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Powerful business plan templates
Plan for the future, no matter what your business plans are or the size of your business with these designs and templates. whether it's just one big project or an entire organization's worth of dreams, these templates will keep you and your company on track from ideation to completion..
Put your ideas to work with simple templates for every business plan
Every successful business took a lot of planning to get there, and these templates will be cornerstones of your future success. Whether you're looking to attract new business, pitch your services or reimagine your company, with these simple, customizable templates at your fingertips you can turn complexity into something tangible. These templates can become marketing assets or simply remain internal touchpoints for your team. And as your dreams change, you'll always have this template to refer to – it's easy to change what exists on paper. If you're a small business, focusing on your niche can help you dominate in your field, and you can forge a plan to figure out exactly what that niche might be and how to target your ideal customer . When it's time to share your vision with stakeholders, craft a presentation that outlines your plan succinctly and with style. Let these templates from Microsoft Designer be your partner in business strategy for years to come.
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Weekly Schedule Template
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One Page Business Plan Template
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Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates
By Joe Weller | April 22, 2020
In this article, we’ve compiled the most useful fill-in-the-blank business plan templates for you to download for free in Word, PDF, and Excel formats.
Included on this page, you’ll find a simple fill-in-the-blank business plan template , a fill-in-the-blank nonprofit business plan template , and a fill-in-the-blank Lean business plan template , as well as a 5-step how-to for filling out your business plan .
Simple Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Template
This fill-in-the-blank business plan template is easy to use and will help guide you as you write your business plan. It comes with all the standard components of a business plan and allows you to customize content that’s relevant to your product or service.
Download Simple Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Template for Startups
This fill-in-the-blank business plan template is designed for the startup business that needs funding and resources to get up and running. Use this template to provide your potential investors and stakeholders with information on your product and service offerings, timeline of milestones, financial requirements, marketing efforts, market analysis, and other key details.
Download Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Template for Startups
Fill-In-the-Blank Small Business Plan Template
Use this fill-in-the-blank small business plan template to guide you through each part of your business strategy — whether you have an established business or plan to start at a future date. This business plan comes with a title page and includes ready-to-fill content in each section to keep your plan thorough and organized.
Download Fill-In-the-Blank Small Business Plan Template
Fill-In-the-Blank Nonprofit Business Plan Template
Use this fill-in-the-blank nonprofit business plan template to convey your nonprofit organization’s purpose and objectives to stakeholders. This template includes space for information about your nonprofit’s background, key personnel, program offerings, market analysis, marketing activities, fundraising methods, and much more.
Download Fill-In-the-Blank Nonprofit Business Plan Template
Fill-In-the-Blank Lean Business Plan Template
This fill-in-the-blank lean business plan template enables you to highlight the key details of your plan on a single page. The template also gives you room to add the following: the names of your management team members; a visual timeline of your milestones; your unique value proposition, target customers, marketing activities, cost structure, and revenue streams; and the details about the problem you’re solving.
Download Fill-In-the-Blank Lean Business Plan Template
Excel | Word | PDF
For additional resources related to a lean business plan, check out “One-Page Business Plan Templates.”
How Do You Fill Out a Business Plan?
How you write your business plan depends on the size and nature of your business. Below, we outline five simple steps you can take to prepare and fill out your business plan.
- Determine the Purpose of Your Business Plan: Are you creating a strategic roadmap for your business? Are you seeing if your business idea is feasible? Are you trying to attract investors? When you understand the goals of your plan, you can tailor it to your specific needs. For example, if the goal of your plan is to persuade investors to take a chance on your business, you should include sections that discuss your funding goals, how you plan to use any investment funds, what investors will receive in exchange for their investment, and what key milestones you plan to achieve with the funds. Once you determine the purpose of your plan, you will have a better idea of what information to convey and highlight in your plan.
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Market Analysis
- Organization Structure
- Service or Product Offerings
- Marketing Plan
- Sales and Operations Plan
- Financial Plan
- Financial Projections
- Conduct Research: Gather and analyze all the information you can about your business, including market and industry trends, target customers, competitors, and product or service offerings. To write a thorough and effective plan, you must have a keen understanding of your organization, your market, and the industry in which you operate. Some effective ways to conduct research include looking at your historical sales records, interviewing customers, sending surveys to your target audience, and looking at direct competitors in your industry.
- Fill In Each Section of Your Business Plan Outline: Use the research you gathered in the last step to fill out the relevant sections of your business plan outline. Only include information that is essential to the operation of your business, and keep the outline concise in order to make sure that the pertinent details don’t get lost in a sea of information. Be sure that each section of your outline focuses on and aligns with the purpose of your business plan.
- Organize and File Away All Documentation That Pertains to Your Business: File away all the information you compile about your business in an accessible location, and make sure that this information is well organized. Have a system in place to quickly locate any information that investors and stakeholders need, such as licensing agreements, patents, or other vital documentation. In addition, add some of this supporting documentation to the appendix section of your business plan and make sure you can easily locate and update it as your strategies and objectives change.
Find additional business plan templates, including a customizable business plan outline template, by visiting “Simple Business Plan Templates.” You can learn how to write a successful simple business plan here . Visit this free non-profit business plan template roundup or if you are looking for a business plan template by file type, visit our pages dedicated specifically to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates. Read our articles offering startup business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options.
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Free Small-Business Budget Templates
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A business budget template is one of the most important tools you can use to run your small business. However, many small-business owners skip this vital business management step.
The misconceptions surrounding budgeting are plenty. It seems complicated and time-consuming. But with a good business budget template, the process can be much less daunting.
An effective small-business budget template is a living document. Creating a budget and then forgetting about it is wasted effort. You must compare your actual numbers against your budgeted numbers regularly.
Therefore, your budget should be easy to access and adjust on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy budgeting software. There are several free small-business budget templates available online.
Why you need a business budget template
A business budget template is an essential tool for business owners who want to take care of their bottom line. Why should you invest in a smart template from the start?
Here's how a business budget template can set you up for success:
Track cash flow, expenses and revenue.
Prepare for regular business slowdowns.
Allocate your budget to the portions of your business that need capital most.
Plan for business investments and purchases.
Project all costs to starting and running your business.
Generally speaking, your business budget template can act as a business health scorecard if you invest in setting one up properly. Here's our list of the best budget templates available so you can do just that.
Capterra’s Free Small-Business Budget Template
The Capterra small-business budget template has been a fan favorite since it was published in 2015. In this one simple Excel workbook, you can create your monthly budget, your annual budget and then compare your actual numbers to your budgeted numbers. It also has a convenient overview sheet, which gives users access to their performance at a glance.
To help you through the process, Capterra has included a detailed Instructions tab, which walks you through how to use the template step by step. Start here to save yourself hours of time and frustration. As a bonus, there are several resources linked on the Instructions tab to help you create the perfect budget for your small business.
PDFConverter.com 15 Best Budgets
Rather than one bloated Excel workbook that tries to do everything, PDFConverter.com has compiled a library of 15 small-business budget templates.
These templates cover a wide range of budgeting needs, from a basic overview of your business income and expenses to marketing budget templates. The startup budget template is ideal for newbie entrepreneurs still in the planning stage of their businesses. And the cash flow template is perfect for identifying and plugging cash flow leaks.
Annual Business Budget in Google Sheets
Do you love all things Google? You can create a comprehensive budget for your small business right from Google Sheets. Simply navigate to your Sheets and then click on Template Gallery . Our friends at Intuit QuickBooks have created an annual business budget you can use for free.
To fully appreciate the power of the template, review the Summary tab after you have entered your budget figures. The tables and graphs on this tab offer a visual representation of your income and expenses, making it easy to see where you stand at a glance.
Microsoft Office Template
This beautiful template from Microsoft Office focuses exclusively on expenses, but it does that job exceptionally well. There are tabs for planned and actual expenses, a tab for automatically calculated variances between the two and an expense analysis tab complete with pie charts.
Your accounting software
While not a free template per se, you likely have a powerful budgeting tool available right inside your business accounting software . Though not as flexible as a separate template, there are many advantages to using the budgeting feature of your accounting software.
The budgeting feature in your accounting software will coincide with your chart of accounts. Depending on the software you use, you can create a budget to actual comparison reports with the click of a button, making analysis a cinch.
Some software programs even let you set multiple budget scenarios and have “cloning” features, which simplify the budgeting process after the first year.
Designing your budget
Now that you’ve chosen your business budget template, it’s time to start designing your budget. This is where many small-business owners procrastinate because people typically see budgeting as restrictive or punishing.
It's time to shift your perspective on budgeting. Most people start with income and tinker with their expense amounts until they arrive at a balanced or surplus budget. This method usually leads to unrealistic projections and ends in frustration.
Instead of a top-down approach, consider “reverse engineering” your budget by following these four simple steps:
Form your income projections and write those down outside of your budget template. Put this paper or spreadsheet away until after you have completed the next step.
Enter your expenses into your budget template. Be very honest in your entries and include everything. Going through several months’ or even a year’s worth of accounting data or bank and credit card statements will ensure you capture all your spending. This is not the step where you want to try to eliminate expenses. Record everything, only excluding expenses you have already eliminated from your monthly or annual spending.
Enter your income from the projections you formed in step 1.
Review your budget. If your budget shows a projected loss, analyze your expenses and identify areas where you can reduce spending.
This approach makes sure you avoid the temptation of forcing your budget to balance. While you do want your budget to balance — or better, to show a cash surplus — having unrealistic income or expense numbers will lead to frustration and resistance during the budgeting process.
Monthly or quarterly, compare your actual income and expense numbers to your budgeted numbers. Regular tracking helps identify financial pitfalls before they become unmanageable.
Frequently asked questions
How do i make a budget template.
You can create a small-business budget template from scratch by using free software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. However, it’s often more efficient to download a template (see our list above). A template with built-in tables and formulas makes plugging in your revenue and expenses and calculating your profit or loss quick and straightforward.
What is included in a small-business budget?
Your small-business budget will include your revenue, expenses and your profit or loss. Each section will be broken into subcategories. For example, under revenue, you might have sales and income from sponsorships. Expenses might be broken down into rent, employee salaries and marketing. After you tally your revenue and expenses, you can then calculate your profit and loss statement.
How much should a small-business budget be?
A budget will vary by your business and industry. For example, you can potentially start a social media consulting business for less than $5,000. But a food truck business may necessitate a budget of at least $50,000. You must tailor your small-business budget to your unique needs.
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Simple Business Plan Template for Entrepreneurs
Follow This Business Plan Outline to Write Your Own
Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.
Pros and Cons of Using a Business Plan Template
Do i need a simple or detailed business plan, how to use this business plan template, table of contents, section 1: executive summary, section 2: business/industry overview.
- Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition
Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan
Section 5: ownership and management plan, section 6: operating plan, section 7: financial plan.
- Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits
Ariel Skelley / Getty Images
Think you have a great idea for a business? The best way to find out whether your idea is feasible is to create a business plan .
A solid, well-researched business plan provides a practical overview of your vision. It can be used to ground your ideas into workable actions and to help pitch your idea to financial institutions or potential investors when looking for funding.
The standard business plan consists of a single document divided into several sections for distinct elements, such as a description of the organization, market research, competitive analysis, sales strategies, capital and labor requirements, and financial data. Your plan may include more or fewer sections to best represent your business.
The template presented here will get you well on your way toward your simple business plan.
Generic, not customized
No financial guidance
Additional skills needed
- Ready-made layouts : Templates offer general guidance about what information is needed and how to organize it, so you’re not stuck looking at a blank page when getting started. Especially detailed templates may offer instructions or helpful text prompts along the way.
- Variations : If you know what type of business plan you need—traditional, lean, industry-specific—chances are you can find a specialized template.
- Free downloads : There are many free business plan templates available online, which can be useful for comparing formats and features, or refining your own.
- Generic, not customized : Templates typically contain just the basics, and there will still be a lot of work involved to tailor the template to your business. For instance, you'll have to reformat, refine copy, and populate tables.
- No financial guidance : You’ll need enough industry knowledge to apply financial models to your specific business, and the math skills to generate formulas and calculate figures.
- Additional skills needed : Some degree of tech savvy is required to integrate charts and graphs, merge data from spreadsheets, and keep it all up-to-date.
A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long. However, for a small business, it's best to keep the plan short and concise, especially if you're submitting it to bankers or investors . Around 35 to 50 pages should be sufficient, and more allowed for extras, such as photos of products, equipment, logos, or business premises or site plans. Your audience will likely prefer solid research and analysis over long, wordy descriptions.
An entrepreneur who creates a business plan is nearly twice as likely to secure financing and grow their business compared with those who do not have a plan.
The business plan template below is divided into sections as described in the table of contents. Each section can be copied into a document of your own; you may need to add or delete sections or make adjustments to fit your specific needs.
Once complete, be sure to format it attractively and get it professionally printed and bound. You want your business plan to convey the best possible impression. Make it engaging, something people will to want to pick up and peruse.
Enter your business information, including the legal name and address. If you already have a business logo, you can add it at the top or bottom of the title page.
- Business Plan for "Business Name"
- Business address
- Website URL
If you're addressing it to a company or individual, include:
- Presented to "Name"
- At "Company"
- Executive Summary................................................Page #
- Business/Industry Overview.................................Page #
- Market Analysis and Competition.........................Page #
- Sales and Marketing Plan.......................................Page #
- Ownership and Management Plan.......................Page #
- Operating Plan..........................................................Page #
- Financial Plan............................................................Page #
- Appendices and Exhibits........................................Page #
The executive summary introduces the plan, but it is written last. It provides a concise and optimistic overview of your business and should capture the reader's attention and create a desire to learn more. The executive summary should be no more than two pages long, with highlights or brief summaries of other sections of the plan.
- Describe your mission —what is the need for your new business? Sell your vision.
- Introduce your company briefly, sticking to vital details such as size, location, management, and ownership.
- Describe your main product(s) and/or service(s).
- Identify the customer base you plan to target and how your business will serve those customers.
- Summarize the competition and how you will get market share. What is your competitive advantage?
- Outline your financial projections for the first few years of operation.
- State your startup financing requirements.
This section provides an overview of the industry and explains in detail what makes your business stand out.
- Describe the overall nature of the industry, including sales and other statistics. Note trends and demographics, as well as economic, cultural, and governmental influences.
- Explain your business and how it fits into the industry.
- Mention the existing competition, which you'll expand upon in the following section.
- Identify what area(s) of the market you will target and what unique, improved, or lower-cost products and/or services you will offer.
Many business plans cover their products/services in a standalone section to add more detail or emphasize unique aspects.
Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition
This section focuses on the competitive factor of your business and justifies it with financial models and statistics. You need to demonstrate that you have thoroughly analyzed the target market, assessed the competition, and concluded that there is enough demand for your products/services to make your business viable.
- Define the target market(s) for your products/services in your geographic locale.
- Explain the need for your products/services.
- Estimate the overall size of the market and the units of your products/services that the target market might buy. Include forecasts of potential repeat-purchase volume and how the market might be affected by economic or demographic changes.
- Estimate the volume and value of your sales in comparison with any existing competitors. Highlight any key strengths over the competition in easily digestible charts and tables.
- Describe any helpful barriers to entry that may protect your business from competition, such as access to capital, technology, regulations, employee skill sets, or location.
You may opt to split the target market description and competitive analysis into two separate sections, if either (or both) portray your business especially favorably.
Here's where you dive into profits, giving detailed strategic view of how you intend to entice customers to buy your products and/or services, including advertising or promotion, pricing, sales, distribution, and post-sales support.
Product or Service Offerings
If your products and/or services don't take up a standalone section earlier in the plan, here is where you can answer the question: What is your unique selling proposition? Describe your products and/or services, how they benefit the customer and what sets them apart from competitor offerings.
How will you price your products/services? Pricing must be low enough to attract customers, yet high enough to cover costs and generate a profit. You can base pricing decisions on a number of financial models, such as markup from cost or value to the buyer, or in comparison with similar products and/or services in the marketplace.
Sales and Distribution
For products, describe how you plan to distribute to the customer. Will you be selling wholesale or retail? What type of packaging will be required? How will products be shipped? If you offer a service, how will it be delivered to the customer? What methods will be used for payment?
Advertising and Promotion
List the various forms of media you will use to get your message to customers (e.g., website, email, social media, or newspapers). Will you use sales promotional methods such as free samples and product demonstrations? What about product launches and trade shows? Don't forget more everyday marketing materials such as business cards, flyers, or brochures. Include an approximate budget.
This section describes the legal structure, ownership, and (if applicable) management and staffing requirements of your business.
- Ownership structure : Describe the legal structure of your company (e.g., corporation, partnership, LLC, or sole proprietorship ). List ownership percentages, if applicable. If the business is a sole proprietorship, this is the only section required.
- Management team : Describe managers and their roles, key employee positions, and how each will be compensated. Include brief résumés.
- External resources and services : List any external professional resources required, such as accountants, lawyers, or consultants.
- Human resources : List the type and number of employees or contractors you will need, and estimate the salary and benefit costs of each.
- Advisory board : Include an advisory board as a supplemental management resource, if applicable.
The operating plan outlines the physical requirements of your business, such as office, warehouse, or retail space; equipment; supplies; or labor. This section will vary greatly by industry; a large manufacturer, for instance, should provide full details about supply chain or specialty equipment, while a therapist's office can get by with a much shorter list.
If your business is a small operation (like a one-person, home-based consulting firm), you might choose to eliminate the operating plan section altogether and include the operating essentials in the business overview.
- Development : Explain what you have done to date to identify possible locations, sources of equipment, supply chains, and other relevant relationships. Describe your production workflow.
- Production : For manufacturing, explain how long it takes to produce a unit and when you'll be ready to start production. Include factors that may affect the time frame of production and how you'll deal with potential problems, such as rush orders.
- Facilities : Describe the physical location of the business. Include geographical or building requirements; square footage estimates (with room for expansion if expected); mortgage or leasing costs; and estimates of maintenance, utilities, and related overhead costs . Include zoning approvals and other permissions that are necessary in order to operate.
- Staffing : Outline expected staffing needs and the main duties of staff members, especially the key employees. Describe how the employees will be sourced and the employment relationship (i.e., contract, full-time, part-time) as well as any training needs and how these will be provided.
- Equipment : Include a list of any specialized equipment needed, along with cost, whether it will be leased or purchased, and sources.
- Supplies : If your business is, for example, manufacturing, retail, or food services, include a description of the materials needed, reliable sources, major suppliers, and how you will manage inventory.
The financial plan is the most important section for lenders or investors. The goal is to demonstrate that your business will grow and be profitable. To do this, you will need to create realistic predictions or forecasts.
To avoid inflated expectations, a prudent financial plan underestimates revenues and overestimates expenses.
- Income statements : The income statement displays projected revenues, expenses, and profit. Do this on a monthly basis for at least the first year for a startup business.
- Cash-flow projections : The cash-flow projection shows your monthly anticipated cash revenues and disbursements for expenses. To be considered a good credit risk, it is important to demonstrate that you can manage your cash flow.
- Balance sheet : The balance sheet is a snapshot summary of the assets, liabilities, and equity of your business at a particular point in time. For a startup, this would be on the day the business opens.
- Breakeven analysis : Including a breakeven analysis will demonstrate to lenders or investors what level of sales you need to achieve to make a profit.
Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits
The appendices and exhibits section contains any detailed information needed to support other sections of the plan.
Possible Appendix or Exhibit items include:
- Credit histories for the business owners
- Detailed market research and analysis of competitors
- Résumés of the owners and key employees
- Diagrams and/or research about your products and/or services
- Site, building, or office plans
- Copies of mortgage documents or equipment leases (or quotes)
- Marketing brochures and other materials
- References from business colleagues
- Links to your business website
- Any other material that may impress potential lenders or investors
SCORE. " Business Plan Template for a Startup Business ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write your business plan ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
U.S. Small Business Administration. " SBA Recommended Business Plans and Length ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
Bplans. " Why Plan Your Business? Look at This Data ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
Marketing MO. " Pricing Strategy ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
Incorporate.com. " Write a Business Plan, a Step-by-Step Guide ." Accessed April 29, 2021.
Startup Nation. " The Five Costs You're Most Likely to Underestimate in Your Business Plan ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
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Business plan template for small businesses, startups, & entrepreneurs
Business planning can feel complicated. it doesn't have to be. start putting pen to paper today with your free business plan template download..
Our free template includes:
- Detailed instructions
More than just a template, you'll learn how to write a winning business plan.
- SBA-lender approved format
Your plan is formatted the way lenders and investors expect.
- Fill-in-the-blanks simplicity
You don't need to be an expert. This template makes business planning easy.
- Expert tips & tricks
Get expert guidance sent straight to your inbox!
All 100% free. We're here to help you succeed in business, no strings attached.
Start your business plan today
Whether you're writing a business plan to validate your business idea, secure funding, or grow your existing business – our template will help you achieve your goals.
Business plan template FAQ
What is a business plan template?
A business plan template is a document designed to help streamline your ability to write a business plan. It handles the structure and organization so that you can focus on filling in the blanks and defining the key aspects of your business.
Why choose this business plan template?
There are a few key features that make this business template more functional and effective than your average template.
- Written by planning experts: This business plan template wasn't just thrown together. It was crafted by seasoned planning experts with a combined 40 years of experience writing and reviewing business plans. Throughout this template, you find their expert tips and tricks, along with detailed instructions.
- Free course access: When you download your business plan template, you'll get access to a week-long email course covering critical business planning mistakes to avoid.
- Works with other Bplans resources: Need additional guidance to write your business plan? Our free business planning guide is built to support this template—giving you even more detailed walkthroughs for each section.
- Designed for funding: Even if you're not going right to the bank, using this template will prepare you to pursue funding and impress potential investors whenever you're ready. This template ensures your plan is in SBA format.
What is included in this business plan template?
This template includes definitions, guidance, and examples for every business plan component needed to start, fund, and grow your business. After downloading the full template, you'll receive instructions for how to fill out each of the following sections.
Executive summary: The brief summary of your business plan that introduces everyone to your business, the problem you solve, and what you're asking from your readers. It's the first chapter of your business plan and the last thing you write once you have the details from your full plan.
Problem & solution: More than a simple description of your products and services - here you define the problem you're solving and the value you provide. It's also your chance to showcase any initial traction that shows you're on the right track.
Market analysis and target market: A detailed assessment of the market you intend to enter, including the size and value of the market, potential customer segments, and their buying patterns.
Competition: Show that you know who your competitors are, what advantages you have, and how you're positioning your business to be competitive.
Marketing & sales: Describe how you'll reach and sell to potential customers with a detailed sales plan and chosen marketing channels.
Operations: What makes your business run? Outline the day-to-day workflows, and what still needs to be set up for your business to deliver a product or service.
Milestones & metrics: Set goals for your business that include the dates and people responsible to accomplish them. This is what you'll use to manage responsibilities, track growth, and execute your larger strategy.
Company overview and team: Provide a brief rundown of the legal and structural components of your company including your history, current team, and gaps you need to fill.
Financial plan: Create well-structured and accurate financial statements to help you pitch to investors, land funding, and achieve long-term success. All without the help of a financial advisor or a degree in accounting.
Appendix: While not required, this last section of your business plan is a great place to drop in additional documents that support and strengthen the rest of your plan.
What file formats are available for this business plan template?
You can download and use this business plan template as a Google Doc, .docx (Microsoft Word), or PDF.
Can you print out this template?
This is a printable business plan template that can be downloaded and printed no matter which format you choose.
Why should you start with a business plan template?
Starting with a good business plan template (like this one) includes everything you need to get started. It helps you organize your thoughts, and provides guidance, instructions, and examples to create an investor-ready and SBA-approved business plan format. It really speeds up the planning process. Oh, and it's 100% free!
Why do you need a business plan?
Writing a business plan will help you develop a strategy for success, reduce the risk of starting a business, explore new business ideas, attract investors, and get funding. Learn more about how you can get value out of your business plan .
Is writing a business plan easy?
Using a business plan template can make writing a business plan easier. Additionally, if you focus on just getting your information down quickly, with the expectation that you'll revisit and revise your plan, you can speed up and simplify the process .
What are the 5 elements of a business plan?
While there are more than five sections of a business plan, you can group the key elements of a plan into the executive summary, business opportunity, execution, company overview, and financial plan. Thinking of the plan in this way can help you break up the writing process and make tackling each strategic component a separate and focused task.
Can someone write your business plan for you?
If you're still struggling to write your business plan even when using a template, you can look into hiring a professional business plan writer. We even have a free resource to help you ask just the right questions to make sure you find the right plan writer.
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Simple Business Plan Template for Startups, Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs
Our simple business plan template.
A business plan template is a document that allows you to quickly write a detailed business plan. Among other things, it includes all key business plan sections: an executive summary, company description, industry and market analyses, competitive overview, marketing and operations plans, management team and five year financial projections. Get started writing your business plan today by using our simple business plan template.
Growthink’s business plan template is the result of 20+ years of research into the business plans that help entrepreneurs and small business owners attract potential investors, raise investment capital, and build successful companies.
Using our traditional business plan format, you will be able to write a proper business plan for your new or growing business. It will also help you lay out your business goals and your strategies for reaching them.
Importantly, our simple business plan template allows you to create a winning business plan much faster than starting from scratch. Use our template now to complete your plan for your startup or established business and achieve the success you desire.
Next Section: Executive Summary >
BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE OUTLINE
- Business Plan Template Home
1. Executive Summary
- 2. Company Overview
- 3. Industry Analysis
- 4. Customer Analysis
- 5. Competitive Analysis
- 6. Marketing Plan
- 7. Operations Plan
- 8. Management Team
- 9. Financial Plan
- 10. Appendix
- Business Plan Summary
Start Your Business Plan Here
Writing a Business Plan and Business Plan Template FAQs
How can i access growthink’s ultimate business plan template.
Download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and complete a solid business plan and your financial statements in hours.
How Do You Write a Business Plan in Microsoft Word?
Our startup business plan template includes an outline of each of the 10 key sections to help you write a plan to start a new business, grow your existing business, and/or help you secure funding such as a business loan from the Small Business Administration, local bank, grants, angel investors, venture capitalists, or from other financial institutions.
Unlike our premium version, our free templates do not include all the key sub-sections, the questions that walk you through step-by-step, the professional cover page designs, nor the financial projections template that allows you to create a professional financial plan in minutes.
Click here to learn more about the World’s #1 Best-Selling Business Plan Template .
Where can i download a free business plan template pdf.
You can access our business plan pdf download here. This is a pdf version of our basic business plan template .
Our free business plan template pdf includes everything you need to include in your plan- executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management plan, financial plan and appendix- and the key questions that each must answer. This free business plan template pdf will definitely get you started in the right direction.
We do offer a premium version of our business plan template. Click here to learn more about it. The premium version includes numerous features not available in the free template . Its most touted feature is its financial projections template which allows you to simply enter your estimated sales and growth rates, and it automatically calculates your complete five-year financial projections including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements . Here’s the link to our Ultimate Business Plan Template.
How Do I Write a Simple Business Plan?
Steps to write a simple business plan template, company overview.
- What type of company are you operating (e.g., a software company, a bakery, etc.)?
- Are you offering a product or a service?
- What is the legal structure of your company (e.g., sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, etc.)?
- What is your mission statement and value proposition?
- What is the company’s history?
- What is your business model and business idea?
- Is there a market pain that your business solves?
- What is it about your company that makes it (or will make it) uniquely qualified to succeed?
- What milestones has your company achieved to demonstrate success?
2. Industry Analysis
- In what market are you competing (e.g., the fast-food market, the running shoe market)?
- How big is the industry and is that size big enough?
- Are there positive or negative trends affecting the market (e.g., is it growing/shrinking, is government regulation on the horizon that could change the market analysis)?
3. Customer Analysis
- Who are your target customers?
- What are their primary needs when choosing a product/service provider such as your company?
4. Competitive Analysis
- With whom will your company compete and how will your company better serve customer needs than your competitors?
- How else will you “beat” your competition? What are your key points of differentiation and your value proposition?
- How does your product or service compare to those offered by the competition?
5. Marketing Plan
- What is your product or service offering?
- What marketing and sales strategies will you use to attract customers? and what promotional methods will you employ (e.g., radio advertising, pay-per-click ads) ?
- How will you price your product or service?
- What discounts or promotions will you offer?
6. Management Team
Key members of the team.
- Who is on your management team?
- What experiences, relationships, etc. do they possess that will help your venture succeed? Have they ever run other businesses?
- Are there key employees that you must hire in the future to improve your company’s odds of success?
- Do you have any business partners that take part in developing the business strategy?
7. Financial Plan
- What is the main financial information about your company (revenue and expense projections) ?
- How much outside funding (if any) do you need? What are your specific needs? (equipment, supplies,e etc.)
- What are your revenue streams? How much revenue can you really generate each year over the next five years?
- Are the profit margins high enough to sustain the company?
- What are your loss projections?
Completing this simple business plan template will provide a road map to completing your business plan and force you to answer key questions about your company which will help in determining its feasibility and likelihood for success.
For example, in choosing the ideal promotions strategy to attract new clients, you will be able to estimate the cost of acquiring new customers. This will allow you to compare that cost to your estimated customer lifetime value and ensure healthy profit margins are possible (or not).
Likewise , a competitive analysis might alert you to stiffer competition than you imagined and prompt you to opt for a new business idea or creatively come up with ways to outmaneuver competitors.
On a similar note, in completing this lean business plan , you might realize the market size isn’t big enough to support the large, thriving enterprise you’d like to create. Or perhaps market trends are moving away from the problems your company’s products and services solve.
Yet another example of the importance of this exercise is that it forces you to really think about your target customers. The better and more narrowly you can define your target customers, the more cost-effectively you’ll be able to attract them and the more successful you can be in developing a value proposition that appeals to them.
In any case, a simple business plan template allows you to better understand your venture and what it will take to make it successful.
Two additional types of simple business plan templates:
- One-page business plan- A one-page business plan is a compressed version of a traditional business plan that fits neatly into a single page. It usually includes only high level information about your business. Looking for a one-page business plan? Learn more and download our free one-page business plan template.
- Lean Business plan- A lean startup is supported by a one-page business plan that does not require extensive financial information, market research and/or business development plans. The lean startup needs to focus on factors that present immediate opportunities in order to gain a competitive advantage. Looking for a lean business plan? Learn more about the lean business planning process .
What are Some Examples of Business Plans?
It can be helpful to review sample business plans before starting your own business planning process. You can download our sample business plan pdf here to help you get started.
While this is a very common business plan template faq, remember, the most important part of your plan is to explain why your company is uniquely qualified to succeed, so resist the urge to copy a business plan sample completely. Also, importantly, a business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
We also have over 300 business plan examples and free business plan templates available for you to develop a professional business plan.
How Do I Write a Startup Business Plan?
A startup business plan is nearly identical to writing a business plan for an established business. The main difference between a startup business plan and business plans for an existing company is that established businesses should focus more on discussing past accomplishments and rely on historical data in their financial forecasts. In a startup business plan, the company needs to spend more time validating future forecasts since there’s no hard data on which to base them and proving that you will be a successful business owner.
A startup business plan template provides a road map to long-term success and business growth. It should include the same 10 key components of all business plans – executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management plan, financial plan and appendix.
Learn the step-by-step writing process for how to write a comprehensive business plan and get a startup business plan template.
Can Anyone Write a Business Plan?
While anyone can write a business plan following a traditional business plan template, it’s important to remember that the most important part of your plan is to explain why your company is uniquely qualified to succeed and have strong financial data to support your business idea. This is why it’s important to do your market research to have a clear understanding of your industry, market analysis, target customer, and competitive landscape.
If you have a complex business or need help writing a professional plan, it can be helpful to use business plan software , hire an expert business plan consulting firm, or a business plan writer. So, while you may want to write your business plan, the experience of a consultant can help you develop a more thorough and achievable business plan for you to attract investors, secure funding and/or grow your business. They will also be able to provide helpful tips to help navigate the business planning process.
Learn more about Growthink’s expert business plan consultants and how we help develop winning business plans.
How Can I Get a Printable Business Plan Template?
A business plan is a very important document for any business. It helps you to outline your goals and business objectives, as well as how you plan to achieve them. If you’re looking for a printable business plan template, there are a few different options available to you.
One option is to download a free business plan template . Be aware that free business plan templates are often generic for any type of business, so while it will help you write your business plan, you may need to do some additional editing before using them.
Another option is to purchase a template from a business planning company. These types of business plan templates are of higher quality and include a range of features that can help you to create professional-looking business plans and financial model including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for high-quality, printable business plan templates that are easy to edit, then a purchasing a business plan template is the best option. If you’re on a tight budget or you don’t need a lot of features, then a free, simple business plan template may be a better choice. Whichever option you choose, make sure to take the time to customize the template to fit your specific business.
Is a Business Plan Required For Funding?
Yes, a written business plan is nearly always required when seeking financing. You need a business plan whether you are a small business, a startup, an existing business looking to grow or a seasoned business owner. Business plans fall into three common categories: business plans for funding, those used for strategy, and business plans for both fundraising and strategy.
Regardless of their business model, many business owners use their business plans to raise bank loans to grow. The funding request allows them to acquire additional business resources and improve their financial health. New business owners often seek bank loans as well as funding from angel investors and/or friends and family.
Importantly, regardless of the source of funding you desire, a good business plan will stand out to a potential investor by showing compelling reasons why you will achieve financial success. A successful business plan must clearly highlight the business opportunity and want investors to buy in. Investors will recognize a well researched business plan. A winning business plan will help you achieve long-term success, business growth and secure funding.
What are the 10 Key Elements of a Business Plan?
10 key elements of a winning business plan.
Most business plans have the following 10 key components:
Industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.
A professional business plan will also include a table of contents and a nicely designed cover page. Business plans should also be customized with your specific information and designed to fit with your business concept.
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October 31, 2023
How to Write a Business Plan Step-By-Step
October 31, 2023 • Block Advisors
- A business plan outlines your business’s goals, services, financing, and more.
- Business plans vary in length and complexity but should always include an explanation of what your business will do and how it will do it.
- Business plans serve as a guide for business owners and employees and are key to boosting investor confidence.
Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur or just getting your first small business idea off the ground, creating a business plan is an important step. Good business planning will help you clarify your goals and objectives, identify strategies, and note any potential issues or roadblocks you might face.
Not every business owner chooses to write a business plan, but many find it to be a valuable step to take when starting a business. Creating a business plan can seem daunting and confusing at first. But taking the time to plan and research can be very beneficial, especially for first-time small business owners.
If you want to learn how to create a business plan or if you feel you just need a little business plan help, read on!
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan serves as a comprehensive document that outlines your business’s goals, services, financing, leadership, and more details essential to its success. Think of the plan as the who, what, and why of your new business:
Who are the major players in your business?
What goods or services do you offer and why are they important?
Why are you in business and why should customers choose you?
Business plans can range in complexity and length, but, at their core, all plans explain what the business will do and how it will do it. A business plan serves as a guide for business owners and employees and should boost investor confidence. Some important advantages of business plans include:
- Shows investors you have an in-demand product or service, a solid team to achieve business goals, and the potential for growth and scalability.
- Increases the likelihood of securing a business loan, locking in investments, or raising capital. >>Read: A Guide to Raising Capital as a Small Business Founder
- Helps recognize partnership opportunities with other companies.
- Identifies and defines competitors within your given industry.
Looking for an examples of a successful business plan? Check out the SBA’s business plan page for walkthroughs of different business plan outlines.
How to Write a Business Plan: 10 Simple Steps
Starting with a blank page is undoubtedly intimidating. So, begin with a structured business plan template including the key elements for each section. Once your outline is complete, it’ll be time to fill in the details. Don’t worry, you’ll know how to write a business plan in no time. We’ve broken each section down to help you write a business plan in a few simple steps.
1. Brainstorm and Draft an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan
This will be the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your business’ written elevator pitch. In this high level summary, include a mission statement, a short description of the products or services you will be providing, and a summary of your financial and growth projections.
This section will be the first part people read, but you may find it easier to write it last. Writing it after building out the rest of your plan may help you condense the most important information into a concise statement. You’ll need to streamline your thoughts from the other sections into a one page or less summary.
2. Create a Business Description
In this next section, describe your business. Add more specific details than the executive summary. You should include your business’s registered name, the address of your business’s location, basic information about your business structure , and the names of key people involved in the business.
The company description should also answer these two questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you plan to do?
Explain why you’re in business. Show how you are different from competitors. Tell investors why they should finance your company. This section is often more inspirational and emotional. Make sure you grab the reader’s attention. The goal is to get them to believe in your vision as much as you do.
What business structure is right for my company?
Answer these six questions to help you find your fit
3. Outline Your Business Goals
This section should serve as an objective statement. Explain what you want to accomplish and your timeline. Business goals and objectives give you a clear focus. They drive your business to success, so dream big. Include objectives that will help you reach each goal. Don’t forget to make your goals and objectives SMART – that is, they should be:
S pecific | M easurable | A ttainable | R elevant | T ime-bound
4. Conduct and Summarize Market Research
Next, outline your ideal customer with some research. Do the math to estimate the potential size of your target market. Make sure you are choosing the right market for your product, one with plenty of customers who want and need your product. Define your customer’s pain points. Explain your expertise in relation to the market. Show how your product or service fills an important gap and brings value to your customers. Use your findings to build out a value proposition statement.
5. Conduct a Competitive Analysis
In a similar way, you’ll also want to conduct and include a competitive analysis. The purpose of this analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in your market, strategies that will give you a competitive advantage, and how your company is different. Some people choose to conduct a competitive analysis using the SWOT method .
6. Outline Your Marketing and Sales Strategies
Your marketing sales strategy can make or break your business. Your marketing plan should outline your current sales decisions as well as future marketing strategies. In this section, you should reiterate your value proposition, target markets, and customer segments. Then, include details such as:
- A launch plan
- Growth tactics and strategies
- A customer retention plan
- Advertising and promotion channels (i.e. social media, print, search engines, etc.)
7. Describe Your Product or Service
By this point, your products or services have probably been mentioned in several areas of the business plan. But it’s still important to include a separate section that outlines their key details. Describe what you’re offering and how it fits in the current market. Also include details about the benefits, production process, and life cycle of your products. If you have any trademarks or patents, include them here. This is also a good time to ask yourself, “Should my plan include visual aids?”
[ Read More Must-Have Tips to Start Your Small Business ]
8. Compile Financial Plans
Financial health is crucial to the success of any business. If you’re just starting your business, you likely won’t have financial data yet. However, you still need to prepare a budget and financial plan. If you have them, include income statements , balance sheets , and cash flow statements . You can also include reporting metrics such as net income and your ratio of liquidity to debt repayment ability.
If you haven’t launched your business yet, include realistic projections of the same information. Set clear financial goals and include projected milestones. Share information about the budget. What are the business operations costs? Ensure you are comprehensive when considering what costs you may need to prepare for.
9. Build a Management and Operations Plan
Identify your team members. Highlight their expertise and qualifications. Outline roles that still need to be filled now to establish your company and later as the business grows. Read More: 8 tax steps to take when hiring employees >>
Include a section detailing your logistics and operations plan. Consider all parts of your operation. Create a plan that provides details on suppliers, production, equipment, shipment and fulfillment, and inventory. This shows how your business will get done.
10. Create an Appendix – A Place for Additional Information and Documents
Lastly, assemble an organized appendix. This section can contain any other relevant information a reader might need to enhance their understanding of other sections. If you feel like the appendix is getting long, consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section. Appendices often include documents such as:
- Licenses and permits
- Bank statements
- Resumes of key employees
- Equipment leases
How to Create a Business Plan: The Bottom Line
A business plan helps you identify clear goals and provides your business direction. Many small business plans are 10-20 pages in length. But as long as the essentials are covered, feel empowered to build a plan that works for you and your company’s needs. Creating a business plan will help you identify your market and target customers, define business aims, and foster long-term financial health.
We’re ready to help you get your business started on the right foot today, and help you find long-term satisfaction as you pursue your business dream. Writing a business plan can be exciting. But if the steps to starting your business are feeling overwhelming, Block Advisors is here to help. Make an appointment today – our experts can assist you with tax prep , bookkeeping , payroll , business formation , and more .
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Small Business Plan Template | Business Plan in One Day
Let’s first see how a small business plan template makes the business plan writing easy for you.
Gather Basic Business Data
- Fill in the Small Business Sales Plan Template
- Proofread and Revise
- Get Second Opinion
Gives You A Big Picture View Of The Business
- Makes You Accountable
- Helps You Set Priorities
- Helps with Getting Funding
Small Business Marketing Plan Template
Often small business owners don’t make a business plan. One possible reason may be the scale of the business and business owners being the actual know-it-all. However, a small business plan is still helpful as it explains the business idea and works as a yardstick for measuring business growth.
Another reason for not writing a business plan is the perceived difficulty of the task, which is not true.
You can write a business plan easily in an afternoon. All you need is a good understanding of your business idea, basic knowledge of the market, and basic financial projections.
Using a small business plan template makes the job even easier. All you have to do is to replace data in each section of the business plan and your business plan is ready. The best thing is that the business plan template comes with easy-to-understand instructions.
Download Small Business Plan Template
Write a small business plan in an hour. Use our small business business plan template and write a top-notch business plan today.
How to write a business plan the easy way?
A business plan template for small business gets half the business plan writing done for you. However, you will still need to put some effort into the task.
Small business plan templates are structured for easy understanding as the small business owners are pressed for time. Use these simple steps to create a killer business plan with the help of a business plan template.
You will need this data for the company information section. This information includes business name, address, partner information, and key people information.
Fill in the Small Business Sales Plan Template
Every part of the business plan has a simple explanation that helps you think straight and put the right data in the right place. There are examples included in the business plan template where it may be difficult. Some sections have questions where you can answer those questions and complete a business plan section.
Proofread and Revise
Proofread your business plan at least once. You may need to partially revise it as some business plan parts may not explain your business idea as well as you’d like.
Why do you need a flawless business plan? An imperfect business plan is still a good business plan but when you present your business before a potential partner, investor, or a bank, they will likely prefer an error-free business plan. Proofread for any grammatical and factual errors.
Get Second Opinion
FInd someone with business experience from your friends and family, or a trusted advisor and get their opinion. This first-hand tests your explanation of your business idea and checks if it is convincing. The review may help you fill the gaps in your business plan.
Not all small business plans templates are created equal!
Use a small business plans template that is made with small businesses like yours in mind.
Benefits of a Business Plan
A business plan is more than a documentation of your ambitions and goals for your business growth; it is your road map and your yardstick for measuring your business growth.
There are the top advantages of creating a business plan.
A business plan gathers almost everything about your business in one document. It gives you a worldview of your business that can help you manage resources strategically. When you rely on your memory, you are sure to miss details about your business. A written plan saves you from missing the fine details that can affect business growth.
Makes You Accountable
A business plan is a roadmap for your business. It is the standard to compare your business progress with which creates a system of accountability for your business.
Helps You Set Priorities
Success is a lot about setting the right priorities. Your business plan helps you set the priorities before you start your business. It also helps you reset business priorities and adjust your sail to changing market conditions.
Helps with Getting Funding
A business plan explains your business idea, how much money you will need to make it happen, and how you will spend money to make your business a financial success. A detailed, convincing business plan helps you get funding from potential investors, banks, and friends or family.
A small business plan template already includes a marketing plan section. However, if you’d like to get a free marketing plan template for small business, here it is.
We have developed a marketing plan template for small businesses.
Download Free M arketing Plan Template For Small Business
Thinking about Opening a Restaurant
Start your restaurant business with our business plan template for small restaurants.
Business Continuity Plan For Small Businesses
A business continuity plan is the process of creating a system of preventing threats and losses and creating a plan for recovery to normal operations.
A business continuity plan aims to minimize the losses from a disaster and helps a business return to normal operations as soon as possible.
Business continuity plans should be tested time and again to see if they will be actually useful when the time comes.
A small business continuity plan template helps you create a continuity plan easily. You can create a business continuity plan step-by-step by using a business continuity plan for small business template.
FEMA Small Business continuity plan is a good place to start with making business continuity and contingency plan. It helps you prepare for natural disasters and prepares you for bouncing back quickly.
Start with Small Business Plan Examples
Make business plan writing easy for you. Understand how a ready business looks by checking these small business plan examples.
A small business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a small business. It serves as a roadmap for the business, providing a comprehensive overview of the company’s mission, target market, products or services, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational plans.
A small business plan is important for several reasons. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their business goals and objectives, identify potential challenges and opportunities, attract investors or secure funding, guide decision-making and resource allocation, and create a roadmap for the future growth and success of the business.
Creating a small business plan in one day requires focused effort and a structured approach. Using a small business plan template can streamline the process. Start by gathering information about your business idea, target market, competition, and financial projections. Then, use the template to outline key sections such as executive summary, company description, market analysis, marketing and sales strategies, organizational structure, and financial projections. Adapt the template to fit your specific business and goals.
A comprehensive small business plan should include sections such as executive summary, company description, market analysis, products or services, marketing and sales strategies, organizational structure, operational plans, financial projections, and appendices (if needed). Each section provides important information about different aspects of the business and contributes to a well-rounded business plan.
Yes, a small business plan can and should be modified or updated as the business evolves. It is a living document that should reflect the changing needs, goals, and circumstances of the business. Regularly review and revise your small business plan to align with new market trends, adjust financial projections, incorporate feedback, or accommodate changes in your business strategy.
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Simple Business Plan Template – 20+ Free Word, Excel, PDF Format Download
Designing a well-detailed Commercial Business Plan may seem to appear very involving. Whether for a small-scale businesses or large-scale business, there is a time wasting tendency and complexity of involving details. Having a Simple Business Plan , may lessen the complexity to be encountered. Entrepreneurs usually dread the whole process engaged in drafting down a Sales Business Plan Template .
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