18 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: December 01, 2022

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Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and ensures your venture is sustainable for the long term.

Business plan sample: Image shows a hand writing a plan and a notepad.

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formal, then take a look at business plan samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan (which may be dozens or hundreds of pages long).

Most executive summaries include:

However, many of these topics will be covered in more detail later on in the business plan, so keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important take-aways.

If you’re planning to start or expand a small business, preparing a business plan is still very crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this small business pdf to get an idea of how to create one for your business.

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example
  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be crystal clear on why you're targeting them.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you inform this component of your business plan.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to determine funding strategies, investment opportunities, etc. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to provide insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others will be in charts.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline gives this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy into its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

“Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration,” explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your “Why?” In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

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business plan examples and recommendations

The 7 Best Business Plan Examples

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

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

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

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

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

business plan examples and recommendations

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business plan examples and recommendations

7-part template for business plan examples

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

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

7 business plan examples (section by section)

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

  • Executive summary

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

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

business plan executive summary

  • Company description

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

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

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

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

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

marketing swot example

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

  • Products and services

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

business plan examples and recommendations

  • Marketing plan

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

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

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

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

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

Financial plan

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

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

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

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

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

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

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

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

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth


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

  • Market research


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

Mix and match to make a killer business plan

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

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

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

Want to learn more?

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

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500+ Free business plan examples

500+ Free Sample Business Plans

Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 500 free real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries to guide you through writing your own plan. If you're looking for an intuitive tool that walks you through the plan writing process, we recommend LivePlan . It includes many of these same SBA-approved business plan examples and is especially useful when applying for a bank loan or outside investment.

Find your business plan

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Business plan template: There's an easier way to get your business plan done.

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Example business plan format

Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.

Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).

Products & services

The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and any traction that proves that it truly meets the need you identified.

This is your chance to explain why you're in business and that people care about what you offer. It needs to go beyond a simple product or service description and get to the heart of why your business works and benefits your customers.

Market analysis

Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.


Part of defining your opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage may be. To do this effectively you need to get to know your competitors just as well as your target customers. Every business will have competition, if you don't then you're either in a very young industry or there's a good reason no one is pursuing this specific venture.

To succeed, you want to be sure you know who your competitors are, how they operate, necessary financial benchmarks, and how you're business will be positioned. Start by identifying who your competitors are or will be during your market research. Then leverage competitive analysis tools like the competitive matrix and positioning map to solidify where your business stands in relation to the competition.

Marketing & sales

The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.

The operations section covers the day-to-day workflows for your business to deliver your product or service. What's included here fully depends on the type of business. Typically you can expect to add details on your business location, sourcing and fulfillment, use of technology, and any partnerships or agreements that are in place.

Milestones & metrics

The milestones section is where you lay out strategic milestones to reach your business goals.

A good milestone clearly lays out the parameters of the task at hand and sets expectations for its execution. You'll want to include a description of the task, a proposed due date, who is responsible, and eventually a budget that's attached. You don't need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them.

You should also discuss key metrics, which are the numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common data points worth tracking include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, profit, etc.

Company & team

Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure and history if you're already up and running.

Financial projections

Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.

Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.

The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or out-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or in any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.

By starting with a one-page plan , you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.

Growth planning

Growth planning is more than a specific type of business plan. It's 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, forecast, review, and refine based on your performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27 minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a more detailed plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of growth planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the growth planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.

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

Download a free sample business plan template

Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2023.

This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.

How to use an example business plan to help you write your own

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How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.

Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company

You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.

For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.

Use a business plan example as a guide

Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.

One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.

You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.

If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, our business planning guide is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan .

Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document

Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.

Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool

Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.

If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.

Prepare to pitch your business

If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.

Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.

With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.

Get LivePlan in your classroom

Are you an educator looking for real-world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry-best business plans and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet-free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources that work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.

With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .

Ready to get started?

Now that you know how to use an example business plan to help you write a plan for your business, it's time to find the right one.

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Business Plan Examples to Help You Write Yours

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

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

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

8 business plan examples

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

A business plan often consists of the following sections:

Executive summary

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

Financial information

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

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

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

Here are 2 examples of an executive summary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

When to conduct market analysis?

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

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

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

XYZ Company

Competitor A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

business plan examples and recommendations

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

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

Logistics and operations plan

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

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

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

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

Writing a business plan: Frequently asked questions

What elements should I include in a business plan?

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

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

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

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

Why is a business plan important?

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

Are there different types of business plans?

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

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

Find success with an effective business plan

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

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

Related Topics

Sample Business Plan

Learn the Essential Elements of a Full Business Plan

The following business plan for the fictional firm of "Acme Management Technology" (AMT) is an example of what a completed business plan might look like. This example is provided as part of the instructions and detailed descriptions included in the Components of a Business Plan.

Sample Business Plan for Acme Management Technology

1.0 executive summary.

By focusing on its strengths, its key customers , and the company's underlying core values, Acme Management Technology will increase sales to more than $10 million in three years, while also improving the gross margin on sales and cash management and working capital .

This business plan leads the way by renewing our vision and strategic focus of adding value to our target market segments—the small business and high-end home office users in our local market. It also provides a step-by-step plan for improving our sales, gross margin, and profitability.

This plan includes this summary, and chapters on the company, products & services, market focus, action plans & forecasts, management team, and financial plan.

1.1 Objectives

1.2 Mission

AMT is built on the assumption that the management of information technology for business is like legal advice, accounting, graphic arts, and other bodies of knowledge, in that it is not inherently a do-it-yourself prospect. Smart business people who aren't computer hobbyists need to find quality vendors of reliable hardware, software, service, and support and they need to use these quality vendors as they use their other professional service suppliers—as trusted allies.

AMT is such a vendor. It serves its clients as a trusted ally, providing them with the loyalty of a business partner and the economics of an outside vendor. We make sure that our clients have what they need in order to run their businesses at peak performance levels, with maximum efficiency and reliability.

Many of our information applications are mission-critical, so we assure our clients that we'll be there when they need us.

1.3 Keys to Success

2.0 Company Summary

AMT is a 10-year-old computer reseller with sales of $7 million per year, declining margins, and market pressure. It has a good reputation, excellent people, and a steady position in the local market, but has been having difficulty maintaining healthy financials.

2.1 Company Ownership

AMT is a privately-held C corporation owned in majority by its founder and president, Ralph Jones. There are six part owners, including four investors and two past employees. The largest of these (in percent of ownership) are Frank Dudley, our attorney, and Paul Karots, our public relations consultant. Neither owns more than 15%, but both are active participants in management decisions.

2.2 Company History

AMT has been caught in the vise grip of margin squeezes that have affected computer resellers worldwide. Although the chart titled "Past Financial Performance" shows that we've had healthy growth in sales, it also indicates declining gross margin and declining profits .

The more detailed numbers in Table 2.2 include other indicators of some concern: As can be seen in the chart, the gross margin percentage has been declining steadily, and nventory turnover is getting steadily worse as well.

All of these concerns are part of the general trend affecting computer resellers. The margin squeeze is happening throughout the computer industry, worldwide.

Balance Sheet: 2018

Short-Term Assets

Long-Term Assets

Debt and Equity

Other Inputs: 2017

2.4 Company Locations and Facilities

We have one location—a 7,000 square-foot brick & mortar facility located in a suburban shopping center conveniently close to the downtown area. Along with sales, it includes a training area, service department, offices, and showroom area.

3.0 Products and Services

AMT sells personal computer technology for small business including personal computer hardware, peripherals, networks, software, support, service, and training.

Ultimately, we are selling information technology . We sell reliability and confidence. We sell the assurance to small business people that their business will not suffer any information technology disasters or critical downtimes.

AMT serves its clients as a trusted ally, providing them with the loyalty of a business partner and the economics of an outside vendor. We make sure that our clients have what they need to run their businesses at peak performance levels, with maximum efficiency and reliability. Since many of our information applications are mission-critical, we give our clients the confidence that we'll be there when they need us.

3.1 Product and Service Description

In personal computers , we support three main lines:

In peripherals , accessories and other hardware, we carry a complete line of necessary items from cables to forms to mousepads to... (add relevant information)

In service and support , we offer a range of walk-in or depot service, maintenance contracts, and on-site guarantees. We haven't had much success in selling service contracts. Our networking capabilities include... (add relevant information)

In software , we sell a complete line of... (add relevant information)

In training , we offer... (add relevant information)

3.2 Competitive Comparison

The only way we can hope to differentiate effectively is to brand the vision of the company as a trusted information technology ally to our clients. We will not be able to compete in any effective way with the chains using boxes or products as appliances. We need to offer a real alliance that feels personal.

The benefits we sell include many intangibles: confidence, reliability, knowing that somebody will be there to answer questions and help at critical times.

These are complex products that require serious knowledge and experience to use, which we have, while our competitors sell only the products themselves.

Unfortunately, we cannot sell the products at a higher price simply because we offer services; the market has shown that it will not support that concept. We must also sell the service and charge for it separately.

3.3 Sales Literature

Copies of our brochure and advertisements are attached as appendices. Of course, one of our first tasks will be to change the messaging of our literature to make sure we are selling the company, rather than the product.

3.4 Sourcing

Our costs are part of the margin squeeze. As price competition increases, the squeeze between the manufacturer's price into channels and the end-users ultimate buying price continues.

Our margins are declining steadily for our hardware lines. We generally buy at... (add relevant information) Our margins are thus being squeezed from 25% from five years ago to closer to 13 to 15% at present. A similar trend shows for our main-line peripherals, with prices for printers and monitors declining steadily. We are also starting to see that same trend with software...(add relevant information)

To hold costs down as much as possible, we concentrate our purchasing with Hauser, which offers 30-day net terms and overnight shipping from the warehouse in Dayton. We need to continue to make sure our volume gives us negotiating strength.

In accessories and add-ons, we can still get decent margins of 25 to 40%.

For software, margins are: (add relevant information)

3.5 Technology

For years, we have supported both Windows and Macintosh technology for CPUs, although we've switched vendors many times for the Windows (and previously DOS) lines. We are also supporting Novell, Banyon, and Microsoft networking, Xbase database software, and Claris application products.

3.6 Future Products and Services

We must remain on top of emerging technologies because this is our bread and butter. For networking, we need to provide better knowledge of cross-platform technologies. We are also under pressure to improve our understanding of the direct-connect Internet and related communications. Finally, although we have a good command of desktop publishing, we are concerned about improving integrated fax, copier, printer, and voicemail technology into the computer system.

4.0 Market Analysis Summary

AMT focuses on local markets, small business, and home office, with a special focus on the high-end home office and the five-to-20 unit small business office.

4.1 Market Segmentation

The segmentation allows some room for estimates and nonspecific definitions. We focus on a small-medium level of small business, and it's hard to locate data to make an exact classification. Our target companies are large enough to require the kind of high-quality information technology management we offer but too small to have a separate computer management staff (such as an MIS department). We say that our target market has 10 to 50 employees, and requires five to 20 connect workstations in a local area network, however, the definition is flexible.

Defining the high-end home office is even more difficult. We generally know the characteristics of our target market, but we can't find easy classifications that fit into available demographics. The high-end home office business is a business, not a hobby. It generates enough money to merit the owner's paying real attention to the quality of information technology management, meaning that both budget and productivity concerns warrant working with our level of quality service and support. We can assume that we aren't talking about home offices used only part-time by people who work elsewhere during the day and that our target market home office needs powerful technology and sufficient links between computing, telecommunications, and video assets.

4.2 Industry Analysis

We are part of the computer reselling business, which includes several kinds of businesses:

4.2.1 Industry Participants

4.2.2 Distribution Patterns

Small business buyers are accustomed to buying from vendors who visit their offices. They expect the copy machine vendors, office products vendors, and office furniture vendors, as well as the local graphic artists, freelance writers, or whomever, to visit their office to make their sales.

There is usually a lot of leakage in ad-hoc purchasing through local chain stores and mail order. Often the administrators try to discourage this but are only partially successful.

Unfortunately, our home office target buyers don't expect to buy from us. Many of them turn immediately to the superstores (office equipment, office supplies, and electronics) and mail order to look for the best price, without realizing that there is a better option for them at only a little bit more.

4.2.3 Competition and Buying Patterns

The small business buyers understand the concept of service and support and are much more likely to pay for it when the offering is clearly stated.

There is no doubt that we face stiffer competition from box pushers than from other service providers. We need to effectively compete against the idea that businesses should buy computers as plug-in appliances that don't need ongoing service, support, and training.

Our focus group sessions indicated that our target home office buyers think about the price but would buy based on quality service if the offering were properly presented. They think about the price because that's all they ever see. We have very good indications that many would rather pay 10 to 20% more for a relationship with a long-term vendor providing back-up and quality service and support, however, they end up in the box-pusher channels because they aren't aware of the alternatives.

Availability is also very important. The home office buyers tend to want immediate, local solutions to problems.

4.2.4 Main Competitors

Chain stores:

Other local computer stores:

4.3 Market Analysis

The home offices in Tintown are an important growing market segment. Nationally, there are approximately 30 million home offices, and the number is growing at 10% per year. Our estimate in this plan for the home offices in our market service area is based on an analysis published four months ago in the local newspaper.

There are several types of home offices. For the focus of our plan, the most important are those that are real businesses offices from which people earn their primary income. These are likely to be people in professional services such as graphic artists, writers, and consultants, some accountants—and the occasional lawyer, doctor, or dentist. We will not be focusing on the market segment that includes part-time home offices with people who are employed during the day but work at home at night, people who work at home to provide themselves with a part-time income, or people who maintain home offices relating to their hobbies.

Small business within our market includes virtually any business with a retail, office, professional, or industrial location outside of the home, and fewer than 30 employees. We estimate there are 45,000 such businesses in our market area.

The 30-employee cutoff is arbitrary. We find that the larger companies turn to other vendors, but we can sell to departments of larger companies, and we shouldn't give up such leads when we get them.

Market Analysis . . . (numbers and percentages)

5.0 Strategy and Implementation Summary

We must differentiate ourselves from the box pushers. We need to establish our business offering as a clear and viable alternative to the price-only kind of buying for our target market.

Build long-term relationships with clients, not single-transaction deals with customers. Become their computer department, not just a vendor. Make them understand the value of the relationship.

We need to focus our offerings on small business as the key market segment we should own. This means the five to 20 unit system, connected by a local area network, in a company with five to 50 employees. Our values—training, installation, service, support, knowledge—are more clearly differentiated in this segment.

As a corollary, the high end of the home office market is also appropriate. We do not want to compete for buyers who go to chain stores or buy from mail-order outlets, but we definitely want to be able to sell individual systems to the smart home office buyers who want a reliable, full-service vendor.

We can't just market and sell service and support; we must deliver as well. We need to make sure we have the knowledge-intensive business and service-intensive business we claim to have.

5.1 Marketing Strategy

The marketing strategy is the core of the main strategy:

5.1.2 Pricing Strategy

We must charge appropriately for the high-end, high-quality service and support we offer. Our revenue structure has to match our cost structure, so the salaries we pay to assure good service and support must be balanced by the revenue we charge.

We cannot build the service and support revenue into the price of products. The market can't bear the higher prices, and the buyer feels ill-used when they see the same product priced lower at the chains. Despite the logic behind it, the market doesn't support this concept.

Therefore, we must make sure that we deliver and charge for service and support. Training, service, installation, networking support—all of this must be readily available and priced to sell and deliver revenue.

5.1.3 Promotion Strategy

We depend on newspaper advertising as our main outlet to reach new buyers. As we change strategies, however, we need to change the way we promote ourselves:

We'll be developing our core positioning message: "24 Hour On-Site Service—365 Days a Year With No Extra Charges" to differentiate our service from the competition. We will be using local newspaper advertising, radio, and cable TV to launch the initial campaign.

Our collaterals have to sell the store and visiting the store, not the specific book or discount pricing.

We must radically improve our direct mail efforts, reaching our established customers with training, support services, upgrades, and seminars.

It's time to work more closely with the local media . We could offer the local radio station a regular talk show on technology for small business, as one example. We could also reach out to local news outlets to let them know we have experts who are able to address issues relating to technology for small business/home offices should the need arise.

5.2 Sales Strategy

The Yearly Total Sales chart summarizes our ambitious sales forecast. We expect sales to increase from $5.3 million last year to more than $7 million next year and to more than $10 million in the last year of this plan.

5.2.1 Sales Forecast

The important elements of the sales forecast are shown in the Total Sales by Month in Year 1 table. The non-hardware sales increase to about $2 million total in the third year.

Sales Forecast … (numbers and percentages)

5.2.2 Startup Summary

Other miscellaneous expenses include:

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ESG momentum: Seven reported traits that set organizations apart

It is becoming increasingly essential for companies to understand and address the effects that externalities can have on their social license. 1 For more, see Krysta Biniek, Vivian Hunt, Robin Nuttall, Lucy Pérez, and Hamid Samandari, “ Does ESG really matter—and why? ,” McKinsey Quarterly , August 10, 2022. The latest McKinsey Global Survey on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues asked more than 1,100 respondents in more than 90 countries how their organizations are rising to this challenge. 2 The online survey was in the field from November 11 to November 26, 2021, and garnered responses from 1,141 participants representing the full range of regions, industries, company sizes, functional specialties, and tenures. Looking by industry, the largest share of respondents—17 percent—work in financial services. Nearly 30 percent of respondents work for organizations that they say have an annual revenue of $1 billion or more, and a similar share say they work for publicly held companies. To adjust for differences in response rates, the data are weighted by the contribution of each respondent’s nation to global GDP. More than nine in ten respondents say that ESG subjects are on their organization’s agenda. While environmental topics are recently the ones making headlines, just one-third of respondents rank environmental issues as their organization’s greatest ESG priority.

Survey respondents report that their organizations are not just paying lip service to ESG: many say their organizations are making meaningful ESG changes that have demonstrable benefits. More than two-thirds of respondents say their organizations have achieved broad impact from their ESG efforts in the past three years, and 43 percent report that their organizations have captured financial value from their ESG investments over that span—suggesting that the full effects of ESG are multivariable and may take time to fully capture. For example, one-third of respondents say their organizations’ work with ESG topics has a strong positive effect on their own commitment to the organization and, in turn, to overall employee retention, consistent with the notion that ESG can underpin both value and values. 3 For more, see “ Does ESG really matter—and why? ,” August 10, 2022.

What respondents say larger companies are doing differently

Other survey findings about how organizations are approaching environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts differ between respondents at large and smaller companies. Respondents who say they work for organizations with at least $1 billion in annual revenues are nearly 1.7 times more likely than those at smaller organizations to say environmental topics outrank social and governance topics on their leaders’ agendas (Exhibit 1). Those at larger companies in Europe and North America report higher prioritization of environmental and social topics than governance topics, whereas the opposite is true in other regions.

When asked which specific ESG topics have the biggest effect on respondents’ organizations, respondents at larger organizations are more than twice as likely as others to point to climate change and greenhouse gases, while respondents at smaller organizations are much more likely to cite governance structure.

The survey results suggest that organizations’ motivations for pursuing ESG efforts also can differ by size. Respondents at both large and small organizations most often cite growth as a top reason for addressing ESG topics, followed by meeting regulatory or industry expectations. Yet that focus on growth—as well as on investor relations—is more commonly reported by respondents at larger organizations (Exhibit 2).

What’s more, responses from larger companies suggest differences in the leadership and organization of their ESG efforts. While 24 percent of these respondents say their organizations have a chief sustainability officer in place who oversees ESG topics, just 10 percent at smaller organizations report that role, and they are much more likely than their large-company peers to say no one oversees ESG topics at all. At large organizations, respondents say the leader of ESG topics also oversees a variety of ESG-related functions—the corporate affairs or government relations, legal, communications, and philanthropy functions—much more often than smaller-organization respondents do.

Those at larger organizations are also nearly twice as likely as others to say their organizations have an ESG team of more than five employees, with a median of eight employees. 1 Looking at data from respondents at organizations with at least $1 billion in reported annual revenue, an ESG team of three people is in the 25th percentile for size, and a team of 15 is in the 75th percentile. They also report federated governance of ESG projects much more often than respondents from smaller organizations do, and they say their companies embed key ESG impact metrics into leaders’ incentives more often than their smaller-company peers do (Exhibit 3).

Finally, respondents from larger organizations rate their effectiveness at core ESG- and purpose-related practices more highly than others do (Exhibit 4). Furthermore, they report progress more often: they are 1.5 times more likely to say their organizations’ ESG impact has significantly improved in the past three years, compared with their smaller-company peers.

Survey respondents who report that their organizations have both created financial value and increased broader impact from ESG—the two conditions for what we call “ESG momentum” 4 These organizations leading on ESG dimensions are ones that, according to respondents, have somewhat or significantly improved their ESG performance over the past three years, significantly better ESG performance than industry peers, and seen modest or significant value from their ESG investments over the past three years. The 107 respondents who describe their organizations as ESG leaders are effectively the top decile from among the survey results. We are not able to verify the ESG performance of respondents’ organizations, because we do not ask respondents to identify their organizations. —point to seven organizational traits.

First, their organizations approach ESG from a growth perspective. The organization’s priorities, respondents report, exceed merely conforming to industry standards or regulatory requirements and aim toward unlocking new opportunities.

Second, they report that their organizations strive to connect with external stakeholders and to be accountable to them.

Third, they identify specific stakeholder priorities for which their organizations are uniquely placed to excel; respondents say, further, that their organizations strive to make these priorities a core part of their business strategy.

Fourth, respondents say their organizations empower a specific executive in the C-suite to work with the CEO in defining and achieving ESG ambitions.

Fifth, their organizations build a central ESG team—which is not the same as building a large team. Respondents also say their organizations bring together talent from across the organization to help meet ESG goals.

Sixth, their organizations make considered efforts to embed purpose into multiple aspects of their business.

Seventh, their organizations tie ESG metrics to compensation, using KPIs to gauge progress on ESG objectives.

All told, survey respondents who identify their organizations as leading in ESG see their efforts as a means of both protecting and creating value. 5 For more, see “ Playing offense to create value in the net-zero transition ,” McKinsey Quarterly , April 13, 2022.

Would you like to join McKinsey’s survey panel?

In the survey, 93 percent of respondents say at least one ESG dimension—an environmental, social, or governance topic—is on their organization’s agenda. While survey responses suggest that organizations broadly seem to recognize the importance of ESG overall, approaches and areas of focus vary by sector, industry, and region, consistent with differences in materiality.

Responses indicate that organizations in many industries are going beyond merely trying to meet regulatory requirements and view ESG as a growth opportunity . Promoting growth 1 “Promoting growth” includes answers of “develop new growth opportunities (for example, new markets or products)” and “promote our ability to grow.” is the reason that respondents most frequently cite for their organizations addressing ESG topics. This is a particularly common motivator for organizations within the energy sector, while compliance with regulations and industry norms are the most-cited motives by respondents in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, financial services, and the public and social sectors.

The ESG dimensions receiving business leaders’ focus vary by geography and company size. While environmental issues are increasingly being featured in headlines globally, responses suggest that Europe is the only region where environmental topics tend to outrank governance on leaders’ agendas. According to respondents, social topics are of outsize concern among organizations based in North America, where diversity, equity, and inclusion issues have come to the forefront in recent years. On the other hand, respondents working for organizations with headquarters in Asia–Pacific and developing markets tend to rank governance topics as their organizations’ most important ESG priorities. 1 For more about the importance of governance to companies and their stakeholders, see Michael Birshan, Madeleine Goerg, Anna Moore, and Ellora-Julie Parekh, “ Investors remind business leaders: Governance matters ,” McKinsey, October 2, 2020.

Looking by company size, respondents at organizations with annual revenues of $1 billion or more are much more likely than others to say environmental topics outrank social and governance dimensions on their leaders’ agendas (see sidebar, “What respondents say larger companies are doing differently”).

Seven traits that respondents say organizations leading on ESG dimensions have in common

Our findings reveal seven traits of organizations that, respondents report, have developed clear ESG momentum. We compare responses from survey participants who say they work for leading, top-decile organizations against those who say they work for the lowest-decile organizations, as scored by self-reported ESG progress. 6 “Respondents from reported bottom-decile organizations” are the 100 who report seeing somewhat or significantly worse ESG performance in their organizations compared with industry peers.

1. Sights set on growth. Respondents who report working for an organization leading on ESG dimensions are 1.5 times more likely than respondents from reported bottom-decile organizations to say their organizations approach ESG topics with the aim of promoting growth. Respondents from the lowest-decile organizations, on the other hand, are 2.8 times more likely to say ESG efforts are focused on conforming to industry standards or regulatory requirements.

2. Board directors and senior leaders who connect with external stakeholders. Respondents who report that their organizations have built ESG momentum are more likely than those at reported lowest-decile organizations to say their organization’s board members, CEOs, and CFOs connect with external stakeholders and feel accountable to them.

Also, the higher that respondents say external engagement is on their board’s and CEO’s agenda, the more progress they report that the organization has made with its ESG impact over the past three years. For example, respondents who say their organization’s CEO makes external engagement their top priority are three times as likely as those reporting it as a top ten priority to say their organization has seen significant improvement in its ESG impact. Moreover, the higher that respondents say ESG is on the CEO’s agenda, the more likely they are to report that their organization has captured significant value from ESG investments.

3. Prioritization of strengths that matter to stakeholders. Respondents who report their organizations as leading on ESG dimensions are much more likely than respondents at reported lowest-decile organizations to find that their organizations have identified business-model-specific ESG issues, particularly those issues that, respondents say, matter most to their external stakeholders. These organizations, respondents further report, identify and concentrate on the specific stakeholder priorities for which their organizations are uniquely placed to excel rather than diffuse ESG efforts across many avenues. 1 For more, see Donatela Bellone, Vivian Hunt, Robin Nuttall, Lucy Pérez, and Hamid Samandari, “ How to make ESG real ,” McKinsey Quarterly , August 10, 2022.

4. An ESG leader in the C-suite. Most respondents at organizations that, according to survey results, have built significant ESG momentum report their organization’s ESG teams are led by a member of the C-suite. This executive is empowered to define ESG ambitions and strategy with the CEO, ensure collaboration among the other members of the executive team, and orchestrate initiatives across the organization.

5. A central team. Survey results suggest that having a central ESG team or function can enable ESG momentum: respondents who say their organizations are furthest ahead on ESG dimensions are much more likely than those at reported lowest-decile organizations to report that their organizations have such a team, even if the team includes five or fewer people. These teams can manage ESG-strategy- and target-setting processes, coordinate delivery of initiatives and ESG reporting across the organization, and ensure that ESG considerations are embedded into employees’ day-to-day behaviors. They also coordinate across functions so that efforts are not siloed within one department.

In fact, bringing together talent from across the organization to help meet ESG goals is also a reported hallmark of leading organizations. Respondents reporting that their organizations have developed ESG momentum are more likely than those in the lowest decile to report that their employers are very effective at bringing the best talent together from across functions to work on ESG projects.

6. Purpose embedded throughout the organization. Respondents who report that their organizations are leading on ESG dimensions say their organizations are very effective at embedding purpose into various aspects of their business, such as their product or brand portfolio and their talent-management efforts. By embedding purpose into organizational culture, the survey suggests, organizations can build an appetite for change that can bolster ESG initiatives.

7. Incentives tied to ESG metrics. Respondents from organizations reported to have the most ESG momentum are nearly three times as likely as respondents from reported bottom-decile organizations to observe that their organizations tie CEOs’ and CFOs’ financial incentives to ESG metrics. Embedding key ESG impact metrics into leaders’ and employees’ incentives can demonstrate, both internally and externally, that ESG is a priority for the organization. It also helps ensure accountability for initiatives. An effective ESG incentive structure uses clear metrics, based on meaningful KPIs that gauge progress on key ESG objectives. 1 For more, see Donatela Bellone, Vivian Hunt, Robin Nuttall, Lucy Pérez, and Hamid Samandari, “ How to make ESG real ,” McKinsey Quarterly , August 10, 2022.

Not all organizations identified by respondents as ESG leaders have all seven of these components in place. But survey responses suggest how consistently these traits are celebrated by those reporting more momentum and value realization and how critical it is for organizations to go beyond mere declarations of intent. Embedding ESG in an organization manifests in well-considered, focused ESG initiatives that are core to the business model. While embedding ESG is complex, the value that ESG efforts can protect—and create—can be compelling. 7 For more, see Witold Henisz, Tim Koller, and Robin Nuttall, “ Five ways that ESG creates value ,” McKinsey Quarterly , November 14, 2019; “ Does ESG really matter? ,” August 10, 2022.

The survey content and analysis were developed by Bengi Korkmaz , a partner in McKinsey’s Istanbul office; Robin Nuttall , a partner in the London office; Lucy Pérez , a senior partner in the Boston office; and Jérémie Sneessens , a senior partner in the Brussels office.

They wish to thank Mercan Bakirezen, Leo Geddes, Pablo Illanes, and Alexandre Lichy for their contributions to this work.

This article was edited by Heather Hanselman, an editor in the Atlanta office.

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Control plan (Six Sigma) — definition and example

A woman in an office optimizes a business' organization process with Six Sigma.

Project managers and business executives are always looking to optimize organizational processes. If you’re in a leadership role, you probably already know about Six Sigma, a continuous improvement framework that’s part of the Lean methodology. You may even be familiar with the five stages of Six Sigma — Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC).

A control plan is a crucial element of that last stage and is designed to standardize processes established in the four previous stages. Understanding control plans can help you make lasting process changes that improve your organization.

In this article, you’ll learn what a control plan is, including an example, so you can continue your educational journey into Six Sigma. This post will cover:

Control plan example

What is a control plan?

A control plan is a document that provides guidance on how to monitor a process. Control plans are part of the fifth and final phase of the Six Sigma process improvement framework. They help businesses standardize newly adopted processes to increase their uptake and longevity.

Control plans should contain:

The goal of the control plan is to provide guidance so that a process can be successfully replicated over time by different individuals. Originally created for manufacturing, Six Sigma and the Lean methodology are now used in a range of industries including healthcare, education, and the service sector.

There are a variety of control plan formats, but some of the basic information would typically include the industry that the plan is for, the company’s goal, and how the sections of the plan help the company track its progress.

For example, a control plan for a manufacturing product might contain:

A graphic shows a control plan to follow and measure the Six Sigma process.

While this example is for a manufacturing product, the same structure and approach could be applied to any business process. Remember, maintaining hard-won gains is as important as making them in the first place. Project teams need to put guidelines in place to ensure processes stay efficient, for instance by creating monitoring and response plans. Process owners should then make sure process changes are maintained and kept current with best practices.

Get started with Six Sigma

Control is one of the critical steps in the Six Sigma framework because it ensures that the processes you’ve refined will be maintained into the future. Without a control plan, processes could revert back to the way they were before, resulting in a loss of essential progress.

If Six Sigma and Lean management sound like they might be right for your business, and you’re interested in learning more, check out one of the additional resources below:

Adobe can help

Adobe Workfront is enterprise work management software that can help you adopt or expand Lean Six Sigma, optimizing your workflow and bringing organization to your teams.

Take a product tour or watch the overview video to learn more about Workfront.




2023 health savings account and high-deductible health plan limits announced

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the inflation-adjusted 2023 minimum deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and qualified high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the inflation-adjusted 2023 minimum deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and contribution limits for heath savings accounts (HSAs) and qualified high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). Self-only coverage refers to plans for one individual, while family coverage refers to plans for two or more individuals. The out-of-pocket maximum includes copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts, and excludes premiums.

These IRS changes are effective on customers’ renewal dates beginning Jan. 1, 2023, or later:  

Be aware of the intersection of HSA and Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules. The 2023 ACA maximum is $9,100 for individual coverage.

Examples of compliant HSA/ACA plans:

2023 maximum out-of-pocket limits for group plans   Recent guidance modified the earlier annual out-of-pocket limits for 2023, which is now:

The annual out-of-pocket maximum for group plans does not apply to transitional relief plans or retiree plans. 

For questions, please contact your broker or UnitedHealthcare representative.

More updates for your business

New releases, updates and notifications for a broad spectrum of UnitedHealthcare products and services.

Important, required notices for products, plans, forms and more.

Need-to-know operational announcements for you and your employees.

Elon Musk says he doesn't plan to give his kids control of his companies

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Elon Musk says he doesn't plan to hand over his companies to his kids any time soon.

The billionaire said during an interview at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council that he's identified people who could take over his companies if he became indisposed. But, he said he thinks that it's wrong for executives to hand over their companies or voting shares to their children.

"I am definitely not of the school of automatically giving my kids some share of the companies, even if they have no interest or inclination or ability to manage the company," Musk said. "I think that's a mistake."

The Tesla CEO did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.

Musk has nine known children, the oldest of which is 19 years old. The billionaire is often seen touting his 3-year-old son, X AE A-XII, to events and even gave his son his own Twitter badge . Baby X's mother, Grimes, has said Musk sees him as a "protégé."

But, Musk is not close with all of his children. Last year, his oldest child applied to have her name changed , telling Reuters she no longer wished to be "related to my biological father in any way, shape or form."

The question of whether to bring children into their empire is a longtime debate amongst billionaires. Some entrepreneurs like Apple's Steve Jobs didn't plan to pass their fortune onto their kids.

Though many billionaires, of course, choose to bring their family into the fold. Some of the richest men in the world — from Bernard Arnault to Rupert Murdoch — have handed over pieces of their empire to their children and launched Succession-style battles within their families.

Musk, who owns five companies , said "succession is one of the toughest age-old problems," but said he's told board members at his companies which people he would like to succeed him in his executive roles. Musk serves as Tesla's CEO, as well as chief technology officer at Twitter. 

"There are particular individuals identified that I've told the board look, 'If something happens to me unexpectedly, this is my recommendation for taking over,'" Musk said. "So in all cases, the board is aware of who my recommendation."

The billionaire said he's much more concerned about who would take over the shares he owns in his companies — an issue Musk said he's been "wrestling with." His initial idea is to create a "sort of educational institution" that would control his voting shares.

Earlier this month, Musk dispelled rumors that he was looking for a new CEO to replace him as Tesla CEO at the company's annual meeting. Musk's comments came after The Wall Street Journal had reported Tesla's CFO Zach Kirkhorn could be Musk's successor .

Last year, Tesla board member James Murdoch — one of Rupert's sons — said during a trial for a lawsuit against Musk and Tesla that the billionaire had identified a potential new CEO for Tesla , but did not comment on who the individual could be. Earlier this year, several news outlets  speculated that the carmaker's chief in China, Tom Zhu, could be Musk's successor after he took over leadership of Tesla's US assembly plants and sales in both North America and Europe in January, according to a report from Reuters.

Musk's succession plan for his companies, particularly Tesla, has entered the spotlight since he took Twitter private in October. Musk's preoccupation with Twitter spurred concerns from several investors that worried he'd grown distracted. Most recently, several Tesla investors sent an open letter to company board members calling for the billionaire to be reined in.

Still, concerns over Musk's succession plan appear to have died down in the weeks since he selected a new CEO to run Twitter. At the time, Wedbush tech analyst Dan Ives said in a note that Musk would finally have time to focus on his "golden child" companies.

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    be perfect, long or complete. Prepare the parts of the plan that you can. Discuss your draft plan and any questions you have with a business mentor, coach, academic advisor, SBA representative or another seasoned business advisor. Use the information you receive to prepare a more finished product.

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    Other survey findings about how organizations are approaching environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts differ between respondents at large and smaller companies. Respondents who say they work for organizations with at least $1 billion in annual revenues are nearly 1.7 times more likely than those at smaller organizations to say environmental topics outrank social and governance ...

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    An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email. An curved arrow pointing right. Elon Musk says he doesn't plan to hand over his companies to his kids any time soon. The billionaire said ...