550+ Free business plan examples
Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 550 free real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries to guide you through writing your own plan. If you're looking for an intuitive tool that walks you through the plan writing process, we recommend LivePlan . It includes many of these same SBA-approved business plan examples and is especially useful when applying for a bank loan or outside investment.
Find your business plan
Accounting, Insurance & Compliance Business Plans
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Children & Pets Business Plans
- Children's Education & Recreation
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Cleaning, Repairs & Maintenance Business Plans
- Auto Detail & Repair
- Cleaning Products
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Clothing & Fashion Brand Business Plans
- Clothing & Fashion Design
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Construction, Architecture & Engineering Business Plans
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Consulting, Advertising & Marketing Business Plans
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Education Business Plans
- Education Consulting
- Education Products
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Entertainment & Recreation Business Plans
- Film & Television
- View All 60
Events Business Plans
- Event Planning
- View All 17
Farm & Agriculture Business Plans
- Agriculture Consulting
- View All 16
Finance & Investing Business Plans
- Financial Planning
- View All 10
Fine Art & Crafts Business Plans
Fitness & Beauty Business Plans
- Salon & Spa
- View All 35
Food & Beverage Business Plans
- Bar & Brewery
- View All 81
Hotel & Lodging Business Plans
- Bed and Breakfast
Finish your plan faster with step-by-step guidance, financial wizards, and a proven format.
IT, Staffing & Customer Service Business Plans
- Administrative Services
- Customer Service
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Manufacturing & Wholesale Business Plans
- Cleaning & Cosmetics Manufacturing
- View All 68
Medical & Health Business Plans
- Dental Practice
- Health Administration
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Nonprofit Business Plans
- Co-op Nonprofit
- Food & Housing Nonprofit
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Real Estate & Rentals Business Plans
- Equipment Rental
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Retail & Ecommerce Business Plans
- Car Dealership
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Technology Business Plans
- Apps & Software
- Communication Technology
Transportation, Travel & Logistics Business Plans
- Airline, Taxi & Shuttle
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Example business plan format
Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:
The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.
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, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).
Products & services
The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and any traction that proves that it truly meets the need you identified.
This is your chance to explain why you're in business and that people care about what you offer. It needs to go beyond a simple product or service description and get to the heart of why your business works and benefits your customers.
Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.
Part of defining your opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage may be. To do this effectively you need to get to know your competitors just as well as your target customers. Every business will have competition, if you don't then you're either in a very young industry or there's a good reason no one is pursuing this specific venture.
To succeed, you want to be sure you know who your competitors are, how they operate, necessary financial benchmarks, and how you're business will be positioned. Start by identifying who your competitors are or will be during your market research. Then leverage competitive analysis tools like the competitive matrix and positioning map to solidify where your business stands in relation to the competition.
Marketing & sales
The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.
The operations section covers the day-to-day workflows for your business to deliver your product or service. What's included here fully depends on the type of business. Typically you can expect to add details on your business location, sourcing and fulfillment, use of technology, and any partnerships or agreements that are in place.
Milestones & metrics
The milestones section is where you lay out strategic milestones to reach your business goals.
A good milestone clearly lays out the parameters of the task at hand and sets expectations for its execution. You'll want to include a description of the task, a proposed due date, who is responsible, and eventually a budget that's attached. You don't need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them.
You should also discuss key metrics, which are the numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common data points worth tracking include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, profit, etc.
Company & team
Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure and history if you're already up and running.
Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.
Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.
The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or out-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.
Types of business plans explained
While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. 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 for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or in any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.
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.
The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.
One-page business plan
The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.
By starting with a one-page plan , you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.
Growth planning is more than a specific type of business plan. It's 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, forecast, review, and refine based on your performance.
It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27 minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a more detailed plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of growth planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the growth planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.
It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.
Download a free sample business plan template
Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2023.
This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.
How to use an example business plan to help you write your own
How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.
Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company
You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.
For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.
Use a business plan example as a guide
Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.
One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.
You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.
If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, our business planning guide is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan .
Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document
Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.
Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool
Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.
If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.
Prepare to pitch your business
If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.
Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.
With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.
Get LivePlan in your classroom
Are you an educator looking for real-world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry-best business plans and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet-free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources that work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.
With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .
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Simple Business Plan Templates
By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020
In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.
On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.
Simple Business Plan Template
Download Simple Business Plan Template
This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.
One-Page Business Plan Template
Download One-Page Business Plan Template
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business.
For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."
Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.
For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."
Simple Business Plan for Startup
Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word
This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."
Simple Small-Business Plan Template
Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template
This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.
Lean Business Plan Template
Download Lean Business Plan Template
This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.
Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Word | PDF
Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.
Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Excel | Smartsheet
This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.
Simple Business Plan Rubric Template
Download Simple Business Plan Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.
Basic Business Plan Sample
Download Basic Business Plan Sample
This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.
For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”
Main Components of a Business Plan
The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business.
Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:
- Company name and contact information
- Website address
- The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
- Table of Contents
- Company background and purpose
- Mission and vision statement
- Management team introduction
- Core product and service offerings
- Target customers and segments
- Marketing plan
- Competitive analysis
- Unique value proposition
- Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
- Business and industry overview
- Historical timeline of your business
- Offerings and the problem they solve
- Current alternatives
- Competitive advantage
- Market size
- Target market segment(s)
- Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
- Differentiation from competitors
- Pricing strategy
- Marketing channels
- Promotional plan
- Distribution methods
- Legal structure of your business
- Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
- Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
- Staffing requirements and training plans
- Physical location(s) of your business
- Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
- Production workflow
- Raw materials and sourcing methods
- Projected income statement
- Projected cash flow statement
- Projected balance sheet
- Break-even analysis
- Charts and graphs
- Market research and competitive analysis
- Information about your industry
- Information about your offerings
- Samples of marketing materials
- Other supporting materials
Tips for Creating a Business Plan
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan.
- Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
- Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
- Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
- Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
- Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
- Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
- Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
- What product or service are we offering?
- Who is the product or service for?
- What problem does our product or service offering solve?
- How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
- Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
- How can we outperform our competitors?
- What is our unique value proposition?
- When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
- If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
- When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
- What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
- When do you expect to be profitable?
To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .
Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template
Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:
- Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
- Provides structure to help outline your plan
- Saves time and valuable resources
- Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details
Limitations of a Business Plan Template
A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.
Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:
- Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
- A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
- Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
- You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
- Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).
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Business Plan template
What is a business plan.
A Business Plan is a written document that describes your core business objectives and how you plan to achieve them over a set period of time. It is designed to help you, and others, understand how you plan to generate money and make your business sustainable. A Business Plan often includes information about your goals, strategies, marketing and sales plans and financial forecasts. Read on below for more information about the key sections of a Business Plan.
Download your copy of the Business Plan template now. The document includes a Personal Survival Budget template and a Cash Flow Forecast template, which are also required for your application:
The guide is an annotated version of the Business Plan template with notes from our Business Advisers about what type of information, examples and evidence to include in order to help us understand you and your business. While we encourage you to use this Business Plan template, it is not mandatory and you are welcome to submit your own Business Plan template provided it details similar information.
Please note, the following documents should open on any device with a document viewer and editor but for the best user experience, we recommend editing this Business Plan template on a desktop.
Why is a Business Plan important?
There are many great reasons why it is worth your time creating a Business Plan – even if you’re not quite ready to apply for a Start Up Loan. Here are just seven:
A Business Plan:
- Provides a structured way of organising your thoughts and clarifying your idea.
- Helps you set out your goals and spot any potential problems in achieving these goals.
- Gives you a clear strategy to follow when things get busy.
- Is often essential for securing external finance for your business (and is required if you’re applying for a Start Up Loan).
- Allows you to measure your progress as you go along.
- Ensures all of your team are working towards the same vision.
- Helps you plan for the future.
Key sections of a Business Plan:
A Business Plan can include whatever information you feel is required to best convey how you are planning to make your business sustainable and, when it comes to applying for a Start Up Loan, the following are the core sections we require.
Your business and key objectives: A brief description of your business and its core products or services. This section also includes a clear and concise overview of the goals your business is trying to achieve over a set period of time. Sometimes these are broken down as short, mid and long-term goals, but it helps if they’re measurable (how will you know if you have achieved this?) and realistic (can you achieve this with the money, resources and time you have?).
If you are applying for a Start Up Loan, you will of course also need to detail how you intend to use the money if you’re successful. Our Loan Assessment team will want to see that the Start Up Loan will support your overall business objectives.
Your skills and experience: An overview of your experience as it relates to your business. If you’ve previously worked in a similar business, or have experience running another business, this will help provide confidence that you are in a good position to start up. Even if this is all brand new to you, think about any transferable skills you’ve developed, life experiences you’ve had or training you’ve completed that may be useful.
Your target customers, market and competition: A summary of key insights that demonstrate you have a strong understanding of your customers (and how to identify them), your market (and how to position yourself within it) and your competitors (and how to differentiate yourself from them on factors like price, quality, brand etc).
Your sales and marketing plans: This section is all about how you are planning to attract customers. You might include information about where you’ll distribute your products, what your branding and logo will be and what pricing you’ll apply. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate how you will spread the word about your product/services in order to generate demand, such as using social media, exhibiting at a trade conference or investing in online advertising.
Your operational plans: This will be different depending on your business model, but may include information on where you’ll trade (like a home office or external premises), the number of staff you’ll need to employ, what their roles will be and any equipment or tools you’ll need to run your business. You can also use this section to detail any processes that are important to your operations, as well as any industry, tax or legal regulations related to your business. It’s also good to think about any risks you may face, how you will overcome them and what you will do if things don’t go to plan.
Financials Many business plans include a financial section, which outlines how you’ll fund all of the activities you’ve outlined and what revenue you expect to generate. Because we ask you to complete a Cash Flow Forecast as part of your Start Up Loan application, we don’t require too much detail on this in your Business Plan. Rather, these two documents should be complementary.
Check out our Cash Flow Forecast guide and template >>
Writing a Business Plan – our top tips:
The tips below have been prepared by our Business Advisers and Loan Assessment team to help you understand some of the key things that will strengthen your application. For more in-depth advice, read our guidelines on how to write a Business Plan .
- Demonstrate that you understand your market and customer. For our Loan Assessment team to feel comfortable that your business plans are viable, they will want to see that there is a market who wants and needs your product/service, that you have thought about how you’ll set yourself apart from competitors and that you know how to attract your customers. Any market research you can do, like a simple online survey, looking up industry reports or interviews with potential customers will help.
- Use evidence and examples to back up any statements you make. It’s always more powerful when you can prove what you’re saying with hard facts, whether it’s with a strong statistic, a customer quote, examples of similar activity or other research. It doesn’t have to be detailed – sometimes it will be sufficient to include a link to further information – but it will help our loan assessment team feel more confident that your business plan is viable.
- Make sure everything ties together by linking every strategy to your core objectives. The purpose of a Business Plan is to show what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them so remember to put your objectives at the heart of your plan. For example, if one of your goals is to generate 10 new sales per month, then in your marketing section you’ll need to think about how many sales each promotional channel needs to deliver in order to support this objective.
- Consider any risks you face and how you will overcome them. Every business has risks so don’t shy away from referencing these in your business plan. Demonstrating that you are aware of your key risks. Having a clear plan for how to reduce or overcome these is something that will set your business plan apart and give our loan assessment team confidence that you’re ready for the challenge.
- Be as clear and concise as possible and avoid waffle. Remember, we’re not looking to see every single detail about how your business will operate, rather we just need to know enough information to give us confidence that you have a clear plan in place. You might like to use bullet points, graphs, tables and subheadings to help you keep your content focused and help you avoid the temptation to go into too much detail.
- Presentation matters: proof read, review and format your document. As with most things in life, first impressions count. Use clear headings, structure your document in a clear order and check you’ve used consistent fonts throughout. Remember, you don’t have to be a writer or a designer to prepare a professional looking document. Most importantly, double check that you haven’t made any spelling or grammatical errors. It can be a good idea to have someone proof read your work for you once you’re finished to pick up anything you might have missed.
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A Business Plan can include whatever information you feel is required to best convey how you are planning to make your business sustainable and, when it comes to applying for a Start Up Loan, the following are the core sections we require (our Business Plan template includes them).
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7 Free Business Plans Templates & Examples
Whether you're pitching a potential cofounder, investors, future employees, or accelators, these business plan templates will help you define your mission and sell your vision., featured business templates, all business plans business templates..
Browse through 7 of the best Business Plans business templates and find the right one for you.
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Free business plan template for small businesses in 2023
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A business plan is critical for any serious entrepreneur and business owner. Without a plan, you can lose your vision; it's easier to get distracted by the next new thing, and without an established WHY it can be difficult to keep going when times get tough. If business planning feels overwhelming, we've got the solution: a free business plan template for small businesses.
In this article, we're sharing our free business plan template, what we love about it and our tips for creating a business plan that will set you up for success.
What’s covered in our business plan template?
- Use our favorite free business plan template
Tips to create a business plan that works
Business plan template faq.
Our business plan template cover all sorts of areas of business. The best thing about this free business plan template for startups is that it acts as a guide to help you write your plan effectively — overwhelm, be gone!
Below, we describe the basics functions of each template, so that you can pick the template that best suits your needs:
Introduce your business plan and outline any key points. You'll include a brief overview of the business plan, its purpose, its mission statement, and a summary of notable points.
The company description is an in-depth description of the business, including values and mission statements.
The company goals section should include specific key performance indicators and strategies, you'll be able to track your progress and celebrate your successes along the way.
Products / Services
Your business plan will outline what you're selling. You might start thinking about your target market here, too.
Include a comprehensive evaluation of the industry and market. This section must be thorough, especially if you're presenting to investors. They will feel more comfortable investing if they believe you're well-researched and know your market. You'll want to consider an analysis of competitors, market size, customer demographics, where your product or service fits, and how you intend to close the gap on aspirational competitors to disrupt the market.
Marketing and sales strategy
In your business plan, create a roadmap for marketing and sales. You'll need to demonstrate how to reach and attract customers, including advertising, promotions, and sales tactics. During this section, you'll need to choose priorities and support why you're focusing on particular marketing or sales tactics.
A detailed analysis of the financials, including revenue forecasts and expense projections. You'll need to include a break-even analysis to indicate when funders can expect a return on their money. This section is critical, especially if you're starting with someone else's cash.
Supporting documents, such as resumes of key personnel, market research data, and financial statements.
Use our free business plan template
We’ve provided our free business plan template in several formats, for your convenience. Simply download a template in your desired format, follow the instructions and compose your own text to replace the example.
Ready to get started? You got this!
- Download Template in Word
- Download Template in PowerPoint
- Download Template in Google Docs
- Download Template in Google Slides
Here are some of our top tips for creating a business plan that will help you.
Get very clear on what you’re saying in your plan.
When you develop your business plan, you will be focusing hard on each aspect of your business. Now is the time to focus intently on the business. If you aim for absolute clarity on your plan, you’ll thank yourself later since your business planning will help you spot potential issues that you can resolve, or plan for, now.
Conduct thorough market research.
Your market research is of utmost importance. In most cases, you need to think about your market online and off. You need to prove this research is well-thought-out so that investors are not struggling to find faults or missed opportunities.
Develop a focused marketing plan .
It’s very easy to become enamored with marketing, but you must keep yourself focused and realistic. Marketing is expensive. You need to pick your channels wisely based on data, and better to focus on a few channels well than many poorly.
Project your financials realistically.
Investors won’t take kindly to unrealistic financial projections or timelines for break-even.
Keep your language clear and concise.
Your business plan needs to use simple terms to avoid confusion.
Include an executive summary.
Your summary provides a concise overview of your business plan. Since all stakeholders must review this plan, the executive summary will be an excellent reminder of notable details.
Regularly review and update your plan.
My first business plan was a four-year plan, but within one year, I had achieved almost everything planned. After the first year, I reviewed my plan, so the business was constantly evolving.
Think hard about your why .
Your real why might not be something you put in front of your investors, but when I created my business plan, I added a page dedicated to my personal why. This slide goes beyond revenue, expenses, and logistics. I use it to keep myself motivated and inspired. My ‘why’ includes having a better work/life balance, supporting my friends and family, pursuing a business that allows me to hire new talent, and earning enough to donate to charities or mentor aspiring entrepreneurs.
Is the business plan template really free?
Yes! The business plan template is free and highly customizable too. Our free plan should get you started, and you can feel free to add or remove sections to tailor the template to your business.
How do I write a business plan?
If you’re asking how to write a business plan , then starting with a free business plan template is an absolute must. Our free template will guide you through each phase required.
To write a business plan, you must outline your mission, target market, and unique value proposition. Your business plan should include market research and an understanding of who your immediate and aspirational competitors are. Also, where exactly you fit in the market and how your offering is unique.
What’s of utmost importance, especially if you want to persuade funders or investors, is demonstrating a clear understanding of your market, competitors, and financial projections. You need to be realistic but bold and knowledgeable in your approach. Investors need to feel very safe that the money they invest (and more) will return in ample time.
Why do I need a business plan to start a business?
Importantly, a business plan is there for you; it helps you articulate your vision. Whilst you may already know what you want to do with your business, taking the time to put your thoughts in writing will help you gain clarity over your thoughts and direction.
A well-thought-out business plan will help you settle your ‘why' for both an online business or offline venture. It can also help you stay on track as you grow your business by providing a framework for measuring progress and making informed decisions.
Writing your business plan can also help you assess the viability of your business idea. When you create the plan for the business, you think about the details so you can highlight any roadblocks or things that won’t work before you start. This will save expensive mistakes later.
Outside of your needs as an entrepreneur, a business plan will likely be required to secure funding from investors or lenders. Without a plan, there’s no real backing to demonstrate why you need funding and how quickly it can be returned.
The information contained in this guide is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter.
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