Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples

By Joe Weller | May 6, 2020

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

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

Startup Business Plan Template

online startup business plan template

Download Startup Business Plan Template - Word

Word | Smartsheet

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

One-Page Startup Business Plan Template

One Page Business Plan For Start Up Template

Download One-Page Startup Business Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF

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

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

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

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

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

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

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

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

Business Plan Outline Template for Startups

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Download Business Plan Outline Template for Startups

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

Startup Business Planning Template with Timeline

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Download Startup Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

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

Business Plan Rubric Template for Startups

online startup business plan template

Download Business Plan Rubric Template for Startups

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

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

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

What’s the Best Business Plan Template for Startups?

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

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

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

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

What to Include in a Startup Business Plan

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

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

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

One-Page Lean Business Plan Example

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

One Page Business Plan Example

Startup Business Plan Sample

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

Basic Business Plan Sample

Download Startup Business Plan Sample - PDF

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

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

Top 10 Tips to Create a Startup Business Plan

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

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

Successfully Implement Your Startup Business Plan with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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Blog Feature Updates

Startup Business Plans 101: Your Path to Success

By Jay Nair , Jul 24, 2023

online startup business plan template

It’s time — you’ve got a promising idea and you’re now prepared to invest the necessary effort to turn it into reality. Startup business plans are vital hack tools that will guide you through your entrepreneurial journey and a business venture with clarity and purpose.

Though vital, business planning doesn’t have to be a chore. Business plans for lean startups and solopreneurs can simply outline the business concept, sales proposition, target customers and sketch out a plan of action to bring the product or service to market. These plans will serve as strategic documents outlining your company’s vision, mission statements, business objectives, target market, financial forecasts and growth strategies.

To simplify the creation of a robust business plan as an entrepreneur, you can harness the power of a business plan maker . This invaluable tool streamlines the process and ensures a polished and well-organized presentation.  Startup business plan templates provide pre-designed frameworks that can be customized to suit your specific industry needs, saving valuable time and effort while preserving the essential structure of a comprehensive business plan.

Ready to begin? Let’s go!

online startup business plan template

Just so you know, some of our business plan templates are free to use and some require a small monthly fee. Sign-up is always free, as is access to Venngage’s online drag-and-drop editor.

Click to jump ahead:

  • Laying the foundation of your startup business plan
  • Business plan executive summary
  • Writing your business description
  • Marketing & sales strategies
  • Startup operational plans
  • Financial plans – forecasting and projections
  • Team and management
  • Appendix and supporting documents

FAQs on startup business plans

  • Use Venngage to create your startup business plan

Preparation and research: 6 steps to laying the foundation of your startup business plan

  • What problem does your product or service solve? 
  • Who are your target customers? 
  • What differentiates your offering from existing solutions in the market? 

This self-reflection will help you establish a clear direction for your startup.

  • Next, conduct market research to gather valuable insights about your target market , including demographics, preferences, and purchasing behavior . This data will enable you to tailor your product or service to meet the specific needs of your customers. Identify trends, industry growth projections, and any potential barriers or challenges you may encounter.
  • Competitive analysis is another critical aspect of preparation and research. Study your competitors to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. Analyze their pricing, marketing tactics, customer experience, and product/service features. This analysis will allow you to identify gaps in the market and position your startup to offer a unique value proposition .
  • Financial research is equally important during this phase. Calculate the costs associated with starting and operating your business , including overhead expenses, production costs, marketing expenses, and employee salaries. Assess potential revenue streams and estimate your expected sales. This financial analysis will help you determine the feasibility of your business idea and outline a realistic financial plan.
  • Additionally, gather information about legal and regulatory requirements that apply to your industry and location . Understand the necessary permits, licenses, and certifications you need to operate legally. Complying with these regulations from the outset will prevent potential setbacks or legal issues in the future.
  • Finally, organize your findings and insights into a coherent business plan. Create your business plan outline , list your business plan goals, strategies, target market, competitive analysis, marketing plan, financial projections and any other relevant information. This compilation will serve as a roadmap for your startup, guiding your decisions and actions moving forward.

You’ve just encountered a wealth of information and are well on your way to becoming a seasoned business owner! This can sometimes feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, take a moment to breathe deeply and remember how far you’ve come. You’ve got this!

To help you condense and organize your essential points, I have brilliant one-page samples of business plan layouts and templates that will capture everything in a concise format.

online startup business plan template

Knowing when to use a one-page business plan versus a more comprehensive plan depends on various factors. A one-page business plan is ideal for providing a quick overview, saving time, and internal planning. However, it may not suffice for detailed information, complex business models, or meeting external stakeholders’ expectations.

Ultimately, consider the purpose, audience, and complexity of your business when deciding whether to utilize a one-page business plan or opt for a more detailed approach.

Executive Summary: Your Startup’s Elevator Pitch

First impressions are crucial, and a concise yet comprehensive executive summary is your chance to grab potential investors’ attention.

To create a compelling elevator pitch, consider the following key elements:

Problem Statement : Clearly articulate the problem or pain point that your startup addresses. Emphasize the significance of the problem and the potential market size

Solution : Concisely describe your innovative solution or product that solves the identified problem. Highlight its unique features or benefits that differentiate it from existing alternatives.

Target Market : Define your ideal customer segment and outline the market potential. Demonstrate a deep understanding of your target audience’s needs, preferences, and behavior.

Competitive Advantage : Showcase the competitive edge that sets your startup apart from competitors. This could include intellectual property, strategic partnerships, cost advantages, or disruptive technology.

Business Model : Briefly explain how your startup generates revenue and sustains profitability. Outline your monetization strategy, pricing model, and any recurring revenue streams .

Traction and Milestones : Highlight any significant achievements or milestones reached by your startup. This could include customer acquisitions, partnerships, product development progress, or market validation.

Team : Showcase the expertise and qualifications of your founding team or business partners. Highlight key members and their relevant experiences demonstrating their ability to execute the business plan.

I can sense your eagerness to dive right in! To expedite your progress, I’m excited to present you with a collection of meticulously crafted executive summary templates. These templates have been thoughtfully designed and structured by Venngage designers, ensuring seamless integration into your thorough business plan. All you need to do is infuse them with your brilliant startup ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to success!

online startup business plan template

Now, remember that there’s still a ton of work to be done. Let’s take a moment to regroup and ensure we’re on the right track. Before diving into the process of writing your business plan , it’s imperative to gather a wealth of essential information. Conducting comprehensive research is key, and it should encompass the following aspects:

How to assess your target audience

To gain comprehensive insights into your potential user base, creating a user persona report is invaluable. This persona guide report will help you develop a detailed understanding of various user profiles, enabling you to tailor your products or services to meet their specific needs and preferences.

online startup business plan template

Understanding Your Market and Competition

Analyze your market and any trends relevant to your startup. Research your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and identify what differentiates your offering from the competition.

online startup business plan template

Developing a Unique Value Proposition

A business Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a concise statement that communicates the unique advantage a product or service offers over competitors, addressing a specific problem or need. It highlights the distinctive value and benefits customers can expect, helping businesses attract and retain customers by differentiating themselves in the market.

Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the cornerstone of your startup, defining what sets you apart from your competitors. A strong UVP focuses on the specific benefits and solutions your startup offers to customers.

online startup business plan template

Company Description: Painting the Picture

Your company description allows you to showcase your startup’s unique features and provide more in-depth details about your business. This section should include:

The Purpose of the Company Description

Clarify the purpose of your business, your goals and how your startup is uniquely positioned to achieve them.

Essential Information to Include

Include details such as your company’s legal structure, location and a brief history of any founders or key personnel.

Showcase Your Company’s Unique Features

Emphasize the unique aspects of your startup, explaining how these features translate into a competitive advantage.

Allow me to provide you with a dash of inspiration to ignite the momentum for your startup business plan:

online startup business plan template

When it comes to showcasing your company’s unique features, keep in mind that it is essential to emphasize and highlight the distinctive aspects of your startup . Clearly articulate how these features set your company apart from competitors and translate into a tangible competitive advantage . 

Whether it’s through cutting-edge technology, innovative business models, exceptional customer service, or a combination of factors, conveying the value and impact of these unique features is crucial. By effectively communicating the benefits they bring to customers, investors, and partners, you can demonstrate the significance of your offerings and differentiate yourself in the market.

Product/Service Line: What You’re Bringing to the Table

This section highlights the finer details of your product or service offerings:

Detailing Your Product/Service Offerings

Provide a thorough description of your products/services, highlighting key features and their intended use.

online startup business plan template

Highlighting Features, Benefits, and Solutions

Demonstrate how your startup’s offerings solve specific problems or address customer needs through an analysis of product features and associated benefits.

online startup business plan template

Defining Your Pricing and Revenue Model

Outline your startup’s pricing strategy and how it aligns with the overall business model. Detail any plans for scaling or expanding your revenue sources in the future.

online startup business plan template

Presenting Your Market Research Findings

Share insights from your market research, including target customer demographics, market size, and growth potential.

online startup business plan template

Identifying Market Trends and Opportunities

Discuss current trends, emerging opportunities, and how your startup will capitalize on these developments.

online startup business plan template

Marketing and Sales Strategies: Spreading the Word

Developing a robust marketing and sales strategy plan aligns with your overall business strategy and ensures steady growth. Marketing planning will be an essential part of your journey once you’ve got your business plan tight-knit! Also, creating a marketing strategy can be the most fun part of your business plan!

Developing a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy & Plan

  • Outline Specific Marketing Goals : Clearly define your marketing objectives, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads, or boosting sales . Set measurable targets to track progress.
  • Identify Target Audience : Conduct thorough market research to identify your ideal customer profiles. Understand their demographics, behaviors, preferences, and pain points. Tailor your marketing messages to resonate with their needs.
  • Select Effective Marketing Channels : Consider both digital and traditional channels that align with your target audience and marketing goals. This may include online advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email campaigns, print media, events, or partnerships.
  • Craft Compelling Messages : Develop persuasive and consistent messaging that highlights the unique value proposition of your products or services. Clearly communicate how your offerings solve customer problems or improve their lives.

online startup business plan template

5 Tips for Effective Sales Techniques and Growth Strategies + free templates

  • Define Your Sales Strategy : Outline the approach and tactics your sales team will use to reach and convert customers. This may involve direct sales, channel partnerships, online sales, or a combination of strategies. Specify your sales process, including lead generation, qualification, nurturing, and closing.
  • Expand Your Customer Base : Identify opportunities to expand your customer reach. Consider targeting new customer segments, entering new geographic markets, or exploring untapped market niches. Develop strategies to attract and engage these potential customers.
  • Penetrate New Markets : Assess the feasibility of expanding into new markets or verticals. Market research will help you understand the dynamics, competition, and customer needs in these markets. Adapt your marketing and sales strategies accordingly to effectively penetrate and capture market share.
  • Innovate Products/Services : Continuously evaluate and enhance your product or service offerings to meet evolving customer demands. Identify areas for innovation or improvement and develop a roadmap for launching new features, versions, or complementary offerings.
  • Perform a SWOT analysis : By conducting a sales SWOT analysis , you will gather valuable insights to enhance your department’s performance. This analysis involves evaluating your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, enabling you to identify areas for improvement and capitalize on advantageous factors in the market.

Here’s a hack to get you organized – Get right into it with the help of these growth strategy templates and strategic planning templates :

online startup business plan template

Operational Plan: How Your Startup Will Run

Define an efficient and scalable operational plan, keeping in mind the following points:

Defining an Efficient and Scalable Plan

Outline the day-to-day operations, including processes, timelines, and necessary resources.

Legal Considerations for Your Startup Business

Identify any legal requirements or considerations, such as licenses, permits, or regulations that may apply to your startup.

Key Elements of Supply Chain Management and Logistics

Discuss supply chain and logistical aspects relevant to your business. Include details on how you plan to manage and scale these processes.

Here’s a kickstart on how you can structure your operating plans:

online startup business plan template

Financial Projections: Crunching the Numbers

A startup’s financial projections are vital in securing investor buy-in. This section should address:

The Importance of Financial Forecasting and Budgeting

Explain the significance of accurate financial forecasting, budgeting, and the assumptions made in your projections.

Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Highlight the KPIs used to gauge your business’s financial health and growth trajectory.

Outlining Funding Requirements

Detail the amount and type of funding your startup requires , including how the funds will be allocated and how this investment positions the company for growth.

online startup business plan template

Team and Management Structure: Building Your Dream Team

Your startup’s success depends on the people behind it. This section should cover:

Tips for Building the Right Team

Share your strategy for assembling a skilled team that supports your startup’s vision and growth trajectory.

Founders’ Background and Roles

Provide an overview of the founders’ backgrounds, their roles within the company, and how their skills contribute to the startup’s success.

Organizational Structure and Key Management Personnel

Outline your startup’s organizational structure, including any key management personnel who play a pivotal role in day-to-day operations.

Appendices and Supporting Documents: Backing Up Your Plan

Include any other relevant supporting documents, such as:

  • Research data, market analysis, or competitor analyses.
  • Financial statements, budgeting or forecasting data, and other financial documentation.
  • Legal documents, agreements or contracts, and any patent or trademark information.

Finally, remember to review and update your business plan regularly as the industry, market, and competitive landscape evolve!

1. Why is a business plan essential for a startup?

A startup business plan is crucial for a startup because it provides a framework for strategic decision-making, facilitates financial planning, helps assess risks, aligns teams, communicates your vision, and ensures effective resource allocation. 

2. What should a startup business plan include?

A startup business plan should include:

  • Vision and Direction : Set clear goals and objectives, and outline strategies to achieve them. With a well-defined plan, you will stay focused, make informed decisions, and ensure alignment with your vision.
  • Market Analysis : A business plan necessitates thorough market research to understand your target market, identify competition, and assess product/service demand. These insights enable you to tailor offerings, meet customer needs, and gain a competitive edge.
  • Financial Planning : By constructing a financial roadmap through projected statements such as income, cash flow, and balance sheets, a business plan unveils the expected revenues, expenses, and profitability. This comprehensive planning not only anticipates challenges and sets realistic goals but also serves as a magnet for attracting investors and securing funding.
  • Risk Assessment : Devise strategies for risk mitigation and contingency planning. By proactively doing this, you can significantly enhance the likelihood of success by anticipating and effectively addressing potential obstacles.
  • Communication and Team Alignment : From fostering effective communication with both internal and external stakeholders to aligning team members and showcasing your startup’s unique value proposition, a business plan plays a crucial role. It enables you to articulate target market insights, competitive advantages, and growth strategies to potential investors, partners, and employees.
  • Resource Allocation : A business plan helps you identify the resources required to launch and operate your startup successfully. It includes an assessment of your human resources, technology needs, infrastructure requirements, and other key resources. By understanding your resource needs, you can allocate them effectively, ensuring that you have the necessary assets to execute your business strategy.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility : Your business plan should be flexible enough to accommodate changes and adapt to new circumstances. Startups operate in dynamic environments, and a well-designed plan allows you to monitor progress, evaluate outcomes, and make adjustments as needed. This agility enables you to seize new opportunities and navigate challenges effectively.

3. What is the ideal length for a startup business plan?

The optimal length for a startup business plan typically depends on the specific requirements and intended audience, but a concise and focused plan of around 20 to 30 pages is often recommended.

4. How to write a good startup business plan?

To write a good and effective startup plan, include an executive summary, company description, market analysis, detailed products/services description and a clear marketing and sales strategy. Also incorporate a comprehensive financial plan, outline your organizational structure, and demonstrates your team’s expertise and capabilities. Your plan should be well-researched, concise, and compelling, with a focus on your company’s unique value proposition and market opportunity, making it attractive to investors and stakeholders.

Utilizing Venngage templates & other tools for success

A visually appealing and professional business plan needn’t be a daunting task. Leverage tools like Venngage Business Plan Maker for effective templates that cater to various industries and streamline the process. 

  • Leveraging Venngage for Visually Appealing and Professional Business Plans

Venngage offers a range of templates designed specifically for business plans, allowing you to craft a polished and visually engaging plan without any design experience. Simply choose a template, customize it to suit your startup’s branding, and populate it with your content.

  • Exploring Additional Resources and Tools for Entrepreneurs. In addition to Venngage, several other resources and tools can assist entrepreneurs in crafting the perfect business plan. Examples include:
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) – Offers guidance on writing business plans and provides templates and resources for each section.
  • SCORE – A nonprofit organization providing mentorship, workshops, and other resources for entrepreneurs.
  • Industry-specific resources – Research relevant professional organizations, industry publications, and blogs to stay up to date on industry trends and insights.

Embarking on the entrepreneurial path may present formidable challenges, yet it offers abundant rewards in various aspects. Embrace the art of continuous learning, delving not only into the essence of your business idea but also immersing yourself in the vast world that surrounds it. Cultivate a genuine passion for understanding every facet of your enterprise, for it is through this journey of exploration that you will uncover invaluable insights and experience the true fulfillment of entrepreneurship.

online startup business plan template

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Business plan template

If you’re looking for a way to start your business off on the right foot, a business plan template can help you establish the foundation for your strategy. Get started in a few clicks with Asana’s free business plan template.

Sign up to use this template.

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You’re pumped—you just thought of the greatest business idea ever. You want to get started, but you don’t have a plan laid out. You need a loan to get your idea off the ground, and the bank wants to see an in-depth business plan. We’re here to help.

What is a business plan template?

A business plan template is a framework that helps you solidify your ideas in an organized format. Our free business plan template walks you through how to create a new business from scratch, or re-imagine your existing business in a new market.

What components are included in a business plan template?

Our business plan template covers what an organization wants to achieve within three to five years. By using our template, you’ll have a place to capture all of the major information you need in order to complete your business plan. That includes:

Company description : Information like your executive summary , your company’s mission statement and vision, and your founder’s bio. 

Product and services: A high-level overview of what your company provides, including core products or services. This may also include how your product is developed, any potential screenshots or prototypes of your product, and pricing plans.

Marketing plan: How you plan to bring your product into market at a high level. You can add information like a SWOT analysis , target market research, and brand positioning in this section.

Financial plan: Important financial information such as balance sheets, a break-even analysis, and your cash flow projections. 

Management and organization information: Information on your company’s founders, executive team, and the board of directors.

How to use our free business plan template

Using Asana’s free business plan template is simple. Start by creating a new project with our free template. From there, add relevant information for your specific business plan in the sections provided in our template. If there’s more information you want to include in your business plan, you’re free to add sections, custom fields, or additional tasks to make this template fit your needs.

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Reporting . Reporting in Asana translates project data into visual charts and digestible graphs. By reporting on work where work lives, you can reduce duplicative work and cut down on unnecessary app switching. And, because all of your team’s work is already in Asana, you can pull data from any project or team to get an accurate picture of what’s happening in one place.

Milestones . Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal. 

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Google Workplace . Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.

Gmail . With the Asana for Gmail integration, you can create Asana tasks directly from your Gmail inbox. Any tasks you create from Gmail will automatically include the context from your email, so you never miss a beat. Need to refer to an Asana task while composing an email? Instead of opening Asana, use the Asana for Gmail add-on to simply search for that task directly from your Gmail inbox. 

How do I create a business plan template?

Instead of taking the time to create a business plan from scratch, start the process off with Asana’s free template.To further customize your template, add evergreen information about your specific business, such as your business model, company name, address, mission statement, value proposition, or target audience. Adding these details to your template lets you avoid documenting this information from scratch every time you create a new business plan.

What components should I include in a business plan template?

Business plan templates typically contain five main sections: a company description, products and services, a marketing plan, basic management and organization information, and your current financial plan.

How long should my business plan be?

Short answer—as long as you need it to be. The long answer is that your business plan should have the answers to specific questions on how your business is run, from the perspective of an investor. The goal of a business plan is to highlight your business strategy for the next three to five years. This means any important operational, financial, and strategic information should be included. 

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Business Plan Template for Startup

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Starting a new business can be an exciting and challenging journey. But where do you begin? With ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Startup, you can kickstart your entrepreneurial dreams with ease!

Our business plan template is designed to provide you with a comprehensive framework to:

  • Outline your business concept and define your unique selling proposition
  • Develop a strategic roadmap to guide your business growth
  • Identify and analyze your target market and competitors
  • Create accurate financial projections to attract investors or secure funding

With ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Startup, you'll have all the tools you need to turn your vision into a successful reality. Get started now and set yourself up for entrepreneurial success!

Business Plan Template for Startup Benefits

Starting a new business can be overwhelming, but a business plan template for startups can provide you with the structure and guidance you need to succeed. Here are some of the benefits of using a business plan template:

  • Saves time and effort by providing a pre-designed format and sections to fill in
  • Helps you clarify your business concept and define your target market
  • Guides you in conducting thorough market research and analyzing your competitors
  • Assists in developing a strategic roadmap and setting realistic goals
  • Provides a framework for creating accurate financial projections and budgeting
  • Increases your chances of securing funding from investors or lenders by showcasing your business's potential and profitability

Main Elements of Startup Business Plan Template

When starting a new business, having a solid business plan is essential. ClickUp’s Business Plan Template for Startup includes:

  • Custom Statuses: Track the progress of each section of your business plan with statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do.
  • Custom Fields: Use custom fields like Reference, Approved, and Section to add additional information and categorize different parts of your business plan.
  • Custom Views: Get a comprehensive overview of your business plan with different views such as Topics, Status, Timeline, Business Plan, and a Getting Started Guide.
  • Collaboration Tools: Collaborate with your team in real-time using features like commenting, task assignment, and notifications.
  • Integrations: Connect ClickUp with other essential tools for startups, such as project management software, financial software, and communication tools, to streamline your workflow and boost productivity.

How To Use Business Plan Template for Startup

If you're a startup looking to create a solid business plan, follow these six steps using ClickUp's Business Plan Template:

1. Define your vision and mission

Start by clearly defining your startup's vision and mission. Your vision is the long-term goal you want to achieve, while your mission outlines the purpose and values of your business. This will help guide your decision-making process and keep your team aligned.

Use a Doc in ClickUp to brainstorm and define your vision and mission statements.

2. Conduct market research

Thorough market research is essential for understanding your target audience, competition, and industry trends. Analyze market size, customer demographics, and competitors' strengths and weaknesses. This information will help you identify opportunities and develop a competitive advantage.

Create tasks in ClickUp to track your market research activities and gather insights.

3. Outline your products or services

Describe in detail the products or services your startup will offer. Explain how they meet customer needs and differentiate you from competitors. Include pricing strategies, distribution channels, and any intellectual property associated with your offerings.

Use the Board view in ClickUp to visually outline your products or services and track progress.

4. Develop a marketing strategy

Create a comprehensive marketing strategy that outlines how you will attract and retain customers. Identify your target audience, choose effective marketing channels, and develop a branding strategy. Consider using both online and offline tactics to reach your customers.

Use Automations in ClickUp to automate marketing tasks and track campaign performance.

5. Create a financial plan

Develop a detailed financial plan that includes revenue projections, expenses, and funding requirements. Analyze your startup costs, cash flow, and profit margins. This will help you understand the financial feasibility of your business and attract potential investors.

Use the Table view in ClickUp to create a financial spreadsheet and track your financial projections.

6. Set milestones and timelines

Establish key milestones and timelines to track your progress and hold yourself accountable. Break down your business plan into actionable goals and set deadlines for each milestone. This will help you stay focused and motivated as you work towards achieving your objectives.

Use Milestones in ClickUp to set and track your business plan milestones and deadlines.

By following these steps and utilizing ClickUp's Business Plan Template, you'll be well on your way to creating a comprehensive and effective business plan for your startup.

Get Started with ClickUp’s Business Plan Template for Startup

Entrepreneurs who are starting a new business can use the Business Plan Template for Startup in ClickUp to create a comprehensive and organized business plan that will help them secure funding and guide their strategic decisions.

To get started, hit “Add Template” to sign up for ClickUp and add the template to your Workspace. Make sure you designate which Space or location in your Workspace you’d like this template applied.

Next, invite relevant members or guests to your Workspace to start collaborating.

Now you can take advantage of the full potential of this template to create a solid business plan:

  • Use the Topics View to outline the different sections of your business plan, such as Executive Summary, Market Analysis, Marketing Strategy, Financial Projections, etc.
  • The Status View will help you track the progress of each section, with statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do
  • The Timeline View will allow you to set deadlines and visualize the overall timeline of your business plan
  • The Business Plan View will provide a comprehensive overview of your entire plan, allowing you to easily navigate between sections and make updates
  • The Getting Started Guide View will provide step-by-step instructions and tips to help you fill out each section of the business plan
  • Utilize custom fields like Reference, Approved, and Section to add additional information and track important details
  • Collaborate with team members to gather input, brainstorm ideas, and refine your business plan
  • Monitor and analyze your progress to ensure your business plan is comprehensive and investor-ready.
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Last Updated: June 30, 2023 By TRUiC Team

A startup business plan template can help entrepreneurs set their goals, objectives, and strategies. These templates are usually adapted to suit specific businesses or industries.

What Is a Startup Business Plan?

A startup business plan is, as the name suggests, a business plan for companies that are still in the startup phase. A startup company has to be prepared for future problems. A business plan helps it be prepared for the unexpected by giving insights into the market and competition.

If the product it produces is not successful, a startup should have an idea of what to do next. It also needs to know how much money will be required for things like marketing campaigns or expansion. It is important that a startup business plan offers a clear idea for growth strategy to best allocate resources.

If you'd like to learn more about startup business plans, check out our What Is a Business Plan guide.

How Long Should a Startup Business Plan Be?

A startup business plan should be between one to three pages long with key points listed in bullet points. It should also be easy to read and understand.

Benefits of Using a Startup Business Plan Template

A startup business plan template can be a useful tool for entrepreneurs, no matter what type of company they are trying to launch.

Some of the benefits of using a startup business plan template include:

  • It will help you save time and make it easy for you to create your business plan.
  • It can also help you avoid mistakes and ensure that your business plan is on file.
  • Having a consistent format and look will make it easier for investors and other stakeholders to understand what you’re proposing.

Different Types of Startup Business Plan Templates

Creating or purchasing a blank startup business template will ensure you create a proper business plan for your business. Templates can be modified to include only those sections you need for your specific business type. Sections including financial projections, product launch plans, and more.

A template lets you fill out all the information you need to create a polished and professional business plan — from an executive summary to forecasting annual profits based on market insights. 

A good startup template includes these sections:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Products and services
  • Market analysis
  • Management team
  • Financial plan
  • Operational plan

Free Startup Business Plan Generator

Use our free business plan generator to write your startup business plan. Start filling out the sections while keeping the following in mind.

Startup business plan template best practices:

  • Think about your product or service and what market it will be in.
  • Understand your competition.
  • Do some in depth market research to ensure you have the competitive advantage.
  • Work through each section of the business plan template.
  • Consult with noncompetitive experts to see how you might improve your plan.
  • Create a final draft.
  • Stick to your plan as you build out your business, modifying it as needed.

Final Thoughts

Writing can be frustrating. Researching can be daunting. To make writing a business plan easier, use a business plan template. A business plan template saves you time and the hassle of starting from scratch. 

The better your business plan, the more likely your business will succeed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of businesses need business plans.

Business plans are one of the most important documents for today’s startups. They help potential investors decide whether they should invest in your business or not.

For startups looking for funding, a business plan is the best way to present to potential investors. It also offers a great opportunity for startups to get feedback from peers and other professionals in the field.

Business plans are necessary when businesses need to apply for certain types of loans or grants. A business plan can be used as proof that you have an idea, have taken steps to bring it into fruition, and know how to run a successful enterprise.

What is the difference between a startup business plan and an existing company's business plan?

In a startup business plan, the founders need to give a detailed description of what their company does and why it is better than its competitors. In an existing company's business plan, the focus is more on discussing past accomplishments and future plans.

How long should a startup business plan be?

A business plan is a written document that provides an overview of the business, its objectives, and the market. Generally these plans are one to three pages long with key points listed in bullet-point format. 

Keep the plan on hand for when you need it most - like when you hit hard times or when you're faced with a problem that cannot be solved by any other means.

Free Simple Business Plan Template

Helena Young

Our experts

Written and reviewed by:.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What to include in your business plan template

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

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

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

Cover Page

What to include in your business plan:

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

1. Executive summary

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

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

It should cover:

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

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

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

Startups' business plan template example: executive summary

2. Personal summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Startups' business plan template example: personal summary

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

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

3. Business idea

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

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

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

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

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

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

Startups' business plan template example: business idea

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

4. Your products or services

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

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

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

What insurance and licensing requirements do you need to consider?

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

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

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

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

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

5. Market analysis

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

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

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

What is your marketing strategy?

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

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

Startups' example: market analysis in a business plan

Startups' business plan template example: customer analysis

6. Competitor analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Startups' example: competitor analysis in a business plan

Startups' business plan template example: competitor analysis

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

7. Cash forecast

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

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

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

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

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

Annual cash forecast: what is it?

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

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

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

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

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

Startups' business plan template example: cash forecast

8. Operations and logistics

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

A.) Production

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

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

B.) Delivery

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

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

C.) Supplier analysis

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

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

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

Startups' business plan template example: staffing section

9. Backup plan

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

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

In the short-term: 

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

In the long-term:

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

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

Startups' 5 top tips for writing a business plan

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

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

What Does Your Business Need Help With?

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

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

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

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

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

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Market Analysis

Target Market

Market Size and Segments

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Identified Risks

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Financial Overview

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What is a business plan and why is it important.

  • Initiate with Your Business Concept: Lay the Groundwork: Start by introducing your business idea into Plannit AI's Business Plan Generator. This first step is crucial, as it sets the tone for a tailored, insightful business plan that truly resonates with your vision. Capture the Essence: Our platform is designed to grasp the nuances of your concept, ensuring that the generated plan accurately reflects the core and potential of your business.
  • Navigate Through the AI-Guided Questionnaire: Tailored Interactive Experience: Plannit AI’s AI-guided questionnaire is your interactive guide through the planning process. It meticulously gathers information about your business's objectives, strategies, and market positioning, ensuring a comprehensive and reflective plan. Intelligent Feedback and Suggestions: As you progress through the questionnaire, benefit from smart prompts and suggestions, ensuring that your plan is not just detailed but also strategically sound and aligned with industry standards.
  • Generate Your Plan with Advanced AI: Intuitive Plan Creation: With the questionnaire complete, Plannit AI's advanced algorithms intelligently analyze your responses. They then craft a detailed, customizable, and strategically aligned business plan, providing you with a structured, coherent, and actionable format. Benefit from AI-Powered Insights: Plannit AI offers AI-driven insights and suggestions, ensuring your plan is not just a document but a strategic tool equipped with tailored AI prompts and an in-app plan editor. Get inspired by browsing through our sample business plans, a collection of successful strategies across various industries.
  • Finalize Your Plan with Confidence: Dynamic Adaptation and Refinement: Plannit AI recognizes that a business plan is a living document. Our platform allows for continuous adaptation and refinement, ensuring your strategy remains agile, relevant, and aligned with your evolving business goals. Professional Presentation and Sharing: Once your plan meets your standards, utilize Plannit AI's export features to present your plan professionally. Choose between various formats for exporting your business plan, ready to impress stakeholders, attract investors, or guide your team. Review and Adapt: Ensure your business plan is a living document, ready to evolve with your growing business. Plannit AI's dynamic platform allows you to adapt your strategy as new opportunities or challenges arise.

How to Write a Business Plan?

  • Roadmap for Success: At its core, a business plan acts as a strategic guide, providing detailed steps on how your business will achieve its objectives. It helps you navigate the startup phase, manage growth effectively, and tackle unforeseen challenges with a well-thought-out strategy.
  • Securing Funding: For startups and businesses looking to expand, a business plan is crucial for securing loans or attracting investors. It demonstrates to potential financial backers that your business has a clear vision, a solid strategy for profitability, and a plan for delivering returns on their investment.
  • Informed Decision-Making: A well-prepared business plan offers valuable insights into your market, competition, and potential challenges. This information is vital for making informed decisions, from day-to-day operations to long-term strategic shifts.
  • Market Analysis and Strategy: It allows you to conduct an in-depth analysis of your target market, understand customer needs, and position your product or service effectively. The marketing strategy outlined in your business plan helps in identifying the best channels and tactics to reach your audience and achieve market penetration.
  • Financial Planning: One of the most critical components of a business plan is the financial forecast. It outlines your funding requirements, expected revenue, profit margins, and cash flow projections. This section is essential for budgeting, financial management, and ensuring the financial viability of your business.
  • Goal Setting and Performance Measurement: A business plan sets clear, measurable goals and objectives. It provides a framework for monitoring performance, measuring success, and making necessary adjustments to stay on track.

Who Can Benefit from Plannit AI?

  • Aspiring Entrepreneurs: If you're at the idea stage, looking to transform your vision into a viable business, Plannit AI offers the tools and guidance to bring your concept to life. Our platform helps you articulate your business idea, define your target market, and develop a solid plan to turn your dream into reality.
  • Students and Educators: For students delving into the intricacies of business planning and educators teaching the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, Plannit AI serves as an invaluable resource. It provides a practical, hands-on tool for learning and teaching how to create detailed business plans, analyze markets, and understand financials in a real-world context.
  • Startup Founders: In the dynamic startup environment, Plannit AI is the ideal partner for founders looking to pivot quickly, secure funding, or understand their competitive landscape. With our AI-driven insights and market analysis tools, startups can make informed decisions and adapt their strategies to thrive in competitive markets.
  • Small Business Owners: For small business owners seeking to optimize their operations, expand their customer base, or explore new markets, Plannit AI offers targeted solutions. Our platform simplifies the planning process, enabling owners to focus on growth while managing the day-to-day challenges of running their business.
  • Consultants and Freelancers: Consultants and freelancers specializing in business development, strategic planning, or financial advising will find Plannit AI a powerful addition to their toolkit. It allows them to provide clients with comprehensive, data-driven business plans and strategies, enhancing the value of their services.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: Leaders of non-profit organizations can leverage Plannit AI to plan initiatives, secure funding, and manage resources more efficiently. Our platform helps non-profits articulate their mission, set achievable goals, and measure their impact, ensuring they can make a difference in their communities.
  • Innovators and Inventors: Individuals looking to commercialize innovative products or technologies can use Plannit AI to navigate the complexities of bringing new ideas to market. From patent strategies to go-to-market plans, our platform covers all bases, ensuring innovators can focus on what they do best.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Government Agencies: Government and SBA backed entities can greatly benefit from integrating Plannit AI into their services, enhancing their ability to support a larger number of clients more efficiently. By facilitating quicker, more in-depth business plan development, these organizations can spend more time assisting with plan execution and less time on creation, ultimately serving their communities more effectively.
  • Anyone with a Business Idea: Ultimately, Plannit AI is for anyone with a business idea, regardless of industry, experience, or stage of business development. Our mission is to democratize business planning, making it accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyone.

Why is Plannit AI the best choice for an AI business planning software?

  • Interactive Questionnaire and ChatGPT Integration: Plannit AI transforms the business planning process into an engaging conversation. Through our advanced ChatGPT integration, we offer a questionnaire that dynamically adapts to your responses, ensuring your plan is personalized, comprehensive, and aligned with your business goals.
  • Dynamic Planning Environment: Unlike static templates provided by many, Plannit AI introduces a living platform that grows with your business. It features real-time updates, strategic insights, and a feedback mechanism that keeps your business plan current and actionable.
  • Extensive Educational Resources: Our Education Center is packed with articles, guides, and sample plans to bolster your planning process. It's designed to arm you with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of your industry confidently.
  • Enhanced Collaboration and Customization: Recognizing the collaborative essence of business planning, Plannit AI supports team efforts with multi-user editing, annotations, and feedback features, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your strategy.
  • Customer Success Stories: Our users' achievements are a testament to Plannit AI's effectiveness. These success stories illustrate how diverse businesses have utilized our platform for strategic planning and growth.
  • Tailored Business Plan Creation: Our platform stands out with its tailored approach, featuring customizable templates that directly cater to your business type and industry, making plan creation straightforward and relevant.

How can ChatGPT help me to create business plans?

  • Content Generation:: ChatGPT helps draft various sections of a business plan, from executive summaries to marketing strategies, by providing structured and coherent text based on the prompts given.
  • Strategic Insights: It can offer suggestions on business strategies by analyzing trends and providing examples from a wide range of industries.
  • Financial Planning: While it can't replace professional financial advice, ChatGPT can guide the structure of financial projections and statements, helping you consider important financial aspects of your plan.

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11 worksheets guide you step-by-step through writing a business plan. The template includes easy-to-follow instructions for completing each section of the business plan, questions to help you think through each aspect, and corresponding fillable worksheet/s for key sections.

The business plan sections covered in this template include:

Confidentiality Agreement

I. Instructions: Executive Summary

Executive Summary

II. Instructions: Company Description

Company Description Worksheet

III. Instructions: Products & Services

Product&ServiceDescriptionWorksheet

IV. Instructions: Marketing Plan

SWOT Analysis Worksheet

Competitor Data Collection Plan

Competitive Analysis Worksheet

Marketing Expenses Strategy Chart

Pricing Strategy Worksheet

Distribution Channel Assessment Worksheet

V. Instructions: Operational Plan

VI. Instructions: Management & Organization

Management Worksheet

Organization Chart

VII. Instructions: Startup Expenses & Capitalization

VIII. Instructions: Financial Plan

IX. Instructions: Appendices

X. Instructions: Refining the Plan

Now That You’re (Almost) Finished . . .

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association, SCORE.org

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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How to start a business from scratch (in 5 doable steps).

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Entrepreneurial aspirations? Starting a business from scratch is easier than you might think.

The best way to start a business depends on the type of business you want and your individual situation. Ideal side hustles for college students are different than for stay-at-home parents . If you’re a talented baker, you’ll need a different plan if you want to open your own bakery, versus selling a few of your items at the weekend farmers’ market, versus building a national franchise to rival Mrs. Field’s Cookies or Baked By Melissa. If you have dreamed of owning a pastry-related business, but you don’t bake, then you’ll need a different plan than the talented baker for any of the three options above.

Since aspiring entrepreneurs vary so widely in their interests, ideas and talents, no one post can account for all situations, but here are five foundational steps to start a business from scratch.

1. Decide If You Will Buddy Up Or Go Solo

Going solo means that you have free rein to make all the decisions – but then you have to make all decisions, including who your customer is, what you’ll offer, what price you’ll charge, how you’ll market your business and more. Starting a business with one or more other people divides up the work — but it also divides up the rewards. If you’re not 100% in agreement with your partner(s), you may find that the business does not match your vision or live up to your quality standards.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to starting a business with others versus alone. Do a candid self-assessment about whether you have the risk appetite, stamina and desire to go it alone. One compromise could be to start your business solo, but rent a co-working space so you are surrounded by others. Or, join a mastermind group or entrepreneurs association so you have an ecosystem of colleagues on a similar journey.

2. Look At Your Unique Competitive Advantages For Ideas

Once you have answered the partner versus solo question, you still need a business idea. Your partner might have a strong opinion on this. If not, or if you don’t have a partner, one smart way to tilt the odds of business success in your favor is to pick an area where you have a unique competitive advantage.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Of 2024

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For example, the talented baker who decides to open a pastry-related business has ability as their unique competitive advantage. Someone who worked for years in the food industry would have an experience advantage. Someone with culinary training has an education advantage. If you have a rabid interest in a subject — e.g., you might be an accountant by day but you frequent pastry shops every chance you get and read all about the industry — your enthusiasm can be your advantage.

3. Marshall Your Resources

In addition to an idea for your business, you’ll need to invest resources into it — not just money, but also your time. The amount of money you need to invest varies widely based on the type of business you’re starting. Product businesses where you need material and/or equipment to create your goods to sell are going to have much higher upfront costs than service businesses where you might be selling your knowledge and therefore have virtually zero upfront financial costs.

Time to get started also varies widely. If you need to build out a physical location (e.g., the bakery with kitchen) or retail store for your products, you will have a longer time investment before you can even make your first sale than the service entrepreneur who can start selling themselves with a relatively inexpensive, fast-build digital presence.

Calculate what money you need to invest to get your business started, as well as how long you’ll need to prepare before you can start selling. Compare this to your personal situation (e.g., do you already have a job, are you part of a dual-career couple or have other family commitments) to gauge how quickly and easily you will be able to get your business started. If you plan to leave your current job to start your business, include in your calculations the notice you’ll give to your current employer, as well as how you plan to meet the expenses that your paycheck used to cover.

4. Check The Legal Requirements Your Business Needs To Meet

A bakery business selling at a farmers’ market faces different food safety requirements than if they open a physical store or operate a mail-order business. If you have workers, there are labor requirements to meet. Even if you are a solo business owner offering services, you might need to have a license or certification for that service. Businesses also need to comply with insurance and tax requirements.

Because requirements vary, not only by business, but also by geography (e.g., bakers at farmers’ markets in Maine vs. Florida). Your local library, community business school or SCORE chapter ( SCORE is a national nonprofit that provides small business mentoring) can help you research the rules that apply to your business. As you’re researching the business you hope to start, your enthusiasm for digging into these details is a good test of how serious you are about your business idea!

5. Make Your First Sale

The best feedback on your business new idea comes from your customer’s wallet. If someone is willing to spend money on something, then you have uncovered a genuine need or desire for whatever you are selling. If you’re selling a service, start offering it as soon as you have bandwidth to deliver it. Making your first sale will prove your concept has a market, and it will also help you gauge firsthand if you like delivering this service. You can also start testing your prices and how to structure your offering.

If you have a more involved business — e.g., the baker planning to open a store — see if you can sell some of your products in advance. For example, you can cater events, and you can see people’s reactions to your creations firsthand. You might even get some testimonials for your ad campaign. Or, you can start by selling via other stores or at farmers’ markets — to gauge reactions, get testimonials, test product variety and test pricing. Focusing on early sales also gives your business some much-needed cash flow upfront.

Start As Cheaply As Possible

Notice that these first steps — focusing on sales, doing research using libraries or free providers like SCORE — are really focused on getting your business up to the first sale as cheaply as possible. It takes time for any new venture to gain traction, so by running a lean business, you give it more time to be successful. Starting a business is not about buying business cards (you can start with word-of-mouth) or building a website (use existing social platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn) or running ads (build a following on social media to build a following on social media). You can start a business without necessarily spending a lot of money.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine

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