How to Write an NEIS Business Plan (With Examples)

How to write an NEIS business plan

This article is for people on the New Business Assistance Scheme who need help with their New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) Business Plan . This scheme has been around for 35 years and aids people starting their own business. It offers free small business training, business plan development, mentoring and sometimes (if you are eligible) an NEIS allowance toward setting up a business.

 Flying Solo (a website that provides community support and articles for entrepreneurs and small business people) says that “it is brilliant… at the very least it is funding to get the business up and running in the first year”.

The NEIS provides its education services through a variety of third parties, such as local TAFEs and private training firms. Some of these are, according to the thread and comments in Flying Solo, very good. Others, not so much.

What can go wrong with an NEIS Business Plan?

A lot, actually. Teaching someone to business plan (or strategic think) is an art and very few students take to it like ducks to water. Some teachers rely on a template and example. If you’re starting a café, however, and the examples given are for a building company, it can be a mental stretch to apply that example in your own plan. Even though NEIS course providers do a great job, many people seek help from business plan writers, like us here at Small Business Plans. Around 20% of our clients use us for top-up coaching, getting through the tricky parts, or critiquing their plan. On some occasions, we will also write the plan.

How to Write an NEIS Business Plan

All  NEIS business plan templates are similar but differ in how they are completed (online versus downloaded). The flow of the sections is similar, although some organisations put some of the subtopics in one section and some organisations put them in another. Some provide detailed NEIS learner’s guides, and rely on those, while others put more emphasis on course work and regular check-ins with their tutor.

There are usually five main sections to the business plan, consisting of approximately 20 subsections in each. These five sections are:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Legal and Management Plan
  3. Marketing Plan
  4. Operational Plan
  5. Financial Plan

We teach these by asking five questions, then coaching you and giving you examples for your type of business:

  1. Executive Summary

What are the most important things about your business that you want a potential investor, staff member or the NEIS to know so that they will give you your grant or help get your business started?

  • Legal and Management Plan

Do you know which laws and codes of practice, and licences you will need, plus the qualifications required to start and run your business?

  • Marketing Plan

Can you tell people how you’ve analysed the market to make sure that there is a gap for your product or service? And how you know you are going to promote, distribute, and design/improve your product/service? Will that be based on your customers’ and potential customers’ needs and wants?

  • Operational Plan

Can you tell people what resources you will need (people, time, money, equipment), how you will know you are doing a good job, and if you are aware of what risks there are?

  • Financial Plan

Can you tell people how much you will make, how much you will clear, whether the business will be financially healthy, and how you will make sure all of these come true?

In its simplest form, these are the five steps that you need to think through, then write down your thoughts. Sure, there are plenty of other bells and whistlesand, all up, there are about  a hundred sections in a very thorough business plan. But not all of these sections are necessary…

Hacks, Tips and Shortcuts for Your NEIS Business Plan

  • The bad news is there are not many. Your assessor or tutor will be making sure that you follow the template. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because people are often tempted to take a shortcut, as they have not been sold the benefits of doing a business plan. It is bad because not all of the hundred prompts in an NEIS business plan apply to your business.
  • Here are some tips/hacks:
  • Before diving into the plan, read the Table of Contents and the topics list. Score through the ones that you think do not apply to your business. Get your tutor to agree and then delete them.
  • Use our five questions above to make sure that you have all the information (or can get it) to answer those questions. If you don’t, don’t start the plan; instead take it slowly, section by section, and gather the information. Aim to do one section each week. That way you’re eating the elephant in chunks.
  • Keep remembering that you are writing the plan for someone who wants you to succeed and, therefore, they want you to err on the side of overkill! Sure, it’s frustrating and annoying, but you’re probably going to be asking the NEIS or a bank, or a friend, or even yourself or your spouse for money or support– so a little bit of overkill won’t … kill you. Just this once.
  • Ask a friend, or a relative, or ideally someone in business to read each section of the plan each week with you. This is invaluable. If you don’t have a suitable person, get a professional to do it. Start that right away on the first section, because they may give you a glowing high five and you won’t need any more help.
  • If you are typing it up yourself, learn about how to use the Table of Contents and how Microsoft Word will save you lots of time. Likewise, the editor and spell checkers save you heaps of time at the end.

If you do need further assistance, do not hesitate to contact us.

Useful Links on Business Planning