Simple Business Plan Template for Startups,
Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Why Use Growthink’s Business Plan Template?

Growthink’s business plan template is the result of our 25+ years of experience and research into the business plans that help entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners attract potential investors and lenders, and build successful companies.

We designed it so you can create the best business plan for your company!

What is a Business Plan Template?

A business plan template is a document that allows you to quickly write a detailed business plan. Among other things, it includes all key business plan sections: an executive summary, company description, industry and market analyses, competitive overview, marketing and operations plans, management team and five year financial projections. Get started writing your business plan today by using our simple business plan template.



Writing a Business Plan and Business Plan Template FAQs

business plan templateClick here to download our free simple business plan template for use in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or another word processing software to write a business plan.

Our startup business plan template includes an outline of each of the 10 key sections to help you write a plan to start a new business, grow your existing business, and/or help you secure funding such as a business loan from the Small Business Administration, local bank, grants, angel investors, venture capitalists, or from other financial institutions.

Unlike our premium version, our free templates do not include all the key sub-sections, the questions that walk you through step-by-step, the professional cover page designs, nor the financial projections template that allows you to create a professional financial plan in minutes.

Click here to learn more about the World’s #1 Best-Selling Business Plan Template. (Rated 4.9 Stars on Reseller Ratings)

business plan template

You can access our business plan pdf download here.  This is a pdf version of our basic business plan template.

Our free business plan template pdf includes everything you need to include in your plan- executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management plan, financial plan and appendix- and the key questions that each must answer. This free business plan template pdf will definitely get you started in the right direction.

We do offer a premium version of our business plan template. Click here to learn more about it. The premium version includes numerous features not available in the free template. Its most touted feature is its financial projections template which allows you to simply enter your estimated sales and growth rates, and it automatically calculates your complete five-year financial projections including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Here’s the link to our Ultimate Business Plan Template.

Use the simple business plan template below and answer the questions in each section to create a simple business plan for your company.

How To Write a Simple Business Plan

  1. Describe Your Business and Business Goals in the Executive Summary

Company Overview

  • What type of company are you operating (e.g., a software company, a bakery, etc.)?
  • Are you offering a product or a service?
  • What is the legal structure of your company (e.g., sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, etc.)?
  • What is your mission statement and value proposition?
  • What is the company’s history?
  • What is your business model and business idea?
  • Is there a market pain that your business solves?

Success Factors

  • What is it about your company that makes it (or will make it) uniquely qualified to succeed?
  • What milestones has your company achieved to demonstrate success?
  1. Conduct Market Research To Develop a Comprehensive Industry Analysis

Market Analysis

  • In what market are you competing (e.g., the fast-food market, the running shoe market)?
  • How big is the industry 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 analysis)?
  1. Better Understand Your Target Customers Through a Customer Analysis

Target Market

  • Who are your target customers?
  • What are their primary needs when choosing a product/service provider such as your company?
  1. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Competitors Through a Competitive Analysis

Competitive Advantage

  • 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? What are your key points of differentiation and your value proposition?
  • How does your product or service compare to those offered by the competition?
  1. Describe How You Will Reach Your Potential Customers Through a Targeted Marketing Plan

Marketing Strategy

  • What is your product or service offering?
  • What marketing and sales strategies will you use to attract customers? and what promotional methods will you employ (e.g., radio advertising, pay-per-click ads) ?

Pricing Strategy

  • How will you price your product or service?
  • What discounts or promotions will you offer?
  1. Describe Your Management Team and the Experience They Bring To the Table.

Key Members of the Team

  • Who is on your management team?
  • What experiences, relationships, etc. do they possess that will help your venture succeed? Have they ever run other businesses?
  • Are there key employees that you must hire in the future to improve your company’s odds of success?
  • Do you have any business partners that take part in developing the business strategy?
  1. Calculate Realistic Financial Projections to Develop Your Business’s Financial Plan

Financial Model

  • What is the main financial information about your company (revenue and expense projections)?
  • How much outside funding (if any) do you need? What are your specific needs? (equipment, supplies,e etc.)
  • What are your revenue streams? How much revenue can you really generate each year over the next five years?
  • Are the profit margins high enough to sustain the company?
  • What are your loss projections?

Completing this simple business plan template will provide a road map to completing your business plan and 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 business idea or creatively come up with ways to outmaneuver competitors.

On a similar note, in completing this lean business plan, 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 a value proposition that appeals to them.

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

Two additional types of simple business plan templates:

  • One-page business plan- A one-page business plan is a compressed version of a traditional business plan that fits neatly into a single page. It usually includes only high level information about your business. Looking for a one-page business plan? Learn more and download our free one-page business plan template.
  • Lean Business plan- A lean startup is supported by a one-page business plan that does not require extensive financial information, market research and/or business development plans. The lean startup needs to focus on factors that present immediate opportunities in order to gain a competitive advantage. Looking for a lean business plan? Learn more about the lean business planning process.

 

A startup business plan is nearly identical to writing a business plan for an established business. The main difference between a startup business plan and business plans for an existing company 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 and proving that you will be a successful business owner.

A startup business plan template provides a road map to long-term success and business growth. It should include the same 10 key components of all business plans:

  1. Describe your business, mission and long-term goals in the executive summary.
  2. Explain the structure of your business, the physical location, and other basic business information in the company overview.
  3. Research your industry to explain current trends and influential factors for your business through a complete industry analysis.
  4. Identify the demographics and purchasing habits of your ideal customer in a detailed customer analysis.
  5. Better understand what your business is up against with a competitive analysis to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Develop a marketing plan that will help you reach your ideal customers, drive traffic to your website, and increase conversions.
  7. Create an operations plan that describes your day-to-day processes and procedures that make your business successful.
  8. Describe the management team that will be responsible for the success of your business.
  9. Create a comprehensive financial plan with realistic projections of where your business will be in the next 3-5 years.
  10. Attach supporting documents, financial statements, etc. in the appendix.

Learn the step-by-step writing process for how to write a comprehensive business plan and get a startup business plan template.

Learn how to successfully write your own business plan in the video below.

Anyone can write a business plan following the traditional business plan template, it’s important to remember that the most important part of your plan is to explain why your company is uniquely qualified to succeed and have strong financial data to support your business idea. This is why it’s important to do your market research to have a clear understanding of your industry, market analysis, target customer, and competitive landscape.

If you have a complex business or need help writing a professional plan, it can be helpful to use business plan software, hire an expert business plan consulting firm, or a business plan writer.  So, while you may want to write your business plan, the experience of a consultant can help you develop a more thorough and achievable business plan for you to attract investors, secure funding and/or grow your business. They will also be able to provide helpful tips to help navigate the business planning process.

Learn more about Growthink’s expert business plan consultants and how we have helped develop winning business plans for countless happy customers.

A business plan is a very important document for any business. It helps you to outline your goals and business objectives, as well as how you plan to achieve them. If you’re looking for a printable business plan template, there are a few different options available to you.

One option is to download a free business plan template. Be aware that free business plan templates are often generic for any type of business, so while it will help you write your business plan, you may need to do some additional editing before using them.

Another option is to purchase a template from a business planning company. These types of business plan templates are of higher quality and include a range of features that can help you to create professional-looking business plans and financial model including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for high-quality, printable business plan templates that are easy to edit, then a purchasing a business plan template is the best option. If you’re on a tight budget or you don’t need a lot of features, then a free, simple business plan template may be a better choice. Whichever option you choose, make sure to take the time to customize the template to fit your specific business.

Yes, a written business plan is nearly always required when seeking financing.  You need a business plan whether you are a small business, a startup, an existing business looking to grow or a seasoned business owner. Business plans fall into three common categories: business plans for funding, those used for strategy, and business plans for both fundraising and strategy.

Regardless of their business model, many business owners use their business plans to raise bank loans to grow. The funding request allows them to acquire additional business resources and improve their financial health. New business owners often seek bank loans as well as funding from angel investors and/or friends and family.

Importantly, regardless of the source of funding you desire, a good business plan will stand out to a potential investor by showing compelling reasons why you will achieve financial success. A successful business plan must clearly highlight the business opportunity and want investors to buy in.  Investors will recognize a well researched business plan. A winning business plan will help you achieve long-term success, business growth and secure funding.

10 Key Elements of a Winning Business Plan

Most business plans have the following 10 key components:

  1. Executive Summary

    The Executive Summary provides a high level synopsis of your business plan, including your company’s mission statement, business concept, company description and an overview of its products and service offering. The Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan and is usually completed after you complete all of the following sections.

  2. Company Overview

    This business plan section provides an overview of your business and your business ideas.  It describes your product or service and their key features.  It explains your business’ unique qualifications to serve its target markets.

  3. Industry Analysis

    This section describes the market in which your company will be competing, including market research, data on target market segments, and industry trends.

  4. Customer Analysis

    This section assesses your customer segments and should include a market analysis. The market analysis should identify your target market, ideal customer, convey the needs of these customers and show how your products and services will meet those needs.

  5. Competitive Analysis

    All business plans must identify your direct and indirect competitors, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and show your company’s competitive advantages. This is a great place to really highlight your key points of differentiation.

  6. Marketing Plan

    The marketing plan should include detailed information about your sales strategy and marketing efforts for penetrating your target markets.

  7. Operations Plan

    This section details the internal strategies for your business development. It outlines staffing needs, milestones, key activities and processes (processing purchase orders, sourcing raw materials, production process, patent filings etc).

  8. Management Team

    This section of your business plan should demonstrate that your company has the required personnel, investors, advisors, and shareholders to be successful.

  9. Financial Plan

    Your financial plan should include your 5-year projected business financials including your proforma income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.  It should clearly illustrate your company’s revenue streams, sales volume and profitability model over five years.

  10. Appendix

    The appendix, is the last section and it supports your overall business plan and should include your full financial projections along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling (i.e., intellectual property documentation, financial statements, management team resumes, etc.)

A professional business plan will also include a table of contents and a nicely designed cover page. Business plans should also be customized with your specific information and designed to fit with your business concept.


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