Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples
Smartsheet Contributor Joe Weller
May 6, 2020
In this article, we’ve rounded up a variety of the top, professionally designed startup business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.
Included on this page, you’ll find a one-page startup business plan template , a business plan outline template for startups , a startup business planning template with a timeline , and a sample startup business plan .
Startup Business Plan Template
Download Startup Business Plan Template - Word
Word | Smartsheet
This startup business plan template contains the essential components you need to convey your business idea and strategy to investors and stakeholders, but you can customize this template to fit your needs. The template provides room to include an executive summary, a financial overview, a marketing strategy, details on product or service offerings, and more.
One-Page Startup Business Plan Template
Download One-Page Startup Business Plan Template
Excel | Word | PDF
This one-page business plan is ideal for startup companies that want to document and organize key business concepts. The template offers an easy-to-scan layout that’s ideal for investors and stakeholders. Use this plan to create a high-level view of your business idea and as a reference as you flesh out a more detailed roadmap for your business.
For additional resources, visit " Free One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."
Simple Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Template for Startups
Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template for Startups
This comprehensive fill-in-the-blank business plan template is designed to guide entrepreneurs through the process of building a startup business plan. This template comes with a customizable cover page and table of contents, and each section includes sample content that you can modify to fit the needs of your business. For more fill-in business templates, read our "Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates" article.
Lean Business Plan Template for Startups
Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups
This Lean business plan template takes a traditional business plan outline and extracts the most essential elements. Use this template to outline your company and industry overview, convey the problem you are solving, identify customer segments, highlight key performance metrics, and list a timeline of key activities.
Business Plan Outline Template for Startups
Download Business Plan Outline Template for Startups
You can use this business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains all the elements of a traditional business plan, including a title page, a table of contents, and information on what to include in each section. Simplify or expand this outline based on the size and needs of your startup business.
Startup Business Planning Template with Timeline
Download Startup Business Planning Template with Timeline
Excel | Smartsheet
As you create your business plan, this business planning template doubles as a schedule and timeline to track the progress of key activities. This template enables you to break down your plan into phases and provides space to include key tasks and dates for each task. For a visual timeline, shade in the cells according to each task’s start and end dates. The timeline ensures that your plan stays on track.
Business Plan Rubric Template for Startups
Download Business Plan Rubric Template for Startups
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
If you’re starting a business and want to keep all your ducks in a row, use this rubric to evaluate and score each aspect of your startup business plan. You can tailor this template to the needs of your specific business, and can also highlight areas of your plan that require improvement or expansion. Use this template as a tool to make sure your plan is clear, articulate, and organized. A sharp, insightful, well thought-out plan will definitely get the attention of potential investors and partners.
For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “Free Startup Plan, Budget, and Cost Templates.”
What’s the Best Business Plan Template for Startups?
The template you choose for your startup business depends on a number of factors, including the size and specific needs of your company. Moreover, as your business grows and your objectives change, you will need to adjust your plan (and possibly your choice of template) accordingly.
Some entrepreneurs find it useful to use a Lean business plan template design in order to jot down a business concept and see if it’s feasible before pursuing it further. Typically one to three pages, a Lean business plan template encourages you to highlight core ideas and strategic activities and remain focused on key points.
Other entrepreneurs prefer a template with a more traditional business plan design, which allows you to go into greater detail and ensure you include every detail. A traditional plan can range from 10 to 100 pages and cover both the high-level and granular particulars of your overall concept, objectives, and strategy.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but the following section outlines the minimum that your business plan template should include in order to gain buy-in from potential investors.
What to Include in a Startup Business Plan
Whether you choose to use a template to develop your startup business plan or decide to write one from scratch, you need to include the following elements:
- An overview of your company and the industry in which it operates
- The problem you are solving and the proposed solution
- A description of your product or service offerings, including key features
- The existing alternatives that customers use and your competitive advantage
- The target customer segments and the channels you will use to reach them
- The cost structure and revenue streams associated with your business
- A financial plan, including sales and revenue projections (ideally 3-5 years)
- If applicable, the financial requirements to get your business running, including how you will source and allocate funds
Each of the following sections provides an example of a business plan that you can use for reference as you develop your own.
One-Page Lean Business Plan Example
This Lean business plan example displays a visually appealing and scannable one-page illustration of a business plan. It conveys the key strategies you need to meet your main objectives. Each element of this concise plan provides stakeholders and potential investors with links to resources that support and expand upon the plan’s details, and it can also serve as an investor pitch deck.
Startup Business Plan Sample
This business plan sample contains all the aspects of a standard business plan. Using a fictional food truck business as the basis for a startup business plan, this sample will give you all the ideas you need to make your plan outstanding.
Download Startup Business Plan Sample - PDF
When the time comes that you need more space to lay out your goals and strategies, choose from our variety of free simple business plan templates . You can learn how to write a successful simple business plan here .
Visit this free non-profit business plan template roundup or of you are looking for a business plan template by file type, visit our pages dedicated specifically to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates. Read our articles offering free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options.
Top 10 Tips to Create a Startup Business Plan
Putting together a business plan can be overwhelming and time consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Below, we share tips you can use to help simplify the process of developing a startup business plan of your own.
- Use a business plan template, or begin with a business plan outline that provides all the elements of a standard plan to get your ideas down on paper in a structured manner. (You can choose from the selection of templates above.)
- Remove sections from your outline that aren’t relevant or that aren’t necessary to launch and operate your business.
- Compile the data you have gathered on your business and industry, including research on your target market and product or service offerings, details on the competitive landscape, and a financial plan that anticipates the next three to five years. Use that information to fill in the sections of your plan outline.
- Get input and feedback from team members (e.g., finance, marketing, sales) and subject matter experts to ensure that the information you’ve included in the plan is accurate.
- Make certain that the objectives of your plan align with marketing, sales, and financial goals to ensure that all team members are moving in the same direction.
- Although this section of the plan comes first, write the executive summary last to provide an overview of the key points in your business plan.
- Prepare a pitch deck for potential clients, partners, or investors with whom you plan to meet in order to share vital information about your business, including what sets you apart and the direction you are headed.
- Who are the founders and management executives, and what relevant experience do they bring to the table?
- What is the problem you are solving, and how is your solution better than what currently exists?
- What’s the size of the market, and how much market share do you plan to capture?
- What are the trends in your market, and how are you applying them to your business?
- Who are your direct competitors, and what is your competitive advantage?
- What are the key features of your product or service that set it apart from alternative offerings, and what features do you plan to add in the future?
- What are the potential risks associated with your business, and how do you plan to address them?
- How much money do you need to get your business running, and how do you plan to source it?
- With the money you source, how do you plan to use it to scale your business?
- What are the key performance metrics associated with your business, and how will you know when you’re successful?
- Revisit and modify your plan on a regular basis as your goals and strategies evolve.
- Use a work collaboration tool that keeps key information across teams in one place, allows you to track plan progress, and captures updates in real time.
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Simple Business Plan Template (2023)
Updated: Dec 16, 2022, 11:45pm
Table of Contents
Why business plans are vital, get your free simple business plan template, how to write an effective business plan in 6 steps, frequently asked questions.
While taking many forms and serving many purposes, they all have one thing in common: business plans help you establish your goals and define the means for achieving them. Our simple business plan template covers everything you need to consider when launching a side gig, solo operation or small business. By following this step-by-step process, you might even uncover a few alternate routes to success.
Whether you’re a first-time solopreneur or a seasoned business owner, the planning process challenges you to examine the costs and tasks involved in bringing a product or service to market. The process can also help you spot new income opportunities and hone in on the most profitable business models.
Though vital, business planning doesn’t have to be a chore. Business plans for lean startups and solopreneurs can simply outline the business concept, sales proposition, target customers and sketch out a plan of action to bring the product or service to market. However, if you’re seeking startup funding or partnership opportunities, you’ll need a write a business plan that details market research, operating costs and revenue forecasting.
Whichever startup category you fall into, if you’re at square one, our simple business plan template will point you down the right path.
Copy our free simple business plan template so you can fill in the blanks as we explore each element of your business plan. Need help getting your ideas flowing? You’ll also find several startup scenario examples below.
Download free template as .docx
Whether you need a quick-launch overview or an in-depth plan for investors, any business plan should cover the six key elements outlined in our free template and explained below. The main difference in starting a small business versus an investor-funded business is the market research and operational and financial details needed to support the concept.
1. Your Mission or Vision
Start by declaring a “dream statement” for your business. You can call this your executive summary, vision statement or mission. Whatever the name, the first part of your business plan summarizes your idea by answering five questions. Keep it brief, such as an elevator pitch. You’ll expand these answers in the following sections of the simple business plan template.
- What does your business do? Are you selling products, services, information or a combination?
- Where does this happen? Will you conduct business online, in-store, via mobile means or in a specific location or environment?
- Who does your business benefit? Who is your target market and ideal customer for your concept?
- Why would potential customers care? What would make your ideal customers take notice of your business?
- How do your products and/or services outshine the competition? What would make your ideal customers choose you over a competitor?
These answers come easily if you have a solid concept for your business, but don’t worry if you get stuck. Use the rest of your plan template to brainstorm ideas and tactics. You’ll quickly find these answers and possibly new directions as you explore your ideas and options.
2. Offer and Value Proposition
This is where you detail your offer, such as selling products, providing services or both, and why anyone would care. That’s the value proposition. Specifically, you’ll expand on your answers to the first and fourth bullets from your mission/vision.
As you complete this section, you might find that exploring value propositions uncovers marketable business opportunities that you hadn’t yet considered. So spend some time brainstorming the possibilities in this section.
For example, a cottage baker startup specializing in gluten-free or keto-friendly products might be a value proposition that certain audiences care deeply about. Plus, you could expand on that value proposition by offering wedding and other special-occasion cakes that incorporate gluten-free, keto-friendly and traditional cake elements that all guests can enjoy.
3. Audience and Ideal Customer
Here is where you explore bullet point number three, who your business will benefit. Identifying your ideal customer and exploring a broader audience for your goods or services is essential in defining your sales and marketing strategies, plus it helps fine-tune what you offer.
There are many ways to research potential audiences, but a shortcut is to simply identify a problem that people have that your product or service can solve. If you start from the position of being a problem solver, it’s easy to define your audience and describe the wants and needs of your ideal customer for marketing efforts.
Using the cottage baker startup example, a problem people might have is finding fresh-baked gluten-free or keto-friendly sweets. Examining the wants and needs of these people might reveal a target audience that is health-conscious or possibly dealing with health issues and willing to spend more for hard-to-find items.
However, it’s essential to have a customer base that can support your business. You can be too specialized. For example, our baker startup can attract a broader audience and boost revenue by offering a wider selection of traditional baked goods alongside its gluten-free and keto-focused specialties.
4. Revenue Streams, Sales Channels and Marketing
Thanks to our internet-driven economy, startups have many revenue opportunities and can connect with target audiences through various channels. Revenue streams and sales channels also serve as marketing vehicles, so you can cover all three in this section.
Revenue streams are the many ways you can make money in your business. In your plan template, list how you’ll make money upon launch, plus include ideas for future expansion. The income possibilities just might surprise you.
For example, our cottage baker startup might consider these revenue streams:
- Product sales : Online, pop-up shops , wholesale and (future) in-store sales
- Affiliate income : Monetize blog and social media posts with affiliate links
- Advertising income : Reserve website space for advertising
- E-book sales : (future) Publish recipe e-books targeting gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
- Video income : (future) Monetize a YouTube channel featuring how-to videos for the gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
- Webinars and online classes : (future) Monetize coaching-style webinars and online classes covering specialty baking tips and techniques
- Members-only content : (future) Monetize a members-only section of the website for specialty content to complement webinars and online classes
- Franchise : (future) Monetize a specialty cottage bakery concept and sell to franchise entrepreneurs
Sales channels put your revenue streams into action. This section also answers the “where will this happen” question in the second bullet of your vision.
The product sales channels for our cottage bakery example can include:
- Mobile point-of-sale (POS) : A mobile platform such as Shopify or Square POS for managing in-person sales at local farmers’ markets, fairs and festivals
- E-commerce platform : An online store such as Shopify, Square or WooCommerce for online retail sales and wholesale sales orders
- Social media channels : Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest shoppable posts and pins for online sales via social media channels
- Brick-and-mortar location : For in-store sales , once the business has grown to a point that it can support a physical location
Channels that support other income streams might include:
- Affiliate income : Blog section on the e-commerce website and affiliate partner accounts
- Advertising income : Reserved advertising spaces on the e-commerce website
- E-book sales : Amazon e-book sales via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
- Video income : YouTube channel with ad monetization
- Webinars and online classes : Online class and webinar platforms that support member accounts, recordings and playback
- Members-only content : Password-protected website content using membership apps such as MemberPress
Nowadays, the line between marketing and sales channels is blurred. Social media outlets, e-books, websites, blogs and videos serve as both marketing tools and income opportunities. Since most are free and those with advertising options are extremely economical, these are ideal marketing outlets for lean startups.
However, many businesses still find value in traditional advertising such as local radio, television, direct mail, newspapers and magazines. You can include these advertising costs in your simple business plan template to help build a marketing plan and budget.
5. Structure, Suppliers and Operations
This section of your simple business plan template explores how to structure and operate your business. Details include the type of business organization your startup will take, roles and responsibilities, supplier logistics and day-to-day operations. Also, include any certifications or permits needed to launch your enterprise in this section.
Our cottage baker example might use a structure and startup plan such as this:
- Business structure : Sole proprietorship with a “doing business as” (DBA) .
- Permits and certifications : County-issued food handling permit and state cottage food certification for home-based food production. Option, check into certified commercial kitchen rentals.
- Roles and responsibilities : Solopreneur, all roles and responsibilities with the owner.
- Supply chain : Bulk ingredients and food packaging via Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon Prime with annual membership costs. Uline for shipping supplies; no membership needed.
- Day-to-day operations : Source ingredients and bake three days per week to fulfill local and online orders. Reserve time for specialty sales, wholesale partner orders and market events as needed. Ship online orders on alternating days. Update website and create marketing and affiliate blog posts on non-shipping days.
6. Financial Forecasts
Your final task is to list forecasted business startup and ongoing costs and profit projections in your simple business plan template. Thanks to free business tools such as Square and free marketing on social media, lean startups can launch with few upfront costs. In many cases, cost of goods, shipping and packaging, business permits and printing for business cards are your only out-of-pocket expenses.
Our cottage baker’s forecasted lean startup costs might include:
Gross Profit Projections
This helps you determine the retail prices and sales volume required to keep your business running and, hopefully, earn income for yourself. Use product research to spot target retail prices for your goods, then subtract your cost of goods, such as hourly rate, raw goods and supplier costs. The total amount is your gross profit per item or service.
Here are some examples of projected gross profits for our cottage baker:
Putting careful thought and detail in a business plan is always beneficial, but don’t get so bogged down in planning that you never hit the start button to launch your business . Also, remember that business plans aren’t set in stone. Markets, audiences and technologies change, and so will your goals and means of achieving them. Think of your business plan as a living document and regularly revisit, expand and restructure it as market opportunities and business growth demand.
Is there a template for a business plan?
Yes, you can copy our free business plan template and fill in the blanks or customize it in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or another word processing app. This free business plan template includes the six key elements that any entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a new business.
What does a simple business plan include?
A simple business plan is a one- to two-page overview covering six key elements that any budding entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a startup. These include your vision or mission, product or service offering, target audience, revenue streams and sales channels, structure and operations, and financial forecasts.
How can I create a free business plan template?
Start with this free simple business plan template that covers the six essential elements of a startup. Once downloaded, you can edit this document in Google Docs or another word processing app and add new sections or subsections to your plan template to meet your specific business plan needs.
What basic items should be included in a business plan?
When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business, an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.
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Krista Fabregas is a seasoned eCommerce and online content pro sharing more than 20 years of hands-on know-how with those looking to launch and grow tech-forward businesses. Her expertise includes eCommerce startups and growth, SMB operations and logistics, website platforms, payment systems, side-gig and affiliate income, and multichannel marketing. Krista holds a bachelor's degree in English from The University of Texas at Austin and held senior positions at NASA, a Fortune 100 company, and several online startups.
Business plan templates
Let these informative and polished templates guide you through creating your business plan. .
Do you want to increase the odds that your business startup will be a success? Then download this step-by-step business plan template and use it to lay the groundwork for your new business.
Writing a business plan gives you an opportunity to carefully think through every step of starting your company so you can better prepare and handle any challenges.
While a thorough business plan is essential in the financing process, it's helpful even if you don’t need outside financing.
Creating a business plan can:
- Help you discover any weaknesses in your business idea so you can address them before you open for business
- Identify business opportunities you may not have considered and plan how to take advantage of them
- Analyze the market and competition to strengthen your idea
- Give you a chance to plan strategies for dealing with potential challenges so they don’t derail your startup
- Convince potential partners, customers, and key employees that you’re serious about your idea and persuade them to work with you
- Force you to calculate when your business will make a profit and how much money you need to reach that point, so you can be prepared with adequate startup capital
- Determine your target market and how to reach them
Laying out a detailed, step-by-step plan gives you a blueprint you can refer to during the startup process and helps you maintain your momentum.
What this business plan template includes
Writing a business plan for a startup can sometimes seem overwhelming. To make the process easier and more manageable, this template will guide you step-by-step through writing it. The template includes easy-to-follow instructions for completing each section of the business plan, questions to help you think through each aspect, and corresponding fillable worksheet/s for key sections.
After you complete the 11 worksheets, you will have a working business plan for your startup to show your SCORE mentor .
The business plan sections covered in this template include:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Management and Organization
- Startup Expenses and Capitalization
- Financial Plan
The Appendices include documents that supplement information in the body of the plan. These might be contracts, leases, purchase orders, intellectual property, key managers’ resumes, market research data, or anything that supports assumptions or statements made in the plan.
The last section of the template, “Refining Your Plan,” explains ways you may need to modify your plan for specific purposes, such as getting a bank loan, or for specific industries, such as retail or manufacturing.
Complete the Business Plan Template for a Startup Business to create a working business plan for your startup.
Then, contact your local SCORE mentor to review and refine your plan either online or in person.
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Business Planning & Financial Statements Template Gallery Download SCORE’s templates to help you plan for a new business startup or grow your existing business.
An Easier Way to Prepare Your Business Plan -The Business Model Canvas The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a one-page business plan that allows you to test and validate the key parts of your business in a manageable format.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
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You've been dreaming of starting your own business. You've started with some concrete steps, and you're ready to put your proposal together. But how do you start, and how do you know when you have the right information?
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Simple business plan template for startup founders
Most new businesses that fail do so for one of two reasons: (1) lack of market need and/or (2) no more cash.
These two reasons account for more than 70% of new businesses not making it. However, both causes can often be avoided if founders invest upfront time in developing a carefully researched business plan.
A simple business plan template provides a proven framework to start from, concisely helps structure ideas, and shows potential investors what an organized and professional team looks like — one that can bring this business idea to market.
This article will share our custom-developed, simple business plan template, cover what should be included, and more.
Get the template
What is a simple business plan template?
A business plan is a written document outlining how a company intends to achieve its primary objectives — obtaining a particular market share, growing revenue, or reaching the next round of funding.
Download Excel template
While companies of all stages and sizes use business plans, they are beneficial for startups, as they can be the key to attaining funding.
A business plan template is a customizable document that provides all the crucial and necessary elements of a great business plan, allowing company leaders to start from a solid and established foundation rather than from scratch.
A simple business plan template typically includes:
- table of contents
- executive summary
- company description
- analysis of the target market
- description of the management team
- details of the product or service
- financial forecasts
- funding requirements
- appendices such as legal documents, permits, patents, and licenses
Business plans can quickly become huge, cumbersome documents, requiring a significant time investment from the creator. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends business plans be between 30 and 50 pages long.
While there is some benefit to spending this time developing a comprehensive business plan, agility is often more critical in the startup business world. That’s the main reason why simple business plan templates exist.
Simple business plan templates typically follow a structure outlining goals, teams, and financials.
- Company description : What does the business do? What problems does it solve?
- Team : Who is involved? What key hires have been made? What expertise do they bring to the table? Why are they the right team to get the job done?
- Industry and competitive analysis: Who are the company’s competitors? What are they doing well and not so well? What opportunities exist to differentiate and be successful in this industry?
- Target market: Who are the customers being targeted? What are their interests? What are their everyday challenges and goals?
- Timeline : What are the critical dates for tasks/goals?
- Marketing plan : How will the plan attract new customers?
- Financial plan : What do current revenue streams, cash on hand, revenue structure, required funding or funding already received, etc., look like.
Why use a simple business plan template?
We highly recommend founders use a simple business plan template, mainly for the speed and agility they offer.
Creating a business plan takes time and effort, no matter how many times it’s been done. Even a simple, one-page business plan designed for small businesses requires a fair bit of research.
Each section of the business needs to be analyzed. First, it’s essential to understand the market conditions and have a step-by-step plan. Then finally, it’s necessary to determine the plan’s structure.
Templates are even more crucial for first-time startup founders.
It’s understandable not to be super-confident in the first (or 2nd or 3rd) business plan writing process. A proven framework will help all — even seasoned veterans, ensure they:
- Don’t miss any critical elements.
- Structure ideas neatly and concisely.
- Foster a sense of professionalism, improving the confidence of potential investors
What are some examples of simple business plan templates?
These sample business plan templates serve as a great jumping-off point. Use them as inspiration. Take note of the similarities across the different examples.
1. One-page business plan template
A one-page business plan template is perfect for creating a plan to bring to the next startup pitch. But of course, supplementing the template with appendices for financial reports like balance sheets or income statements is important.
Summarizing the entire business into a single page is a great exercise. It ensures a robust and concise knowledge of each area of operation, creating more confidence to discuss each point with potential investors.
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2. Simple business plan template in Excel
While Excel does not have all the bells and whistles, it’s still a popular and widely-used platform — one that many founders choose to use to create simple business plans. This template can be used for any type of business, though it’s built for early-stage startups to plan out the first few months in business.
Notice how the template breaks overall costs down into smaller, more detailed items. This is useful to understand better the costs associated with starting a new business. Noting when those costs are owed also helps business owners monitor cash flow.
3. Startup business plan template
Here’s another excellent example of a business plan template built for startups.
What’s great about this template is rather than providing simple headers for each section, it includes questions and prompts to help guide the necessary information.
4. Lean business plan template
Lean business is a style of startup operation that focuses on minimizing waste, moving fast, and keeping costs low. It’s a popular methodology for companies wanting to get off the ground quickly and build revenue without raising significant funding.
This business plan template supports startups based on the lean concept, allowing for a simple, single-page business plan with minimal time investment.
monday.com’s simple business plan template
Most free business plan templates come in PDF, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word formats. Unfortunately, while these are popular formats and tools, they don’t tend to be particularly collaborative.
Have a distributed team? The monday.com simple business plan template will be your best friend.
Customize it to include all the fields necessary for a stellar business plan plus any additional ones unique to your business. But the most significant benefit of the template is the platform it’s built on .
The monday.com Work OS means building apps and workflows is simple. Customizing fields and columns to fit what the company is already doing, not the other way around. For example, once a business plan has been created using the monday.com simple template, it’s super-easy to set up a collaborative board to manage the marketing plan , assign tasks and due dates to employees and freelancers, and turn that business plan into reality.
Simple business plan template tips & tricks
Here are a few tips to make the most of this template and create a business plan that works.
Use simple, approachable language.
The goal is for people to read the business plan, right? Using everyday language over complex jargon and corporate terminology is an excellent place to start. Then, ensuring anyone who comes across the plan will have no issue understanding its meaning.
Write the executive summary last.
The executive summary is a short section that summarizes every aspect of the business plan. So, first, write the entire plan. THEN write the executive summary.
Supplement the business plan with supporting documents
While simple business plans are fast and effective, they leave out a lot of information by nature. Consider supplementing the plan with appendices such as financial statements , data sets, and market analyses.
Be conservative with financial estimates.
Where possible, financial projections should be based on real-life data. But even with the most accurate and up-to-date information out there, there’s always room for interpretation. So it’s best to give a range where possible, and if not, stay conservative with financial estimates.
Include thorough research and analysis
Invest the time early on and capture accurate, comprehensive data to support all claims. Interview customers and prospects to get a realistic picture of the target audience. Consider hiring a professional firm to provide a market research report.
FAQs about simple business plan templates
How do i write a simple business plan.
Simple business plans can be as little as one page with concise writing. Include information for each of these sections:
- Company description : What does the company do and sell? What problems does it solve?
- Team : Who works for the company, and what value do they provide?
- Industry : What competitors or other options exist?
- Target market : What does the ideal customer look like?
- Marketing strategy and plan : What is the plan to bring in new customers?
- Financial plan : What do the revenue streams look like?
What are the 7 parts of a business plan?
A 7-part business plan starts with the executive summary, moves on to describe the company, and finishes with financials.
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Organization and management team
- Products and services
- Market analysis
- Strategy and implementation timeline
- Financial plan and projections
What are common mistakes in a business plan?
Typical business plan mistakes include:
- not being research-driven
- unrealistic financial estimates
- providing too much information
- not using data to back up claims
- not offering an analysis of the competitive landscape
- only outlining vague goals and priorities
Simple business plan template
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6 Free Startup | Business Plans | PDF Templates & Examples
Whether you're pitching a potential cofounder, investors, future employees, or accelators, these business plan templates will help you define your mission and sell your vision., all startup | business plans | pdf business templates..
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Business plan template in Word
Write a business plan and start growing your business.
Create your business plan
A strong business plan is your roadmap to success. Use our downloadable free business plan template Word to outline your company’s goals and milestones, including how to structure, run, and grow your new business.
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Use your powerful business plan to get funding or bring on new business partners. Show investors how you expect to develop and grow your company - and ensure they get a healthy return on their investment.
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What is a business plan?
You can think of your business plan as the roadmap for managing and growing your business. It’s a dynamic document which evolves and changes over time, and covers your value proposition, your operating plans and the sort of support you need to succeed.
Your business plan is a key document to get funding or bring on new partners and investors. By setting out your opportunities, aims and milestones, you’ll show how and why your company is a strong investment prospect.
For startups in particular, investors want to learn why the founders are the right people to do the job, and what money is needed to get the business off the ground. The business plan will also walk through the planned steps to move from startup to scaleup - and on to solid profitability.
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Download a blank business plan template in Word.
Successful entrepreneurs invest time in planning the way they will build, manage and grow their business. Use our smart, simple templates to write your business plan, and get ready to see your enterprise flourish.
Download the business plan template - Word format - and use the questions, tables, and suggested content to build your unique plan. You’ll find all the key elements of a traditional business plan, plus a section specifically for startups using the business plan to attract investment.
Download the free business plan template in Word .
Create an impactful plan using additional financial documents, projections and forecasts - and your balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement if available. Use our templates to create your financial statements and add them to your business plan for extra depth.
More related financial templates .
How to fill the business plan template.
Edit headings and update your table of contents. Edit your headings, and make sure they’re formatted Heading 1 or Heading 2, using the options on the menu bar. Edits to your headings will show in your Table of Contents when you update the table. Do this by going to the References tab. Within the Table of Contents group of buttons, click on Update Table and then Update entire table .
Add your forecasts or financial statements from Excel to your business plan. For simple tables, you can just copy from Excel and paste your data into Word. You should find you have a formatted and editable table in Word, although any formulas used will no longer work. To avoid accidentally editing your data once it is in the business plan, paste your table using Paste Special to paste as a picture - or by choosing the Picture option when you right-click to paste.
Related business templates to add to your business plan.
Balance sheet template
Download our balance sheet template to give a comprehensive overview of how your business is doing. Investors use financial statements like these to compare investment options - so a smart and simple balance sheet is a great appendix to your business plan.
Profit and loss statement template
Use our handy template to create your profit and loss statement. Whether you know it as an income statement, P&L, or statement of operations, this is the document you need to add to your business plan to show profitability and predict future performance.
Cash flow statement template
Download our cash flow statement template and complete it to add to your business plan. Cash flow statements show you’re generating a profit, and investing it wisely - key considerations when attracting investors and partners into your business.
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21+ Startup Business Plan Templates
In most cases, coming into the reality of starting up of any kind of business attracts the notion of a Startup Business Plan. According to many entrepreneurs, a Simple Business Plan provides the framework to help the stakeholders track a business financial prosperity. Various methods have always been deployed in designing this simple startup plans. You may also see Plan Templates . However, it is remarkable for an ideal business plan to well single out logical ideas, which will enable its users to derive meaningful aspiration to implement the plan.
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Business plan templates
From competitive analysis to financial projections, business plans give your new business a roadmap for success. Download one of our free business plan templates and take your company to the next level.
Ecommerce Business Plan Template
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Startup Business Plan Template
We offer you the steps and the tools to create a fantastic business plan. Attract investors with this sleek and free startup business plan template.
Business Plan Template
This business plan template is a great tool for your startup to customize to reflect your strong qualifications, experienced team, and marketable business idea.
Coffee Shop Business Plan Template
Looking for investors and permits for your new cafe? Use this free Coffee Shop Business Plan Template to get all your cups in a row.
Salon Business Plan Template
You’re finally ready to open your own salon. This salon business plan template and tips will help guide you how to present your salon as a sound investment.
Restaurant Business Plan Template
Always dreamed of starting a restaurant? This free restaurant business plan template is your first step in making your dream a legal, planned reality.
Bakery Business Plan Template
You’re ready to go out on your own to share your fabulous breads and pastries with the world. This free bakery business plan template is just what you need to get going.
Hotel Business Plan Template
Think you have the solution for local tourism? Kick off your hotels empire with this free hotel business plan template to assure investors and guests.
Executive Summary Template
Your potential investors are spending the most time reading one part of your business plan. Use this executive summary template to make your business idea shine.
Business Letter Template
You want to make your company shine in all ways and certainly folks judge a book by it’s cover. Use this Business Letter Template to put your best face forward.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a document that helps small business owners determine the viability of their business idea. Combining market research and financial analysis, a professional business plan helps startup CEOs and potential investors determine if the company can compete in the target market.
Typically, a good business plan consists of the following:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Mission statement
- Product and services
- Marketing plan
- Operations plan
- Management organization
- Financial plan
- Conclusion & appendix
Every section involved in a business plan is designed to help startup businesses reach their target market.
A business plan asks founders and entrepreneurs to detail their business strategy in a step-by-step process that makes sense from an operational perspective. This is essential if a startup is seeking a business loan or an investment from a venture capital firm.
However, even small businesses that are already economically viable can benefit from creating a business plan, since it encourages business owners and their management teams to examine their business model and reevaluate the best ways to reach their target customers.
Should I use a business plan template?
Yes. If you’ve never written one, a business plan can be challenging to write.
Creating a successful plan that you can use to grow your small business can require weeks of market analysis and financial preparation. You may spend time using Microsoft Excel or Powerpoint in order to create documentation which better supports our operational decisions.
However, almost every professional business plan is structured in the same way and most ask for the same information. Because of this, using a business plan template is advisable to save time, money, and effort.
Business plan templates for free
Rather than spending time trying to figure out how to write a business plan , use a free template as a guide to completion.
Business plan templates from PandaDoc can help you reach an effective go-to-market strategy even faster by asking you to provide all the relevant information you need when creating an effective business plan.
Grab a free template to get started!
Frequently asked questions
How many pages should my business plan be.
This depends on the kind of business plan you need to write and how you intend to use the plan that you create.
For example, a plan for a small business seeking potential investors or a business loan will need to provide income statements, cash flow statements, and a balance sheet (usually for a three-year or five-year forecast period).
These financial statements can be omitted if a small business owner isn’t seeking funding and is instead planning to use their business plan as a guiding document for themselves and their management team members.
Some business plans may only run a few pages. Fully-developed business plans can be as long as 50 pages. Much of this depends on the type of business, the operational strategy, and the level of detail that goes into developing the business plan.
Who needs a business plan?
Every business should have a business plan. This is an essential guidance document for any founder or CEO.
Good business plans help a company determine the viability of its place in the market and can help the business develop better strategies for differentiating itself from its competitors.
Business planning also forces business owners to evaluate their marketing strategy, the cost of customer acquisition and retention, and how they plan to grow their business over time.
What is the best business plan template?
Business plans come in all shapes and sizes. The best business plan template for your business is one that you understand and that matches the size and legal structure of your operation.
If you’re a sole proprietor, a business plan template designed for a big corporation probably doesn’t make sense. However, a business plan that helps you build an effective roadmap to grow your business while protecting your intellectual property is a good starting point.
PandaDoc offers specialized business plan templates for common industries along with tips to help you get started with business planning.
Should I hire someone to write my business plan for me?
No. You’ll find freelance writers and business strategy companies out there who are happy to write your business plan for a fee. These resources can guide you through the process, but you should write (or be heavily involved in) the creation of your business plan.
The reason for this is simple: You know the most about your business, and your business needs you to succeed.
A writer can work with you to make your business plan sound better to investors, and a consultant can help you fill in knowledge gaps — like how to conduct a SWOT analysis — and point out weaknesses in your plan. But, at the end of the day, you need to use the business plan to pitch investors and run your business.
Those ideas and guiding principles aren’t something you can outsource.
Should I use business planning software?
Software isn’t required when creating an effective business plan. Most business planning software is designed to help you navigate the outlining and writing process more effectively.
You don’t need software to write a professional business plan, but a solid template can help you get started. Download a free template from PandaDoc today and take your business to the next level.
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Write a business plan
Download free business plan templates and find help and advice on how to write your business plan.
Business plan templates
Download a free business plan template on The Prince’s Trust website.
You can also download a free cash flow forecast template or a business plan template on the Start Up Loans website to help you manage your finances.
Business plan examples
Read example business plans on the Bplans website.
How to write a business plan
Get detailed information about how to write a business plan on the Start Up Donut website.
Why you need a business plan
A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.
A business plan helps you to:
- clarify your business idea
- spot potential problems
- set out your goals
- measure your progress
You’ll need a business plan if you want to secure investment or a loan from a bank. Read about the finance options available for businesses on the Business Finance Guide website.
It can also help to convince customers, suppliers and potential employees to support you.
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500+ Free business plan examples
Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 500 free real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries to guide you through writing your own plan. If you're looking for an intuitive tool that walks you through the plan writing process, we recommend LivePlan . It includes many of these same SBA-approved business plan examples and is especially useful when applying for a bank loan or outside investment.
Find your business plan
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Business plan template: There's an easier way to get your business plan done.
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Example business plan format
Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:
The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.
Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).
Products & services
The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and how your product or service fits into the existing competitive landscape.
Describe the problem you're solving, how your offering solves the problem, and who your potential competitors are. You'll want to outline your competitive advantages and the milestones you have in mind to successfully start and grow your business.
Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.
Marketing & sales
The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.
Organization & management
Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure, location, and history if you're already up and running.
Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.
Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.
The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or our-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.
Types of business plans explained
While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.
Traditional business plan
The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.
Business model canvas
The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.
The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.
One-page business plan
The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.
By starting with a one-page plan, you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.
The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance.
It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27-minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a full plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of Lean Planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the Lean Planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.
It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.
Download a free sample business plan template
Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2022.
This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.
How to use an example business plan to help you write your own
How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.
Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company
You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.
For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.
Use a business plan example as a guide
Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.
One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.
You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition ), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.
If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, this guide on how to write a business plan is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan .
Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document
Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.
Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool
Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.
If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.
Prepare to pitch your business
If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.
Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.
With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.
Get LivePlan in your classroom
Are you an educator looking for real-world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry-best business plans and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet-free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources that work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.
With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .
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Free Business Plan Template With Examples for Small Businesses (2023)
- by Desirae Odjick
- Starting Up
- Nov 9, 2022
- 11 minute read
A business plan is the secret to starting a business successfully.
The easiest way to simplify the work of writing a business plan is to start with a business plan template.
You’re already investing time and energy in refining your business model and planning your launch—there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to formatting your plan. Instead, to help build a complete and effective plan, lean on time-tested structures created by entrepreneurs and startups who have come before you.
Free: Business Plan Template
Business planning is often used to secure funding, but plenty of business owners find writing a plan valuable, even if they never work with an investor. That’s why we put together a free business plan template to help you get started.
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What our business plan template includes
This template is designed to ensure you’re thinking through all of the important facets of starting a new business. It’s intended to help new business owners and entrepreneurs consider the full scope of running a business and identify functional areas they may not have considered or where they may need to level up their skills as they grow.
That said, it may not include the specific details or structure preferred by a potential investor or lender. If your goal with a business plan is to secure funding , check with your target organizations—typically banks or investors—to see if they have business plan templates you can follow to maximize your chances of success.
Our free business plan template includes seven key elements typically found in the traditional business plan format:
- Executive summary: This is a one-page summary of your whole plan, typically written after the rest of the plan is completed. The description section of your executive summary will also cover your management team, business objectives and strategy, and other background information about the brand. You may consider including a mission statement here.
- Market analysis: A well researched business plan should also analyze the market you hope to reach with your business idea. This section includes everything from estimated market size to your target markets and competitive advantage. It’ll include a competitive analysis of your industry to address competitors strengths and weaknesses.
- Products and services: What you sell and the most important features of your products or services. It’ll also include any plans for intellectual property, like patent filings or copyright. If you do market research for new product lines, it’ll show up in this section of your business plan.
- Marketing plan: How you intend to get the word out about your business, and what strategic decisions you’ve made about things like your pricing strategy. It also covers potential customers’ demographics, sales plan, and your metrics and milestones for success.
- Logistics and operations plan: Everything that needs to happen to turn your raw materials into products and get them into the hands of your customers.
- Financial plan: It’s important to include a look at your financial projections, including both revenue and expense projections. This section includes templates for three key financial statements: an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash-flow statement . You can also include whether or not you need a business loan and how much it’ll be.
In our business plan template, each section includes an overview of the most important information to cover and guidelines on how to approach writing and researching each one.
Professional business plan example
We’ve filled out a sample business plan as a companion to our template, featuring a fictional ecommerce business . We’ve noted where—and how—an entrepreneur could add more details to expand on their business plans, depending on their goals.
Our fictional business creates custom greeting cards with your pet’s paw prints on them, and the founder of the business is writing a plan to help understand the target market, as well as the logistics and costs involved, to give themselves the best chance of success before they launch.
The sample is set up to help you get a sense of each section and understand how they apply to the planning and evaluation stages of a business plan. If you’re looking for funding, this example won’t be a complete or formal look at a business plan, but it will give you a great place to start and notes about where to expand.
Before you write your own, read through the following business plan example . You can download a copy in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and use it to inspire your own planning.
Download the business plan example (.doc)
Lean business plan example
A lean business plan format is a shortened version of your more detailed business plan. It’s helpful when modifying your plan for a specific audience, like investors or new hires.
Also known as a one-page business plan, it includes only the most important, need-to-know information, such as:
- Company description
- Key members of your team
- Customer segments
- Marketing plan
Want to create a lean business plan? Read Trimming It Down: How to Create a Lean Business Plan .
A good business plan helps you operate successfully
It’s tempting to dive right into execution when you’re excited about a new business or side project, but taking the time to write a solid business plan and get your thoughts on paper allows you to do a number of beneficial things:
- Test the viability of business ideas. Whether you’ve got one business idea or many, business plans can make an idea more tangible, helping you see if it’s truly viable.
- Plan for your next phase. Whether your goal is to start a new business or scale an existing business to the next level, a business plan can help you understand what needs to happen and identify gaps to address.
- Clarify marketing strategy, goals, and tactics. Writing a business plan can show you the actionable next steps to take on a big, abstract idea. It can also help you narrow your strategy and identify clear-cut tactics that will support it.
- Scope the necessary work. Without a concrete plan, cost overruns and delays are all but certain. A business plan can help you see the full scope of work to be done and adjust your investment of time and money accordingly.
- Hire and build partnerships. When you need buy-in from potential employees and business partners, especially in the early stages of your business, a clearly written business plan is one of the best tools at your disposal. A business plan provides a refined look at your goals for the business, letting partners judge for themselves whether or not they agree with your vision.
- Secure funds. Seeking financing for your business—whether from venture capital, financial institutions, or Shopify Capital —is one of the most common reasons to create a business plan.
Should you use a template for a business plan?
A business plan can be as informal or formal as your situation calls for, but even if you’re a fan of the back-of-the-napkin approach to planning, there are some key benefits to starting your plan from an existing outline or template.
- No blank-page paralysis. A blank page can be intimidating to even the most seasoned writers. Using an established business planning process and template can help you get past the inertia of starting your business plan, and it allows you to skip the work of building an outline from scratch. You can always adjust a template to suit your needs.
- Guidance on what to include in each section. If you’ve never sat through a business class, you might never have created a SWOT analysis or financial projections before. Templates that offer guidance—in plain language—about how to fill in each section can help you navigate sometimes-daunting business jargon and create a complete and effective plan.
- Knowing you’ve considered every section. In some cases, you may not need to complete every section of a startup business plan template, but its initial structure shows you you’re choosing to omit a section as opposed to forgetting to include it in the first place.
Tips for creating a successful business plan
There are some high-level strategic guidelines beyond the advice included in this free business plan template that can help you write an effective, complete plan while minimizing busywork.
- If you’re writing a business plan for yourself in order to get clarity on your ideas and your industry as a whole, you may not need to include the same level of detail or polish you would with a business plan you want to send to potential investors. Knowing who will read your plan will help you decide how much time to spend on it.
- Know your goals. Understanding the goals of your plan can help you set the right scope. If your goal is to use the plan as a roadmap for growth, you may invest more time in it than if your goal is to understand the competitive landscape of a new industry.
- Take it step by step. Writing a 10- to 15-page document can feel daunting, so try to tackle one section at a time. Select a couple of sections you feel most confident writing and start there—you can start on the next few sections once those are complete. Jot down bullet-point notes in each section before you start writing to organize your thoughts and streamline the writing process.
Once you’ve done the strategic work, it’s time to put it into action and write your plan. Download the business plan template and review our guide on writing a business plan for additional information.
Maximizing your business planning efforts
Planning is key to the financial success of any type of business , whether you’re a startup, non-profit, or corporation.
To make sure your efforts are focused on the highest-value parts of your own business planning, like clarifying your goals, setting a strategy, and understanding the target market and competitive landscape, lean on a business plan outline to handle the structure and format for you. Even if you eventually omit sections, you’ll save yourself time and energy by starting with a framework already in place.
Illustrations by Rachel Tunstall
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Business plan template faq, what is the purpose of a business plan, how do i write a simple business plan.
- Choose a business plan format, such as traditional or a one-page business plan.
- Find a business plan template.
- Read through a business plan sample.
- Fill in the sections of your business plan.
What are the 7 sections of a business plan?
- Executive summary
- Market analysis
- Products and services
- Marketing strategy
- Logistics and operations plan
- Financial statements and projections
What is the best business plan template?
What are the 5 essential parts of a business plan.
- Executive Summary : This is a brief overview of the business plan, summarizing the key points and highlighting the main points of the plan
- Business Description : This section outlines the business concept and how it will be executed
- Market Analysis : This section provides an in-depth look at the target market and how the business will compete in the marketplace
- Financial Plan : This section details the financial projections for the business, including sales forecasts, capital requirements, and a break-even analysis
- Management and Organization : This section describes the management team and the organizational structure of the business
How do you write a business plan?
- Executive Summary : Provide a concise overview of your business, products/services, goals, and plans for achieving those goals
- Company Description : Explain the type of business you are in, where you are located, and what you offer
- Market Analysis : Research your industry, target market, and competitors to gain insight into the opportunities and threats that may affect your business
- Organization and Management : Describe the organizational structure of your business, including management, employees, and advisors
- Service or Product Line : Explain what products or services you offer, how they are unique, and how they will meet the needs of your customers
- Marketing and Sales : Describe how you plan to market and sell your products/services, including pricing strategy, advertising and promotions
- Funding Request : Explain the capital you need to start or expand your business, how you plan to use it, and how you plan to pay it back
- Financial Projections : Provide an estimate of your anticipated income and expenses over the next three to five years
- Appendix : Include any additional information that will support your business plan, such as resumes, leases, contracts, and product samples
About the author
Desirae is a senior product marketing manager at Shopify, and has zero chill when it comes to helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
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Business Plan Excel
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Startup business plan template Excel
Simple Excel business plan template, free
Simple Excel business plan template free : here is an friendly and easy-to-use BP for your company project. Download it now with one simple click! Every entrepreneur knows that making a business plan is a staple when starting a new business, especially if you’re looking for funding. The quality and relevance of your financial plan will …
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Download the free business plan template in Word. Create an impactful plan using additional financial documents, projections and forecasts - and your balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement if available. Use our templates to create your financial statements and add them to your business plan for extra depth.
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Business Plan Templates: 9 FREE Samples - 2022 Updated Home Templates Business plan templates From competitive analysis to financial projections, business plans give your new business a roadmap for success. Download one of our free business plan templates and take your company to the next level. What is a business plan?
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Explore over 500 free real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries to guide you through writing your own plan. If you're looking for an intuitive tool that walks you through the plan writing process, we recommend LivePlan.
Our free business plan template includes seven key elements typically found in the traditional business plan format: Executive summary: This is a one-page summary of your whole plan, typically written after the rest of the plan is completed. The description section of your executive summary will also cover your management team, business ...
Simple Excel business plan template free : here is an friendly and easy-to-use BP for your company project. Download it now with one simple click! Every entrepreneur knows that making a business plan is a staple when starting a new business, especially if you're looking for funding. The quality and relevance of your financial plan will ….