You need a business plan to turn your entrepreneurial dream into reality. You may start by using these straightforward business plan templates.
- A business plan outlines a company’s objectives as well as its strategy for achieving them.
- Simple and conventional business plan templates are available online, including one that can be downloaded for free from Business News Daily.
- Great business plan software is available from LivePlan, Bizplan, GoSmallBiz, and Enloop, which can elevate your company plan to the next level.
- This article explains how to construct a business plan for entrepreneurs and small company owners.
You may effectively complete your journey’s finish by using a road map. The same is true for small enterprises’ business strategies. They outline the checkpoints you must pass to develop a successful small company. They are crucial for seeing and overcoming roadblocks as well. Financial considerations, marketing, operations, and sales are all components of a company plan that assist you in achieving your objectives.
There are several online business plan templates accessible to ease the burden of writing. Utilizing straightforward, simple-to-use business plan tools may help you spend less time writing and more time establishing your firm.
A business plan is what?
The best method to carry out the majority of brilliant business ideas is to have a strategy. A business plan is a written summary that you provide to people you wish to bring into your firm, including investors. In your presentation to potential investors, you should outline the objectives of your firm and explain how you plan to turn a profit.
It also acts as a road map for your firm, keeping it on course and ensuring that activities expand and change to fulfill the objectives set out in your strategy. A business plan may be a live document that adapts as conditions evolve, but it should always reflect the main objectives of your company.
What makes a business strategy necessary?
A new business’s launch is stressful. Having a plan in place will significantly lessen the effect those difficulties will have on your company. Writing a strong business plan is a crucial step in becoming ready for whatever problems your company may have.
You may more clearly comprehend what has to be done in order to accomplish your objectives by writing a business strategy. Your completed company plan will act as a reminder of these objectives. You may use it as a useful tool to help you keep focused and on course.
What are a company plan’s three key goals?
It’s critical to comprehend why a company plan is being created before you begin to compose one. The following are the top three justifications for creating a business plan:
Decide on a company direction. Establishing your future ambitions is the main goal of a company strategy. These strategies should include the activities your business will take to accomplish each objective or milestone. You may choose your company’s focus and seek growth by developing a path to your objectives.
Obtain financing. Before making an investment in your company, banks, private investors, and other lenders often look for a thorough business plan. Investors are interested in how you run your company, your projected income and expenses, and, most crucially, how they will make money off of their investment.
draw in executives. You’ll probably need to expand your workforce with executives as your company expands. You may find executive talent and assess if they are a suitable match for your organization with the use of a business plan.
You may write your business plan as a document or have it created as a slideshow, like a PowerPoint presentation. It could be advantageous to produce both versions. For instance, the PowerPoint may be used to entice viewers, and as a follow-up, viewers can be provided the paper version that offers additional information.
Free sample of a business plan you may download
To assist you in creating a business plan, Business News Daily has put up a simple yet valuable business plan template. The fully editable template may be used to concentrate your company’s focus, secure board members, and draw in investors.
New business owners may find business plans daunting, but our template makes it simple to include all the information needed by financial institutions and individual investors. The template is divided into eight major parts, one for each major theme. A table of contents is included with the template for simple navigation. You’ll get pointers on how to properly write the necessary information as you personalize each area.
Various business plan types
Simple and conventional business strategies are the two primary categories. Traditional business plans are extensive, in-depth documents that include both short-term and long-term goals. A basic business plan, in contrast, concentrates on a few essential indicators in short detail to swiftly exchange information with investors.
An easy business plans
Ash Maurya, a specialist in business models, has created a straightforward company strategy known as a “lean canvas.” The model, which was created in 2010, is still among the most often imitated formats for company plans.
The nine areas of a lean canvas include high-value data and metrics that will appeal to investors in each segment. This one-page lean business strategy often includes the following information:
- vital metrics
- original suggestion
- improper advantage
- customer objectives
- structure of costs
- income sources
Standard business plan
Typical plans are extensive papers that might be 30 or 40 pages long. A typical business plan serves as a roadmap for a new company, outlining its development from the time of its founding until it becomes an established company many years later. Traditional business plans address the following topics:
- a succinct overview
- Business description
- Services and goods
- market research
- a management group
- fiscal strategy
- Operating strategy
Each component of a conventional business plan is described in depth below.
1. Executive summary
The most crucial part of your business plan is the executive summary since it has to hook readers and persuade them to read more. If your executive summary fails to hold the reader’s interest, they won’t read any further and won’t get interested in your company.
Despite being the initial element of your business plan, the executive summary should be written last. When you are prepared to write this part, it is advised that you briefly discuss the issue (or market need) you want to address, your consumer-focused solution, a synopsis of the founders and/or owners, and significant financial information. The trick to this part is to keep it succinct but interesting.
2. Organization description
A summary of your complete company is provided in this area. Include the basics, including the date your firm was established, the kind of business organization it is (a limited liability company (LLC), a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a C corporation, or a S corporation), and the state where it is registered. Give readers a thorough knowledge of the origins of your business by providing a brief history of it. Find out more about articles of incorporation and the requirements for launching a company.
3. Items and solutions
Then, go into detail about the goods and/or services your company offers. By illustrating the issue you’re seeking to address, concentrate on your clients’ wants and viewpoint. This section’s objective is to demonstrate that your company meets a legitimate market demand and has a bright future.
4. Market research
Clearly explain your target market, where you will discover clients, how you will connect with them, and, most crucially, how you will provide your goods or services to them in this area. Give a thorough study of your ideal client and how your company might help them.
This part should also contain a list of your rivals, along with an explanation of how your company stands out from the others in the market or sector. What are their advantages and disadvantages, and how will you set yourself apart from the competition?
Additionally, you will need to create a marketing strategy depending on the specifics of your company. For instance, if you own a tiny local firm, you should research your closest rivals. Franchises must carry out a thorough study, maybe on a nationwide basis. You may learn about the present trends and growth possibilities in your chosen industry by using competitor data. These specifics demonstrate to potential investors just how well-versed you are in the market.
The target market given for this section provides a description of your ideal client. The age range, gender, income levels, location, marital status, and geographic areas of the target market may be included in the data.
Entrepreneurs often utilize a SWOT analysis to compile all of the data they have gathered into a market study. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats is referred to as “SWOT.” While opportunities and threats examine the risks and rewards of the current market, strengths and weaknesses focus on the benefits and drawbacks that are specific to your organization.
5. The administration
People desire a thorough grasp of the possible investment before they decide to invest in your company. This section should describe the structure of your company. The founders/owners, key management personnel, board members, advisers, etc. should all be included.
As you list each person, provide a brief description of their background and position within your organization. Consider using this part as a collection of brief resumes and think about adding full-length resumes to your company strategy.
6. Economic plan
A thorough breakdown of your money should be included in the financial plan. You should at the very least include projected profit and loss for the next three to five years, as well as cash flow figures. You may also include your sales projection, balance sheet, and historical financial information from the last several years. Consider include the following items:
- Income statement: Investors require specific details to verify your company plan’s feasibility. Expect to include an income statement with your firm’s full profile in the business plan. The revenue, costs, and profits will all be included in the income statement. For new firms and every three months for those that are already established, income statements are produced.
- Your prediction for cash flow is yet another component of your financial strategy. You make an estimate of how much money will enter and leave your firm in this part. Two advantages come from presenting a cash flow prediction. First, this projection shows if your company is a high-risk or low-risk endeavor. A cash flow prediction also reveals whether you would gain more from long-term or short-term finance, which is its second advantage.
- Break-even point analysis A break-even analysis should be part of your financial strategy. When all of your business’s costs are covered by revenues, that moment is known as break-even. Investors are interested in your revenue needs to see if your company can meet the financial goals you’ve outlined in your business plan.
Ensure the accuracy and precision of this section. It’s often advisable to draft this part with a qualified accountant. If you’re looking for outside finance for your company, be sure to explain why you need it, how you plan to utilize the funds, and when investors might anticipate a return.
The following advice is provided by Jennifer Spaziano, vice president of business development at Accion, if you really want to manage your financial plan:
- Observe the standards for accounting commonly recognized. Generally speaking, if you’re putting out a plan to get a loan or a line of credit, the financial section of your plan should adhere to the accounting rules established by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board.
- learn spreadsheets thoroughly. The most effective and widely used method of presenting financial data is via spreadsheets.
- Look for outside help. You can put the figures together and present them effectively by seeking counsel from your financial adviser or accountant. Indicate in the plan whether you hire an accountant and your financial statements have undergone an audit.
- Search for templates. There are tools available if you wish to try authoring the financial portion on your own.
7. A strategy of action
The physical requirements of your firm are described in the operating plan section. This part covers the business’s location as well as any necessary facilities or equipment for producing your goods. Depending on their sort of company, some organizations may additionally need to specify their inventory requirements, including information about suppliers. For manufacturing businesses, the operational plan part outlines all processing information.
The operational strategy should be split into two different stages for startups: the production plan and the developmental plan.
- Developmental strategy: This plan outlines every stage involved in getting your product or service on the market. To show investors that you’ve considered all possible liabilities and that your company is well-positioned for success, you want to detail the risks and the precautions you’re doing. You should include in your development plan the safety precautions you will take to reduce the risk of illness and injury to workers and consumers, as well as how you intend to reduce any potential liability to your business, if workers (or your products) are exposed to toxic materials during the production process.
- Production schedule: The production schedule outlines the details of your daily operations, including your business hours, the location(s) of the job, your company’s assets, equipment, and raw materials, as well as any unique needs.
Templates for business plans: free vs. premium
There are both free and paid business templates available to you. The ideal option for you will depend on your individual demands and financial situation since both have advantages and drawbacks. You may make a choice by weighing each’s advantages and disadvantages.
No cost templates
The largest benefit of adopting a free template is the money your company will save. Since new businesses are often cash-strapped, accessing a free template is a desired option. Free business plan templates have various limitations, the largest one being restricted customizability, despite the fact that it is good to utilize them for nothing.
According to Attiyya Atkins, owner of A+ Editing, “creating a business plan enables you personally uncover the flaws in your company and iron them out.” “Using an internet template as a starting point is good, but it must be revised and tailored to your target audience. The budget may be wrong in company plans that may be downloaded because of out-of-date market pricing. You need a unique business plan with no flaws if you’re trying to get money from investors.
The firm name and some text are the only customizations that free designs allow for, according to Janil Jean, director of international operations at LogoDesign.net. She continued by saying that since they are often used by so many individuals, investors may become weary of seeing the same business plan structure if you utilize one to raise money.
The advantages of purchasing business plan templates include the correctness of the content and great customizability, or paying for an expert to examine your company plan.
Every day, hundreds of applications are sent to your audience. What can you do to make your business plan stand out from the competition if you aren’t there when choices regarding your company are made? Jean uttered. “The greatest approach to impress and attract attention is via visuals. Purchasing premium templates with the most design, image, and branding flexibility makes sense.
On the other hand, the expense is what prevents employing a premium template. It may not be a viable alternative if your firm lacks the finances to pay for a business plan template.
The top business plan programs
If you decide to spend money on your company plan, there are several excellent software options accessible. Writing a business plan is made easier by software since it streamlines the process and eliminates the need to start from zero. They often come with capabilities like step-by-step wizards, templates, financial forecasting tools, graphs and charts, integrations with third-party applications, collaboration tools, and video lessons.
We whittled down the top four choices after looking into and assessing hundreds of business plan software companies to these four:
With more than 500 templates, a one-page pitch builder, automated financial statements, comprehensive financial forecasts, industry benchmark data, and KPIs, Live Plan is a cloud-hosted software program that offers a variety of tools for creating business plans. Monthly rates for annual plans begin at $15.
A step-by-step builder for the business plan is available in the cloud-hosted program called Bizplan. Monthly rates for annual plans begin at $20.75.
A cloud-based tool called GoSmallBiz provides industry-specific templates, a step-by-step wizard that makes it simple to create a thorough business plan, and video lessons. Monthly rates for plans begin at $15.
Enloop is concerned with financial forecasts. It gives you everything you need to show that your company can be profitable and guides you through the creation of financial predictions. Monthly rates for annual plans begin at $11.
Typical obstacles to creating a business plan
Writing a company strategy presents a variety of obstacles. Do you have all the necessary information about your company? Do you have to follow rigorous rules in your field of work? Ten of the most typical problems you can encounter were identified to aid in your preparation:
- Getting going
- Identifying financial and cash flow predictions
- Having a target market in mind
- Making it entertaining by being succinct
- establishing realistic objectives
- Having a realistic view on company expansion
- demonstrating the viability of your proposition
- Choosing the appropriate degree of flexibility
- developing a plan, you can put into action
- These ten challenges may help you create a business strategy that will position your company, as well as anybody who joins it, for future success.
How to write a business plan while overcoming obstacles
Even if you won’t be able to forecast everything that may affect your company, you can take preventative measures to lessen the number of potential problems. For instance, learn about the business plan procedure by reading about company plans and figuring out how others have successfully implemented their plans.
These strategies may serve as a starting point, but Rick Cottrell, the CEO and creator of BizResults.com, suggests going even further: Speak with small company owners and other knowledgeable people.
The company owner should speak with an accountant, a banker, and individuals who work with these plans every day to find out how others have handled the situation, said Cottrell. They may interact with colleagues and others who are preparing to begin a company to obtain insights from them. They can also join startup and investment organizations. They might look for capital innovation groups in their region to get more knowledge.
You may always hire a consultant to assist you with the process if you’ve done your study on how to build a business plan but still don’t feel confident doing it.
Cottrell said, “It is just a tedious process that cannot be expedited. “Millions of dollars are often at risk, necessitating a high degree of skill that must either be taught or used in cooperation with an experienced business consultant.”