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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

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.

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness

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

how to write up a business plan template

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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how to write up a business plan template

Written by Jesse Sumrak | May 14, 2023

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Business plans might seem like an old-school stiff-collared practice, but they deserve a place in the startup realm, too. It’s probably not going to be the frame-worthy document you hang in the office—yet, it may one day be deserving of the privilege.

Whether you’re looking to win the heart of an angel investor or convince a bank to lend you money, you’ll need a business plan. And not just any ol’ notes and scribble on the back of a pizza box or napkin—you’ll need a professional, standardized report.

Bah. Sounds like homework, right?

Yes. Yes, it does.

However, just like bookkeeping, loan applications, and 404 redirects, business plans are an essential step in cementing your business foundation.

Don’t worry. We’ll show you how to write a business plan without boring you to tears. We’ve jam-packed this article with all the business plan examples, templates, and tips you need to take your non-existent proposal from concept to completion.

Table of Contents

What Is a Business Plan?

Tips to Make Your Small Business Plan Ironclad

How to Write a Business Plan in 6 Steps

Startup Business Plan Template

Business Plan Examples

Work on Making Your Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan FAQs

What is a business plan why do you desperately need one.

A business plan is a roadmap that outlines:

  • Who your business is, what it does, and who it serves
  • Where your business is now
  • Where you want it to go
  • How you’re going to make it happen
  • What might stop you from taking your business from Point A to Point B
  • How you’ll overcome the predicted obstacles

While it’s not required when starting a business, having a business plan is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Secure a Bank Loan: Before approving you for a business loan, banks will want to see that your business is legitimate and can repay the loan. They want to know how you’re going to use the loan and how you’ll make monthly payments on your debt. Lenders want to see a sound business strategy that doesn’t end in loan default.
  • Win Over Investors: Like lenders, investors want to know they’re going to make a return on their investment. They need to see your business plan to have the confidence to hand you money.
  • Stay Focused: It’s easy to get lost chasing the next big thing. Your business plan keeps you on track and focused on the big picture. Your business plan can prevent you from wasting time and resources on something that isn’t aligned with your business goals.

Beyond the reasoning, let’s look at what the data says:

  • Simply writing a business plan can boost your average annual growth by 30%
  • Entrepreneurs who create a formal business plan are 16% more likely to succeed than those who don’t
  • A study looking at 65 fast-growth companies found that 71% had small business plans
  • The process and output of creating a business plan have shown to improve business performance

Convinced yet? If those numbers and reasons don’t have you scrambling for pen and paper, who knows what will.

Don’t Skip: Business Startup Costs Checklist

Before we get into the nitty-gritty steps of how to write a business plan, let’s look at some high-level tips to get you started in the right direction:

Be Professional and Legit

You might be tempted to get cutesy or revolutionary with your business plan—resist the urge. While you should let your brand and creativity shine with everything you produce, business plans fall more into the realm of professional documents.

Think of your business plan the same way as your terms and conditions, employee contracts, or financial statements. You want your plan to be as uniform as possible so investors, lenders, partners, and prospective employees can find the information they need to make important decisions.

If you want to create a fun summary business plan for internal consumption, then, by all means, go right ahead. However, for the purpose of writing this external-facing document, keep it legit.

Know Your Audience

Your official business plan document is for lenders, investors, partners, and big-time prospective employees. Keep these names and faces in your mind as you draft your plan.

Think about what they might be interested in seeing, what questions they’ll ask, and what might convince (or scare) them. Cut the jargon and tailor your language so these individuals can understand.

Remember, these are busy people. They’re likely looking at hundreds of applicants and startup investments every month. Keep your business plan succinct and to the point. Include the most pertinent information and omit the sections that won’t impact their decision-making.

Invest Time Researching

You might not have answers to all the sections you should include in your business plan. Don’t skip over these!

Your audience will want:

  • Detailed information about your customers
  • Numbers and solid math to back up your financial claims and estimates
  • Deep insights about your competitors and potential threats
  • Data to support market opportunities and strategy

Your answers can’t be hypothetical or opinionated. You need research to back up your claims. If you don’t have that data yet, then invest time and money in collecting it. That information isn’t just critical for your business plan—it’s essential for owning, operating, and growing your company.

Stay Realistic

Your business may be ambitious, but reign in the enthusiasm just a teeny-tiny bit. The last thing you want to do is have an angel investor call BS and say “I’m out” before even giving you a chance.

The folks looking at your business and evaluating your plan have been around the block—they know a thing or two about fact and fiction. Your plan should be a blueprint for success. It should be the step-by-step roadmap for how you’re going from Point A to Point B.

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How to Write a Business Plan—6 Essential Elements

Not every business plan looks the same, but most share a few common elements. Here’s what they typically include:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Overview
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Financial Strategy

Below, we’ll break down each of these sections in more detail.

1. Executive Summary

While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it’s the section you’ll write last. That’s because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager.

Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what’s inside the business plan.

Your executive summary highlights key points of your plan. Consider this your elevator pitch. You want to put all your juiciest strengths and opportunities strategically in this section.

2. Business Overview

In this section, you can dive deeper into the elements of your business, including answering:

  • What’s your business structure? Sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.
  • Where is it located?
  • Who owns the business? Does it have employees?
  • What problem does it solve, and how?
  • What’s your mission statement? Your mission statement briefly describes why you are in business. To write a proper mission statement, brainstorm your business’s core values and who you serve.

Don’t overlook your mission statement. This powerful sentence or paragraph could be the inspiration that drives an investor to take an interest in your business. Here are a few examples of powerful mission statements that just might give you the goosebumps:

  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • InvisionApp : Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.
  • TED : Spread ideas.
  • Warby Parker : To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

3. Products and Services

As the owner, you know your business and the industry inside and out. However, whoever’s reading your document might not. You’re going to need to break down your products and services in minute detail.

For example, if you own a SaaS business, you’re going to need to explain how this business model works and what you’re selling.

You’ll need to include:

  • What services you sell: Describe the services you provide and how these will help your target audience.
  • What products you sell: Describe your products (and types if applicable) and how they will solve a need for your target and provide value.
  • How much you charge: If you’re selling services, will you charge hourly, per project, retainer, or a mixture of all of these? If you’re selling products, what are the price ranges?

4. Market Analysis

Your market analysis essentially explains how your products and services address customer concerns and pain points. This section will include research and data on the state and direction of your industry and target market.

This research should reveal lucrative opportunities and how your business is uniquely positioned to seize the advantage. You’ll also want to touch on your marketing strategy and how it will (or does) work for your audience.

Include a detailed analysis of your target customers. This describes the people you serve and sell your product to. Be careful not to go too broad here—you don’t want to fall into the common entrepreneurial trap of trying to sell to everyone and thereby not differentiating yourself enough to survive the competition.

The market analysis section will include your unique value proposition. Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the thing that makes you stand out from your competitors. This is your key to success.

If you don’t have a UVP, you don’t have a way to take on competitors who are already in this space. Here’s an example of an ecommerce internet business plan outlining their competitive edge:

FireStarters’ competitive advantage is offering product lines that make a statement but won’t leave you broke. The major brands are expensive and not distinctive enough to satisfy the changing taste of our target customers. FireStarters offers products that are just ahead of the curve and so affordable that our customers will return to the website often to check out what’s new.

5. Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis examines the strengths and weaknesses of competing businesses in your market or industry. This will include direct and indirect competitors. It can also include threats and opportunities, like economic concerns or legal restraints.

The best way to sum up this section is with a classic SWOT analysis. This will explain your company’s position in relation to your competitors.

6. Financial Strategy

Your financial strategy will sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. It’ll explain how you make money, where your cash flow goes, and how you’ll become profitable or stay profitable.

This is one of the most important sections for lenders and investors. Have you ever watched Shark Tank? They always ask about the company’s financial situation. How has it performed in the past? What’s the ongoing outlook moving forward? How does the business plan to make it happen?

Answer all of these questions in your financial strategy so that your audience doesn’t have to ask. Go ahead and include forecasts and graphs in your plan, too:

  • Balance sheet: This includes your assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Profit & Loss (P&L) statement: This details your income and expenses over a given period.
  • Cash flow statement: Similar to the P&L, this one will show all cash flowing into and out of the business each month.

It takes cash to change the world—lenders and investors get it. If you’re short on funding, explain how much money you’ll need and how you’ll use the capital. Where are you looking for financing? Are you looking to take out a business loan, or would you rather trade equity for capital instead?

Read More: 16 Financial Concepts Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Startup Business Plan Template (Copy/Paste Outline)

Ready to write your own business plan? Copy/paste the startup business plan template below and fill in the blanks.

Executive Summary Remember, do this last. Summarize who you are and your business plan in one page.

Business Overview Describe your business. What’s it do? Who owns it? How’s it structured? What’s the mission statement?

Products and Services Detail the products and services you offer. How do they work? What do you charge?

Market Analysis Write about the state of the market and opportunities. Use date. Describe your customers. Include your UVP.

Competitive Analysis Outline the competitors in your market and industry. Include threats and opportunities. Add a SWOT analysis of your business.

Financial Strategy Sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. If you’re applying for a loan, include how you’ll use the funding to progress the business.

What’s the Best Business Plan to Succeed as a Consultant?

5 Frame-Worthy Business Plan Examples

Want to explore other templates and examples? We got you covered. Check out these 5 business plan examples you can use as inspiration when writing your plan:

  • SBA Wooden Grain Toy Company
  • SBA We Can Do It Consulting
  • OrcaSmart Business Plan Sample
  • Plum Business Plan Template
  • PandaDoc Free Business Plan Templates

Get to Work on Making Your Business Plan

If you find you’re getting stuck on perfecting your document, opt for a simple one-page business plan —and then get to work. You can always polish up your official plan later as you learn more about your business and the industry.

Remember, business plans are not a requirement for starting a business—they’re only truly essential if a bank or investor is asking for it.

Ask others to review your business plan. Get feedback from other startups and successful business owners. They’ll likely be able to see holes in your planning or undetected opportunities—just make sure these individuals aren’t your competitors (or potential competitors).

Your business plan isn’t a one-and-done report—it’s a living, breathing document. You’ll make changes to it as you grow and evolve. When the market or your customers change, your plan will need to change to adapt.

That means when you’re finished with this exercise, it’s not time to print your plan out and stuff it in a file cabinet somewhere. No, it should sit on your desk as a day-to-day reference. Use it (and update it) as you make decisions about your product, customers, and financial plan.

Review your business plan frequently, update it routinely, and follow the path you’ve developed to the future you’re building.

Keep Learning: New Product Development Process in 8 Easy Steps

What financial information should be included in a business plan?

Be as detailed as you can without assuming too much. For example, include your expected revenue, expenses, profit, and growth for the future.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a business plan?

The most common mistake is turning your business plan into a textbook. A business plan is an internal guide and an external pitching tool. Cut the fat and only include the most relevant information to start and run your business.

Who should review my business plan before I submit it?

Co-founders, investors, or a board of advisors. Otherwise, reach out to a trusted mentor, your local chamber of commerce, or someone you know that runs a business.

Ready to Write Your Business Plan?

Don’t let creating a business plan hold you back from starting your business. Writing documents might not be your thing—that doesn’t mean your business is a bad idea.

Let us help you get started.

Join our free training to learn how to start an online side hustle in 30 days or less. We’ll provide you with a proven roadmap for how to find, validate, and pursue a profitable business idea (even if you have zero entrepreneurial experience).

Stuck on the ideas part? No problem. When you attend the masterclass, we’ll send you a free ebook with 100 of the hottest side hustle trends right now. It’s chock full of brilliant business ideas to get you up and running in the right direction.

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About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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how to write up a business plan template

Free Business Plan Template (With Examples)

  • 2 years ago

Have you ever found it difficult to get other people to agree to your entrepreneurial ideas? If so, consider writing a business plan. We’ve created a business plan template to help you meet your business goals, but it makes sense to give some background information.

I (Brandon Boushy) grew up in a unique family. I was the oldest of six kids and my parents are highly successful. One of the things I had to do growing up was write business proposals for anything that was different from the standard operating procedure. (Yes, our family ran like a business.)

That made me pretty proficient at creating a business plan format. We’re going to share some of the lessons I learned growing up with a dad that managed a multi-billion dollar merger and a mom that had a double major in psychology and philosophy. Along the way, we hope to help you understand what people look for in a business plan.

What makes a good business plan template?

A business plan template should be based on your audience. If it’s just you, then it needs to be enough to keep you honest and focused on your goals, but if there are other people who will be viewing it, it should give them enough information to buy into the business plans.

Whether you use ours, someone else’s, or make your own template, you’ll want to make sure a business plan template includes the following:

  • An executive summary

Your mission and goals

  • Your strategies 
  • Your strengths and weaknesses

How you fit in the external environment

Call to action.

  • Documentation

If you’re interested just in a template, you may download it here .

This outline is partially inspired by the book Writing Winning Business Plans by Garrett Sutton, Esq.

If you prefer YouTube videos, check out our interview with Mike about how to create a business plan :

Let’s look at how each of these plays into a great business plan template.

The Executive Summary in a Business Plan Template

A good business plan should start with a story. All stories have three major parts:

That’s what your executive summary will be. It will be your story. It will basically tell why your company exists. The sole purpose of the executive summary is to get your audience to say:

“I want to know more.”

If you look at UpFlip’s YouTube page, you can see our story right at the top.

When you write a business plan, you want the executive summary to be as easy to digest as possible. If this were in an actual business plan, it would look something like this:

We’ve all heard the statistics that eight out of 10 businesses fail in the first five years. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we flipped those numbers?

That’s our goal at UpFlip. Make it where 80% of businesses succeed. To do that, business owners need the best information possible in the format that they prefer. That’s what we’re doing.

UpFlip is a team of business owners who believe in educating and inspiring people to achieve success. UpFlip does this by using content marketing best practices, case studies, and data analysis to bring business owners content that helps them succeed.

Do you want to hear more? 

You might want to include a couple of paragraphs about the team, the market, where the business is now, and how you are going to accomplish the goals. At this point, it’s just high-level ideas to get them interested.

You also want to include what you’re asking for in the executive summary. That will change based on the viewer. Here are some common requests:

  • Looking for funding : How much? Do you want a loan or to sell equity?
  • Looking for employees : What do you want from them? What values should they hold dear to their hearts?
  • Looking for a partnership with another company : Why would the two be a good fit?
  • Just for you : An executive summary might be enough.

While this will be the first thing the viewer sees, it will normally be the last thing you write.

Company Description

The next section of our business plan template is the company description. It covers the following:

  • Your company mission and goals : Why does your company matter?
  • Your product and target market : What are you selling and to whom?
  • Your team : Who is going to help you succeed? You might want to create an organizational chart with your management team, including their skill sets and the gaps you need to fill.
  • Your legal structure : Will how you’re structured lead you to succeed? Don’t even bother applying for financing if you are a sole proprietorship. They won’t take you seriously. Register as an LLC or a Corporation.

These are the high-end goals of a business. The mission statement is simply what you want to achieve. For instance, Boxabl has the mission to, “Significantly lower the cost of homeownership for everyone.”

Your goals should be highly measurable. They should be focused on accomplishing your mission and should be:

  • S pecific: What are you trying to achieve? In Boxabl’s case, it is lowering the cost of homeownership for everyone.
  • M easurable: How can you measure it? With Boxabl, you might measure against HomeAdvisor’s estimate to build in an area and the median home sale price in the area.
  • A chievable: Can it be done? For Boxabl, their factory claims to have a production capacity of 30,000 homes annually for $50,000 each (plus land costs). That’s a substantial savings, but it only covers .5% of the US housing sales in 2021 .
  • R ealistic: Can you actually do what needs to be done? In Boxabl’s case, it could reduce the costs in a single city based on current capacity. 30,000 sales would be equal to 60% of Las Vegas home sales in 2021 . 
  • T ime-Oriented: How long will it take? With Boxabl’s design, it could dramatically lower rates in Las Vegas in a year but would need to ramp up production to meet the nationwide levels. It would need to ramp up 120X capacity to reach 60% of all home sales. That means years down the road.

You might want to have a roadmap or graphics in this section to help people visualize them. Here’s an example of what a good roadmap looks like:

You can see the rest of it on Presearch’s website . 

Notice how many references I have in this section. A well documented business plan will be full of references because you have to prove all assumptions are reasonable.

With a business plan someone views online, you can use hyperlinks. Otherwise, you’ll want to include your links in an appendix or as footnotes. I recommend using IBIS World for most of your statistics because many banks use them to analyze how accurate your reports are. I’ll cover this more in the section on documentation.

This section of our business plan template focuses on the industry. You’ll want to start at the highest macroeconomic level and work your way down to the company level. This will include aspects like:

  • Whole Economy : Consider GDP growth or shrinkage, interest rates, consumer spending, and anything else that has the ability to impact your business from the highest market analysis standpoint.
  • Industry : What is the industry outlook over the next five to 10 years? How many total businesses are in your industry (both nationwide and locally)? Who are the major players? What percent of the market do the major players service? How much is left for smaller players? How is the industry changing?
  • Individual Companies : What are they doing? What gaps are they leaving? What can you do better? What do their 401K and quarterly reports show?

All this data matters; it shows whether you know what you are talking about or whether you are just chasing dreams. Don’t get me wrong it’s fun to chase dreams, but it’s better if your management team knows what it is talking about.

If you’re focused on local work, you might want to include a map of all your competitors in this section, for instance, the picture below is a map from Gas Buddy of all the local gas stations in a city. You’ll want to update it with opportunities for locations in the next section on strengths and weaknesses. 

Next, you’ll want to compare your experience with this information.

Include strengths and weaknesses in a business plan template

You’ll want to perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. This section of our business plan template includes questions about:

  • Your team : Include an organizational chart that outlines your management team, their skill sets, and the gaps you need to fill.
  • Divisions : Do you have divisions that are really strong or weak? How are you going to fix this?
  • Funding : How are your monetary or cash flow scenarios?
  • Vendors: Do you have special vendor scenarios that give you an advantage or disadvantage?
  • Industry : Do you have competitive advantages or disadvantages that other companies don’t have? Does that leave holes for you to fill a service area? Check out the map below for potential holes in the market for gas stations:

Opportunities For Gas Stations

Check out this video by Project Manager to understand SWOT analysis better.

Your strategies (Operations)

This section details how you plan to meet the goals you have set. The business strategies section includes concepts like:

  • Risk Management
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

Logistics show that you’ve really thought about how you plan to achieve your goal. I think the history of Ford, ExxonMobil, Tesla Motors, and previous electric vehicles really shows how the logistics of something matter.

Before the Model T, the majority of cars were electric vehicles. Unfortunately, it was far easier to go to a gas station than to have to charge your electric car. It still is, but part of Elon Musk’s plan to make electric vehicles achievable was nationwide charging stations . 

He had to start by strategically placing them so that a Tesla wouldn’t have to risk running out of power while traveling along major highways. If his business plan hadn’t included over 3,000 superchargers, do you think they’d have sold over 3.23 million vehicles ?

Of course not. You have to think about what can go wrong and how you’ll address it. That’s how logistics work in your favor––before you have a problem.

This section of the business plan should be focused on what you’ll be doing to get word out about your products and services. This section should include:

  • Target market data
  • Brand assets like logos
  • How you’ll be communicating with potential customers
  • Your marketing channels and budget
  • Examples of your ads if they are truly impressive

Financial History and Projections

Lenders, equity providers, and governments offering you relocation initiatives will care about the financial prospects. They’ll want to know the following:

  • Your assumptions

Your past performance

  • Your current year forecast 
  • Longer-term outlook (three, five or ten-year outlook)

Even if you’re not trying to make a deal, these can help you plan better. Let’s look at each.

Assumptions

You’ll want to start the financial projections section with a list of assumptions that are backed by valid resources. Assumptions are everything that could go wrong. They may include:

  • Wage growth
  • Industry growth
  • Market share growth
  • Financing rates
  • Production timelines
  • Marketing metrics

Anticipating everything that could go wrong helps you be prepared and shows your willingness to problem-solve. In Writing Winning Business Plans, the author recommends reviewing the SEC forward-looking statement guidelines because investors are used to reading them. I’d also recommend reading some 401Ks on EDGAR .

If you’re an existing business, you’ll also want to show the past history according to your tax returns for at least two years, but three to five years is better. This lets others see whether growth is steady, accelerating, or slowing.

Don’t try to minimize your taxes if you are trying to get a loan. Try to maximize your net income and cash flow. Think ahead and make it easy for the people to approve you. Also, remember that asset-light businesses have higher profit margins than if you have a billion-dollar plant (it might help with secured loans, though).

Your current year forecast

Create financial projections for the current year. These will show whether or not you have a solid business plan that can actually take on business loans or get equity investors. You’ll want to include at least:

  • Profit & Loss Statement : This is similar to a Net Income Statement but is made up. It’s for a one-year minimum and may be called a P&L statement.
  • Cash Flow Statement : Here you will show the annual flow of funds in and out of the business.
  • Balance Sheet : Give a comparison of the assets and receivables to the liabilities and owners’ equity.

I normally start with monthly spreadsheets because it makes it easier to predict where cash flow imbalances will occur.

Longer-term outlook (three, five, or ten-year outlook)

In addition, you may want to create three-year, five-year, or ten-year projections. Be careful with these, though. The economic environment can change fairly quickly, and in 30 to 90 days a lot of economic reports are released.

This part should change based on who will be viewing it, but it should stay similar. A call to action may be:

  • A request for financing for equipment, inventory, or other business needs
  • An offer to schedule a meeting to discuss equity purchases
  • Linking to employment applications for applicants
  • A link to a quiz to make sure employees processed the information
  • A request for a tax subsidy from a government

Each of these should stay true to the rest of the document, but you’ll only want to include a call to action for that specific goal. I would suggest saving a separate copy of the template for each type of action.

Here’s what the Appendix will look like for APA-style references. You can use online citation-creating sites like Purdue Owl to create them. 

About Us . (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.boxabl.com/about-us

A Better Search Engine for We the People. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://presearch.io/roadmap

Brewer, R. (2022, January 06). Record number of homes sold in 2021 in Las Vegas Area. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://vegasinc.lasvegassun.com/business/real-estate/2022/jan/06/record-number-of-homes-sold-in-2021-in-las-vegas-a/

Business Plan Template. (2021, April 19). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.upflip.com/learn/business-plan-template

Published by Statista Research Department, & 4, A. (2022, April 04). Total home sales in the United States from 2011 to 2021 with a forecast for 2022 and 2023. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/275156/total-home-sales-in-the-united-states-from-2009/

Research and Documentation

Now that we’ve covered the sections of our business plan template, let’s discuss how to research and document your findings. We can all use Google search, but will it give you the best answer? 

Maybe, maybe not.

You have to use real data, and there are two ways to get it. You can either go directly to the source or you can buy it. 

Get the Primary Data Set

For anyone on a budget or who might prefer to do data analysis themselves, this section is for you. You’ll need the data for many of the sections of your business plan, primarily the industry analysis and the financial modeling.

If you’ve never downloaded a massive dataset, you should try it sometime. They are huge and hard to process. Start by downloading the 50.4 MB spreadsheet to analyze your NAICS code from census.gov . It’s a pain. I’ve had one nearly crash my computer.

After you get the data, you’ll have to process it, create graphs, and cite it in your Appendix. If you have time to do all that, awesome! You’ll want to get data from .gov sites or major organizations. Check out this list of free datasets .

If that sounds like a lot of work, try buying the data from trusted sources instead.

Buy the Processed Data from a Trusted Source

Fortunately, there are plenty of great resources that make it easy to document your statistics in a business plan. You have to pay for them, but they are worth it. Two of the ones I really like are IBIS World and Statista. 

They do the research for every NAICS code and all you have to do is buy their report. It even comes with sourced charts for you to use. If you think you’ll need the data long-term, I suggest getting one of their subscriptions.

You’ll be able to pull everything you need out of it and package it nicely in your business plan. Be sure to add your citations into our business plan template, though.

Add Citations to the Business Plan Template

There are a variety of ways to add citations to a business plan, but the most common are:

  • Appendix : Save the documents and add them at the end of your business plan. Make sure you label them well. You might want to use this in combination with footnotes to mark which citation goes with which statement.
  • Footnotes : You’ll want to add a footnote, then put the reference at the bottom of the page using The Chicago Manual of Style . Check the footnote below for how it looks.
  • Hyperlinks : These only work for digital copies, but they send the reader right to the website where the information was retrieved. Just make sure it’s not pay protected. Use these in conjunction with an appendix so you can use the same business plan for both print and digital.

I’ve put all the references to this blog in the Appendix section to give you an easy example.

In addition to The Chicago Manual of Style , you can also use:

  • American Psychological Association Style
  • Modern Language Association Style

I personally like the APA style, but everyone has their preferences. Just make sure you stay consistent throughout your business plan. Use Purdue Owl if you aren’t familiar with research and citation rules.

Free Business Plan Templates

There are a lot of places where you can get a business plan template. Some of the best places are:

  • UpFlip : Download the  template that follows this blog.
  • Score : View three Score templates .
  • Oprah : Oprah offers three templates for business owners.
  • My Own Business Institute : (That’s the name; I don’t own it.) Other than ours, I like this free business plan best. Check it out .
  • BizGym : Want a lean business plan, BizGym is a good one.

In any of them you’ll want to make sure it has something comparable to the parts in our list. All of them do, but rearrange the order.

Brandon Boushy

Brandon Boushy lives to improve people’s lives by helping them become successful entrepreneurs. His journey started nearly 30 years ago. He consistently excelled at everything he did, but preferred to make the rules rather than follow him. His exploration of self and knowledge has helped him to get an engineering degree, MBA, and countless certifications. When freelancing and rideshare came onto the scene, he recognized the opportunity to play by his own rules. Since 2017, he has helped businesses across all industries achieve more with his research, writing, and marketing strategies. Since 2021, he has been the Lead Writer for UpFlip where he has published over 170 articles on small business success.

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BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Free business plan template for small businesses

  • Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg
  • Dec 7, 2023

Free business plan template for your new business

Creating a successful business is about more than launching a business website or hanging a shingle on your front door. It requires a well-crafted plan that keeps you on track, anticipates obstacles and acts as a concrete roadmap for launching or improving your small business.

Business planning allows you to clarify your vision while providing information to both intrigue and reassure potential investors. The process may seem daunting, but creating a business plan isn’t difficult—and templates like the one below can help simplify the process even further.

Ready to launch your business? Create a website today.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is used by small business owners and entrepreneurs when starting a new business venture. It’s a strategic document that outlines the goals, objectives and strategies of your new or expanding business, including the company's vision, target market, financial projections and operational plans.

A business plan can attract potential partners, convince investors and banks to help you raise capital, and serve as a resource for future growth. Most importantly, you’ll be able to use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, operate and manage your new venture, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, a partnership or something larger.

Who needs a business plan?

Every business owner needs a business plan. They’re an essential tool for any person or entity interested in starting a business . There are many benefits, including:

Defining your business idea

Clarifying the market and competitive landscape

Outlining your marketing strategy

Stating your value proposition

Identifying/anticipating potential risks

Seeking investments from banks and other sources

Setting benchmarks, goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)

A business plan also gives you a way to assess the viability of a business before investing too much time or money into it. While all business involves risk, taking the time to create a plan can help mitigate fallout and avoid potentially costly mistakes.

When creating a business plan, it's important to establish your business goals up front and be prepared to spend time researching the market, performing a competitor analysis and understanding your target market .

Download Wix’s free business plan template

Creating a successful business plan is no easy feat. That’s why we’ve put together a simple, customizable, and free-to-download business plan template that takes the guesswork out of getting started. Use it to create a new business plan or to refresh an existing one.

Download your free Wix business plan template

Lean startup versus traditional business plan formats

In terms of types of business plans , there are two main formats to choose from: traditional and lean.

Traditional business plan format

A traditional business plan includes every detail and component that defines a business and contributes to its success. It's typically a sizable document of about 30 to 50 pages that includes:

Executive summary: The executive summary contains a high-level overview of everything included in the plan. It generally provides a short explanation of your business and its goals (e.g., your elevator pitch ). Many authors like to write this section last after fleshing out the sections below.

Company description: A company description should include essential details like your business name, the names of your founders, your locations and your company’s mission statement . Briefly describe your core services (or products if you’re writing an eCommerce business plan ), but don't go into too much detail since you’ll elaborate on this in the service/product section. Wix offers some helpful mission statement examples if you get stuck. It’s also a good idea to create a vision statement . While your mission statement clarifies your company’s purpose, a vision statement outlines what you want your company to achieve over time.

Market analysis: One of the most extensive sections of the business plan, this section requires that you conduct market research and write your conclusions. Include findings for the following: industry background, a SWOT analysis , barriers/obstacles, target market and your business differentiators.

Organization and management: This is where you outline how your business is structured and who's in charge, including founders, executive team members, board members, employees and key stakeholders. To this end, it can be helpful to create a visual layout (e.g., org chart) to illustrate your company structure.

Service or product line: Create a detailed list of your current and future products and services. If you’re still working on your idea, create a concept statement to describe your idea or product. You should also include a proof of concept (POC), which demonstrates the feasibility of your idea. Wherever applicable, include diagrams, product images and other visual components to illustrate the product life cycle.

Marketing and sales: Detail how your business idea translates into selling and delivering your offerings to potential customers. You can start by outlining your brand identity, which includes the colors and fonts you plan to use, your marketing and advertising strategy, and details about planned consumer touchpoints (like your website, mobile app or physical storefront).

Financial projections and funding requests: Include financial statements, such as a balance sheet, profit-and-loss statement (P&L), cash flow statement and break-even analysis. It's not uncommon for a business plan to include multiple pages of financial projections and information. You’ll also want to mention how much funding you seek and what you plan to do with it. If you’ve already secured funding, provide details about your investments.

essential parts of a business plan

Lean startup business plan format

A lean startup business plan—also referred to as a “lean canvas”—is presented as a problem/solution framework that provides a high-level description of your business idea. A lean plan is a single-page document that provides a basic overview of the most essential aspects of your business. It’s a good way to dip a toe into business planning since it doesn't require the same level of detail as a traditional plan. This includes:

Problem: What problem does your product or service solve, or what need does it fulfill?

Solution: How do you intend to solve it?

Unique value proposition (UVP): Why should people use your product or service versus someone else’s?

Unfair advantage: What do you have that other companies don’t?

Customers: Who are your ideal customers?

Channels: How will those customers find you?

Key metrics: How do you define success? How will you track and measure it?

Revenue streams: How will your business make money?

Cost structure: What will you spend money on (fixed and variable costs)?

Benefits of a business plan template

Business plan templates offer numerous benefits for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. Here are some key advantages:

1. Save time and effort: Templates provide a pre-defined structure, eliminating the need to start from scratch. This frees up valuable time and effort that can be invested in other crucial aspects of business development.

2. Improve structure: Templates ensure a consistent and organized approach to presenting your business plan. This makes it easier for potential investors, lenders and advisors to understand your vision and evaluate the feasibility of your business. 3. Enhance professionalism: Using a well-designed template demonstrates professionalism and seriousness to external stakeholders. This can significantly impact their perception of your business and increase their confidence in your venture. 4. Guide your thought process: Templates act as a helpful framework, prompting you to consider all the key elements of your business plan and ensuring you haven't overlooked any critical areas. 5. Ensure completeness: Templates often include checklists and prompts to ensure you cover all essential information, minimizing the risk of missing crucial details. 6. Standardize formatting: Templates ensure a consistent and uniform appearance throughout your business plan, contributing to a more polished and professional presentation. 7. Access to expert knowledge: Many templates are developed by experienced business professionals or organizations, incorporating best practices and insights gained from successful ventures. 8. Adaptability and customization: While templates offer a basic structure, they can be easily customized to reflect the unique characteristics and needs of your specific business. 9. Cost-effectiveness: Templates are generally available for free or at a low cost, making them an accessible and budget-friendly option for entrepreneurs. 10. Increased success rate: Studies have shown that businesses with well-developed plans are more likely to succeed. Templates can help you create a comprehensive and persuasive plan, increasing your chances of securing funding and achieving your business goals.

Tips for filling out your business plan template

The hardest part of a journey is always the first step, or so the saying goes. Filling out your business plan template can be daunting, but the template itself is meant to get you over that crucial first hurdle—getting started. We’ve provided some tips aimed at helping you get the most from our template.

These are best practices—they’re not rules. Do what works for you. The main thing to remember is that these tips can help you move more easily through the planning process, so that you can advance onto the next (exciting) step, which is launching your business.

Consider your goals: What is the purpose of your business? Are you looking to expand, launch a new product line or fund a specific project? Identifying your goals helps you prioritize important information in your business plan.

Fill out what you can: You may already have a vague—or specific—idea of what you want your business to achieve. Go through each section of the template and fill out what you can. We suggest leaving the executive summary blank for now, since it'll be the last thing you write.

Be realistic: Even though this document is meant to serve as a marketing tool for potential investors, don't exaggerate any numbers or make any false promises.

Dig into the research: Nothing's more motivating than getting some intel about your competitors and your market. If you're truly stuck, a little research can help motivate you and provide valuable insight about what direction to take your business. For example, if you plan to start a landscaping business, learn about the specific pricing offered in your area so that you can differentiate your services and potentially offer better options.

Get help from others: Bouncing your ideas off a friend, mentor or advisor is a great way to get feedback and discover approaches or products to incorporate into your plan. Your network can also give you valuable insight about the industry or even about potential customers. Plus, it's nice to be able to talk through the challenges with someone who understands you and your vision.

Revise and review: Once complete, step back from your plan and let it "cook." In a day or two, review your plan and make sure that everything is current. Have other people review it too, since having another set of eyes can help identify areas that may be lacking detail or need further explanation.

Once you’ve completed your business plan template, it can become a meaningful resource for developing your mission statement, writing business proposals and planning how to move forward with the marketing, distribution and growth of your products and services.

After launch, you can also analyze your value chain to identify key factors that create value for your customers and maximum profitability for you. This can help you develop a more effective business plan that considers the entire value chain, from research and development to sales and customer support.

Business plan template FAQ

What is the easiest way to write a business plan.

The easiest way to write a business plan is to utilize a template. Templates provide a structured format and guide you through each section, simplifying the process of creating a comprehensive plan.

Is there a template for how to write a business plan?

What are the 7 essential parts of a business plan, related posts.

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Business Plan Templates

Free Download

business-plan-template

2 Essential Templates For Starting Your Business. Available as an interactive PDF or a Google Docs template.

With this business plan template, you'll be able to:

  • Write a company description that sells your story
  • Plan for the future: lay out goals and metrics for success
  • Describe your product line in detail and plan for how to stand out from competitors
  • Consider any legal formalities that require attention when starting your business
  • Put together necessary financial projections to make a strong start
  • Create your buyer persona and determine your product/marketing fit

business plan template

Build A Business Plan That Works

Available as a one-page interactive PDF and a full template on both Google Docs and Microsoft Word!

Whether you’re starting a business or drafting a formalized document with  your current business goals, it’s important to clearly defi ne the scope of all aspects of the venture — from mission, to target customers, to fi nances, and beyond.

When just starting out, it can be tempting to think of a business plan as simply your company’s name and a description of your product or service. But in reality, planning a business involves thinking through a lot more details.

In this business plan template we’ll guide you through the steps of writing company and product descriptions, setting sales and marketing goals and plans, and thinking through legal and fi nancial logistics. We've included a  plain text, designed , and  completed example version of this template. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you write a business plan.

A business plan is a formal written document that you can use to identify the purpose of your company, make important decisions about your future and help grow your company. HubSpot's free business plan templates provides guidance to establishing your company mission, customer research, competition, and a business strategy to profitability.

Why do I need to fill out the information requested?

We will always keep your personal information safe..

We ask for your information in exchange for a valuable resource in order to (a) improve your browsing experience by personalizing the HubSpot site to your needs; (b) send information to you that we think may be of interest to you by email or other means; (c) send you marketing communications that we think may be of value to you. You can read more about our privacy policy here .

Where can I get a free business plan template?

HubSpot's Free Business Plan Templates are the best way to create a professional, thorough business plan. The templates include instructions and everything you need to know about starting your company.

Is this really free?

Absolutely.

Just sharing some free knowledge that we hope you’ll find useful. Keep us in mind next time you have marketing questions!

What are the basic format of a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that outlines the company's goals, strategy and implementation. The format of the plan varies depending on the type of organization (e.g., for-profit or nonprofit) and size, but most plans share some common features such as an overview, executive summary, and financial information.

What is the best business plan template?

A great business plan template clearly defines the scope of the venture -- from mission, to target customers, to finances, and beyond. HubSpot's business plan template will guide you through the steps of writing company and product descriptions, setting sales and marketing goals and plans, and thinking through legal and financial logistics.

What is needed to start a business?

If you're thinking about starting a business, you'll need to do some research first. You can't just start a business without doing any market research. Market research will tell you if there's an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. After that, write your business plan so that you know how much money and time it will take for the project to succeed. Use HubSpot's free business plan template today!

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24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

Clifford Chi

Published: February 06, 2024

Free Business Plan Template

how to write up a business plan template

The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

Thank you for downloading the offer.

I believe that reading sample business plans is essential when writing your own.

sample business plans and examples

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As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, it’s easier for you to learn how to write a good one.

But what does a good business plan look like? And how do you write one that’s both viable and convincing. I’ll walk you through the ideal business plan format along with some examples to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Format

Business plan types, sample business plan templates, top business plan examples.

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. To me, the same logic applies to business.

If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

how to write up a business plan template

  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

First, you’ll want to nail down your formatting. Most business plans include the following sections.

1. Executive Summary

I’d say the executive summary is the most important section of the entire business plan. 

Why? Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

There are two main elements I’d recommend including in your executive summary:

Company Description

This is the perfect space to highlight your company’s mission statement and goals, a brief overview of your history and leadership, and your top accomplishments as a business.

Tell potential investors who you are and why what you do matters. Naturally, they’re going to want to know who they’re getting into business with up front, and this is a great opportunity to showcase your impact.

Need some extra help firming up those business goals? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free course to help you set goals that matter — I’d highly recommend it

Products and Services

To piggyback off of the company description, be sure to incorporate an overview of your offerings. This doesn’t have to be extensive — just another chance to introduce your industry and overall purpose as a business.

In addition to the items above, I recommend including some information about your financial projections and competitive advantage here too.:

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, and only include the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

This executive summary is so good to me because it tells potential investors a short story while still covering all of the most important details.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Start with a strong introduction of your company, showcase your mission and impact, and outline the products and services you provide.
  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market.

The main question I’d ask myself here is this: Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will my product fill that gap?

More specifically, here’s what I’d include in this section:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry.

You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

I like this example because it uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Since we’re already speaking of market share, you'll also need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are.

After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another.

My favorite part of performing a competitive analysis is that it can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

I like how the competitive landscape section of this business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. 

This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

Use this section to describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Here are some questions I’d ask myself here:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

I’d also recommend building a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

I like the example below because it uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. I’d suggest including information:

  • Your brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

I think it’s helpful to have a marketing plan built out in advance to make this part of your business plan easier.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler.

In my opinion, it really works because it offers a comprehensive picture of how they plan to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll need to review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services.

Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use. It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

In my opinion, the example below does a great job outlining products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. 

For this reason, here’s what I’d might outline in this section:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

I like how this business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

To me, this section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more.

 According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details I’d include in this section.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet is a great example of level of detail you’ll need to include in the financials section of your business plan.

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. 

So, I’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business.

You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. In my opinion, internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some of my favorite templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow.

Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why I Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it.

There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders.

It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis.

The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made.

Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly.

It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (I always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

I absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service.

You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business.

Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you.

It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things I love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, I especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan.

Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

I’ve compiled some completed business plan samples to help you get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business.

I chose different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Let’s take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue.

I included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives.

This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact. Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best.

For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement  should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Patagonia has one of the most compelling mission statements I’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University .

While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more.

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. 

This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. 

Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission.

The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" and this example does just that. In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. 

You can use this template as a guide while you're gathering important information for your own business plan. You'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do since Culina’s plan outlines these details so flawlessly for inspiration.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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Free Simple Business Plan Template

Helena Young

Our experts

Written and reviewed by:.

Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

Your business plan is the document that adds structure to your proposal and helps you focus your objectives on an achievable and realistic target. It should cover every aspect of what your business journey will look like, from licensing and revenue, to competitor and sector analysis.

Writing a business plan doesn't need to be a difficult process, but it should take at least a month to be done properly.

In today's capricious business climate there's a lot to consider, such as the impact of political challenges like Brexit. These details are especially important in today's bad economy. Investors are looking for entrepreneurs who are aware of the challenges ahead and how to properly plan for them.

Below, you'll find everything you need to create a concise, specific and authoritative business plan. So let's get started turning your idea into a reality!

Click here to download your free Business Plan template PDF – you can fill in your own details and those of your business, its target market, your customers, competitors and your vision for growth.

monday.com-logo

Our below guide will give you detailed advice on how to write a quality business plan, and our PDF download above can give you a clear template to work through.

But, creating an effective business plan needs….planning! That's where a high quality planning tool can help.

monday.com business plan template

We recommend creating an account with monday to use this tool – there's even a free trial . Doing so means you can start your entrepreneurial journey on the right foot.

What to include in your business plan template

There's a lot of information online about how to write a business plan – making it a confusing task to work out what is and isn't good advice.

We're here to cut through the noise by telling you exactly what you need to include for a business plan that will satisfy stakeholders and help develop a key identity for your brand. By the end, you'll have a plan to make even Alan Sugar proud and can get started with the most exciting part – running your business.

Throughout this guide, we've featured an example business plan template for a new restaurant opening in Birmingham called ‘The Plew'. In each section, you'll be able to see what the contents we're describing would look like in a ‘real-life' document.

Cover Page

What to include in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary
  • Personal summary
  • Business idea
  • Your product or service
  • Market analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Cash forecast
  • Operations and logistics
  • Backup plan
  • Top tips for writing a business plan
  • Business plan template UK FAQs

1. Executive summary

This section is a summary of your entire business plan. Because of this, it is a good idea to write it at the end of your plan, not the beginning.

Just as with the overall business plan, the executive summary should be clearly written and powerfully persuasive, yet it should balance sales talk with realism in order to be convincing. It should be no more than 1,000 words.

It should cover:

  • Mission statement  – what is your company's purpose?
  • Business idea and opportunity – what unique selling point (USP) will you provide?
  • Business model – how will your business operate?
  • Business objectives – what are you aiming to achieve?
  • Target market – who is your customer base?
  • Management team – who are the owners/senior staff?
  • Competition – who are you competing against?
  • Financial summary – can you prove the business will be profitable?
  • Marketing strategy – what is your marketing plan and associated costs?
  • Timeline – how long will it take to launch/grow your new business?

It sounds like a lot – but don't feel you have to spend hours putting this together. Here's what the above information for an executive summary might look like when put into our example business plan template for ‘The Plew':

Example of an executive summary in a business plan for a Birmingham restaurant called 'The Plew'

Startups' business plan template example: executive summary

2. Personal summary

Investors want to know who they're investing in, as much as what. This is where you tell people who you are, and why you're starting your business.

Outline your general contact details first, giving your telephone number, email address, website or portfolio, and any professional social media profiles you might have.

Run through this checklist to tell the reader more about yourself, and put your business ambitions into context.

  • What skills/qualifications do you have?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What is/are your area(s) of industry expertise?
  • Why do you want to run your own business?

Here's what our two fictional co-founders of ‘The Plew' might write in their personal summaries for our example business plan. CEO Gabrielle Shelby, has highlighted her expertise in the restaurant industry, while CFO Freya Moore outlines her accounting and finance knowledge.

Example of a personal summary in a business plan for a Birmingham restaurant called 'The Plew'

Startups' business plan template example: personal summary

Richard Osborne, founder and CEO of UK Business Forums, says personality is important in a business plan.

“Having a strong, personal reason at the heart of your business model will help keep you going and give you the motivation to carry on,” he affirms.

3. Business idea

This section is essentially to offer a general outline of what your business idea is, and why it brings something new to the market.

Here, you should include your general company details, such as your business name and a  one-line summary of your business idea known as an  elevator pitch. This section should also list a few key business objectives to show how you plan to scale over the next 1-3 years.

We also recommend carrying out a SWOT analysis to tell investors what the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are for your business idea. Think about:

  • Strengths: ie. why is this a good time to enter the sector?
  • Weaknesses: ie. what market challenges might you encounter?
  • Opportunities: ie. what demand is your product/service meeting in today's market?
  • Threats: ie. how will the business be financed to maintain liquidity?

In the template below, you can see a breakdown of the above information for ‘The Plew'. At the top is its mission statement: “to craft an unforgettable dining experience in a chic atmosphere.”

Example of a business description in a business plan for a Birmingham restaurant called 'The Plew'

Startups' business plan template example: business idea

Need a business idea? We've crunched the numbers and come up with a list of the best business ideas for startup success in 2023 based on today's most popular and growing industries.

4. Your products or services

Now it's time to explain what you are selling to customers and how will you produce your sales offering.

Use this section to answer all of the below questions and explain what you plan to sell and how. Just like your business idea outline, your answers should be concise and declarative.

  • What product(s) or service(s) will you sell?
  • Do you plan to offer new products or services in the future?
  • How much does the product or service cost to produce/deliver?
  • What is your pricing strategy ?
  • What sales channels will you use?
  • Are there legal requirements to start this business?
  • What about insurance requirements?
  • What is the growth potential for the product or service?
  • What are the challenges? eg. if you're looking to sell abroad, acknowledge the potential delays caused by post-Brexit regulations.

What insurance and licensing requirements do you need to consider?

Depending on what your business offers, you might need to invest in insurance or licensing. Our How To Start guides have more details about sector-specific insurance or licensing.

Public Liability, Professional Indemnity, and Employers' Liability are the most well-known types of business insurance. We've listed some other common other licensing and insurance requirements below:

In our example product/service page for ‘The Plew”s business plan, the founders choose to separate this information into multiple pages. Below, they outline their cost and pricing, as well as sales strategy. But they also include an example menu, to offer something a bit more unique and tantalising to the reader:

Example of an product / service page in a business plan for a Birmingham restaurant called 'The Plew'

Startups' business plan template example: product list and pricing strategy

5. Market analysis

This section demonstrates your understanding of the market you are entering, and any challenges you will likely face when trying to establish your company.

This section pulls all of your target market and customer research together to indicate to stakeholders that you are knowledgable about the sector and how to succeed in it.

  • Who is your typical customer and where are they are based? Describe the profile of your expected customers eg. average age, location, budget, interests, etc.
  • How many customers will your business reach? Outline the size of your market, and the share of the market that your business can reach.
  • Have you sold any products/services to customers already? If yes, describe these sales. If no, have people expressed interest in buying your products or services?
  • What have you learned about the market from desk-based research? What are the industry's current challenges, and how has it been affected by the economic downturn?
  • What have you learned about the market from field research? (eg. feedback from market testing like customer questionnaires or focus group feedback).

What is your marketing strategy?

Once you've highlighted who your rivals are in the market, you can provide details on how you plan to stand out from them through your marketing strategy. Outline your  business' USP, your current marketing strategy, and any associated advertising costs.

‘The Plew' identifies its target audience as young, adventurous people in their mid-30s. Because of the restaurant's premium service offering, its audience works in a well-paid sector like tech:

Startups' example: market analysis in a business plan

Startups' business plan template example: customer analysis

6. Competitor analysis

This section demonstrates how well you know the key players and rivals in the industry. It should show the research you have carried out in a table format.

Begin by listing the key information about your competitors. Don't worry about sounding too critical, or too positive. Try to prioritise accuracy above all else.

  • Business size
  • Product/service offering
  • Sales channels
  • Strengths/weaknesses

Competitors will take two forms, either direct  or  indirect. Direct competitors sell the same or similar products or services. Indirect competitors sell substitute or alternative products or services.

Here's a breakdown of the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, and threats presented by a competitor restaurant for ‘The Plew' called Eateria 24. At the bottom, the founders have written what learnings they can take from the chart.

Startups' example: competitor analysis in a business plan

Startups' business plan template example: competitor analysis

Check out our list of the top competitor analysis templates to download free resources for your business, plus advice on what to include and how to get started.

7. Cash forecast

Outline your financial outlook including how much you expect to spend, and make, in your first year

All of your considered costs can be put into one easy-to-read document called a monthly cash forecast. Cash forecasts contain:

1. Incoming costs such as sales revenue, customer account fees, or funding.

2. Outgoing costs such as staff wages or operating expenses. The latter can cover everything from advertising costs to office supplies.

For those firms which have already started trading, include any previous year's accounts (up to three years) as well as details of any outstanding loans or assets.

Annual cash forecast: what is it?

By conducting 12 monthly cash forecasts, you can create an annual cash forecast to work out when your company will become profitable (also known as breakeven analysis) . You will break even when total incoming costs = total outgoing costs.

In your annual cost budget, make sure to also include month opening/closing balance.  This is important to monitor for accounting, particularly for year-end.

  • Opening balance = the amount of cash at the beginning of the month
  • Closing balance = the amount of cash at the end of the month

The opening balance of any month will always be the same as the closing balance of the previous month. If you are repeatedly opening months with a negative closing balance, you need to adjust your spending. Here's an example of what ‘The Plew's financials might look like in its first year of operation:

Example of an cash forecast in a business plan for a Birmingham restaurant called 'The Plew'

Startups' business plan template example: cash forecast

8. Operations and logistics

Explain how your day-to-day business activities will be run, including key business partnerships around production and delivery.

A.) Production

List all of the behind the scenes information about how your business will operate. Include:

  • Management team – who do you plan to hire as senior staff and why?
  • Premises –  where will you be based? What will be the cost?
  • Materials –  what materials/equipment will you need to make your product/service?
  • Staffing –  how many employees will you hire? How much will they cost?
  • Insurance – what insurance do you need for production?

B.) Delivery

Detail how your customers will receive your product or service. Include:

  • Distribution –  how will you sell your product to customers?
  • Transport –  how will you transport the product/service to customers or partners?
  • Insurance –  what insurance do you need for delivery?

C.) Supplier analysis

Lastly, you should carry out a supplier analysis.  Write down 2-3 suppliers you plan to use as part of your business operations and evaluate them on factors like location and pricing.

In our example business plan for ‘The Plew', the founders have chosen to present this information in an easily-digestible chart, breaking down the leadership and employees into two different areas: product development and operations.

Example of a page showing staffing information in a business plan for a Birmingham restaurant called 'The Plew'

Startups' business plan template example: staffing section

9. Backup plan

Explain how you will manage any surprise losses if your cash forecast does not go to plan.

In the event that your business does not go to plan, there will be costs to incur. A backup plan outlines to potential investors how you will pay back any outstanding loans or debt.

In the short-term: 

If your cash-flow temporarily stalls, what steps could you take to quickly raise money or make savings? For example, by negotiating shorter payment terms with your customers.

In the long-term:

If you've noticed a drop in sales that seems to be persisting, what changes can you make that would improve cash flow longer term? For example, can you do more of your business online to reduce rent fees?

To placate investors even further, it's a good idea to include details about potential support channels you can utilise (eg. a business network or contact) who might be able to help if you get caught in a sticky cash-flow situation.

Startups' 5 top tips for writing a business plan

  • Keep your predictions realistic. Your business plan should showcase your knowledge of the sector and what's achievable. It's not about impressing investors with big numbers or meaningless buzzwords.
  • Don't go over 15 pages. Business plans should be engaging, which means sticking to the point and avoiding a lot of long-winded sentences. Keep your executive summary to less than 1,000 words, for example.
  • End with supporting documents. Use your appendix to include product diagrams or detailed research findings if these are helpful to your business case.
  • Get a second pair of eyes. Everyone misses a spelling error or two – invite a trusted business contact or associate to look over your business plan before you send it anywhere.
  • Leave enough time to write! It's exciting to think about getting your business up and running – but planning is an important step that can't be rushed over. Spend at least a month on writing to get all the details correct and laid-out.

At Startups.co.uk, we're here to help small UK businesses to get started, grow and succeed. We have practical resources for helping new businesses get off the ground – use the tool below to get started today.

What Does Your Business Need Help With?

Designing a business plan is very important for laying the foundation of your business. Ensure you spend an appropriate amount of time filling it out, as it could save you many headaches further down the line.

Once your plan is complete, you'll then be ready to look at other aspects of business set-up, such as registering your company. Sound daunting? Don't worry!

Our experts have pulled together a simple, comprehensive guide on How to Start a Business in 2024, which will tell you everything you need to know to put your new plan into action.

  • Can I write a business plan myself? Absolutely! There are plenty of resources available to help, but the truth is a business plan needs to reflect the owner's personal ambitions and passion - which is why entrepreneurs are best-placed to write their own.
  • How long should a business plan be? We recommend your business plan is kept to a maximum of 15 pages. Keep it short and concise - your executive summary, for example, should be no more than 1,000 words.
  • Is it OK to copy a business plan? While not technically illegal, copying a business plan will leave you in a poor position to attract investment. Customising your plan to your unique business idea and industry specialism is the best way to persuade stakeholders that you have a winning startup formula.

Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

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how to write up a business plan template

Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples

By Joe Weller | May 6, 2020

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In this article, we’ve rounded up a variety of the top, professionally designed startup business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.

Included on this page, you’ll find a one-page startup business plan template , a business plan outline template for startups , a startup business planning template with a timeline , and a sample startup business plan .

Startup Business Plan Template

how to write up a business plan template

Download Startup Business Plan Template - Word

Word | Smartsheet

This startup business plan template contains the essential components you need to convey your business idea and strategy to investors and stakeholders, but you can customize this template to fit your needs. The template provides room to include an executive summary, a financial overview, a marketing strategy, details on product or service offerings, and more.

One-Page Startup Business Plan Template

One Page Business Plan For Start Up Template

Download One-Page Startup Business Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF

This one-page business plan is ideal for startup companies that want to document and organize key business concepts. The template offers an easy-to-scan layout that’s ideal for investors and stakeholders. Use this plan to create a high-level view of your business idea and as a reference as you flesh out a more detailed roadmap for your business.

For additional resources, visit " Free One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."

Simple Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Template for Startups

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template for Startups

This comprehensive fill-in-the-blank business plan template is designed to guide entrepreneurs through the process of building a startup business plan. This template comes with a customizable cover page and table of contents, and each section includes sample content that you can modify to fit the needs of your business. For more fill-in business templates, read our  "Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates"  article.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

This Lean business plan template takes a traditional business plan outline and extracts the most essential elements. Use this template to outline your company and industry overview, convey the problem you are solving, identify customer segments, highlight key performance metrics, and list a timeline of key activities.

Business Plan Outline Template for Startups

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Download Business Plan Outline Template for Startups

You can use this business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains all the elements of a traditional business plan, including a title page, a table of contents, and information on what to include in each section. Simplify or expand this outline based on the size and needs of your startup business.

Startup Business Planning Template with Timeline

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Download Startup Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

As you create your business plan, this business planning template doubles as a schedule and timeline to track the progress of key activities. This template enables you to break down your plan into phases and provides space to include key tasks and dates for each task. For a visual timeline, shade in the cells according to each task’s start and end dates. The timeline ensures that your plan stays on track.

Business Plan Rubric Template for Startups

how to write up a business plan template

Download Business Plan Rubric Template for Startups

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

If you’re starting a business and want to keep all your ducks in a row, use this rubric to evaluate and score each aspect of your startup business plan. You can tailor this template to the needs of your specific business, and can also highlight areas of your plan that require improvement or expansion. Use this template as a tool to make sure your plan is clear, articulate, and organized. A sharp, insightful, well thought-out plan will definitely get the attention of potential investors and partners.

For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “Free Startup Plan, Budget, and Cost Templates.”

What’s the Best Business Plan Template for Startups?

The template you choose for your startup business depends on a number of factors, including the size and specific needs of your company. Moreover, as your business grows and your objectives change, you will need to adjust your plan (and possibly your choice of template) accordingly. 

Some entrepreneurs find it useful to use a Lean business plan template design in order to jot down a business concept and see if it’s feasible before pursuing it further. Typically one to three pages, a Lean business plan template encourages you to highlight core ideas and strategic activities and remain focused on key points.

Other entrepreneurs prefer a template with a more traditional business plan design, which allows you to go into greater detail and ensure you include every detail. A traditional plan can range from 10 to 100 pages and cover both the high-level and granular particulars of your overall concept, objectives, and strategy.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but the following section outlines the minimum that your business plan template should include in order to gain buy-in from potential investors.

What to Include in a Startup Business Plan

Whether you choose to use a template to develop your startup business plan or decide to write one from scratch, you need to include the following elements:

  • An overview of your company and the industry in which it operates
  • The problem you are solving and the proposed solution
  • A description of your product or service offerings, including key features
  • The existing alternatives that customers use and your competitive advantage
  • The target customer segments and the channels you will use to reach them
  • The cost structure and revenue streams associated with your business
  • A financial plan, including sales and revenue projections (ideally 3-5 years)
  • If applicable, the financial requirements to get your business running, including how you will source and allocate funds

Each of the following sections provides an example of a business plan that you can use for reference as you develop your own.

One-Page Lean Business Plan Example

This Lean business plan example displays a visually appealing and scannable one-page illustration of a business plan. It conveys the key strategies you need to meet your main objectives. Each element of this concise plan provides stakeholders and potential investors with links to resources that support and expand upon the plan’s details, and it can also serve as an investor pitch deck.

One Page Business Plan Example

Startup Business Plan Sample

This business plan sample contains all the aspects of a standard business plan. Using a fictional food truck business as the basis for a startup business plan, this sample will give you all the ideas you need to make your plan outstanding.

Basic Business Plan Sample

Download Startup Business Plan Sample - PDF

When the time comes that you need more space to lay out your goals and strategies, choose from our variety of  free simple business plan templates . You can learn how to write a successful simple business plan  here . 

Visit this  free non-profit business plan template roundup  or of you are looking for a business plan template by file type, visit our pages dedicated specifically to  Microsoft Excel ,  Microsoft Word , and  Adobe PDF  business plan templates. Read our articles offering  free 30-60-90-day business plan templates  to find more tailored options.

Top 10 Tips to Create a Startup Business Plan

Putting together a business plan can be overwhelming and time consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Below, we share tips you can use to help simplify the process of developing a startup business plan of your own. 

  • Use a business plan template, or begin with a business plan outline that provides all the elements of a standard plan to get your ideas down on paper in a structured manner. (You can choose from the selection of templates above.)  
  • Remove sections from your outline that aren’t relevant or that aren’t necessary to launch and operate your business.
  • Compile the data you have gathered on your business and industry, including research on your target market and product or service offerings, details on the competitive landscape, and a financial plan that anticipates the next three to five years. Use that information to fill in the sections of your plan outline. 
  • Get input and feedback from team members (e.g., finance, marketing, sales) and subject matter experts to ensure that the information you’ve included in the plan is accurate.
  • Make certain that the objectives of your plan align with marketing, sales, and financial goals to ensure that all team members are moving in the same direction.
  • Although this section of the plan comes first, write the executive summary last to provide an overview of the key points in your business plan.
  • Prepare a pitch deck for potential clients, partners, or investors with whom you plan to meet in order to share vital information about your business, including what sets you apart and the direction you are headed. 
  • Who are the founders and management executives, and what relevant experience do they bring to the table?
  • What is the problem you are solving, and how is your solution better than what currently exists? 
  • What’s the size of the market, and how much market share do you plan to capture?
  • What are the trends in your market, and how are you applying them to your business?
  • Who are your direct competitors, and what is your competitive advantage?
  • What are the key features of your product or service that set it apart from alternative offerings, and what features do you plan to add in the future?
  • What are the potential risks associated with your business, and how do you plan to address them?
  • How much money do you need to get your business running, and how do you plan to source it?
  • With the money you source, how do you plan to use it to scale your business?
  • What are the key performance metrics associated with your business, and how will you know when you’re successful?
  • Revisit and modify your plan on a regular basis as your goals and strategies evolve.
  • Use a work collaboration tool that keeps key information across teams in one place, allows you to track plan progress, and captures updates in real time.

Successfully Implement Your Startup Business Plan 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.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

More From Forbes

How To Write A Basic Business Plan

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Creating a successful business starts with a strong plan. Regardless of your experience level, learning how to write a basic business plan is essential to mapping out your company's path to success. With a clearly defined plan, you can identify potential challenges, set goals, and create a roadmap for growth.

Business plans can be incredibly beneficial for entrepreneurs in any stage of their business venture. Whether you're just starting out or seeking funding to expand, a well-crafted business plan can serve as a roadmap for success. Not only does it provide direction for your business, but it can also help you identify potential roadblocks, set realistic goals, and track your progress over time.

A well-written business plan can help potential investors or lenders understand your business model , mission, and strategies, making it easier for them to provide the resources you need to grow your business. So, if you're looking for a tool to help ensure your business's success, consider crafting a comprehensive and engaging business plan.

Your business plan doesn't become obsolete once your business is up and running. In fact, your business plan can continue to guide your decision-making even after your doors are open. Your plan serves as a blueprint for success and can remind you of your original goals and objectives.

By referring back to your business plan, you can ensure that your decisions align with your overall mission and vision for your company. With a solid business plan in place, you can keep your business on track and ensure that you continue to achieve your goals as your business grows and evolves.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Of 2024

Best 5% interest savings accounts of 2024, business plan basics.

At its core, a business plan is a written description of your company's future. It outlines what you plan to do and how you plan to do it.

Here is what you typically find in a basic business plan:

1. Executive Summary

A snapshot of your business plan as a whole, touching on your company’s profile, mission, and the main points of your plan. Think of it as an elevator pitch that presents your company's profile and core mission in a concise yet engaging manner.

2. Company Description

A more detailed look at your business goals, and what sets it apart in the marketplace. It is imperative to stand out from the competition to succeed, so list your differentiators and how you add value.

3. Market Analysis

It involves delving into your industry, identifying potential customers, and analyzing your competition to develop a strong understanding of the market. By garnering this knowledge, you can tailor your marketing and sales strategies to better meet the needs of your target audience.

4. Organization and Management

Your business's legal structure, organizational structure, and product or service life cycle. By keeping a close eye on your organization and management, you can ensure that your business is positioned for success in the long term.

5. Marketing and Sales Strategy

How you plan to attract and retain customers. It's not enough to simply offer a great product or service, you need to be able to effectively communicate your value proposition to your target audience.

6. Funding Request

If you are seeking funding, how much you need and what it will be used for. Securing funding can be a crucial component to kickstarting your business ventures.

7. Financial Projections

Projecting your profits, losses, and cash flow helps you plan in advance and make informed decisions. By crunching the numbers and analyzing past data, you can estimate future earnings and get a better understanding of your company's financial health.

8. Appendix

This is where you can include any additional information, such as resumes, permits, leases, and other legal documentation.

The bottom line is that a well-crafted business plan not only provides direction and structure but also helps you articulate your vision and goals. With a clear understanding of your target audience, competition, and financial projections, you're better equipped to make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of running a business. Ultimately, a business plan is an investment in your success, and it's essential for building a viable business.

Melissa Houston, CPA is the author of Cash Confident: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Profitable Business . She is the founder of She Means Profit, which is a podcast and blog . As a Finance Strategist for small business owners, Melissa helps successful business owners increase their profit margins so that they keep more money in their pocket and increase their net worth.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever.

Melissa Houston

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how to write up a business plan template

  • Business and self-employed
  • Business finance and support

Write a business plan

Download free business plan templates and find help and advice on how to write your business plan.

Business plan templates

Download a free business plan template on The Prince’s Trust website.

You can also download a free cash flow forecast template or a business plan template on the Start Up Loans website to help you manage your finances.

Business plan examples

Read example business plans on the Bplans website.

How to write a business plan

Get detailed information about how to write a business plan on the Start Up Donut website.

Why you need a business plan

A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.

A business plan helps you to:

  • clarify your business idea
  • spot potential problems
  • set out your goals
  • measure your progress

You’ll need a business plan if you want to secure investment or a loan from a bank. Read about the finance options available for businesses on the Business Finance Guide website.

It can also help to convince customers, suppliers and potential employees to support you.

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  2. 1 7 Steps To Writing A Basic Business Plan

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  3. Outline Examples

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  4. One-Page Business Plan: The Step-By-Step Guide

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COMMENTS

  1. Simple Business Plan Template (2024)

    This section of your simple business plan template explores how to structure and operate your business. Details include the type of business organization your startup will take, roles and ...

  2. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  3. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Download a free one-page plan template to write a useful business plan in as little as 30-minutes. Explore over 500 real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries. Try the business planning and growth tool trusted by over 1-million business owners.

  4. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

    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.

  5. How to Write a Business Plan: Beginner's Guide (& Templates)

    Step #4: Research Your Competition. Step #5: Outline Your Products or Services. Step #6: Summarize Your Financial Plan. Step #7: Determine Your Marketing Strategy. Step #8: Showcase Your Organizational Chart. 14 Business Plan Templates to Help You Get Started.

  6. How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

    How to Write a Business Plan Step 1. Create a Cover Page. The first thing investors will see is the cover page for your business plan. Make sure it looks professional. A great cover page shows that you think about first impressions. A good business plan should have the following elements on a cover page:

  7. How to Write a Startup Business Plan

    Here are five business plan templates for specific industries or situations: For first-time entrepreneurs: The United States Small Business Administration (SBA). For getting your ideas down: $100 Startup. For law firms: Cilo. For established businesses: SCORE. For additional industries: LawDepot. Sample business plan. A one-page business plan ...

  8. Business Plan: What it Is, How to Write One

    Learn about the best business plan software. 1. Write an executive summary. This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your ...

  9. How to Write a Business Plan (Tips, Templates, Examples)

    1. Executive Summary. While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it's the section you'll write last. That's because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager. Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what's inside the ...

  10. Business Plan Templates: 26 FREE Samples

    Get unlimited eSignatures. Create, manage, and eSign documents for only $19 per month. Create your success roadmap with a laundromat business plan template, designed to arrange the essentials of the laundry business. Empower your path to long-term success with our 5-year business plan template.

  11. Free Business Plan Template (With Examples)

    Whether you use ours, someone else's, or make your own template, you'll want to make sure a business plan template includes the following: An executive summary. Your mission and goals. Your strategies. Your strengths and weaknesses. How you fit in the external environment. Logistics. Marketing. Financials.

  12. Free editable and printable business plan templates

    Skip to start of list. 675 templates. Create a blank Business Plan. Beige Aesthetic Modern Business Plan A4 Document. Document by Rise & Roar Design. Navy and Gray Modern Business Plan Cover Document. Document by Banuaa. Blue Modern Minimalist Startup Business Plan. Document by Maea Studio.

  13. Free Business Plan Template For Small Businesses

    Download Wix's free business plan template. Creating a successful business plan is no easy feat. That's why we've put together a simple, customizable, and free-to-download business plan template that takes the guesswork out of getting started. Use it to create a new business plan or to refresh an existing one.

  14. Free Business Plan Template [Updated for 2022]

    With this business plan template, you'll be able to: Write a company description that sells your story. Plan for the future: lay out goals and metrics for success. Describe your product line in detail and plan for how to stand out from competitors. Consider any legal formalities that require attention when starting your business.

  15. Bplans: Business Planning Resources and Free Business Plan Samples

    Bplans offers free business plan samples and templates, business planning resources, how-to articles, financial calculators, industry reports and entrepreneurship webinars. ... How to Write a Business Plan. ... Stay up to date with the latest business planning, management, growth, and funding trends from Bplans.

  16. Free Business Plan Template

    Learn more about creating your own business plan presentation or document by going through our step-by-step tutorial below or watching this quick video. Log into your Visme dashboard or create a new account, then click Create New Project. Access our business plan templates by searching for "Business Plan" in the search box.

  17. Free business plan template & how to write a business plan

    Leer en español. Whether you're a long-time business owner or starting to think about launching a business, to-do lists pile up fast, and determining how to write a business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels overwhelming. But nearly 70% of business owners who have been there and done that recommend writing a business plan before starting a business.

  18. 24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

    8. Panda Doc's Free Business Plan Template. PandaDoc's free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

  19. Free Business Plan Template & How to Write Your Plan

    Top tips for writing a business plan. Business plan template UK FAQs. 1. Executive summary. This section is a summary of your entire business plan. Because of this, it is a good idea to write it at the end of your plan, not the beginning.

  20. Free Startup Business Plan Templates

    Get free Smartsheet templates. In this article, we've rounded up a variety of the top, professionally designed startup business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats. Included on this page, you'll find a one-page startup business plan template, a business plan outline template for startups, a ...

  21. How to write an effective business plan

    Not updating your business plan: After you write a business plan, the world will continue to change. Your industry, market and customer base will evolve — and so should your business plan.

  22. Develop your business plan

    A business plan sets you up for success when you start, and helps you adapt as your business grows. ... Download a detailed business plan template; Tips to help you write your business plan; Why you need a business plan. Whether you've just started out or have been running your business for years, business planning can be the key to your ...

  23. How To Write A Basic Business Plan

    Here is what you typically find in a basic business plan: 1. Executive Summary. A snapshot of your business plan as a whole, touching on your company's profile, mission, and the main points of ...

  24. Write a business plan

    Why you need a business plan. A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. A business plan helps ...

  25. How to Find Restaurant Investors (Ultimate Guide)

    Prepare a detailed business plan and marketing strategy to show your industry knowledge. Utilize different pitching techniques based on the situation to effectively communicate your vision. Choose the right type of investor for your restaurant to align with your business goals. Build a digital presence to enhance credibility and attract investors.