Simple Business Plan Templates

By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020

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In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.

On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.

One-Page Business Plan Template

pdf business plan

Download One-Page Business Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business. 

For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."

Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

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

Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.

For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."

Simple Business Plan for Startup

Start-Up Business Plan Template

‌ Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word

This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."

Simple Small-Business Plan Template

Small Business Plan Template

Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template

This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.

Lean Business Plan Template

Lean Business Plan Template

Download Lean Business Plan Template

This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Word  | PDF

Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.

Simple Business Plan Rubric Template

pdf business plan

Download Simple Business Plan Rubric

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.

Basic Business Plan Sample

Basic Business Plan Sample

Download Basic Business Plan Sample

This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.

For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”

Main Components of a Business Plan

The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business. 

Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:

  • Company name and contact information
  • Website address
  • The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
  • Table of Contents
  • Company background and purpose
  • Mission and vision statement
  • Management team introduction
  • Core product and service offerings
  • Target customers and segments
  • Marketing plan
  • Competitive analysis
  • Unique value proposition
  • Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
  • Business and industry overview
  • Historical timeline of your business
  • Offerings and the problem they solve
  • Current alternatives
  • Competitive advantage
  • Market size
  • Target market segment(s)
  • Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Pricing strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Promotional plan
  • Distribution methods
  • Legal structure of your business
  • Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
  • Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
  • Staffing requirements and training plans
  • Physical location(s) of your business
  • Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
  • Production workflow
  • Raw materials and sourcing methods
  • Projected income statement
  • Projected cash flow statement
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Charts and graphs
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Information about your industry
  • Information about your offerings
  • Samples of marketing materials
  • Other supporting materials

Tips for Creating a Business Plan

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan. 

  • Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
  • Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
  • Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
  • Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
  • Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
  • Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
  • Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
  • What product or service are we offering?
  • Who is the product or service for?
  • What problem does our product or service offering solve?
  • How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
  • Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
  • How can we outperform our competitors?
  • What is our unique value proposition?
  • When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
  • If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
  • When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
  • What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
  • When do you expect to be profitable?

To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .

Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template

Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. 

Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
  • Provides structure to help outline your plan
  • Saves time and valuable resources
  • Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details

Limitations of a Business Plan Template

A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.

Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:

  • Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
  • A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
  • Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
  • You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
  • Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).

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Simple Business Plan Templates

Strategic Plan Template - PDF Templates

Strategic Plan Template

Focus on the future and keep your company moving forward with Jotform’s Strategic Plan Template. Simply fill in the attached form with your company overview, delve deeper with a SWOT analysis, and finish off by determining your strategic goals, actions, and financial plans. Our fully-customizable template converts submitted information into polished PDFs, which you can download, print, or share instantly.

Single Page Business Plan - PDF Templates

Single Page Business Plan

Get down to business with a customizable Single-Page Business Plan template from Jotform. Customize your plan in minutes. No coding. Drag and drop to build.

Operational Plan Template - PDF Templates

Operational Plan Template

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Marketing Brief Template - PDF Templates

Marketing Brief Template

Managing a marketing campaign or promotion is a challenging task. You need to have a marketing plan in order to execute the campaign smoothly with the time and budget provided. Creating a Marketing Brief is very beneficial because it summarizes the marketing strategy for a specific campaign.If you are in the advertising agency or part of the marketing department, then this Marketing Creative Brief Template is for you. This well-designed template contains the client information, project information, and the marketing materials that will be used. The project details explain the project title, description, objectives, target audience, budget overview, advertising guidelines, and competitors.

Glamping Business Plan Template - PDF Templates

Glamping Business Plan Template

Grab the attention of the investors by using this Glamping Business Plan Template. This business plan is simple yet effective because it contains all the necessary details when building a successful business.

Lean Business Model Canvas Template - PDF Templates

Lean Business Model Canvas Template

See your business from a new perspective with Jotform’s Lean Business Model Canvas Template. Simply fill in a short form with problems your business could solve, how they are currently being solved in the market, and how your company can uniquely work to solve these problems. Our template instantly converts the information into polished PDFs you can download or print for your next big meeting.Our Lean Business Model Canvas Template already looks professional, but you can personalize it further to match your business. Jotform PDF Editor lets you rearrange form fields or add your company logo at the touch of a button! By instantly converting your business model into an accessible PDF format, our Lean Business Model Canvas Template can help you see the bigger picture and determine how to take your business to the next level.

SOP Template - PDF Templates

SOP Template

Create a process to organize your employees in managing specific cases or scenarios by using this SOP Template. This template is commonly used in any organization whether it is a small, medium, or large group.

Creative Brief Template - PDF Templates

Creative Brief Template

A Creative Brief is used in advertising, branding, and marketing industries. In order to have a strong and outstanding creative campaign, you need to have a game plan to follow. This serves as a guideline that will help in making decisions related to the campaign.This Creative Brief Template PDF discusses the project details like the project name, due date, and project description. The marketing materials that will be used are listed in the document which includes its specifications like the dimension size, the medium that will be used, and the quantity. This is the best Creative Brief Template you can use for your next creative marketing campaign.

Business Model Canvas Template - PDF Templates

Business Model Canvas Template

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Blog Post Outline Template

Use this Blog Post Outline Template for your blog content in order to get more visitors, followers, shares, and impressions. This template will definitely help your ranking in search engines.

Gym Business Plan Template - PDF Templates

Gym Business Plan Template

Be successful in the gym business that you're building by securing funding or a loan with the help of this Gym Business Plan Template. This PDF can be printed and given to investors or loan applications.

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Meeting Minutes Template

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Business Hours Template - PDF Templates

Business Hours Template

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Scope of Work Template - PDF Templates

Scope of Work Template

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Business Plan Financial Template - PDF Templates

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About Simple Business Plan Templates

Plans, strategies, roadmaps – Businesses rely on these things to gain perspective on what’s about to happen. Milestones laid down in strategic and careful planning for growth and expansion, visions of where the company’s headed 10 years from now, goals that should meet timelines, all these require a smart, prudent and calculated planning.

Whether you’re a startup, an SMB, or close to a Fortune 500, a solid business plan is crucial. And of course, writing business plans is a huge task. But, what if you needed something that requires input from others though? Say, an online form or a PDF template where responses from your colleagues and managers matter? Well, here’s a collection of PDF templates for business planning.

These are beautifully designed templates, specifically tailored for businesses and companies who don’t know where to start. The hard part was already done and that’s designing the template. These will serve as boilerplates for whatever milestone your business needs. You won’t need to worry on building something from scratch, you just need to focus on the content. Some of these templates will contain or collect executive summaries, opportunities, expectations, execution, financial plans, forecasts, the whole nine yards.

Business plan templates help give a clear vision of what lies ahead. They help you get things organized, planned out, and help you check off items from your to-do list more efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) what are the seven parts of a business plan.

  • Executive summary. This is an overview of your business plan. The executive summary should include your company’s offerings, mission, goals, and projections. Think of it as the elevator pitch for your business plan. If you can’t get investors interested here, it’s unlikely they’ll want to keep reading.
  • Company description and history. Describe your business’s legal structure and history in addition to what you do. If you just started this business, you may replace company history with your leadership team’s experience. The purpose of this section is to explain the company structure and build confidence in the people running the company.
  • Products and services. Talk about what your company offers, whether that’s products, services, or a combination of the two. Describe your products and services in detail. Explain what makes your offering unique, what your profit margins are, what kind of demand you’re seeing for it, etc.
  • Market and competitor research. Investors want to know if there’s demand for your offering. Describe the target market and how your product or service benefits potential customers. Include projections of where the industry is headed over the next few years. Additionally, detail your competitors and how saturated the market is.
  • Sales and marketing strategy. This part of the business plan explains how you’ll promote your product. Outline elements such as your ideal customer profile (ICP) as well as your marketing channels, budget, and methods.
  • Operations and logistics. Explain how you’ll source materials if you sell products as well as the technology you need to deliver such products and services. Also, provide details about your team, like how many people you’ll need and how you’ll manage employees.
  • Financial plan and projections. It’s crucial to prove that your business will be financially viable. For this, you’ll need revenue and expense projections. Many investors want to see sample account statements, balance sheets, and cash flow projections.

2) How do you write a business plan?

Your business plan should be a realistic roadmap that helps you build a successful company. When writing it, take a balanced approach so that you’re not blind to the potential pitfalls and risks. You’ll draft each of the seven sections previously discussed.

Tackling these sections can be overwhelming, so some people like to start with a one-page business plan that includes short paragraphs for each element. Another way to give yourself a head start is by working from a business plan template. Once you have a good start, you can expand each section to make a compelling case for your business.

3) Can I write a business plan myself?

Yes, you can. However, depending on your writing experience and goals, you may want outside help. If the business plan is for internal use with the purpose of improving business functions, you’ll likely be OK tackling it alone. But if you’re trying to secure funding from a bank or investors, a professional business plan writer can give you a leg up.

Even if you decide to do it yourself, have a trusted friend or business mentor review your plan and provide feedback. An objective point of view will help you refine your work.

4) What are the four types of business plans?

  • One-page or mini business plan. The one-page option is a great way to improve the focus of your business plan and highlight the essential elements. It can be an effective way to workshop your company’s plan or quickly give others a rundown of your entire business.
  • Traditional business plan. The traditional business plan is more in-depth than its one-page counterpart and will be more thorough in each section (often, plans exceed 40 pages). For example, it may contain detailed financials, branding samples, and competitive research documents.
  • Business model canvas (BMC). The business model canvas is a more visual representation of your business architecture. It includes sections for infrastructure, offering, customers, finances, etc. Many businesses find the BMC appealing since it can be summarized in a single page.
  • Strategic business plan. The strategic business plan can have different purposes, like proving feasibility, discussing planning operations, or projecting growth. It will outline the company’s goals, its strategy for reaching them, and the company structure. The main difference between this and the traditional plan is its focus on specific strategic initiatives.

5) What are the common mistakes in business plans?

  • Poor writing. Sloppy writing may suggest that you’re not serious about your business or you lack the needed professionalism.
  • Unrealistic expectations. While you should be optimistic about your business, if your financial projections reflect your hopes more than reality, people may hesitate to back your business.
  • Lack of supporting documentation. People reviewing your business plan want to see how you back up your claims. You can include research docs, sample financials, and estimates to make your case.
  • Failing to define the target audience. For a successful marketing plan, you need to define your target audience. Investors and financial institutions need to see if you’re confident about who you’re selling to.
  • Unbalanced. It’s important to lay out the risks and potential upsides. This analysis shows investors that you’re considering the whole picture regarding your business.

These templates are suggested forms only. If you're using a form as a contract, or to gather personal (or personal health) info, or for some other purpose with legal implications, we recommend that you do your homework to ensure you are complying with applicable laws and that you consult an attorney before relying on any particular form.

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Business Plan Templates

Free Download

business-plan-template

2 Essential Templates For Starting Your Business. Available as an interactive PDF or a Google Docs template.

With this business plan template, you'll be able to:

  • Write a company description that sells your story
  • Plan for the future: lay out goals and metrics for success
  • Describe your product line in detail and plan for how to stand out from competitors
  • Consider any legal formalities that require attention when starting your business
  • Put together necessary financial projections to make a strong start
  • Create your buyer persona and determine your product/marketing fit

business plan template

Build A Business Plan That Works

Available as a one-page interactive PDF and a full template on both Google Docs and Microsoft Word!

Whether you’re starting a business or drafting a formalized document with  your current business goals, it’s important to clearly defi ne the scope of all aspects of the venture — from mission, to target customers, to fi nances, and beyond.

When just starting out, it can be tempting to think of a business plan as simply your company’s name and a description of your product or service. But in reality, planning a business involves thinking through a lot more details.

In this business plan template we’ll guide you through the steps of writing company and product descriptions, setting sales and marketing goals and plans, and thinking through legal and fi nancial logistics. We've included a  plain text, designed , and  completed example version of this template. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you write a business plan.

A business plan is a formal written document that you can use to identify the purpose of your company, make important decisions about your future and help grow your company. HubSpot's free business plan templates provides guidance to establishing your company mission, customer research, competition, and a business strategy to profitability.

Why do I need to fill out the information requested?

We will always keep your personal information safe..

We ask for your information in exchange for a valuable resource in order to (a) improve your browsing experience by personalizing the HubSpot site to your needs; (b) send information to you that we think may be of interest to you by email or other means; (c) send you marketing communications that we think may be of value to you. You can read more about our privacy policy here .

Where can I get a free business plan template?

HubSpot's Free Business Plan Templates are the best way to create a professional, thorough business plan. The templates include instructions and everything you need to know about starting your company.

Is this really free?

Absolutely.

Just sharing some free knowledge that we hope you’ll find useful. Keep us in mind next time you have marketing questions!

What are the basic format of a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that outlines the company's goals, strategy and implementation. The format of the plan varies depending on the type of organization (e.g., for-profit or nonprofit) and size, but most plans share some common features such as an overview, executive summary, and financial information.

What is the best business plan template?

A great business plan template clearly defines the scope of the venture -- from mission, to target customers, to finances, and beyond. HubSpot's business plan template will guide you through the steps of writing company and product descriptions, setting sales and marketing goals and plans, and thinking through legal and financial logistics.

What is needed to start a business?

If you're thinking about starting a business, you'll need to do some research first. You can't just start a business without doing any market research. Market research will tell you if there's an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. After that, write your business plan so that you know how much money and time it will take for the project to succeed. Use HubSpot's free business plan template today!

Set yourself up for success with this business plan template

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Simple Business Plan Template for Word, PDF

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Template Highlights

  • Ten sections: Company description, Opportunity, Industry Analysis, Target Market, Management Team, Marketing Strategy, Timeline, Financial Plan, Conclusion. Bonus Appendices section, if you want to get fancy
  • Detailed instructions for each section
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Simple business plan template.

Business Plan Template

Executive Summary

Begin with a brief description of your company to give background and context. Tell the reader why you have embarked on this new venture.

Then, move into a description of the opportunity. Explain your project from the broadest to most narrow context. Tell readers what product or service you plan to offer, how it fits into the industry you’ll operate within, who your target customers are, and what you expect from the market in the future. Explain your value proposition, and give an overview of the market.

Briefly describe your management team to help potential investors understand the skills and experience your company brings to the table. Next, move into a description of how your business will operate on a day-to-day basis.

Then, describe how you will promote your new product/service. You don’t need to go into detail here, but you should provide enough information to illustrate the marketing methods you will use and how you will attract new customers.

Describe the cost structure and financial aspects of the business. You’ll need to explain the kind and amount of investment that you need, what you will use the money for, and how you envision your business becoming profitable.

Next, you should move into a description of how you will implement your business plan. How will you roll out your new business? What is the expected timeline?

Finally, close this section with a clear, pithy explanation of your project, why it is needed, and how it will benefit future customers and investors.

HubSpot Tip: Write this section last, after you have written all of the other sections. It should summarize your entire business plan in a page or two (at most).

Company Description

Provide a description of your organization. Include the company’s name, what type of entity it is, who owns it, and note any significant assets.

This is a good place to talk about why you do what you do. What is your company’s mission statement? What are your goals and objectives?

What product or service do you provide? Who are your customers? Do you have a geographic focus? If so, where?

Briefly describe the industry, the opportunities it offers, and the growth it is experiencing.

Note some of your company’s main strengths and briefly explain where you fit into the industry. You will delve more deeply into this later.

HubSpot Tip: Keep this section brief. You will have plenty of time to talk about the details of your company and the business opportunity later in the document.

The Opportunity

Describe the need in the market that your business idea will fill. How did this need arise and why has it not been filled yet?

Explain how you identified the need and how your product/service will meet it.

Describe your products/services here. You can include diagrams or pictures to help illustrate your offering.

You should also include a description of the features and benefits of your product/service to your customer. Consider capturing this in a simple table like the one below.

Product/Service Feature

Benefit to the Customer

HubSpot Tip: Be sure to include your value proposition in this section – describe how your service/product is attractive to customers.

Industry Analysis

In this section, you’ll want to talk about the key environmental trends in your industry. What are the barriers to entry (e.g., high production or marketing costs, tariff barriers, regulatory challenges, extensive training)? How is the industry progressing? What is changing?

Then think about your business’ competitive advantage. Are there other companies providing the same good/service that you will be offering? If so, are customers likely to switch to your product/service? How do you compare with your competitors?

HubSpot Tip: Note the key factors for success in this industry, and show that your company has them.

Target Market Research and Definition

Based on the market research that you previously conducted, provide an explanation of the market in which your business will reside. How big is the market? How fast is it growing? Will your product/service be a major factor in the market?

Define your target customers. Who do you expect to buy your product/service?

You should identify and describe your major competitors in this section, as well.

Identify what defines your product/service in the marketplace. What distinctive competencies or offerings do you offer that other companies do not?

HubSpot Tip: Though you want to mention some competitors, make sure the focus is on your business and how it will serve your target customers.

Management Team & Organization

Your readers will want to know that your team has the skills and qualifications to implement what you have outlined in the business plan. Include brief biographical sketches of your leadership, including the board of directors (if you have one) and any high-level external advisors that your company uses.

Include their educational credentials and a description of the relevant work they have done and accomplishments they have achieved. You can also personalize this section with headshots of your staff to help put faces to the names.

If you have a complicated management structure, consider including an organizational chart like the one shown below. Tailor it to include the names and roles of your leadership team.

HubSpot Tip: You don’t need to include descriptions of every position in the company, just high-level management.

Operations Plan

In this section, describe how you will manage your business and what daily operations will look like. You should cover at least the following topics, and any other relevant information that might be unique to your industry:

• Staffing – How many employees will you have? Where will they be located? What kinds of skills and certifications do they need?

• Infrastructure – What kind of physical space will your company occupy? Describe your business locations. What kinds of technologies will you require?

• Legal Structure – Legal issues are important in every industry. Describe the unique aspects of yours and how you will address them.

• Regulatory – Regulations also play a key role in most businesses. Include a discussion of the regulatory issues faced in your industry and how you will handle them.

• Certifications or Accreditations - Does your company require any special documentation to do business? If so, describe how you’ll attain the required certification or accreditation.

• Product/Service Delivery Process – Describe your business processes. These might include inventory, supply chain, and accounts payable and receivable.

HubSpot Tip: This list is not exhaustive, so be sure to include enough information to help potential investors understand how your business will operate.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is a crucial to the success of any business. Building on what you described in the Target Market Research and Definition section, define the components of your strategy to market your product/service.

Describe any challenges, including barriers to entering the market. What potential problems do you foresee? How will you address them?

Explain why you have chosen to operate your business in the selected location. Are there cost savings involved in choosing this location? Does it bring you closer to your customer base?

What is your pricing strategy? Explain and provide clear evidence for why the pricing structure you selected will lead customers to buy your products/services and will, at the same time, result in a profit for your business and investors.

Describe your plan for promoting your new business, product, or service. Will you use print, radio, television, or social media? Will you hire a marketing manager?

Be sure to indicate the budget for your marketing strategy and where you will obtain the funding for this important aspect of your business. You may need to employ consultants or an advertising agency – be sure to include these costs.

HubSpot Tip: Consider including a few mockups of your logos, packaging, and even advertisements to give potential investors a preview of your company’s marketing materials.

Implementation Plan And Timeline

Describe the phases in which your business will be rolled out. Indicate which phase you are in currently, and how long it will take to bring your product/service to market.

Consider including a timeline like the one below to illustrate the steps in the process. Customize it with your dates and the specific steps for your business.

HubSpot Tip: While aiming to please potential investors, be sure to set reasonable deadlines that you are able to meet.

Financial Plan

Tell your potential investors the amount of funds you have received thus far and who provided them. How much more funding do you require?

Describe how you will use each part of the funding you are requesting. Investors often feel more comfortable if they know exactly how their money will be used.

Give readers a peek into your company’s projected financial future. Include the following as appendices, but describe them in this section:

• Cash flow projection – An estimate of how much money you expect to flow in and out of your business.

• Capitalization plan – Lists the sources and uses of capital that your business plans to amass.

• Break-even analysis – A determination of what you need to sell in order to cover the costs of doing business.

In addition to the above, you’ll need to include an income statement and balance sheet. Since these could be long and were likely developed in Excel or an accounting software, you should reference them here and include them in an appendix.

You will also want to explain any assumptions that you have made that affect your financial information. Later you will be able to point to these to explain why something may have turned out differently than expected.

HubSpot Tip: This is one of the most important sections of your business proposal. If you are not an expert in finance, be sure to seek assistance from someone who is.

In a few sentences, summarize the main point that you would like the reader to understand about your business. Aim to convince them that they should invest!

Describe the next steps, and give detailed contact information so that they can get in touch with you easily.

HubSpot Tip: This section should incite the reader to act. Make it easy for your potential investors by including in this section all of the information they need to move forward.

Include any supporting documents for the previous sections here. You can reference them in the text and use them to provide additional detail without breaking up the flow of your business plan text.

HubSpot Tip: Some items you could include are: marketing materials, maps of the business location, background research, articles that have been written about the company, and financial documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i write a simple business plan, is this template free, can i edit this template, related tags:.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needi

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated May 7, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

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  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

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
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. 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 when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

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.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean 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’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

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

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Start stronger by writing a quick business plan. Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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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.

pdf 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.

pdf 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?

pdf 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.

pdf business plan

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?

editor-half

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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14 Professional Business Plan Samples [Downloadable pdf]

Looking for business plan examples for inspiration? Download or view 14 business plans examples/samples, vetted by our MBA business plan writers. Download in PDF format or read like a book. These real business plan samples would help in writing your own business plan.

14+professional business plan examples or samples

  • View Real Business Plan Examples/Samples

Bank Business Plan

As an entrepreneur, effectively pitching your idea to attract investors and secure funding can be a challenge. Moreover, when launching a business, creating a comprehensive business plan is paramount.

To aid you in these crucial tasks, we offer a collection of real-world and sample business plan examples across diverse industries. A well-structured business plan is indispensable in the fast-paced entrepreneurial landscape, as it delineates your goals, strategies, and financial projections, providing a clear roadmap for your venture.

Our aim is to facilitate the creation of an effective business plan by integrating real-life examples to elucidate the key elements involved. Below, you’ll find a range of 14 detailed business plan examples available for download and use.

Important Sections to Include in Business Plan

Practical business plan examples illustrating strategies for startup success, 1. e-commerce plan sample or example, 2. online marketplace business plan example or sample, 3. snack bar business plan sample / business plan example, 4. coffee shop business plan sample/business plan example pdf, 5. food hall business plan sample/business plan example pdf, 6. printing shop business plan sample/business plan example plan, 7. acquisition business plan sample/ example pdf, 8. l-1 visa business plan example with sample pdf, 9. e-2 visa business plan sample/ example pdf, 10. eb-5 business plan sample/ example pdf, 11. investor business plan sample/ example pdf, 12. nonprofit business plan sample/ example pdf, 13. bank business plan sample/ example pdf, 14. cannabis business plan sample/ example pdf, detailed overview of key components of a business plan, 1. executive summary, tips for writing executive summary, 2. company overview or description, tips for writing company description, 3. market analysis, tips for writing market analysis, 4. product and services, tips for writing product and services, 5. marketing and sales plan, tips for writing marketing and sales plan, 6. operation planning, tips for writing operational planning, 7. organization and management, tips for writing organization and management summary, 8. financial plan, tips for writing financial plan, 9. key external drivers, tips for writing key external drivers, 10. startup summary, tips for writing startup summary, 11. projected industry growth, tips for writing projected industry growth, 12. break-even analysis, tips for writing break-even analysis, 13. management summary, tips for writing management summary, 14. financial indicators, tips for writing financial indicators, discover business plan formats and free templates, business plan examples for students pdf, common types of business plan, 1. one page business plan, 2. start-up business plan, 3. strategic business plan, 4. feasibility business plan, 5. internal business plan, conclusion​, frequently asked questions, download pack of 14 business plan examples, are you looking for top business plan writer.

To create a robust business plan, ensure inclusion of the following key sections:

  • Executive Summary: A brief snapshot of your business and the key highlights of your business plan. Read more
  • Product and Services: An elaborate description of the offerings you will provide to your customers. Read more
  • Marketing and Sales Plan: A strategic roadmap outlining how you intend to promote and market your business before, during, and after its launch. Read more
  • Operating Planning: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools necessary to efficiently run your business behind the scenes. Read more
  • Organization and Management: Organization and management in a business plan outline the structure and leadership of the company. Read more
  • Financial Plan: A comprehensive plan mapping out your short-term and long-term financial goals and the associated costs of running your business. If you require funding, this section is where you can outline your request and financial needs. Read more
  • Key External Drivers: External drivers encompass factors like outsourcing, economic changes, industry competition, and business legislation complexity. Read more
  • Startup Summary: The startup summary offers a comprehensive financial overview of , detailing expenses, asset value, and total requirements, crucial for transparency with entrepreneurs and investors. Read more
  • Projected Industry Growth : Projected industry growth forecasts the sector’s expansion, offering a 10-year perspective and average annual growth rate, providing clarity to investors. Read more
  • Break-even analysis: The break-even analysis visually presents key metrics and a 12-month revenue forecast to help stakeholders grasp the point where the business covers costs and starts generating profit . Read more
  • Management Summary: The management summary provides a concise overview of organizational structure, key personnel, their roles, and financial commitments, ensuring stakeholders understand the business’s operational strength and leadership capability. Read more
  • Financial Indicators: The financial indicators section evaluates organizational fiscal health, focusing on year-over-year profitability metrics, leverage ratios, liquidity ratios, and additional metrics, providing a comprehensive understanding of the business’s financial performance and efficiency in revenue generation from equity investments. Read more

E-commerce Plan Sample or Example

Something Borrowed Something New is a burgeoning e-commerce enterprise specializing in wedding accessories and personalized gifts. Operating on a drop-shipping model, this business has the capability to make a significant impact in the market.

Moreover, leveraging social networking and blogging can be instrumental in generating awareness and capturing interest, thereby creating a robust online marketing strategy for Something Old and Something New.

To enhance their business operations, they are contemplating the integration of a WhatsApp CRM system. This initiative aims to optimize communication with potential customers, ensuring prompt responses to inquiries and fostering a seamless interaction process.

Online Marketplace Business Plan Example or Sample

EPlace Solutions will be an innovative online marketplace business portal offering a variety of products to consumers throughout the globe. Founded by Mr. John Jones, a seasoned business visionary with an eye toward profit and achievement, the organization is set to enter the market in 2023.

Online shopping is at an all-time high with new consumer mindsets calling for them to shop for the types of deals and bargains that will be so much a part of the online marketplace business model.

Snack Bar Business Plan Sample

There is an increasing demand for snack-type fast food to be consumed while window shopping and walking around inside a shopping mall.

Do you plan to start a snack bar business? Then here’s a complete snack bar startup business plan template and feasibility report you can use FREE of charge. It sounds easy to open a snack bar, but in reality, you need well-planned strategies to ensure that your business stands the test of time. 

Our snack bar business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market a nalysis  and competitive analysis.

It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable snack bar business by creating a unique menu and offering healthy, high-quality snac ks that meet custome r demand.

Your snack shop business plan can look as polished and professional as the sample plan. It’s fun and easy, with Wise Business Plan. Let’s review the  snack shop business plan sample  and adjust them according to your audience for the best results.

Coffee Shop Business Plan Sample

A coffee shop business plan is a document that outlines what your business idea is and how it will be implemented. Its purpose is to answer questions such as what it costs to start a coffee shop, how these costs will be financed, and how much money you can expect to earn from your cafe.

Are you looking for the right business plan for your cafe? Let’s review the  Coffee shop business plan sample  to find out how cloud-based software can make your day-to-day work more efficient.

Our coffee shop business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market analysis and competitive analysis.

It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable coffee shop business by creating a unique brand and offering high-quality products a nd customer service.

Food Hall Business Plan Sample

In the food industry, there is fierce competition. To ensure success, you need to hit the ground running with the right pitch. Our food house business plan is the ideal solution with an attractive design highlighting key information and conveying the right message.

This food business plan example features food images intended to tantalize the taste buds. It captures the theme perfectly and will convey the ultimate message to investors, clients and customers.

It is important to remember that the business plan template can be customized to meet your company’s specific needs and requirements. It will help showcase your business as a leader in the modern industry.

This food business plan template provides key slides to showcase everything from finances to marketing and key competitors. If you prefer, you can alter the content displayed to meet your specific needs, but this is a good starting point.

Ultimately, this  food house business plan  will be suitable for any business operating in the food industry and keen to get interested from key individuals. It will ensure that you can build up the rep of your company.

We provide a one-of-a-kind sales pitch deck designed to appeal to your prospective audience, as well as a custom presentation tailored to their information requirements.

Printing Shop Business Plan Sample

When establishing a think tank, you will need to develop a business plan and document it properly. As a mass think tank, you need a special strategy to legalize the think tank as a non-profit organization and to raise funds for your project successfully.

Copy and print businesses offer a variety of services to both businesses and consumers. A copy and print shop can handle everything from single-page printing to large-volume jobs using several types of media.

Our printing shop business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market analysis and competitive analysis. It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable printing shop business by offering high-quality, customized printing services with a focus on customer s ervice and efficient operations.

Let’s take a look at Printing and Photocopy Business Plan Sample that you can use to inspire your own and easily create one.

Acquisition Business Plan Sample

The acquisition business plan sample is intended for businesses seeking to acquire another company or merge with a competitor. This plan includes an analysis of the target company, a valuation, and a strategy for integrating the acquired business into the existing operations. We like this sample plan because it provides a clear roadmap for the acquisition process and demonstrates the potential benefits of the deal.

L-1 Visa Business Plan Sample

At Wisebusinessplans, we understand that obtaining an L1 visa for an executive or manager requires a thorough and compelling business plan.

Our L1 business plan sample includes all the necessary components to satisfy USCIS requirements and demonstrate your qualifications and your company’s viability in the US market.

The L1 business plan sample is a comprehensive plan for a new business seeking L1 visa approval for an executive or manager. This plan focuses on demonstrating the applicant’s qualifications and the company’s viability in the US market.

We like this sample plan because it is specific to the L1 visa process and includes all the necessary components to satisfy USCIS requirements.

E-2 Visa Business Plan Sample

If you’re an entrepreneur seeking E-2 visa approval, Wise Business Plans can help you create a persuasive business plan.

Our E-2 business plan sample outlines your investment, business operations, and financial projections, providing a clear and compelling case for your ability to successfully run a business and make a significant economic impact.

The E-2 business plan sample is designed for entrepreneurs seeking E-2 visa approval, which allows individuals to invest in and manage a business in the United States. This plan outlines the applicant’s investment, business operations, and financial projections. We like this sample plan because it provides a clear and compelling case for the applicant’s ability to successfully run a business and make a significant economic impact.

EB-5 Business Plan Sample

If you’re looking to obtain an EB-5 visa by investing in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, Wise Business Plans can help you create a compelling business plan.

Our EB-5 business plan sample includes a description of your business, a market analysis, and financial projections, providing a detailed and persuasive case for the potential success of your venture.

The EB-5 business plan sample is designed for individuals seeking to obtain an EB-5 visa by investing in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. This plan includes a description of the business, a market analysis, and financial projections. We like this sample plan because it provides a detailed and persuasive case for the potential success of the business, which is crucial for obtaining EB-5 visa approval.

Investor Business Plan Sample

If you’re seeking investment from angel investors, venture capitalists, or other private equity firms, Wise Business Plans can help you create a compelling pitch.

Our investor business plan sample includes a pitch deck, financial projections, and a detailed analysis of the market the potential return on investment and the scalability of your business.

The investor business plan sample is intended for businesses seeking to attract investment from angel investors, venture capitalists, or other private equity firms. This plan includes a pitch deck, financial projections, and a detailed analysis of the market opportunity. We like this sample plan because it emphasizes the potential return on investment and the scalability of the business.

Nonprofit Business Plan Sample

At Wisebusinessplans, we’re committed to helping non-profit organizations achieve their social impact goals.

Our non-profit business plan sample includes a mission statement, programs and services, marketing and outreach strategies, and a financial analysis, providing a clear roadmap for establishing or expanding your organization.

The non-profit business plan sample is designed for organizations seeking to establish or expand a non-profit entity. This plan includes a mission statement, programs and services, marketing and outreach strategies, and a financial analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates a strong commitment to social impact and outlines a clear strategy for achieving the organization’s goals.

Bank Business Plan Sample

Whether you’re seeking financing from a bank or other financial institution, Wise Business Plans can help you create a detailed and persuasive business plan.

Our bank business plan sample includes a thorough financial analysis, market research, and a strategy for achieving profitability, highlighting the key factors that banks consider when evaluating loan applications.

The bank business plan sample is tailored for businesses seeking financing from a bank or other financial institution. This plan includes a detailed financial analysis, market research, and a strategy for achieving profitability. We like this sample plan because it highlights the key factors that banks consider when evaluating loan applications, and provides a strong case for the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Cannabis Business Plan Sample

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, and Wise Business Plans can help you enter it with confidence.

Our cannabis business plan sample includes a market analysis, operational strategy, and regulatory compliance a comprehensive overview of the unique challenges and opportunities in the industry and offering a clear roadmap for success.

The cannabis business plan sample is tailored for entrepreneurs seeking to enter the rapidly growing cannabis industry. This plan includes a market analysis, operational strategy, and regulatory compliance plan. We like this sample plan because it provides a comprehensive overview of the unique challenges and opportunities in the cannabis industry, and offers a clear roadmap for success.

The executive summary is a concise overview of your business plan, highlighting the key points of each section. It should capture the essence of your business, its mission, and the purpose of the business plan. This section should be written last, but it’s placed at the beginning of the business plan. Here is an example executive summary from our professional business plan written for Eplace Solution , an innovative e-commerce portal.

executive summary

  • Keep it brief and focused on key points.
  • Clearly define the problem and your solution.
  • Highlight market opportunities and growth potential.
  • Showcase your team’s qualifications.
  • Include financial projections.
  • End with a clear call to action.
  • Tailor it to your audience.
  • Review and update regularly.

the executive summary of a real estate business example

In this section, provide a detailed description of your company, including its history, legal structure, location, and vision. Explain your mission statement and core values that guide your business decisions. Use real-life examples of successful companies and how their strong company descriptions have contributed to their growth. In addition, you can reuse your company description on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business.

This section also allows you to describe how you register your business . Here you must choose whether your business is a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC , or another type of business .

Business Overview Example Screenshot

  • Describe your company’s mission and vision.
  • Explain what your business does and the problems it solves.
  • Mention your target market and customer base.
  • Highlight your unique selling points.
  • Provide a brief history and background.

A market analysis analyzes how you are positioned in the market, who your target customers are, what your product or service will offer them, and industry trends. It might be useful to do a SWOT analysis to discover your strengths and weaknesses to identify market gaps that you may be able to exploit to build your business.

As part of your market research, you’ll also need to perform a competitive analysis. It will give you an idea of who your competition is and how to differentiate your brand. Here’s an example of a competitive analysis we did for a food business.

Market Analysis

  • Research and understand your industry thoroughly.
  • Identify market trends and growth opportunities.
  • Analyze your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Define your target audience and their needs.
  • Include data and statistics to support your analysis.

market analysis summary

Adding products and services to a business plan involves more than listing your company’s offerings. If you intend to gain funding or partner with another business, your products, and services section needs to demonstrate your company’s quality, value, and benefits.

Here’s an example of a product and service section in the business plan we wrote for an e-commerce business that offers wedding accessories.

An example of Product and service section of business plan

  • Clearly describe your offerings and their features.
  • Explain how your products/services address customer needs.
  • Highlight any unique qualities or advantages.
  • Discuss your pricing strategy.
  • Mention any future product/service development plans.

Here is example of services section of a bank.

Example of Services Section

It is always a good idea to have a marketing plan before launching your business. A potential investor will want to know how you will advertise your business. Therefore, you should create a marketing plan that explains your planned promotion and customer acquisition strategies.

Discuss how you will make a sale. How will you attract customers and maximize their lifetime value? Ensure your marketing and sales forecasts align with your financial forecasts Marketing plans are usually based on the four Ps : product, price, place, and promotion. Breaking it down by marketing channels makes it easier. Discuss how you intend to market your business via blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth. Here is an example of marketing strategies we develop for a restaurant business.

Marketing plan of business plan screenshot

  • Define your marketing goals and objectives.
  • Outline your marketing strategies, including channels and tactics.
  • Explain your sales strategy and target sales goals.
  • Include a budget for marketing and sales activities.
  • Discuss your sales team and their roles.
  • Detail your customer acquisition and retention strategies.
  • Mention any partnerships or collaborations for marketing and sales.

Example of marketing and sales plan section of a bank

Example of Marketing and Sales Plan Section

The operation plan should include all the steps needed to run the business in the long run. The plan should include details about logistics, duties for each department of the company, and responsibilities for the team.

The main aspect of running a business is its costs. Whether it’s machinery or services, each requires capital.

how to write an operation plan in a business plan

  • Describe your day-to-day business operations.
  • Explain your supply chain and production processes.
  • Outline your facility and equipment requirements.
  • Discuss your quality control and efficiency measures.
  • Mention any legal and regulatory compliance considerations.
  • Detail your staffing and management structure.
  • Include contingency plans for potential disruptions.

In this section, you can describe your current team and the people you need to hire. You will need to highlight your team’s relevant experience if you intend to seek funding. Basically, this is where you demonstrate that this team can be successful in starting and growing the business.

Management summary of a business plan screenshot

  • Introduce your leadership team and their roles.
  • Highlight their relevant experience and qualifications.
  • Explain your organizational structure and hierarchy.
  • Discuss key personnel responsibilities and functions.
  • Mention any plans for team growth or development.
  • Address any advisory boards or external support.

Management summary of coffee shoppe business.

Here is Example of Management Summary

A financial plan should include sales and revenue forecasts, profit and loss statements , cash flow statements , and balance sheets .

Now, if you plan to pitch investors or submit a loan application, you’ll also need a “use of funds” report. Here you outline how you plan to leverage any funding you might acquire for your business.

With our business templates , you can create your own income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet.

Financial highlights of a business plan

  • Include detailed financial projections (income statement, cash flow, balance sheet).
  • Explain your funding requirements and sources.
  • Discuss your pricing and revenue model.
  • Describe your expense management and cost controls.
  • Mention any financial risks and mitigation strategies.
  • Highlight key financial milestones and goals.

Financial highlights of foodShack business.

Here is Example of Financial Highlights

External drivers refer to the external factors or influences that significantly impact the activity and growth of an industry. These drivers include outsourcing of non-core activities, changes in economic activity, competition from other industries, and the complexity of business legislation.

Additionally, external drivers encompass the effects of changes in new business formation, especially among small businesses, which directly affect the demand for services within the industry.

key External Driver

  • Identify and analyze current and emerging market trends in your industry.
  • Assess potential positive or negative impacts these trends may have on your business.
  • Evaluate broader economic conditions, including inflation rates, interest rates, and GDP growth.
  • Elucidate how changes in economic conditions could influence consumer behavior, product demand, and overall cost structure.
  • Outline key industry regulations and compliance requirements, discussing potential impacts on operations, costs, and market access.
  • Highlight relevant technological advancements and explain their potential effects on your product or service offerings, operations, and competitiveness.
  • Analyze current and potential future competitors, emphasizing the evolving competitive landscape’s impact on market share, pricing strategy, and overall business strategy.
  • Consider social and cultural factors influencing consumer preferences and behaviors, exploring how societal changes can affect product demand.
  • Evaluate environmental trends and regulations, discussing potential impacts on operations, supply chain, and customer perceptions.
  • Assess political stability, government policies, and geopolitical factors, exploring potential risks and opportunities from political changes.
  • Discuss global market conditions, analyzing how global economic trends, trade policies, and currency fluctuations may affect operations and expansion plans.
  • Identify and discuss potential risks in the supply chain, such as disruptions, shortages, or geopolitical issues.
  • Consider demographic shifts affecting your target market and discuss how changes may impact your customer base and marketing strategies.
  • Highlight key legal and regulatory factors affecting the business, discussing potential legal challenges, compliance costs, and regulatory changes.
  • Outline comprehensive risk management strategies, including contingency plans and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Explain how you will monitor external drivers and emphasize the importance of staying agile and responsive to changes in the external environment.

Tips Key External

The startup summary serves as a comprehensive overview of essential financial aspects, encompassing total startup expenses, the overall value of startup assets, and the total requirements, which is the cumulative sum of all expenses and startup investments.

It provides a clear financial snapshot, outlining the costs involved in launching the business, the value of assets acquired, and the overall financial needs for the startup.

This section is crucial for entrepreneurs and potential investors, offering a transparent understanding of the financial foundation required to initiate and sustain the business successfully.

This roadmap ensures a realistic evaluation of the business idea, identifying potential challenges and offering solutions.To write an effective plan, focus on what sets your venture apart from competitors, maintain conciseness, and embrace flexibility as a living document.

Answer fundamental questions about your business, create actionable checklists, execute the plan, and continually revise and update based on experiences and feedback.This iterative process fosters continuous improvement, helping entrepreneurs stay adaptable and enhance their business strategies over time.

Overview Example of Ecommerce Company

  • Clearly state the startup’s name and provide a concise description of its activities.
  • Include a succinct mission statement capturing the startup’s purpose and goals, reflecting its core values.
  • Specify the founding date and offer brief bios of key founders, highlighting relevant experience.
  • Summarize the startup’s concept, explaining offered products or services and key distinguishing features.
  • Clearly articulate the problem or need in the market that the startup addresses, defining the target audience.
  • State what makes the startup unique, whether it’s a special feature, market gap, or competitive advantage.
  • Provide a brief description of the market opportunity, covering target market size, trends, and growth prospects.
  • Outline how the startup plans to generate revenue, detailing streams, pricing strategy, and potential partnerships.
  • Offer a snapshot of the startup’s current status, highlighting key achievements such as product development or partnerships.
  • If seeking funding, clearly state the amount sought and its allocation, covering areas like product development and marketing.
  • Include a high-level financial summary with key projections for revenue, expenses, and profitability.
  • Briefly outline future aspirations and plans, encompassing areas like expansion, product development, or strategic partnerships.

The projected industry growth is a pivotal aspect that forecasts the expansion of a specific sector over a defined timeframe.

For instance, it could provide an estimate of where that particular business will be standing in the next 10 years, and what will be the average annual growth rate of that industry.

This information provides prospective investors and stakeholders with a clear understanding of the industry’s potential and positions the startup within a dynamic and flourishing market.

Projected Industry Growth

  • Emphasize the importance of industry trends and growth to your business.
  • Provide a concise overview, including market size, major players, and recent trends.
  • Briefly explain how you gathered data on industry growth projections (e.g., market research reports, expert interviews).
  • Identify and discuss prevailing trends, such as technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, and regulatory shifts.
  • Summarize the industry’s historical growth, highlighting growth rates, market expansion, and notable milestones.
  • Highlight key factors expected to drive industry growth, such as emerging markets, technological innovations, and demographic shifts.
  • Discuss specific opportunities within the industry, including gaps in the market, underserved segments, or areas of competitive advantage.
  • Acknowledge potential challenges or risks that could impact industry growth, demonstrating a realistic understanding.
  • Present projections for future growth rates based on historical data, expert opinions, and your analysis. Include short-term and long-term projections.
  • Discuss how key competitors are positioned to leverage industry growth, emphasizing your business’s differentiation strategies.
  • Consider the regulatory landscape impacting growth, discussing anticipated changes and their potential effects on the industry.
  • Explore international trends and their implications for industry growth, including factors like global economic conditions and geopolitical influences.

Here is example of market analysis section of a bank.

Tips for Writing Projected Industry Growth

The break-even analysis serves as a vital financial tool, offering a detailed estimation of key metrics such as Sales Revenue, Cost of Sales, Gross Profit, Fixed Expenses, and Income Before Tax.

These critical components are visually presented through a bar graph, providing a clear and concise overview of the financial dynamics.

Additionally, the break-even analysis delves into a 12-month forecast, outlining the projected amount of revenue generated and the corresponding fixed costs.

This section is instrumental in helping stakeholders understand the financial threshold at which the business covers its costs and begins to generate profit.

Break Even Analysics

  • Define break-even analysis as a financial calculation where total revenue equals total costs.
  • Identify constant costs regardless of production or sales levels.
  • Enumerate and explain costs changing with production or sales.
  • Present the break-even analysis formula, indicating the units needed to cover costs.
  • Perform a practical break-even calculation using business-specific fixed costs, selling price, and variable cost per unit.
  • Include a break-even chart or graph for a visual understanding of cost-revenue dynamics.
  • Conduct a proactive sensitivity analysis to explore how changes in variables impact the break-even point.
  • Specify the anticipated timeframe to reach the break-even point in terms of months or units sold.
  • Clearly outline assumptions made in the analysis and provide justifications for transparency and credibility.
  • Acknowledge potential risks or challenges that may affect the accuracy of the break-even analysis.
  • Briefly mention contingency plans for difficulties in reaching the break-even point within the projected timeframe.

The management summary within the business plan provides a concise overview of the organizational structure and key personnel.

This includes a count of individuals, specifying the number of founders and operational team members integral to the organization.

The summary delves into the roles and responsibilities of each key figure, offering insights into the leadership dynamics driving the business.

Furthermore, the management summary sheds light on the financial aspect by presenting details about personal wages and payroll allocations for both founders and operational staff.

This comprehensive section ensures a clear understanding of the human resource framework and the financial commitments associated with the management team, crucial for stakeholders evaluating the business’s operational strength and leadership capability.

Mangement Summary

  • Highlighting the critical role the management team plays in the business’s success, the introduction emphasizes their significance.
  • Listing each key member with names, positions, and brief role summaries introduces the core of the management team.
  • Providing brief biographies for each team member underscores their relevant experience, skills, achievements, and industry-specific expertise.
  • Clearly outlining roles and responsibilities emphasizes how each team member’s skills contribute to the overall success of the business.
  • Sharing the team’s vision and strategy involves discussing key strategic goals and outlining the plans to achieve them.
  • Highlighting notable achievements or milestones showcases the team members’ successful ventures, industry recognition, or career accomplishments.
  • Discussing team dynamics emphasizes collaboration and the complementary nature of their skills in driving the business forward.
  • Introducing advisory board members, if applicable, underscores the additional guidance and expertise they bring to the business.
  • Discussing how the team plans to contribute to future growth and development includes strategies for talent acquisition, leadership development, and succession planning.
  • Touching on the team’s culture and values emphasizes their role in shaping the overall ethos of the business.
  • If seeking investment, briefly mentioning how the management team plans to use funding for business growth and development provides insight into their financial strategy.

Here is example of marketing and sales plan section of a bank.

Tips for Writing Management Summary

The financial indicators section within the business plan helps in evaluating the fiscal health and performance of the organization.

Year-after-year profitability estimates take center stage, encompassing key metrics such as gross margin, net profit margin, and EBITDA to revenue.

These indicators provide a comprehensive understanding of the business’s ability to generate profit relative to its revenue.

Furthermore, the financial indicators extend to leverage ratios, including the critical Debt to Equity ratio, Debt to Assets ratio, and Interest Coverage ratio.

These metrics illuminate the organization’s capital structure, debt management, and its capacity to meet interest obligations.

Liquidity ratios includes the Current Ratio and Current Debt to Total Asset Ratio.

These ratios provide insights into the company’s short-term financial health and its ability to meet immediate obligations.

The financial indicator toolbox is enriched with additional metrics, notably the Revenue to Equity ratio, which sheds light on the efficiency of generating revenue from equity investments.

Financial Indicator

  • Detailed revenue forecasts for the next 3-5 years. Breakdown by product/service and geographical regions.
  • Detailed breakdown of anticipated expenses. Include fixed and variable costs, operational expenses, and other relevant expenditures.
  • Historical P&L statements if available. Projected future profits and losses based on revenue and expense projections.
  • Outline of expected cash inflows and outflows. Emphasis on the ability to meet short-term obligations.
  • Snapshot of the company’s financial position. Includes assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Calculation and presentation of key financial ratios (liquidity, solvency, profitability). Discussion on the significance of these ratios.
  • Identification and explanation of relevant KPIs. Highlighting alignment with the overall business strategy.
  • Discussion of potential financial risks. Mitigation strategies and addressing uncertainties.
  • Clear statement of the amount and purpose of funds required.
  • Outline of key assumptions underlying financial projections. Rationale for these assumptions.
  • Summary of industry financial trends and business positioning. Outlook on future financial prospects considering market dynamics.

Tips For Writing Financial Indicators

Looking For The Right Business Plan Format?

These sample business plans will provide you with a complete structure and format for your business plan, which will give you a head start on developing your document, so you won’t be stuck seeing an empty page and wondering what to write.

Simply going through the process of writing a business plan is one of its key benefits. If you sit down to write, you’ll naturally think about your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you’ll need to conduct. In addition to defining your position among your competitors, you will establish your goals and milestones.

You can see what should be included in a sample financial plan, but It is wrong to assume that a sample company’s financial projections will fit your own. If you need more resources to get you started, we recommend this guide on how to write a business plan .

In addition, you can download our 40+ free business plan templates covering a range of industries.

One-page business plans are short, compact, and to the point and are designed to make the plan easy to read at a glance. Make sure to include all of the sections, but truncate and summarize them

Start-up business plans are for businesses that are just getting started. They are usually developed to secure outside funding. In this regard, financials are of increased importance, as well as other sections that determine whether your business idea is viable, such as market research.

A strategic business plan lays out a company’s goals and how it will achieve them at a high level. It is a foundational document for the company as a whole. A strategic business plan allows all levels of the business to see the big picture, inspiring employees to work together to reach the company’s goals.

Developing a feasibility plan answers two primary questions about a business venture: who would purchase the service or product the company wants to sell, and if the venture is profitable.

Internal Business plans are geared to a specific audience within a company to keep your team on the same page and focused on the same goals.

In conclusion, whether you’re venturing into a traditional business or creating an innovative startup, the significance of a well-crafted business plan cannot be overstated. Different types of business plans cater to specific needs, from internal alignment to strategic expansion. Employing a template in MS Word ensures a polished presentation. The process of writing an executive summary, creating a plan, and defining the components of your business plan is essential.

Recognizing the need for a comprehensive and standard business plan can help guide your endeavors. Whether you choose to write a full business plan or opt for a one-page business overview, leveraging templates in MS Word can simplify the process. In essence, understanding the types of business plans and utilizing an executive summary template provides a structured approach to showcase your business overview.

Take inspiration from example business plans to tailor your strategy, ensuring a roadmap for success in the dynamic world of entrepreneurship. Always remember, a meticulously crafted business plan not only communicates your vision effectively but also serves as a valuable resource that can help secure investments and guide your business’s growth trajectory.

Begin with an executive summary, delve into market analysis, outline your strategies, create financial projections, and use available business plan examples as templates to guide your writing.

A comprehensive business plan template should encompass key sections such as an executive summary, business description, market analysis, marketing strategy, organizational structure, and financial projections. Seek templates online that cover these elements.

Tailor your business plan to the scale of your small business. Define your objectives clearly, outline cost-effective strategies, and emphasize agility in adapting to market changes.

Explore well-crafted business plan examples you can visit our website  wisebusinessplan.

The fundamental components include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, marketing and sales strategy, organizational structure, product/service description, and financial projections.

Investors focus on growth potential, detailed financial projections, market analysis, competition analysis, and the qualifications and experience of your management team when reviewing a business plan.

To find a business plan example for a tech startup,you can visit our visit wisebusinessplan .

A business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your entire business, including strategies, operations, and financials. In contrast, a business proposal typically focuses on a specific project or offer, outlining the details and benefits to a potential client.

Craft an engaging executive summary by summarizing your business’s mission, highlighting the market opportunity, showcasing your product or service, and providing a concise overview of your financial projections.

Seek tailored business plan examples for nonprofit organizations you can visit wisebusinessplan .

These business plans are written by MBA writers. Real-world use cases were used in these plans.

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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.

pdf 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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By  Dean Frankle ,  Alex Belyakov ,  Johannes Burkhardt ,  Joe Carrubba ,  Peter Czerepak ,  Lorraine Felix ,  Paul Hutchinson ,  Bingbing Liu ,  Maitreyee Malpekar ,  Michele Millosevich ,  Kedra Newsom Reeves ,  Edoardo Palmisani ,  Ian Pancham ,  Neil Pardasani ,  Ella Rabener ,  George Rudolph ,  Lior Valitsky ,  Andrea Walbaum , and  Ivana Zupa

The global asset management industry’s assets rose to nearly $120 trillion in 2023, reverting from a decline the year before. However, asset managers are facing a variety of challenges to their growth. Investors are gravitating to passively managed funds and other products that have lower fees even as asset managers’ costs increase. Their efforts to create new products that would differentiate them from competitors have largely fallen short, with investors sticking mostly to established products with reliable track records. Historically, the industry has been able to weather these pressures thanks to revenue growth that has been largely driven by market appreciation. In the years ahead, however, market appreciation is expected to slow, creating further challenges to the industry.

In the face of these pressures, asset managers will need to rethink the way they operate in order to maintain the growth and profitability of past years. The most viable way forward is by using an approach that we call the three Ps: productivity, personalization, and private markets. Asset managers should increase productivity, personalize customer engagement, and expand into private markets.

pdf business plan

As the artificial intelligence (AI) technological revolution gathers momentum, asset managers have an opportunity to invest in AI and integrate it into their operations in ways that can enhance a three Ps strategy. AI can boost productivity by enabling improved decision making and operational efficiencies. (See the exhibit.) It can be leveraged to create and manage personalized portfolios at scale and to tailor the customer experience. And AI can enhance the efficiency of deal teams in private markets and boost their ability to drive value creation. In adopting AI to facilitate these key moves, asset managers should view the technological possibilities as transformational tools for their organization.

As part of this year’s report, we surveyed asset managers with collectively more than $15 trillion in assets under management to gather their views on the role of AI in their business. The vast majority of survey respondents expect to see significant or transformative changes in the short term, and two-thirds either have plans to roll out at least one generative AI (GenAI) use case this year or are already scaling one or more use cases.

Waiting is not an option when it comes to investing in AI. The technology is rapidly developing, and asset managers that do not start their journey now risk being left behind.

Headshot of BCG expert Dean Frankle

Managing Director & Partner

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Project Leader

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Managing Director & Senior Partner

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Managing Director & Partner, BCG X Ventures

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Los Angeles

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Managing Director & Partner, BCG X

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Knowledge Expert, Team Manager

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ABOUT BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we work closely with clients to embrace a transformational approach aimed at benefiting all stakeholders—empowering organizations to grow, build sustainable competitive advantage, and drive positive societal impact.

Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that question the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting, technology and design, and corporate and digital ventures. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and enabling them to make the world a better place.

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