Free Small Business Plan Templates and Examples

By Kate Eby | April 27, 2022

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We’ve compiled the most useful collection of free small business plan templates for entrepreneurs, project managers, development teams, investors, and other stakeholders, as well as a list of useful tips for filling out a small business template.

Included on this page, you’ll find a simple small business template and a one-page small business plan template . You can also download a fill-in-the-blank small business plan template , and a sample small business plan template to get started.

Small Business Plan Template

Small Business Plan Template

Download Small Business Plan Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs  

Use this small business plan template to identify trends and demographics in the company overview. Highlight how your product or service uniquely benefits consumers in the offerings section, and note your proposed timeline, milestones, and the key performance metrics (KPIs) you will use to measure your success. This template has all the components of a standard business plan, from the executive summary through financing details.

Small Business Plan Sample Template

Small Business Plan Sample Template

Download Small Business Plan Sample Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs  

Use this small business plan sample template to draft the subsections and headings of the contents of your plan. This template provides editable sample text that shows you how to organize and create a ready-to-be-implemented business plan. This sample template helps remove the guesswork of what to include in a small business plan.

Simple Small Business Plan Template

Simple Small Business Plan Template

Download Simple Small Business Plan Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Use this streamlined, customizable, simple small business plan template to chart revenue, expenses, and net profit or loss forecasts with sample graphics. Order your small business plan with numbered subsections and list them in a table of contents. Supplement the plan with additional information in the appendix for a complete business plan that you can present to investors.

Small Business Plan Chart Template

Small Business Plan Chart Template Powerpoint

Download Small Business Plan Chart Template Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Slides

Use this small business plan chart template to plan and track month-by-month and annual business planning. The flexible color-coded bar chart simplifies tracking and allows you to customize the plan to meet your needs. Add tasks, track owner status, and adjust the timeline to chart your progress with this dynamic, visually rich small business planning tool.

Small Business Plan Outline Template

Small Business Plan Outline Template

Download Small Business Plan Outline Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs

Use this small business plan outline template to jumpstart a plan for your small business. This template includes the nine essential elements of a traditional business plan, plus a title page, a table of contents, and an appendix to ensure that your document is complete, comprehensive, and in order. Easily simplify or expand the outline to meet your company’s needs.

Printable Small Business Plan Template

Printable Small Business Plan Template

Download Printable Small Business Plan Template  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs

This print-friendly small business plan template is ideal for presentations to investors and stakeholders. The customizable template includes all the standard, critical business plan elements, and serves as a guide for writing a complete and comprehensive plan. Easily edit and add content to this printable template, so you can focus on executing the small business plan.

Small Business Startup Plan Template

Small Business Startup Plan Template

Download Small Business Startup Plan Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs  

Use this small business startup plan template to draft your mission statement and list your keys to business success, in order to persuade investors and inform stakeholders. Customize your startup plan with fillable tables for sales revenue, gross profit margin, and cost of sales projections to secure your business's pricing structure.

Fill-in-the-Blank Small Business Plan Template

Fill-in-the-Blank Small Business Plan Template

Download Fill-in-the-Blank Small Business Plan Template  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

This small business plan template simplifies the process to help you create a comprehensive, organized business plan. Simply enter original content for the executive summary, company overview, and other sections to customize the plan. This fill-in-the-blank small business plan template helps you to maintain organization and removes the guesswork in order to ensure success.

One Page Small Business Plan Template

One Page Small Business Plan Template

Download One Page Small Business Plan Template  Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

This one page small business plan template is ideal for quick, simple presentations. Use this template to summarize your business overview, market analysis, marketing, and sales plan, key objectives and success metrics, and milestones timeline. Complete the fillable sections to educate investors and inform stakeholders.

One Page Small Business Plan Example

One Page Small Business Plan Example

Download One Page Business Plan Example Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

This one page small business plan example prompts you to list your vision, mission, product or service, team member names, roles, and relevant experience to promote your small business. Use the market analysis, marketing, sales plan sections to detail how you aim to sell your product or service. This small business plan features fillable tables for key objectives and success metrics. Plus, you’ll find space for your financial cost structure and revenue sources to show how your business will remain profitable.

What Is a Small Business Plan Template?

A small business plan template is a roadmap for defining your business objectives and detailing the operational, financial, and marketing resources required for success. Use a small business plan template to strategize growth, forecast financial needs, and promote investment. 

A small business plan template organizes and outlines the content needed to achieve goals for growth and profit, including marketing and sales tactics. As opposed to starting from scratch, using a template makes it easy to organize the information and customize the plan to meet your needs. 

A small business plan template includes standard business plan sections, as well as the following sections: 

  • Executive Summary: Summarize the key points in your small business plan in two pages or less to hold your reader's attention and promote buy-in. Write this section last to capitalize on your understanding of the small business plan.
  • Company Overview: Describe the nature of your small business, the industry landscape and trends, demographics, and economic and governmental influences. List your location, product or service, and goals to show what makes your small business unique.
  • Problem and Solution: Identify and explain the problem your product or service will solve and its costs. Propose and describe your solution and its benefits. Conclude this section with a summary of the problem and solution.
  • Target Market: Identify your small business's target market by researching your product and service to determine the most likely demographic. Explain your target market's motivations for buying your product or service.
  • Competition: Note the other competitor product or service offerings, pricing, and company revenues to understand how to outperform your competitors. Detail your small business's competitive advantages, based on research.
  • Product or Service Offerings: Describe your product or service, how it benefits your target market, and what makes it unique. Highlight how your product or service will outsell competitors.
  • Marketing: Detail your marketing plan with objectives and strategy, including goals, costs, and an action plan. A successful marketing plan reduces costs and boosts your product or service sales.
  • Timeline and Metrics: Break down your small business plan into smaller activities. Describe these activities (and the performance metrics you intend to use to track them) and list a completion date for each.
  • Financial Forecasts: Explain how your organization uses past performance and market research to inform your business's economic forecasts. Estimate growth and profits based on your informed assumptions.
  • Financing: List your funding sources and how you intend to use the funds to keep your company on track as it grows. Smart financing at the planning stage prepares your organization for unexpected challenges and helps to mitigate risk.

A small business plan template enables you to complete your business plan quickly and comprehensively, so you can achieve your goals and turn your product or service idea into a profitable reality.

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Financial Plan Sample For Small Business: Everything You Need to Know

A financial plan sample for small business is good to use when establishing your own financial plan for your new business. 3 min read

A financial plan sample for small business is good to use when establishing your own financial plan for your new business. The business plan is important and highly beneficial, as it can help you identify your short-term and long-term goals, along with what you are hoping to achieve as a small business owner during the lifetime of the business.

Such business plans will include the type of products you are offering, any services being offered, where you plan on operating, how you plan to have such products made, and more. Included in the financial plan will be a marketing strategy and how you expect to find new clients. It will also include how you plan on raising capital, whether you want to try to find outside investors or obtain lending from financial institutions. Even if you don’t need financial assistance in order to get your company up and running, it is still a good idea to draft a financial plan so you can get a better idea of how you expect to expand your business over the next few years .

Components of the Plan

The components of any business plan must be clear and concise. Most financial plans include 3 specific financial statements as follows :

  • Income statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet

You should utilize all three statements to come up with an analysis as to how your business is currently doing, what you expect to achieve in the coming year, and other long-term goals and visions for your company. Most business owners draft a 3-year and 5-year projection to ensure that proper projections are made to not only keep your company financially afloat, but also to expand and grow both financially and in size if so desired.

For example, in addition to increasing your profits, you might want to hire 10 new employees for your small business. If this is the case, then you will need to incorporate the additional costs and expenses associated with bringing on new employees. This doesn’t just include hourly or yearly salaries, but also workers compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, withholding taxes, and more.

Cash on Hand vs. Loans

When you look at your cash flow, you want to find out exactly how much cash you have on hand. In order to do this, you should conduct a current asset ratio as well as a quick asset ratio. The current asset ratio can be calculated by simply dividing your liabilities by your assets. This will give you a better idea of your overall financial performance. Such assets will include both short-term and long-term assets. Those short-term assets include accounts receivable that you expect to receive within the next year. Long-term assets, however, are those accounts receivable that you don’t expect to receive until some point in the future, but not within the next year. An example of a long-term asset could be an ongoing construction contract in which the contract calls for full payment upon completion, which isn’t expected to be complete for another two years.

While the current asset ratio is helpful, it might be even more helpful to conduct a calculation on the quick asset ratio. This is calculated by taking your equity and short-term assets divided by your liabilities. It properly identifies the amount of cash you have on hand. Most financial institutions look at such immediate cash numbers in determining whether or not your business is justified in receiving the loan.

With that said, banks generally offer various types of loans. Therefore, if you need financial assistance getting your company off the ground, you will want to think about what you actually need financial assistance for. Do you need a loan for creating a new business area? Or are you a brand new business owner wanting to formally establish your small business? Some startup expenses might include the following:

  • Registration fees
  • Business licensing/permits
  • Initial Lease payment on a rental property
  • Down payments on property being purchased
  • Equipment purchasing
  • Utility fees

However, you might also need financial assistance with some ongoing operating expenses, such as:

  • Salary payments to your employees
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Storage fees

If you need help learning more about a financial plan for your small business, you can post your legal need  on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.

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Content Approved by UpCounsel

  • Details of a Business Plan
  • Business Plan for Existing Company
  • Sample of a Good Business Plan
  • LLC Business Plan Template
  • Nature of a Business Plan
  • Business Plan Balance Sheet
  • Service Business Plan
  • Financial Overview Business Plan
  • Purpose of Business Plan Sample: Everything You Need To Know
  • Business Plan Contents Page
  • Educational Resources
  • Business Solutions Articles

Financial Management

Financial Statements for Small Businesses: Tips & Samples

lisa schwarz

Regardless of your business’ size or the industry in which it operates, there are several financial statements you need to complete and update on a regular basis.

These financial statements will comprise a main part of your business plan, and that business plan will play an integral role in securing the investments or loans needed to grow your company. Financial statements will also help you understand how money flows into and out of your business, which leads to smarter decisions around which investments to make, which loans to pursue and more.

What Is a Financial Statement?

Financial statements provide a formal record of an organization’s financial activity, its current financial status and an idea of how well it may (or, may not) perform in the future. Financial statements can help to show business activity and financial performance. They are required for audits and are often used for tax, financing or investing purposes.

Financial statements are broken down into three main items: a current balance sheet, a profit and loss (P&L) statement , and a cash flow statement. Together, they provide an understanding of profits and a basis on which to make predictions about the company’s financial future. Here’s a look at each and the purpose it serves:

  • The balance sheet shows assets and liabilities.
  • The P&L statement, or income statement, records company revenues and expenses for a particular period.
  • The cash flow statement demonstrates how much cash a company has on hand and its ability to manage its cash, as well its ability to meet current liabilities, pay operating expenses and fund any potential investments.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial statements are an important part of running a profitable, financially-sound business.
  • Financial statements comprise three individual items, all of which help both internal and external stakeholders make good decisions regarding the company.
  • A financial plan is equally as important, and helps business owners chart their courses for the future based on their current and historical financial positions, resources and contingency plans.

Why Is a Financial Statement Important?

Financial statements include all of a small business’s operational results, its current financial position and its current cash flow. Financial statements are important because:

  • They create a documented “paper trail” for a company’s financial activities.
  • They summarize important financial accounting information about the company.
  • They give both internal and external stakeholders an accurate picture of the organization’s current financial situation.

Financial statements are also used by lenders to determine an entity’s level of risk. These statements also include information that may be required by law and/or accounting standards. They also provide accountants with the data they need to be able to complete a company’s tax returns and other required documentation.

Individually, the three main financial statements for small businesses each serve a different purpose. The income statement, for example, shows whether a company is generating a profit, while the balance sheet reveals the current status of the business as of the date listed on that document (vs. for the year or quarter overall, as with the income statement). Finally, a company’s cash receipts and cash disbursements can be found on its cash flow statement.

Video: Understanding Financial Statements

What should be included in a financial statement.

Business owners and their accountants use income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements to analyze a company’s financial performance.

The income statement includes all of a company’s revenues, cost of goods (or cost of sales for services companies) sold and other expenses across a specified time period (e.g., a quarter or a year). Listed vertically, the entries on this statement typically appear in this order: revenue, expenses, and net income

The balance sheet includes all of a company’s assets, liabilities and shareholder equity. In most instances, these numbers are represented in two different columns.

Finally, the cash flow statement summarizes all of a company’s operating, financing and investment inflows and outflows, including but not limited to changes in the value of inventory, accounts receivable and payable and long-term debt.

How Do I Write a Financial Plan for my Business?

You can create a financial plan whether you’re just launching your business, preparing to expand it in some way or readying to pursue a new source of funding. Using the financial statements outlined in this article, you’ll create a financial plan that not only covers the organization’s progress and current status but also factors in future growth. This is an exercise you can do for yourself, potential investors including venture capitalists , or any other business stakeholder.

At minimum, the plan should include a sales forecast for the next three to four years, a budget for business expenses and overhead, a cash flow statement and a projection of anticipated net profits over time. The plan should also factor in the company’s assets and liabilities, an estimate of cash on-hand (and expected cash on-hand over the next few months) and current accounts payable .

Combined, these key data points will help you chart a course for the future by 1) assessing the company’s current financial status and 2) predicting a path forward based on historical performance. The plan will help you manage cash flow, prepare for potential cash shortages (e.g., due to industry or economic downturns) and set attainable goals for the next three to five years.

By putting a plan together and then reviewing and updating it annually, companies can readily pursue new opportunities, ride out the low points and achieve their short- and long-term goals.

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5 Steps to Writing a Financial Plan for my Business

Here are the five steps you’ll want to take when writing a financial plan for your company:

Lay out your goals. Do you want to expand? Do you want to add new customer segments? Do you need more equipment? Do you need financing? The answers to these questions will help you kick off the financial plan writing process.

Create monthly financial projections. Small businesses don’t typically have the kind of reserves or business footprint to plan too far ahead. They need monthly projections. Calculate your anticipated income based on monthly projections for sales and expenses for items like labor, supplies and overhead, and then add in the costs for the goals you identified in the previous step.

Prepare a cash flow statement, income statement and balance sheet. Use these financial statements to create an accurate, current picture of your company’s financial health.

Calculate your business ratios. Used to rate the overall financial health of a small firm and decide whether its current operating model is viable, financial ratios are a key factor in assessing a company's basic financial health. In most cases, you will use either the current ratio or quick ratio.

Current ratio = Current assets / Current liabilities

Quick ratio = (Cash + Cash equivalents + Current Accounts Receivable) / Current liabilities

From these calculations, you can determine whether your company has the funds available to cover its short-term obligations.

Include contingency plans. You’ll want to have enough emergency sources of money before your business faces challenges that warrant using them. Maintain a cash reserve of three to six months, for example, or ensure that there’s money available on your line of credit. Like anything in life, the key is to not wait until it’s too late to secure these fund sources and ensure that they are there when you need them.

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Financing | Templates

How To Write an SBA Business Plan [+Free Template]

Published June 13, 2023

Published Jun 13, 2023

Tricia Jones

REVIEWED BY: Tricia Jones

Andrew Wan

WRITTEN BY: Andrew Wan

This article is part of a larger series on Business Financing .

  • 1. Write the Company Description
  • 2. Identify Organization & Management
  • 3. Specify the Market Analysis
  • 4. Write Descriptions of the Products or Services
  • 5. Indicate the Marketing & Sales Strategy
  • 6. List Financial Data & Projections
  • 7. Write the Financing Request
  • 8. Fill In the Appendix & Supplemental Information
  • 9. Complete the Executive Summary
  • Additional Resources

Bottom Line

If you’re applying for a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), there’s a good chance that you’ll need a business plan to get approved. An SBA business plan provides a summary of the various aspects of your business, and we will guide you through the process of creating it, from writing your company description and marketing and sales strategies to completing financial data and projections and your executive summary.

Although there is no standard format, and to help you ensure nothing is overlooked, you can use our SBA business plan template to ensure you cover the most important areas of your company. A well-prepared business plan can improve your chances of getting an SBA loan.

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sample of financial plan for small business

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Step 1: write the company description.

This section should contain information about the purpose of your business. It should include a description of the problem or challenge your product or service aims to solve and what types of individuals or organizations will benefit.

A strong company description should also address the following questions:

  • Why does your company exist?
  • What problems does your business aim to address?
  • What prompted you to start your business?
  • What organizations or individuals will benefit from your company’s product or service?
  • What makes your company different from others?
  • What competitive advantages does your business offer?
  • What would a successful product launch look like?
  • Does your company have strategic partnerships with other vendors?

Step 2: Identify Organization & Management

Details about the legal and tax structure of your business should be included in this section. It can also be helpful to include an organizational chart of your company. You can include information about each team member’s background and experience and how it is relevant to your company:

  • Highlight what business structure you have selected and why. Examples commonly include a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, S corporation (S-corp), and C corporation (C-corp)
  • Include an organizational chart showing which team members are responsible for the various aspects of your company
  • You can include resumes for members of your leadership team highlighting their experience and background

Step 3: Specify the Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your SBA business plan should look at who your competitors will be. Look at what they are doing well, what their weaknesses are, and how your company compares.

The SBA’s market analysis page contains information on how you can approach this. Questions you should also consider addressing should include:

  • Who are the major competitors in the market?
  • What are competitors doing well and are there areas for improvement?
  • How does your company compare to the top competitors?
  • How has the product or service evolved over time?
  • Are there any trends for supply and demand throughout the year?
  • What can your company do to stand apart from the top competitors?

Step 4: Write Descriptions of the Products or Services

In this section, you should detail the product or service offered by your business. You should explain what it does, how it helps your customers, and its expected lifecycle. You can also include things like any expected research and development costs, intellectual property concerns such as patents, what the lifecycle of your product looks like, and what is needed to manufacture or assemble it.

Here are some things to consider as you are working on this section:

  • Description of what your product or service does
  • How your product or service works
  • How your customers will benefit from your product or service
  • Illustration of the typical lifecycle
  • Any patents or intellectual property you or your competitors have
  • Pricing structure
  • Plans for research and development
  • Discuss plans for handling intellectual property, copyright, and patent filings

Step 5: Indicate the Marketing & Sales Strategy

Details of your marketing and sales strategy will be highly dependent on your business. It’s also something that may evolve and change over time in response to things like the overall economic environment, release of competitor’s products or services, and changes in pricing.

With that being said, here is a list of some items that should be addressed:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • How will you attract customers?
  • How and where will sales be made?
  • If applicable, what will the sales process look like?
  • Where will you market and advertise your product or service?
  • How does your marketing strategy compare to other companies in the industry?
  • How much should you spend on marketing?
  • What is the expected return on investment for marketing?
  • Do you have any data showing the effect of marketing?

Step 6: List Financial Data & Projections

If your business has been running, you should include information about its finances. This should include all streams of revenue and expenses. Data for financial projections should also be included, along with a description of the methodology you used to reach those conclusions.

If available, you should be prepared to provide the following financial documents for at least the last three years to five years:

  • Personal and business tax returns
  • Balance sheets
  • Profit and loss (P&L) statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Hard and soft collateral owned by your business
  • Business bank statements for the last six to 12 months

Financial projections should include enough data to offer some confidence that your business is viable and will succeed. It’s recommended that you provide monthly projections looking forward at least three years, with annual projections for years four and five.

  • Projections for revenue and methodology used in arriving at these figures
  • Expected shifts in revenue or expenses as a result of seasonality or other factors affecting supply and demand
  • Expected expenses from loan payments, rent, lease payments, marketing and advertising fees, employee salaries, benefits, legal fees, warranty expenses, and more

You can use our SBA loan calculator to help you estimate monthly payments for the funding you’re currently looking for and projections for any additional loans you may need. Monthly payments can fluctuate depending on the terms of your loan. If you’re looking for accurate estimates, you can read our article on SBA loan rates .

Step 7: Write the Financing Request

This section is where you should specify how much funding you need, why you need it, what you’ll use it for, and the impact you expect it will have on your business. It’s also a good idea to indicate when you expect to use the funds over the course of the next three to five years.

Here is a checklist of some important items you should cover:

  • How much funding you need and why
  • When you will use the funds over the next three to five years
  • What you will use the funds for
  • The expected impact this will have on your business and how it will help reach your business goals
  • The anticipation of any recurring needs for additional funding
  • Your strategy for how you expect to pay off the loan
  • Any future financial plans for your business

Step 8: Fill In the Appendix & Supplemental Information

This last section of your SBA business plan should include any additional information that may be helpful for lenders. This can include more detailed explanations or clarifications of data from other sections of your business plan.

Here are some examples of documents you can include:

  • Business licenses
  • Certifications or permits
  • Letters of reference
  • Photos of products
  • Resumes of business owners
  • Contractual agreements and other legal documents

Step 9: Complete the Executive Summary

The executive summary, which is the first section in a business plan, should be no more than one to two pages and provide a high-level overview of the items listed below. Since each section above is already detailed, a brief description of those sections will be sufficient:

  • Your company’s mission statement
  • The background and experience of your leadership team
  • The product or service and what purpose it serves
  • Your target market for the product or service
  • Competitive analysis of other products and services
  • Your competitive advantage or why your company will succeed
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Financial projections and funding needs

Depending on the type of SBA loan you’re applying for, certain areas of your business plan may be weighed more heavily than others. You can learn about the SBA loan options you can choose from in our guide on the different types of SBA loans .

Additional Resources for Writing an SBA Business Plan

If you’re looking for additional resources to help you write a business plan, you can consider the options below. Since a business plan is just one of many documents you’ll need, you can also read our guide on how to get an SBA loan if you need help with other areas of the loan process:

  • SBA: SBA’s business guide contains information on how you can start a small business. It includes steps on creating a business plan, funding your company, and launching a business.
  • SCORE: Through SCORE, you can request to be paired with a mentor and get business-related education. Educational courses come in several formats, including webinars, live events, and online courses.
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): SBDCs provide training and counseling to small business owners. This can help with various aspects of your company such as getting access to working capital, business planning, financial management, and more. You can use the SBA’s tool to find your closest SBDC .

Having a strong SBA business plan can improve your chances of getting approved for an SBA loan. If you’re unsure where to start, you can use our guide and template to cover the most important aspects of your business. You can also see our tips on how to get a small business loan . To get even more ideas on creating a strong business plan, you can also utilize resources through organizations such as SCORE and the SBA itself.

About the Author

Andrew Wan

Find Andrew On LinkedIn

Andrew Wan is a staff writer at Fit Small Business, specializing in Small Business Finance. Before joining the team, he spent over 10 years as a mortgage underwriter, recently becoming a Direct Endorsement underwriter for FHA loans. Andrew earned an M.B.A. from the University of California at Irvine, a Master of Studies in Law from the University of Southern California, and holds a California real estate broker license.

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How to Create A Financial Budget for a Small Business

The Cash Budget, Capital Budget, and Budgeted Balance Sheet

  • Purpose of Financial Budget

Capital Expenditures Budget

Cash budget, budgeted balance sheet.

The financial budget is one part of a business's master budget. The second part of the firm’s master budget is the operating budget. The master budget is the financial portion of the business's strategic plan for the near future. The strategic plan for the business maps out the firm's planned financial activities for the next five years.

Purpose of the Financial Budget

The purpose of the financial budget is to estimate the firm’s cash budget , capital expenditures , and balance sheet line items like assets, liabilities, and owner’s investment. The financial budget is the last budget to be developed by the firm every year since all other budgets, like the individual budgets in the operating budget, are necessary first.   The financial budget helps the firm by allowing it to calculate net profit when the budget process is complete.

The capital expenditures budget is the first budget of these three budgets to be prepared within the framework of the financial budget.   The information from this budget is needed for both the cash budget and the budgeted balance sheet.

Capital expenditures  are fixed asset expenditures. Fixed assets are equipment or facilities needed for a business to operate. These expenditures also include maintenance for these items. While there are businesses that purchase larger amounts of fixed assets, most smaller businesses do not.

Small businesses tend to be more conservative in their capital expenditures since these types of purchases can be very costly. Many do not own the facilities they operate in, reducing capital expenditures.

While an expenditures plan for maintenance of the equipment is likely, a smaller business may lease, rather than own, their equipment. Consider depreciation and standard lifetimes of your equipment when designing your capital budget if you own your plant and equipment.

Here is an example of a simple capital expenditures budget for a small business:

The cash budget is a short-term, internal-only financial document usually prepared on a monthly basis. It is a tool that helps the business manage its net working capital .

Business firms, especially small ones, cannot operate without cash. Cash is king in the small business firm. The cash budget is a very important tool that a business firm should rely on. 

The cash budget shows the firm how much cash is either available to the firm at the end of each month or how much the firm will have to borrow.   The cash budget accomplishes this by comparing the cash receipts the firm takes in each month against the cash purchases it makes.

Firms will usually develop a forecasted monthly cash budget for a one-year time period.   If the cash budget shows an increase in net working capital, the firm may use that increase to reduce operating costs; by repaying borrowed money, for example. If the cash budget shows a decrease in net working capital, you may need to find some way of increasing available cash; by drawing on a line of credit, taking out a bank loan or by  factoring . 

Here is an example of a simple cash budget:

In this example, the ending available cash ($20,000) exceeds the ending cash used ($18,000) by $2,000, which represents the net cash available and the beginning cash position for the following month.

Both the capital expenditures budget and the cash budget must be completed before the budgeted balance sheet can be developed. The budgeted balance sheet begins with the current balance sheet. It then takes the data from the other budgets that have been developed, such as the cash budget and the capital expenditures budget. It also takes the data from the firm’s operating budget .

That data includes the firm’s sales forecast—the production budget which includes the direct materials purchased budget, the direct labor budget, and the overhead budget; the ending finished goods inventory budget; the cost of goods sold budget; and the selling and administrative budget. After you combine this information and the information from the financial budget, you can develop the budgeted balance sheet.  

Quickbooks Canada. " Formulating and Forecasting a Yearly Budget ." Accessed Jan. 14, 2020.

Lumen Managerial Accounting. " 11.5 Controlling Capital Investment Expenditures ." Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.

Lumen Learning. " Cash Budgeting ." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.

PrinciplesofAccounting.com. " Components of the Budget ." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.

PrinciplesofAccounting.com. " Components of the Budget ." Accessed Jan. 17, 2020.

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A Financial Plan for a Small Business

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The business financial plan commonly appears in the overall business plan for a small business. However, the financial plan is a self-supporting document intended to support and direct the actions of the business. It explains what your business can afford, how it can afford to do it and what the expected profits will be. For a small business, a well-written business plan can be the difference between you carrying the business or the business carrying you.

Linked Business Statements

A financial plan for small business organizations should include four standard forms that attached documents support. The standard financial documents for small business include the personal financial statement, the balance sheet, the income statement and the cash flow statement, explains Inc. magazine . These forms provide a well-rounded financial view of your business, from your personal finances to the business finances. The forms explain how your business generates income, how it spends the income and whether it can support itself.

The Supporting Documents

The supporting documents of the financial plan are those that place merit into your financial figures. Depending on the information provided in your statements, these documents can include stock documents, life insurance policies, real estate deeds, tax statements, bank statements and register receipts and accounting ledgers. Within the business plan, these supporting documents are included in the document’s appendix and are organized in a fashion that provides easy reference.

Calculating Different Ratios

You can easily go wrong with your financial plan if you simply pull out your documents and fill in the numbers. The financial plan is an analysis of your business that lenders and investors use to determine your business’ viability. The information within this plan helps determine your business’ financial ratios, or scorecards.

Institutions and financial specialists use an array of ratios to identify the information they seek about your business. Some of the most common financial ratios include the liquidity ratios , such as the working capital and acid test, as well as the asset management ratios, such as the debt management ratios like the accounts payable turnover and leverage tests.

Updating With Formulas

The break-even formula is one of the most important aspects of the small business financial plan. This formula uses the information within the income statement to determine the point at which your company begins to generate a profit. The break-even formula is the company’s fixed expenses divided by its margin percentage. The margin percentage is determined by subtracting your business’ total variable expense from its total net sales and then determining what percentage that margin represents.

For instance, if your company has ​ $100,000 ​ in net sales with ​ $50,000 ​ in total variable expenses, the margin would be ​ $50,000 ​, or 50 percent of the net sales. The break-even point of your business with ​ $150,000 ​ in fixed expenses is ​ $75,000 ​. Therefore, all business income you generate above ​ $75,000 ​ is a profit.

Periodic Evaluation Reviews

Once completed, your financial plan will not only display a snapshot of your business’ finances, but also forecast what it expected. As a result, your financial plan will eventually become outdated and require revisions.

Periodic reviews of your financial plan will not only assist you in keeping your small business on track, but it also will help you to identify the areas where you need restrictions and expansions. A quarterly review of the financial plan is an effective schedule that will help to keep you ahead of unexpected financial developments.

  • Inc.: Financial Statements
  • FI: Liquidity Ratio

Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.

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Use a Financial Plan Sample

In your business finance analysis.

Use a financial plan sample from a business within your industry to help you build a stronger financial plan. Small business finance software can also help you conduct an effective business finance analysis and strengthen your operation.

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Business Finance Analysis:

You can use sample financial plans to calculate ratio comparisons (liquidity, profitability, solvency, and efficiency ratios).

You can also use the data from the sample (or samples if you can access other businesses' annual reports in your industry) and run the information through small business finance software; then compare to your data.

These comparisons help you conduct a comprehensive business finance analysis and assess whether or not you are tracking, or out-performing, your competitors.

If the only comparisons or samples you can access are of different sized companies (much larger or much smaller), use weighted averages to help you compare.

Once you've completed the analysis of your data, complete your own business financial plan . You've now got a reality check in the form of the plan sample that you've analyzed.

To finish writing your business financial plan, ensure that you add assumptions and summary or discussion notes to your plan.

Financial Plan Sample: Summary or Discussion Notes

For instance, if you are a small business owner for a marketing services firm, your summary or discussion notes might look like:

Sample Summary on Projected Net Income: Our revenue projections for the 5 year plan include increases of 4% per year, with the exception of year 1 where we project an increase of 8%, based on a recent service contract we have signed with XYZ Corporation. It is a one year contract, with an option to renew in year 2 at the same price, plus inflation.

Our cost of sales is 58% of gross revenues in year 1, falling back to 54% of gross revenues in years 2 to 5. Marketing and Sales expenses, which include advertising, promotions, client entertainment, and travel, are 10% on average of net sales.

Add comments on all projected large expenses (property, computers, etc.).

Net income is projected to increase by about 27 percent in year 1: from $32,150 to $41,000; from $41,000 to $58,000 in year 2; and so on.

Sample Summary on Cash Flow Projection: The assumption is that the planned growth in year 1 will require additional cash to hire more staff or contract workers to support the sales growth.

In this summary statement, explain how you will support your cash needs (bank line of credit, shareholder's loan, prepaid contract, etc.).

From year 2 on, your cash needs should decline since you now have the additional income from the large sales contract in year 1. Year end cash from years 2 onward should have a positive cash balance in your projections.

And continue your comments on each section of your plan.

Your Business Financial Plan needs to include:

  • Cash flow projections by month; and by year;
  • Pro forma Balance Sheet, by year;
  • Business Financial Ratios, by year (calculate ratios; like liquidity, profitability, efficiency and solvency);
  • Pro Forma Income Statement, by year;
  • Include a capital expenditures plan if your business has significant capital expenditures in its near-term horizon.

In your financial plan you must include your assumptions.

Some Financial Plan Sample Assumptions include:

  • data from your forecast or sales plan;
  • cost of goods and/or services;
  • inflation rates (actual and/or projected);
  • impact of foreign currency;
  • impact of any major economic factor - e.g. national elections;
  • impact of large contract/new business;
  • impact of worker shortage;
  • impact of property or tax increases or end of lease during period;
  • bank interest rates;
  • staffing and/or operations impacts (e.g. new hires; employee compensation plans - i.e growth, increases or decreases, new equipment; new software);
  • and so much more.

Typically these assumptions are listed at the end of your business financial plan.

When building your own business plan, you must include a realistic financial plan (it's easy to be overly optimistic, especially when starting out). To help you build realism into your plan, your business financial analysis needs to include a review of a financial plan sample (or samples), preferably within your industry.

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Implement your plan: for results.

Once you've built your plan, you need to implement it.

Developing your strategy (in the plan) is the first, necessary, step. You need to know the direction you want to go, and you need the strategy and the plan to help you get there.

But once you've built the plan, you must execute it.

There is no value in building a plan that just gathers dust.

When building your business plan, make sure that you include an action plan for the strategies, techniques and tactics.

The actions need to include who's responsible for doing what; measurements for success (such as deadlines and timelines, targets and goals, costs, etc.); and why you need to take the action (in some cases, one action needs to be accomplished before subsequent ones can be launched).

As you work through the plan, make sure that you build reporting periods into the implementation: you need to know what's going on and why something is working, or not.

Make sure to communicate progress, or lack of it, throughout the organization. And re-visit the plan when and where necessary.

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Plan for the future: lots of business owners want to get, or keep, moving forward. Planning seems to be more of a passive activity.

However, to ensure that your business goes in the right direction and that it optimizes all its opportunities, and manages its challenges, it is important to plan.

Balance your activities against the plan: make sure that you are investing your time, and money, on the elements of your business that will help you succeed.

Measure what works, and what doesn't work, and keep your focus: use your business plan as a map to guide you in the direction you want to go.

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Why Do I Need a Business Plan?

Sections of a business plan, the bottom line.

Small Business

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

How to secure business financing

Matt Webber is an experienced personal finance writer, researcher, and editor. He has published widely on personal finance, marketing, and the impact of technology on contemporary arts and culture.

sample of financial plan for small business

A business plan is a document that explains what a company’s objectives are and how it will achieve them. It contains a road map for the company from a marketing, financial, and operational standpoint. Some business plans are more detailed than others, but they are used by all types of businesses, from large, established companies to small startups.

If you are applying for a business loan , your lender may want to see your business plan. Your plan can prove that you understand your market and your business model and that you are realistic about your goals. Even if you don’t need a business plan to apply for a loan, writing one can improve your chances of securing finance.

Key Takeaways

  • Many lenders will require you to write a business plan to support your loan application.
  • Though every business plan is different, there are a number of sections that appear in every business plan.
  • A good business plan will define your company’s strategic priorities for the coming years and explain how you will try to achieve growth.
  • Lenders will assess your plan against the “five Cs”: character, capacity, capital, conditions, and collateral.

There are many reasons why all businesses should have a business plan . A business plan can improve the way that your company operates, but a well-written plan is also invaluable for attracting investment.

On an operational level, a well-written business plan has several advantages. A good plan will explain how a company is going to develop over time and will lay out the risks and contingencies that it may encounter along the way.

A business plan can act as a valuable strategic guide, reminding executives of their long-term goals amid the chaos of day-to-day business. It also allows businesses to measure their own success—without a plan, it can be difficult to determine whether a business is moving in the right direction.

A business plan is also valuable when it comes to dealing with external organizations. Indeed, banks and venture capital firms often require a viable business plan before considering whether they’ll provide capital to new businesses.

Even if a business is well-established, lenders may want to see a solid business plan before providing financing. Lenders want to reduce their risk, so they want to see that a business has a serious and realistic plan in place to generate income and repay the loan.

Every business is different, and so is every business plan. Nevertheless, most business plans contain a number of generic sections. Common sections are: executive summary, company overview, products and services, market analysis, marketing and sales plan, operational plan, and management team. If you are applying for a loan, you should also include a funding request and financial statements.

Let’s look at each section in more detail.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is a summary of the information in the rest of your business plan, but it’s also where you can create interest in your business.

You should include basic information about your business, including what you do, where you are based, your products, and how long you’ve been in business. You can also mention what inspired you to start your business, your key successes so far, and your growth plans.

Company Overview

In this section, focus on the core strengths of your business, the problem you want to solve, and how you plan to address it.

Here, you should also mention any key advantages that your business has over your competitors, whether this is operating in a new market or a unique approach to an existing one. You should also include key statistics in this section, such as your annual turnover and number of employees.

Products and Services

In this section, provide some details of what you sell. A lender doesn’t need to know all the technical details of your products but will want to see that they are desirable.

You can also include information on how you make your products, or how you provide your services. This information will be useful to a lender if you are looking for financing to grow your business.

Market Analysis

A market analysis is a core section of your business plan. Here, you need to demonstrate that you understand the market you are operating in, and how you are different from your competitors. If you can find statistics on your market, and particularly on how it is projected to grow over the next few years, put them in this section.

Marketing and Sales Plan

Your marketing and sales plan gives details on what kind of new customers you are looking to attract, and how you are going to connect with them. This section should contain your sales goals and link these to marketing or advertising that you are planning.

If you are looking to expand into a new market, or to reach customers that you haven’t before, you should explain the risks and opportunities of doing so.

Operational Plan

This section explains the basic requirements of running your business on a day-to-day basis. Your exact requirements will vary depending on the type of business you run, but be as specific as possible.

If you need to rent office space, for example, you should include the cost in your operational plan. You should also include the cost of staff, equipment, and any raw materials required to run your business.

Management Team

The management team section is one of the most important sections in your business plan if you are applying for a loan. Your lender will want reassurance that you have a skilled, experienced, competent, and reliable senior management team in place.

Even if you have a small team, you should explain what makes each person qualified for their position. If you have a large team, you should include an organizational chart to explain how your team is structured.

Funding Request

If you are applying for a loan, you should add a funding request. This is where you explain how much money you are looking to borrow, and explain in detail how you are going to use it.

The most important part of the funding-request section is to explain how the loan you are asking for would improve the profitability of your business, and therefore allow you to repay your loan.

Financial Statements

Most lenders will also ask you to provide evidence of your business finances as part of your application. Graphs and charts are often a useful addition to this section, because they allow your lender to understand your finances at a glance.

The overall goal of providing financial statements is to show that your business is profitable and stable. Include three to five years of income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. It can also be useful to provide further analysis, as well as projections of how your business will grow in the coming years.

What Do Lenders Look for in a Business Plan?

Lenders want to see that your business is stable, that you understand the market you are operating in, and that you have realistic plans for growth.

Your lender will base their decision on what are known as the “five Cs.” These are:

  • Character : You can stress your good character in your executive summary, company overview, and your management team section.
  • Capacity : This is, essentially, your ability to repay the loan. Your lender will look at your growth plans, your funding request, and your financial statements in order to assess this.
  • Capital : This is the amount of money you already have in your business. The larger and more established your business is, the more likely you are to be approved for finance, so highlight your capital throughout your business plan.
  • Conditions : Conditions refer to market conditions. In your market analysis, you should be able to prove that your business is well-positioned in relation to your target market and competitors.
  • Collateral : Depending on your loan, you may be asked to provide collateral , so you should provide information on the assets you own in your operational plan.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Business Plan?

The length of time it takes to write a business plan depends on your business, but you should take your time to ensure it is thorough and correct. A business plan has advantages beyond applying for a loan, providing a strategic focus for your business.

What Should You Avoid When Writing a Business Plan?

The most common mistake that business owners make when writing a business plan is to be unrealistic about their growth potential. Your lender is likely to spot overly optimistic growth projections, so try to keep it reasonable.

Should I Hire Someone to Write a Business Plan for My Business?

You can hire someone to write a business plan for your business, but it can often be better to write it yourself. You are likely to understand your business better than an external consultant.

Writing a business plan can benefit your business, whether you are applying for a loan or not. A good business plan can help you develop strategic priorities and stick to them. It describes how you are going to grow your business, which can be valuable to lenders, who will want to see that you are able to repay a loan that you are applying for.

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Fund Your Business .”

Navy Federal Credit Union. “ The 5 Cs of Credit .”

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How to Prepare a Financial Plan for Startup Business (w/ example)

Financial Statements Template

Free Financial Statements Template

Ajay Jagtap

13 Min Read

financial plan for startup business

If someone were to ask you about your business financials, could you give them a detailed answer?

Let’s say they ask—how do you allocate your operating expenses? What is your cash flow situation like? What is your exit strategy? And a series of similar other questions.

Instead of mumbling what to answer or shooting in the dark, as a founder, you must prepare yourself to answer this line of questioning—and creating a financial plan for your startup is the best way to do it.

A business plan’s financial plan section is no easy task—we get that.

But, you know what—this in-depth guide and financial plan example can make forecasting as simple as counting on your fingertips.

Ready to get started? Let’s begin by discussing startup financial planning.

What is Startup Financial Planning?

Startup financial planning, in simple terms, is a process of planning the financial aspects of a new business. It’s an integral part of a business plan and comprises its three major components: balance sheet, income statement, and cash-flow statement.

Apart from these statements, your financial section may also include revenue and sales forecasts, assets & liabilities, break-even analysis, and more. Your first financial plan may not be very detailed, but you can tweak and update it as your company grows.

Key Takeaways

  • Realistic assumptions, thorough research, and a clear understanding of the market are the key to reliable financial projections.
  • Cash flow projection, balance sheet, and income statement are three major components of a financial plan.
  • Preparing a financial plan is easier and faster when you use a financial planning tool .
  • Exploring “what-if” scenarios is an ideal method to understand the potential risks and opportunities involved in the business operations.

Why is Financial Planning Important to Your Startup?

Poor financial planning is one of the biggest reasons why most startups fail. In fact, a recent CNBC study reported that running out of cash was the reason behind 44% of startup failures in 2022.

A well-prepared financial plan provides a clear financial direction for your business, helps you set realistic financial objectives, create accurate forecasts, and shows your business is committed to its financial objectives.

It’s a key element of your business plan for winning potential investors. In fact, YC considered recent financial statements and projections to be critical elements of their Series A due diligence checklist .

Your financial plan demonstrates how your business manages expenses and generates revenue and helps them understand where your business stands today and in 5 years.

Makes sense why financial planning is important to your startup, doesn’t it? Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the key components of a startup’s financial plan.

Key Components of a Startup Financial Plan

Whether creating a financial plan from scratch for a business venture or just modifying it for an existing one, here are the key components to consider including in your startup’s financial planning process.

Income Statement

An Income statement , also known as a profit-and-loss statement(P&L), shows your company’s income and expenditures. It also demonstrates how your business experienced any profit or loss over a given time.

Consider it as a snapshot of your business that shows the feasibility of your business idea. An income statement can be generated considering three scenarios: worst, expected, and best.

Your income or P&L statement must list the following:

  • Cost of goods or cost of sale
  • Gross margin
  • Operating expenses
  • Revenue streams
  • EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, & amortization)

Established businesses can prepare annual income statements, whereas new businesses and startups should consider preparing monthly statements.

Cash flow Statement

A cash flow statement is one of the most critical financial statements for startups that summarize your business’s cash in-and-out flows over a given time.

This section provides details on the cash position of your business and its ability to meet monetary commitments on a timely basis.

Your cash flow projection consists of the following three components:

✅ Cash revenue projection: Here, you must enter each month’s estimated or expected sales figures.

✅ Cash disbursements: List expenditures that you expect to pay in cash for each month over one year.

✅ Cash flow reconciliation: Cash flow reconciliation is a process used to ensure the accuracy of cash flow projections. The adjusted amount is the cash flow balance carried over to the next month.

Furthermore, a company’s cash flow projections can be crucial while assessing liquidity, its ability to generate positive cash flows and pay off debts, and invest in growth initiatives.

Balance Sheet

Your balance sheet is a financial statement that reports your company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholder equity at a given time.

Consider it as a snapshot of what your business owns and owes, as well as the amount invested by the shareholders.

This statement consists of three parts: assets, liabilities, and the balance calculated by the difference between the first two. The final numbers on this sheet reflect the business owner’s equity or value.

Balance sheets follow the following accounting equation with assets on one side and liabilities plus Owner’s equity on the other:

Here is what’s the core purpose of having a balance-sheet:

  • Indicates the capital need of the business
  • It helps to identify the allocation of resources
  • It calculates the requirement of seed money you put up, and
  • How much finance is required?

Since it helps investors understand the condition of your business on a given date, it’s a financial statement you can’t miss out on.

Break-even Analysis

Break-even analysis is a startup or small business accounting practice used to determine when a company, product, or service will become profitable.

For instance, a break-even analysis could help you understand how many candles you need to sell to cover your warehousing and manufacturing costs and start making profits.

Remember, anything you sell beyond the break-even point will result in profit.

You must be aware of your fixed and variable costs to accurately determine your startup’s break-even point.

  • Fixed costs: fixed expenses that stay the same no matter what.
  • Variable costs: expenses that fluctuate over time depending on production or sales.

A break-even point helps you smartly price your goods or services, cover fixed costs, catch missing expenses, and set sales targets while helping investors gain confidence in your business. No brainer—why it’s a key component of your startup’s financial plan.

Having covered all the key elements of a financial plan, let’s discuss how you can create a financial plan for your startup.

How to Create a Financial Section of a Startup Business Plan?

1. determine your financial needs.

You can’t start financial planning without understanding your financial requirements, can you? Get your notepad or simply open a notion doc; it’s time for some critical thinking.

Start by assessing your current situation by—calculating your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities, what the startup costs are, how much you have against them, and how much financing you need.

Assessing your current financial situation and health will help determine how much capital you need for your startup and help plan fundraising activities and outreach.

Furthermore, determining financial needs helps prioritize operational activities and expenses, effectively allocate resources, and increase the viability and sustainability of a business in the long run.

Having learned to determine financial needs, let’s head straight to setting financial goals.

2. Define Your Financial Goals

Setting realistic financial goals is fundamental in preparing an effective financial plan. So, it would help to outline your long-term strategies and goals at the beginning of your financial planning process.

Let’s understand it this way—if you are a SaaS startup pursuing VC financing rounds, you may ask investors about what matters to them the most and prepare your financial plan accordingly.

However, a coffee shop owner seeking a business loan may need to create a plan that appeals to banks, not investors. At the same time, an internal financial plan designed to offer financial direction and resource allocation may not be the same as previous examples, seeing its different use case.

Feeling overwhelmed? Just define your financial goals—you’ll be fine.

You can start by identifying your business KPIs (key performance indicators); it would be an ideal starting point.

3. Choose the Right Financial Planning Tool

Let’s face it—preparing a financial plan using Excel is no joke. One would only use this method if they had all the time in the world.

Having the right financial planning software will simplify and speed up the process and guide you through creating accurate financial forecasts.

Many financial planning software and tools claim to be the ideal solution, but it’s you who will identify and choose a tool that is best for your financial planning needs.

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4. Make Assumptions Before Projecting Financials

Once you have a financial planning tool, you can move forward to the next step— making financial assumptions for your plan based on your company’s current performance and past financial records.

You’re just making predictions about your company’s financial future, so there’s no need to overthink or complicate the process.

You can gather your business’ historical financial data, market trends, and other relevant documents to help create a base for accurate financial projections.

After you have developed rough assumptions and a good understanding of your business finances, you can move forward to the next step—projecting financials.

5. Prepare Realistic Financial Projections

It’s a no-brainer—financial forecasting is the most critical yet challenging aspect of financial planning. However, it’s effortless if you’re using a financial planning software.

Upmetrics’ forecasting feature can help you project financials for up to 7 years. However, new startups usually consider planning for the next five years. Although it can be contradictory considering your financial goals and investor specifications.

Following are the two key aspects of your financial projections:

Revenue Projections

In simple terms, revenue projections help investors determine how much revenue your business plans to generate in years to come.

It generally involves conducting market research, determining pricing strategy, and cash flow analysis—which we’ve already discussed in the previous steps.

The following are the key components of an accurate revenue projection report:

  • Market analysis
  • Sales forecast
  • Pricing strategy
  • Growth assumptions
  • Seasonal variations

This is a critical section for pre-revenue startups, so ensure your projections accurately align with your startup’s financial model and revenue goals.

Expense Projections

Both revenue and expense projections are correlated to each other. As revenue forecasts projected revenue assumptions, expense projections will estimate expenses associated with operating your business.

Accurately estimating your expenses will help in effective cash flow analysis and proper resource allocation.

These are the most common costs to consider while projecting expenses:

  • Fixed costs
  • Variable costs
  • Employee costs or payroll expenses
  • Operational expenses
  • Marketing and advertising expenses
  • Emergency fund

Remember, realistic assumptions, thorough research, and a clear understanding of your market are the key to reliable financial projections.

6. Consider “What if” Scenarios

After you project your financials, it’s time to test your assumptions with what-if analysis, also known as sensitivity analysis.

Using what-if analysis with different scenarios while projecting your financials will increase transparency and help investors better understand your startup’s future with its best, expected, and worst-case scenarios.

Exploring “what-if” scenarios is the best way to better understand the potential risks and opportunities involved in business operations. This proactive exercise will help you make strategic decisions and necessary adjustments to your financial plan.

7. Build a Visual Report

If you’ve closely followed the steps leading to this, you know how to research for financial projections, create a financial plan, and test assumptions using “what-if” scenarios.

Now, we’ll prepare visual reports to present your numbers in a visually appealing and easily digestible format.

Don’t worry—it’s no extra effort. You’ve already made a visual report while creating your financial plan and forecasting financials.

Check the dashboard to see the visual presentation of your projections and reports, and use the necessary financial data, diagrams, and graphs in the final draft of your financial plan.

Here’s what Upmetrics’ dashboard looks like:

Upmetrics financial projections visual report

8. Monitor and Adjust Your Financial Plan

Even though it’s not a primary step in creating a good financial plan, it’s quite essential to regularly monitor and adjust your financial plan to ensure the assumptions you made are still relevant, and you are heading in the right direction.

There are multiple ways to monitor your financial plan.

For instance, you can compare your assumptions with actual results to ensure accurate projections based on metrics like new customers acquired and acquisition costs, net profit, and gross margin.

Consider making necessary adjustments if your assumptions are not resonating with actual numbers.

Also, keep an eye on whether the changes you’ve identified are having the desired effect by monitoring their implementation.

And that was the last step in our financial planning guide. However, it’s not the end. Have a look at this financial plan example.

Startup Financial Plan Example

Having learned about financial planning, let’s quickly discuss a coffee shop startup financial plan example prepared using Upmetrics.

Important Assumptions

  • The sales forecast is conservative and assumes a 5% increase in Year 2 and a 10% in Year 3.
  • The analysis accounts for economic seasonality – wherein some months revenues peak (such as holidays ) and wanes in slower months.
  • The analysis assumes the owner will not withdraw any salary till the 3rd year; at any time it is assumed that the owner’s withdrawal is available at his discretion.
  • Sales are cash basis – nonaccrual accounting
  • Moderate ramp- up in staff over the 5 years forecast
  • Barista salary in the forecast is $36,000 in 2023.
  • In general, most cafes have an 85% gross profit margin
  • In general, most cafes have a 3% net profit margin

Projected Balance Sheet

Projected Balance Sheet

Projected Cash-Flow Statement

Cash-Flow Statement

Projected Profit & Loss Statement

Profit & Loss Statement

Break Even Analysis

Break Even Analysis

Start Preparing Your Financial Plan

We covered everything about financial planning in this guide, didn’t we? Although it doesn’t fulfill our objective to the fullest—we want you to finish your financial plan.

Sounds like a tough job? We have an easy way out for you—Upmetrics’ financial forecasting feature. Simply enter your financial assumptions, and let it do the rest.

So what are you waiting for? Try Upmetrics and create your financial plan in a snap.

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About the Author

Ajay                                                        Jagtap

Ajay is a SaaS writer and personal finance blogger who has been active in the space for over three years, writing about startups, business planning, budgeting, credit cards, and other topics related to personal finance. If not writing, he’s probably having a power nap. Read more

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