A business plan for community-led housing projects

A business plan is the document to which you will return time and time again during a community-led housing project, so getting it right is crucial.

This will be the definitive guide to your project detailing every stage of development and it will become more detailed as the project progresses.

What should a business plan include?

By this point in the project, compiling the business plan should be a matter of collating all the information you have already gathered together, identifying items that are missing and then presenting it all in one document.

Essentially, you need the following sections from the very outset:

  • A set of clear aims and objectives
  • A schedule of activity showing a critical path of events
  • Project management detail – input, roles and responsibilities
  • Detailed budget including cash flow projections
  • Risk assessment
  • Monitoring procedures
  • Project briefs and specifications for suppliers.

Getting the information you need

As you start to populate the more detailed aspects of your business plan, it is likely that you will need to consider certain aspects as pieces of work in their own right.

Make notes here about the elements of the business plan that you need to work on and assign members of the group to investigate them. If you do not have sufficient skill sets within your board, you may need to engage the service of other professionals to assist you with this process, for example, accountancy services around cash flow projections.

Who can help?

There are a wide range of organisations that support housing projects who can help with a business plan. You may also find it useful to work closely with the local authority or other interested community groups. Sometimes local authorities have a Community Development Officer who may be able to assist. Many rural counties have Rural Housing Enablers to advise communities. They are generally employed by the relevant Rural Community Council (RCC) or the local council.

Alternatively, Locality opens membership to organisations involved in community-led housing projects and can provide advice and guidance on all community-led housing matters. Find out more here.

Read more about how to write a business plan (including a template) here