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Free Business Plan Template
& Sample Business Plans

ON THIS PAGE

Business Plan Template to Download




 
Click the link below to download your free business plan template. When you click, a dialog box will open that allows you to save the template on your computer as a “.docx” file. Such files can be opened in Microsoft Word or free programs like LibreOffice.

Click here to Download the Free Business Plan Template" 

False Business Plan Information on the Internet (Avoid This)

There are several legal template websites that promote their “legal business plan template.”

It is important to note that a business plan is NOT a legal document. And there are no state laws with regards to business plans.

Rather, your business plan is more of a marketing document. That is, your business plan should convince others to invest in and/or otherwise get involved in your company.

That’s not to say that your business plan shouldn’t include hard facts and figures, a step-by-step growth plan, and realistic financial projections. It should. But it should also, if you are using your plan to see outside funding, present your company in the best possible light. It should NOT read like a boring legal document, but rather should inspire and excite readers.

 

How to Write Your Business Plan Section-by-Section

A business plan has 10 sections that detail your business concept and growth plan. These 10 sections are depicted in the image below and then are explained in detail thereafter.  
 

I. Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan. It gives the reader an overview of your business and the opportunity to get involved in it. Most readers never get beyond the first page of your Executive Summary so spend time making it great.

Business Overview

Don’t start your business overview with a long story. Rather, clearly and concisely state what your company does. For example, “We are an organic restaurant located in Miami, FL” or “We operate a social networking website for working mothers” are good, concise overviews.

Success Factors

Here you must answer why your company is uniquely qualified to succeed. If you have no unique qualifications, you will fail. Is there anything about your products and services that are unique? Your management team? Etc. Answer this crucial question here.

Financial Plan

In this section of your Executive Summary you should show an overview of your expected financial performance over the next five years.

 
 

II. Company Overview

In this section of your plan, you need to give a snapshot of your company. Answer questions such as when it was formed, what legal structure you have, where you are located, what you’ve achieved to date, etc.      
 

III. Industry Analysis

The Industry Analysis section of your business plan tells the reader about your industry/marketplace.

Market Overview

Here you will discuss the characteristics of your market. How big is it in units and/or revenues? Is the market growing? What are the trends facing your market?

Relevant Market Size

Your relevant market size is the annual revenue that your company could attain if we owned 100% market share. Calculate this so your readers understand the size of your market opportunity.

 
 

IV. Customer Analysis

In this section, you will describe your target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

Here you will give a profile of your target customers. How old are they? Are they married? Where do they live/work? Etc.

Customer Needs

Here you will profile the needs of your target customers. Do they care most about speed? Price? Comfort? Etc. Detail your answers here.

 

V. Competitive Analysis

In this section of your business plan, you need to provide an overview of your competitors.

Direct Competitors

Direct competitors are companies that fill the same customer need you do with the same or a similar solution.

Detail your direct competitors here. What products/services do they offer? At what price points? Etc.

Indirect Competitors

Direct competitors are companies that fill the same customer need you do with a different solution. For example, a supermarket that sells frozen pizzas would be an indirect competitor to a pizza shop.

Detail your indirect competitors here. What products/services do they offer? At what price points? Etc.

Competitive Advantages

In this section of your plan, you need to detail the reasons your company is positioned to outperform both direct and indirect competitors.

 
 

VI. Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan details your products and/or services, pricing and promotions plans.

Products, Services & Pricing

For each of your key products, detail the description/features, price and other key features.

Promotions Plan

Here, discuss which of the 28 promotional tactics (direct mail, online ads, radio, etc.) you will use to attract new customers.

Distribution Plan

If you operate a retail store and/or an online store, and your storefront is the only way in which customers can buy from you, you do not have to complete this section of your business plan.

Conversely, if customers can buy from you via other methods (e.g., other retailers, distributors, etc.), detail these methods here.

 
 

VII. Operations Plan

Your Operations Plan must detail 1) the key day-to-day processes that your business performs to serve customers and 2) the key business milestones that your company expects to accomplish as you grow.

Key Operational Processes

Detail the key day-to-day processes that your business performs to serve customers such as marketing, product development, etc.

Milestones

Detail the key business milestones that your company expects to accomplish as you grow and when you expect to accomplish them.

 
 

VIII. Management Team

The Management Team section of your plan details your team members.

Management Team Members

For each team member, detail their name, title and backgrounds.

Management Team Gaps

If your management team has gaps (key people you expect to hire in the future), detail what position(s) is/are missing and who will fill the positions.

Board Members

If you have a Board of Directors or Board of Advisors, include the bios of your Board members here.

 
 

IX. Financial Plan

The Financial Plan section of your business plan details the financial implications of running your business.

Revenue Model

Here you will detail how your company generates revenues (e.g., selling products, advertising sales, etc.)

Financial Highlights

Here you will give a snapshot of the company’s expected financial performance over the next 5 years, particularly with regards to sales and expenses.

Funding Requirements/Use of Funds

Here you will explain how much outside funding you require, if any, and the core uses of these funds.

Exit Strategy

If you are seeking equity capital, you need to explain your “exit strategy” here or how investors will “cash out” from their investment.

 
 

X. Appendix

The Appendix is used to support the rest of the business plan. It should include your full financial forecasts (Projected Income Statements, Projected Balance Sheet, Projected Cash Flow Statements) and other supporting information such as patents, store designs, customer and/or employee contracts, etc.

 
 

Sample Business Plans

Would it be helpful to see some completed sample business plans?

If so, please click on and view the samples below.

Remember, the most important part of your business plan is to explain why your business is uniquely qualified to succeed, so resist the urge to copy a sample business plan completely.

Click on the bottom left corner to see the plans in full screen.









 

Additional Business Plan & Entrepreneurship Resources

Business Plan Template: What to Include [Forbes]
Growthink Blog
Growthink Business Plan Help Center
Small Business Administration
Kauffman Foundation
National Venture Capital Association

 

 

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