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Writing a Business Plan for an Independent Fostercare Agency

  2. For those who want to open and/or manage an independent fostering agency. This guide will outline the requirements of an assuring business plan. Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  3. Why Do I Need a Business Plan? Any new independent foster agency will need to apply to register with Ofsted as a Child Social Services Provider. Part of this process includes writing up a comprehensive business plan. The plan will need to demonstrate smooth operation, compliance and sustainability within your service. There is a lot of ground work and understanding that needs to go into the planning of such a venture. We will introduce you to the kind of research you will need to undertake for your business plan, and provide you with clear step- by-step guidance. Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  4. INTRODUCTION In this section you will need to write an introduction about your Independent Fostering Agency. You may wish to include the following:  The name of your IFA and why this name was chosen  An introduction to the directors of the company  Why they made the decision to start an IFA (although, try to keep this brief)  Any kind of relevant experience  Your core values and mission statement Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  5. The Sector as it is at The Moment In this section, you will be able to present your research and reasons as to why you feel your IFA is needed. You may wish to include things such as: • The geographical areas you will be covering • Your current shortfall • Statistics related to child placements (how many exactly require placements) • Any specific requirements that you may be involved with: BAME families, older children, children with special needs. • The impact you feel your IFA will have It would be in your best interest to include as many official statistics in this section, as possible. Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  6. THE COMPANY Use this section to outline the basic details of your IFA. When stating the name of your company, remember to explain your reasons for choosing it. You will also need to include:  The full address of your agency’s office (or where you will be operating from)  The company’s registration number  Details of company directors, the senior management team and staff members.  Details of the panel for your IFA  Existing and/or potential foster carers: Briefly describe how many you are aiming to recruit within the first three years, and how you will attract them.  Relationship with Local Authorities: And how you will establish further links.  Geographical areas that are going to be covered Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  7. Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway FUNDING This will be one of the most important parts of your business plan. You need to have a clear understanding of where your company’s initial funding is going to come from, in order to ensure its survival.  Provide clear details of the existing funds available for your IFA, for its initial start-up.  Demonstrate a good understanding of your ‘cash flow’ issues for the next three years. (how much money you think you will need). You can do this by creating simple Excel spreadsheets. It is impossible to predict exactly how much your company is going to spend in the first three years; however, try and ensure your estimates are realistic.
  8. PREMISES Provide further information about your office premises, if you have one. Explain whether you think the office space will be large enough to accommodate your business as it expands, and whether the location is convenient. Present any research you have carried out with regards to premises for the future. Outline the costs, the process of application for it, and why you think it will be suitable. Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  9. PRINCIPAL ASSUMPTIONS: Relating to the Projections How do you propose you will move forwards with the business? Are there any specific assumptions worth considering? You may wish to state things like: • When you expect your IFA to be registered with OFSTED by. • How many foster families you aim to approve, in the first year. • How soon after the foster families have been approved, do you expect to place children. • How much funding you are expecting to receive (and when) for the start-up of your IFA. • How you plan on marketing/ advertising your company: Will you launch a website? • What kind of technical equipment you expect to purchase during the first year of business. Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  10. COSTS & CASH FLOW This will be one of the most important parts of your business plan. You need to have a clear understanding of your company’s finances, in order to ensure it’s smooth running. When outlining the estimated costs of your company, ensure that you include:  Fees to Local Authorities  Payments to Foster Carers  Staff wages and salary  Payments to panel  Other consultants Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  11. COSTS & CASH FLOW You will need to provide clear details of your IFA’s cash flow, ideally for the first three years. Try and keep your figures as realistic as possible, and include every cost and expense you can think- Including transport, bills, marketing etc. Creating a simple spreadsheet on Excel doesn’t have to be difficult. There are several sources online, that may be able to help you: Forecast-Template Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  12. BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATES Using an existing template will save you a lot of time and unnecessary planning. You may be able to find example business plans specifically for other Independent Fostering Agencies online; however, the generic templates below will be just as useful: resources/business-tools/business-plans Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway
  13. Everything starts with a conversation, so let’s talk: Safaraz Ali Linkedin: Twitter Handle: @SafarazAli Tel: 0121 707 0550 Copyright © 2017 TCI Pathway