK insurers who cede risks to ISPVs, wherever they are established.

Remuneration reforms

The PRA’s remuneration rules ensure that key decision-makers and material risk-takers at PRA-regulated firms have the right incentives and can be held accountable. In 2023, following consultation, the PRA removed the bonus cap and made changes to its rules to enhance proportionality for small firms .

In advancing its primary and secondary objectives, the PRA is considering further changes to the remuneration regime that is better suited to the UK’s financial sector, while maintaining the remuneration regime’s overall structure and objectives, which are based on internationally agreed FSB principles and standards . The PRA intends to consult on any changes in 2024 H2.

Implementing changes to the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR)

In March 2023, the PRA and FCA jointly published DP1/23 – Review of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) , with a particular focus on gathering views about the regime’s effectiveness, scope, and proportionality. HMT in parallel launched a Call for Evidence covering the legislative aspects of the SM&CR. The period for sending responses to the discussion paper ended on 1 June 2023.

The PRA received over 90 responses relevant to its work as a prudential regulator, reflecting the significant level of stakeholder interest in the regime. The PRA, working closely with the FCA and HMT, is considering potential policy options for reform in response to the comments received and intends to consult on proposed changes to the regime in 2024 H1.

Complete the establishment of the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) Panel

The PRA is continuing to make progress under the new framework provided by FSMA 2023, setting out CBA as an integral part of developing the best possible policy approach, and the results will help shape the PRA’s policymaking. CBAs inform and refine the policy approach to identified issues, helping to design approaches that offer the greatest benefits.

One of the key elements of enhancing the PRA’s scrutiny and accountability mechanisms relates to its approach to CBA and the establishment of a new CBA panel. The role of the CBA Panel is to support increased transparency and scrutiny of the PRA’s policymaking by providing regular, independent input into the PRA’s CBAs relating to PRA rules and the PRA’s statement of policy in relation to CBAs . The Panel will review how the PRA is performing more generally in carrying out its duties with regard to CBA and may provide recommendations to the PRA.

The PRA has completed an open, competitive, and rigorous recruitment process for identifying and appointing a diverse range of expert individuals to constitute the CBA Panel. The PRA will finalise the set-up of the Panel and then start consulting it on the PRA’s statement of policy in relation to CBAs and on the preparation of CBAs. The appointments, including that of the Chair, will be announced in due course.

In 2024, the PRA will consult on its CBA framework, which will set out how the PRA intends to continue to conduct a robust CBA and how it engages with the CBA panel.

PRA Rulebook

The new regulatory framework set out in FSMA 2023 enables the PRA to develop a more coherent and easily accessible Rulebook. The aim is to improve the efficiency and accessibility of the PRA Rulebook by reducing the number of policy document formats currently in use to three: rules, supervisory statements, and statements of policy. In order to achieve this, the PRA’s specialist teams will begin the process of reviewing the EU Guidelines, European Supervisory Authorities (ESA) Q&As, and UK technical standards (UKTS) that are relevant to PRA rules, to determine what should be incorporated into those rules or related supervisory statements and statements of policy. Once the review of these documents is completed, references to the EU Guidelines, ESA Q&As, and UKTSs will be removed.

The PRA is also looking at grouping the elements in the Rulebook to make it easier for users to access relevant information. To support usability and clarity, the PRA will take a consistent approach to the structure of, and language in its policies.

The speed at which the PRA will achieve many of its ambitions for the Rulebook will partly depend on the Government’s approach to the repeal of relevant assimilated law and its replacement in PRA rules and other policy materials. However, the PRA will move ahead with the proposed reforms as quickly as possible to help users more easily navigate the new regulatory landscape.

Banking Data Review

The Banking Data Review BDR, launched in 2023-24, will be delivered as an integral part of the Transforming Data Collection TDC programme. The work will enable the PRA’s banking regulatory data collections to be better aligned with the day-to-day needs of supervisors, ensure the PRA has good-quality data to carry out its new policymaking responsibilities in line with the post-Brexit regulatory framework, and reduce burdens on firms by better integrating and streamlining data collections.

The PRA will consult on the first of three phases of reforms under the BDR in 2024 H2. The consultation will focus on streamlining of the existing regulatory reporting estate, removing reporting templates that may no longer be needed or which contain information that can be gathered at lower cost elsewhere, reviewing collections of counterparty credit information, and incorporating lessons from recent market events.

In parallel, the PRA will continue to work on plans for future phases of reform, focused on credit risk in the second phase, and with all remaining areas covered in a third phase. Engagement with industry participants will be done under the newly appointed TDC Advisory Board, which will be responsible for setting industry working groups on key topics relating to TDC. The TDC’s main industry forum in this area is the Data Standards Committee (DSC), which led the work on the recommendations underpinning the jointly published response by the Bank and the FCA, entitled Transforming data collection – Data Standards Review with recommendations and Bank of England and FCA response . A further working group is the BDR Industry Consultative Forum that is open to all PRA-regulated banks.

Supporting and authorising new market entrants via new ‘mobilisation’ regime

The PRA will continue to support potential market entrants in navigating the authorisation process. This includes providing clear online guidance and industry engagement to build awareness of expectations and seek feedback on firms’ experience of the process. The PRA offers potential applicants the opportunity to meet with staff through a structured pre-application stage, allowing firms to iterate and develop their proposition to support a better-quality application.

The PRA will continue to make use of the mobilisation stage for newly authorised banks, where appropriate, to allow them to operate with restrictions while they complete their set-up before starting to trade fully.

In line with PS2/24 – Review of Solvency II: Adapting to the UK insurance market , the PRA will introduce a new ‘mobilisation’ regime to facilitate entry and expansion for new insurers from 31 December 2024, similar to the mobilisation stage for new banks. Mobilisation will help to facilitate competition, and the international competitiveness and growth of the UK insurance sector, with the aim of benefiting firms who are contemplating applying for authorisation as an insurer in the UK now or in the future.

Newly authorised insurers in mobilisation could be offered the option of using a set period of extra time to build up systems and resources while operating with business restrictions, proportionate regulatory requirements, and lower minimum capital requirements. New insurers could be suitable for mobilisation when they have a shortlist of activities to complete before they can meet full regulatory requirements.

Ease of exit

Improving how firms can leave regulated markets in an orderly way is a vital corollary to greater ease of entry into those markets. It enables a dynamic and competitive market which entrants can join and leave with minimal impact on the wider market and the PRA’s statutory objectives. The PRA has published the first of two planned policy in this topic, (eg, PS5/24 – Solvent exit planning for non-systemic banks and building societies ). A further PS on solvent exit planning for insurers is expected in 2024 H2, following the completion of the market consultation initiated by CP2/24 – Solvent exit planning for insurers . Both of these form part of the PRA’s strategic focus on increasing the ease of exit.

Ring-fencing regime

The Bank and PRA continue to work closely with HMT on implementing the recommendations made in March 2022 by the Independent Review of Ring-fencing and Proprietary Trading , led by Sir Keith Skeoch. On 28 September 2023, both HMT and the PRA published consultations with the aim of giving effect to recommendations of that review.

HMT consulted on removing the blanket restriction which prevents ring-fenced bodies (RFBs) operating in countries outside the EEA. The PRA consulted on introducing a new rule and updating SS8/16 – Ring-fenced bodies (RFBs) , to align with HMT’s proposed legislative changes. These changes aim to implement certain safeguards to ensure that RFBs are not exposed to material risks through the business of their overseas subsidiaries or branches. The PRA will publish its policy and a rule Instrument once the legislative changes are brought into force. Simultaneously, the PRA will update SS8/16 to reflect the changes.

FSMA requires the PRA to conduct a review of its ring-fencing rules and provide a report to HMT every five years. The first such review was completed on 12 December 2023 and the resulting report was laid before Parliament on 25 January 2024 and published on the Bank’s website.

The PRA intends to consult on potential changes to the ring-fencing regime identified by the Rule Review once a fuller exploration of costs and benefits has been undertaken. The Bank and PRA will continue to support HMT with technical advice to enable HMT to finalise its legislative changes, and to consider responses to its Call for Evidence on longer-term reforms.

Effective authorisation processes

The PRA handles over 1,800 regulatory transactions a year, ranging from new firm authorisations to variations of permission for existing firms and cancellations of permission for firms leaving the market. Over the coming year, the PRA will continue to handle these transactions in more streamlined, efficient, transparent, and accessible way while maintaining strong risk controls to ensure the UK’s success as a global financial centre.

In parallel to consulting on reforms to the SM&CR, the PRA will continue to enhance and streamline internal processes on SM&CR applications and other transactions to drive further improvements in operational effectiveness, as measured through the quarterly publication of metrics on timeliness of decisions. This will include close collaboration with the FCA to ensure an efficient and coordinated review of cases, as well as improvements to case handling and recording technology platforms. The PRA will extend existing industry engagement on New Bank Start-ups to also cover new insurers and SM&CR applications in order to promote transparency and spread best practice in support of efficient case handling. In addition, the Wholesale Insurance Accelerated Authorisation Pathway, developed jointly by the PRA and FCA, will continue to provide an accelerated route for the authorisation of a sub-set of London market wholesale applicants.

The PRA’s operation within the Bank plays a critical role in maintaining the stability and integrity of the UK’s financial system. In pursuit of its objectives and work programme, the PRA ensures that its regulatory framework is inclusive, considering the diverse landscape of financial institutions. It aims to create a level playing field, while recognising and planning for the potential impact of the changes in the environment in which we are operating.

In line with its mission, the PRA continually adapts regulations to address emerging risks and opportunities, fostering inclusivity to enhance trust, transparency, and accountability in the financial sector. As a prudential regulator, the PRA maintains and strives for operational efficiency in its regulatory processes, technology, and its workforce. This involves streamlining procedures, driving inclusive recruitment, and leveraging technology to enhance effectiveness – noting that efficient regulation benefits both regulated entities and the broader economy by reducing unnecessary burdens and facilitating smoother interactions between financial institutions and the regulator.

Data and technology

The PRA will continue its programme of work to strengthen and transform its data-related capabilities. The PRA will also continue to play a leading role in international collaboration on the regulatory use of data and technology, liaising closely with other regulators, central banks, academic institutions, and industry. The PRA intends to run a multi-day innovation-focused event for PRA colleagues to support learning and increase awareness about the impact of technological advances and initiatives across the financial sector.

Transforming Data Collection by building on digital regulatory reporting

The PRA will continue to work towards achieving the objectives of the TDC programme for 2026:

  • Goal 1: the PRA has the data and tools it needs to rapidly identify and probe emerging issues, risk, and policy questions, including integration into a single customisable supervisory dashboard; and
  • Goal 2: the PRA only collects data that it needs from firms, thereby reducing unnecessary burdens on firms.

Regarding Goal 1, the PRA will continue to improve existing and deliver new priority data visualisation and analysis tools to support supervision, covering financial and operational data for PRA-regulated firms. The PRA will also make use of speech-to-text technology to support day-to-day work for staff, and to contribute to the Bank’s wider work on the appropriate use of artificial intelligence to support its objectives, including large third-party language models. This will be underpinned by ongoing support for PRA staff undertaking renewed digital skills training alongside individual and group coaching for some staff cohorts, and planning for those programmes in future years.

Regarding Goal 2, the PRA will continue to work with the FCA and the wider Bank on the TDC programme , which envisions that ‘regulators are able to get the data they need to fulfil their mission at the lowest possible cost to industry’ through improvements to the integration of reporting, reporting instructions, and data standards. Over the coming years, TDC therefore aims to deliver a new target operating model for all of the Bank’s regulatory, statistical, and stress-testing data collections.

Diversity, equity and inclusion at the PRA

The PRA continues to take action to strengthen its culture and working environment. The Bank’s Court review into ethnic diversity and inclusion reported its findings in July 2021. The PRA, alongside the rest of the Bank, is implementing the recommendations of this review and has made considerable progress in terms of embedding inclusive recruitment, investing in talent development, and advancing a psychologically safe culture to promote employees’ ability to voice their opinions via the ‘speak my mind’ initiative. There is also increased accountability for senior leaders to advance a diverse and inclusive Bank.

The PRA recognises the importance of all staff feeling valued and being able to thrive. Key focus areas for 2024/25 include progressing initiatives to improve psychological safety, ethnic and gender representation, and disability disclosure. The PRA continues to benefit from the Bank’s excellent employee networks that cater to diverse groups such as disability, LGBTQ+, social mobility, gender, age, carers, different ethnicities, and many more.

PRA Agenda for Research

The PRA plans to build on its research efforts in 2024/25, including through improving central coordination and capacity-building projects.

Research priorities are captured in the PRA Research agenda 2023+ below (Table 1). The PRA will continue to deliver on those, while making sure that a timely delivery of high-quality research, expertise, and critical evaluation is given to PRC, FPC, and other senior decision-making activities. These deliverables are captured in the research metrics and the PRA Research Annual. The metrics track the quantity, quality, and impact of the PRA’s research, while the PRA Research Annual provides further details on how timely and effective the research advisory (inside and outside the institution) has been. New for this business year is that the PRA will additionally produce impact cases, with the purpose of tracking the lifespan of key research projects and evaluating their total policy/social impact.

To ensure that the organisation has the right capacity and skills, the PRA will initiate new capacity-building projects on models, tools, and data, while reinforcing external collaborations on those. It will also continue efforts to disseminate this work and foster strategic cooperations with research departments at other central banks, regulatory authorities, research institutes, or universities.

Table 1: PRA Research agenda 2023+

Risks to delivery of business plan.

Operating in a complex and fast-moving environment gives rise to risks to the delivery of this business plan. The PRA monitors, manages, actively mitigates (where possible), and reports these risks to the PRC and relevant Bank fora on a regular basis.

Over the course of 2023/24, attrition levels reduced and there was an improvement in recruitment into key roles. Looking ahead to 2024/25, headcount required to deliver this Business Plan is forecast to remain broadly flat.

The PRA will continue to impose discipline on how it deploys its budget to ensure resources are allocated appropriately. The PRA will also need to reprioritise during the year in response to changes in the external environment, as it routinely does. The PRA will continue to focus on managing operational risks and strengthening horizon-scanning capabilities so that it can respond quickly to changes in risk and drive decisions on prioritisation, business planning, and resourcing.

Having access to the right technology and data remains a key area of focus in 2024/25 as part of a multi-year investment across the PRA and the Bank to ensure that the PRA’s technology capabilities support its strategic priorities. This focus will take account of developments in regulatory technology, reduce inefficiencies, and leverage the benefits of being a regulator within the UK’s central bank. There is a risk that the PRA may be unable to deliver its intended technology ambition given the congested change agenda across the Bank. This challenge is being managed through careful prioritisation and scoping of key projects, including delaying some lower-priority activities.


Given the interconnected nature of the global financial system, dependencies on external parties, such as the FCA, HMT, and overseas regulators, could present a risk for the PRA. Policy development, authorisation processes, and supervision activities are contingent on maintaining relationships and co-operation with these parties. The PRA fosters its domestic relationships to ensure effective regulation and supervision across the UK financial sector. The PRA also works closely with international regulators to address cross-border risks for firms operating internationally. The PRA continues to foster these important relationships at all levels of the organisation through several channels, including international committees, supervisory colleges, joint reviews, information-sharing, and joint publications.

PRA Budget 2024/25

The PRA’s provisional budget for 2024/25, which is subject to finalisation of pension costs and year-end adjustments, is estimated at £353.0 million. This is an increase of £34.0 million (11%) on the 2023/24 budget. To reduce the impact to firms in 2024/25, the PRA has taken two measures, as set out in CP4/24 , to limit the increase in fees paid by firms to 7%. This increase follows a 1% reduction to fees in 2023/24 compared with 2022/23.

The PRA is constraining the increase in its own direct costs to 2%, which means a real-terms cut to the budget that will be managed by increasing efficiency in the PRA’s supervisory approach, end-to-end policymaking process, and operations. Alongside this, the PRA needs to fund inflation-driven increases in support services provided to the PRA by the Bank and the PRA’s share of tackling obsolescence in the Bank’s technology estate on which the PRA relies.

Budgeted headcount is forecast to remain broadly flat for 2024/25 ending the year at 1,541 (this compares closely to the actual year-end headcount position for 2023/24 of 1,537). The budgeted headcount reflects the PRA’s need to invest in key areas, including increasing the capacity to approve the efficiency of the IRB model review process, the implementation and supervision of CTPs, investment in the BDR, and implementing lessons learned from the failure of SVB and CS.

Details on how the PRA proposes to fund its budget can be found in CP4/24 – Regulated fees and levies: Rates proposals 2024/25 . It includes proposals for allocating costs of the PRA’s 2024/25 ongoing regulatory activities across PRA fee payers.


ACS – Annual Cyclical Scenario

AI/ML – Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

AoC – Analysis of Change

Bank – Bank of England

BCBS – Basel Committee on Banking Supervision

BDR – Banking Data Review

CBA – Cost Benefit Analysis

CEG – Cyber Expert Group

CEO – Chief Executive Officer

CMORG – Cross Market Operational Resilience Group

CP – Consultation Paper

CRR – Capital Requirements Regulation

CTP – Critical Third Party

DEI – Diversity, equity, and inclusion

DP – Discussion paper

DSC – Data Standards Committee

D&I – Diversity and inclusion

EAS – Early Account Scheme

EU – European Union

ESA – European Securities and Markets Authority

ESCG – European Systemic Cyber group

FCA – Financial Conduct Authority

FinTech – Financial Technology

FMI – Financial Market Intermediary

FMIs – Financial Market Infrastructures

FPC – Financial Policy Committee

FRF – Future Regulatory Framework

FSB – Financial Stability Board

FSMA – Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (as amended)

HMT – His Majesty's Treasury

IAIS – International Association of Insurance Supervisors

ICS – Insurance Capital Standard

ILS – insurance-linked securitisations

IRB – internal ratings-based

IRRBB – interest rate risk in the banking book

ISPV – Insurance special purpose vehicle

L-SREPs – Liquidity Supervisory Review and Evaluation Processes

MA – Matching adjustment

MALIR – Matching Adjustment Asset and Liability Information Return

MDA - Maximum distributable amount

MoU – Memorandum of Understanding

MRM – Model Risk Management

NBFI – Non-Bank Financial Institution

PMA – Post Model Adjustment

PRA – Prudential Regulation Authority

PRC – Prudential Regulation Committee

PS – Policy statement

QMC – Quarterly Model Change

RFB – Ring-fenced bodies

RWA – Risk-weighted asset

SCGO – Secondary Competitiveness and Growth Objective

SCO – Secondary Competition Objective

SDDT – Small domestic deposit takers

SMCR – Senior Managers and Certification Regime

SME – Small and medium-sized enterprise

SMF – Senior management function

SS – Supervisory statement

SVB – Silicon Valley Bank

SWES – System-wide exploratory scenario

TDC – Transforming Data Collection

TFSME – Term Funding Scheme with additional incentives for SMEs

TPR – The Pension Regulator

UKTS – UK Technical Standards

Contacting the Bank of England and the PRA

Please send any enquiries related to this publication to [email protected] .

In PS15/23, the PRA set out its rationale to rename Simpler-regime firms to Small Domestic Deposit Takers (SDDTs), and Simpler-regime consolidation entities to SDDT consolidation entities. To avoid confusion, throughout the rest of this document, the PRA will refer to SDDTs, SDDT consolidation entities, the Small Domestic Deposit Takers regime or SDDT regime, and SDDT criteria, rather than Simpler-regime firm, Simpler-regime consolidation entities, simpler regime, and Simpler-regime criteria, even when referring to past consultations.

A CTP is an entity that will be designated by HMT by a regulation made in exercise of the power in section 312L(1) of 2000, as amended by the FSMA 2023.

As at 1 January 2024.

Strictly speaking, DIFs do not accept deposits and are included under the category of deposit-takers for presentational purposes only.

Section 2E of FSMA.

SS11/13 – Internal Ratings Based (IRB) approaches .

As set out in the 2024 priorities letter on UK deposit takers .

SMFs are a type of controlled function carried out by ‘approved persons’, ie individuals who have to be approved. SMFs are the most senior people in a firm with the greatest potential to cause harm or impact upon market integrity.

Managing climate-related financial risk – thematic feedback from the PRA’s review of firms’ SS3/19 plans and clarifications of expectations and Thematic feedback on the PRA’s supervision of climate-related financial risk and the Bank of England’s Climate Biennial Exploratory Scenario exercise .

Thematic feedback from the 2021/2022 round of written auditor reporting and Thematic feedback from the 2022/2023 round of written auditor reporting.

‘Digital money’ refers to claims on deposit-takers or other financial institutions, which exist only in electronic form and whose value is preserved through a combination of strict regulation and issuers’ access to central bank deposits. ‘Digital money-like instruments’ refers to other assets that exist only in electronic form and are used for payments. Some of these are regulated to support a stable value, but their issuers do not have access to central bank deposits and are subject to lighter regulation.

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