Free Business Plan Template

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Free Business Plan Template: A Practical Framework for Creating Your Business Plan

A business plan is the secret to starting a business successfully. 

The easiest way to simplify the work of writing a business plan is to start with a business plan template.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to formatting your strategy because you have already invested time and effort into planning your small business. Instead, rely on tried-and-true frameworks developed by startups and entrepreneurs who came before you to help you design a comprehensive and effective plan.

Although developing a business plan is frequently used to obtain finance, many businesses find it beneficial even if they never work with an investor. To assist you in getting started, we created a free business plan template.

What our business plan template includes

This template is intended to make sure you’re considering all of the crucial elements of launching a new business. It’s designed to assist aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs in understanding the complete spectrum of operating a company, uncover functional areas they might not have thought of, and pinpoint areas where they might need to advance their skills as their companies develop.

However, it might not have the precise information or format that a prospective lender or investor would find most appealing. Check with your target organisations—typically banks or investors—to see if they have a template you can use to increase your chances of success if your aim with a business plan is to obtain finance.

This free business plan template includes seven key elements:

Executive summary:An overview of your entire strategy that is normally created after the remainder of the plan is finished.
Business description: a description of your company. It has numerous potential sub-sections, including the type of business model you use and your legal structure (whether you’re a sole proprietor or limited liability company (LLC)). Additionally, you can include additional significant details like your company’s mission statement and value proposition.

The description section will also cover your management team, business strategy and objectives, and general background information about the brand.

Market analysis: This section covers a wide range of topics, including projected market size, target markets, and competitive advantage. To address the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, it will include a competitive analysis of your industry.

Products and services:What you offer and the key characteristics of your goods or services. Any plans for intellectual property, such as copyright or patent filings, will also be included. Your business plan’s market research for new product lines will be included in this section.

Marketing plan: What strategic choices you’ve made about issues like your pricing strategy and how you want to publicise your firm. The demographics of potential customers, your sales strategy, and your success measures are also covered.

Logistics and operations plan: Everything that needs to happen to turn your raw materials into products and get them into the hands of your customers.

Financial plan:Included must be a look at your financial forecasts. An income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash-flow statement are three essential financial statements that are represented by the templates in this section. You can also state whether you require a business loan and the amount of the loan.

Each component of our business plan template offers an overview of the most crucial material to include as well as instructions on how to approach writing and conducting research for each one.

Professional business plan example

In addition to our template, we’ve developed a sample business plan that uses a made-up e-commerce company. Depending on their objectives, we’ve underlined where and how an entrepreneur should provide more specifics to advance their plans.

Our imaginary company designs personalised greeting cards with your pet’s paw prints on them, and the creator is currently developing a business plan to better understand the market, as well as the logistics and expenses associated, before they officially debut.

The sample has been organised to make it easier for you to comprehend each area and how it relates to the planning and review phases of a business plan. This example won’t be a comprehensive or official look at a business plan if you’re looking for funding, but it will provide you a wonderful place to start and notes about where to expand.

Read over the following business plan sample before writing your own. You can use it as inspiration for your own planning by downloading a copy in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

Lean business plan example

Your whole business plan will be condensed into a lean business plan style. It’s useful when tailoring your plan for a particular target market, such as investors or new hires.

Also known as a one-page business plan, it includes only the most important, need-to-know information, such as:

  • Company description 
  • Suppliers
  • Market analysis
  • Team members
  • Customer segments
  • Marketing plan

Want to create a lean business plan? Read Trimming It Down: How to Create a Lean Business Plan.

A good business plan helps you operate successfully

When you’re enthusiastic about a new business or side project, it can be tempting to go right into execution. However, by taking the time to prepare a business plan and put your ideas on paper, you can:

  • Test the viability of business ideas.A business plan will help you understand if a concept is actually viable, whether you have one business idea or many.
  • Plan for your next phase.A business plan can assist you in understanding what must occur and in identifying any gaps that need to be filled, regardless of whether your goal is to launch a new company or grow an existing one.
  • Clarify marketing strategy, goals, and tactics.You can see the practical next steps to take on a large, vague notion by creating a business strategy. You may also use it to find specific techniques that will complement your plan and to help you focus your strategy.
  • Scope the necessary work.Cost overruns and delays are almost unavoidable without a solid plan. You can use a business plan to see the entire scope of the work that needs to be done and modify your time and financial commitment accordingly.
  • Hire and build partnerships.A well-written business plan is one of the best resources you have at your disposal when you need support from possible partners and staff, especially in the early phases of your company. A business plan offers a more detailed look at your objectives for the company, allowing partners to choose whether or not they concur with your vision.
  • Secure funds.One of the most popular reasons to write a business plan is to obtain money for your company, whether through venture capital, a bank, or Shopify Capital.

Should you use a template for a business plan?

A business plan can be as formal or casual as the circumstances require, but even if you like to plan on the back of a napkin, there are some significant advantages to beginning with an existing blueprint or template.

  • No blank-page paralysis.Even experienced writers can feel intimidated by a blank page. You can overcome the inertia of beginning your company plan by using an established framework and principles, and you can avoid the task of creating an outline from scratch. A template can always be modified to meet your needs.
  • Guidance on what to include in each section.If you’ve never taken a business course, it’s possible that you’ve never made a balance sheet or a SWOT analysis. It might be challenging to comprehend business jargon at times, but templates that provide instructions on how to fill in each area in straightforward language can help you build a comprehensive and successful strategy.
  • Knowing you’ve considered every section.In some situations, you might not need to fill out every area of a new business plan template, but its original form demonstrates that you’re excluding a piece on purpose rather than by accident. 

Tips for creating a successful business plan

Beyond the advice provided in this free business plan template, there are some high-level strategic recommendations that can assist you in writing an efficient, comprehensive strategy while eliminating busywork.

  • Know your audience.You might not need to include the same amount of depth or polish in a business plan that you want to send to possible investors if you’re writing it for yourself to gain clarity on your concepts and your industry as a whole. Your choice of how much time to devote to your plan will depend on who will read it.
  • Know your goals.Knowing the goals of your plan could help you choose the appropriate scope. You might put more effort into it if your objective is to use the strategy as a growth plan rather than to comprehend the competitive environment of a new market.
  • Take it step by step. It can be intimidating to write a 10- to 15-page document, so focus on finishing one section at a time. Choose a few pieces to begin with that you feel most comfortable writing.start on the next few sections once those are complete. Jot down bullet-point notes in each section before you start writing to organise your thoughts and streamline the writing process.

It’s time to write your plan when you’ve completed the strategic planning. For more information, see our guide on drafting a business plan and download the business plan template.

Maximizing your business planning efforts

Planning is key to the success of any type of business, whether you’re a startup, non-profit, or corporation.

To make sure your efforts are focused on the highest-value parts of your own business planning, like clarifying your goals, setting a strategy, and understanding the market and competitive landscape, lean on a business plan outline to handle the structure and format for you. Even if you eventually omit sections, you’ll save yourself time and energy by starting with a framework already in place.

Business Plan