Tools and templates
Develop your business plan.
A business plan sets you up for success when you start, and helps you adapt as your business grows.
Develop your marketing plan
A marketing plan can help you understand who your customers are, how to reach them and how to define your brand.
Develop an emergency management plan
Learn how to prepare a plan to protect your business before, during and after an emergency.
Develop your succession plan
Learn what steps to take for the day you plan to leave your business.
Develop your SWOT analysis
Analyse your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Financial tools and templates
Tools and templates to help with your business finances.
Set goals for your business
Learn how to set and achieve goals that will help your business grow.
Guide to starting a business
This guide will take you through each step of starting a business and help you understand what's ahead.
Guide to continuing your business
Learn steps you can take to help keep your business running during tough times.
Starting a business checklist
Use this checklist to tick off the important steps to take in the early stages of your business.
Business health checklist
Check in with your business to ensure you are operating smoothly and safely.
Growing your business checklist
Use our growing a business checklist to explore opportunities for growth and understand your obligations as your business changes.
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Writing a business plan
A business plan documents your objectives and the strategies and structures you have in place for achieving them.
Your business plan should explain how you will manage all the important aspects of your business, from products and services to operational plans and finances.
Video: Writing a business plan
Watch our video on why you should write a business plan for your new or current business.
- why it's important to create and review a business plan
- the information to include in your business plan
- using a business plan to achieve your business goals
- downloading and completing our business plan template.
Use a business plan to:
- help you start a new business
- help you improve the performance of an existing business
- attract funding for an investment
- communicate business progress to stakeholders
- communicate business goals and objectives to internal staff members
- attract potential buyers for the business.
A business plan is a 'living' document, so it should evolve and change—think of it as an operating guide for your business throughout the start-up, operations and succession phases.
Download and write a full business plan
Download our free full business plan template and use the guidelines below to write a plan for your business.
There are also other templates available that may better meet your needs—visit business.gov.au .
You should customise your chosen template to suit your business and industry.
We explain below how you can start with a 1-page business plan to ease you into the process of completing the full business plan.
Business plan elements
The elements of your business plan will vary depending on:
- what phase your business is in (starting, running, selling)
- the industry your business is in
- how you choose to use the plan (e.g. for internal development purposes).
Every business plan will be different, but they will generally include similar elements. The sections of our business plan template are listed below—use these as a guide when completing it or as a reference when creating your own.
At the start of your business plan, include the following business details:
- business name
- date registered
- Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Australian Company Number (ACN) – if applicable
- tax file number (TFN)
- business address
- contact details
- website details
- social media details.
Read about choosing a business structure and getting the right licences and registrations .
This section provides an overview of the business concept. It should be attention-grabbing and succinct—the content will be covered in more detail in future sections.
While this is the first section of the plan, it can often help to write it last after the other sections have been finalised.
This helps to ensure that the executive summary covers all the key information within the plan.
It should define:
- what your business vision is
- what your legal structure is
- what products and services you offer
- who your customers are
- what sets you apart from your competitors
- how you will create a market for your products and services
- how you will operate
- what your financial projections are
- how your business or industry will evolve
- who owns or manages your business
- what your short-term and long-term goals are.
Refer to the corresponding sections in our free business plan template:
- 2.1 Products and services
- 2.2 Market analysis
- 2.3 Industry description and outlook
- 2.4 SWOT analysis
In this section, you should highlight your business products and services and describe what makes them unique, such as their:
- cost and sale price.
You can also include details of any plans your business has to introduce new products and services.
Your market analysis should describe your target market (e.g. local, international) and target customers.
Add in the research you have done about your industry and the market trends.
In this section, you will also complete a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
Find out more about researching your market:
- planning and conducting market and customer research
- market research kit .
- 3.1 Current situation
- 3.2 Marketing objectives
- 3.3 Target segments
- 3.4 Competitor analysis
- 3.5 Brand positioning
- 3.6 Marketing programs
- 3.7 Marketing tactics
- 3.8 Key actions
- 3.9 Business controls
A business plan should include a high-level summary of your market research and analysis.
Starting with your current situation, complete your marketing objectives and analysis around your target market and your competitiveness.
Complete your customer and competitor profiles and develop a 1-page brand strategy .
These will help you prepare your marketing plan in section 3 of the template.
Your plan will include marketing tactics and an action plan. You will identify how you will set KPIs and report on your marketing effectiveness.
- branding your business
- writing a marketing strategy and plan .
- 4.1 Sales strategies
- 4.2 Sales analysis and forecast
- 4.3 Customer management
Explain your sales forecasts and targets in this section, and how you will manage customer records and payments. You should understand what sales strategies will work for you and the best channels to market your products or services .
You will also need to know what your current sales, volume and market share are and what you expect them to be for the next 2 years.
Learn about cash flow, invoices and payments and how to collect and store customer information for help with managing customers.
Regardless of your business or industry, you will need to prepare for operating some of your business online.
Note your digital and customer and data-protection strategies in your business plan. You could also include:
- the digital tools and resources that will be used in your business
- the people responsible for overseeing the digital strategy within the business
- details of any security considerations.
Complete a digital health check and learn how to create a digital strategy for your business .
- 6.1 Business structure
- 6.2 Contracts, licences and agreements
- 6.3 Intellectual property
- 6.4 Insurance
- 6.6 Employees
- 6.7 Financial
- 6.8 Legal and ethical trading
- 6.9 Risk management
- 6.10 Business continuity
In this section, record the legal and risk management considerations for your business.
Describe your business structure and the contracts you have now or could have in the future.
If you have a lease or are considering leasing premises, add the terms and conditions of the lease and any actions you need to take to your plan.
To complete the other legal section, learn about:
- legal requirements for businesses
- selecting the right business location
- business insurance
- intellectual property: the basics
- legal and ethical selling
- your responsibilities as an employer .
Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) if you need information about licences that relate to your business.
To identify the risks to your business, your business plan should also:
- outline and demonstrate that you have considered the risks to your business (a business risk analysis) and the possible consequences
- summarise the plans you have in place for overcoming these risks.
A risk matrix tool or risk management plan can be developed to help you analyse your business risks—read more about identifying and managing business risk .
You will also need to consider business continuity planning to prepare for unexpected situations.
- 7.1 Location
- 7.2 Production
- 7.3 Current performance
- 7.4 Plant and equipment
- 7.6 List of major suppliers
- 7.7 Stock and inventory
This section will cover all you know about how you do things in your business—for example, your standard operating procedures and how to ensure the quality of your products and services.
To better understand your business operations, read about:
- business processes, procedures and standards
- choosing the right business location
- stock control: the basics .
- 8.1 Management and key personnel
- 8.3 Training
- 8.4 Recruitment
- 8.5 Succession planning
This section helps you note your current workforce structure and plan for the workforce you will have in the future as you grow, and for potentially passing the business to a successor.
Your business plan will detail your business's organisational structure (proposed or actual)—this is often shown as a diagram representing the business hierarchy, different roles within the business and how they relate to one another.
You should also consider succession planning, even if you haven't thought about how you would sell or pass on the business.
- workforce planning for small business
- training and developing staff
- passing a business to a successor .
- 9.1 Start-up costs
- 9.2 Profit and loss forecast
- 9.3 Cash flow forecast
- 9.4 Balance sheet
- 9.5 Financial ratios
Your business plan should include your business finance details—there is a separate business finance template you can also complete.
Summarise your key financial details, including:
- costs for establishing or operating the business
- sales needed to break even
- projected cash flow
- funding arrangements
- payment plans.
You can assess the financial performance of your business using financial ratios .
- 10.1 Review and update business goals
- 10.2 Make a schedule to review your actions
The final section of the business plan should include a set of actions to take before you review your business plan next, and check your progress. This should be over a 6–12 month period, based on the business goals outlined in your plan.
Set a regular review date for the actions and the business plan. Assess which actions have been completed, which remain outstanding and which require updating to help your business plan remain relevant.
Read about skills for running a business to consider ways to improve your time management and leadership.
Optional business plan elements
While not essential, the following can supplement your business plan.
Business vision statement and business values
A comprehensive business vision statement defines what your business does and why it is important.
This could be added in more detail in your business plan and referred to in your executive summary. Find out how to create a business vision .
Business values are the principles, beliefs, and standards of behaviour that guide your business. Including this in your plan will better reflect your goals for the business.
Customer journey strategy
This section could include details of your business's key customer service strategies.
Consider mapping out the intended customer journey—the intended path customers will follow when interacting with your business.
Start with a short business plan
A 1-page business plan can be a good place to start your business planning.
It can cover only high-level information about your business value proposition (i.e. why a customer would want to buy your products and services) and business model.
A one-page plan can include details about:
- your business vision and values
- projected income and expenses
- identified business risks
- the customer segments you intend to target
- the value proposition of your business
- channels that could be used to reach your target customers (e.g. direct or online marketing)
- your customer service plan
- how you will receive payment for products and services
- the activities needed to achieve your outcomes
- the resources you will need
- details of any partners you will use to provide goods and services
- the cost structure for your products and services (based on all items as listed in the plan).
You can search online for tools that can help you create this plan—for example, a value proposition canvas or business model canvas .
Once you are satisfied with this short business plan, you can use it as the basis for your full business plan.
Communicating your business plan
Communicating your business plan to your staff and stakeholders is essential for implementing it and achieving your business goals, even when starting out with a small team.
Some practical tips for communicating the plan include:
- being mindful of your audience—different communication styles will suit different audiences (e.g. you may be able to communicate more informally with your staff than with your stakeholders, board members or investors)
- choosing an appropriate format, time and place—you could hold a staff meeting, schedule a business plan review session and invite all staff and stakeholders to attend, or create an online presentation
- using clear, concise and simple language
- making time to get feedback from your staff and stakeholders.
Read about skills for running a business for tips on developing your communication skills.
Learn about managing people through change .
Review and update your business plan
You will need to regularly review your business plan to ensure that it is relevant, achievable and up to date with any changes in your business.
Consider reviewing your business plan:
- at regular intervals (e.g. quarterly or annually)
- after a business SWOT analysis has been completed
- when raising capital (e.g. approaching the bank for a loan or pitching to an investor)
- before implementing growth strategies or new products
- when new staff members are added to the team
- when implementing a new organisational structure
- before changes in the industry or to legislation
- when preparing to sell the business .
To help you review your own plan, ask yourself the following questions:
- What will the review schedule be?
- Is the plan up to date?
- Have the business goals changed?
- Is the plan still matched to the business goals?
- Are market trends changing?
- Have there been major political, environmental, social or technological changes that affect your business?
- Have there been significant changes in your finances or need for capital?
- Is the plan still 'fit for purpose'?
Business planning resources and tools
The following planning resources and tools below can help you compile and update your business plan to ensure your business is on track to meet its goals.
- Small business planning webinar recording
- Writing a marketing strategy and plan
- Identifying and managing business risk
- Business processes, procedures and standards
- Plan your business finances
- Market and customer research
- Choosing and working with business advisers
- Networking in business
- Ask a mentor – business planning
Learn more about business planning with free, online courses .
Resources for finding licences, permits and codes of conduct
Use the Business Launchpad to discover all your licensing needs, compiled in your own customised guide.
You can also search for licences, permits and codes of practice using the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS).
Learn about codes of conduct and codes of practices from:
- the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- WorkCover Queensland .
- Last reviewed: 8 Dec 2022
- Last updated: 1 Jun 2023
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Business plan template
Create a comprehensive business plan with this easy to use business plan template.
Businesses need a strong plan that outlines what you aim to achieve and gives you a roadmap to get there. Creating your own business plan doesn’t have to be difficult, simply set aside some time to work through the various elements.
What does the business plan template do?
The template walks you through each stage of a business plan. It will help ensure that nothing gets missed, including essential elements such as:
- your profile
- your marketing strategy
- your business structure.
When you’re writing your business plan , it’s important to:
- be clear and focused about what you want to achieve – and stay realistic
- avoid using long words or sentences. Keep your writing clear, simple and easy to understand.
When you’re writing a business plan, use the process to think carefully though every step of your business start-up carefully. You’ll pinpoint weaknesses, identify your strengths, and spot opportunities you might not have thought of.
Writing a plan can be enjoyable. It will help you highlight the ideas and activities at the core of your business, and force you to get your priorities in order too. It could also show you what success will look like, so you can begin measuring it. Each section of the template comes with brief instructions, so that you get the structure right.
When you’re finished, one of our small business bankers will be happy to go over the plan and provide advice and guidance. You can request a call back online to discuss this further.
Download our business plan template (DOC, 158KB) , opens in new window and read our detailed article on writing your business plan to get started.
Use our business plan template to guide you through writing your business plan.
Other business moments
Find out if you’re suited to running a business
Use our checklist to help you determine if you have what it takes.
How to write a business plan
Follow our helpful guide to writing a comprehensive plan.
What are business drivers and how do I identify them?
Boost profitability by identifying your key business drivers.
Related products and services
Online business banking.
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Loans and finance
Starting a business or looking to expand? Our range of business loans, overdrafts, equipment and trade finance options can help you achieve your goals.
NAB has a range of business calculators and tools, along with a national network of business bankers to help you.
Get in touch
Visit our business banking contact page for how-to-guides and FAQs, as well as contact numbers.
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Let our business banking specialists help you in person.
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The information contained in this article is correct as of July 2018 and is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.
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Write a business plan
Write down your ideas.
A business plan explains your business's goals and outlines how they will be achieved.
If you're applying for a grant or finance, you must have a business plan as part of the application.
When to do a plan
You should write a business plan before you start operating.
It can be tricky to do if you're still in the planning stages. But you can amend your plan as your business grows and changes.
Review your plan regularly and update it as needed.
Even existing businesses may benefit from putting a business plan together.
What to include
In general, a plan would usually include:
- an executive summary
- description of your business
- information about your business structure
- market research
- marketing and sales strategy
- financial plan - such as your start-up costs and funding , expected cash flow and sales plan
- staffing requirements, including how you will attract, select and recruit workers .
Get a business plan template from the Australian Government's Business website .
For assistance putting together your plan, talk to:
- small business champions
- a business coach or consultant (fees may apply)
- government funded services like the Business Enterprise Centre NT .
Existing businesses may be eligible for the Business Growth Program . This program provides funding for existing businesses to work with business consultants.
Contact a Territory Business Centre to find out what help you might be eligible for.
On this page
Research your business idea.
Look into your idea before deciding to make it a business.
Create a sales plan
Set realistic sales goals.
Contact a Territory Business Centre
Territory Business Centres can give you information about starting a business, licensing requirements and government assistance programs.
- Employment, Small Business...
Business plan template
- Download (134.5 KiB) (DOCX)
Template for use in creating a business plan
Business plan template.
Having a well prepared business plan before starting your business can help you refine your idea, gain a deeper understanding of your market and have a clear direction for your business. Our guide to using the business plan template will help you when using this resource.
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