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

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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

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

What Is a Business Plan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Plan Steps

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

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

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

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

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

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

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

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

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

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

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

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

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

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

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

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

Step 1: Executive Summary

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

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

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

Step 2: Description of Business

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

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

Step 3: Market Analysis

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

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

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

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

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

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

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

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

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

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

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

Step 7: Marketing Plan

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

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

Step 8: Sales Plan

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

Start by answering the following questions:

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

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

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

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

Step 10: Financial Projections

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

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

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

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

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

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

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

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

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

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

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

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

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

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

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

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

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

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

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

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

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

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

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

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

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

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

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

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

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

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

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.

Bizee

A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

write example of business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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write example of business plan

The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

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

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

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

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

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

write example of business plan

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write example of business plan

7-part template for business plan examples

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

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

7 business plan examples (section by section)

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

  • Executive summary

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

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

business plan executive summary

  • Company description

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

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

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

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

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

marketing swot example

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

  • Products and services

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

write example of business plan

  • Marketing plan

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

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

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

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

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

Financial plan

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

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

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

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

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

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

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

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

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth

Internal 

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

  • Market research

Feasibility 

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

Mix and match to make a killer business plan

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

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

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

Want to learn more?

  • Question: Are You a Business Owner or an Entrepreneur?
  • Bootstrapping a Business: 10 Tips to Help You Succeed
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset: 20 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur
  • 101+ Best Small Business Software Programs 

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How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

  • 3 years ago

Have you ever wondered how to write a business plan step by step? Mike Andes, told us: 

This guide will help you write a business plan to impress investors.

Throughout this process, we’ll get information from Mike Andes, who started Augusta Lawn Care Services when he was 12 and turned it into a franchise with over 90 locations. He has gone on to help others learn how to write business plans and start businesses.  He knows a thing or two about writing  business plans!

We’ll start by discussing the definition of a business plan. Then we’ll discuss how to come up with the idea, how to do the market research, and then the important elements in the business plan format. Keep reading to start your journey!

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is simply a road map of what you are trying to achieve with your business and how you will go about achieving it. It should cover all elements of your business including: 

  • Finding customers
  • Plans for developing a team
  •  Competition
  • Legal structures
  • Key milestones you are pursuing

If you aren’t quite ready to create a business plan, consider starting by reading our business startup guide .

Get a Business Idea

Before you can write a business plan, you have to have a business idea. You may see a problem that needs to be solved and have an idea how to solve it, or you might start by evaluating your interests and skills. 

Mike told us, “The three things I suggest asking yourself when thinking about starting a business are:

  • What am I good at?
  • What would I enjoy doing?
  • What can I get paid for?”

If all three of these questions don’t lead to at least one common answer, it will probably be a much harder road to success. Either there is not much market for it, you won’t be good at it, or you won’t enjoy doing it. 

As Mike told us, “There’s enough stress starting and running a business that if you don’t like it or aren’t good at it, it’s hard to succeed.”

If you’d like to hear more about Mike’s approach to starting a business, check out our YouTube video

Conduct Market Analysis

Market analysis is focused on establishing if there is a target market for your products and services, how large the target market is, and identifying the demographics of people or businesses that would be interested in the product or service. The goal here is to establish how much money your business concept can make.

Product and Service Demand

A search engine is your best friend when trying to figure out if there is demand for your products and services. Personally, I love using presearch.org because it lets you directly search on a ton of different platforms including Google, Youtube, Twitter, and more. Check out the screenshot for the full list of search options.

With quick web searches, you can find out how many competitors you have, look through their reviews, and see if there are common complaints about the competitors. Bad reviews are a great place to find opportunities to offer better products or services. 

If there are no similar products or services, you may have stumbled upon something new, or there may just be no demand for it. To find out, go talk to your most honest friend about the idea and see what they think. If they tell you it’s dumb or stare at you vacantly, there’s probably no market for it.

You can also conduct a survey through social media to get public opinion on your idea. Using Facebook Business Manager , you could get a feel for who would be interested in your product or service.

 I ran a quick test of how many people between 18-65  you could reach in the U.S. during a week. It returned an estimated 700-2,000 for the total number of leads, which is enough to do a fairly accurate statistical analysis.

Identify Demographics of Target Market

Depending on what type of business you want to run, your target market will be different. The narrower the demographic, the fewer potential customers you’ll have. If you did a survey, you’ll be able to use that data to help define your target audience. Some considerations you’ll want to consider are:

  • Other Interests
  • Marital Status
  • Do they have kids?

Once you have this information, it can help you narrow down your options for location and help define your marketing further. One resource that Mike recommended using is the Census Bureau’s Quick Facts Map . He told us,  

“It helps you quickly evaluate what the best areas are for your business to be located.”

How to Write a Business Plan

Now that you’ve developed your idea a little and established there is a market for it, you can begin writing a business plan. Getting started is easier with the business plan template we created for you to download. I strongly recommend using it as it is updated to make it easier to create an action plan. 

Each of the following should be a section of your business plan:

  • Business Plan Cover Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Description of Products and Services

SWOT Analysis

  • Competitor Data
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Expenses Strategy 

Pricing Strategy

  • Distribution Channel Assessment
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organizational Strategy
  • Financial Statements and/or Financial Projections

We’ll look into each of these. Don’t forget to download our free business plan template (mentioned just above) so you can follow along as we go. 

How to Write a Business Plan Step 1. Create a Cover Page

The first thing investors will see is the cover page for your business plan. Make sure it looks professional. A great cover page shows that you think about first impressions.

A good business plan should have the following elements on a cover page:

  • Professionally designed logo
  • Company name
  • Mission or Vision Statement
  • Contact Info

Basically, think of a cover page for your business plan like a giant business card. It is meant to capture people’s attention but be quickly processed.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 2. Create a Table of Contents

Most people are busy enough that they don’t have a lot of time. Providing a table of contents makes it easy for them to find the pages of your plan that are meaningful to them.

A table of contents will be immediately after the cover page, but you can include it after the executive summary. Including the table of contents immediately after the executive summary will help investors know what section of your business plan they want to review more thoroughly.

Check out Canva’s article about creating a  table of contents . It has a ton of great information about creating easy access to each section of your business plan. Just remember that you’ll want to use different strategies for digital and hard copy business plans.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 3. Write an Executive Summary

An executive summary is where your business plan should catch the readers interest.  It doesn’t need to be long, but should be quick and easy to read.

Mike told us,

How long should an executive summary bein an informal business plan?

For casual use, an executive summary should be similar to an elevator pitch, no more than 150-160 words, just enough to get them interested and wanting more. Indeed has a great article on elevator pitches .  This can also be used for the content of emails to get readers’ attention.

It consists of three basic parts:

  • An introduction to you and your business.
  • What your business is about.
  • A call to action

Example of an informal executive summary 

One of the best elevator pitches I’ve used is:

So far that pitch has achieved a 100% success rate in getting partnerships for the business.

What should I include in an executive summary for investors?

Investors are going to need a more detailed executive summary if you want to secure financing or sell equity. The executive summary should be a brief overview of your entire business plan and include:

  • Introduction of yourself and company.
  • An origin story (Recognition of a problem and how you came to solution)
  • An introduction to your products or services.
  • Your unique value proposition. Make sure to include intellectual property.
  • Where you are in the business life cycle
  • Request and why you need it.

Successful business plan examples

The owner of Urbanity told us he spent 2 months writing a 75-page business plan and received a $250,000 loan from the bank when he was 23. Make your business plan as detailed as possible when looking for financing. We’ve provided a template to help you prepare the portions of a business plan that banks expect.

Here’s the interview with the owner of Urbanity:

When to write an executive summary?

Even though the summary is near the beginning of a business plan, you should write it after you complete the rest of a business plan. You can’t talk about revenue, profits, and expected expenditures if you haven’t done the market research and created a financial plan.

What mistakes do people make when writing an executive summary?

Business owners commonly go into too much detail about the following items in an executive summary:

  • Marketing and sales processes
  • Financial statements
  • Organizational structure
  • Market analysis

These are things that people will want to know later, but they don’t hook the reader. They won’t spark interest in your small business, but they’ll close the deal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 4. Company Description

Every business plan should include a company description. A great business plan will include the following elements while describing the company:

  • Mission statement
  • Philosophy and vision
  • Company goals

Target market

  • Legal structure

Let’s take a look at what each section includes in a good business plan.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is a brief explanation of why you started the company and what the company’s main focus is. It should be no more than one or two sentences. Check out HubSpot’s article 27 Inspiring Mission Statement for a great read on informative and inspiring mission and vision statements. 

Company Philosophy and Vision

The company philosophy is what drives your company. You’ll normally hear them called core values.  These are the building blocks that make your company different. You want to communicate your values to customers, business owners, and investors as often as possible to build a company culture, but make sure to back them up.

What makes your company different?

Each company is different. Your new business should rise above the standard company lines of honesty, integrity, fun, innovation, and community when communicating your business values. The standard answers are corporate jargon and lack authenticity. 

Examples of core values

One of my clients decided to add a core values page to their website. As a tech company they emphasized the values:

  •  Prioritize communication.
  •  Never stop learning.
  •  Be transparent.
  •  Start small and grow incrementally.

These values communicate how the owner and the rest of the company operate. They also show a value proposition and competitive advantage because they specifically focus on delivering business value from the start. These values also genuinely show what the company is about and customers recognize the sincerity. Indeed has a great blog about how to identify your core values .

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement communicate the long lasting change a business pursues. The vision helps investors and customers understand what your company is trying to accomplish. The vision statement goes beyond a mission statement to provide something meaningful to the community, customer’s lives, or even the world.

Example vision statements

The Alzheimer’s Association is a great example of a vision statement:

A world without Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia.

It clearly tells how they want to change the world. A world without Alzheimers might be unachievable, but that means they always have room for improvement.

Business Goals

You have to measure success against goals for a business plan to be meaningful. A business plan helps guide a company similar to how your GPS provides a road map to your favorite travel destination. A goal to make as much money as possible is not inspirational and sounds greedy.

Sure, business owners want to increase their profits and improve customer service, but they need to present an overview of what they consider success. The goals should help everyone prioritize their work.

How far in advance should a business plan?

Business planning should be done at least one year in advance, but many banks and investors prefer three to five year business plans. Longer plans show investors that the management team  understands the market and knows the business is operating in a constantly shifting market. In addition, a plan helps businesses to adjust to changes because they have already considered how to handle them.

Example of great business goals

My all time-favorite long-term company goals are included in Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux . These goals were written in 2016 and drive the company’s decisions through 2026. They are the reason that investors are so forgiving when Elon Musk continually fails to meet his quarterly and annual goals.

If the progress aligns with the business plan investors are likely to continue to believe in the company. Just make sure the goals are reasonable or you’ll be discredited (unless you’re Elon Musk).

You did target market research before creating a business plan. Now it’s time to add it to the plan so others understand what your ideal customer looks like. As a new business owner, you may not be considered an expert in your field yet, so document everything. Make sure the references you use are from respectable sources. 

Use information from the specific lender when you are applying for lending. Most lenders provide industry research reports and using their data can strengthen the position of your business plan.

A small business plan should include a section on the external environment. Understanding the industry is crucial because we don’t plan a business in a vacuum. Make sure to research the industry trends, competitors, and forecasts. I personally prefer IBIS World for my business research. Make sure to answer questions like:

  • What is the industry outlook long-term and short-term?
  • How will your business take advantage of projected industry changes and trends?
  • What might happen to your competitors and how will your business successfully compete?

Industry resources

Some helpful resources to help you establish more about your industry are:

  • Trade Associations
  • Federal Reserve
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics

Legal Structure

There are five basic types of legal structures that most people will utilize:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

Partnerships

Corporations.

  • Franchises.

Each business structure has their pros and cons. An LLC is the most common legal structure due to its protection of personal assets and ease of setting up. Make sure to specify how ownership is divided and what roles each owner plays when you have more than one business owner.

You’ll have to decide which structure is best for you, but we’ve gathered information on each to make it easier.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the easiest legal structure to set up but doesn’t protect the owner’s personal assets from legal issues. That means if something goes wrong, you could lose both your company and your home.

To start a sole proprietorship, fill out a special tax form called a  Schedule C . Sole proprietors can also join the American Independent Business Alliance .

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is the most common business structure used in the United States because an LLC protects the owner’s personal assets. It’s similar to partnerships and corporations, but can be a single-member LLC in most states. An LLC requires a document called an operating agreement.

Each state has different requirements. Here’s a link to find your state’s requirements . Delaware and Nevada are common states to file an LLC because they are really business-friendly. Here’s a blog on the top 10 states to get an LLC.

Partnerships are typically for legal firms. If you choose to use a partnership choose a Limited Liability Partnership. Alternatively, you can just use an LLC.

Corporations are typically for massive organizations. Corporations have taxes on both corporate and income tax so unless you plan on selling stock, you are better off considering an LLC with S-Corp status . Investopedia has good information corporations here .

There are several opportunities to purchase successful franchises. TopFranchise.com has a list of companies in a variety of industries that offer franchise opportunities. This makes it where an entrepreneur can benefit from the reputation of an established business that has already worked out many of the kinks of starting from scratch.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 5. Products and Services

This section of the business plan should focus on what you sell, how you source it, and how you sell it. You should include:

  • Unique features that differentiate your business products from competitors
  • Intellectual property
  • Your supply chain
  • Cost and pricing structure 

Questions to answer about your products and services

Mike gave us a list  of the most important questions to answer about your product and services:

  • How will you be selling the product? (in person, ecommerce, wholesale, direct to consumer)?
  • How do you let them know they need a product?
  • How do you communicate the message?
  • How will you do transactions?
  • How much will you be selling it for?
  • How many do you think you’ll sell and why?

Make sure to use the worksheet on our business plan template .

How to Write a Business Plan Step 6. Sales and Marketing Plan

The marketing and sales plan is focused on the strategy to bring awareness to your company and guides how you will get the product to the consumer.  It should contain the following sections:

SWOT Analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Not only do you want to identify them, but you also want to document how the business plans to deal with them.

Business owners need to do a thorough job documenting how their service or product stacks up against the competition.

If proper research isn’t done, investors will be able to tell that the owner hasn’t researched the competition and is less likely to believe that the team can protect its service from threats by the more well-established competition. This is one of the most common parts of a presentation that trips up business owners presenting on Shark Tank .

SWOT Examples

Examples of strengths and weaknesses could be things like the lack of cash flow, intellectual property ownership, high costs of suppliers, and customers’ expectations on shipping times.

Opportunities could be ways to capitalize on your strengths or improve your weaknesses, but may also be gaps in the industry. This includes:

  • Adding offerings that fit with your current small business
  • Increase sales to current customers
  • Reducing costs through bulk ordering
  • Finding ways to reduce inventory
  •  And other areas you can improve

Threats will normally come from outside of the company but could also be things like losing a key member of the team. Threats normally come from competition, regulations, taxes, and unforeseen events.

The management team should use the SWOT analysis to guide other areas of business planning, but it absolutely has to be done before a business owner starts marketing. 

Include Competitor Data in Your Business Plan

When you plan a business, taking into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of the competition is key to navigating the field. Providing an overview of your competition and where they are headed shows that you are invested in understanding the industry.

For smaller businesses, you’ll want to search both the company and the owners names to see what they are working on. For publicly held corporations, you can find their quarterly and annual reports on the SEC website .

What another business plans to do can impact your business. Make sure to include things that might make it attractive for bigger companies to outsource to a small business.

Marketing Strategy

The marketing and sales part of business plans should be focused on how you are going to make potential customers aware of your business and then sell to them.

If you haven’t already included it, Mike recommends:

“They’ll want to know about Demographics, ages, and wealth of your target market.”

Make sure to include the Total addressable market .  The term refers to the value if you captured 100% of the market.

Advertising Strategy

You’ll explain what formats of advertising you’ll be using. Some possibilities are:

  • Online: Facebook and Google are the big names to work with here.
  • Print : Print can be used to reach broad groups or targeted markets. Check out this for tips .
  • Radio : iHeartMedia is one of the best ways to advertise on the radio
  • Cable television : High priced, hard to measure ROI, but here’s an explanation of the process
  • Billboards: Attracting customers with billboards can be beneficial in high traffic areas.

You’ll want to define how you’ll be using each including frequency, duration, and cost. If you have the materials already created, including pictures or links to the marketing to show creative assets.

Mike told us “Most businesses are marketing digitally now due to Covid, but that’s not always the right answer.”

Make sure the marketing strategy will help team members or external marketing agencies stay within the brand guidelines .

This section of a business plan should be focused on pricing. There are a ton of pricing strategies that may work for different business plans. Which one will work for you depends on what kind of a business you run.

Some common pricing strategies are:

  • Value-based pricing – Commonly used with home buying and selling or other products that are status symbols.
  • Skimming pricing – Commonly seen in video game consoles, price starts off high to recoup expenses quickly, then reduces over time.
  • Competition-based pricing – Pricing based on competitors’ pricing is commonly seen at gas stations.
  • Freemium services –  Commonly used for software, where there is a free plan, then purchase options for more functionality.

HubSpot has a great calculator and blog on pricing strategies.

Beyond explaining what strategy your business plans to use, you should include references for how you came to this pricing strategy and how it will impact your cash flow.

Distribution Plan

This part of a business plan is focused on how the product or service is going to go through the supply chain. These may include multiple divisions or multiple companies. Make sure to include any parts of the workflow that are automated so investors can see where cost savings are expected and when.

Supply Chain Examples

For instance, lawn care companies  would need to cover aspects such as:

  • Suppliers for lawn care equipment and tools
  • Any chemicals or treatments needed
  • Repair parts for sprinkler systems
  • Vehicles to transport equipment and employees
  • Insurance to protect the company vehicles and people.

Examples of Supply Chains

These are fairly flat supply chains compared to something like a clothing designer where the clothes would go through multiple vendors. A clothing company might have the following supply chain:

  • Raw materials
  • Shipping of raw materials
  • Converting of raw materials to thread
  • Shipping thread to produce garments
  • Garment producer
  • Shipping to company
  • Company storage
  • Shipping to retail stores

There have been advances such as print on demand that eliminate many of these steps. If you are designing completely custom clothing, all of this would need to be planned to keep from having business disruptions.

The main thing to include in the business plan is the list of suppliers, the path the supply chain follows, the time from order to the customer’s home, and the costs associated with each step of the process.

According to BizPlanReview , a business plan without this information is likely to get rejected because they have failed to research the key elements necessary to make sales to the customer.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 7. Company Organization and Operational Plan

This part of the business plan is focused on how the business model will function while serving customers.  The business plan should provide an overview of  how the team will manage the following aspects:

Quality Control

  • Legal environment

Let’s look at each for some insight.

Production has already been discussed in previous sections so I won’t go into it much. When writing a business plan for investors, try to avoid repetition as it creates a more simple business plan.

If the organizational plan will be used by the team as an overview of how to perform the best services for the customer, then redundancy makes more sense as it communicates what is important to the business.

Quality control policies help to keep the team focused on how to verify that the company adheres to the business plan and meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Quality control can be anything from a standard that says “all labels on shirts can be no more than 1/16″ off center” to a defined checklist of steps that should be performed and filled out for every customer.

There are a variety of organizations that help define quality control including:

  • International Organization for Standardization – Quality standards for energy, technology, food, production environments, and cybersecurity
  • AICPA – Standard defined for accounting.
  • The Joint Commission – Healthcare
  • ASHRAE – HVAC best practices

You can find lists of the organizations that contribute most to the government regulation of industries on Open Secrets . Research what the leaders in your field are doing. Follow their example and implement it in your quality control plan.

For location, you should use information from the market research to establish where the location will be. Make sure to include the following in the location documentation.

  • The size of your location
  • The type of building (retail, industrial, commercial, etc.)
  • Zoning restrictions – Urban Wire has a good map on how zoning works in each state
  • Accessibility – Does it meet ADA requirements?
  • Costs including rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance and any buildout or remodeling costs
  • Utilities – b.e.f. has a good energy calculator .

Legal Environment

The legal requirement section is focused on defining how to meet the legal requirements for your industry. A good business plan should include all of the following:

  • Any licenses and/or permits that are needed and whether you’ve obtained them
  • Any trademarks, copyrights, or patents that you have or are in the process of applying for
  • The insurance coverage your business requires and how much it costs
  • Any environmental, health, or workplace regulations affecting your business
  • Any special regulations affecting your industry
  • Bonding requirements, if applicable

Your local SBA office can help you establish requirements in your area. I strongly recommend using them. They are a great resource.

Your business plan should include a plan for company organization and hiring. While you may be the only person with the company right now, down the road you’ll need more people. Make sure to consider and document the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the current leadership structure and what will it look like in the future?
  • What types of employees will you have? Are there any licensing or educational requirements?
  • How many employees will you need?
  • Will you ever hire freelancers or independent contractors?
  • What is each position’s job description?
  • What is the pay structure (hourly, salaried, base plus commission, etc.)?
  • How do you plan to find qualified employees and contractors?

One of the most crucial parts of a business plan is the organizational chart. This simply shows the positions the company will need, who is in charge of them and the relationship of each of them. It will look similar to this:

Our small business plan template has a much more in-depth organizational chart you can edit to include when you include the organizational chart in your business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 8. Financial Statements 

No business plan is complete without financial statements or financial projections. The business plan format will be different based on whether you are writing a business plan to expand a business or a startup business plan. Let’s dig deeper into each.

Provide All Financial Income from an Existing Business

An existing business should use their past financial documents including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement to find trends to estimate the next 3-5 years.

You can create easy trendlines in excel to predict future revenue, profit and loss, cash flow, and other changes in year-over-year performance. This will show your expected performance assuming business continues as normal.

If you are seeking an investment, then the business is probably not going to continue as normal. Depending on the financial plan and the purpose of getting financing, adjustments may be needed to the following:

  • Higher Revenue if expanding business
  • Lower Cost of Goods Sold if purchasing inventory with bulk discounts
  • Adding interest if utilizing financing (not equity deal)
  • Changes in expenses
  • Addition of financing information to the cash flow statement
  • Changes in Earnings per Share on the balance sheet

Financial modeling is a challenging subject, but there are plenty of low-cost courses on the subject. If you need help planning your business financial documentation take some time to watch some of them.

Make it a point to document how you calculated all the changes to the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in your business plan so that key team members or investors can verify your research.

Financial Projections For A Startup Business Plan

Unlike an existing business, a startup doesn’t have previous success to model its future performance. In this scenario, you need to focus on how to make a business plan realistic through the use of industry research and averages.

Mike gave the following advice in his interview:

Financial Forecasting Mistakes

One of the things a lot of inexperienced people use is the argument, “If I get one percent of the market, it is worth $100 million.” If you use this, investors are likely to file the document under bad business plan examples.

Let’s use custom t-shirts as an example.

Credence Research estimated in 2018 there were 11,334,800,000 custom t-shirts sold for a total of $206.12 Billion, with a 6% compound annual growth rate.

With that data,  you can calculate that the industry will grow to $270 Billion in 2023 and that the average shirt sold creates $18.18 in revenue.

Combine that with an IBIS World estimate of 11,094 custom screen printers and that means even if you become an average seller, you’ll get .009% of the market.

Here’s a table for easier viewing of that information.

The point here is to make sure your business proposal examples make sense.

You’ll need to know industry averages such as cost of customer acquisition, revenue per customer, the average cost of goods sold, and admin costs to be able to create accurate estimates.

Our simple business plan templates walk you through most of these processes. If you follow them you’ll have a good idea of how to write a business proposal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 9. Business Plan Example of Funding Requests

What is a business plan without a plan on how to obtain funding?

The Small Business Administration has an example for a pizza restaurant that theoretically needed nearly $20k to make it through their first month.

In our video, How to Start a $500K/Year T-Shirt Business (Pt. 1 ), Sanford Booth told us he needed about $200,000 to start his franchise and broke even after 4 months.

Freshbooks estimates it takes on average 2-3 years for a business to be profitable, which means the fictitious pizza company from the SBA could need up to $330k to make it through that time and still pay their bills for their home and pizza shop.

Not every business needs that much to start, but realistically it’s a good idea to assume that you need a fairly large cushion.

Ways to get funding for a small business

There are a variety of ways to cover this. the most common are:

  • Bootstrapping – Using your savings without external funding.
  • Taking out debt – loans, credit cards
  • Equity, Seed Funding – Ownership of a percentage of the company in exchange for current funds
  • Crowdsourcing – Promising a good for funding to create the product

Keep reading for more tips on how to write a business plan.

How funding will be used

When asking for business financing make sure to include:

  • How much to get started?
  • What is the minimum viable product and how soon can you make money?
  • How will the money be spent?

Mike emphasized two aspects that should be included in every plan, 

How to Write a Business Plan Resources

Here are some links to a business plan sample and business plan outline. 

  • Sample plan

It’s also helpful to follow some of the leading influencers in the business plan writing community. Here’s a list:

  • Wise Plans –  Shares a lot of information on starting businesses and is a business plan writing company.
  • Optimus Business Plans –  Another business plan writing company.
  • Venture Capital – A venture capital thread that can help give you ideas.

How to Write a Business Plan: What’s Next?

We hope this guide about how to write a simple business plan step by step has been helpful. We’ve covered:

  • The definition of a business plan
  • Coming up with a business idea
  • Performing market research
  • The critical components of a business plan
  • An example business plan

In addition, we provided you with a simple business plan template to assist you in the process of writing your startup business plan. The startup business plan template also includes a business model template that will be the key to your success.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our business hub .

Have you written a business plan before? How did it impact your ability to achieve your goals?

Brandon Boushy

Brandon Boushy lives to improve people’s lives by helping them become successful entrepreneurs. His journey started nearly 30 years ago. He consistently excelled at everything he did, but preferred to make the rules rather than follow him. His exploration of self and knowledge has helped him to get an engineering degree, MBA, and countless certifications. When freelancing and rideshare came onto the scene, he recognized the opportunity to play by his own rules. Since 2017, he has helped businesses across all industries achieve more with his research, writing, and marketing strategies. Since 2021, he has been the Lead Writer for UpFlip where he has published over 170 articles on small business success.

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Business plans might seem like an old-school stiff-collared practice, but they deserve a place in the startup realm, too. It’s probably not going to be the frame-worthy document you hang in the office—yet, it may one day be deserving of the privilege.

Whether you’re looking to win the heart of an angel investor or convince a bank to lend you money, you’ll need a business plan. And not just any ol’ notes and scribble on the back of a pizza box or napkin—you’ll need a professional, standardized report.

Bah. Sounds like homework, right?

Yes. Yes, it does.

However, just like bookkeeping, loan applications, and 404 redirects, business plans are an essential step in cementing your business foundation.

Don’t worry. We’ll show you how to write a business plan without boring you to tears. We’ve jam-packed this article with all the business plan examples, templates, and tips you need to take your non-existent proposal from concept to completion.

Table of Contents

What Is a Business Plan?

Tips to Make Your Small Business Plan Ironclad

How to Write a Business Plan in 6 Steps

Startup Business Plan Template

Business Plan Examples

Work on Making Your Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan FAQs

What is a business plan why do you desperately need one.

A business plan is a roadmap that outlines:

  • Who your business is, what it does, and who it serves
  • Where your business is now
  • Where you want it to go
  • How you’re going to make it happen
  • What might stop you from taking your business from Point A to Point B
  • How you’ll overcome the predicted obstacles

While it’s not required when starting a business, having a business plan is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Secure a Bank Loan: Before approving you for a business loan, banks will want to see that your business is legitimate and can repay the loan. They want to know how you’re going to use the loan and how you’ll make monthly payments on your debt. Lenders want to see a sound business strategy that doesn’t end in loan default.
  • Win Over Investors: Like lenders, investors want to know they’re going to make a return on their investment. They need to see your business plan to have the confidence to hand you money.
  • Stay Focused: It’s easy to get lost chasing the next big thing. Your business plan keeps you on track and focused on the big picture. Your business plan can prevent you from wasting time and resources on something that isn’t aligned with your business goals.

Beyond the reasoning, let’s look at what the data says:

  • Simply writing a business plan can boost your average annual growth by 30%
  • Entrepreneurs who create a formal business plan are 16% more likely to succeed than those who don’t
  • A study looking at 65 fast-growth companies found that 71% had small business plans
  • The process and output of creating a business plan have shown to improve business performance

Convinced yet? If those numbers and reasons don’t have you scrambling for pen and paper, who knows what will.

Don’t Skip: Business Startup Costs Checklist

Before we get into the nitty-gritty steps of how to write a business plan, let’s look at some high-level tips to get you started in the right direction:

Be Professional and Legit

You might be tempted to get cutesy or revolutionary with your business plan—resist the urge. While you should let your brand and creativity shine with everything you produce, business plans fall more into the realm of professional documents.

Think of your business plan the same way as your terms and conditions, employee contracts, or financial statements. You want your plan to be as uniform as possible so investors, lenders, partners, and prospective employees can find the information they need to make important decisions.

If you want to create a fun summary business plan for internal consumption, then, by all means, go right ahead. However, for the purpose of writing this external-facing document, keep it legit.

Know Your Audience

Your official business plan document is for lenders, investors, partners, and big-time prospective employees. Keep these names and faces in your mind as you draft your plan.

Think about what they might be interested in seeing, what questions they’ll ask, and what might convince (or scare) them. Cut the jargon and tailor your language so these individuals can understand.

Remember, these are busy people. They’re likely looking at hundreds of applicants and startup investments every month. Keep your business plan succinct and to the point. Include the most pertinent information and omit the sections that won’t impact their decision-making.

Invest Time Researching

You might not have answers to all the sections you should include in your business plan. Don’t skip over these!

Your audience will want:

  • Detailed information about your customers
  • Numbers and solid math to back up your financial claims and estimates
  • Deep insights about your competitors and potential threats
  • Data to support market opportunities and strategy

Your answers can’t be hypothetical or opinionated. You need research to back up your claims. If you don’t have that data yet, then invest time and money in collecting it. That information isn’t just critical for your business plan—it’s essential for owning, operating, and growing your company.

Stay Realistic

Your business may be ambitious, but reign in the enthusiasm just a teeny-tiny bit. The last thing you want to do is have an angel investor call BS and say “I’m out” before even giving you a chance.

The folks looking at your business and evaluating your plan have been around the block—they know a thing or two about fact and fiction. Your plan should be a blueprint for success. It should be the step-by-step roadmap for how you’re going from Point A to Point B.

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How to Write a Business Plan—6 Essential Elements

Not every business plan looks the same, but most share a few common elements. Here’s what they typically include:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Overview
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Financial Strategy

Below, we’ll break down each of these sections in more detail.

1. Executive Summary

While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it’s the section you’ll write last. That’s because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager.

Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what’s inside the business plan.

Your executive summary highlights key points of your plan. Consider this your elevator pitch. You want to put all your juiciest strengths and opportunities strategically in this section.

2. Business Overview

In this section, you can dive deeper into the elements of your business, including answering:

  • What’s your business structure? Sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.
  • Where is it located?
  • Who owns the business? Does it have employees?
  • What problem does it solve, and how?
  • What’s your mission statement? Your mission statement briefly describes why you are in business. To write a proper mission statement, brainstorm your business’s core values and who you serve.

Don’t overlook your mission statement. This powerful sentence or paragraph could be the inspiration that drives an investor to take an interest in your business. Here are a few examples of powerful mission statements that just might give you the goosebumps:

  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • InvisionApp : Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.
  • TED : Spread ideas.
  • Warby Parker : To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

3. Products and Services

As the owner, you know your business and the industry inside and out. However, whoever’s reading your document might not. You’re going to need to break down your products and services in minute detail.

For example, if you own a SaaS business, you’re going to need to explain how this business model works and what you’re selling.

You’ll need to include:

  • What services you sell: Describe the services you provide and how these will help your target audience.
  • What products you sell: Describe your products (and types if applicable) and how they will solve a need for your target and provide value.
  • How much you charge: If you’re selling services, will you charge hourly, per project, retainer, or a mixture of all of these? If you’re selling products, what are the price ranges?

4. Market Analysis

Your market analysis essentially explains how your products and services address customer concerns and pain points. This section will include research and data on the state and direction of your industry and target market.

This research should reveal lucrative opportunities and how your business is uniquely positioned to seize the advantage. You’ll also want to touch on your marketing strategy and how it will (or does) work for your audience.

Include a detailed analysis of your target customers. This describes the people you serve and sell your product to. Be careful not to go too broad here—you don’t want to fall into the common entrepreneurial trap of trying to sell to everyone and thereby not differentiating yourself enough to survive the competition.

The market analysis section will include your unique value proposition. Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the thing that makes you stand out from your competitors. This is your key to success.

If you don’t have a UVP, you don’t have a way to take on competitors who are already in this space. Here’s an example of an ecommerce internet business plan outlining their competitive edge:

FireStarters’ competitive advantage is offering product lines that make a statement but won’t leave you broke. The major brands are expensive and not distinctive enough to satisfy the changing taste of our target customers. FireStarters offers products that are just ahead of the curve and so affordable that our customers will return to the website often to check out what’s new.

5. Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis examines the strengths and weaknesses of competing businesses in your market or industry. This will include direct and indirect competitors. It can also include threats and opportunities, like economic concerns or legal restraints.

The best way to sum up this section is with a classic SWOT analysis. This will explain your company’s position in relation to your competitors.

6. Financial Strategy

Your financial strategy will sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. It’ll explain how you make money, where your cash flow goes, and how you’ll become profitable or stay profitable.

This is one of the most important sections for lenders and investors. Have you ever watched Shark Tank? They always ask about the company’s financial situation. How has it performed in the past? What’s the ongoing outlook moving forward? How does the business plan to make it happen?

Answer all of these questions in your financial strategy so that your audience doesn’t have to ask. Go ahead and include forecasts and graphs in your plan, too:

  • Balance sheet: This includes your assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Profit & Loss (P&L) statement: This details your income and expenses over a given period.
  • Cash flow statement: Similar to the P&L, this one will show all cash flowing into and out of the business each month.

It takes cash to change the world—lenders and investors get it. If you’re short on funding, explain how much money you’ll need and how you’ll use the capital. Where are you looking for financing? Are you looking to take out a business loan, or would you rather trade equity for capital instead?

Read More: 16 Financial Concepts Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Startup Business Plan Template (Copy/Paste Outline)

Ready to write your own business plan? Copy/paste the startup business plan template below and fill in the blanks.

Executive Summary Remember, do this last. Summarize who you are and your business plan in one page.

Business Overview Describe your business. What’s it do? Who owns it? How’s it structured? What’s the mission statement?

Products and Services Detail the products and services you offer. How do they work? What do you charge?

Market Analysis Write about the state of the market and opportunities. Use date. Describe your customers. Include your UVP.

Competitive Analysis Outline the competitors in your market and industry. Include threats and opportunities. Add a SWOT analysis of your business.

Financial Strategy Sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. If you’re applying for a loan, include how you’ll use the funding to progress the business.

What’s the Best Business Plan to Succeed as a Consultant?

5 Frame-Worthy Business Plan Examples

Want to explore other templates and examples? We got you covered. Check out these 5 business plan examples you can use as inspiration when writing your plan:

  • SBA Wooden Grain Toy Company
  • SBA We Can Do It Consulting
  • OrcaSmart Business Plan Sample
  • Plum Business Plan Template
  • PandaDoc Free Business Plan Templates

Get to Work on Making Your Business Plan

If you find you’re getting stuck on perfecting your document, opt for a simple one-page business plan —and then get to work. You can always polish up your official plan later as you learn more about your business and the industry.

Remember, business plans are not a requirement for starting a business—they’re only truly essential if a bank or investor is asking for it.

Ask others to review your business plan. Get feedback from other startups and successful business owners. They’ll likely be able to see holes in your planning or undetected opportunities—just make sure these individuals aren’t your competitors (or potential competitors).

Your business plan isn’t a one-and-done report—it’s a living, breathing document. You’ll make changes to it as you grow and evolve. When the market or your customers change, your plan will need to change to adapt.

That means when you’re finished with this exercise, it’s not time to print your plan out and stuff it in a file cabinet somewhere. No, it should sit on your desk as a day-to-day reference. Use it (and update it) as you make decisions about your product, customers, and financial plan.

Review your business plan frequently, update it routinely, and follow the path you’ve developed to the future you’re building.

Keep Learning: New Product Development Process in 8 Easy Steps

What financial information should be included in a business plan?

Be as detailed as you can without assuming too much. For example, include your expected revenue, expenses, profit, and growth for the future.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a business plan?

The most common mistake is turning your business plan into a textbook. A business plan is an internal guide and an external pitching tool. Cut the fat and only include the most relevant information to start and run your business.

Who should review my business plan before I submit it?

Co-founders, investors, or a board of advisors. Otherwise, reach out to a trusted mentor, your local chamber of commerce, or someone you know that runs a business.

Ready to Write Your Business Plan?

Don’t let creating a business plan hold you back from starting your business. Writing documents might not be your thing—that doesn’t mean your business is a bad idea.

Let us help you get started.

Join our free training to learn how to start an online side hustle in 30 days or less. We’ll provide you with a proven roadmap for how to find, validate, and pursue a profitable business idea (even if you have zero entrepreneurial experience).

Stuck on the ideas part? No problem. When you attend the masterclass, we’ll send you a free ebook with 100 of the hottest side hustle trends right now. It’s chock full of brilliant business ideas to get you up and running in the right direction.

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About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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Business Plan Examples to Help You Write Yours

A business plan is crucial if you’re going to launch a business. Learn how to write a business plan and read a few examples for inspiration.

If you want to launch a business, it's important for you to have a firm business plan in place. However, if you're going through this process for the first time, you may not know where to start. Looking at a few examples can help guide you.

As you review business plan examples, you need to think about your industry, company size, and goals. That way, you can select the most suitable business plan template for your needs. By following a simple example, you can put your company in a position to succeed. What do you need to look for in a sample business plan? Take a look at a few hypothetical examples below.

8 business plan examples

When starting a business, creating a plan is essential to keeping your organization on track. Making a multiple or one page business plan can also provide a deeper understanding of your business idea.

A business plan often consists of the following sections:

Executive summary

Company details, market analysis, organizational structure, goods and services.

  • Logistics and operations

Financial information

To help you create a thorough business plan, we'll look at a few examples for each essential element mentioned above.

The first part of our business plan example is the executive summary. This will give everyone a high-level overview of the rest of your plan and emphasize important components. It’s an integral part of your growth strategy.

An executive summary provides an overview of your business plan and emphasizes important components.

Here are 2 examples of an executive summary:

“ABC company is a high-end sports training organization that helps young athletes reach their full potential. We combine the latest equipment with biometric information to customize training strategies and meet the needs of each individual athlete. Many parents are looking to get their kids involved in competitive sports at earlier ages, and this market has been projected to grow significantly during the next few decades. We are currently pre-launch, but we plan on generating $4,000 in monthly revenue within 6 months of launch. Our business is run by John Doe, who has years of experience in the athletic training sector.”

“XYZ company is a luxury cosmetics business. Our goal is to provide consumers with safe and sustainable products. We have a wide variety of options from which to choose, and we seek to capitalize on the emerging organic cosmetics industry, which is valued at several hundred million dollars per year. We believe there's a market for not only safe cosmetic products but also sustainable ones. Consumers care more about where they spend their money than ever before, and we market our sustainability for future growth. While we're pre-launch, we project that we'll generate more than $2,000 in monthly revenue within 3 months of launch. Our company is led by Jane Doe, who served as an executive at a major cosmetics brand before starting XYZ company.”

Next, you need to include your company details. You can pull your company details from your social media profile or “about” page . It's up to you to decide what you want to include, such as information about your industry, the nature of your business, or your business objectives.

Here are 2 simple business plan examples for the company description section:

“At ABC company, we believe that every athlete is special and has talent. We seek to bring out that talent using our innovative strategies. All of our training plans are customized to meet the needs of the athlete, taking advantage of the latest equipment, nutrition, and physical training methods. We also provide progress reports that allow you to see how your young athlete is doing.”

“At XYZ company, we know consumers want something different in the cosmetics industry. Our goal is to use quality ingredients that are sustainable, cruelty-free, and luxurious to help everyone look their best every day. We can provide you with the best beauty regimen possible based on rich, natural traditions steeped in hundreds of years of research.”

When to conduct market analysis?

The next area is to perform a market analysis. This is where you'll conduct market research on your target audience, market size, competitors, and potential opportunities, such as industry trends.

For example, you may want to create a strengths and weaknesses list for ABC company:

  • An innovative approach can grab the attention of our audience.
  • We'll provide transparent reports that make it easier for people to see how their young athletes are doing.
  • We focus on signing contracts, which can generate repeat business as the company grows.
  • We have higher overhead expenses because of our equipment and biometrics.
  • Some people may not know what to expect without another company in the industry to compare to.
  • Our training methods may translate to only some sports.

There might also be situations where you need to do a competitive analysis, such as for XYZ company:

XYZ Company

  • Market share: A startup company
  • Target market: Women between the ages of 18 and 28
  • Shipping: We offer free shipping on orders over $50
  • Number of products: We have 5 products available right now.

Competitor A

  • Market share: Approximately 10%
  • Target market: Women between the ages of 18 and 35
  • Shipping: Free shipping on orders over $20
  • Number of products: At least 25

Having a strong organizational structure is also important. There are different elements you may want to incorporate in the section, including:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Marketing Officer
  • Public Relations

In general, startup businesses, such as ABC Company and XYZ Company, will be relatively limited in the number of positions they have. As the business grows, add more leadership roles to your business plan.

The products and services section will provide information about what you'll sell to your customers. This area can vary depending on what you offer consumers.

For example, ABC Company focuses on selling a service. As such, this section may look like this:

“At ABC Company, our services focus on innovative athletic training. When athletes sign up, we'll take measurements, put them through diagnostic testing, and collect biometric information. Then, we'll work with them to determine their goals and how our services can best meet their needs. Some sports programs we cater to include:

As we get to know our athletes, we can fine-tune the plan according to our best practices.”

Then, the products offered by XYZ Company might look a bit different.

“At 123 Company, we specialize in providing cruelty-free, sustainable, safe cosmetics for young women. What sets us apart is our transparency. We provide clear information about where our ingredients come from and offer a wide variety of products, such as:

  • Conditioner
  • Nail polish

We regularly collect customer feedback to see how we can improve our business and introduce new products.”

write example of business plan

You must have a strong marketing plan before launching your business. Your marketing plan is important because it outlines how you intend to promote your products or services.

There are different elements that are vital to any marketing strategy. Some of the aspects of a marketing plan for ABC Company may include:

  • Website: This is going to act as your digital storefront. Your website will often be the first thing consumers see, so you must make sure it stands out.
  • Social media : Because hundreds of millions of people use social media regularly, you need to figure out where your target market hangs out. Potential platforms include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Direct mail: Direct mail marketing can be helpful for ABC company, especially if they send mail to addresses closely associated with fitness facilities.
  • Flyers and billboards: ABC company also wants to use flyers and billboards at local gyms to recruit more athletes.

Logistics and operations plan

Thinking about how your logistics and operations will unfold is a good idea. How are you going to conduct your day-to-day operations? How are you going to get the supplies and equipment you need?

For ABC Company, this section may include information on where they would host their training sessions, how much it'll cost them to rent the building, and how much overhead they'll have to spend on purchasing equipment for various sports. It should also contain information on equipment maintenance.

For XYZ Company, this section may incorporate information on where they'll source their ingredients, how they'll preserve their products, and who will ship the items.

Finally, your traditional business plan should include information about your finances. For both example companies, a basic financial plan may consist of potential sales, revenue, profit, and expenses. If you need to get a business loan, make sure to also incorporate that information here.

Writing a business plan: Frequently asked questions

What elements should I include in a business plan?

It's best practice to include information about your organizational structure, market analysis, goods and services, marketing, and logistical operations. A sample of a business plan can help you determine what your document should contain.

How much does it cost to get a business plan made?

The price for having a business plan professionally made can vary depending on different factors, including industry, company size, and so forth.

However, you can cut costs by creating your own business plan.

Why is a business plan important?

Your business plan will act as a guide for how you run your company. It can also help you recruit investors and employees.

Are there different types of business plans?

Yes, there are different types of business plans, including:

  • Annual growth

It’s best to customize the business plan format to meet the needs of your company. If you need help getting started, make sure to review examples of business plan types.

Find success with an effective business plan

If you want to put your company in a position to be successful, you must have a strong business plan. Use the examples above to help you create a thorough plan for your company that'll impress employees, stakeholders, and clients.

Once you're done with the business planning process, use it to guide your marketing and sales efforts. Whether you want to leverage email campaigns or audience segmentation, we're here to help.

Related Topics

  • Marketing Tools
  • Product-Market Fit
  • Business Inspiration
  • Create Your Brand
  • Launching a Business

How to Build a Detailed Business Plan That Stands Out [Free Template]

AJ Beltis

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.

Entrepreneur builds his business plan template

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 :

free editable One-Page Business Plan PDF  Template

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.

→ Download Now: Free Business Plan Template

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.

write example of business plan

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

Business Plan Template: 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.

Business Plan Template: Business Description

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

Business Plan Template: 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.

write example of business plan

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."

9. Appendix

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.

Business Plan Template

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

write example of business plan

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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Start » startup, how to write a startup business plan.

As a startup, you'll need to know how to write a business plan in order to attract investors. Here are some templates and examples to help you get started.

 Woman sitting at kitchen table writing with pen and paper.

If you're starting a new business or executing a new plan within your company, you’ll want to have a business plan. It’s a formal document that outlines your company, your project, funding options and your means of execution. There are many resources available to help you write your business plan, including countless templates you can follow depending on your goals. Below we’ve outlined some examples, including a sample plan.

[Read: How to Write a Business Plan During a Pandemic ]

Business plan template examples

While business plans can be general, it’s helpful to gear yours toward your industry. Here are five business plan templates for specific industries or situations:

  • For first-time entrepreneurs: The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) .
  • For getting your ideas down: $100 Startup .
  • For law firms: Cilo .
  • For established businesses: SCORE .
  • For additional industries: LawDepot .

Sample business plan

A one-page business plan briefly states your opportunity and timeline. It’s often used as an introduction to your longer, more robust plan. Here is a brief overview of a business plan and the nine elements that should be included.

1. The business opportunity

At the top of your plan, state the endeavor you're looking to pursue. Are you a new startup or an existing company looking to grow? Describe your challenges and how you plan to work through them. This section should be a one- or two-sentence elevator pitch of your business opportunity.

[Read: How to Refine Your Business Plan for Every Stage of Your Business ]

2. Your company description

When writing your company description, assume the reader knows nothing about your company. Briefly define who you are, identifying your values and why your company is necessary right now.

Outline your timeline for launching your business or project. Timelines are always subject to change, so make sure you account for alternative scenarios and setbacks.

3. Your talent description

In this section, you’ll want to introduce your team and demonstrate why they are the right fit for your business. Talk about their relevant skills, experience and background, getting as specific as possible. Providing their track record will reassure potential investors that your business is backed by reliable professionals.

4. The industry analysis

While writing your plan, it’s important to recognize your industry's outlook and your potential within it. This will also help you identify your competitors and analyze their offerings in comparison to yours, so you can focus on how you might stand out among them. This analysis is a great way to show investors that you’ve done your research and understand how you fit into your market.

[Read: Pivoting During the Pandemic? 16 Tools That Will Help Your Business Adapt ]

5. Your target audience

In this section, you will identify your target audience, defining their demographic, location and other specific traits. Additionally, explain how your audience will benefit from your company or project, or how you will solve common problems they share.

6. The timeline

Outline your timeline for launching your business or project. Timelines are always subject to change, so make sure you account for alternative scenarios and setbacks. For your one-page business plan, talk about your general timeline, its phases and why it’s a realistic goal.

7. Your marketing plan

How will you get the word out about your new business or project? Identify the avenues you and your company will choose to explore and how you plan to meet your target audience there. For example, consider your social media efforts, digital marketing and other methods that you seek to execute.

8. The financial summary

Clearly define your cost structure and revenue streams, describing your sales methods and post-launch goals, as well as how you will achieve them. Be sure to include both your long- and short-term financial goals and benchmarks.

[Read: Smart Strategies for Presenting Your Business Plan ]

9. Your funding requirements

One of the primary reasons you write a business plan is to help obtain funding. In this section, talk about the amount of funding you'll need from investors and where that funding will go. You should also be clear about how you plan to pay back your investors through your financial plan.

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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.

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What is Business Plan Sample?

That’s why we created business plan examples to help you get started.

write example of business plan

Use our 400+ business plan examples written for all industries and write your business plan in half of the time with twice the impact.

write example of business plan

  • 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?

write example of business plan

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.

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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?

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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.

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Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights.

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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.

Looking for a faster way to finish your business plan?

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How to Write a Business Plan (Guide)

How to Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a crucial tool for any entrepreneur looking to start or grow their business. It outlines your financial goals and provides a roadmap for achieving them. Whether you’re seeking funding from investors or simply need a strategic plan for your own decision-making, a strong business plan is essential.

But how do you write a business plan that stands out? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of creating a comprehensive and effective business plan. From the format and template to tips for writing standout sections, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways:

  • Start by following a business plan template or format to ensure you cover all essential sections.
  • Research and analyze your target market, competition, and industry trends to inform your business strategy.
  • Include financial projections and analysis to demonstrate the profitability and sustainability of your business.
  • Take advantage of resources like SCORE, the Small Business Administration, or professional business plan writers for assistance and guidance.
  • Regularly review and update your business plan to adapt to changing market conditions and opportunities.

Table of Contents

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Business Plan

Writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task, but by following these steps, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive plan that sets your business up for success.

1. Define Your Business Concept

The first step in writing a business plan is to clearly define your business concept. What products or services will you offer? Who is your target audience? What problem does your business solve? Answering these questions will lay the foundation for your plan.

2. Research Your Market

Conduct thorough research on your target market. Understand their needs, preferences, and purchasing habits. Identify your competition and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. This information will help you position your business effectively.

3. Develop a Marketing Strategy

Your business plan should include a marketing strategy that outlines how you will attract and retain customers. Define your unique selling proposition and determine the most effective channels to reach your target audience. Consider your pricing, promotions, and distribution strategies.

4. Create a Financial Plan

A financial plan is a crucial component of your business plan. Determine your startup costs, projected revenue, and expenses. Include cash flow projections, income statements, and balance sheets. It’s important to show investors that your business is financially viable.

5. Outline Your Organizational Structure

Outline your organizational structure and define the roles and responsibilities of key personnel. Investors want to see a well-structured team that can execute your business plan effectively. Highlight any expertise or experience that sets your team apart.

6. Draft an Executive Summary

The executive summary is an overview of your entire business plan and should be written last. It should concisely summarize the key points of your plan, including your business concept, market analysis , financial projections , and management team. Keep it concise and compelling.

7. Review and Revise

Once you have completed the initial draft of your business plan, take the time to review and revise it. Check for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Make sure your plan is clear, concise, and tailored to your target audience. Seek feedback from trusted advisors or mentors.

“A well-written business plan is a roadmap to success. It helps you clarify your goals, identify your target market, and secure financing. Take the time to thoughtfully craft your plan and make revisions as needed.” – Jane Doe, Entrepreneur

8. Finalize Your Business Plan

Once you are satisfied with your business plan, finalize it by incorporating any feedback or suggestions. Ensure that your formatting is consistent and professional. Proofread for any grammatical or spelling errors. Your final plan should be polished and ready to share with stakeholders.

By following these steps and incorporating thorough research, analysis, and strategy, you will be well-equipped to write a comprehensive business plan that attracts investors, guides your business decisions, and sets you on the path to success.

Tips for Writing a Standout Business Plan

Writing a professional business plan is a crucial step towards success in today’s competitive business landscape. To ensure that your business plan stands out and captures the attention of potential investors and partners, consider the following tips:

  • Start with a compelling executive summary: The executive summary is the first section of your business plan that investors read, so it needs to grab their attention immediately. Clearly articulate your business concept, market opportunity, competitive advantage, and growth plans in a concise and compelling manner.
  • Conduct thorough market research: A solid understanding of your target market, industry trends, and competition is essential. Conduct market research to identify your target audience, assess their needs and preferences, and evaluate the market potential for your products or services. Include this research in your business plan to demonstrate market demand and your competitive positioning.
  • Outline a comprehensive marketing strategy: Your business plan should include a well-defined marketing strategy to reach your target customers. Outline your marketing objectives, channels, and tactics, as well as your unique selling proposition. Show how your marketing efforts will drive customer acquisition and revenue growth.
  • Provide realistic financial projections: Investors want to see data-driven financial projections that demonstrate the potential profitability of your business. Create realistic revenue forecasts, expense projections, and cash flow statements. Use industry benchmarks and historical data, when available, to support your assumptions.
  • Showcase your team’s expertise: Highlight the qualifications and experience of your management team and key personnel. Investors want to know that you have a capable and experienced team that can execute your business plan successfully. Include brief bios and relevant achievements to showcase your team’s capabilities.

By following these business plan tips , you can create a standout document that impresses investors and sets your business up for success. Remember to keep your plan concise, focused, and well-organized, while highlighting the unique strengths and opportunities of your business.

Having a visually appealing and relevant image can enhance the appeal of your article. Here’s an image related to business planning:

The Importance of a Business Plan

A well-written business plan is critical for the success of both startups and small businesses. It clarifies your strategy, identifies potential obstacles, determines resource needs, and evaluates the viability of your idea before launching your business. Even if you don’t plan to seek external funding, a business plan serves as a roadmap for your growth and guides your business decisions.

Having a solid business plan in place provides several advantages:

  • Clear Strategy: A business plan allows you to outline your goals, objectives, and the steps you’ll take to achieve them. It helps you define your target market, positioning, and competitive advantage.
  • Resource Planning: By conducting a thorough analysis, your business plan helps you identify the resources you’ll need to succeed. This includes finances, equipment, staffing, and any other essential elements.
  • Anticipating Obstacles: A well-crafted business plan forces you to consider potential challenges and obstacles that may arise. It enables you to develop contingency plans and mitigation strategies in advance.
  • Gaining Trust: If you plan to seek external funding or partnerships, a business plan is crucial for gaining the trust and confidence of investors, lenders, and potential business partners.
  • Measuring Progress: A business plan provides a benchmark against which you can measure your progress. It allows you to track your achievements, identify areas of improvement, and stay focused on your long-term objectives.
A business plan is like a compass that navigates your entrepreneurial journey, ensuring you stay on the right path and overcome obstacles along the way.

Whether you’re starting a new venture or growing an existing one, investing time and effort into creating a comprehensive business plan is essential. It not only helps you make informed decisions and mitigate risks, but it also increases your chances of achieving sustainable success in the competitive business landscape.

Why Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan is an essential step in building a successful enterprise. It offers numerous benefits that can significantly impact the growth and profitability of your business. By following a structured outline and step-by-step approach, you can create a comprehensive and effective business plan.

  • Clearly Define Business Goals: A business plan helps you articulate your vision and objectives. It provides a framework for defining your target market, products or services, and competitive advantage.
  • Secure Financing: Lenders and investors typically require a solid business plan to evaluate the feasibility and potential return on investment of your venture. A well-crafted plan increases your chances of securing funding.
  • Make Informed Decisions: A business plan enables you to analyze market trends, customer demands, and financial projections. It provides valuable insights that can guide your decision-making process.
  • Attract Partners and Investors: A professionally written business plan can impress potential partners and investors, showcasing your strategic thinking, market knowledge, and growth potential.
  • Stay Focused on Objectives: A well-defined business plan keeps you aligned with your goals and prevents you from getting derailed by distractions. It serves as a roadmap for your business’s long-term success.
  • Analyze Risks and Develop Contingency Plans: Through thorough research and analysis, a business plan identifies potential risks and challenges. It allows you to develop contingency plans to mitigate these risks and ensure business continuity.

Writing a business plan is a critical process that requires careful consideration and attention to detail. By following the right steps and using a comprehensive business plan outline , you can create an actionable roadmap for your business’s success.

Example Business Plan Outline

The role of the executive summary.

The executive summary is a crucial component of a comprehensive business plan. It serves as a concise overview of your business, highlighting key information that investors and stakeholders need to know. While it appears at the beginning of the plan, it is often easier to write it last, as you can draw information from other sections.

What to include in the executive summary

The executive summary should capture the essence of your business and provide a clear understanding of your objectives. Here are the essential elements to include:

  • Mission statement: Clearly articulate the purpose of your business and what you aim to achieve.
  • Summary of products or services: Provide a brief overview of what your business offers and how it fulfills customer needs.
  • Overview of growth plans: Highlight your strategies for expansion, such as entering new markets, launching new products, or scaling operations.

The goal of the executive summary is to pique the interest of potential investors and stakeholders, encouraging them to read the complete business plan.

“The executive summary should be compelling enough to capture the attention of readers, giving them a glimpse of what makes your business unique and worthy of investment.”

Examples of effective executive summaries

The executive summary sets the tone for your entire business plan. It should be concise, compelling, and carefully crafted to capture the interest of potential investors and stakeholders. By clearly communicating your mission, summarizing your offerings, and showcasing your growth plans, you can make a strong impression and secure the attention your business deserves.

Market Analysis and Competitive Intelligence

In order to create a comprehensive and effective business plan, market analysis is a crucial component. It involves conducting thorough research and understanding your target market, analyzing industry trends, and assessing your competition. This valuable information will allow you to identify your unique selling points, position your business effectively, and determine the demand for your products or services.

By conducting market research, you gain insights into consumer behavior, market size, and growth potential. This knowledge allows you to make informed decisions and develop strategies that align with market needs. Additionally, understanding your competition is essential to differentiate your business in the industry landscape and gain a competitive edge.

Competitive intelligence provides valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, their pricing strategies, marketing tactics, and market share. By analyzing this information, you can identify opportunities to differentiate your business and develop a unique value proposition that sets you apart.

Conducting Market Analysis

When conducting market analysis, consider the following key factors:

  • Target market demographics and characteristics
  • Market size and growth potential
  • Consumer behavior and preferences
  • Industry trends and developments

Here is an example of a market analysis table:

Competitive Analysis

When conducting a competitive analysis, consider the following factors:

  • Competitor profiles and offerings
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Pricing strategies
  • Marketing and sales channels
  • Market share

Here is an example of a competitive analysis table:

“Market analysis and competitive intelligence provide valuable insights that drive business strategy and help you stay ahead in a competitive market.” – [Real Name], [Job Title]

Financial Projections and Analysis

Financial projections play a crucial role in assessing your business’s profitability and potential return on investment. Investors and lenders rely on these projections to evaluate the financial health and viability of your business. By including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements in your business plan, you can demonstrate your financial stability and growth potential.

When presenting financial projections, it’s essential to use key metrics to further analyze your business’s financial performance. These metrics, such as net profit margin, current ratio, and accounts receivable turnover ratio, provide valuable insights into your business’s efficiency, liquidity, and profitability.

Accurate financial projections are vital for building reliability and credibility with potential investors and lenders.

To help you understand the significance of financial projections, let’s take a closer look at each of these statements:

1. Income Statements

An income statement provides an overview of your business’s revenues, expenses, and net income over a specific period. It demonstrates the profitability of your operations and helps evaluate your ability to generate profit from your core activities. Investors and lenders use income statements to gauge your business’s financial performance and assess its potential for future growth.

2. Balance Sheets

A balance sheet presents a snapshot of your business’s financial position at a specific point in time. It shows your assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. By analyzing your balance sheet, investors and lenders can assess your business’s liquidity, solvency, and overall financial stability.

3. Cash Flow Statements

A cash flow statement tracks the inflows and outflows of cash in your business over a specific period. It helps investors and lenders understand how your business generates and uses cash, providing insights into its ability to meet financial obligations, fund operations, and generate sustainable cash flow. Cash flow statements are particularly valuable in identifying potential cash flow issues and ensuring your business can maintain its financial obligations.

Here is an example of a comprehensive financial projections table that includes income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements:

Table: Example Financial Projections for Years 1-3

By presenting comprehensive and accurate financial projections, you can instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for success. These projections provide valuable insights into your business’s financial health, ensuring reliability and credibility as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

If you need assistance with writing or editing your business plan, there are several resources available. Utilizing these resources can help you create a professional business plan that stands out.

SCORE , a nonprofit association, offers free mentoring and expert advice to entrepreneurs. Their experienced mentors provide guidance and support throughout the business planning process. Whether you need help with refining your business strategy, financial projections, or market analysis, SCORE can connect you with a mentor who specializes in your industry.

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. They provide free consulting services and assistance with business plan development. SBDCs have a network of experts who can help you refine your business concept and create a comprehensive plan to achieve your goals.

Professional Business Plan Writers and Copy Editors

If you want a polished final product, consider hiring a professional business plan writer or copy editor . These professionals specialize in crafting compelling business plans that effectively communicate your vision, strategies, and financial projections. They have the experience and expertise to create a well-structured and highly engaging business plan that captures the attention of investors and lenders.

Incorporate these resources

By utilizing resources like SCORE, SBDCs, or professional business plan writers and copy editors, you can leverage their expertise to enhance the quality and effectiveness of your business plan. Whether you need guidance in specific areas or a comprehensive review of your entire plan, these resources can provide the support you need to create a professional business plan that sets you up for success.

Drafting the Company Description

The company description section of your business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your organization, highlighting its registered name, key personnel, business structure, and history. This section serves as an opportunity to showcase the unique skills and technical expertise of your business, ultimately defining your positioning within the market.

Presenting a compelling narrative that showcases your company’s background and evolution is essential in capturing the attention of potential investors, lenders, and partners. By effectively communicating your organization’s story, you can establish credibility and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Key Elements of a Well-Crafted Company Description

When drafting your company description , ensure that you include the following key elements:

  • Registered Name: Clearly state the official name under which your business is registered.
  • Key Personnel: Introduce the key individuals who play crucial roles within your organization, highlighting their expertise and relevant experience.
  • Business Structure: Define the legal structure of your business, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
  • History: Provide a concise overview of your business’s history, including its founding date, major milestones, and significant accomplishments.
  • Unique Skills and Technical Expertise: Emphasize the distinctive skills and technical expertise that set your business apart from others in the market.
  • Positioning in the Market: Clearly define your positioning within the market, highlighting the specific niche or target audience your business caters to.

By focusing on these elements, you can create a compelling company description that effectively communicates the essence of your business and establishes a solid foundation for the rest of your business plan.

Setting Business Goals

Business goals are essential for driving growth and guiding your operations. When setting goals for your business, it’s important to make them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your goals are well-defined and achievable.

Key Considerations for Setting Business Goals

  • Align with Your Vision: Your goals should be in line with your overall vision and mission for the business. They should reflect what you want to achieve and the direction you want to take.
  • Cover Various Aspects: Consider setting goals that encompass different aspects of your business, such as financial targets, brand awareness, customer acquisition, and market share. This allows you to focus on multiple areas of growth.
  • Be Specific and Measurable: Ensure that your goals are specific and measurable, so you can track your progress and determine if you’re on track to achieving them. This will also help you identify areas where adjustments may be necessary.
  • Keep Them Attainable: While it’s important to set ambitious goals, they should still be realistic and attainable. Setting unattainable goals can lead to frustration and demotivation.
  • Relevance: Each goal should be relevant to the growth and success of your business. It should have a clear purpose and contribute to the overall strategy.
  • Time-Bound: Set a timeline for achieving your goals. Having specific deadlines creates a sense of urgency and helps you stay accountable.

It’s important to regularly reassess your goals to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with the changing needs of your business. As your business evolves, you may need to make adjustments or set new goals to reflect your current circumstances and ambitions.

Remember, setting clear and well-defined business goals is crucial for driving growth and achieving long-term success.

Writing a compelling business plan is an essential step for any entrepreneur. It not only provides a roadmap for success but also helps attract funding and partners, and guides decision-making. By following a structured outline and incorporating thorough research and analysis, you can create a comprehensive business plan that sets your business up for success.

Remember to review and update your plan regularly to adapt to changing market conditions and opportunities. A well-maintained and updated business plan ensures that you stay on track and make informed decisions as your business evolves.

Incorporating business plan writing tips such as clearly defining your goals, conducting market analysis, developing financial projections, and seeking professional guidance when needed can significantly enhance the effectiveness and impact of your business plan. With a solid plan in place, you can confidently pursue your entrepreneurial ambitions and maximize the potential of your business.

How do I write a business plan?

To write a business plan, follow these steps:

What tips can make my business plan stand out?

Here are some tips to make your business plan stand out:

Why is a well-written business plan important?

A well-written business plan is critical for the success of both startups and small businesses.

What are the benefits of writing a business plan?

Writing a business plan provides several benefits.

What is the role of the executive summary in a business plan?

The executive summary captures the essence of your business in a concise format.

Why is market analysis important in a business plan?

Market analysis is an essential component of your business plan.

How do financial projections contribute to a business plan?

Financial projections are critical for investors and lenders to assess your business’s profitability and potential return on investment.

Where can I find resources for writing a business plan?

If you need assistance with writing or editing your business plan, there are several resources available.

Why is the company description section important?

The company description section provides an overview of your business.

How do I set business goals in my business plan?

Business goals are critical for guiding your operations and driving growth.

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How to Write a Dog Grooming Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

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Elon Glucklich

8 min. read

Updated February 20, 2024

Download a free one-page dog grooming sample business plan

The bond between humans and their canine companions has always been strong. But spurred by increases in dog ownership across the U.S. , household spending on pets has risen in recent years.

The $5.4 billion global pet grooming services market is projected to grow at a 7% annual rate through 2030, creating new opportunities for dog-loving entrepreneurs to turn their passion into a business opportunity.

Whether you’re starting a boutique grooming salon or a mobile grooming service—a business plan can significantly increase your chances of success.

Download a free dog grooming sample business plan and complete it as you work through this guide.

  • What should you include in a dog grooming business plan?

Here are the common sections to consider when writing your dog grooming business plan.

  • Executive summary
  • Market analysis
  • Services and products
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Operations plan
  • Company summary
  • Financial plan and forecasts

The details of your plan will differ based on factors like the services you offer, whether you hire full-time employees or contractors, and whether your business is based in a brick-and-mortar building or goes to clients’ homes.

Check out our step-by-step guide to writing a full business plan for more details.

A sample dog grooming business plan outline.

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  • The 8 elements of an effective dog grooming business plan

Don’t make your dog grooming business plan longer than it needs to be . If you’re writing it for yourself, stick with a few pages and cover the aspects that will help you run your business.

But if you’re writing the plan because you’re seeking a bank loan or investment , it will likely need to be more detailed.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is a concise overview of your dog grooming business plan. The executive summary should briefly touch on your company overview target market but shouldn’t be more than 2 pages long.

Its purpose is to highlight the mission and unique aspects of your business, whether that’s to provide superior pet care or introduce innovative grooming techniques to your market. 

2. Market analysis

What’s the opportunity that exists for your business? 

The market analysis section is a detailed assessment of the market you’re entering. In this case, you should cover current trends in the dog grooming industry, such as increasing pet ownership rates and a growing emphasis on pet care and wellness.

You must also identify your primary customer segments . Include demographics that help define who your customers are and what they want. Maybe you target pet owners in urban areas, busy professionals, or families seeking convenient and comprehensive grooming services.

Be sure to list out key competitors in your region, noting their service offerings, pricing, and market positioning. This analysis will help you identify opportunities to differentiate your business. For instance, your research might lead you to realize there are a lack of options in your area for mobile grooming services, or specialized care for anxious pets.

3. Services and products

The products and services section is where you detail the full range of grooming services and products you plan to offer. 

Consider writing them out as a list, like this example:

Basic services

  • Washing and drying
  • Hair trimming
  • Nail clipping
  • Ear cleaning.

Specialty services

  • Breed-specific grooming
  • Skin care treatments
  • Flea and tick treatments

Also, consider incorporating related products for sale, such as dog shampoos, conditioners, brushes, and other grooming tools. Whatever mix of products and services you choose to offer, connect them to your market opportunity. At its most basic, running a successful business is about identifying customer problems and providing solutions .

Detailing these services and products gives your customers a clear understanding of what your business provides and its value proposition .

4. Marketing and sales strategy

Your marketing and sales strategy turns your market research into a set of marketing strategies you can execute to attract customers. 

Through your research, you should understand how your target customers find dog grooming services — online, in print advertisements or commercials, through social media or word of mouth, etc.

Based on what you think are the most relevant marketing channels , develop strategies to make your business more visible. Strategies to consider include:

  • Advertising online or in local publications
  • Creating a website and establishing a social media presence
  • Interacting with the public at community events
  • Pursuing partnership opportunities with local pet stores

You may also want to consider discounts or special offers for repeat customers to build loyalty. 

Whatever tactics you deploy, it’s crucial to measure the impact of your marketing efforts through key performance indicators, and adjust your strategies based on what delivers value.

5. Operations plan

The operations section outlines how you will run your dog grooming business efficiently day to day. 

Whether you’re operating out of a brick-and-mortar building, a mobile van, or in clients’ homes, include details on the physical setup of your grooming salon, equipment needs, and staff requirements.

You should also discuss the process for booking appointments and managing customer relationships. Detail any software or systems you’ll use for scheduling and record-keeping. Also, outline your plan for meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining a clean, safe environment for pets.

6. Milestones

Outlining the key milestones for your business can help you determine how long it will take to meet your goals. You can keep these brief, even writing them in bullet points. Milestones for a dog grooming business could include:

  • Obtaining initial financing
  • Securing relevant permits
  • Initiating marketing efforts
  • Acquiring a certain number of clients
  • Reaching specific revenue benchmarks

Each milestone should have an estimated completion date and designated team members responsible for achieving them.

7. Company summary

Summarize the history of your business, including its legal structure and location. Also, highlight your background in pet grooming and your reasons for wanting to start a dog grooming business.

If you’re just starting out, discuss the initial startup costs required to get the business off the ground. If you’re writing your business plan to secure a bank loan, state how much funding you need, what you will use it for, and how it will benefit your grooming business.

8. Financial plan

The financial plan is where you provide a look into your dog grooming business’s financial projections, including sales , costs , and profitability .

Remember, financial forecasts are really just educated guesses created to give you a sense of how your business can be profitable over the long term. 

They’re meant to be adjusted over time as your actual financial numbers come in, helping you determine which aspects of your business are performing as expected and where you might need to adjust your strategy.

Your financial plan should include a cash flow statement , income statement , and balance sheet .

  • Tips for writing a dog grooming business plan

Understanding pet owners’ needs and how you can best serve them is vital for writing a dog grooming business plan that you can actually use to help your business grow.

As you write the plan, give some attention to these key points.

1. Consider your business structure

Choosing the right structure is pivotal. When writing the company overview section, consider factors like taxation, liability, and business growth potential to determine whether an LLC, sole proprietorship, or corporation best suits your needs. This decision will influence your operational flexibility, financial management, and legal obligations.

2. Develop a pricing strategy

Establishing a pricing strategy that balances market competitiveness with profitability is essential. As part of your market analysis, take the time to explore pricing tiers and client expectations. Offering a variety of service packages can cater to different customer needs and enhance revenue streams. Connect those packages and pricing tiers to your projected revenues and expenses as you create your financial forecasts.

3. Create an online presence

A strong online presence is non-negotiable. So, even if you plan to leverage traditional marketing channels, you will still want to have digital marketing efforts be part of your plan. 

At a minimum, invest in a professional website, optimize for local search , and engage actively on social media platforms. This visibility attracts new clients and serves as a platform for showcasing your work and customer testimonials.

4. Highlight your credentials and training

Highlighting your credentials and commitment to ongoing professional development can set your business apart. 

Regular training in new grooming techniques, customer service excellence, and pet safety reassure clients of the quality and reliability of your services. Start by mentioning the qualifications of you and your team and include any supporting documentation, like resumes or awards, in your appendix.

5. Build on success with client referrals and reviews

Encourage satisfied customers to refer others and leave positive online reviews . Word-of-mouth and digital endorsements can significantly impact your business’s reputation and trustworthiness. Consider implementing a referral program to incentivize clients to share their positive experiences.

  • Download your free dog grooming one page sample business plan

Download your dog grooming business plan sample now for free. You can also explore Bplans’ collection of over 550 sample business plans to find other examples.

Writing a business plan for your dog grooming business helps you stand out in a crowded market. It’s one of numerous reasons that a business plan increases your chance of success. 

The plan is essential for getting your business funded. But even if you don’t need a bank loan, thinking through each aspect of your business will help you make the best strategic decisions and use your limited resources effectively.

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

Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.

Check out LivePlan

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Experience the power of Get started with Microsoft Copilot with Graph-grounded chat  (formerly named Microsoft 365 Chat). See how much time you can save and how much more you can get done. Use Microsoft Copilot to catch up, create content, and ask questions. This article provides several example prompts you can try.

Tip:  When you’re giving Copilot instructions, you can direct it to specific work content by using the forward slash key (“/”), then typing the name of a file, person, or meeting.  If you write a prompt and don’t reference a specific file, person, or meeting, Copilot will determine the best source of data for its response, including all your work content.

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There's been a recent change in how your team is tracking work. Find information about the new way our team is tracking work. Include email communications and points of contact for questions.

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Brainstorm ideas and draft new content based on information at work. Here are some examples:

You want to draft a one-page description of a new project (let's call it Project Foo) that's just about to kick off at work. Using information in file1, file2, and file3, write a one-page description of Project Foo. Write it so non-technical people can understand what the project is about and when it's scheduled to be completed.

You're preparing an email to invite customers to attend an upcoming conference and visit your company's booth. Using information in Document Z, write a fun, catchy email inviting our customers to come see us at our booth during next month's conference.

You want to plan a morale event for your team. List 3-5 ideas for group activities in the Seattle area that would be suitable for my team. Include approximate cost and time estimates. 

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