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Business plan examples for students.

Ajay Jagtap

26 Min Read

business plan example for students

Do you know what’s the most common mistake students and rookie entrepreneurs make while preparing their first business plan?

Of course, it’s the first business plan we’re talking about; there’ll definitely be a few. However, overcomplicating things and failing to consider a business plan example still remains the most common one.

That’s why we decided to come up with a solution. We’ve curated this list of top business plan examples for students to help you get going.

So whether you need a business plan for a college project, start a side hustle, or win a business competition, these examples are just what you need to create business plans that stand out.

Ready to dive in? Let’s start by understanding the key elements of a business plan example:

Key Elements of a Business Plan Example

Business planning is not as complicated of a process as people think it is; they’re just overcomplicating things. (Don’t think so?)

Let’s simplify the key elements that make up a comprehensive business plan; you’ll understand it better that way.

Executive Summary:

Company overview:, market analysis:, products and services:, sales and marketing strategies:, operations plan:, management team:, financial plan:.

That’s pretty much it about the key elements of a business plan example. Next, let’s explore the best business plan examples for students.

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student business plan examples

Top Business Plan Examples for Students

Now that you already know about the components of a business plan template, let’s review some of the best business plan examples for students.

1. Startup Business Plan Example

Upmetrics’ startup business plan example is the ideal solution for students planning to start up or participate in a business plan competition. This business plan template follows the SBA-approved business planning format used by thousands of successful entrepreneurs.

Whether your startup is about a new-age AI-based application, an online shopping site, or traditional IT consulting—this sample business plan is just what you need.

Unlike any traditional small business plan, this example of a startup business plan is lean and agile in approach, focuses on innovation, and emphasizes market validation.

startup business template

2. Lean Business Plan Example

Since you’re transitioning from a student to an entrepreneur, you may not have enough time to spend on creating a detailed business plan. That’s where this lean business plan template can help.

It’s a condensed version of a traditional plan summarizing all its sections with a primary focus on covering only the critical aspects of the business.

This template is best for startups or businesses uncertain about business planning and student-turned-entrepreneurs with limited time and resources to prepare a business plan.

the lean canvas template

3. SBA Business Plan Example

Following an SBA-recommended business plan format is key to securing bank loans and business grants. Since it can be time-consuming to find a template that follows a similar outline as the SBA, this SBA-approved business plan example is the way to get started.

This SBA business plan template has nine primary sections, that include executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization, product description, marketing, funding request, and financial projections.

SBA business plan examples ensure you stay on track and don’t deviate from your funding needs.

4. One-Page Business Plan Example

As you may have already guessed, a one-page business plan is a one-page version of a traditional business plan. Since it’s a condensed version of a business plan, drafting it can be quite easy and quick compared to a lean or traditional plan.

Employees, partners, and vendors often use one-page business plans as a quick overview of your company and banks and investors as a summary of your operations.

While it may not be the ideal choice for entrepreneurs seeking investment or bank loans, students with side hustles and idea-stage startups can consider this option.

one page business template

5. HBS Sample Business Plan

Harvard Business School’s new venture competition selected this sample business plan as a finalist in 2011.

This is a business plan of App Success, a collaborative web-based platform that connects low-income high school seniors with college students from top universities; this business will enable them to collaborate on college selection, college applications, and financial aid applications.

This example can be a great reference for those planning to start a mobile or web-based solution.

hbs sample business plan

6. Kean University Sample Business Plan

Kean University organizes a business plan competition every year for its students where students prepare and present business plans to compete, and this is one of the sample business plans the University provides to participants to understand the format.

It’s a business plan of Blue Water Boatworks, Inc., a boat detailing and cleaning company specializing in servicing recreational fiberglass and aluminum watercraft.

This example can be a great reference for those planning to start a business related to housekeeping, cleaning, or maintenance.

kean university sample business plan

7. UVM Sample Business Plan

If you are looking for a strategic business plan for a food business, the University of Vermont’s Fancy Foods Business Plan can be a guiding resource for you.

Despite the fact that it can be a good reference for detailed planning, it was written in 1998, so any statistics and numbers may not seem relevant to today’s market landscape. Make sure you keep that in mind.

You may closely follow this example as a reference if planning to start a food truck, restaurant, or any other business that serves food.

uvm sample business plan

That was the list of best sample business plans for students. However, there’s more to talk about. You now have a business plan example, but what about pitching to investors? Let’s explore free pitch deck examples for students.

Free Pitch Deck Example for Students

Pitching to investors as a first-time founder can be exciting but also overwhelming at times. Worry not; we’ve got a solution—investor pitch templates. We’ve prepared a set of 8 investor pitch templates and examples for students and entrepreneurs to help create winning business pitches.

Whether you need a pitch to find an opportunity, ask for subject matter knowledge, or a problem-solving pitch, these investor pitch examples have got you covered. Download now.

How to write a winning plan for a business plan competition?

Creating a business plan is no different than creating one for a real business. Similar to how entrepreneurs prepare and present business plans to investors, Students in business plan competitions pitch to judges.

In short, the business planning process remains exactly the same. Let’s discuss how you can write a winning plan to help you win a business plan competition.

  • Select a compelling business idea : everything starts with a compelling idea. Make sure you have a viable business idea to compete in the competition.
  • Refer to winning business plan examples : Once you are sure about your business concept, refer to business plan examples from previous winners and how they planned the sections of their plan.
  • Market Research & Industry Analysis : After referring to business plan examples, conduct industry research and market analysis to make your statistical and financial numbers accurate and realistic.
  • Understand business model and revenue streams : Since you are preparing a business plan for a company that doesn’t exist, be sure about the business model and how the business will generate profit.
  • Use AI business plan generator : Using an AI business plan generator like Upmetrics can be incredibly helpful in speeding up the business planning process. With industry-specific business plan templates and AI assistance to write your plan, you can write the first draft of your plan in literally no time.
  • Presentation and visuals : Prepare visuals and graphs to make your business plan visually appealing and numbers digestible. You may not need to prepare these visuals if you use business plan software manually.
  • Proofread and edit : Grammatical errors are the last thing judges want to see in a business plan. Make sure you proofread and edit your draft thoroughly before submitting it.

Easy as that, that’s the way to write a perfect business plan that can lead you to victory in any business plan competition on planet Earth. Let’s have a look at a real-life business and financial plan example.

ai business plan software for students CTA

Business and Financial Plan Example for Students

Having learned about business planning for students, let’s quickly discuss a coffee shop sample business plan and financial statements prepared using Upmetrics.

1. Executive Summary

The Cooper’s Cup will be a new cafe in Phoenix, Arizona. The 1,500 square foot café will be located in the newly constructed Market Square Plaza on the northeast corner of 135th Street and Mission Street. The anchor tenant, the Price Chopper grocery store, has already taken occupancy, and the excellent location brings more than 10,000 shoppers weekly.

The Cooper’s Cup, aptly named for the aromatic brown liquid that will fill the cup, fills the void of original cafes in the market and stands out from its corporate peers with its fast food concepts and prompt services. The Cooper’s Cup is the alternative to fast food/commercial/coffee shops and offers a much calmer, civilized gourmet coffee experience.

There are no televisions in the cafe, the background music is subtle, and work from local artists will hang on the walls. The restaurant is well-appointed, with overstuffed leather chairs and sofas in a library-like setting. The cafe is reminiscent of times gone by – yet is cutting edge technologically with WIFI and state-of-the-art espresso machines.

The Cooper’s Cup measures its financial success in terms of increased market share and earnings. This is a tremendous opportunity with a total local market of $54 million! The keys to success will be offering quality gourmet coffees, taking advantage of its small size, and relying on an outstanding barista staff.

To achieve these goals, the cafe will present some of the area’s finest gourmet beans from local distributors. Because of its small size, the restaurant can enjoy larger margins through lower overhead. The cafe will hand-select baristas and offer salaries comparable to the chains. The baristas will be trained to cross-sell and sell higher-margin products.

The primary objectives of the business plan for Cooper’s Cup are below:

  • To increase revenues by $36,000 or 5% in Year 2 and $73,000 or 10% by Year 3
  • Achieve a profit margin of 5.2% in Year 2 and 6.90% by Year 3
  • Be the Cafe of Choice in the Phoenix area and the recipient of the Best Coffeehouse Award.

Guiding Principles

The Cooper’s Cup is committed to values such as excellence, passion, quality, integrity, and leadership, allowing them to navigate challenges and provide for future opportunities. These core beliefs start with their commitment to their products and their employees. Cooper’s Cup rewards excellence and cherishes loyalty. The cafe will work with its employees to build strong businesses and a secure future.

Mission statement

The Cooper’s Cup is committed to its products and employees, which they believe is the recipe for market success.

Key to success

The Cooper’s Cup stands out from the competition. Below are their Keys to Success:

  • Great Products : providing exemplary products at market prices – will make customers want to return again and again.
  • Hire Quality Baristas : Pay employees rates similar to the larger chains with opportunities for long-term careers and opportunities for advancement with long-term plans to open a second facility.
  • Convert Customers to Connoisseurs : Only 40% of the nation’s coffee drinkers consume premium ground and whole bean coffee – this will aid in the continued growth.

Financial Summary

financial summary

2. Business Overview

The Cooper’s Cup will be a coffee house/cafe located in Phoenix, Arizona. The cozy cafe will be located in the newly completed Market Square Plaza in the Arizona City area. The cafe will serve gourmet coffee, espresso, drip coffee, lattes, and smoothies. The simple pastry offerings may vary with seasonality, but the primary line will be muffins, bread, cookies, scones, and rolls. All pastries will be supplied daily by a local bakery.

The cafe will be owned and operated by Owen Jones, a veteran restaurateur with several years of experience running and managing chain restaurants. The cafe will be open for business Monday – Thursday 7-10, Fridays and Saturdays, 7-11, and closed Sundays.

ownership

The Cooper’s Cup will be formed as an S-Corporation owned by Mr. Doe.

Start-Up Summary

The Cooper’s Cup will have seating for 40 patrons. The rent is $2,075 a month, with a three-five-year lease available. The site comprises 1500 square feet of leased space consisting of a dining room, a coffee bar, two restrooms, and a storage room in the back.

This storefront needs to be plumbed and wired appropriately to be used as a restaurant. Painting, new floors, and countertops are also needed. A custom coffee bar needs to be built. With materials bought on sale and volunteer labor, the cost to renovate will be $71,725.

The coffeehouse equipment will consist of two commercial espresso machines, air pots and urns, a commercial blender, a commercial brewer, top-loading coffee bins, barista syrups, cold drink dispenser, frothing equipment, a commercial refrigerator, microwave, and stainless steel prep bar.

The cost of the equipment is $38,275. The furniture will consist of leather couches and chairs (purchased at auction), coffee tables, bookcases, and window treatments. The artwork will come from local artists and be sold on a consignment basis. The books were secured via donations. The total cost to furnish is $14,000. Other startup expenses will be dishes, furniture, rent deposit, and marketing.

Location and Facilities

location and facilities

The new coffeehouse is located in the highly desirable Phoenix, Arizona, area at the northeastern intersection of 135th Street and Mission Street in the Newmarket Square Plaza. The property is situated in an excellent location, with an easy 6-minute drive time to I-435 and 69 Highway. 

The property is 95% leased with Price Chopper as the Anchor Tenant. Other tenants include LifeSpring Med Spa, Jane’s Canines (Pet Store & Boarding), Pride Cleaners Kahn Dental, and Swim U. 

Price Chopper brings more than 10,000 shoppers per week to the center. The location comprises a population of 9,420 within a one-mile radius, 61,102 within a 2-mile radius, and 149,550 within a 5-mile radius – with a median household income of $120,856. Sprint / Nextel’s corporate office is within 2 miles of the site.

map

3. Market Analysis

Phoenix, Arizona, is an award-winning place to live and work and is considered the leading business community in the Midwest. National publications and organizations recognize Phoenix for its business environment and livability. Here’s a sampling: 6th Place, America’s Best Places to Live Money, Top 50 Cities to Live and Play, National Geographic Adventure, 3rd Hottest Town in the U.S., Money, Among 20 Best Places to Live & Work Employment Review, One of only 72 Sterling Tree Cities in the U.S., National Arbor Day Foundation, Top 10 best Locations to Raise a Family, Southern Business and Development, 1st Place, Kid Friendly Report Card, Population Connection, 2nd Best City in America to Live Business Development Outlook.

Phoenix is at the core of one of the most dynamic local markets in the U.S. It offers easy access to the Arizona City region’s amenities, and, as part of the Arizona City metropolitan area, it is within the most centrally located major market in the nation. I-35, I-435, I-635, and U.S. Highway 69 all pass through Phoenix, and no point in the city is more than 3.5 miles from a freeway. The city maintains an excellent arterial street network and plans to construct additional lane-miles as the area grows. Three airports serve the region. Arizona City International Airport (MCI) is just 25 interstate highway miles north of Phoenix. Johnson County Executive Airport—the second busiest in Arizona—provides complete services for private business jets and general aviation. New Century AirCenter, just 12 miles southwest of the city, offers available aviation services and accommodates cargo or passenger jets of any size.

Phoenix supplies some of the most highly educated workers in the nation, with 97% of Phoenix adults over age 25 holding at least a high school diploma. Johnson County, where Phoenix is located, ranks first among the country’s 231 counties with populations greater than 250,000. The county ranks sixth in the percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree and 16th with a graduate or professional degree.

The Phoenix area has a population of 175,265, based on the 2010 census. The median household income is $77,881, and the median age is 37.9. (2010 U.S. Census)

Industry Analysis

The U.S. coffee shop industry includes about 20,000 stores with a combined annual revenue of about $10 billion. Major companies include Caribou Coffee, International Coffee & Tea (The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf), Peet’s Coffee, and Starbucks. The industry is concentrated: the top 50 companies generate more than 70 percent of sales. Coffee shops are part of the specialty eatery industry, including retail outlets specializing in bagels, donuts, frozen yogurt, and ice cream products. (First Research)

Competitive Landscape

Consumer taste and personal income drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on the ability to secure prime locations, drive store traffic, and deliver high-quality products. Large companies have advantages in purchasing, finance, and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by offering specialized products, serving a local market, or providing superior customer service. Specialty eateries, which include coffee shops, are labor-intensive: average annual revenue per worker is about $50,000. Coffee shops compete with convenience stores, gas stations, quick service, fast food restaurants, gourmet food shops, and donut shops. (First Research)

Market Size

The U.S. coffee shop industry includes about 20,000 stores with a combined annual revenue of about $10 billion. Major companies include Caribou Coffee, International Coffee & Tea (The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf), Pet’s Coffee, and Starbucks. The industry is concentrated: the top 50 companies generate more than 70 percent of sales. (First Research)

Target Market and Segment Strategy

Most adult coffee drinkers said their lifelong habits began during their teenage years. 54% said they began drinking coffee between 13 and 19. Another 22% reported their coffee cravings started between 20 and 24. This means that 76% of adult coffee drinkers began drinking coffee by the time they were 24. So, despite a large amount of marketing and advertising directed at the younger age groups, savvy coffee shop owners will remember to cater some of their offerings to the adult and senior market. (National Coffee Drinking Study).

The Cooper’s Cup will offer a unique experience for coffee enthusiasts by providing a quiet, cozy, yet sophisticated cafe and a sense of refinement and peace in an otherwise hectic and fast-paced world. While other coffee shops cater to convenience with drive-throughs or loud music venues late into the night, the Cooper’s Cup will stand apart from its competitors with its quiet yet soothing ambiance, capturing a truly unique (and much-needed) market niche.

  • Unique products (specialized roasts, local ingredients, locally-themed or named drinks, custom drinks by the star barista, etc.)
  • Games, puzzles, mind benders, and other activities that encourage customers to linger over their coffee
  • Hosting or sponsoring local events (entertainment, readings, book clubs, etc.)
  • Using technology to creatively compete in marketing with big chains — services like FourSquare, Yelp, and Google Places can increase visibility in the local market.
  • Delivering amazing service from knowledgeable baristas — spend lots of time training staff and utilizing online services like the American Coffee & Barista School.
  • Selling coffee-related items (and tracking down any co-marketing opportunities with a local community college or another student-related group in the area)

4. Products and Services

Product/services descriptions.

The Cooper’s Cup’s primary offering is gourmet roasted coffees with mocha, carmelicious, white mocha, candy bar latte, and brewed coffee. Complementing the coffee will be a smoothie line including wild berry, strawberry, peach, mango, and lemonade. Rounding out the simple menu line will be pastries obtained from an outside supplier, freshly made and delivered daily. The pastry offerings may vary with seasonality, but the primary line will be muffins, bread, cookies, scones, and rolls.

menu

Product/Service Sourcing

The Cooper’s Cup has negotiated supplier agreements with several local food-service wholesalers and coffee wholesalers in the Phoenix area that have a reputation for quality and reliability:

  • Mean Beans Coffee Roasters
  • Phoenix Brewers
  • Healthy Harvest Bread Co.
  • Mary’s Organics

If one of the abovementioned specialty suppliers cannot meet their needs, the following national suppliers can provide all the food-service products they require. In addition, the following wholesalers will supply the cafe with general restaurant supplies:

  • Lawrence Food Products Corp.
  • Gerry Food Supply Inc.

Future Products/Services

Young families, which comprise Phoenix’s third largest market share, are often overlooked in the coffee market. Coffeehouses traditionally have not been considered ‘kid’ friendly. To overcome this hurdle, Cooper’s Cup has long-term plans (5 years) to open a 2nd coffee shop: A combination indoor play area/coffee bar. This concept allows parents and caregivers to meet and relax with other adults while the children can enjoy the indoor playground amenities.

Additional future services will include in-store sales for home purchases and an online store.

The website will have the option to purchase a prepaid gift card program – Prepaid gift cards provide immediate cash, reduce credit card transaction charges, and draw new customers to the business.

5. Sales and Marketing Strategies

Swot analysis.

swot-analysis

Unique Selling Proposition

The Cooper’s Cup stands out from a crowded sea of coffee chains and franchises. What sets it apart from the competition is primarily its smaller, cozier size combined with premium coffees served by knowledgeable baristas, providing so much energy and enthusiasm for its products.

Market Strategy and Positioning

The Cooper’s Cup utilizes a focus strategy on its Market. By specifically targeting three primary segments, they can cater specifically to their needs.

Senior Market (age 45+)

The Cooper’s Cup will target this Market simply by its well-selected location. Although this demographic group could readily drive downtown, they prefer a local cafe to unwind and relax and historically become some of the most loyal patrons.

Newly Hired Employees

The cafe will attract regular customers (weekly or more) – particularly the newly employed (first job) by providing free WIFI services and providing interesting games in the customer area.

Young Families

The third targeted Market, younger families, often find that coffeehouse is not ‘kid’ friendly. The company has long-term plans to create a combination coffee shop/play area so that parents and caregivers can meet with other adults while the children can enjoy the bounce houses, slides, and indoor playground equipment.

Pricing Strategy

The Cooper’s Cup primarily utilizes competition-based pricing. The cafe does not utilize coupons and discounts (other than opening promotions) because they believe that the most valuable customer demographic of daily coffee consumers is not influenced by discount programs or coupons.

Promotion and Advertising Strategy

  • Online Advertising – The Cooper’s Cup will advertise regularly on popular social media sites like Facebook. Compared to traditional print advertising, this is a cost-effective tactic that will allow them to reach prospects in a highly targeted way (e.g., based on criteria such as age, gender, geography, etc.).
  • Website – Cooper’s Cup will develop a simple Web site, which will provide basic information about the business, the menu, and links to their presence on the aforementioned social media channels.
  • Radio Advertising – During the first six months of operation and the busy holiday shopping season, the business will advertise on local radio stations.

Sales Strategy

The Cooper’s Cup will use the following methods to increase sales revenue (as recommended by Andrew Hetzel on Better Coffee, Better Business):

  • The menu will focus on the most profitable products sold. The cafe will always draw customer attention to the best products.
  • As warranted, the cafe will raise prices to bolster its brand image. Prices communicate the perceived value of a product, so if set too low, the customers might assume that the beverages are inferior compared to the competition.
  • Monitor flavoring inventory – Excess flavoring inventory ties up capital and valuable backroom space for storage. The cafe will utilize 4-6 varieties, including sugar-free offerings.
  • Control waste and theft – audit sales and inventory reports to evaluate ingredient waste due to inefficient preparation, returned drinks, and employee consumption. Retail locations can easily waste 20% or more of their daily sales in these three key categories, which is a substantial and unnecessary loss.
  • Monitor and evaluate hours of operation.
  • Run employee sales contests – The baristas are the salespeople and have great influence over the customer ordering process. All baristas will have some form of sales and customer service training to make each transaction active rather than passive. Sales contests will emphasize high-margin items or cross-selling.

6. Operations Plan

Staffing and training.

An ongoing training and education program will ensure that each staff member learns and implements Cooper’s Cup’s exacting service and operational procedures standards. Staff meetings will reinforce service standards and principles. The Cafe will have detailed work descriptions and training programs for each position, from entry-level employees to the ongoing development of managers and owners. New employees will undergo an extensive training program. This ensures that each guest receives a quality experience from all employees, regardless of how long they have been employed. The Cafe embraces the concept of promoting from within. Excellence in one function typically leads to excellence in another. Regular staff evaluations and training will ensure motivation and address critical issues.

Inventory controls

The founder will be responsible for hiring and training managers who, in turn, will ensure that the day-to-day operations will comply with the standards set by Restaurant policy. Weekly management meetings will provide a forum to review and discuss financial and operational performance. Critical decisions related to purchasing, human resources, marketing, capital expenditures, and customer service will also be addressed.

Purchasing cost controls

Food preparation personnel will follow standardized recipes developed by the founders to control food costs and ensure consistency. The coffee shop will offer an innovative menu with nutritious food and beverages while achieving the most significant margin yield.

Customer Service

The hospitality business recognizes the client’s support experience is the critical driver to replicate business. The direction will Offer a superior degree of Professionalism by hiring individuals who deliver the ideal attitude to work and teaching them the skills required to accommodate guests. The restaurant will keep high levels of consumer satisfaction with talented, educated, and well-trained workers who understand and implement the fundamentals of fantastic service. Ongoing training will be provided to enable staff to perform their jobs with confidence and ability. Employees are well-spoken, well-versed, and trained to provide friendly, prompt, and professional service to each customer. This practice teaches employees who, by producing an exceptional customer experience, can optimize sales and raise their reimbursement. The team will have the knowledge and service required to create excellent daily service for every customer.

Technology & Software

While the quality of the cuisine and dining experience contributes significantly to a restaurant’s profitability, attention to business and financial details can transform small changes into significant returns. Critical sales, cost of sales, labor, inventory, marketing, and overhead metrics are monitored daily. Trends are evaluated, and constructive actions will be taken where improvement is needed. The management team will have access to the restaurant’s transactions and reports available in its real-time POS (point of sale) and accounting systems. Trends will be evaluated, and corrective action will be implemented as required.

7. Organization Structure

The Cooper’s Cup is formed as an S-Corporation wholly owned by John Doe.

Management Team

The Cooper’s Cup will be owned 100% by John Doe. Mr. Doe, a graduate of Arizona State University, has an undergraduate degree in business administration. During high school, he worked as a waiter in a local hospital coffee shop that purchased its beans from a local roaster. In addition to being an avid coffee drinker, this job allowed him to learn about the business first-hand. In college, Doe worked in a campus coffeehouse for four years, eventually becoming an assistant manager. Following graduation, Doe secured a business development position for a regional restaurant chain, which provided additional first-hand exposure to the food and beverage industry—especially the steps involved in establishing new locations.

Management Team Gaps

The Cooper’s Cup will rely on its POS (Point of Sale) system to generate daily accounting and cost activity reports. Mr. Doe will supply these to an outside bookkeeper for the preparation of annual income taxes.

Personnel Plan

Initially, the cafe will hire 1 manager, 5 baristas, and 2 part-time servers. In Year 2, the cafe plans to hire 1 additional full-time barista.

8. Financial Plan

Important assumptions.

  • The sales forecast is conservative and assumes a 5% increase in Year 2 and a 10% in Year 3.
  • The analysis accounts for economic seasonality – wherein some month’s revenues peak (such as holidays ) and wane in slower months.
  • The analysis assumes the owner will not withdraw any salary till the 3rd year; at any time it is assumed that the owner’s withdrawal is available at his discretion.
  • Sales are cash basis – nonaccrual accounting
  • Moderate ramp-up in staff over the 5 years forecast
  • Barista’s salary in the forecast is $36,000 in 2023.
  • In general, most cafes have an 85% gross profit margin
  • In general, most cafes have a 3% net profit margin

Projected Balance Sheet

balance sheet

Projected Cash-Flow Statement

cash flow

Projected Profit & Loss Statement

profit and loss

Break Even Analysis

break-even

Write Your Business Plan With Upmetrics

Whether you need a business plan to compete in a competition, win investors, or gain a competitive advantage in the market landscape, Upmetrics can help you get started.

Upmetrics is an AI business plan software that comes with AI assistance, financial forecasting features, and 400+ sample business plans so that you can prepare a business plan in no time.

So what are you waiting for? Try Upmetrics and create your business plan in a snap.

student business plan examples

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a business plan for a college project.

As mentioned earlier in the article, business planning for a college project or competition is no different than for a real business. You can write your business plan using these step-by-step instructions.

  • Select a compelling business idea
  • Refer to business plan examples
  • Prepare a business plan outline
  • Create a company description section
  • Conduct market research and industry analysis
  • Describe your product and services
  • Outline sales and marketing strategies
  • Create an operations plan
  • Introduce management team
  • Prepare financial projections
  • Summarize your plan with an executive summary

What is a business plan for students?

A business plan is a necessary business document that highlights its purpose,  business goals, product/service offerings, go-to marketing strategies, operations and financial plan, key people involved in the business operations, and other necessary details.

As a student, consider a business plan example as a document that helps you better understand business and industry dynamics and learn how a business operates inside out.

What is a business plan competition for students?

Business plan competitions are competitions mostly organized by universities for students passionate about entrepreneurship and the business world. These competitions offer students a platform to showcase their entrepreneurial skills while also providing opportunities for mentorship and networking.

How can I increase my chances of winning a business plan competition?

There cannot be a straightforward answer to this question, but there’s surely a method that can increase your chances of winning a competition—Using AI-powered business plan software.

Why? An AI tool will make you 10X more productive while writing a business plan and preparing financial forecasts. So you can spend more time researching the market and brainstorming business ideas.

Where can I find more business plan examples for students?

Upmetrics’ library of 400+ business plan examples could be an incredible source for students to find more industry-specific business plan examples. There are examples for almost every small business category, including real estate, retail, entertainment and media, food & beverages, and more.

About the Author

student business plan examples

Ajay is a SaaS writer and personal finance blogger who has been active in the space for over three years, writing about startups, business planning, budgeting, credit cards, and other topics related to personal finance. If not writing, he’s probably having a power nap. Read more

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In the past decade, the world has seen many incredible businesses being started by college students (Facebook, just to name one).

Is it Possible to Start a Business While Being a Student?

The internet has removed many barriers that once prevented students from starting businesses. These days, there are no legal, financial, or knowledge restrictions holding you back from launching a side hustle while in school.

School and university demand many of your hours, but if you stay organized and make the best use of your hours, you will find time to both study and run your startup.

Best 36 Business Ideas for Students

1) sell used books.

Sell Used Books

Difficulty : Low

Investment : Low

Description : You finished your academic year, congratulations! Now check your desk… you have a pile of used books, right? In many cases, they end up in your house’s trash bins. However, there’s something better to do with them: sell them to younger students at a cheaper price than what a new copy is.

You'll probably, at least, make enough money to purchase the books needed for your next semester. The best of this idea is that it doesn’t require either any investment or much time.

Resources : Here’s an article on the 6 best places to re-sell old books and some tips on how to do it.

2) Flip Websites

Difficulty : Medium

Investment : High

Description : You buy websites that are exiting for a low price, grow them in 6 months to 2 years, and sell them at a much higher price for a profit. There are people who work full-time on this and make millions per year with their sites.

The key here is to buy a high-quality website at a low price. There’s a ton of information on what you should consider and check when doing it. At the same time, there are all kinds of free digital marketing courses that you will find useful if growing one of these websites.

Resources : Flippa , Empire Flippers, and Micro Acquire are three website marketplaces. Besides that, you should check out this article on how to find, evaluate and buy websites , as well as this review we've written about Micro Acquisitions course , which goes all about buying, growing, and selling sites.

3) Re-Selling

Investment : Medium

Description : There’s an ethical unresolved issue around re-selling sneakers, tickets, or whatever, but I’ve personally seen many people make loads of money buying items at a low price and selling them at a higher one. Re-selling works best with limited items (such as the mentioned tickets and some exclusive sneakers), as those who haven’t been able to purchase them are willing to pay more than their original price to have them once the item is out of stock.

The key when re-selling is understanding the market and anticipating which items will people be more willing to pay for once they run out. Note that it can be pretty risky; I know of a guy who bought 10 tickets for a concert and couldn’t re-sell them. He ended up inviting all of his friends for free with a huge loss.

Resources : This is a really inspirational article on how to re-sell sneakers and make a profit.

4) Writing Services

Description : Start a website that offers all kinds of writing services to students or businesses. It could be anything from sales & marketing copy, SEO content, essay writing, academic papers, or even simple proofreading.

There are already many trustworthy services online, and before starting out your own writing service, it is a good idea to work as a professional essay writer for a top website. After you have gained some valuable experience doing this, you can move on to creating your own essay-writing service. You could charge per hour or project.

+1 if the website invites other fellow students to offer such writing services and you charge a fee ;)

Resources : This article will help you decide whether you should or should not start freelance writing. If yes, make sure to check this one, which teaches you how to do it.

5) Play Cupid

#5 business idea for students

Description : Set up a website or an app, exclusively for your college campus or local area, to let the singles meet. This will be much appreciated by the community and, with a small fee, the app could kick-off and be the Tinder of your campus or neighbourhood.

The app could, instead, be focused around networking. People could use it to meet other people and make new friends.

Alternatively, the app could also be focused around professional networking.

Resources : This Bubble template is a great and cheap point to start a dating app.

6) Motivational Apps

#6 business idea for college students

Difficulty : Hard

Investment : Medium 

Description : Motivational apps have a broad scope range. They could be for anything from academics to mental health.

Consider academics. The app could show events, seminars, or lectures and let the user log the attendance to these, getting award points in exchange. Such apps encourage improved productivity among students in a positive and fun way.

These rewards could be in the form of vouchers, coupons, or deals for any local service. For the sponsors, this would be a worthwhile advertisement option among the clientele too.

Similar apps could be designed for fitness, gym attendance, and other activities too.

The easiest way to monetize such an idea would be through ads.

Resources : There are many tools out there to build apps cheaply and fastly (even without coding). Check our Tools page .

7) Babysitting

#7 startup idea for students

Description : There will always be demand for babysitters and nannies. With both parents working and maternity and paternity leave shrinking in length, the market for this is only widening. If you have a knack with babies and have a pleasing personality, you are already good to go.

Resources : Here is a detailed article on how to properly set up your babysitting business and make the most of it.

8) Babysitting Network

Babysitting Network Business Idea

‍ Difficulty : Medium

Description : You can create a sort of marketplace for babysitting. Other prospective babysitters could sign up for it and offer their babysitting services. Parents could select between the available babysitters and hire them through the platform. You could keep a commission.

Even if you are not able to do the babysitting job due to lack of time, you'll still make a commission from fellow babysitters who have signed up for the program.

Resources : Here is a long article on how to build and grow a nanny app.

9) Pet Sitting

#9 business to start in college

Description : What’s better than babysitting? Pet sitting! Who doesn’t want to spend the whole day playing with dogs? There are busy workers and families taking holidays who need someone to take care of their loved pets.

There are two main ways to face this business idea. The most common one is to take pets for a one/two-hour walk every day/every two days. The second one would be to take care of pets of people taking holidays, for one to four weeks.

Resources : The Balance Careers has a huge series of resources for pet sitters.

10) Local Reviewer

#10 business for students

Description : Every time we want to buy a product, the first thing we do is to look online for product reviews. Sure enough, all big cities have their own dedicated websites for such reviews from multiple sources. But what about small places or even campuses? There’s a huge opportunity there.

Start a website that reviews the local accommodations. You can make this exclusive for the campus itself or other accommodations in the area that students could rent out. This would work as a credible source rather than just word of mouth. There could also be options added to include listings and discussion forums. You can monetize this through advertising.

Resources : WPBeginner has a long article on how to build a review site using WordPress, which would probably be the cheapest and fastest way to do it.

11) Swap Website

Description : Swap websites are used to swap, sell, and borrow goods and services. For example, if a person needs something but only for a single use, it is best to rent it out rather than buy one.

On campus, there is more than one person who is willing to do that, but it is lacking a way to find that person. Such a website would simplify this while enabling people to save a few bucks.

Call it a new age barter system; especially on campus, there would be a lot of demand for this. Start this locally and then expand it later. There are loads to borrow and exchange from academic services, bikes, books, and even clothes. You can monetize it through advertising.

Resources : Here’s a list of 36 bartering and swapping websites to get some inspiration. We’ve also interviewed the founder of a shutdown swapping site who shared all the mistakes he made throughout his journey.

There are loads to borrow and exchange from academic services, bikes, books, and even clothes. You can monetize it through advertising.

12) Design Services

Description : All kinds of businesses have design tasks. So, you can create a site that offers different types of design services, such as logos, flyers, packaging, or even websites, and niche down to local businesses or even other students starting their own startups. This is a great startup idea for students and you could charge per hour or per project.

When you are a student, it can be hard to get businesses to trust you. There are many ways to achieve it, such as showing them previous high-quality work, offering one free project, and connecting them with your previous clients.

Resources : You may be asking how to build a portfolio if you’re just starting and have never had clients, right? Here’s a tool that generates fake client briefs for you to design and showcase in your site.

13) Digital Marketing Services

Digital Marketing business dea

‍ Difficulty : Hard

Description : Digital marketing has grown a lot in the last decade, with the emergence of eCommerce and online businesses. The businesses that don’t digitalize themself and ignore working on their internet profile and presence are missing a huge percentage of clients.

There probably are many local businesses looking for help on their digital marketing strategies. You can reach their owners and provide them with a free consultation to show you know about the subject. You could help them with local SEO , social media management , and Google Ads / Facebook Ads campaigns, among other strategies.

Resources : Make sure to check out Acadium , a tool connecting businesses looking for digital marketing work to be done, and students who are willing to learn and do that work. They provide great free digital marketing courses on different topics.

14) Development Services

Description : Having a website is a must for any kind of business, and most local ones tend not to have one. There’s a huge opportunity there.

Learning to code is super accessible for everyone. There are thousands of free development courses, books, articles, and videos, so “I don’t know how to code” is definitely no longer an excuse. And if you don’t want to learn, you can even build a website without coding. This site was built with Webflow , a powerful visual web design tool.

Resources : Google “free web development course” and you will get 3.2B results… I think that’s enough ;) You should also check this complete guide on web development freelancing.

15) Cleaning Services

#15 business ideas for students in university

Description : Publish an online ad offering cleaning services in your neighborhood. Do a great cleaning job and build trust with your clients. Ask your clients for a referral and you will soon be cleaning the houses of all your neighbors.

That’s actually what Kisten Hadeed did and the origins of Student Maid, a really successful cleaning company in Florida. You can charge per hour and keep initial investment really low by asking clients to supply you with the needed equipment. 

Resources : This article from Entrepreneur.com teaches how to get started in this industry.

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16) Pool Cleaning Services

#16 business ideas for students without investment

Description : Cleaning pools is an alternative to the already mentioned cleaning neighbor’s houses business idea. It’s definitely not as easy, as it requires to be educated on what you’re doing. You might even need legal permissions to work on it, depending on where you are based. On the side, it requires some investment in equipment and products to be able to carry out the job.

Both the difficulty and investment issues come with a big chance of making great money. You can easily get paid $40-60/hour. Note that the business would mainly run during the summer seasons.

Resources : This article provides detailed information on how to set up and grow a pool cleaning business.

17) Moving Service

#17 business ideas for students in school

Description : Both neighbors and students need moving services eventually, whether it's because the academic year has finished and the student is moving back to their homes, or because a neighbor has rented a new house. You can make money (at least $200/moving) if you find it easy to pack items and move boxes.

Resources : Here’s a long article on how to start a moving company, some tips for growing it, and the recommended price you might want to charge.

18) Transcription Services

Transcription services business idea

‍ Difficulty : Low

Description : Transcription services are needed in all kinds of fields, such as law, medicine, and businesses. It also doesn’t require either fixed hours or many skills. On the side, there are many forms of transcription, including video podcasts and recorded lectures, so you will probably be able to select the niche that interests you.

No formal training is needed in order to be able to do transcription services. Good listening abilities, great knowledge of English grammar rules, and fast typing skills would be a perfect combination to get high-quality work done fast.

Resources : Here’s a motivational story on how Benjamin Walker grew a transcription business to +$1M/year.

19) Translation Services

Translation services business idea

‍ Difficulty : High

Description : Offering translation services isn’t as easy as offering transcription ones. You will need to be bilingual in both languages and know the grammar rules of the two of them. Businesses may not be really willing to offer advanced translation work to students, but they might be if it is basic and unimportant translations.

You could start by translating lectures, books, and articles for professors. There’s a ton of high-quality content in other languages - professors might want to share it with their students but they can’t as it isn’t in the student’s native language. That’s where you can help and charge per word translated.

Resources : Here’s a whole content site dedicated to the business of translation.

20) Photography Services

Description : If you love taking photographs, you can take your hobby and talent into a photography freelancing business. Both students and local businesses may need your services whether because they want to update their Tinder profiles or because they are looking to promote their recently-launched products.

In the beginning, you can start offering all kinds of services, but as you grow the business, you will probably realize there’s a ton of competition and you will need to niche and focus on one segment or one specific photography service in order to be different than the rest.

The biggest issue for this kind of business is the cost of the photography equipment, which, if you’re moving from one place to another, can break and make it even more expensive.

Resources : Make sure to check this guide from Bplans on how to start a successful photography business.

21) Photography Portfolios

Description : Good photography skills need to be appreciated before they get lost in that Instagram page. Any campus will have a few fellows with exceptional skills in photography and videography. It would be easy to make a database of students who are interested in and create a platform to sell their work to others.

The platform could charge a fee to either the photographer or the customer. On the side, it could also work hand in hand with a photography club giving more chances and connections to both sellers and buyers by offering more exposure.

Resources : Here’s a no-code template to build such an app.

22) Food Delivery Services

#22 business ideas for students at home

Description : Create a platform to deliver quick eatables, like sandwiches and smoothies, made by local businesses. Start by targeting firms with employees in younger age groups, who often go out to grab a meal during lunch breaks. This is a gold mine, with food deliveries for simple items that don't break their wallet, the business would be exponential. With options to schedule deliveries made earlier to arrive at lunchtime, this could actually be a problem solver for the firms.

Take a step further and make these homemade too. This way, it is not necessary to rely on multiple third-party services. The food will be authentic, tasty, and have a personal touch to the service.

Resources : Steven Long was the founder of Chowdy, a Toronto-based food delivery startup making $110k/month which had to shut down due to some legal issues. Ali Jiwani is the founder of MealSurfers, a Canadian food startup that made an exit when it was making $7k/month. Make sure to check those two stories and learn from both the wins and mistakes of each.

23) Deliver Food Hampers

#23 startup business ideas for college students

Description : How often have you thought about that mac and cheese your mom makes so deliciously. Or even wondered when you are finally going to eat something healthy?

Well, the lack of time or will to go to a grocery store and cook something is in the least probable category. And the parents are well aware of this too. So design an app where parents can make such orders for kids that would be delivered to them. 

This will have the personal touch and love of a package coming from home itself. You could monetize it by taking a shipping fee.

Resources : Entrepreneur.com has a complete article about food hamper businesses. You should check it out!

24) Blogging

#24 small business ideas for students

Description : Is there anything you really enjoy talking about? Are your friends tired of listening to you talk about it? Then start a blog about that topic, build an audience, and monetize it through ads and premium content.

 The startup costs of building a blog are super low nowadays (with a domain and hosting would be enough, so less than $50/year) and the information to grow such a site is free all over the internet.

When we started this site, we had 0 knowledge of how to grow it. Nowadays, it receives +150k users every month from all over the world. Note that it took us 3 years to build such an audience. Consistency is key when blogging.

Resources : GrowandConvert is a content marketing agency that has an amazing blog related to creating and publishing content on the internet. Backlinko is another blog that publishes content-related articles, particularly about the search engine optimization of these. 

25) Video Classes

#25 business ideas for students

Description : Visual media often makes things easier. That is precisely the reason why we are all so hooked up on Youtube, without having a clue why we are watching a cat playing piano at 3 am. The thought is simple, won’t lectures be so easy to understand with such visuals? With a creative mind and some graphic design skills, it could be put to use for this.

The idea is to make a visual representation of any lectures and offer them to tutors and students. It would make studying so much better and more straightforward. You could monetize it by pricing every video or through a monthly subscription.

Resources : Here’s a great guide on how to make videos look professional without investing much money.

26) Class Notes

Description : We all know those students who are pretty lazy to actually take notes or those others who tend to miss classes under any kind of excuse, right? Those students would be your niche market if you set up a class note business.

There are some people who are really great at taking lecture notes, being able to summarize the information in a nice-looking and concise way. If you are that kind of person, you should consider re-selling your notes to other students. You could sell them independently per class or in packages of all the notes related to one exam or to one semester.

Resources : Make sure to check this well-known book , in which Sönke Ahrens shares his unique technique to take smart notes that are easy to study and learn from.

#27 business plan ideas for students

Description : Where there are students, there are tutors. If you stand out in one subject, you can probably teach it to someone else who struggles to understand it. A common trouble-maker subject is Maths, but note that there are many math tutors as well.

Schools and professors tend to be helpful with students starting their tutor businesses. Some schools even have a database of tutor students, so make sure to check if there is one in your school. The monetization model would be per hour; you can charge anything between $10-$100, depending on the subject, the concepts taught (how advanced they are), etc.

Resources : This article is super inspiring for anyone starting a tutoring business. The writer shares how he is making $1,000/week as well as lots of recommendations and mistakes you should avoid.

28) Organize Trips

#28 innovative business ideas for students

Description : It is a known fact that most of the group plans for a trip but never happens. The WhatsApp groups have seen hundreds of failed plans. It is the time that someone takes responsibility and get things done.

Organize trips to various destinations which could be for events, festivals, or even just weekend trips. You can charge a commission or a fixed amount for an all-inclusive deal.

Resources : Here’s a detailed guide from Bplans on how to start a travel agency.

29) Event Organizer

#29 innovative business ideas for students

Description : Lots of students enjoy parties and socializing, so why not capitalize on it? Everyone is willing to spend $10, $30, or even much more on a great party. These can take all forms and shapes, from organizing a small meetup at a nightclub to running Project X 2.

What will you need? Excellent communication skills to convince everyone they can’t miss such a party (social media is a MUST to promote it!) and advanced organization abilities to make sure everything is in the right place at the right time.

Resources : Here’s a long article from Capterra explaining how to turn those small parties/events you have maybe carried out in the past, into a profitable business.

30) Campus Newsletter

#30 business idea for students

Description : This is quite a unique business idea for students. If your campus doesn't have a newsletter already, it is time to start one. The source of money from this could come from advertisements from local businesses or even other student startups.

The newsletter could be sent as emails rather than printed versions or both. As a third party, a student can even make a deal with the college to create brand awareness among potential students using the letter. It could be used for promotional purposes, branding, and lead generations outside the campus too.

Resources : Here’s an article on 7 tips to create a school newsletter.

31) Campus Podcast

#31 ideas for college students

Description : Instead of a campus newsletter, you could do a podcast. It could be an interview podcast, talking with students and professors, or more like a solo podcast, talking about the news, events, and things going on in the campus.

The equipment needed is pretty cheap, with the possibility of recording even with your phone. As for monetization, it could be done through sponsorships from local businesses or premium content for those who love the podcast.

I haven’t personally seen this on many campuses, which makes me think this is one of the most innovative and unique business ideas for students on the list.

Resources : Here’s an article on the 5 steps required to start a school podcast.

32) Language Course

Description : Do you excel in any language? Do you enjoy teaching other people? Then you should set up a Skype language course and sell classes to people from anywhere in the world while staying in your home. You could easily charge $20-$60/hour and work part-time on it.

Growing your client base is all about building an online presence and getting referrals from your existing customers. In the beginning, you could boost your initial customers by providing them with a free 1-hour call.

Resources : Here’s a long guide for beginners on how to make $30/hour teaching languages and 6 places to get your first clients.

33) Bookkeeping

#33 business ideas for students

Description : You don’t need to have a finance degree in order to be able to manage a local business’s bookkeeping records. An online course or even just some Youtube videos would be more than enough to start with. As all businesses require such work to be done, you probably won’t have big issues finding your first customers.

The initial investment costs are super low, as you can ask the business owner to supply you with the needed tools. As for monetization, most bookkeepers charge per hour and the amount depends on the complexity of the tasks ($30-$100 or more).

Resources : Here’s a detailed video on how to start a bookkeeping business in 2021.

34) Jewelry Business

#34 business ideas for college students

Description : This is a great startup idea for students because jewelry making isn’t as hard as it sounds. You can easily learn about it through online courses and Youtube tutorials. You will then need to practice a lot until you start getting great results. Profit margins can be really high when you achieve a nice looking product.

There’s a ton of competition in the jewelry space so you will have to identify a niche. Social media (particularly influencers) are among the most usual strategies carried out by this kind of businesses.

Resources : Shopify has a detailed guide on how to start such businesses. Besides that, a few years ago we interviewed , on this site, the founder of a jewelry business that shut down and then emerged again with a new business model just to start making +10k/month.

35) Baking Business

#35 businesses to start in college

Description : Selling cakes, cookies, bread or other baked goods can be another startup business idea for students. You can easily post an online ad or some leaflets around your campus. Make a client happy, and you will have 3 new ones. The food industry works a lot with word of mouth.

There are two main ways to monetize this. The first would be to prepare the goods based on requests from customers. The second could be to produce 100 cookies, rent a bike, and wander around the campus and neighborhood looking for hungry people. The chosen price for the cookies would be cheaper than if it’s a requested job.

Resources : Here’s a detailed article on how to set up and grow such a business. You should also watch this video from the founder of a “late-night cookie delivery service” in his college city.

36) Youtuber

#3 business ideas for students

Description : Becoming a YouTuber looks like a easy and lucrative career. Many see it as a great business plan idea for students because you make videos on a niche that you enjoy and then make money off them through ads and sponsorships. But the reality is that becoming a well-known YouTuber is not an easy feat. 

Behind every famous one, there is a long, painful journey of hard work. Start by creating content and keep iterating from there with the help of your audience. It won't be an overnight success, but if you keep going for some time, you'll see amazing results.

Resources : Here’s an article about a checklist to become a successful Youtuber.

How Can a Student Start a Business?

Or in other words, how do you become a student entrepreneur?

The list of business plan ideas for college students mentioned above is nonsense if you don’t now take action toward the chosen business.

If you are a Business student, you probably have an idea of what are the steps that involve setting up and launching a business. However, all kinds of students read this article, so here are some common steps that entrepreneurs carry out:

1) Decide on the idea

All of the business ideas for college students on the list are really interesting ways of making money, but you definitely can’t work on them all.

To decide which to focus on, make sure to think about what you enjoy doing in your free time, what you excel in, and what would you be willing to keep doing even if it doesn’t bring money (or it means negative numbers). We have compiled a list of both online business ideas and offline business ideas so you can pick the one that best suit your needs and skills. We hope we came up with some innovative startup business ideas for students that you would have never imagined.

Make sure to also consider your initial investment. Some featured in the list are business ideas for college students without investment or little resources, while some others will require a few hundred or thousands to start.

Note that some of the above are business ideas for students in university (or would work better with them) and others are business ideas for students in school (those that don’t require much money and getting physically involved).

2) Decide on a niche

Nowadays, there are businesses of all sizes and shapes. Building one has become so easy that the internet is full of websites, millions of videos are uploaded to Youtube every second, and thousands of LLCs are formed every day.

This means that there’s a lot of competition in any industry. The best solution for students who don’t have enough resources to invest in research and development and build a unique product or don’t have the capital required to set up a huge factory and win over competitors through economies of scale (= low pricing), is to focus on a niche.

A common niche could be to geographically limit the business so that you just focus on people within your neighborhood or your college campus. Another could be to focus on people with certain interests and likes.

3) Choose a name and a brand style

Here’s a detailed article on how to choose a name for your startup. The key is to brainstorm many, evaluate each option, and ask for feedback from your partners.

As for branding, here’s another article on how to build the brand of a business. There are free tools to do it. Don’t spend much money/time on it, at least at the beginning.

4) Launch the business

It’s now time to push the LIVE button for your business.

This needs to happen as fast as possible so that you quickly validate whether it is worth it to keep pushing towards that business idea or it’s better to move to a new one from the above list of entrepreneurship ideas for students.

There’s a common issue entrepreneurs face when launching new startups that’s called “ paralysis by analysis ”. They keep improving the product, adding features, changing the design, etc, and spend months and months without launching it.

This is exactly what you need to avoid, especially if this is your first business. 90% of startups fail (I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this), so you need to launch fast, validate early, and move to another business if it didn’t work.

5) Market your business

You pushed the LIVE button and you didn't get any sales, right?

The “build it and they will come” phrase is a completely unreal myth . It will take you blood, sweat, and tears to get your first clients.

Do some advertising, go outside your home and deliver leaflets (there actually are some unique business ideas for students at home above, in case you’re too lazy), knock on your neighbor’s doors, send cold messages to potential customers that you found on Facebook groups, etc.

6) Make sure your customer is happy

Many of the college business ideas tend to market themselves by word of mouth and referrals. That is why it’s essential to make sure that each of your clients is happy with the results.

Interact with your customers, ask them what they think you could do better next time, provide them with a discount if any parts of the job were done incorrectly… there are so many ways to make your client happy, even if the price of the service is high or the quality of the work wasn’t the best.

If the business is going well, you will soon find yourself with many tasks under your belt and little time to work on them, along with studies and extracurricular activities.

That’s when you might start considering hiring your first employee. In order to avoid the risks of going into negative numbers during a bad month, you can work on a commission-based wage.

In this stage, the selection of new team members is essential. Remember that word of mouth can be a key way of promotion and marketing. If you hire someone who has zero knowledge of the tasks they are required for, delivers low-quality work, or mistreats clients, you will soon find yourself ceasing operations.

Now It’s Your Turn!

There is no direct and simple answer to the question of how to start a business in college.

As smooth as the above startup ideas for students may sound, they will all inevitably require a lot of dedication and perseverance.

There is an abundance of resources at your fingertips, from valuable classes to school technologies, and access to professors. So make use of them in the best way possible, and if the idea still doesn’t seem feasible, lay the groundwork for it.

You would be getting practical knowledge and work experience before finishing the course. Even if it fails. Remember that college is the time to blossom and experiment, and it is only the beginning of your life journey.

If you have any questions, have other small business ideas for students you think we’re missing, or want us to help you with your new startup, make sure to reach us at [email protected] !

Which Business is Best For Students?

Here are some of the best businesses: flip websites, re-sell sneakers or tickets, baby or pet sitting, deliver writing, design or development services, start a blog, sell your class notes, become a tutor, organize others’ trips, organize parties, and create a campus newsletter or podcast.

What Kind Of Business Can a Student Start?

Students can start all kinds of businesses, but it’s really common that they start a service-based one, such as house cleaning, pool cleaning, food delivery, content writing, content transcription, graphic design, and website development, among others.

First, decide your business idea and choose the segment of the market that you’ll be serving. Then, choose a business name and design your business’ brand. Once it is launched, market your business in your neighborhood or campus. Finally, hire employees and scale it!

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Instructors looking for a great tool to help students develop business plans need to look at Live Plan. The step–by–step process walks students through the entire process from Pitch to Financials. As the Instructor you can also have online access to their plan and provide feedback and comments as the plan develops.

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Mike Allen Business Instructor, North Idaho College, Coeur d'Alene, ID

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LivePlan's business plan examples help students turn ideas into top–notch business plans for class projects and startups. The tools, features, and instructional content allow you to focus on bringing out the best in your students for every plan and project.

Before using LivePlan, my students were intimidated by the business planning process. LivePlan breaks it down into manageable steps and takes the mystery out of developing a business plan.

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LivePlan provides your students with the tools to

Know the competition

Know the competition

No business operates in a vacuum. LivePlan incorporates real–world industry data, so students can better understand competitors, plan businesses around industry realities, and confidently execute data–driven strategies.

Build business dreams together

Build business dreams together

From sharing feedback and engaging in discussions, to simultaneously working on different parts of the plan, students can easily collaborate in groups using LivePlan.

Create a plan that fits their needs

Create a plan that fits their needs

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Develop confidence in their plan and themselves

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The students very much appreciate the guidance the LivePlan program offers. I love the ability to act as a contributor to their plans. The help resources are phenomenal and easy to navigate.

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John Shaw Assistant Professor of Management, Davis College of Business – Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL

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College Business Plan

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How to Write the Perfect Business Plan

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Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - January 8, 2018

student business plan examples

Are you planning to start a business or do you already own one ?

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If the answer is yes, then you need a business plan .

This seems like an extremely daunting task, but if you understand your business, it won’t be hard at all. It’s simply a matter of organizing the information in a clear, concise manner.

The following article discusses how to write the perfect business plan, including the types of business plans most commonly used, top 10 do’s and don’ts, what goes into a business plan, the structure of your business, marketing and sales, your organizational and operational plan and much more.

What is a Business Plan?

What is a Business Plan

To help you write the perfect business plan, we’ll provide you with an exact outline of everything you’ll need to include, so even if you think you’re too young, you’ll have no problem starting out.

The reason many business owners first decide to put together a business plan is that they simply have to. If you want to apply for a business loan, attract investors, or obtain any necessary licensing, business plans are a prerequisite.

Even if you don’t need financing or licensing, however, it’s still a good idea to have a well-thought-out business plan. If you need to hire any key employees, a strong business plan will help attract strong talent. Whenever you need to deal with professionals, such as a consultant or an accountant, your business plan gives them invaluable insight.

Finally, it’s a good idea to put a business plan together for your own sake . As you put the business plan together, you’ll have the chance to really conceptualize and evaluate your strategy. You’ll build proof that your idea makes both financial and logistic sense. Once you start working to get your business off of the ground, a strong business plan guides and helps you stay on-track.

Types of Business Plans

Business plans come in all shapes and sizes, but you can generally whittle them down to three key versions.

Shortened Business Plan

This is an easily digestible, much shorter version of your normal business plan. Typically, it will be between three and five pages. You should include your executive summary, financials, and any information pertinent to the person/s to whom you are presenting the plan. A shortened business plan is usually made with a specific purpose or recipient in mind, so it will be easy to figure out exactly what is and isn’t important enough to make the cut.

In-depth Business Plan

Your standard business plan, and the one we will be teaching you to write . Again, these come in handy when seeking to fund your business, attract employees or work with professionals, or simply to act as a guide.

Operational Business Plan

Unlike the other two business plans we have discussed, an operational business plan is meant for internal use only. This will not be distributed to anybody except for employees or professionals working on your company’s behalf. An operational business plan focuses on the company’s overarching goals, mission, and vision so that all department stay aligned. Your Marketing and Sales, Operational Plan, and Financial sections will be key here.

What Language Should I Use?

What Language Should I Use

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts

Before we dive into our business plan outline and describe each section, let’s go over some general do’s and don’ts you’ll want to keep in mind as you write your business plan:

Do: Provide Examples

Do Provide Examples

Don’t: Overload the Reader

An in-depth business plan will contain lots of useful information and will likely end up being much more than ten pages. Because it’s so long by nature, you need to make sure to only include the most useful information in each section. Format everything carefully and correctly. Don’t use language that confuses or intimidates readers outside of your industry. The easier it is for the reader to absorb everything you’re presenting them, the more effective your business plan is.

Do: Proper Research

Do Proper Research

Don’t: Leave Any Stone Uncovered

Somebody who reads your business plan shouldn’t have any major questions left unanswered. Include complete information about what you are aiming to do, how you are going to do it, how much money is needed, etc. Use our full outline below to ensure everything is covered.

Do: Be Honest

Do Be Honest

Don’t: Hustle Just to ‘Get it Done’

Writing a business plan isn’t a task you’re completing and checking off your to-do list. Everything must be accurate, thoughtful, and well-articulated. Keep in mind: this will guide you as you operate your business and is the key to obtaining financing and/or pitching your business.

Do: Make it a Living Document

Do Make It a Living Document

Don’t: Focus Solely on Your Product

You might think your business revolves around your particular product/s or service/s, but there’s so much more to it than that. Your business plan talks about how the actual business is run, so you might want to leave the technical specifications and granular details for another time.

Do: Show Your Passion

In the end, your business plan and your business are about you. While it’s important to maintain a professional tone, don’t be afraid to let your enthusiasm about your business seep through every page.

Don’t: Write Alone

Do Show Your Passion

How to Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan

  • Keep it concise.
  • Know your audience.
  • Perfect your executive summary.
  • Focus and refine constantly.
  • Gather and check all of your data.
  • Be confident, but don’t go overboard.
  • Be as clear and in-depth as possible.
  • Enhance with graphics.
  • Share and gather feedback from trusted advisors.

What Goes into a Business Plan?

When writing your business plan, you will need to put in a lot of time and research. Luckily, we’re here to walk you through all of that. A winning business plan contains the below sections, and you can use our sidebar to navigate to each of these:

  • Introduction

Executive Summary

  • Information About Your Business
  • Industry Analysis

Marketing and Sales

  • Operational Plan

Your Business Plan Introduction

Introduction

Cover Letter

A cover letter is essential whenever you are presenting the business plan to somebody for a specific reason and should be tailored to each individual. Like any other letter, it should include names, dates, and a cordial greeting. In the first paragraph, explain exactly why you are presenting the business plan to the recipient. Take one or two paragraphs to discuss your business (an even more condensed executive summary, as we will cover in the next section). Finally, let the reader know you appreciate their consideration and would be happy to address any questions or concerns. Include any necessary contact information below your name and signature.

Your title page should be clean and simple. Here’s what to include in it:

  • The title of the document (i.e. Business Plan, Business Proposal, Summary Business Plan).
  • The name of your company.
  • A sub-heading, if necessary (i.e. ‘Presented to ABC Investing Company’).
  • Who the business plan was prepared by.
  • The name of any other owners or key partners.
  • Basic contact information.

Table of Contents

A table of contents is essential to make your business plan transparent and easy to navigate. It is unlikely that a serious potential partner or investor will read through your plan once and toss it aside, so you want to make it easy for them to return and pick up where they left off or revisit any key bits of information. If you are providing a digital copy, include clickable links to each section for the reader’s benefit.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is exactly what it sounds like – a brief summary that describes the essence of what your business is and what it aims to do. Here’s how to write a winning executive summary:

  • Begin with a single sentence that sums your business up. This is otherwise known as your value proposition.
  • Describe what niche or problem your business fills or solves.
  • Explain exactly how your business solves this problem in a way that the rest of the competition does not or cannot.
  • A very brief (one or two sentences) summary of any other information from the following sections that would be critical to your business’ success.

Your Business / Company

Information About Your Business

Structure of Your Business

First and foremost, you’ll need to discuss the legal structure of your business:

  • Sole-proprietorship: simple to set-up, but the owner is fully liable for any debts or obligations.
  • Partnership: a general partnership is also simple to set-up, but all partners would be liable. Limited partnerships, or LPs, are a bit more complicated.
  • Corporation: a corporation is owned by stockholders, so it is unlikely you will either want or need to structure as one. There are two types of corporations, which vary in terms of shareholder limitations and tax liabilities: S corporations and C corporations.
  • Limited liability corporation (LLC): an LLC is generally the best of both worlds for small businesses. The owner’s’ liability is limited, and taxation is that of a partnership, which provides better flexibility over a corporation.

Once the legal structure is determined, you’ll need to break down the ownership of the business. Are you the sole owner? Do you have business partners? Has anybody purchased a share of the business in exchange for funding? Provide a brief introduction to any key executives or owners, outlining what strengths they have and how they will impact the business.

Finally, include a brief history (if any) of your business, and any pertinent location details.

Business Vision, Mission, and Values

This is one of the most important sections of your business plan. Here, you need to impart your passion for the business and really describe what you’re trying to achieve.

Business Vision

Your vision statement is all about the company’s goals. It serves as a template for exactly what you’re trying to achieve, both short-term and long-term. Don’t hold back when it comes to your vision: if your goal is to eventually dominate the Northeastern coffee shop scene, say that. A vision statement is your chance to think big.

Where a vision statement thinks big, a mission statement is more practical. Your mission statement should discuss your company’s purpose. Why does it even exist in the first place? This mission statement will act to provide organizational direction and help you achieve your vision.

The values are all about how you plan to operate your business in relation to the stakeholders. This includes investors, customers, and members of the local community. How do you plan to treat them? What are you doing to make their lives and the world they live in better?

Analyzing the Industry

Analyzing the Industry

Market Size

Here, you’ll describe exactly how large the market is. You should be able to find national figures with relatively little research. If you’re not serving a national or international market, discuss how large the population you plan to serve is. Extrapolating from the national information, how big do you expect your actual market size to be?

In addition, you should discuss any important trends. Is your market growing or retracting? If your market is growing, discuss how you project to fit into that growth and seize your market share. If your market is shrinking, discuss why you think entering the marketplace is worthwhile, and whether or not you project growth in the future.

Industry Focus and Trends

Industry Analysis

First, you’ll want to talk about the industry in general. This includes looping back to the market size and discussing whether it is growing, stagnant, or shrinking. Are there any overarching trends or cycles that will affect your business?

This is also a good opportunity to discuss pricing. What type of money does your average customer spend in your industry? What price point are you aiming for, and why is that a good strategy? If you aren’t competing on price, what reasons do you have to believe that somebody will be willing to spend more on your business?

Below, we will discuss two valuable business models you can and should use to discuss your industry further.

PEST Analysis

PEST Analysis

  • Political: what impact could the government have on your business. Is there any pending legislation that could change how you operate? Would tax changes or tariffs cause a financial strain?
  • Economic: would an economic downturn cause sales to tumble, or is your business relatively immune to economic factors? Furthermore, what do current economic trends (inflation, consumer demand, etc.) say about your short-term potential?
  • Social: are there any relevant social or cultural trends that are shaping the industry? Is there a distinct seasonality to your business? Consider, for example, the impact of the Christmas season to retailers in the United States.
  • Technological: how has technology shaped your industry over the past decade? Take a look at the future and make an educated guess on where the industry is headed, and how you’ll fit into that future.

Sometimes PEST is lengthened to PESTLE to include any legal or environmental factors as well. If you believe either will have a significant impact on your business, make sure to include it as well.

Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis

Porter 5 Forces

  • Competition: we will go into this in more detail next, but for this model you should discuss how much competition there is, and how profitable they might be.
  • Threat of new entrants: how easy is it for somebody to enter your industry? For a casino, it would be quite difficult (extensive significant licensing and upfront costs), but for a food truck, it would be quite minimal. The easier it is to enter your industry, the greater the threat is of somebody else entering and stealing your market share.
  • Power of suppliers : if your industry has a low number of suppliers or suppliers that are dominated by much larger companies, you will have a problem sourcing on-budget and on-time. If you aren’t reliant on very specific suppliers, however, or if there is competition among suppliers, you can find yourself in an advantageous position.
  • Power of customers: specifically, do your customers have the ability to drive prices down? If you expect to have a large number of small customers, your price will remain relatively stable. However, if you plan on having a small number of very important customers, they maintain the power to dramatically impact your pricing and profitability.
  • Threat of substitutes: how likely is it that somebody will forego your offering for a comparable substitute. If you’re a restaurant, for example, Amazon’s grocery delivery business would be a substitute, since people may decide to stay home and cook for themselves.

Competition

It’s just as important to discuss how your competition is navigating the industry you plan on dominating. With a strong idea of where your competition is positioned and the strategic decisions they are making you will be able to determine where your own business fits in.

To begin, discuss what your competition looks like. Are there many small businesses vying for the same customers or are you competing against a couple of whales? List your most important competitors and summarize them. Discuss their location, products, pricing, market share, and any important strategic decisions they have made. Use this information to create a list of their strengths and weaknesses.

After discussing the competition, it’s time to think about where you fit among them. SWOT Analysis is the perfect model to do just that.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

Here is what a complete SWOT Analysis looks like:

  • Strengths:  Exactly as it sounds. What do you do best? What do you do that the competition absolutely cannot?
  • Weaknesses:  Be honest. Are there any resources you lack? Any skillsets that are missing? What isn’t as efficient as it could be?
  • Opportunities:  Improving any of your weaknesses is a major opportunity. In addition to that, consider internal or external factors that might change and present a new business opportunity. Finally, are there any complementary products or services that you could consider offering to your customers?
  • Threats:  What potential is there for your business to be damaged? Are there any industry or economic trends? Could your competition change strategies and harm you? Do any obstacles to success stand in your way?

Once you have completed the SWOT analysis, wrap this section up by talking about your own competitive strategy. Given your industry, the competition, and your own SWOT analysis, what decisions are you making to position the company to succeed?

Readers of your business plan definitely need to know how you’ll be marketing and selling your product or service.There are going to be three key elements of your marketing plan.

Customer Segmentation

Customer Segmentation

  • Demographic information – age, gender.
  • Psychographic profile – what do they care about? What motivates them? What do they value? Where do they get their information?
  • Socioeconomic profile – income, lifestyle preference.

Describe your target audience in great detail. The more you know about your customer, the easier it will be to market to them.

Advertising and Promotion Plan

After building a strong customer profile of your target audience, you should know what your customer cares about. Think about how your business fits into that, and strategize how you’re going to market to them. Use their demographic and behavioral information to determine the most appropriate channels to focus on.

Branding

Your brand should seep into all aspects of your business – the website, advertisements, and even the tone of communications with customers. Whatever strategies you have for these elements, make sure to lay them out.

Finally, include your company logo and slogan, if they already exist. If not, you should begin to think about them and use the rest of this section as a guide.

Sales Distribution Plan

How exactly do you plan on getting your goods or services into somebody’s hands? Do you plan on hiring a sales staff or will you handle it all yourself initially? Do you plan on doing inbound or outbound sales? What does the sales process look at each step of the marketing funnel?

You’ll also need to think about and discuss pricing. Discuss your pricing strategy and why it’s a good value for your customers. If you are going low or moderately priced, discuss how you can stay profitable and remain differentiated from the competition. If you are a luxury brand, discuss why somebody will be willing to pay more for your business than the competition.

Lastly, consider distribution. Are you going to allow customers to purchase directly from you? Will they have to go through distributors? Do you have any retail partnerships to leverage? These are important decisions that have a profound impact on a business.

Organizational and Operational Plan

Operational Plan

Production Process

Production Process

Here are some ideas of what you’ll need to outline:

  • Raw materials – how much do they cost? Do prices fluctuate? Is supply limited in quantity or how quickly it can be obtained in a pinch?
  • What machines, technologies, etc., do you use for production? What costs are involved in these? Are you renting or do you own them?
  • What is your estimated daily output?
  • How easy is it to scale up or down as necessary? How does this impact the cost per unit?
  • Which methods of quality control do you employ, both pre- and post-production?

Supply Chain Management

If you’re a service business, you might not have any physical inventory, but your employees should be considered as your supply. After all, without them, you won’t be able to provide your services to your customers. What strategies do you have to recruit and retain the best talent possible? Can you scale quickly through recruiting and training, overtime, or an increase in part-time help?

You should also look back at your sales distribution plan and consider the logistics of shipping any physical products. How often will orders be fulfilled? Do you have the ability to rush orders if necessary? How will returns or incorrect shipments be handled in a way that keeps everybody happy?

Financials

Here are the components you must include in your business plan’s financial information:

Forecasted Sales

Use all of the marketing data you’ve put together to determine what a reasonable sales forecast looks like. Project your sales for a period of two or three years, going one month at a time. Include seasonality whenever applicable. As you forecast sales, include exactly how much revenue you expect to earn from those sales, and the total direct cost of those sales. You’ll be able to use these figures to determine revenue and gross margin, which you should use to compare to industry and competitive standards.

Projected Expenses

Forecasted Sales

Fixed costs are going to stay the same whether you sell one widget or twenty. For example, rent, electricity, insurance, marketing costs, and payroll (with the exception of commission and bonuses), will mostly stay the same no matter what sales look like.

Variable costs, on the other hand, will vary by each unit sold. This includes the cost of materials, shipping, coupons, taxes, etc. Most of this should already be covered in your forecasted sales report, but make sure that nothing is overlooked.

Make sure to consider that as you scale, some fixed costs may become variable. As sales increase, you may have to hire more employees, or move into a bigger office. Keep this in mind by always referring back to your forecasted sales and estimating your business needs as best you can.

Balance Sheet

Everything comes together on your balance sheet. This includes your projected sales and expenses, but also deals with assets and liabilities.For example, if you take out a loan, you’ll need to include the capital in your assets and the repayments, including interest, in your liabilities. Non-monetary assets, such as the property and machinery must also be included.

You can find a sample balance sheet here .

Cash Flow Statement

Cash Flow Statememt

Month by month, you’ll track exactly how much cash you expect to leave your hands and how much will come in. Keep in mind that not all sales are paid fully right away. Consider how many sales will be paid in full at the time of sale, how many will be paid in 30 days, 60 days, or go completely delinquent.

Once you have your cash flow statement completed, run some quick analysis. Compare your projected expenses each month to the projected cash coming in each month. For any months that project to have a negative cash flow, ensure you have enough money on hand to cover the difference.

You may find two examples of completed cash flow statements here and here .

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer Lifetime Value is an estimate of exactly how much each customer you acquire will be worth total. A simple way to calculate this is by determining how many purchases a customer makes before churning, and multiplying it by the average amount of their purchase. In other words, how many purchases will they make before moving on from your business, and how much will those purchases be worth?

Let’s take a look at a real-world example. Let’s assume you’re running an oil change business, and you know your average customer gets three oil changes per year. With premium options and add-ons, your average sale is $38.50. Each customer spends an average of three years with you before churning (perhaps they have moved away or found another service they prefer).

In this example, your expected CLV would be $346.50. You know each average customer will make 3 purchases per year, for 3 years, at $38.50 each. 3 x 3 x $38.50 = $346.50, which is your CLV.

Why is CLV so important? Let’s take a look at unit economics.

Unit Economics

Unit Economics

The formula for cost of acquisition is simple. Divide your total marketing spend by the number of customers you have acquired through all marketing channels. If you spend $25,000 across all marketing channels and acquire 1,000 customers, your average cost per acquisition is $25.00.

Tracking your marketing expenses isn’t the tricky part. Attributing each user to a specific campaign, however, can be. If somebody walks into your store after seeing a TV ad, for example, it can be hard to properly attribute them. Digital campaigns are a bit easier, as there are typically tracking links that make everything easy to calculate. You’ll have to do your due diligence and make your best-educated guesses here, using industry standards whenever necessary and possible.

You should also take the time to break out your unit economics into each marketing channel. This allows you to track which channels are performing well and which ones aren’t. If Facebook is attracting lots of customers but you’re spending so much that your cost of acquisition is higher than expected CLV, you might actually need to stop spending money there.

It’s important to be very clear about exactly how your business has been funded so far. This includes what you have received through investments, series rounds, or personal loans. You will also need to mention any personal funds that you have put into the business, and how much you have saved that you are willing to put into it in the future.

Once you have discussed the funding your business has received, it is appropriate to lay out exactly how much you’ll need. Make sure to also discuss exactly what any loans or investments will be used for and how that spending will be tracked.

Business Plan Resources

Business plan samples.

To reinforce everything we’ve discussed above, let’s take a look at some sample business plans that have already been put together for your review. We’ll discuss some key takeaways from each plan, helping you consider how your business is unique and what you’ll need to emphasize.

Coffee Shop Business Plan

A coffee shop is a nice, simple business to start our samples with. A coffee shop requires a small storefront, and the location is critical. Most people will gladly stop in for a nice cup of coffee but are unlikely to drive miles out of their way for one. Notice that because of this, the sales forecast is relatively stagnant, even after several years.

Click here for the sample business plan.

Restaurant Business Plan

A restaurant business plan will be similar to a coffee shop, but is a little more involved. Start-up costs are higher as it requires a larger storefront and a larger variety of equipment. Variable costs are higher as a quality meal costs much more than a cup of coffee. The sales forecast shows more growth, as people are more willing to travel for a good meal than they are a simple cup of coffee.

Food Truck Business Plan

Let’s consider a third food-based business to really drive home how businesses that appear similar will have important differences. Food trucks have a much different fixed cost structure than a coffee shop or restaurant, as they don’t have a physical location. Seasonality and location will have a huge impact on salespeople won’t want to stand outside for a burrito when it’s cold and snowy outside. With a much smaller staff, a food truck is also more likely to be open for lunch only, or closed a couple days per week.

Startup Business Plan

It’s good to take a look at a general startup business plan to get an idea of how to estimate costs, sales, etc. This sample plan is a take-out pizza joint. Notice that trends are important, as the business plan notes their market is a growing area and they are aiming to fill a niche for low to middle-income families, which comprise the majority of residents in their service area. They use a mixture of studies and geographic data to make conservative estimates, giving potential investors confidence that the business can be profitable if the strategies are successfully executed.

Photography Business Plan

A photography business is a great example of a company that is minimal to the extreme. Mostly, you will be relying on your own skills and experience. Minus initial equipment and the cost of your own time, expenses are minimal. Still, you see that it’s important to have a strong plan in place so that you understand how to position your services and who exactly you’re aiming to serve.

Business Plan Tools

Here are a variety of tools that make both writing a business plan and getting your business off the ground much easier:

If you want to quickly build your idea into a business plan to validate its value or just to get started, LivePlan is perfect. The business planning process is made simple, as you simply need to answer questions and are given plenty of examples, videos, and tutorials along the way. You can even use LivePlan to collaborate with partners or investors, testing ideas on the fly and seeing its impact on your business’ health.

Click here to take a look at LivePlan.

Rocket Lawyer

When you’re starting a business, it’s extremely likely you’ll need quick legal help. You might need advice on licensing, permits, or zoning. Or perhaps you want to discuss how to structure your business as an LLC. Rocket Lawyer can help. You’ll have access to their services for a monthly fee that’s less than a cup of coffee each day. There’s an even option to help incorporate your business by filling out a couple of quick forms.

Click here to take a look at Rocket Lawyer.

Like LivePlan, StratPad offers a cloud-based chance to build your business plan and strategy on the fly. StratPad offers a demo for their services and if you’re looking for funding will even match you up automatically with a financial institution that makes sense for your business. Our suggestion is to take a look at both LivePlan and StratPad and select the one that you like best.

Click here to take a look at StratPad.

If you’re looking for a simple way to create a professional business plan without all the bells and whistles, BizPlan is perfect for you. You’ll be able to create a stylish, professional business plan using intuitive drag-and-drop templates. Financials are easy to create using a user-friendly dashboard.

Click here to take a look at BizPlan.

A typo can derail your business plan and make you look sloppy and unprepared, no matter how much effort you put into it. Grammarly is a world-class spell checker that also checks for many of the most common grammatical error for free. There’s even a browser-based version that you can use no matter where you are. For a fee, you can subscribe to Grammarly Premium, which provides an even more granular check.

Click here to take a look at Grammarly.

Business Plan Templates

Now that we have an idea of everything you need to include in your business plan and which tools you’ll need to get started, it’s time to get started. Here are some websites with sample business plan templates you may use to make writing the perfect business plan a bit easier:

  • Score.org has a variety of business plan and financial statement templates, including ones for both start-ups and established businesses.
  • Microsoft Office’s website has many valuable business plan templates, including a checklist and PowerPoint Presentation templates for pitching your business plan.
  • The S. Small Business Administration allows you to create a business plan with a free account that you can download and distribute as a PDF.
  • Santa Clara University provides a 15-section business plan that can be downloaded one section at a time or all at once.
  • Law Depot offers a business plan template tailored for you. Simply answer some quick questions and your template is instantly ready to download.

How to Write a Business Plan Conclusion

In the end, a business plan is a highly unique and personalized document. A business plan that is right for your business won’t be right for any other business in the world. By closely following the outline and strategies above, however, you’ll have a great base to begin crafting your own perfect business plan.

Bibliography:

  • Berry, T. 15 Reasons You Need a Business Plan. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/83818.
  • CBM Group. What Is The Right Tone And Writing Style For A Business Plan? Retrieved from http://www.cbmgroup.co.uk/blog/business-plan-writing/what-is-the-right-tone-and-writing-style-for-a-business-plan.
  • Discover Business. How to Write a Business Plan. Retrieved from https://www.discoverbusiness.us/business-plans/.
  • Fontinelle, A.How To Write A Business Plan. Investopedia. Retrieved from http://www.investopedia.com/university/business-plan/.
  • Franklin, B. The Three General Types of Business Plans. Business Power Tools. Retrieved from http://www.businesspowertools.com/2016/06/management-2/the-three-general-types-of-business-plans/.
  • Gregory, A. Comprehensive Business Plan Outline for Small Business. The Balance. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/a-comprehensive-business-plan-outline-for-small-business-2951557.
  • Gregory, A. How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Your Small Business. The Balance. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/swot-analysis-for-small-business-2951706.
  • Hazlett, M. Basics of Unit Economics. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@markhazlett/basic-of-unit-economics-79f1d6cae085.
  • Investopedia. Porter’s 5 Forces. Retrieved from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/porter.asp.
  • Johnson, J. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Business Plan. Small Business Chronicle. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/write-cover-letter-business-plan-43209.html.
  • Katz, A. Determining the Best Legal Structure for Your Business. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236450.
  • Kolowich, A. How to Write a Business Plan: A Bookmarkable Guide (With Examples). HubSpot. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-write-a-business-plan.
  • Lavinsky, D. Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What To Include. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/davelavinsky/2013/09/30/marketing-plan-template-exactly-what-to-include/#1ddaeeb43503.
  • My Own Business Institute. Session 2: The Business Plan. Retrieved from https://www.scu.edu/mobi/business-courses/starting-a-business/session-2-the-business-plan/.
  • Parsons, N. How to Write a Business Plan [Updated for 2017]. Bplans. Retrieved from http://articles.bplans.com/how-to-write-a-business-plan/.
  • PESTLE Analysis. What is PESTLE Analysis? A Tool for Business Analysis. Retrieved from http://pestleanalysis.com/what-is-pestle-analysis/,
  • Robbins, S. Why You Must Have a Business Plan. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/74194.
  • Ronick, D. 10 Business Plan Dos and Don’ts. Inc. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/articles/201104/business-plan-dos-and-donts.html.
  • Ronick, D. 10 Things A Business Pitch Absolutely Does (And Does Not) Need. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/10-survival-tactics-for-a-successful-business-plan-pitch-2011-4/.
  • Shopify. The Ultimate Guide to Business Plans, Chapter 3: The Company. Retrieved from https://www.shopify.com/guides/businessplan/the-company.
  • Wasserman, E. How to Write the Financial Section of a Business Plan. Inc. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/guides/business-plan-financial-section.html

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How to write a simple business plan for students.

Business Plan

A business plan always has the same structure. Of course, if you plan to sell coffee, not to produce it, you will skip the “production” part, but other than that – you can’t skip anything.

Writing a business plan as a student , as a part of your college or university project, the best thing you can do is just to go into too many details. You have to save the structure, but you can describe your competitors in one abstract, not in five pages, with numbers and poll data.

Basic Business Plan Structure

Mostly, students are asked to make a marketing analysis and marketing plan more professionally than other parts, so we give more details about them.

Description of your business

Here is a brief overview of the experience of the entrepreneur, the date of creation of the company, the field of business, goals, and objectives of the work, available base, and resources.

Market analysis

List of competitors and their offers, estimation of demand, options of promotion and sale.

  • Evaluation of the market. It is necessary to estimate the capacity of the market, the population, the number of potential customers. It is difficult to do this without complete marketing research. Therefore, you should look for the results of this assessment for your region. As a last resort, you can predict the estimated demand.
  • Competitors. Make a list of your competitors who are already working in this market. Not only direct competitors that offer similar products and services but also those companies that produce alternative services should be considered. If you do not have a specialized tea boutique in your city, this does not mean that the market is free from competitors: you have to fight for customers with those department stores and supermarkets that also sell different types of tea.

Production plan

List of products (services provided) and their volumes, technological processes, necessary equipment and materials, cost calculation.

  • Business processes. Write down the list of equipment, tools, raw materials, and materials needed to create your chosen range of products and services. Calculate the optimum production volumes your equipment can handle. Specify which employees and what kind of downloads you will need.
  • Products. List the products, services, and work that you will offer your customers. Costs for the organization of business processes will allow you to find out the cost and to make a price list.
  • Start-up investment. Calculate how much money it will take to start a project. Sum up the cost of all assets, fixed assets, repairs, materials, and other expenses that will be required to start production.

Organizational plan

List of necessary staff, organization of work, distribution of functions and tasks in the team, involvement of third-party organizations and specialists, personnel costs — calendar of activities for launching the project.

Marketing plan

Advertising channels and costs, ways to promote a company and its products (services), estimated marketing impact – sales volume, number of customers, and transactions.

  • Promotion channels. Newspaper ads, radio and TV commercials, online advertising, creating your own site and group on social networks, advertising in local publics and forums, participating in trade shows .
  • Target audience. Who to focus on when organizing sales. Who your client is by age, gender, occupation, income level. Where to find them and how to reach.
  • Promotion cost. How much will it cost to find and engage? How often you will have to run ads, what are the appropriate options to choose?

Financial indicators

This is where the financial side of your business is reflected, namely: future costs (product purchases, rentals, hiring, etc.), revenue, net profit, profitability, and return on the project.

Risk assessment

A list of major issues that a company may face, their potential consequences, and a plan of measures to minimize them.

Project summary

The most important part is a compact presentation of the contents of the entire document on several pages, it is important here to place the accents correctly, taking into account the addressee and the purpose of preparing the business plan.

Even though it is only a business plan for students, not the one you would present to a real investor, try to make it look realistic.

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The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

So you want to start a business . Kudos! You’re doing big things.

One of the first steps to building a strong foundation for your new venture is to write a rock-solid business plan . When done right, your business plan can pave your path to success, all while helping you to smoothly cruise through any obstacles that may come up.

Plus, a good business plan can help you secure critical partnerships and funding that you might need in your early stages.

If you’re unsure how to write one, a great place to start is to learn from the pros. In this article, we’ll look at companies that built incredible business plans.

Take notes on the structure, format, and details. Hopefully you’ll leave with plenty of inspiration to write your own.

student business plan examples

Start selling online now with Shopify

student business plan examples

7-part template for business plan examples

We’ll look at a business plan that is structured using a seven-part template. Here’s a quick review of those parts:

  • Executive summary: A quick overview of your business and the contents of your business plan.
  • Company description: More info about your company, its goals and mission, and why you started it in the first place.
  • Market analysis: Research about the market and industry your business will operate in, including a competitive analysis about the companies you’ll be up against.
  • Products and services: A detailed description of what you’ll be selling to your customers.
  • Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market.
  • Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background.
  • Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even long-term) financial goals and the costs to run the business. If you’re looking for funding, here’s the place to discuss your request and needs.

7 business plan examples (section by section)

In this section, you’ll find hypothetical and real-world examples of each aspect of a business plan to show you how the whole thing comes together. 

  • Executive summary

Your executive summary offers a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. You’ll want to include a brief description of your company, market research, competitor analysis, and financial information.  

In ThoughtCo’s sample business plan for a fictional company called Acme Management Technology, the executive summary is three paragraphs and occupies nearly half the page:

business plan executive summary

  • Company description

You might go more in-depth with your company description and include the following sections:

  • Nature of the business. Mention the general category of business you fall under. Are you a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of your products?
  • Background information. Talk about your past experiences and skills, and how you’ve combined them to fill in the market. 
  • Business structure. This section outlines how you registered your company —as a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC, or other business type.
  • Industry. Which business sector do you operate in? The answer might be technology, merchandising, or another industry.
  • Team. Whether you’re the sole full-time employee of your business or you have contractors to support your daily workflow, this is your chance to put them under the spotlight.

You can also repurpose your company description elsewhere, like on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business. Hair extensions brand Luxy Hair has a blurb on its About page that could easily be repurposed as a company description for its business plan. 

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

Market analysis comprises research on product supply and demand, your target market, the competitive landscape, and industry trends. You might do a SWOT analysis to learn where you stand and identify market gaps that you could exploit to establish your footing. Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis we did for a hypothetical ecommerce business: 

marketing swot example

You’ll also want to run a competitive analysis as part of the market analysis component for your business plan. This will show you who you’re up against and give you ideas on how to gain an edge over the competition. 

  • Products and services

This part of your business plan describes your product or service, how it will be priced, and the ways it will compete against similar offerings in the market. Don’t go into too much detail here —a few lines are enough to introduce your item to the reader.

student business plan examples

  • Marketing plan

Potential investors will want to know how you’ll get the word out about your business. As such, it’s essential to build a marketing plan that highlights the promotion and customer acquisition strategies you’re planning to adopt. 

Most marketing plans focus on the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. However, it’s easier when you break it down by the different marketing channels . Mention how you intend to promote your business using blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Here’s an example of a hypothetical marketing plan for a real estate website:

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

This section of your business plan provides information about your production, facilities, production, equipment, shipping and fulfillment, and inventory.

Financial plan

The financial plan (a.k.a. financial statement) offers a breakdown of your sales, revenue, expenses, profit, and other financial metrics. You’ll want to include all the numbers and concrete data to project your current and projected financial state. For example, the financial statement for ecommerce brand Nature’s Candy includes forecasted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs.

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

  • Funding needs
  • Project cash-flow statement
  • Project profit-and-loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet

You can use Shopify’s financial plan template to create your own income statement, cash-flow statement, and balance sheet. 

Types of business plan (and what to write for each)

A one-page business plan is a pared down version of a standard business plan that’s easy for potential investors and partners to understand. You’ll want to include all of the sections, but make sure they’re abbreviated and summarized.

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

A startup business plan is meant to secure outside funding for a new business. Typically, there’s a big focus on the financials, as well as other sections that help determine the viability of your business idea —market analysis, for example. Shopify has a great business plan template for startups that include all the below points.

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth

Internal 

Your internal business plan acts as the enforcer of your company’s vision. It reminds your team of the long-term objective and keeps them strategically aligned toward the same goal.

  • Market research

Feasibility 

A feasibility business plan is essentially a feasibility study that helps you evaluate whether your product or idea is worthy of a full business plan. 

Mix and match to make a killer business plan

The good news is: there’s no single right way to write a business plan. If you’re feeling unsure about how to craft yours, pull bits and pieces that you like from other examples, and leave out the parts that don’t apply or make sense for you.

The important thing is to clearly communicate your reason for starting the company, what’s needed to operate it, and how you plan to make it work in the long run.

When you can convince others that you have a killer game plan, you’ve nailed it.

Want to learn more?

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How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

African American entrepreneur climbing a mountain representative of writing a business plan to outline your entrepreneurial journey.

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated November 30, 2023

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: How to collaborate with AI on your business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information you need to cover in a business plan sometimes isn’t quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

If you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template to get you started, download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

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

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

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

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan.

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Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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

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

What Is a Business Plan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Plan Steps

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

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

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

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

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

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

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

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

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

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

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

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

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

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

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

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

Step 1: Executive Summary

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

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

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

Step 2: Description of Business

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

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

Step 3: Market Analysis

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

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

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

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

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

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

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

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

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

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

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

Step 7: Marketing Plan

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

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

Step 8: Sales Plan

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

Start by answering the following questions:

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

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

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

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

Step 10: Financial Projections

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

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

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

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

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

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

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

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

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

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

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

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

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

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

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

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

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

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

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

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

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

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

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

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

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

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

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

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

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

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

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Newsmoor.com is an educational website for online learning. It Provides information: on verbal and nonverbal communication elements, noise, models, and theories, print, broadcast, and online journalism, and feature article writing. It also includes business models, theories, plans, profile examples, advantages and disadvantages of several models, facts, research methodology, research proposal writing, assignment writing, a study abroad, including top public and private universities and educational consultants.

Business Plan Examples and Sample For Students

Business Plan Examples For Students. Business Proposal Examples for Students. Also, Business Plan Sample pdf for Students. Business Plan Examples For Students Entrepreneurship PDF.

Business Plan

The business plan refers to the company’s written statement explaining the business proposal. It includes the executive summary, product and service, operation, marketing, and financial plan.

The employee makes the business plan to represent the organization to stakeholders, customers, and affiliates. It proposes the business strategy entirely. So, a business plan is also known as a business proposal. The business plan is crucial for a company to achieve competitive advantages. The business plan’s key elements are an executive summary, background, product and service, organizational structure , sales and marketing strategy, financial and operational plan, and more.

Business Plan Examples For Students

A business plan example refers to a business proposal sample that thoroughly explains the organization, including the executive summary of the financial statement. It also indicates the business report example or business proposal format. An example of a business plan certainly includes the executive summary of the business, operating strategy, start-up financial projections, financial projections, etc. The business plan example for students is also known as the business report format.

Business plan writing is a mandatory assignment for students in entrepreneurship. It is also a compulsory assignment for business students.

The business proposal is also compulsory for getting a bank loan. The organization needs it to make agreements with other organizations. The bank authority surely asks the organization to submit a business plan with the bank loan application. The other names of a business plan are business proposal, report, profile, and more. A business plan example is also known as an example of a company profile , business proposal example, sample, and format.

Business Plan Examples For Student Entrepreneurship

Today, the authors present a business plan example for students. They wrote it while they were students in entrepreneurship courses at the Faculty of Economics and Management University Putra Malaysia (UPM). The lecturer sets group assignments for the students; therefore, the students make the business plan example to complete the group assignment. Thus, this business plan or proposal example for students certainly assists business administration students. It also assists students in BBA, MBA, economics, finance, and business communication courses and researchers.

The author also wrote business plan examples for students about food .

Example of Business Report

Business Plan Examples For Students

The students set the company name “BambooS.” It sells reusable and eco-friendly bamboo straws. Straws are a unique product in Malaysia that can be customized for length and diameter. Besides, the company offers engraving services for customers. So, customers can customize a meaningful word on the bamboo straw for engraving. In addition, it provides a designed pouch as packaging for our straw that looks smart.

Business Plan Example and Sample For Students

BUSINESS PLAN TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Executive Summary Of Business Plan

BambooS Sdn. Bhd. company was created by a group of 10 students in the Basic Entrepreneurship course. This company is named BambooS. It produces and sells bamboo-based products. The capital S in the company’s name stands for straw. The original idea came from a student. And we chose Bamboo as the main ingredient of the products. Currently, we focus on producing eco-friendly straws to serve our customers. The products are the best quality yet affordable straws.

Our product is also biodegradable as it is made from Bamboo. We also guarantee that customers can use our products many times. It is reusable and easy to wash and carry. The straw size is customizable. So customers choose the size based on their preferences. In addition, our specialty is not only in our product but also in our packaging.

Each member will contribute RM 100. We are ten members in a group. The total paid-up capital is RM 1000. We set up our warehouse in the Serdang area to produce, package, and store our products. We are making the straw as per the customer’s demand and request. For the marketing part, we are advertising and promoting our product through social media sites, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and e-commerce, such as Shopee. We adopt the lean canvas business model tool to assess the outcome of the business.

2.0 Background of the Company

Product Introduction of Business Plan Examples For Students

2.2 Company overview

Company Overview

2.3 Vision And Mission Statement

2.3.1 vision statement.

To become the most notable company in Malaysia for producing eco-friendly bamboo straws.

2.3.2    Mission Statement

We want to fulfill the objective of satisfying customers with our eco-friendly products. We want to reduce pollution by using reusable straws anywhere and anytime.

2.4 Keys To Success

The Keys to Success for BambooS Include the following: 

Table: 4 Keys of Success

2.5 Organizational Chart

Organizational Structure- Business Template

3.0 Administration anD Human Resource Plan

3.1 business strategies.

Business strategy is crucial to maintain business growth.

The personal preferences of corporate management do not influence good business strategies. We emphasize every department’s function. It ensures the plans run smoothly to meet goals. We need to be achieved them. We have put as much emphasis on the efficiency of each Department.

Our company has set several strategies to achieve the company objectives. However, these strategies have been made based on every Department’s suggestion.

a. Administration and Human Resources Department

  • The admin and human resource department monitors all the business operations. It manages employees’ and management problems.
  • It also solves problems that affect people management programs in the long run.
  • Moreover, it follows the five-gap model of service quality to ensure service quality.

b. Marketing Department

  • This department handles marketing of the product and promotional activities in order to reach the products to a vast amount of potential clients.
  • It also promotes the business and mission of an organization through social media.

c. Operational Department

  • This department ensures that all the equipment and material are ready to run the operation smoothly. It ensures that all products are of good quality. This department follows the eight principles of TQM to ensure product and service quality.
  • Additionally, this department has the ultimate accountability for profit and loss and seeks to maximize shareholder return on investment.

3.2 Management Team

M M Kobiruzzaman

3.3 Job Descriptions

Job Description in Business Proposal

4.0  Market Plan

4.1  introduction.

BambooS Sdn. Bhd. support the “Save The Earth” campaign by producing eco-friendly Bamboo straws. These straws are environmentally friendly products. Therefore, these products are alternatives to plastic straws. The government has imposed restrictions on the use of plastic straws. They also create social awareness of to use of natural products.

Hence,  It is an important driving factor of our market strategy. In addition, the surging demand for drinking beverages, including juices and Boba drinks and then the save the turtle campaign, is also propelling the demand for bamboo straws across the globe. Bamboo straws are reusable compared to plastic; they are better for health, durable & robust, and it is an environmentally friendly product. The products will contribute to reducing global warming and preventing climate change globally .

4.2 Objective of Marketing

Our objective in producing Bamboo straws is to encourage consumers to use natural, eco-friendly products. Why are bamboo straws better than metal? Firstly, Bamboo comes from a natural source. So it is naturally sturdy and easy to collect. We do not need to use chemicals to make straws.

Additionally, metal straws are not pocket friendly compared to Bamboo. Moreover, metal will rust when in contact with water and oxygen. Bamboo stock is much cheap, less work, and easy to collect. Our marketing strategy will focus mainly on reusable principal and are much more trendy to youngsters because we have an engraving service to attract them.

4.3 Analysis of Marketing

4.3.1 market trend.

The demand for bamboo straws has risen due to growing environmental attention. Additionally, plastic straws have been reduced due to state restrictions. However, the bamboo straw market is expected to achieve high growth shortly. In addition, BambooS Sdn. Bhd is a unique company in Malaysia. We produce our straw ourselves, and we provide safety and hygiene assurance. The buyer can engrave their name on the straw. Nowadays, customers want recognition for something they buy or support. They are also sincere about ‘Save the Earth’ and deserve to flex.

4.3.2 External Environment Analysis

Our first demographic psychographic and geographic target market is University Putra Malaysia (UPM). Since we are students of UPM, it is easier to approach our target customers, including students and staff. Students tend to bring their water bottles or flask to classes. It is one step toward being environmentally friendly; thus, we promote their effort by selling bamboo straws. In addition, we will promote our product at cafes or food courts at the faculty and library. We also establish a booth at super shops.

4.3.3 Internal Environment Analysis

(SWOT ANALYSIS)

SWOT Analysis For Business Plan

4.3.4 Market Opportunities

Our bamboo straw comes with a pouch; thus, it is hygienic and easy to bring everywhere. We also provide a small brush to ensure deep cleaning of the inner straw. Our product is able to be used again and again. So students and staff can save money. They do not need to bring straws in large volumes. The structure of our bamboo straw is strong and sturdy; thus, it will not break if soaked in water for a long time, unlike paper straws.

4.4 Target Market

4.4.1    segmentation.

  • S size is fit for ordinary drinks, fully liquid
  • L size is suited for Boba drink or any drink that has topping.
  • People use straws for drinking tea, juice, frappe, and Boba.
  • Restaurants, cafes, food court, canteen, food stalls, super shops around UPM

4.4.2 Consumer Market and Buyer Behaviour

(i) Students and staff at UPM (ii) Cafe and Restaurant at UPM

4.4.3 Positioning

  • New business strategy for eco-friendly products in the market.
  • Our production, process, and packaging materials match zero pollution.
  • Providing Engraved service
  • Customized and Eco-friendly bamboo straws of different sizes
  • Made of organic material
  • Unique punch made by the jute bag.

4.5 4 P’s Marketing Strategy

4.5.1 product strategy.

To make our product unique, we ensure the quality and safety of our products always satisfy our customers.

Our product comes neatly packaged in a unique eco-friendly punch. It is made of a jute bag. The natural bag is designed to think people use bamboo straws every day.

Labeling/Customised

Our company provides customized products. We resize and engrave the bamboo straws to attract more customers. So, our customers can request any size and imprint their straw with any logo or design they like. Our product comes in two sizes: the regular size for the standard drink, fully liquid, and the large size for the Boba drink or drink that has topped. Customers can send us their logo or name on social media sites. Personalized bamboo straws look fantastic across social media.

4.5.2 Price Strategy

Price is the payment given by one party to the other in order to get the return for goods or services. It is necessary as it determines our profit and business survival. Two factors affect our pricing strategy to increase our profits. The internal factor that affects our pricing strategy is production and management cost. At the same time, the external factor is the competitive environment.

Our management team decided to sell the straw in four sets: A, B, C, and D. Our company decided to set the price at RM 10.00 for set A. This set includes the common Bamboo straw, brush, and pouch. Then SET B cost RM 12.00, including the Boba size straw, brush, and pouch. SET C and SET D are more special because they include the engraving service. The engraving cost is RM 8.00 for each Set. As we mentioned before, we resize products for clients. So our customers can personally request to resize the straw. We charge it costs RM 9.00 per set.

4.5.3 Place Strategy

Place strategy is also known as distribution strategy, wherein the organization decides the mode of distribution for the product. The pacing strategy plays an important role in selling the products. We have chosen the market, cafe, or restaurant adjacent to the University Putra Malaysia. Our main target market is UPM staff and students.

Furthermore, we also decided to make it easy for our customers to find our product by using the shopping app, Shopee apps. We chose these apps because Shopee is the best option if you want to start selling online at a low cost and big money.

4.5.4  Promotion Strategy

Promotion is the advertising process to provide information to different parties about the products. It is a communication process that influences the customer to buy products. In order to get customers’ attention and obtain a more significant market share, Bamboos Sdn. Bhd uses digital and internet marketing.

We have set up social media accounts, Instagram, Facebook, Shopee, and Blogspot, to promote our business. The marketing team will upload the promotional content to social media sites. This is because most people stay on social media sites mostly. With that, social media sites are the easiest way to buy anything we want without going out. Moreover, online shopping has become popular in this era, and all these social media sites have become the hottest sites, especially Instagram, which has a high rating in advertisements. Many companies use social media to sell their products and services by putting corporate information in their accounts.

Social Media Advantages

Social media are free sites where we can reach a large number of customers. Hence, we use social media to do hard and soft selling.

We fully develop every post to attract customers. In addition, we will always update our posts and story feeds. We ensure that customers are more exposed to our product. Next, we also use social media hashtags. We use hashtags such as #Bamboos, #SafeTheEarth, and more to make it easier for customers. The marketing team uses social media for the ordering process.

Similarly, we will place the generated links on each social media to encourage the product ordering process. Our company also makes sure transactions with our customers are easy. Finally, we also produce videos to promote our sales. The video will achieve the highest social media reach for views and engagement.

We tend to focus more on WhatsApp groups, Shopee, and Instagram since our target audience is UPM students. Many students are involved in WhatsApp groups, such as on faculty, college, hostels, and club. WhatsApp and Instagram are more popular among students as the place they spend most of their time. WhatsApp is the most popular social media site in Malaysia.

5.0 operations planning

5.1  location and address.

We will mainly sell the straw on social media sites. The production team will handle the production process. They resize and wash the Bamboo at the warehouse in Selangor, Malaysia. The social media sites are Instagram, Facebook, Shopee, Blogspot, and WhatsApp. Supplies will be directly delivered to the responsible members for further processing based on our buyer’s order.

5.2 Objective of Operations

We aim to produce and deliver good quality Bamboo Straw. Our team ensures that all products are effective and attractive. We also must gain customers’ trust and happiness with our service, including price and delivery. We also make sure our products are cleaned and safe for use. Our team is very responsive to making good-quality straws. In addition, our company has ultimate responsibility for profit and loss. However, we seek partners for more investment.

5.3 Operation Strategies

A few strategies have been set up to ensure that our business runs smoothly throughout the week and meets our objectives.

Business sample

5.4 Supplier

The bamboo stock was from a supplier via the Shopee platform, and the pouch supplies were from Giftstalk Sdn. Bhd. The company logo’s printing service was also included when we ordered the pouch from suppliers. Moreover, we order coconut fiber cleaning brush stock and packing Boxes from Shopee. We also surveyed purchasing and made sure that our supplies were reasonable. All the supplies are ordered online and delivered to our company via specialized courier due to the Covid- 19 pandemic.

The bamboo straw will be customized and delivered to the customer using J&T Express, Ninja Van, and cash-on-delivery service, which will ease our delivery.

Thus, we have decided on the following suppliers as our supplies providers:

  • Wing.DIY – Shopee- For Bamboo Stock
  • GIFTSTALK SDN BHD)- For Pouch Supplies
  • Gd. Pack -Shopee)- For Paper Boxes Stock – Sandpaper Holder with Plastic.

5.5 Process Planning

 Process Planning

5.6 Implementation Schedule

Implementation Schedule

5.7 Machinery and Equipment Including GST

Machinery and Equipment Including GST

6.0 Financial Plan

6.1 introduction.

A financial plan can be defined as a process of framing procedures and budgets regarding the financial activities of concern. This is done to ensure good financial and investment procedures.

Generally, the financial plan is used to know an investor’s current pay and future financial state by using current known variables to predict future income, asset values, and withdrawal plans.

A financial plan is one of the most crucial parts of a business. Some of the importance of a financial plan are:

  • A financial plan provides the direction of one’s business.
  • It also helps understand how finances impact one’s business.
  • Additionally, it helps to manage income better.

6.2 Purpose of the Financial Department

A few purposes are as below:

  • Firstly, it determines capital conditions.
  • Secondly, it operates the fund nicely for different purposes.
  • Finally, it maintains proper cash flow.

6.3 Project Implementation Cost

Project Implementation Cost

Source of Fund

Our money is used as the start-up capital with a contribution of RM100.00 per shareholder, bringing the total investment to RM 1000.00.

6.4 List of Expenses

business proposal List of Expenses

Twelve partners funded a total of RM1000.00 to cover all business costs, which is RM 617.29. Expenses are in terms of buying raw materials, equipment, and delivery fees. We will not invest all amount to the business.

The equipment is counted as fixed cost as they are bought in bulk. Refer to 6.4 (List of Expenses) for detailed information.

6.5 Record of List of Sales

Business Record of List Sales

6.6 Income Statement

 Income Statement

After one month of business, BambooS ended up with RM 1600.00 from 7 different products. This includes selling 15 units of Set 1, 25 of Set 2, 35 of Set 3, and 30 of Set 4. Leftovers for bamboo straws are found. The income statement shows that the business’s net profit after one month of operation is RM 988.39, approximately 98.8% of capital invested into the business.

6.7 Cash Flow Statement

Cash Flow Statement

The case flow statement shows that the initial capital on hand is RM 1000.00, and at the end of the business, the total surplus (after deducting all expenses) is RM 1982.71.

The RM 1982.71 includes RM 100 capital invested by every shareholder at the beginning of the business. By dividing the remaining money after deduction, each shareholder would find themselves receiving an extra RM 98.27. Hence, every

6.8 Balance Sheet

Balance Sheet of Business

At the start of the business (22 March 2021), the initial capital share is RM 300.00. There is no liability such as a loan.

At the end of 9 weeks’ business (22 June 2021), the cash on hand increased to RM 1982.71, as well as the owner’s equity. The firm’s net worth is RM 1982.71, done by subtracting liabilities from assets.

6.9 Financial Analysis

Financial Analysis Chart of Business Plan Examples For Student

BambooS has a net profit margin of 61.42%. BambooS also has a break-even point of RM 126.50. Sales passing this break-even point means that BambooS can start making profits.

Set 1 has a break-even point of RM 11.90, and set 2 have it at RM 23.72. The break-even point for set 3 is RM 55.34, while set 4 has a break-even point of RM 35.58.

The interest for the business is 0.9827 or 98.27%. This means for every RM 1 capital invested in the business; the shareholders can get back RM 0.98 as profit.

7.0 Conclusion

  Based on the business plan template or business proposal example that we have made, BambooS will give us profitable returns. The assumptions we made for these three months are conservative as we know that our company is still in the beginning, and the marketing and promotion are still in the early phase. The company sets systematic planning to reach the target. Thus, BambooS are very confident that our company will be able to grow in the future and become the most popular brand in the world.

We will always ensure that everyone in the company cooperates well in order to achieve the business target profit. We hope that BambooS will be the best company for producing eco-friendly straws in Malaysia. Our company assists UPM students and staff in reducing plastic usage.

Problem Faced and Solutions in Business

Every business will need to face many challenges to sustain success. As a new business, we also must face many things to achieve our business goal.

Firstly, we confirmed the product we would sell; everyone gave their opinions and ideas. This leads to 10 different products and services on the list. So we need to vote for the best one. We had faced a healthy argument on picking the best product. After discussion, we finally came out with the idea of producing an eco-friendly product. We focused on global warming issues and finally decided to produce and sell bamboo straws.

Moreover, we also have to face a conflict in fixing the vendors. We need to find the best vendors that offer the most reasonable price for us to produce the bamboo straw. The cost must be tele with our starting capital. In order to solve this, everyone has done their research on all the possible suppliers until we find the best one to choose from.

To avoid extreme market competitors, our team chose a blue ocean strategy to create a new market to achieve competitive advantages.

Business Proposal Examples For Students PDF

A business proposal is a short business plan. The business proposal describes the business process. However, a business proposal includes an executive summary, problem statements, product, finance, and solution. The example of a business proposal for students certainly guides others to create a business plan. This business plan sample teaches how to write business plan assignments for students. Students might learn how to write a simple business plan and proposal.

The importance of a business plan is crucial to stakeholders, employees, students, and entrepreneurs.   Additionally, the business plan example assists employees in creating a professional business proposal.

student business plan examples

Author: M M Kobiruzzaman

M M Kobiruzzaman is a researcher, lecturer, and academic & creative content writer. He studied for a Master of Management By Research at the School of Business and Economics Faculty, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Previously, he graduated from the Department of Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. His research interests contained Journalism, Social Media Communication, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Corporate Communication. He has published several journal articles globally. He prefers to impart academic knowledge to other people through content writing.  View all posts by M M Kobiruzzaman

10 thoughts on “Business Plan Examples and Sample For Students”

Good Day! Can I ask your permission to use your template in my class discussion? It is very detailed and all the components present in this format.

Yes, You Can.

Great work,keep it up

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great article . check out datatoleas.com

Nice work keep on educating me I bet your help

This template is the best I have seen It’s so detailed You have everything you are looking for

It’s a good sample for up coming entrepreneurs,keep it up 👍🏻

Mr Kobiruzzaman thanks so much am Kimera Kenneth from Uganda but your content is so useful.

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24 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: August 17, 2023

Free Business Plan Template

student business plan examples

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

Thank you for downloading the offer.

Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and confirms your venture is sustainable for the long term.

sample business plans and examples

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formally, then take a look at business plan templates and samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

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. 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. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

student business plan examples

  • 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.

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. 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.

Most executive summaries include:

  • Mission statement
  • Company history and leadership
  • Competitive advantage overview
  • Financial projections
  • Company goals

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, including only 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

And the executive summary below tells potential investors a short story that covers all the most important details this business plan will cover in a succinct and interesting way.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • 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. Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will your product fill that gap?

In this section, you might include:

  • 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

This example 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

Speaking of market share, you'll 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. Performing a competitive analysis 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

The competitive landscape section of the business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are. 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.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

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

This section will 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. Ask yourself:

  • 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?

It can be helpful to build 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

The example below 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. You might consider including information on:

  • The 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

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you with this part of your business plan.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler. It offers a comprehensive picture of how it plans 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 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

The example below outlines 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, you might outline:

  • 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

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

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 you'll want to include.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet example shows the level of detail you will 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.

Business Plan Types

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, we’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. 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.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some 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 We 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. (We 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.

We 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 our 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 we 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, we 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.

Top Business Plan Examples

Here are some completed business plan samples to get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business. We’ve chosen different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

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. We 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.

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.

"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 .

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.

Outdoor clothing retailer, Patagonia, has one of the most compelling mission statements we’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 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.

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.

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. 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 .

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.

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 also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" 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 also use this template as a guide while you're gathering important details. After looking at this sample, you'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do for your own business plan.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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7 Business Plan Templates for Kids (Free Printables!)

By: Author Amanda L. Grossman

Posted on Last updated: January 5, 2023

Download one of these (mostly) free business plan templates for kids to help your child focus on a business idea.

What do super soakers, Apple computers, and Nike shoes all have in common?

kid on ground with laptop, text overlay

They all started as a business plan.

A business plan template for kids is great for two reasons:

  • Your child can play around with it and get familiar with what’s required (even if they never start the business)
  • It helps kids focus on just one business idea at time, and to see if they should move forward with it

No matter which category your own child falls into – just playing with business plans, or they have an actual business idea – I’ve got just the free business plan template for you.

Honestly? I wish my own parents would’ve given me one of these when, as a kid, my childhood friend and I had come up with our first kid business idea: selling bean bags. So, good on you for getting your kids involved with business plans so early in life!

Best Business Plan Templates for Kids

Use one of the business plan templates for kids below with one of these 16 kid business ideas .

OR, help them to use one of their original ideas sending sparks in their brain. You can use these 3 kid business plan examples for help with filling it out.

1. Solid Gold Biz Plan

I’ve been in business for 7 years and I’ve made about every mistake in the book.

Probably one of the biggest? Was that I didn’t sit down to write a proper business plan (or, ANY business plan) until I was several years into blogging. 

Because of this, I created a free business plan template for kids and teens (on Page 6 of this free printable), so that they practice how to do it right, from the beginning! 

What makes my free Solid Gold Biz Plan different is that it starts your child thinking about the problem that they want to solve – because ultimately, that is the purpose of creating a product or a service. To solve a specific problem for people.

It then goes on to ask them simple questions that will focus them in on what it takes to plan out a business idea.

For example, I raise the question of how much it will cost to not only create the product/service, but to also deliver it and maintain it. These are sometimes costs forgotten costs when creating a business plan.

2. BizKids’ Guide to Writing a Business Plan

This free business plan guide for kids includes sections for your idea, your marketing (and what makes your product unique), your startup costs, and an area for pricing so that you can make sure you’ll make a profit.

screenshot of bizKids business plan for kids

At the end is a one-page summary where your child can write up their answers from the previous pages all in the same place. Great for tacking up on the wall!

3. Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox

Anthony ONeal partnered up with Dave Ramsey to create the  Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox , a kid’s entrepreneur kit and small business guide for teens.

In other words, it’s so much more than just a business template for kids!

student business plan examples

The entrepreneur kit includes the following:

  • Access to Free Entrepreneur Toolbox app
  • Teen Portfolio Book
  • DVD of Anthony’s Training Video
  • Parent’s Guide Book
  • Pack of Thank You Cards
  • Deck of Conversation Starter Cards about Starting a Business
  • Goal Tracker Poster

Here’s my full review of the Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox .

4. Home Sweet Road’s My Business Plan

Check out this business plan for kids, which asks kids questions like what makes their idea unique, whether or not their idea is a product or service, and who their customers will be.

screenshot of my business plan for kids

5. Proverbial Home Maker’s Family Business Plan Guide

This is such a fun guide that you can fill out with your child, teen, tween, or even the whole family. It includes family business ideas, a sales ledger, inventory worksheet, and much more.

screenshot of family business guide - free printable

Business Plan Examples

You may be wondering where you can find business plan examples to show your kids or teens.

For starters, you should look right at home. Are you a small business owner?

Then you’ll definitely want my free Take Your Child to Work Day printables – it’s got a section for you to fill in about your own business, which is a perfect business plan example to discuss with your child.

You can also find two business plan examples on the Small Business Administration’s site (scroll down until you see red buttons to Rebecca’s example business plan, and Andrew’s plan).

They’re not entirely kid-friendly, but can give lots of ideas for the kind of information and research to put into a business plan.

Business Plan Activity Worksheets

Check out these free PDF Shark Tank worksheets for students . Students or kids can work through coming up with their own business idea, create an advertisement for it, and a scoring card to judge the business ideas.

You’ll find a free 30-minute Small Business Administration course for young entrepreneurs meant for teens that you can use with your students (or have your child go through).

Hint: In Objective 3, it goes over how to create a business plan.

Are you an educator? Great – you can get free entrepreneur curriculum for Grades 1 – 12, with lots of worksheets, from the Venture Lab .

Further resources include:

  • Teen Business Video Lessons
  • EverFI’s Entrepreneurial Expedition
  • FEE’s Course on the Entrepreneur’s Role in Creating Value
  • Business Plan Note Taker (lots of great prompts to create a business plan with)

Grab 23 more entrepreneur lesson plans here.

I hope you’ve found some business template for kid resources that interest you? Below, you’ll find other related kid entrepreneurship articles that will help your kids, teens, and students learn about the entrepreneur career path. 

Related Kid Entrepreneurship Resources

  • 27 Youth Entrepreneur Awards and Scholarships
  • 5 Kid Entrepreneur Kits
  • 14 Kid Entrepreneur Books
  • 11 Best Business Simulation Games for Kids
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student business plan examples

10 Business Plan Examples For University Students

Business management courses include an extensive range of topics for students to cover. You learn about the basic tenants of establishing and sustaining your brand from scratch. A business plan is the first step in the process, wherein you pitch your brand to potential investors.

Now, every business plan follows a certain structure and has specific elements. A quick Google search will give you readymade business plan layouts and examples to pick from. Read on to know more about formatting business plans for your next assignment.

Types of business plans

The structure of the business plan varies as per the sector and scalability of your brand. Students must learn how to tweak and pitch their ideas in an exciting way. And for that, you must analyze the market and customer base.

Here is a list of some common business plan layouts that you’ll get for university projects. These layouts are generic and easy to adapt.  

student business plan examples

Traditional business plans

The traditional business plan was relevant for business holdings that used hand-written reports, research studies and more. These reports are made on paper and follow a conventional structure.

It starts with an overview, list of opportunities, risks, and budget. I recommend students to begin this plan with a short summary of your target market. Talk about the brand, the products/services offered and your core advertising strategies.

Standard plans

The standard business plan is quite similar to the traditional plan. The only point of difference between the two is the medium used to project the plan. While the conventional scheme is paper-bound, the standard plans can be digitally developed.

There are several business plans templates, suitable for Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe reader available on the internet. Students can download any such layout they deem fit, add their content, and create a detailed business plan.

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Lean business plans are a compact, watered-down version of a standard business plan. Here some sections of the plan are deliberately omitted out. This is done to keep the plan secretive and secure from theft.

Lean plans are also great for summarizing the key points of your business in a nutshell. You can send it to multiple clients who can then approach the company for more details. Begin the plan with a short introduction followed by an outline of your brand, its present status and potential growth rate.

One-page business plans

One-page business plans are short, compact and to the point. Here the students have to fit in all the elements of an average plan in a single sheet. This means that you cannot afford to ramble about the brand or the market space for long.

Identify the core areas that need work, list down your resources, capital investment, risks, growth potential in bullet points. You can also divide the page into separate sections and sub-sections. Representing this information in a tabular format is also a good idea.

student business plan examples

Annual business plans

The annual business plan , as the name suggests, is for a year. In this plan, the students have to outline the brand marketing strategy for a particular financial year. Ensure that you list the period and annual goals of the company clearly on the cover page.

The entire plan must limit to the specific year only. You can devote a section to set the market background and another to talk about future prospects. But the advertising campaigns and promotional solutions must be relevant for the year.

Business plans for start-ups

Start-ups require a completely different approach as opposed to an established enterprise. Students must understand the subtle differences between the two and customize the business plans. Keep the plan small-scale, feasible and easy to implement

Also, with start-ups , you have the flexibility to introduce new technologies and resources with greater ease. Students can include surveys, customer studies, graphs and charts to enforce these changes.

student business plan examples

Operational plans

Operations plans are more action-oriented, unlike the others on the list. The students will have to stress on the execution more than the technical aspects of the enterprise. Discuss the fundamental goals of your brand and how you plan on accomplishing them.

The operational plan also contains a lot of statistics and figures. You will need charts, graphs, and research studies to solidify your argument. Also, explain the details of your advertising campaigns, funding sources, risks, and profits as well.

Strategic plans

Strategic plans are those that focus solely on marketing the brand. This business plan is usually picked by enterprises that want to revamp or tweak their brand image. It might involve intensive market research, surveys, and studies to understand customer trends of your sector

Strategic plans dive straightway into the advertising campaigns and branding solutions for the company. Students can pick any established brand and develop a strategic business plan to customize it to modern audiences.

student business plan examples

Internal plans

Internal business plans are not meant for investors or any external parties. These plans include an in-house report, accessible only to the partners. The business plan is viewed by everyone on the team.

The structure and format of this business plan are, therefore, more detailed and comprehensive. You can include confidential secrets and stats of your brand. Also, ensure that these sections are safe from online threats.

Elements of a business plan

Every business plan has a few common elements. You can, of course, have new features and sections in your plan provided you follow the basic format. Consult your peers and professors about the structuring of the plan.

The business plan begins with a cover page and ends with a proper conclusion. The introduction and main body expand on the business strategies, stats, and future prospects of the industry.

The cover page is the first thing the reader sees when they come across your business plan. This section is both informative and interesting enough to intrigue the reader. Anyone who glances at the cover should understand the essential purpose of the plan.

Mention the brand name, the title of the plan and your business tagline. You can then add the contact details, a short overview and statement of purpose. I also suggest my students add a confidentiality statement towards the end of the cover page.

This protects your plan from any intellectual theft and plagiarism. The cover page should be attractive, clutter-free, and eye-catching.

Executive summary

The executive summary is the first page of the business plan wherein you outline the key points of the plan. It is here that you inform the reader about your brand, the target market, and your unique strategies. A few basic questions addressed in this section can be about

  • What is your brand all about?
  • Where is your band located?
  • What are your core strengths?
  • What are your targets?
  • How do you plan to achieve them?

Here you can discuss a brief overview of the business plan to convince the reader about the credibility of your business.

Marketing strategy

After explaining the preliminary details of your business, you can move on to explain the points in great detail. Talk about your marketing strategy and how you plan to advertise your product/service.

Most business plans deal with establishing the brand from scratch. This means you need a sound strategy to launch your product in the market. Here you can also mention your competitors and their advertising campaigns.

Operations and management plan

This is the part where you elaborate on the marketing strategy and operations of your business. Discuss the significant partners, sales locations, advertising collaborators and more. The management plan also gives out details about your core team members.

Move on to provide a rough monetary estimate needed to execute your business plan into action. Give an accurate account of your expenses, risks, and assets. Also, state the capital investment and share value you can offer the investors in return.

student business plan examples

Citations and annotations

End your plan with a proper conclusion and bibliography section. This is where you list all your sources, studies and journals referred to in the plan. You can also discuss the future prospects and potential of your business plan in the ending paragraphs.

You can add extra annotation as well if you have exciting tidbits for the reader. I suggest my students follow either APA or Harvard style referencing as they’re most suitable for business assignments.

Quick links and references

Here are some quick links, external references and other reading material for students who want additional information on business plans. you can cite these sources towards the end of your plan, or simply use it

Citation generator: Citethisforme

Citations guidelines: Harvard Referencing Style by Sheffield University  

Business plan examples: App Success Business Plan  

Business plan cover page templates: Business plan cover page  

Business plan samples: Sample business plan for small-scale food business by Oklahoma University

Business plan guidelines: Business plan guidelines  

The Bottom line

Business plans are an essential part of your curriculum. It gives your ideas proper structure and order. Also, these plans cater to all sectors and industries. Formatting a business plan gives you a deeper understanding of the practical aspects of entrepreneurship.

I hope that business plan examples and layouts were of any help to my readers. Good luck!

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Students Business Plans Samples For Students

132 samples of this type

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A study into existing and predicted physician shortages in Spokane and eastern Washington by a joint task force spearheaded by the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM), Washington State University (WSU) and Greater Spokane Inc. concluded that austerity measures be effected to curb this mishap (Tripp Umbach, 2011). Thanks to this task force, The Academic Health Science Center at Riverpoint is in the process of implementing a Medical School expansion project. In order to achieve the objectives, Tripp Umbach Consulting (2011) recommended that the following steps be included in the implementation plan.

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When I was thirteen, my family sent me to America to complete my education. My Father told me that an American education is my ticket to success as English is one of the most spoken languages in the world. I seized my chance as an opportunity to make my dream of becoming a businessman come true. My Father owns a hazelnut business in Turkey and I hope to make him proud by, one day, exporting the product to America.

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Better Fresh Juice Parlor is determined to create a distinctive place where customers can exchange meaning and entertain each other in a relaxed environment as they enjoy quality fresh juice and snacks. Apart from serving the customers, we will be conscious in providing satisfaction to our employees and steady returns to the shareholders by constantly reinvesting our profits in a portfolio of businesses. The business will capitalize on the high population of Minnesota Institution of Management as it focuses on developing a big customer base for its products. 1.1 Objectives

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    The following article discusses how to write the perfect business plan, including the types of business plans most commonly used, top 10 do's and don'ts, what goes into a business plan, the structure of your business, marketing and sales, your organizational and operational plan and much more. What is a Business Plan?

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    As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you'll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and confirms your venture is sustainable for the long term. → Download Now: Free Business Plan Template But what does a business plan look like?

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    In the book The Entrepreneur's Manual, Richard M. White, Jr. states that business plans are "road maps" for business creation: "You identify your origin, select a destination, and plot the shortest distance between the two points." True, a business plan is essentially a blueprint for a business. However, it also serves many other purposes: