Simple Business Plan Templates
By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020
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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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550+ Business Plan Samples To Inspire Your Plan
Inspire your own plan with 550+ business plan samples
Use real business plan examples to jump-start your own plan!
Don’t start from scratch — get a headstart with 550 real business plan examples
How do you know what elements to include in your business plan, if you’ve never written one before? Looking at real business plan samples can help you visualize what a successful plan looks like, so you know what you’re aiming for before you get started. With LivePlan you’ll have access to over 550 free example business plans to use as a starting point.
Access our full library and browse real sample content for a broad range of businesses. You’ll see how others have written effective executive summaries, planned marketing activities, created financial forecasts , and more. Plus we’ll be right there to walk you through it .
Whether you run a dentist office or dog walking service, you’ll find examples of a business plan for every type of business.
Whether you’re a small- or mid-sized business, freelancer, nonprofit, or still figuring that out, we’ve got you covered.
LivePlan’s library of business plan samples has real business plans from 150 industries and growing. You can see the complete list here .
It’s OK if you can’t find an exact match to your business. You don’t need an exact match for a sample plan to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that’s closely related to the type of business you’re starting. For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse will still be a great match.
While the specifics of your actual business will differ, the elements you’ll want to include in your restaurant’s business plan are similar—and they’re all included in LivePlan .
Real business plan examples to save you time
Read through as many sample business plans as you like to see how it’s done and get inspired. And if you really want to, you can even copy and paste sections to use in your own plan.
We’ve collected sample plans over more than 20 years, most through generous donations from happy customers who used our software and wanted to share their successful business plan samples with others.
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 plan samples, 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 to 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.
Built-in examples and step-by-step help so you won’t get stuck
In addition to complete sample plans, LivePlan includes specific examples for each part of your business plan. Browse through a few examples to get an idea of how other businesses have worded their executive summary, for instance, or other key sections of the business plan. Find an example that works for you and personalize it to fit your business.
You’ll be confident that your numbers are right
In addition to sample business plans, LivePlan includes current industry benchmarks so you can see what the numbers look like for businesses just like yours. Knowing your industry standards helps ensure that your plan is both competitive and realistic.
Download a free sample business plan
Download a free business plan today. You can use it as a template for your own business plan and to see an example of what you’ll find in LivePlan. Download my free business plan .
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How to Build a Detailed Business Plan That Stands Out [Free Template]
Updated: March 29, 2022
Published: March 11, 2022
While starting a company may seem easier now than ever before, entrepreneurs have an uphill battle from the moment they start a business. And without a clear, actionable business plan for selling, marketing, finances, and operations, you're almost destined to face significant challenges.
This is why crafting a business plan is an essential step in the entrepreneurial process.
In this post, we'll walk you through the process of filling out your business plan template, like this free, editable version :
Download a free, editable one-page business plan template.
We know that when looking at a blank page on a laptop screen, the idea of writing your business plan can seem impossible. However, it's a mandatory step to take if you want to turn your business dreams into a reality.
That's why we've crafted a business plan template for you to download and use to build your new company. You can download it here for free . It contains prompts for all of the essential parts of a business plan, all of which are elaborated on, below.
This way, you'll be able to show them how organized and well-thought-out your business idea is, and provide them with answers to whatever questions they may have.
Free Business Plan Template
The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.
- Outline your idea.
- Pitch to investors.
- Secure funding.
- Get to work!
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Building a Successful Business Plan
In the next section, we'll cover the components of a business plan , such as an executive summary and company description. But before we get to that, let's talk about key elements that should serve as building blocks for your plan.
For some entrepreneurs, the thought of writing a business plan sounds like a chore — a necessary means to an end. But that's a bad take.
A solid business plan is a blueprint for success . It's key to securing financing, presenting your business, outlining your financial projections, and turning that nugget of a business idea into a reality.
At the core, your business plan should answer two questions: why your business and why now?
Investors want to know why your business is entering the market, i.e. what problem it's solving and how it's different from what's currently out there. They also want to know why now is the right time for your type of product or service.
At a minimum, your plan should:
- Be more realistic than idealistic: Too often, business plans focus too much on how things could be instead of how they are. While having a vision is important, your plan needs to be rooted in research and data.
- Legitimize your business idea : If an idea fails on paper, it's a signal to go back to the drawing board. In doing so, you avoid losing precious time or money chasing an unrealistic idea.
- Position your business for funding: To get your business off the ground, chances are you'll need financial backing. Even with a solid business idea, investors, lenders, and banks still need convincing. An effective business plan will outline how much money you need, where it's going, what targets you will hit, and how you plan to repay any debts.
- Lay the foundation: Investors focus on risk – if anything looks shaky, it could be a dealbreaker. Ideally, your business plan will lay down the foundation for how you'll operate your business — from operational needs to financial projections and goals.
- Communicate your needs: It's nearly impossible to communicate your needs if you don't know what they are first. Of course, a business’ needs are always changing — but your plan should give you a well-rounded view of how your business will work in the short and long term.
So back to the question of why and why now – consider three things:
- Your industry – How does your product or service fit within your industry? Are you targeting a specific niche? Where do you see the industry going in the next five to 10 years?
- Your target audience – Who are you targeting? What challenges are they facing? How will your product or service help them in their daily lives?
- Your unique selling proposition (USP) – What sets you apart from your competitors? Is it your product/service features? Your company values? Price?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you'll be equipped to answer the question: why your business and why now.
How to Build a Business Plan
- Executive Summary
- Company and Business Description
- Product and Services Line
- Market Analysis
- Marketing Plan
- Legal Notes
- Financial Considerations
Featured Resource: Free Business Plan Template
1. cover page.
Your business plan should be prefaced with an eye-catching cover page. This means including a high-resolution image of your company logo, followed by your company's name, address, and phone number.
Since this business plan will likely change hands and be seen by multiple investors, you should also provide your own name, role in the business, and email address on the cover page.
At the bottom of this page, you can also add a confidentiality statement to protect against the disclosure of your business details.
The statement can read as follows: " This document contains confidential and proprietary information created by [your company name]. When receiving this document, you agree to keep its content confidential and may only reproduce and/or share it with express written permission of [your company name] ."
Remember to keep your cover page simple and concise — and save the important details for other sections.
Why it matters: First impressions are everything, and a clean cover page is the first step in the right direction.
Example of a Cover Page
2. Executive Summary
The executive summary of your business plan provides a one- to two-page overview of your business and highlights the most crucial pieces of your plan, such as your short-term and long-term goals.
The executive summary is essentially a boiled-down version of your entire business plan, so remember to keep this section to the point and filled only with essential information.
Typically, this brief section includes:
- A mission statement.
- The company's history and leadership model.
- An overview of competitive advantage(s).
- Financial projections.
- Company goals.
- An ask from potential investors.
Why it matters: The executive summary is known as the make-or-break section of a business plan. It influences whether investors turn the page or not — so effectively summarizing your business and the problem it hopes to solve is a must.
Think of the Summary as a written elevator pitch (with more detail). While your business plan provides the nitty-gritty details, your Summary describes — in a compelling but matter-of-fact language — the highlights of your plan. If it's too vague, complicated, or fuzzy, you may need to scrap it and start again.
Example of an Executive Summary Introduction
"The future looks bright for North Side Chicago, particularly the Rock Hill Neighborhood. A number of high-end commercial and residential developments are well on their way, along with two new condo developments in nearby neighborhoods.
While the completion of these developments will increase the population within the neighborhood and stimulate the economy, the area lacks an upscale restaurant where residents and visitors can enjoy fine food and drink. Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant will provide such a place."
3. Company & Business Description
In this section, provide a more thorough description of what your company is and why it exists.
The bulk of the writing in this section should be about your company's purpose – covering what the business will be selling, identifying the target market, and laying out a path to success.
In this portion of your business plan, you can also elaborate on your company's:
- Mission statement
- Core values
- Team and organizational structure
Why it matters: Investors look for great structures and teams in addition to great ideas. This section gives an overview of your businesses' ethos. It's the perfect opportunity to set your business apart from the competition — such as your team's expertise, your unique work culture, and your competitive advantage.
Example of a Values/Mission Statement
"Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant will be the go-to place for people to get a drink or bite in an elegant, upscale atmosphere. The mission is to be North Side's leading restaurant, with the best tasting food and the highest quality service."
3. Product & Services Line
Here's where you'll cover the makeup of your business's product and/or services line. You should provide each product or service's name, its purpose, and a description of how it works (if appropriate). If you own any patents, copyrights, or trademarks, it's essential to include this info too.
Next, add some color to your sales strategy by outlining your pricing model and mark-up amounts.
If you're selling tangible products, you should also explain production and costs, and how you expect these factors to change as you scale.
Why it matters: This section contains the real meat of your business plan. It sets the stage for the problem you hope to solve, your solution, and how your said solution fits in the market.
There's no one-size-fits-all formula for this section. For instance, one plan may delve into its ability to market in a more cost-effective way than the competition, whereas another plan focuses on its key products and their unique features and benefits.
Regardless of your angle, it's critical to convey how your offerings will differ from the competition.
Example of a Product/Service Offering
"The menu at Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant will focus on Moroccan cuisine. The stars of the menu (our specialties) are the Moroccan dishes, such as eggplant zaalouk, seafood bastilla, tagine, and chickpea stew. For those who enjoy American dishes, there will also be a variety of options, from burger sliders and flatbread pizza to grilled steak and salads.
The food at Jay Street will have premium pricing to match its upscale atmosphere. During the summer months, the restaurant will have extra seating on the patio where clients can enjoy a special summer menu. We will be open on all days of the week."
4. Market Analysis
It helps to reference your market research documentation in this section, like a Porter's Five Forces Analysis or a SWOT Analysis ( templates for those are available here ). You can also include them in your appendix.
If your company already has buyer personas, you should include them here as well. If not, you can create them right now using the Make My Persona Tool .
Why it matters: Having an awesome product is, well, awesome — but it isn't enough. Just as important, there must be a market for it.
This section allows you to dig deeper into your market, which segments you want to target, and why. The "why" here is important, since targeting the right segment is critical for the success and growth of your business.
It's easy to get lost (or overwhelmed) in a sea of endless data. For your business plan, narrow your focus by answering the following questions:
- What is my market? In other words, who are my customers?
- What segments of the market do I want to target?
- What's the size of my target market?
- Is my market likely to grow?
- How can I increase my market share over time?
Example of a Market Analysis
"Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant will target locals who live and work within the Rock Hill Neighborhood and the greater North Side Chicago area. We will also target the tourists who flock to the many tourist attractions and colleges on the North Side.
We will specifically focus on young to middle-aged adults with an income of $40,000 to $80,000 who are looking for an upscale experience. The general demographics of our target market are women between 20 to 50 years old.
A unique and varied Moroccan-American menu, along with our unique upscale atmosphere, differentiates us from competitors in the area. Jay Street will also set itself apart through its commitment to high-quality food, service, design, and atmosphere."
5. Marketing Plan
Unlike the market analysis section, your marketing plan section should be an explanation of the tactical approach to reaching your aforementioned target audience. List your advertising channels, organic marketing methods, messaging, budget, and any relevant promotional tactics.
If your company has a fully fleshed-out marketing plan, you can attach it in the appendix of your business plan. If not, download this free marketing plan template to outline your strategy.
Free Marketing Plan Template
Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.
- Pre-Sectioned Template
- Completely Customizable
- Example Prompts
- Professionally Designed
Why it matters: Marketing is what puts your product in front of your customers. It's not just advertising — it's an investment in your business.
Throwing money into random marketing channels is a haphazard approach, which is why it's essential to do the legwork to create a solid marketing plan.
Here's some good news — by this point, you should have a solid understanding of your target market. Now, it's time to determine how you'll reach them.
Example of a Marketing Plan Overview
"Our marketing strategy will focus on three main initiatives:
- Social media marketing. We will grow and expand our Facebook and Instagram following through targeted social media ads.
- Website initiatives. Our website will attract potential visitors by offering updated menus and a calendar of events.
- Promotional events. Jay Street will have one special theme night per week to attract new clients."
6. Sales Plan
It doesn't matter if your sales department is an office full of business development representatives (BDR) or a dozen stores with your products on their shelves.
The point is: All sales plans are different, so you should clearly outline yours here. Common talking points include your:
- Sales team structure, and why this structure was chosen.
- Sales channels.
- Sales tools, software, and resources.
- Prospecting strategy.
- Sales goals and budget.
Like with your marketing plan, it might make sense to attach your completed sales plan to the appendix of your business plan. You can download a template for building your sales plan here .
Why it matters: Among other things, investors are interested in the scalability of your business — which is why growth strategies are a critical part of your business plan.
Your sales plan should describe your plan to attract customers, retain them (if applicable), and, ultimately, grow your business. Be sure to outline what you plan to do given your existing resources and what results you expect from your work.
Example of a Sales Plan Overview
"The most important goal is to ensure financial success for Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant. We believe we can achieve this by offering excellent food, entertainment, and service to our clients.
We are not a low-cost dining option in the area. Instead, the food will have premium pricing to match its upscale feel. The strategy is to give Jay Street a perception of elegance through its food, entertainment, and excellent service."
7. Legal Notes
Your investors may want to know the legal structure of your business, as that could directly impact the risk of their investments. For example, if you're looking for business partners to engage in a non-corporation or LLC partnership, this means they could be on the line for more than their actual investment.
Because this clarification is often needed, explain if you are and/or plan to become a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, LLC, or other.
You should also outline the steps you have taken (or will need to take) to operate legally. This includes licenses, permits, registrations, and insurance.
The last thing your investor wants to hear after they've sent you a big chunk of change is that you're operating without proper approval from the local, state, or federal government.
Why it matters: The last thing your investor wants to hear after they've sent you a big chunk of change is that you're operating without proper approval from the local, state, or federal government.
Example of Legal Notes
"Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant is up-to-date on all restaurant licenses and health permits. Our business name and logo are registered trademarks, presenting the possibility of expanding locally."
8. Financial Considerations
Ultimately, investors want to know two things:
- When they will earn their money back.
- When they will start seeing returns on their initial investment.
That said, be clear, calculated, and convincing in this section. It should cover:
- Startup costs.
- Sales forecasts for the next several months/quarters.
- Break-even analysis for time and dollars.
- Projected profit and loss (P&L) statement.
Facts and figures are key here, so be as specific as possible with each line item and projection. In addition, explain the "why" behind each of these sections.
However, keep in mind that information overload is a risk, especially when it comes to data. So, if you have pages upon pages of charts and spreadsheets for this section, distill them into a page or two and include the rest of the sheets in the appendix. This section should only focus on key data points.
Why it matters: One of the most important aspects of becoming "investor ready" is knowing your numbers. More importantly, you need to understand how those numbers will enhance your business.
While it's easy to write a number down on paper, it's more important to understand (and communicate) why you need capital, where it's going, and that your evaluation makes sense.
Example of Financial Projections
"Based on our knowledge and experience in the restaurant industry, we have come up with projections for the business.
Starting with an expenditure of $400,000 in year 1, we forecast sales of $1,500,000 and $2,800,000 for years two and three. We expect to achieve a net profit of 15% by year three."
A detailed and well-developed business plan can range anywhere from 20 to 50 pages, with some even reaching upward of 80.
In many cases, the appendix is the longest section. Why? Because it includes the supportive materials mentioned in previous sections. To avoid disrupting the flow of the business plan with visuals, charts, and spreadsheets, business owners usually add them in the last section, i.e. the appendix.
Aside from what we've already mentioned – marketing plan, sales plan, department budgets, financial documents – you may also want to attach the following in the appendix:
- Marketing materials
- Market research data
- Licensing documentation
- Branding assets
- Floor plans for your location
- Mockups of your product
- Renderings of your office space or location design
Adding these pieces to the appendix enriches the reader's understanding of your business and proves you've put the work into your business plan without distracting from the main points throughout the plan.
Why it matters: An appendix helps the reader do their due diligence. It contains everything they need to support your business plan.
Keep in mind, however, that an appendix is typically necessary only if you're seeking financing or looking to attract business partners.
Use a Business Plan Template to Get Started
Writing a business plan shouldn't be an insurmountable roadblock to starting a business. Unfortunately, for all too many, it is.
That's why we recommend using our free business plan template. Pre-filled with detailed section prompts for all of the topics in this blog post, we're confident this template will get your business plan started in the right direction.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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Free Online Business Plan Maker
Create a compelling and convincing business plan online with Venngage. Templates available for your every need, whether it's business plans, financial plans, marketing plans, and more.
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Choose from hundreds of business plan templates. see all business plan templates, launch a profitable business with a visually engaging business plan.
Your business is unique and impactful — so should your business plan. Make sure the plan you share with investors, lenders, and other stakeholders is not only packed with key data and information but visually engaging too.
Looking to make your business plan stand out from the pack? Venngage's unique business plan templates add serious style to your ideas. Venngage's Business Plan Builder is a fraction of the cost of hiring a writer — you can even try creating a business plan for free.
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Your business plan can include these sections: executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization management, service/product line, marketing & sales, funding requests, financial projections, etc. Add sections to your business plan as you see fit — depending on the kind of plan you're creating. No matter the type of business plans you're making, Venngage has a template for that.
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Didn't find what you are looking for.
The answer is simple.
It’s an informal business plan that can convince you that your idea makes sense to the outside world because you are investing your time, money, and everything into that idea.
To write a business plan, maybe you think you don’t need a step-by-step guide or a sample business plan . After all, some entrepreneurs achieved success without writing a business plan. With great timing, past business experiences, entrepreneurial ambitions, and a little luck, some entrepreneurs build successful businesses without even writing an informal business plan.
But the odds are greater than those entrepreneurs fail.
And that’s why writing a business plan will help you succeed .
The easiest way to simplify the work of writing a business plan is to start with sample business plans.
What is business plan sample?
Why you should refer a business plan example, who should use business plan examples, how to use sample business plans.
What is Business Plan Sample?
That’s why we created business plan examples to help you get started.
Use our 400+ business plan examples written for all industries and write your business plan in half of the time with twice the impact.
- Guidance on what to include in each section. If you’ve never attended business school, you might never have created a SWOT analysis or a balance sheet before. Business templates that give guidance — in plain language — about what to include and how to fill in each section and create a complete and effective plan.
- A business plan is vital to get an investment. If you’re seeking investment for your business, you’ll need to convince banks and investors why they should invest in your business . Lenders and investors will only risk their time and money if they’re certain that your business will be successful and profitable and they will get a great return on their investment.
- A business plan can help you prioritize. A complete, well-balanced business plan is one of the most valuable tools in assisting you to reach your long-term goals. It gives your business direction, defines your goals, outlines out strategies to reach your goals, and helps you to manage possible bumps in the way.
Who should use Business Plan Examples?
Well Everyone, who wants to write a business plan should use these sample business plans. These plans apply to almost all industries.
We have created a library of professional sample business plans from a wide variety of industries to help you start writing your business plan with minimum effort.
Use our Upmetrics — business plan software that offers step by step guide to start writing your business plan , especially if you’re writing an informal business plan to get a bank loan or outside investment.
Our extensive sample business plans library includes business plan templates and business plan examples for almost all business industries.
Make your plan in half the time & twice the impact with Upmetrics.
How to use Business Plan Examples to write your own?
Having real-life and industry-specific business plan examples by your side can be incredibly resourceful to help you write a business plan from scratch.
A well-planned structure helps you outline your plan, while content inspiration helps you set the tone for your business document.
Let’s dive deep and understand how to use these examples effectively to write your business plan.
1. Use examples as a guide
2. understanding the structure.
Traditional business plans generally follow a similar structure.
It starts with an executive summary followed by a company description, market analysis, product and services, sales and marketing strategies, operational plan, management team, financial plan, and appendix.
Using an example business plan is the best way to understand the structure and outline your plan.
3. Gaining Inspiration
Reading industry-specific business plan examples can help you gain inspiration for your plan. You can gain insights on presenting your business idea, vision, mission, and values and persuade investors to invest in your idea.
4. Learning Industry-Specific Language
There’s no universal template for business planning that fits all. An industry-specific template can help you learn and understand the business language for your industry and the best way to communicate your message to your investors.
5. Identifying Key Elements
Reading business plan examples of similar businesses can help you identify the key elements and information to include in your plan. You can keep note of these and ensure everything necessary for investors to consider is present in your final draft.
6. Crafting Financial Projections
A financial plan is a critical component of your business plan, and a good business plan example can help you better understand how they project their financials which can be incredibly helpful while forecasting yours.
7. Refining Your Executive Summary
As mentioned earlier, your executive summary is a key factor influencing potential investors and lenders to invest or lend you money. Analyzing free business plan templates can help you optimize your executive summary to make it more brief, persuasive, and attention-grabbing.
8. Realizing What Works and What Doesn’t
Analyzing industry-specific and real-life examples can help you determine what works best and what doesn’t within your industry. Understanding these factors can help you avoid many significant pitfalls.
While business plan examples can be incredibly helpful in writing a plan from scratch, ensure your plan is customized for your business and sends out a unique message. Your business plan must reflect its unique idea, vision, and target market.
Using your Business Plan as a Management Tool
It’s essential to have a business plan, but it’s also crucial to keep it up to date as your business progresses. A business plan is not merely a document that you write once and forget after you get started. It’s a business road map and vision that you should develop as your business progresses and evolves. It’s also important to update your business plan regularly as your business situation and position change.
How Business Plan Software can help you?
We have created Upmetrics — business plan software to simplify the process of business planning.
Our financial forecasting module will create all the essential reports automatically. You just need to enter numbers and the application will do all the math to generate your financial reports. Later you can embed those reports into your business plan.
After completing your business plan, you can download your business plan in PDF or DOC file using Upmetrics. Also, you can share it online with investors or with other important people just by a quick link.
Ready to take the next step?
Now that you have a business idea and you know how to write a business plan, it’s time to go for it . Our business plan software will take you through each step outlined above in more detail so there are no surprises on your journey.
Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights.
Founder, CEO & Lead Scientist at Nanolyse Technologies
After trying Upmetrics, I wish to highly recommend this app to anyone who needs to write a business plan flexibly and to a high standard.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is sample business plan, how do i write a business plan.
In business plan writing you will need to write the following sections into your business plan. These sections include an Executive Summary, Company Overview, Problem Analysis, The Solution, Market Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, and Financial Plan.
Check out our article to learn how you can write these sections in detail for your business plan.
How long should my business plan be?
The length of your business plan depends on the type of plan you choose. There are one-page business plans that offer easy and practical planning. Then you have traditional business plans that usually vary from 20 to 50 pages. It’s worth noting that the quality of your business plan matters more than its length.
Should I hire someone to write my business plan for me?
Absolutely No, You as a business owner know all about your business idea, your business goals, target market and audience, and what you want to achieve by writing your plan. Don’t hire someone who doesn’t know what your readers will want, the reason is that, if you intend to raise funds, you are the best person that understands what investors will look out for in your business plan.
Consultants or business plan writers definitely can write a business plan but not better than you.
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How to Make an Ecommerce Business Plan for Your Startup
January 30, 2024
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So you’ve decided that you want to quit your day job and start your very own ecommerce empire. That’s great!
But before you become the next Jeff Bezos (and definitely before you quit your job!), it’s worth spending some time thinking about a business plan. In this article, we’ll dive into the key elements of an ecommerce business plan, which is very different than writing traditional business plans.
Why You Should Create a Business Plan
We know that starting an ecommerce business is exciting, and it can be tempting to jump right in without constructing a business plan. READ: PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.
If you haven’t put your ideas, questions and concerns on paper, then you haven’t given your business model enough thought .
Taking the time to write a business plan might seem like a lot of work, but it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by better preparing you for potential challenges and opportunities that you’ll face as a first-time entrepreneur. Think of it as a roadmap for your new business venture.
It’s exciting to start your own ecommerce business. However, you want to be well prepared and not jump into anything without having a solid, foolproof ecommerce business plan in place.
After all, you wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, so why start a business without a safety device in place? That safety device is your business plan.
The business plan is the brainstorming process that ensures your concept and goals are realistic.
This is more than just mental notes. True business plans take your ideas , questions, and concerns and put those in writing.
As you start creating your business plan, you’ll soon understand that it’s more than a single piece of paper with handwritten details on it. It’s a clearly constructed format of how your business will be created, how it will operate, and what you hope the future holds in terms of a successful ecommerce business.
When you write your business plan, be sure to have a target audience in mind. Are you going to look for investors or put a Kickstarter campaign into motion and use this as your descriptive platform? If so, make sure that your business plan contains everything the audience would want to know about your business (and more!). Many traditional funding solutions require a business plan in order to give you capital. However, there are alternative solutions, such as Payability that specialize in ecommerce and don’t require credit checks, a business plan, or any complicated paperwork. They can also get you approved in as little as 24 hours.
When your business plan is completed, you should have achieved the following goals:
- Knowledge: A greater sense of knowledge of the business aspects.
- Resources: The resources you’re going to need to make your business successful, such as partners, money, employees, etc.
- Road Map: Have clear set goals to take you from the very beginning of your business and onward.
- Viability: In other words, is your business possible? Will you have enough profit margins to keep the doors open long-term?
Now that you know why you should create a business plan, it’s time to move on to how you can create your business plan and get started putting your ecommerce business into motion.
How to Start an Ecommerce Business Plan
At the very beginning of the planning stages, it’s a good idea to develop a framework for your business model. This business model will continue to evolve as you create each section of your ecommerce business plan, so don’t strive for a perfect completed plan on the first try. You will be making tweaks to the plan of certain steps along the way.
There are many ways to sell products online and different business models to pursue. Research and learn from successful ecommerce business examples in the market. The exact business model you follow will be one that makes the most sense with your resources, skills, and interests.
In order to create the best online business plan with your product in mind, you need to figure out the following things:
What are you selling?
The first step to creating an online business is to learn the absolute basics of what you can sell.
- Physical products: Clothing , shoes, home goods
- Digital products: Software as a Service products, ecourses, ebooks
- Services: Consulting services, home cleaning
Who are you selling to?
- Business-to-Business (B2B): You are selling to organizations, corporations, and non-profits rather than individual customers
- Business to Consumer (B2C): This means you are selling to individual consumers rather than businesses
- Marketplace: You are acting as a middleman by bringing businesses and (B2B or B2C) customers to one website.
How are you sourcing your product?
- Manufacture in-house: You make your product or service in-house
- Third-party manufacturer: You outsource the manufacturing of your product or service to a third-party manufacturer
- Dropship: You partner with a dropship manufacturer. Basically, this means that they make your product, package it and ship it directly to your customer while your company handles the entire customer relationship.
- Wholesale : You buy goods or services from other companies in bulk and re-sell those products on your online store
- Entrepreneurship: Business & Marketing Plans
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- Business Plan Resources
The executive summary will be written according to your goals, and it’s recommended that this is done at the very end of your business plan completion. This will ensure that you include all of the important factors about your business and present your ideas in a concise and complete way.
Some of the features you’ll include in the executive summary include information showing that you’ve done your research, you have concrete sales forecasts, and the main details about your brand.
When you’re figuring out your business model, you have to consider four different areas:
- Monetization strategy
- Target market
- Sales channel
The monetization strategy delves into the methods you are going to use to sell your products.
This strategy will look at different product monetization methods, including white label, private label , affiliate marketing, wholesale, dropshipping, and even selling ads.
The product industry section is where you summarize your main niche.
For example, “Vegan Skincare Products.”
In the target market section, you will write a sentence or so on who your target market, or ideal customer, is in the community.
If you’re selling vegan skincare products, your target customers might be women who embrace the vegan lifestyle and use natural skincare products in their daily beauty regimen.
The sales channel refers to where you’re going to sell your products.
For example, you might be selling your products on your own website, and this should be entered in this section.
This next section covers your company overview.
This section of your business plan will cover various features of your company, including the following:
- Company type
- Domain name
- Value proposition
- Brand traits
The brand name section lists your business name or brand name.
This is an extremely important aspect of your business plan as it’s what will set the tone for everything that follows.
Pick a brand name that’s simple yet unique and is something that can be used in a wordplay manner, if desired, but not pun-worthy.
The company is how your business operates. For example, you might label your business as an LLC, S-corporation, sole proprietor, or some other type of business organization.
The best way to determine how you should categorize your company is to speak to your accountant. There are various tax and legal aspects to forming your business in a certain way.
Speak with the professionals in the company and corporation formation field to determine how to label your company and which company type best benefits your business in a variety of ways.
This section is where you list your domain name.
Choose a domain name that is memorable and embraces the overall traits and features of your business.
And, when choosing a domain name, be sure to think of SEO aspects when doing so. You’ll find out just how much all of these things tie together and ensure a frequently-visited website is the end result.
Keep in mind that with ecommerce, the domain name is just as important as the brand name. Maybe even more so!
A value proposition is a short, crisp statement that will gauge how clear your idea is. Write this section as if you had one minute to explain your business to a potential investor or customer and then practice it over and over again.
The value proposition can be used on your ecommerce store as your company description.
Here’s a good example: Say you’re looking to start a hiking company called Atlas Hiking Co. which sells premium performance hiking shirts. A possible company description could be the following:
Atlas Hiking Co. is a lifestyle hiking company that produces high-performance hiking shirts for outdoor lovers. Our proprietary SPF40 fabric is one of the lightest fabrics on the market, providing mountain lovers with maximum comfort, both from a breathability and sun-protection standpoint. Our product is made in the U.S.A. and a portion of our profits are donated to preserve national parks around the country.
Pay special attention to all the sensory words !
The mission statement in your business plan is the “why” of it all.
For example, why you started the business, why you are selling the products you are selling, etc., can all be added to this section of your business plan.
You can make this portion as simple or detailed as you like. Just make sure to properly and clearly explain your business mission.
The vision part of the business plan is your “how” in the grand scheme of things. It is the dream you have for your company and the path you’re going to take to realize that dream.
When you write the vision portion of the business plan, think long-term. What are you hoping to achieve, not just in the near future but for the long haul of the life of your business?
Look into the future and plan out where you see your business in 5, 10, even 20 years from now.
This will help you construct the rest of your business plan if you know where you want your business to head, now and in the future.
The brand traits section is a short section in your company overview.
Basically, in the brand traits section you’re going to want to list three to five words that describe your brand.
Think of your brand personality and describe it using a few separate powerful words.
The personnel section lists all individuals, including yourself, who will be involved in the daily operations of your business. You can create a separate section for a full operations plan or add that later.
Some business owners choose to handle all duties on their own or with a partner, while others will hire individuals to fill the following roles:
- CEO (usually the business owner)
- Management team
- Customer service/logistics
- PR/Social media specialist
- SEO manager
- Advertising manager
Competitive Market Analysis
Here’s a fact you can bank on: there has never been a successful e-commerce entrepreneur that didn’t understand his/her target market cold.
That’s why this section is one of the most important in the entire business plan. It will force you to understand the industry in which you operate, the overall industry analysis and outlook, the existing competition, and your target customer demographic.
The market segment portion of the business plan will help you to put your ideas down on paper, make them more focused, and get your team together.
This area will include your niche selection, target market, and competitive analysis.
The niche section provides an overview of your niche, why you selected it, whether there’s a micro niche included, and the type of niche you’ve chosen.
The purpose of this section is to crystalize the ideas that you have and make sure they are understandable and viable.
The target market section covers an overview of your target market plus describes your market segments.
Ask yourself who your target customer is (population size, age, geography, education, ethnicity, income level) and consider whether consumers are comfortable with buying your product category online.
When listing the target market information, make sure to mention your target audience size as this is important for ensuring that your audience will be adequately covered.
With the competitive analysis portion of your market analysis, you want to list your market leader and direct and indirect competitors.
After you mention who these entities are, you need to list the characteristics of each one, such as domain name, business model, monthly traffic, and pricing range.
However, before you even get started in writing this section, you need to spend several hours researching your target market.
Here are some of the most efficient ways to research a particular market:
Google is your best friend. Look for any recent industry reports on your market of choice. This will give you a good sense of how much growth the industry is experiencing, why this growth is happening, and what are the largest customer segments. In our example of Atlas Hiking Co., we should research the outdoor apparel market.
Let’s say that through our research of the outdoor apparel industry, we discovered that there was a huge boom in youth hiking apparel. Perhaps parents were increasingly concerned about their kids’ exposure to UV rays while hiking, so they began to spend more money on their kids. We could use this valuable information to guide our business strategy.
There’s only so much you can read online. Go to a nearby store that sells similar products to yours and interview the store representative. The store rep has interacted with hundreds of interested customers, which can lead to thousands of valuable insights! It’s amazing how these insights can translate into a meaningful business opportunity.
Here’s an example:
If I were going into Billy’s Outdoor Store to research the outdoor apparel market, I would probably ask Billy the following:
- What are your best-selling products?
- What are your worst-selling products?
- Find products similar to yours and ask the representative his/her favorite features on products similar to yours.
- How much are customers generally willing to spend on these types of products?
- Do customers make repeat orders of any of these products?
- Do you get a lot of customers that are looking to buy last-minute hiking gear before they go on a hike?
Create an Excel spreadsheet of all of your competitors. In your spreadsheet, you should have the following columns:
- Competitor Name
- Price point
- Product Description
- Key Features (e.g., fabric, waterproof, slim fit, etc.)
What is the competition missing? Is there a gap in the offering? Where you can add some additional value?
After conducting the competitor analysis, Atlas Hiking Co. might find that the competition’s hiking shirts offer very few features at a low price point, but no one offers a luxury hiking shirt with additional features at a higher price point.
This is just an example of the types of insights one can gain from market research which can drastically alter your business model.
By using Google’s keyword planner and trends pages, you can get a good sense of how in demand your product is and whether it’s trending upward or downward. Google is great for a general idea, just don’t bank on it.
Some other keyword tools you can use for keyword research include Ahrefs, JungleScout, and Viral Launch. Check out this list for more ideas.
Are there nearby trade shows that you can go to? Again, creating connections with other people in your industry is a surefire shortcut to countless hours of reading on the internet. Trade shows are also a great opportunity to talk to competitors, meet manufacturers, and better understand where things are heading in your industry.
Once you finish researching the relevant industry, you should summarize your findings by answering the following questions:
- How big is the overall industry?
- How big is the specific sub-industry in which you intend to operate?
- Where has most of the historic growth in the market come from?
- Why is this the right time to enter this market?
- What are the sub-segments that are poised for future growth (e.g., youth apparel)?
- How crowded is the product category with competition?
- How is your competition distributing its product (online, retail, wholesale, etc.)?
- What’s missing from the competition’s product offering?
Products and Offers
So we know we want to sell hiking shirts, but how do you research specific products?
But for some of us, we’re not quite sure what we should sell. To succeed in online retail, you need a product that is trending upwards in a growing niche.
Different types of products
Some of the different types of products include the following:
- Convenience products: Frequent purchase products, little effort on buying
- Shopping products: Less frequently purchased in between purchases, little more effort and planning, shop around
- Specialty products: Strong brand preference and loyalty, will buy no matter what the price
The various types of niches include the following:
- Hobby niches
- Lifestyle niches
- Problem niches
- Weird/embarrassing niches
Come up with detailed specifications for each product or service you intend to sell. If it’s a hiking shirt we’re selling, we would want to have:
- Detailed sketches of the shirt
- Fabric weight, materials, type
- Key features (e.g., pre-shrunk, water-proof, SPF 40)
Future product pipeline
What are other products that you have in the pipeline? Perhaps once you’ve successfully sold hiking shirts, you’re able to leverage your manufacturing relationships to provide hiking socks and shorts. Include that information in this section.
The products and services section will cover the various selling categories of items.
These product offerings will include the following:
- Core product
Each product group will have its own purpose in your sales catalog. For example, tripwire is the product that brings customers to your ecommerce store or online marketplaces while the core product is your main seller.
Knowing what products you’ll include within each section allows you to have a firm grasp on what your main product will be and how the other types of products will work alongside your main product.
This section will also cover the search volume and Amazon pricing range.
You’ll need to calculate your true costs. You have to make sure you don’t overestimate your margins.
To tabulate your total true costs, you need to write down the costs in the following areas:
- Target price
- Supplier cost of the product
- Total cost per unit
- Net profit per unit
- Profit margin per unit
Once you complete the pricing portion, you’ll have everything on one sheet and readily accessible whenever you need it.
Marketing Plan and Operations
So, now you’ve concluded that you have a great business idea, and it’s in a growing market. That’s fantastic – but how are you going to drive traffic to your ecommerce website and get customers to buy it ? And how much can you afford to spend on your product?
Marketing is everything. It’s important that your marketing efforts match your business model.
If you have a website and no marketing, your site won’t have any visitors. With no visitors, you will make no sales. Then how do you grow and sell your ecommerce business (if that’s your long-term goal)? Even with the best possible products, nobody will buy them if they aren’t directed to them in some way.
In order to come up with a marketing strategy, you need to first know your customer inside out. You should be able to answer such questions as:
- How old is your customer?
- Where does your customer live?
- What is the population of your customer base?
- What is their education level?
- What is their income level?
- What are your customer’s pain points?
With so many channels to reach your customer, which one is best for you?
Once we know pretty much everything there is to know about our target customer, we can shift focus to our marketing strategy. You want to choose marketing strategies that equal positive conversion rates. What channels should you use to grab the attention of your customer demographic? Some of the key marketing channels include:
- Pay-per-click – this online marketing typically involves using Google Shopping campaigns and managing a product data feed.
- Affiliate sales networks – Allowing other blogs and websites to sell your product for a cut of the revenue. List the different affiliate sale networks that you plan to promote through.
- Facebook ads ⎯ Ads posted on Facebook to draw in buyers through social media means.
- Influencer marketing ⎯ Hiring industry influencers to get the word out about your product through their social media platforms and contacts.
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram , Pinterest, etc.): What is your strategy for social media, and where will you dedicate your attention?
- Search Engine Optimization : Create and promote awesome content so people find your product organically through search.
- Content marketing: Figure out how you’ll use content marketing in your business. Consider various article topics that will persuade your target audience to buy your products.
- Blogger networks: could be organic or paid through affiliate sale programs.
- Key bloggers: Develop a list of the key bloggers in your product category. For Atlas Hiking Co., this might be an influencer that blogs about the best hiking trails in America.
Finding the optimal mix of these advertising tools depends 100% on your customer segment as well as your product type. For example, a SaaS product targeting millennials will require an entirely different marketing strategy than an e-commerce physical product targeting baby boomers. Perhaps that should be a post on its own for another day!
How much should you spend to acquire a customer?
In order to understand this, we need first to discuss a concept known as customer lifetime value or LTV. In essence, this is a formula that helps you better understand how much an average customer will spend over time.
Here’s a good read on how to calculate LTV.
It’s important to remember that for new businesses, you don’t have a lot of data on customer purchase habits so it’s a good idea to be more conservative with your assumptions in calculating LTV.
Let’s say, for Atlas Hiking Co., I determine that the average LTV per customer is $300. This means that over time, the average customer will spend $300. Let’s say, on average, if I receive $300 in revenue, $100 of that will translate to gross profit before I factor in my marketing costs (basically, I’m just subtracting the cost of making the shirts).
Knowing that my gross profit is $100 per shirt is a critical piece of information because it tells me that I can spend up to $100 in marketing to acquire a customer and still be profitable!
Some of the marketing options include social media marketing and content marketing.
Think about your business model and then line up your marketing budget. Your marketing budget may include the following items:
- Sales/branded content
- SEO/blog content
- Facebook/Instagram ads
- Influencer marketing
- Marketing tools
- Niche advertising
Choosing The Right Technology
With so much technology and SaaS products out there, it’s important to understand the various moving parts and diagram how they all integrate with one another.
Some of the different elements include:
- Shopping Cart Platforms – e.g., Shopify , BigCommerce , WooCommerce , or any open-source platform
- Hosting – Nexcess , BigScoots , Kinsta , WPX
- Payment Processo r – e.g., Stripe, Paypal
- Fulfillment Center – e.g., Amazon, ShipBob
- Apps – e.g., Zipify, BuildWooFunnels, Gelato
- Accounting & Taxes – e.g., Quicken, Xero
- Marketing Automation – e.g., Klaviyo , Mailchimp
- Marketing Tools – e.g. Buzzstream, Ahrefs
- Customer Loyalty Programs – e.g., Antavo, Smile
Come up with a detailed list of the different products and services you need to run your business as well as the monthly and per-transaction cost of each of them. This will be important in understanding the impact of these services on your margins.
Matching your business model to your technology is essential, too. Certain website platforms are better suited for specific sales models.
Email marketing is another type of technology that should be carefully considered and matched up correctly with your business model.
Keep in mind that it takes, on average, 6-7 interactions with a brand before someone makes a purchase, so you need to keep using technology to get them back to your website.
As you explore the technology options and find out ways to draw potential customers in and keep them happy while they’re there, here are some key points to keep in mind:
- What you say about yourself and your products with your website content
- How you respond to questions on live chat and email support
- How to make use of chatbots
- How you connect on social media
- The information you send through email marketing
- What bloggers and influencers say about your brand
- How existing customers review your company
- How you advertise
- How you establish loyalty beyond sales
After you figure out your technology methods, you have to come up with a technology budget.
The business plan must also include the operations side of things. Determine who will be your manufacturer, secondary manufacturer, and shipping and fulfillment provider.
When looking at supply chain costs and options, ShipBob is an ecommerce fulfillment provider you can consider.
When figuring out your financial plan, evaluating and pinpointing your startup costs is essential.
The focus of the financial plan is how long it will take for you to make your money back. You also need to figure out if you need a business loan .
Traffic and conversion rates will help you determine how long it will be until you start making money back.
You’ll also want to use an income statement to detail financial information.
This section is used for financial projections, such as forecasting sales, expenses, and net income of the business. Ideally, you’ll want to create a monthly Excel balance sheet showing the following:
- Projected revenue: First, come up with your projected number of units sold and then come up with your projected revenue (Projected Revenue = # of Units Sold * Average Sales Price).
- Fixed expenses: these are expenses that are fixed no matter how much you sell. Typically, these relate to monthly SaaS subscriptions, employee salaries, or rent.
- Variable expenses – these expenses change in direct proportion to how much you sell. Common examples include the cost of goods sold and credit card payment processing fees.
This helps business owners better understand what they need to achieve to hit their profit goals. In reality, projections are usually always off the mark, but it’s good to give yourself some measurable goals to strive for.
This section should aim to answer the following questions about your product offering:
- How much product do you need to sell per year to meet your income goals for the business?
- What are the margins on your product? If you sell one hiking shirt for $50, how much do you make after paying your supplier, employees, and marketing costs?
- What is the lifetime value of a customer?
- How much can you spend to acquire customers? If you conservatively project that the average customer will spend $300 over time on your shirts, then you can afford to spend an amount less than $300 to acquire that customer using the paid marketing channels described previously.
- Do you have any big capital expenditures early on that would require you to need to bring in investors?
- Can you improve gross margins by making bigger orders from your suppliers?
There are various acquisition channels that will help your traffic to convert including:
Your revenue plan will contain a 12-month revenue forecast plan to help you map out each month of earnings.
There are different business earning models you can go through to determine how much you can make with your business.
You want to calculate how much traffic costs. This all depends on the methods you use to gain traffic to your site.
As you determine what your profit might be with your ecommerce business or ecommerce businesses, there are certain math formulas to use:
- The profit equation
- Break-even analysis
- Units needed to achieve the profit target
You should also consider how you will use fintech companies in your ecommerce business.
What are the key elements of an ecommerce business plan?
The main components of an eCommerce business plan include the executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management structure, product line or service, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections, and funding request, if applicable.
How do I create a budget for my ecommerce business?
Start by estimating your initial startup costs and ongoing expenses. Consider costs like website development, inventory, marketing, shipping, taxes, and any necessary licenses or permits. It’s also important to factor in a contingency plan for unexpected costs.
How do I find the right product to sell?
Research is fundamental. Look at market trends, customer needs, and competitor products. Use tools like Google Trends or social media platforms to understand what customers are currently interested in. Always consider your passion and knowledge about the product too, as this can drive your business forward.
How can I differentiate my product from competitors?
Differentiation can come from unique product features, superior customer service, better pricing, or a compelling brand story. Understand what your competitors offer and how you can do it differently or better.
Wrapping Up Your Business Plan
Careful planning is crucial to get your e-commerce business from the planning phase to the launch phase and to ensure its successful future.
Going through the exercise of writing a business plan will cement your own understanding of your business and your market. It will also position you to take advantage of lucrative opportunities while mitigating harmful threats to your business down the line.
Your turn! Have you written a business plan for your online store? Do you have anything to add? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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Home > Services > Phone
DRAFT: REWRITE: The 5 Best Business Cell Phone Plans of 2023
Data as of 2/6/24. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *Price available when purchasing 6+ lines. One line with autopay discount starting at $60
We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure .
Business.org’s 5 best business cell phone plans
At&t: best full-featured plans.
Looking for a broad choice of bells and whistles? As a telecom behemoth, AT&T has plenty of cell phone features and packages to offer businesses—around 20 plan variations, small to large. All plans include free US roaming, unlimited talk and text messages, as well as unlimited texting outside of the country. Basic features like call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and conference calling also come standard with all AT&T business cell phone plans, along with bring-your-own-phone support.
AT&T's business cell phone plans
Data as of 2/6/24. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Business Unlimited plan prices start at $30 a month per line when you sign up for 6+ lines, or $60 a month for one line. Data is unlimited, but speeds may slow down after reaching the GB included in each plan.
AT&T business plans can also accommodate up to 10 lines per account, and they come fully loaded with perks like AT&T ActiveArmor SM mobile security and Video Management. Video Management automatically optimizes streaming video on your phone to 480p so you can watch webinars on the go without dealing with a blurry picture.
Each plan also includes a decent array of iOS and Android smartphone options and even a few good old flip phones. Users can save money when bundling AT&T-owned DIRECTV services (because, again, telecom behemoth). Military veterans can also qualify for a 25% discount on Business Unlimited plans.
Users are eligible for a discount if they elect for autopay and paperless billing, but this discount is only applied until after two pay periods. We don't know why the discount cannot be applied earlier in the billing process, but we do find it frustrating.
T-Mobile: Best flexible plans
Not sure exactly what you’ll need in a mobile plan besides future adaptability? T-Mobile, the third-largest wireless service in the US, offers three business plans, all packed with unique features that set T-Mobile apart from the rest. The German-owned company has also earned a reputation for stellar customer service and was the first to eliminate annual contracts (an idea that stuck—none of the plans reviewed on this page require contracts). In April 2018, the company announced its intention to merge with Sprint under the T-Mobile banner.
T-Mobile's business cell phone plans
Data as of 2/6/24. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *Price available with 6+ lines
All of T-Mobile’s Business cell phone plans offer the same basic features:
- Unlimited talk and text
- Unlimited 5G and 4G LTE data on their network
- Unlimited mobile hotspot
- Scam Shield
- Unlimited calling and texting to Mexico & Canada
- Unlimited video streaming
In addition, all T-Mobile Business plans include DIGITS, an app that allows you to access up to five phone numbers on a single device. That means you could answer calls to your work number and personal number on one device—no more packing two phones in your bag every day. DIGITS also lets you share your phone number across multiple devices, so you can answer on your phone, smartwatch, tablet, or computer.
T-Mobile’s Business plans cover up to 12 lines. If you need more than 12 lines, you’ll need to sign up for the Enterprise Phone Plan (13+ lines). This includes a fixed rate of $285 per month for 13 lines, plus $25 per month for each additional line.
T-Mobile plans also allow bring-your-own-device convenience, or you can buy phones upfront with a single payment (there are nearly 40 iOS and Android phones to choose from).
I couldn't find solid info verifying this pricing so I'm not sure if it's still accurate
Now that T-Mobile and Sprint have been merged for almost six months, some significant changes have taken effect. T-Mobile’s website is now the only place businesses can sign up for Sprint or T-Mobile business phone accounts.
Sprint still has an active business website for previous users but all new plans will be sold by T-Mobile on its website.
Verizon: Best growing business plans
Serving over 150 million customers, Verizon isn’t just big, it’s BIG. Such a mobile mammoth might not seem like the obvious choice for a small business, but for what it lacks in a personalized customer service reputation, Verizon more than makes up for by offering every cell phone feature there is, as well as dominant US, and near-dominant global, coverage. Like McDonald’s and Marvel movies, Verizon is everywhere.
Verizon's business cell phone plans
Data as of 2/6/24. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *With 5+ lines
While business owners can get business cell phone plans with limited data, we recommend choosing an unlimited plan if you have multiple employees (or do a lot of work via cell phone).
Verizon’s Business Unlimited cell phone plans are scalable for multiple employees. With plans starting at just $30 per line, Verizon Business Unlimited plans are an attractive option, whether you’re running a tiny company with no expansion plans, a medium-sized business with an eye toward growth, or a large enterprise with heavy cell phone requirements.
Verizon Business Unlimited Plus and Pro plans also include a TravelPass (2–4 days per month), so you can do business around the world. Each plan also includes unlimited calling and texting to Mexico and Canada.
Verizon doesn’t skimp on device choices either. There are nearly 100 iOS and Android phones and tablets available—including the Verizon Orbic Speed, a mobile hotspot device that can connect 10 devices to an 802.11 ac Wi-Fi network.
If your company requires truly “unlimited” cell phone service and scalability to grow, and is in the position to pay for functionality with frills, Verizon Business Unlimited is the way to go. Bare-bones operations, however, might want to look elsewhere.
Each of our recommendations has its strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the most difficult part about finding a phone system is determining exactly what you need and don't need. The best place to start is separating your needs between installing a new system, replacing a system, or expanding an existing system.
If you are having trouble sorting out exactly what your phone needs are, use this tool to help you understand what the best options are for your unique needs.
MintMobile: Most affordable plans
We are sure you’ve seen the commercials with Ryan Reynolds talking about this phone carrier business with a fox logo called Mint Mobile. In fact, a lot of Mint customers were drawn to Mint because of Ryan Reynolds's Hollywood looks, but that’s not the only thing Mint has to offer.
Mint is inexpensive and transparent, compared to other cell phone carriers with hidden fees and seemingly random regulations.
MintMobile's business cell phone plans
These are the prices for new customers and will last up to three months. After the third month, you are eligible to sign up for a 3, 6, or 12-month contract on one of the tiered plans, all $35/mo/user or under, which is astronomically less than other providers.
MintMobile is no fuss, and you really do feel like you must be tricking the rest of the world with its pricing. The only issue is that MintMobile is an online company, and coverage is not completely everywhere yet. There are still some coverage gaps in the West, namely Nevada, Idaho, and Arizona. If you live east of the Rocky Mountains, you are good to go!
Teltik: Best perks plans
If you’re a strapped startup, New Jersey’s Teltik can get you up and running on the cheap. Teltik is a reseller service operating on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 5G network, meaning it can offer the reliability and reach of a giant provider at smaller-company prices. Teltik also has the advantage of being completely US-based, with 24/7 local customer service that’s not outsourced overseas.
Teltik's business cell phone plans
3 more (non-business) cell phone plans reviewed by business.org.
Teltik appears to have a dozen plans, but they’re mostly just variations of the essential plan that offers all the expected basics. Not coincidentally, the features mirror those of T-Mobile, as they’re on the same network.
The most basic plan starts at $20 a month and includes unlimited calling and texting, mobile hotspot service, and unlimited data—with a 2 GB cap on 5G speeds (meaning your speed gets throttled to 128 Kbps if you use more than 2 GB of data in a month). From there, you can upgrade your plan to include more 4G or 5G data and more mobile hotspot data. Upgraded plans cost anywhere from $30 to $40 per month, and they all include one cloud-phone VoIP line—perfect for small businesses looking to save on all their telecommunications needs.
One distinctly entertaining feature (pun intended) of Teltik’s business plans? You get unlimited media streaming from over 40 music services (including Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music) and more than 100 video services (including YouTube, Netflix, and any other channel you can think of). That means you can stream as much TV as you want without it eating into your data. It’s almost as if Teltik doesn’t want you to get any work done.
Another thing you need to know: Teltik doesn’t sell phones. Instead, the company operates on a strict bring-your-own-device basis. Any unlocked phone will work with its network, as will any T-Mobile device, of course. However, you will have to spend $10 plus shipping and handling to buy a new SIM card for each of your devices (unless they’ve already got brand-new, unused T-Mobile SIM cards).
Assess your company’s current cell phone usage and projected future needs before diving into any plan. What looks like a great deal could turn out to be more than you actually need—or you may have initially underestimated your business’s cell phone requirements. Also, if your company has both cell phone and regular office phone needs, look into bundling. The larger telecom providers offer both types of phone coverage, and bundling services is an easy way to save money in the long run.
Don’t want to carry around separate phones for work and personal calls? With the right VoIP service, you don’t have to. Check out our favorite business VoIP providers to see which ones offer on-the-go business phone capabilities.
Business cell phone plan FAQs
If you have several employees working outside of the office on a regular basis, desk-bound phones obviously aren’t going to work for them. Some may be only calling and texting while others will be checking email, using GPS navigation, and accessing the internet for work, but a cell phone is a must for employees in the field.
If you’re a one-person operation accountable to only yourself, you could get by with a personal cell plan. Keeping track of multiple employees’ hours, data, and providers, however, would be an extra headache you don’t need. For streamlining and collaboration purposes, a business cell phone plan would be the easier route.
Most of the plans we’ve reviewed here offer unlimited data—domestically, at least—so hitting the data ceiling won’t likely be an issue. But if you want to forecast how much data your business uses every month, or want to figure out how much premium data you’ll need, providers make data plan estimators available on their websites. Or you could use a third-party calculator app.
BYOD stands for bring your own device . Another common term is BYOP for bring your own phone . This means that employees are using their personal phones, tablets, or laptops on their own carrier plans for work or that they’ve put those devices on the company’s plan. The upside? It’s less expensive than buying devices. The downside? Extra security concerns.
In the annoying absence of Wi-Fi, you can use a cell phone signal to connect a wireless device to the internet by switching on the mobile hotspot option and simply treating it like a Wi-Fi router. For multiple device connections, a dedicated hotspot (such as Verizon’s Orbic Speed ) can provide a faster, and more stable, connection.
Business owners weigh in
To find the best business cell phone options, we considered pricing plans, customer support, and data limits. We also looked at the variety of contracts and whether these plans were flexible with discounts.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
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Many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations and some trusts and estates may be eligible for a qualified business income (QBI) deduction – also called the Section 199A deduction – for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. The deduction allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to 20 percent of their QBI, plus 20 percent of qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership (PTP) income. Income earned through a C corporation or by providing services as an employee is not eligible for the deduction. For more information on what qualifies as a trade or business, see Determining your qualified trades or businesses in the Instructions for Form 8995-A or Form 8995 .
The deduction is available regardless of whether taxpayers itemize deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction. Eligible taxpayers can claim the deduction for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, and ending on or before December 31, 2025.
The deduction has two components.
- QBI Component. This component of the deduction equals 20 percent of QBI from a domestic business operated as a sole proprietorship or through a partnership, S corporation, trust, or estate. The QBI Component is subject to limitations, depending on the taxpayer's taxable income which may include the type of trade or business, the amount of W-2 wages paid by the qualified trade or business, and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition (UBIA) of qualified property held by the trade or business. It may also be reduced by the patron reduction if the taxpayer is a patron of an agricultural or horticultural cooperative.
- REIT/PTP Component. This component of the deduction equals 20 percent of qualified REIT dividends and qualified PTP income. This component is not limited by W-2 wages or the UBIA of qualified property. Depending on the taxpayer's taxable income, the amount of PTP income that qualifies may be limited depending on the type of the PTP's trade or business.
The deduction is limited to the lesser of the QBI component plus the REIT/PTP component or 20 percent of the taxpayer's taxable income minus net capital gain.
QBI is the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction, and loss from any qualified trade or business, including income from partnerships, S corporations, sole proprietorships, and certain trusts. Generally, this includes, but is not limited to, the deductible part of self-employment tax, self-employed health insurance, and deductions for contributions to qualified retirement plans (e.g., SEP, SIMPLE and qualified plan deductions).
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In addition, the rental or licensing of tangible or intangible property that does not rise to the level of a section 162 trade or business is nevertheless treated as a qualified trade or business for purposes of section 199A if the rental or licensing of property is to a commonly controlled trade or business operated by the individual or a passthrough entity as provided in Treas. Reg. § 1.199A-1(b)(14).
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Online Services Business Plan
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Web Applications, Inc.
Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">.
Web Applications is a start-up company that is designed to offer Web-based business management applications. Web Applications has developed an Internet-based application called Online Office Manager, for which a patent is pending. Online Office Manager allows businesses and individuals to keep in touch even when working in different locations. Online Office Manager provides applications which replace the physical office. With Online Office Manager, your office moves with you at all times, and you have 24-hour access to it. Users can get Online Office Manager by subscribing to our server on the Internet.
As with any start-up company, Web Applications recognizes its risks. We are a new company and as such, we will need to meet market acceptance. To that end, the company is working to determine trends in the industry, the needs of the customer, and how best to address the needs of the customer.
We expect to compete as a thriving company in the computer applications software industry. The software market has long been one of the computer industry’s fastest growing segments. Revenues for the worldwide software market reached $122 billion two years ago, up 15% from the year before that, according to estimates by International Data Corporation (IDC), a market research firm in Framingham, Massachusetts. Revenues continued to show robust growth last year. IDC projects that revenues will grow at a compound annual rate of approximately 12% for the next several years, surpassing $220 billion three years from now.
The company is seeking a moderate start-up investment. The company’s revenue projections for year one are for a 10-fold growth. Web Applications expects to achieve profitability within six months of beginning operations.
At Web Applications, our mission is to provide an online office system that links workers in different locations to their mother company.
See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan
Company summary company overview ) is an overview of the most important points about your company—your history, management team, location, mission statement and legal structure.">.
Web Applications, Inc. was established in 1998 to provide a Web-based business application with features that give users the ability to remain in touch with operations at all times from anywhere in the world. The company was formed by Mr. Lester Andrews and is a Georgia incorporated S-Corporation.
2.1 Start-up Summary
Start-up costs, expenses and funding sources are laid out in the tables and chart below.
2.2 Financial Risks and Contingencies
The company recognizes that it is subject to both market and industry risks. We believe our risks are as follows, and we are addressing each as indicated.
- Start-up company . We face all the risks associated with being a start-up company. We feel that we can overcome these with our experience in the industry and by quickly establishing desired relationships.
- Security . Security is a major issue, but all features provide security options; documents and directories can be password-protected and have specific, user-only access rights.
Web Applications has developed an Internet-based application called Online Office Manager, for which a patent is pending. Online Office Manager allows businesses and individuals to keep in touch effectively even with a distance factor. Online Office Manager provides applications which replace the physical office. With Online Office Manager, your office moves with you at all times and you have 24-hour access to it. Users can get Online Office Manager by subscribing to our server on the Internet. There is no need to buy any software or upgraded versions of the software.
3.1 Service Description
- Communication and productivity . This feature will allow you to see who is online within an organization. Our communication feature will enable the user to initiate and conduct a chat session, and will give them the means to initiate NetMeeting. Users can send and receive files directly through the Internet. Documents can also be stored in one central location.
- Email . Users will be able to send and receive emails and faxes in a personal mailbox. Within the email tool, users can create and use different folders to hold their private email. They will also have quick access to folders in an organization, and the ability to create and maintain an address book.
- Messaging . Users will be able to send text messages to others online. This feature will receive and log messages giving a “while you were out” type application.
- Schedules . Scheduling meetings can be done en-mass, i.e. users select a group of users and request a meeting. They can also specify which users must be present for the meeting to occur, and which are optional. When confirmations are received for all those required, a message is placed on everyone’s calendar. The user will also be able to set up scheduled reminders that fire off at a certain time. The system can maintain a database of resources. For the individual users, they can store their own personal schedule.
- Document Management . Users can store different documents on the system. Checked-in documents are saved in a manner which will allow for easy retrieval at a later time. Document searching can be done using a keyword, and the document can be viewed in a number of different formats without having to install any software.
- Online bill payments . This service will be name branded from services like Checkfree. It will allow users to electronically pay bills all in one location.
- Threaded bulletin board . This allows users to leave messages and multiple individuals to respond, leave their own message, and track the history.
- Package tracking . Users can view the status of packages that are being shipped with FedEx, UPS, etc.
- Travel planner . Will allow users to make travel arrangements and get discounts. Users can create travel profiles and itineraries online.
- Credit check services . This will allow users to check credit ratings of potential business partners or vendors.
- Conduct surveys . Users can create a survey and distribute it on the system. Responses can be given and returned to the system where they will be tabulated and maintained.
Online Office Manager comes in three packages and customers can choose the one with the applications that best suit their needs.
3.2 Future Services
In the future, we will implement Phase 2 of our plan. Our research and development (R&D) will yield innovation with input from customers and the marketplace. Given below is a detailed look at the future applications that will be a part of the Phase 2 program. The biggest and most complex application of Phase 2 will be the telephone/fax service.
Telephone/Fax services .
A full-blown phone messaging service will be provided, and users can get a number on our phone network from which they can get messages. The existence of messages will be indicated in the user mailbox and the user can play them over the computer (sound card and speakers are required). The same number can also be used to receive faxes. Faxes will be received and stored in one central location, then placed in the user mailbox. The user can then retrieve them in an image, forward them to a real fax machine, or forward them to an email address. The user will also be able to fax documents over the Internet through our system. They can drag and drop a document on the fax button, give a phone number, and the document will be routed to our system and automatically faxed to the desired number (long distance charges will be added to the bill). The service will allow two people to connect over the Internet using microphone and speakers as a Web-phone (this will provide great savings on long distance phone calls).
Other Future Applications
- Job postings–Enables people to browse various categories and sub-categories of ads and submit resumes.
Market Analysis Summary how to do a market analysis for your business plan.">
We expect to compete as a thriving company in the computer applications software industry. Applications software are computer programs designed to accomplish user tasks, such as word processing, graphic design, desktop publishing, inventory control, and more. The software industry consists of three general market segments: application solutions, application tools, and systems software. The software market has long been one of the computer industry’s fastest growing segments. Revenues for the worldwide software market reached $122 billion in 1997, up about 15% from 1996 according to estimates by IDC. Revenues continued to show robust growth in 1998. IDC projects that revenues will grow at a compound annual rate of approximately 12% for the next several years, surpassing $220 billion by 2002.
- System-level software comprises operating systems, operating systems enhancements, and data center management. The worldwide market for system-level software increased 13% in 1997, to $35.1 billion. This figure should exceed $53 billion by 2001, based on an 11% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Applications software can be either developed by outside vendors and sold in packaged form, or custom-made by users themselves. Many computer users don’t have the time or desire to write their own computer programs or to hire a software developer; they can choose from thousands of quality packaged programs ready for use with little or no modification. The proliferation of computers has increased the number of people who use computers relative to those who can program them, increasing the packaged software’s importance. Custom software is tailored to the needs of a specific individual or organization.
4.1 A Brief Look at the Internet
In just five years, the Internet has undergone a major metamorphosis. From an obscure network used by a limited number of academics and researchers, the Internet has been transformed into a global Web of more than 100 million interconnected computers encompassing users from all walks of life. Described below are the various segments of the Internet:
- Hardware : networking equipment. This sector provides the primary infrastructure on which the Internet is built. Two prominent types of network equipment are routers and remote access concentrators. Cisco Systems Inc. with sales of approximately $9.9 billion and a market share of 67%, dominated the routers market in 1998. Ascend Communications, Inc. (1998 sales of $1.48 billion) and Cisco share leadership of the remote access concentrator market, with shares of approximately 28% and 27%, respectively.
- Software . Two of the main types of Internet software are browsers and security programs. Microsoft Corporation and Netscape Communications Corporation dominate the key software component of the World Wide Web. The security segments are needed to ensure the safety of networks and transactions. Security Dynamics Technology Inc. (1998 sales of $41 million) has taken the lead in providing authentication and encryption products.
- Services . Internet service providers (ISPs) offer a way for people to enter the Internet. According to IDC, America Online has approximately 43% share of the total subscribers in the ISP segment, followed by Microsoft’s MSN, and AT&T’s WorldNet.
- Destinations . Destinations are websites that people can go to for information, entertainment, or commerce.
4.2 Brief Look at the Computer Industry
In the first six months of 1997, a total of 37 million personal computers (PC) were shipped worldwide. That figure rose to 40 million during the same time period in 1998 and, according to IDC, this figure is expected to rise by 16% in 1999. PC growth in 1997 and 1998 was boosted by the introduction of the sub-$1,000 PC. This price point is due in large part to the sharp drop in prices of the major components that go into the PC. Another way PC makers have addressed lower price points is through cost-reduction efforts made possible by new manufacturing and distribution strategies. Two important initiatives are underway:
- Build to order (BTO). Under BTO, PC’s are assembled by the manufacturer.
- Channel assembly. Under channel assembly, distributors or resellers build and configure the machines.
In both cases, the building or configuring occurs when an order is received. By using these methods, indirect PC vendors hope to keep inventories lower and, through the cost savings achieved, offer more competitive prices to customers. Compaq, Dell, IBM, and Hewlett Packard dominate the computer industry.
4.3 Market Segmentation
A review of all of our markets is given below:
- Telecommuters . Telecommuting seems to be on a steady growth curve, with approximately 11 million telecommuters in the U.S. today, according to the latest survey from FIND/SVP, a research and consulting firm. Telecommuting will continue to grow because there are frequent references to productivity gains in the range of 15-25% for telecommuters.
Customer Buying Criteria Customers are expected to use our services based on traditional factors:
- Service . Customers not only expect the best service but value for money, which is what we give them in our product.
4.4 The Y2K Issue
One of the more pressing issues facing the computer industry is the Year 2000 problem, also referred to as “Y2K” and “the millennium bug.” Unless addressed properly, this problem will cause many computers worldwide to stop functioning properly. Y2K arises from the fact that until the mid-1980s or so, programmers used two-digit numbers to represent years. For example, “97” was used to represent the year 1997. While this design saved computer storage space, which was expensive and in limited supply, it also produced the situation in which all dates input in these computers refer to the twentieth century. The Gartner Group, a Connecticut-based information technology (IT) consulting firm, estimates the worldwide repair bills in the $300 billion – $600 billion range, but this includes only the cost of fixing programs written in Cobol. Software Productivity Research, a Massachusetts based software-consulting firm, has made a broader estimate that includes repairs, damages, and litigation. This group estimates that the total cost from 1994 to 2005 will top $3.6 trillion.
Our products will not be affected by the Y2K problem.
4.5 Service Business Analysis
Competition There is one major company with whom we will be competing and that is HotOffice Technology. Its product, HotOffice, is a low-end business planner that focuses on the basic business structure. Other companies compete in the industry, but they only specialize on one of the many features we offer.
HotOffice Technology HotOffice Technologies, Inc. is a Web-based Intranet Service provider for small business, especially those with collaboration needs, multiple offices, mobile workers, telecommuters, and virtual offices. HotOffice offers small businesses an affordable, secure Intranet solution at a fraction of the cost of purchasing and maintaining a traditional Intranet or Extranet. This subscription service provides a large, powerful suite of collaboration and communication tools in one simple, easy-to-use interface accessible anytime, anywhere. From any PC with Internet access, HotOffice provides instant connection via the Web to email, calendar, documents, bulletin boards, online conference rooms, business centers, and more.
Strengths Large penetration to the main channels. At the time of this writing, they have the first entry to market. We plan on taking a significant part of that market share within a few months by providing additional features that will be more attractive for users.
- These companies form a large group of firms that offer one form of the many applications that we offer. They either specialize in selling hard drive space or email functions.
Barriers to Entry Web Applications will benefit from several significant barriers to entry which include:
- Market penetration. Once we are in the market and established, it will be difficult for someone to break into a market where someone is already operating successfully.
Strategy and Implementation Summary
We intend to become the leader and most creative provider of Web-based business management applications on the market. We aim to create a user-friendly application that will be an integral component in any personal or business environment. We will do this by developing an innovative and progressive development and management team. We will also accomplish our goal by using customer input to further develop our products and services.
We will leverage this new product in the computer software industry to dominate the growing Web-based applications market, especially the small businesses. We have a premium, value-added product with three different packages from which the user can choose the one that best suits their needs. These strategic product lines will enable domination of the target market. The products all share the core applications but differ in range of services.
As a company, we feel that there are a number of opportunities we can capitalize on and they include:
- Better communication. Businesses will be able to set up meetings without incurring travel costs. Our products break down the walls that are created by the distance separating team or group members.
- Alternative for office network. With our product and its applications, there will be no need for businesses to set up office networks or purchase additional hardware.
- Cost effective. It is cost effective in that only a monthly fee is required, as opposed to huge amounts of money for set up costs and servers.
- Setting up on main branch office. We will help companies to set up the system and ease the transition with no delay in ordering equipment and daily operations.
- Control sales team activities. Our product will give those in the sales department the ability to get quick approvals and close deals faster.
- No laptop needed. All user information will be placed online and kept in various departments. This will eliminate the need to carry laptops when traveling, thus reducing the chance of laptop theft, which is high in airports.
- Eliminate need for multiple software packages. All applications needed are in one place and more can be added per user request, thus eliminating the need of purchasing individual software packages.
- Portable personal information manager (PIM). Even as you travel, your own PIM on the server will be at work taking messages and putting them in the desired folders. The PIM becomes a personal secretary keeping you informed of special events.
- No laptop needed. All user information will be placed online and kept in various departments. This will eliminate the need to carry laptops when traveling, thus reducing the chance of laptop theft, which is high in airports.
We will outsource all sales operations to a company to be named.
5.1 Sales Forecast
We are confident that our Online Office Manager will be eagerly embraced by mobile computer using businesses and e-commerce businesses. We are forecasting a 10-fold revenue increase over the years covered in this plan, as shown in the table and charts below.
5.2 Marketing Strategy
We will outsource all marketing operations to Dynamic Communication Solutions because we feel that they have stability and marketing channels that will be effective for our product.
The message associated with our product is value-added applications. Dynamic Communication Solutions has identified a brief promotional plan that is diverse and will include a range of marketing communications including the few listed below.
- Public relations.
- Trade shows.
- Industry conferences and seminars.
- Print advertising. Dynamic Communication Solutions will follow a print advertising program in publications such as Creative Loafing , Belleview Business Chronicle , and the Buckhead Local Paper . Shown below is a breakdown of the various publications.
5.3 Pricing Strategy
We plan to set our pricing based on competitors’ pricing. Prices will also be based on market prices for similar off-the-shelf products. The automatic upgrade and product enhancement features do not affect the price of any of the services. The figure below shows our tentative pricing schedule, these are monthly rates. We will work in conjunction with Dynamic Communication Solutions to come up with a working pricing schedule. Users will have three payment options:
- Six-month payment.
5.4 Value Proposition
Web Applications offers the following value propositions for customers.
- Collaboration . Users can work on the same document at the same time from different locations. Both will be able to edit the document and work on the cosmetics simultaneously. This collaboration ability eliminates the need to send the same document back and forth, saving time for both users.
- Communication . Applications allow all users to keep in touch in real time and make any necessary business decisions there and then without holding down the other party involved. Communication can be through several different applications that are offered. This allows for rapid decision-making, helping managers and sales teams make and close deals with greater ease. This will also help speed up the approval process when placing orders.
- Document management . This product allows documents to be stored, viewed, and searched at any given time. Users can create and arrange folders in a manner that will make it easy to retrieve documents. Basically, they have the ability to create their own filing system online.
- Information sharing . With features such as online chat, information can be shared quickly and easily. In the event that sensitive information is being shared, users do not have to worry because security measures have been taken to safeguard all information from outsiders.
- Personal virtual office . With each personal office space, users will have the ability to keep track of all daily tasks. Users have access to their office at anytime, from anywhere.
5.5 Strategic Alliances
The company plans to form strategic alliances with Dynamic Communication Solutions, For Sale By Internet, and a sales company to be announced. The company may develop research alliances to further refine the product and adapt it to new markets in different industries. Below is an explanation of key relationships:
- Dynamic Communication Solutions . This is a company with over ten years of experience in marketing and marketing management. We will outsource all marketing operations to Dynamic Communication Solutions because we feel that they have stability and marketing channels that will be effective for our product. This relationship will eliminate the need to develop our own marketing team.
- For Sale By Internet . This company develops and manages company websites on a contract basis. The company is located in Kirkland, Washington and boasts a Webmaster with over seven years experience in the field. We will benefit from this relationship by having an experienced company handle all design and website management. Also, this will allow us to focus on developing applications for other industries.
- Sales . We will outsource all sales operations to a company to be named later.
Management Summary management summary will include information about who's on your team and why they're the right people for the job, as well as your future hiring plans.">
Our management philosophy is based on responsibility and mutual respect. At Web Applications, we have an environment that encourages creativity and achievement. Web Applications management is highly experienced and qualified. Its key management team includes Mr. Lester Andrews and Mr. Dwight Austin.
6.1 Management Team
Mr. Lester Andrews – President and CEO Lester Andrews has over 10 years in the Information System field. In 1987, he attended the DeVry Institute of Technology where he graduated with a degree in Electronics Engineering. He went on to work for Vanstar (formally Computerland) in the networking department handling accounts such as Compaq, Intel, APC, HP, and various others. After leaving Vanstar, he pursed a career that included consulting designing, installing and setting up networks, and network maintenance. Mr. Andrews also worked as a Manager of Information Systems for the Medicare SMART program.
Mr. Dwight Austion – COO/CFO Mr. Austion graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in Sociology and has a vast amount of managerial experience. Between 1994 and 1995, he worked at Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS) as a project manager. During this time, he was responsible for preparing and delivering presentations for proposals to sell new services. Mr. Austion also managed the daily operations with an annual budget of $320,000. Between 1995 and 1996, Mr. Austion was project manager at Taylor and Mathis/Beacon properties, a Belleview-based real estate company. He had the task of supervising a staff of 20 employees and 10 sub-contractors. He was also in charge of operations, which were run on an annual budget of $450,000. Mr. Austion also worked as project manager for Flower’s Baking Company, where he managed contract services and had an operating budget of $600,000. In December 1997, he took his managerial skills to Hospital Housekeeping Systems where he became operating manager for day staff. He worked closely with the chief operating officer and had an operating budget of $1.2 million.
6.2 Outside Support
Dynamic Communication Solutions – Marketing This is a company with over ten years of experience in marketing and marketing management. We will outsource all marketing operations to Dynamic Communication Solutions because we feel that they have stability and marketing channels that will be effective for our product.
To be announced – Sales We will outsource all sales operations to a company to be named.
To be announced – Customer service We will outsource this department to an answering service.
Financial Plan investor-ready personnel plan .">
Funding Requirements and Uses Based on our projections, we feel an investment in our company is a sound investment. In order to proceed, we are requesting an investment of $101,600 by June, 1999. The funds will be used to purchase equipment and to cover initial operating expenses. The $101,600 will be used to implement Phase 1 of our operations. Once the company is in full operation, we will require an additional capital investment to fund Phase 2 of our operations.
Phase 2 We will be in discussion with developers on the best direction to take and what cost savings we can achieve. The specific details for Phase 2 are still to be determined, but three major areas (server, small PBX, and business development funds) will require approximately $30,000 by January, 2000.
Exit/Payback Strategy We can provide an exit for this investment within three years by a dividend of excess profits. The increase in profits generated by sales revenue will provide funds to repay the investment.
Conclusion Based on our projections, we feel an investment to Web Applications is a sound business investment. In order to proceed, we are requesting an investment of $101,600 as soon as possible.
7.1 Break-even Analysis
With average first year fixed monthly costs and an average margin as shown below, Web Applications calculates it will break even at the sales volume presented in the table and chart. The company management plans to reach such level by the end of 2000.
7.2 Important Assumptions
The following chart contains assumptions important to the success of the company.
7.3 Projected Profit and Loss
The projected income statement for Web Applications is shown below. The company is basing its revenue projections on anticipated sales of products.
7.4 Projected Cash Flow
The cash flow statement can be found in the chart and table below.
7.5 Projected Balance Sheet
The projected balance sheet is provided below.
7.6 Business Ratios
The following table outlines some of the more important ratios from the Computer Programming Services industry. The final column, Industry Profile, details specific ratios based on the industry as it is classified by the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) code, 7371.
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