Simple Business Plan Template for Small Businesses [Updated 2021]

Business Plan Template for Small Businesses [Updated 2021]

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Business Plan Template

A business plan template is a document that allows you to quickly write a business plan. Among other things, it includes an introduction, executive summary, company description, and marketing plan. A simple business plan will help grow your business. Create your business plan today using the following template.

Growthink’s business plan template is the result of 20+ years of research into the business plans that help entrepreneurs and small businesses attract investors, raise investment capital, and build successful companies.

Follow the links to each section of our simple business plan template:

Business Plan Resources & FAQs

Using our step-by-step instructions, learn how to write a business plan and what you should include in each key section of your business plan.

Click here for a simple Microsoft Word business plan template you can download.

The Word business plan download includes an outline of each of the 10 key plan sections. Unlike the premium/paid version, it does not include all the key sub-sections, the questions that walk you through step-by-step, the professional designs, nor the financial projections template that allows you to create professional financial statements in minutes versus weeks if creating them from scratch.

Click here to learn more about our paid/premium business plan template which is the world’s #1 best-selling business plan template.

Click here to download the pdf version of our simple business plan template.

The business plan template pdf allows you to see the key sections to complete in your plan and the key questions that each must answer. The business plan pdf will definitely get you started in the right direction.

We do offer a low-price paid business plan template. Click here to learn more about it. The paid version includes numerous features that allow you to create a professional plan in very little time. Its most touted feature is its financial model template. This allows you to simply enter some figures (such as your estimated sales and growth rates), and it then automatically calculates your complete five-year financial projections including your Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. Here’s the link again to Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template.

A simple business plan template might be more appropriate for you if you are merely deciding whether your venture is viable or not. A simple template would not be appropriate to show investors.

An outline for your simple template is below, and as you will see, it only has 7 sections. Feel free to copy/paste this to your favorite word processing software (e.g., Microsoft word, google documents) and then answer the questions included.

I. Executive Summary

Business Overview: What type of company are you operating (e.g., a software company, a bakery, etc.)?

Success Factors: What is it about your company that makes it (or will make it) uniquely qualified to succeed?

II. Industry Analysis

Market Overview: In what market are you competing (e.g., the fast food market, the running shoe market)? How big is the market and is that size big enough? Are there positive or negative trends affecting the market (e.g., is it growing/shrinking, is government regulation on the horizon that could change the market)?

III. Customer Analysis

Target Customers: Who are you target customers and what are their primary needs when choosing a product/service provider such as your company?

IV. Competitive Analysis

Competitive Advantages: With whom will your company compete and how will your company better serve customer needs than your competitors? How else will you “beat” your competition?

V. Marketing Plan

What key products/services will you offer and what promotions methods (e.g., radio advertising, pay-per-click ads) will you use to attract customers?

VI. Management Team

Who is on your management team? What experiences/relationships/other do they possess that will help your venture succeed? Who must you hire in the future to improve your company’s odds of success?

VII. Financial Plan

Financial Plan: What are the main financial implications of your company. How much outside funding (if any) do you need? How much revenue can you realistically generate each year over the next five years? Are the profit margins high enough to sustain the company?

Completing this simple template will force you to answer key questions about your company which will help in determining its feasibility and likelihood for success. For example, in choosing the ideal promotions strategy to attract new clients, you will be able to estimate the cost of acquiring new customers. This will allow you to compare that cost to your estimated customer lifetime value and ensure healthy profit margins are possible (or not).

Likewise a competitive analysis might alert you to stiffer competition than you imagined and prompt you to opt for a new venture or creatively come up with ways to outmaneuver competitors.

On a similar note, in completing your simple template, you might realize the market size isn’t big enough to support the large, thriving enterprise you’d like to create. Or perhaps market trends are moving away from the problems your company’s products and services solve.

Yet another example of the importance of this exercise is that it forces you to really think about your target customers. The better and more narrowly you can define your target customers, the more cost-effectively you’ll be able to attract them and the more successful you can be in developing value propositions that appeal to them.

In any case, completing this simple template allows you to better understand your venture and what it will take to make it successful.

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

If so, please review the samples below.

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

Restaurant Business Plan Hotel Business Plan Record Label Business Plan Bakery Business Plan

A business plan is important in that it serves two core purposes; it provides 1) financial validation and 2) serves as a roadmap.

Financial Validation: With regard to financial validation, the planning process gives a strong indication, to both you and outside funding sources, as to whether your venture will be financially successful. Your financial projections, if completed properly (more on this below), allow financing sources to calculate whether you’ll be able to repay your loan or provide an appropriate Return on Investment.

Importantly, the written sections of your plan support your financial projections. For instance, the Industry Analysis section must prove that your market size is large enough to support your success. And, your Marketing Plan section must show that you’ll be employing promotional tactics that allow you to attract customers at a reasonable cost.

Serves as a Roadmap: In particular, the Operations Plan section of your plan lays out your action plan. It details the key accomplishments and milestones you have established and when you expect to complete this.

The roadmap gives you and your team a clear path to follow. It keeps you focused and improves your odds of reaching the goals you’ve set.

When you are conceiving a new company or new product or service, you should at least create a basic plan (see our simple business plan template below). This plan should cover the basics of your plan. For instance, it should include the reasons you think the company, product or service will be successful. It should prove that the market is big enough to support your venture. And, it must validate that financially it makes sense. For example, while you might be able to get a million people to pay you $20 for a new computer, if you can’t manufacture the computers for significantly less than $20, the company isn’t viable.

If you are seeking outside funding or are looking to grow your business to the next level, it is also time to create a plan.

A startup business plan template is nearly identical to the template for an established business. The main difference is that established businesses should focus more on discussing past accomplishments and rely on historical data in their financial forecasts. In a startup business plan, the company needs to spend more time validating future forecasts since there’s no hard data on which to base them.

You can also learn more about how to write a business plan if desired.

Go here for answers to additional business plan FAQs.