Business Plan Template: The Basics
If you’re like most new business owners, this is the first time you’ve had to look into writing a business plan. This sample plan template provides you with a sense of what a completed business plan looks like. Its simple structure is easy to modify for your own use.
Don’t worry if the fictitious business described in this plan isn’t similar to your own. Business plan templates aren’t meant to be copied word for word, as each startup or business is unique, with different goals, strategies, and features. With this in mind, you can easily use this simple business plan template to gain inspiration for writing a business plan of your own. It is one that’s both adaptable and versatile: You can easily add and subtract elements from this business plan format to suit the needs of your own startup or small business.
The 6 Sections of our Template
This simple business plan template is designed to show you how to craft a well-thought out business plan of your own. Start with a title page named “Business Plan for (Your Company’s Name)”. Be sure to take plenty of time to do the necessary research for filling in the remainder of the fields, and feel free to eliminate any that don’t apply to your business.
- Executive Summary
Your executive summary serves as a snapshot of your business plan, touching on your company’s profile and goals.
- Objectives – What are your goals? This section should be one or two short paragraphs long.
- Mission Statement – What is your business about? This part of the business plan should be just one or two paragraphs long.
- Company Information – This is a short section that covers when your business was formed, who the founders are and what their roles are, the number of employees, and the business’s location(s).
- Growth Highlights – If your business is already established, include this section and provide examples of your company’s growth. Include graphs and/or charts if you have them.
- Keys to Success – How is your company different, and why is this an asset? Be concise, presenting this information in bullet format or as a numbered list.
- Company Summary
Provide a quick definition of your company. Keep it short; a few sentences is enough. How do your products and services meet specific needs?
- Company Ownership – Who owns the company? What type of corporation is it, if applicable? Are there any part owners?
- Company History – What is the company’s history? Use a few sentences to put your company’s history in a nutshell if you are just getting started. If you have been in business for a while, you will need to create a detailed history that includes financial information. It is a good idea to structure this information as a chart if there is a lot to go through.
- Company Structure – How is the company structured? One to two paragraphs of information should be enough.
- Operations Overview – WHow does the company work to achieve its goals? Be concise, but include all the details. A bulleted list can work well in this part of the business plan.
- Business Location – Simple, but necessary: Where is your business located? What are the benefits of this location?
- Products and Services –
What products and services will you offer? Provide a short summary in this section.
- Product and Service Description – Provide a detailed description of the products and services you offer here. Create additional subheadings if needed.
- Competitive Comparison – How does your business compare with the competition? Name competitors and show how you differ.
- Sales Literature – What kind of sales literature do you plan to use? Include examples.
- Sourcing – Where will you get raw materials, etc.?
- Technology – What kind of technology will you be using to create the products and/or services you offer? What kind of advantages does this technology provide?
- Future Products and Services Are there products and/or services you would like to add to your menu? Write about future offerings here, remembering to keep the information concise.
- Market Analysis Summary – Prove that you have conducted a thorough analysis of the market before submitting your business plan to potential funding sources. Use this area to provide a brief summary of the section’s contents.
- Market Segmentation – Where does your business fall in the overall market you plan to enter?
- Industry Analysis – This is a quick, very well organized analysis of the industry you plan to participate in.
- Industry Participants – Who participates in this industry?
- Distribution Patterns – How are goods and services distributed?
- Competition and Buying Patterns – Describe industry competition and demonstrate knowledge of buying patterns.
- Main Competitors – Who do you think your main competitors will be?
- Market Analysis – What kind of market is there for the goods and services you plan to offer? This part of the business plan is of incredible importance. Be sure that you have done your homework, and be certain that you present the results of your analysis in a tightly organized way. It can be helpful to create a chart.
- Marketing Strategy – What is your overall marketing strategy? What demographic will you target, and how will you reach them?
- Pricing Strategy – What is your pricing strategy? How do your prices differ from those already present in the market, and what advantage do you forsee?
- Promotion Strategy – Describe your promotion strategy in greater detail here. If you have promotional materials, this is where to put them.
- Sales Strategy – How will you finalize sales?
- Sales Forecast – Place your sales forecast here. Be sure it is well researched, and include a visual aid of some kind if possible.
This is a basic business plan example that can be modified to suit your needs. Use a different format if you prefer; there are many acceptable ways to organize information using all of the important elements mentioned above.
As you can see, this business plan template is simple, straightforward, and factual. Be sure to replace all details with your own information, and ensure that you proofread carefully before sending it forward for review. Having a well-thought out, original business plan is the best way to ensure that bankers and investors will take you seriously. By showing that you’ve carefully thought about how to launch your business, you are taking an important step in proving that you’ve got what it takes to be successful.