Simple Business Plan Templates
By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020
In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.
On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.
Simple Business Plan Template
Download Simple Business Plan Template
This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.
One-Page Business Plan Template
Download One-Page Business Plan Template
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business.
For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."
Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.
For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."
Simple Business Plan for Startup
Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word
This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."
Simple Small-Business Plan Template
Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template
This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.
Lean Business Plan Template
Download Lean Business Plan Template
This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.
Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Word | PDF
Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.
Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Excel | Smartsheet
This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.
Simple Business Plan Rubric Template
Download Simple Business Plan Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.
Basic Business Plan Sample
Download Basic Business Plan Sample
This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.
For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”
Main Components of a Business Plan
The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business.
Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:
- Company name and contact information
- Website address
- The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
- Table of Contents
- Company background and purpose
- Mission and vision statement
- Management team introduction
- Core product and service offerings
- Target customers and segments
- Marketing plan
- Competitive analysis
- Unique value proposition
- Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
- Business and industry overview
- Historical timeline of your business
- Offerings and the problem they solve
- Current alternatives
- Competitive advantage
- Market size
- Target market segment(s)
- Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
- Differentiation from competitors
- Pricing strategy
- Marketing channels
- Promotional plan
- Distribution methods
- Legal structure of your business
- Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
- Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
- Staffing requirements and training plans
- Physical location(s) of your business
- Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
- Production workflow
- Raw materials and sourcing methods
- Projected income statement
- Projected cash flow statement
- Projected balance sheet
- Break-even analysis
- Charts and graphs
- Market research and competitive analysis
- Information about your industry
- Information about your offerings
- Samples of marketing materials
- Other supporting materials
Tips for Creating a Business Plan
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan.
- Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
- Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
- Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
- Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
- Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
- Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
- Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
- What product or service are we offering?
- Who is the product or service for?
- What problem does our product or service offering solve?
- How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
- Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
- How can we outperform our competitors?
- What is our unique value proposition?
- When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
- If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
- When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
- What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
- When do you expect to be profitable?
To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .
Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template
Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:
- Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
- Provides structure to help outline your plan
- Saves time and valuable resources
- Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details
Limitations of a Business Plan Template
A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.
Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:
- Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
- A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
- Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
- You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
- Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).
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Business plan template for small businesses, startups, & entrepreneurs
Business planning can feel complicated. it doesn't have to be. start putting pen to paper today with your free business plan template download..
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Business plan template FAQ
What is a business plan template?
A business plan template is a document designed to help streamline your ability to write a business plan. It handles the structure and organization so that you can focus on filling in the blanks and defining the key aspects of your business.
Why choose this business plan template?
There are a few key features that make this business template more functional and effective than your average template.
- Written by planning experts: This business plan template wasn't just thrown together. It was crafted by seasoned planning experts with a combined 40 years of experience writing and reviewing business plans. Throughout this template, you find their expert tips and tricks, along with detailed instructions.
- Free course access: When you download your business plan template, you'll get access to a week-long email course covering critical business planning mistakes to avoid.
- Works with other Bplans resources: Need additional guidance to write your business plan? Our free business planning guide is built to support this template—giving you even more detailed walkthroughs for each section.
- Designed for funding: Even if you're not going right to the bank, using this template will prepare you to pursue funding and impress potential investors whenever you're ready. This template ensures your plan is in SBA format.
What is included in this business plan template?
This template includes definitions, guidance, and examples for every business plan component needed to start, fund, and grow your business. After downloading the full template, you'll receive instructions for how to fill out each of the following sections.
Executive summary: The brief summary of your business plan that introduces everyone to your business, the problem you solve, and what you're asking from your readers. It's the first chapter of your business plan and the last thing you write once you have the details from your full plan.
Problem & solution: More than a simple description of your products and services - here you define the problem you're solving and the value you provide. It's also your chance to showcase any initial traction that shows you're on the right track.
Market analysis and target market: A detailed assessment of the market you intend to enter, including the size and value of the market, potential customer segments, and their buying patterns.
Competition: Show that you know who your competitors are, what advantages you have, and how you're positioning your business to be competitive.
Marketing & sales: Describe how you'll reach and sell to potential customers with a detailed sales plan and chosen marketing channels.
Operations: What makes your business run? Outline the day-to-day workflows, and what still needs to be set up for your business to deliver a product or service.
Milestones & metrics: Set goals for your business that include the dates and people responsible to accomplish them. This is what you'll use to manage responsibilities, track growth, and execute your larger strategy.
Company overview and team: Provide a brief rundown of the legal and structural components of your company including your history, current team, and gaps you need to fill.
Financial plan: Create well-structured and accurate financial statements to help you pitch to investors, land funding, and achieve long-term success. All without the help of a financial advisor or a degree in accounting.
Appendix: While not required, this last section of your business plan is a great place to drop in additional documents that support and strengthen the rest of your plan.
What file formats are available for this business plan template?
You can download and use this business plan template as a Google Doc, .docx (Microsoft Word), or PDF.
Can you print out this template?
This is a printable business plan template that can be downloaded and printed no matter which format you choose.
Why should you start with a business plan template?
Starting with a good business plan template (like this one) includes everything you need to get started. It helps you organize your thoughts, and provides guidance, instructions, and examples to create an investor-ready and SBA-approved business plan format. It really speeds up the planning process. Oh, and it's 100% free!
Why do you need a business plan?
Writing a business plan will help you develop a strategy for success, reduce the risk of starting a business, explore new business ideas, attract investors, and get funding. Learn more about how you can get value out of your business plan .
Is writing a business plan easy?
Using a business plan template can make writing a business plan easier. Additionally, if you focus on just getting your information down quickly, with the expectation that you'll revisit and revise your plan, you can speed up and simplify the process .
What are the 5 elements of a business plan?
While there are more than five sections of a business plan, you can group the key elements of a plan into the executive summary, business opportunity, execution, company overview, and financial plan. Thinking of the plan in this way can help you break up the writing process and make tackling each strategic component a separate and focused task.
Can someone write your business plan for you?
If you're still struggling to write your business plan even when using a template, you can look into hiring a professional business plan writer. We even have a free resource to help you ask just the right questions to make sure you find the right plan writer.
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Business Plan template
What is a business plan.
A Business Plan is a written document that describes your core business objectives and how you plan to achieve them over a set period of time. It is designed to help you, and others, understand how you plan to generate money and make your business sustainable. A Business Plan often includes information about your goals, strategies, marketing and sales plans and financial forecasts. Read on below for more information about the key sections of a Business Plan.
Download your copy of the Business Plan template now. The document includes a Personal Survival Budget template and a Cash Flow Forecast template, which are also required for your application:
The guide is an annotated version of the Business Plan template with notes from our Business Advisers about what type of information, examples and evidence to include in order to help us understand you and your business. While we encourage you to use this Business Plan template, it is not mandatory and you are welcome to submit your own Business Plan template provided it details similar information.
Please note, the following documents should open on any device with a document viewer and editor but for the best user experience, we recommend editing this Business Plan template on a desktop.
Why is a Business Plan important?
There are many great reasons why it is worth your time creating a Business Plan – even if you’re not quite ready to apply for a Start Up Loan. Here are just seven:
A Business Plan:
- Provides a structured way of organising your thoughts and clarifying your idea.
- Helps you set out your goals and spot any potential problems in achieving these goals.
- Gives you a clear strategy to follow when things get busy.
- Is often essential for securing external finance for your business (and is required if you’re applying for a Start Up Loan).
- Allows you to measure your progress as you go along.
- Ensures all of your team are working towards the same vision.
- Helps you plan for the future.
Key sections of a Business Plan:
A Business Plan can include whatever information you feel is required to best convey how you are planning to make your business sustainable and, when it comes to applying for a Start Up Loan, the following are the core sections we require.
Your business and key objectives: A brief description of your business and its core products or services. This section also includes a clear and concise overview of the goals your business is trying to achieve over a set period of time. Sometimes these are broken down as short, mid and long-term goals, but it helps if they’re measurable (how will you know if you have achieved this?) and realistic (can you achieve this with the money, resources and time you have?).
If you are applying for a Start Up Loan, you will of course also need to detail how you intend to use the money if you’re successful. Our Loan Assessment team will want to see that the Start Up Loan will support your overall business objectives.
Your skills and experience: An overview of your experience as it relates to your business. If you’ve previously worked in a similar business, or have experience running another business, this will help provide confidence that you are in a good position to start up. Even if this is all brand new to you, think about any transferable skills you’ve developed, life experiences you’ve had or training you’ve completed that may be useful.
Your target customers, market and competition: A summary of key insights that demonstrate you have a strong understanding of your customers (and how to identify them), your market (and how to position yourself within it) and your competitors (and how to differentiate yourself from them on factors like price, quality, brand etc).
Your sales and marketing plans: This section is all about how you are planning to attract customers. You might include information about where you’ll distribute your products, what your branding and logo will be and what pricing you’ll apply. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate how you will spread the word about your product/services in order to generate demand, such as using social media, exhibiting at a trade conference or investing in online advertising.
Your operational plans: This will be different depending on your business model, but may include information on where you’ll trade (like a home office or external premises), the number of staff you’ll need to employ, what their roles will be and any equipment or tools you’ll need to run your business. You can also use this section to detail any processes that are important to your operations, as well as any industry, tax or legal regulations related to your business. It’s also good to think about any risks you may face, how you will overcome them and what you will do if things don’t go to plan.
Financials Many business plans include a financial section, which outlines how you’ll fund all of the activities you’ve outlined and what revenue you expect to generate. Because we ask you to complete a Cash Flow Forecast as part of your Start Up Loan application, we don’t require too much detail on this in your Business Plan. Rather, these two documents should be complementary.
Check out our Cash Flow Forecast guide and template >>
Writing a Business Plan – our top tips:
The tips below have been prepared by our Business Advisers and Loan Assessment team to help you understand some of the key things that will strengthen your application. For more in-depth advice, read our guidelines on how to write a Business Plan .
- Demonstrate that you understand your market and customer. For our Loan Assessment team to feel comfortable that your business plans are viable, they will want to see that there is a market who wants and needs your product/service, that you have thought about how you’ll set yourself apart from competitors and that you know how to attract your customers. Any market research you can do, like a simple online survey, looking up industry reports or interviews with potential customers will help.
- Use evidence and examples to back up any statements you make. It’s always more powerful when you can prove what you’re saying with hard facts, whether it’s with a strong statistic, a customer quote, examples of similar activity or other research. It doesn’t have to be detailed – sometimes it will be sufficient to include a link to further information – but it will help our loan assessment team feel more confident that your business plan is viable.
- Make sure everything ties together by linking every strategy to your core objectives. The purpose of a Business Plan is to show what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them so remember to put your objectives at the heart of your plan. For example, if one of your goals is to generate 10 new sales per month, then in your marketing section you’ll need to think about how many sales each promotional channel needs to deliver in order to support this objective.
- Consider any risks you face and how you will overcome them. Every business has risks so don’t shy away from referencing these in your business plan. Demonstrating that you are aware of your key risks. Having a clear plan for how to reduce or overcome these is something that will set your business plan apart and give our loan assessment team confidence that you’re ready for the challenge.
- Be as clear and concise as possible and avoid waffle. Remember, we’re not looking to see every single detail about how your business will operate, rather we just need to know enough information to give us confidence that you have a clear plan in place. You might like to use bullet points, graphs, tables and subheadings to help you keep your content focused and help you avoid the temptation to go into too much detail.
- Presentation matters: proof read, review and format your document. As with most things in life, first impressions count. Use clear headings, structure your document in a clear order and check you’ve used consistent fonts throughout. Remember, you don’t have to be a writer or a designer to prepare a professional looking document. Most importantly, double check that you haven’t made any spelling or grammatical errors. It can be a good idea to have someone proof read your work for you once you’re finished to pick up anything you might have missed.
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Start Up Loans has partnered with the Open University to offer a range of free courses.
A Business Plan can include whatever information you feel is required to best convey how you are planning to make your business sustainable and, when it comes to applying for a Start Up Loan, the following are the core sections we require (our Business Plan template includes them).
Are you ready to kickstart your business?
Business Plan Templates
2 Essential Templates For Starting Your Business. Available as an interactive PDF or a Google Docs template.
With this business plan template, you'll be able to:
- Write a company description that sells your story
- Plan for the future: lay out goals and metrics for success
- Describe your product line in detail and plan for how to stand out from competitors
- Consider any legal formalities that require attention when starting your business
- Put together necessary financial projections to make a strong start
- Create your buyer persona and determine your product/marketing fit
Build A Business Plan That Works
Available as a one-page interactive PDF and a full template on both Google Docs and Microsoft Word!
Whether you’re starting a business or drafting a formalized document with your current business goals, it’s important to clearly defi ne the scope of all aspects of the venture — from mission, to target customers, to fi nances, and beyond.
When just starting out, it can be tempting to think of a business plan as simply your company’s name and a description of your product or service. But in reality, planning a business involves thinking through a lot more details.
In this business plan template we’ll guide you through the steps of writing company and product descriptions, setting sales and marketing goals and plans, and thinking through legal and fi nancial logistics. We've included a plain text, designed , and completed example version of this template.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you write a business plan.
A business plan is a formal written document that you can use to identify the purpose of your company, make important decisions about your future and help grow your company. HubSpot's free business plan templates provides guidance to establishing your company mission, customer research, competition, and a business strategy to profitability.
Why do I need to fill out the information requested?
We will always keep your personal information safe..
Where can I get a free business plan template?
HubSpot's Free Business Plan Templates are the best way to create a professional, thorough business plan. The templates include instructions and everything you need to know about starting your company.
Is this really free?
Just sharing some free knowledge that we hope you’ll find useful. Keep us in mind next time you have marketing questions!
What are the basic format of a business plan?
A business plan is a written document that outlines the company's goals, strategy and implementation. The format of the plan varies depending on the type of organization (e.g., for-profit or nonprofit) and size, but most plans share some common features such as an overview, executive summary, and financial information.
What is the best business plan template?
A great business plan template clearly defines the scope of the venture -- from mission, to target customers, to finances, and beyond. HubSpot's business plan template will guide you through the steps of writing company and product descriptions, setting sales and marketing goals and plans, and thinking through legal and financial logistics.
What is needed to start a business?
If you're thinking about starting a business, you'll need to do some research first. You can't just start a business without doing any market research. Market research will tell you if there's an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. After that, write your business plan so that you know how much money and time it will take for the project to succeed. Use HubSpot's free business plan template today!
Set yourself up for success with this business plan template
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Free business plan template for small businesses in 2023
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A business plan is critical for any serious entrepreneur and business owner. Without a plan, you can lose your vision; it's easier to get distracted by the next new thing, and without an established WHY it can be difficult to keep going when times get tough. If business planning feels overwhelming, we've got the solution: a free business plan template for small businesses.
In this article, we're sharing our free business plan template, what we love about it and our tips for creating a business plan that will set you up for success.
What’s covered in our business plan template?
- Use our favorite free business plan template
Tips to create a business plan that works
Business plan template faq.
Our business plan template cover all sorts of areas of business. The best thing about this free business plan template for startups is that it acts as a guide to help you write your plan effectively — overwhelm, be gone!
Below, we describe the basics functions of each template, so that you can pick the template that best suits your needs:
Introduce your business plan and outline any key points. You'll include a brief overview of the business plan, its purpose, its mission statement, and a summary of notable points.
The company description is an in-depth description of the business, including values and mission statements.
The company goals section should include specific key performance indicators and strategies, you'll be able to track your progress and celebrate your successes along the way.
Products / Services
Your business plan will outline what you're selling. You might start thinking about your target market here, too.
Include a comprehensive evaluation of the industry and market. This section must be thorough, especially if you're presenting to investors. They will feel more comfortable investing if they believe you're well-researched and know your market. You'll want to consider an analysis of competitors, market size, customer demographics, where your product or service fits, and how you intend to close the gap on aspirational competitors to disrupt the market.
Marketing and sales strategy
In your business plan, create a roadmap for marketing and sales. You'll need to demonstrate how to reach and attract customers, including advertising, promotions, and sales tactics. During this section, you'll need to choose priorities and support why you're focusing on particular marketing or sales tactics.
A detailed analysis of the financials, including revenue forecasts and expense projections. You'll need to include a break-even analysis to indicate when funders can expect a return on their money. This section is critical, especially if you're starting with someone else's cash.
Supporting documents, such as resumes of key personnel, market research data, and financial statements.
Use our free business plan template
We’ve provided our free business plan template in several formats, for your convenience. Simply download a template in your desired format, follow the instructions and compose your own text to replace the example.
Ready to get started? You got this!
- Download Template in Word
- Download Template in PowerPoint
- Download Template in Google Docs
- Download Template in Google Slides
Here are some of our top tips for creating a business plan that will help you.
Get very clear on what you’re saying in your plan.
When you develop your business plan, you will be focusing hard on each aspect of your business. Now is the time to focus intently on the business. If you aim for absolute clarity on your plan, you’ll thank yourself later since your business planning will help you spot potential issues that you can resolve, or plan for, now.
Conduct thorough market research.
Your market research is of utmost importance. In most cases, you need to think about your market online and off. You need to prove this research is well-thought-out so that investors are not struggling to find faults or missed opportunities.
Develop a focused marketing plan .
It’s very easy to become enamored with marketing, but you must keep yourself focused and realistic. Marketing is expensive. You need to pick your channels wisely based on data, and better to focus on a few channels well than many poorly.
Project your financials realistically.
Investors won’t take kindly to unrealistic financial projections or timelines for break-even.
Keep your language clear and concise.
Your business plan needs to use simple terms to avoid confusion.
Include an executive summary.
Your summary provides a concise overview of your business plan. Since all stakeholders must review this plan, the executive summary will be an excellent reminder of notable details.
Regularly review and update your plan.
My first business plan was a four-year plan, but within one year, I had achieved almost everything planned. After the first year, I reviewed my plan, so the business was constantly evolving.
Think hard about your why .
Your real why might not be something you put in front of your investors, but when I created my business plan, I added a page dedicated to my personal why. This slide goes beyond revenue, expenses, and logistics. I use it to keep myself motivated and inspired. My ‘why’ includes having a better work/life balance, supporting my friends and family, pursuing a business that allows me to hire new talent, and earning enough to donate to charities or mentor aspiring entrepreneurs.
Is the business plan template really free?
Yes! The business plan template is free and highly customizable too. Our free plan should get you started, and you can feel free to add or remove sections to tailor the template to your business.
How do I write a business plan?
If you’re asking how to write a business plan , then starting with a free business plan template is an absolute must. Our free template will guide you through each phase required.
To write a business plan, you must outline your mission, target market, and unique value proposition. Your business plan should include market research and an understanding of who your immediate and aspirational competitors are. Also, where exactly you fit in the market and how your offering is unique.
What’s of utmost importance, especially if you want to persuade funders or investors, is demonstrating a clear understanding of your market, competitors, and financial projections. You need to be realistic but bold and knowledgeable in your approach. Investors need to feel very safe that the money they invest (and more) will return in ample time.
Why do I need a business plan to start a business?
Importantly, a business plan is there for you; it helps you articulate your vision. Whilst you may already know what you want to do with your business, taking the time to put your thoughts in writing will help you gain clarity over your thoughts and direction.
A well-thought-out business plan will help you settle your ‘why' for both an online business or offline venture. It can also help you stay on track as you grow your business by providing a framework for measuring progress and making informed decisions.
Writing your business plan can also help you assess the viability of your business idea. When you create the plan for the business, you think about the details so you can highlight any roadblocks or things that won’t work before you start. This will save expensive mistakes later.
Outside of your needs as an entrepreneur, a business plan will likely be required to secure funding from investors or lenders. Without a plan, there’s no real backing to demonstrate why you need funding and how quickly it can be returned.
The information contained in this guide is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter.
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- Business plans
Develop your business plan
On this page
Why you need a business plan
Download a business plan template.
Whether you've just started out or have been running your business for years, business planning can be the key to your success. Having a business plan:
- helps you to prioritise – it gives your business direction, defines your objectives, maps out how you'll achieve your goals and helps you to manage possible bumps in the road
- gives you control over your business – the planning process helps you learn about the different things that could affect your success. If you're already in business, it helps you to step back and look at what's working and what you can improve on
- helps you seek finance – if you're seeking finance for your business, you'll need to show banks and investors why they should invest in your business.
Use our Business plan template for detailed business planning or seeking finance.
Choose the Lean business plan template to quickly focus your business and set some goals for the year ahead.
Business plan template
Lean business plan template
Our templates step you through the process of developing a business plan with links to extra information if you need it.
If you're developing a detailed business plan, you may want to check our tips below before you start.
1. Determine what your plan is for
Does your business plan have more than one purpose? Will you use it internally, or will you share it externally, for example with potential investors or banks?
Deciding what the purpose is, can help you develop your plan for the right audience. If the plan has been developed for third parties, you will need to determine what they’ll be most interested in.
2. Prepare your finances
If you're looking for finance, lenders and investors will want to know if your finances are in order and your business is in a strong financial position. They'll want to know how much money you currently have, how much money you need and how much you expect to make in the near future. While a bit of extra funding will help you ensure you’re covered for unexpected costs, be realistic and avoid asking for more than you need.
If you're starting out and don't have financial information yet, our business plan template provides resources to help you get your finances ready.
3. Write your summary last
Summarise the main points of your business plan using as few words as possible. You want to get to the point but not overlook important facts. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, but don't overdo it. The summary should include details about your business, market, goals and what makes you different from other businesses.
4. Get help
Don't leave your business plan to the last minute. It takes time, research and careful preparation to develop an effective business plan.
If you aren't confident in completing the plan yourself, consider getting a professional to look over it and provide advice.
There are a number of government services available to help you plan, start or grow your business. These services can provide general advice, workshops, seminars and networking events, and can even match you with a mentor or business coach.
Get expert help from a business adviser in your area .
5. Review your plan regularly
As your business changes, your plan will need to change to ensure your business is still heading in the right direction. Having your plan up-to-date can keep you focused on where you are heading.
It's a good idea to keep a record of each version of your business plan.
6. Protect your plan
Having an understanding with third parties when distributing a plan could be enough protection for some businesses. But if you have innovative business practices, products or services, you may want people to sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your innovations.
It may also be a good idea to include some words in your plan asking the reader not to disclose the details of your plan.
Start writing and developing your marketing strategy.
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