company investment plan example

Investment Company Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

investment company business plan

Investment Company Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their investment companies. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through an investment company business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

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What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your investment company as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.  

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start an investment company, or grow your existing investment company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your investment company in order to improve your chances of success. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.  

Sources of Funding for Investment Companies

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for an investment company are bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Investors, grants, personal investments, and bank loans are the most common funding paths for investment companies.

How to Write a Business Plan for an Investment Company

If you want to start an investment company or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below we detail what you should include in each section of your own business plan:  

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of investment company you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have an investment company that you would like to grow, or are you operating investment companies in multiple markets?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your business plan. For example, give a brief overview of the investment company industry. Discuss the type of investment company you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of investment company you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of investment companies:

  • Closed-End Funds Investment Company : this type of investment company issues a fixed number of shares through a single IPO to raise capital for its initial investments.
  • Mutual Funds (Open-End Funds) Investment Company: this type of investment company is a diversified portfolio of pooled investor money that can issue an unlimited number of shares.
  • Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) Investment Company: this type of investment company offers a fixed portfolio, generally of stocks and bonds, as redeemable units to investors for a specific period of time.

In addition to explaining the type of investment company you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of investments made, number of client positive reviews, reaching X amount of clients invested for, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the investment industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the investment industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your business plan:

  • How big is the investment industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your investment company? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: companies or employees in specific industries, couples with double income, families with kids, small business owners, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of investment company you operate. Clearly, couples with families and double income would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.  

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other investment companies.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes robo investors and advisors, company 401Ks, etc. You need to mention such competition as well.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other investment companies with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be investment companies located very close to your location.

investment competition

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What types of clients do they serve?
  • What type of investment company are they and what certifications do they have?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide better investment strategies?
  • Will you provide services that your competitors don’t offer?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For an investment company, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to an investment company, will you provide insurance products, website and app accessibility, quarterly or annual investment reviews, and any other services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your investment company located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your investment company marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Commercials and billboards
  • Reaching out to websites
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your investment company, including researching the stock market, keeping abreast of all investment industry knowledge, updating clients on any new activity, answering client phone calls and emails, networking to attract potential new clients.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to land your Xth client, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your investment business to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your investment company’s ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing investment companies. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing an investment company or successfully advised clients who have achieved a successful net worth.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you take on one new client at a time or multiple new clients ? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your investment company, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing an investment company:

  • Cost of investor licensing..
  • Cost of equipment and supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

business costs

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or list of clients that you have acquired.  

Putting together a business plan for your investment company is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the investment industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful investment company.  

Investment Company Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my investment company business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Investment Company Business Plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of investment company you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have an investment company that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of investment companies?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

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Business Plan Template & Guide For Small Businesses

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Investment plan at a glance

Investment plan at a glance

Any business venture is associated with investment. An investment concerns a long-term commitment of financial funds in material and immaterial assets. Investments not only affect a company’s fixed assets but indirectly its current assets as well. Investment planning is an integral component of strategic business planning. The business plan should consider investments as part of finance planning.

Investments are not only associated with a high capital expenditure and a long-term capital commitment, but investment decisions also have a decisive impact on a company’s cost structure. Before investing money in a business venture, you should therefore closely examine how much capital you need to invest in order to realize the project.

The capital requirement of an investment is determined as part of an investment plan. This provides a basis for investment calculations and the profitability forecast. That means it's necessary to list all costs related to an investment in order to assess the business.

In the following, we show you how to prepare an investment plan as part of a business plan for strategic or operational business planning.

What is an investment plan?

Structure and composition of an investment plan, the investment plan as part of the business plan.

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An investment plan refers to a table that lists all investment items and corresponding costs linked to a particular investment. Here, it’s important to be aware that the investment plan only encompasses the expenses incurred as one-off costs in connection with the investment and during the start-up phase.

An overview of the ongoing monthly costs (such as staff costs) is drawn up in the operating expense plan, independently from the investment plan.

The investment plan and the operating expense plan subsequently form part of the capital requirements plan.

The investment plan is a list of all nonrecurring costs incurred during the start-up phase of an investment. Together with the operating expense plan – detailing a company’s ongoing costs – the investment plan is integrated in capital requirements planning. In turn, the capital requirements plan is part of the finance plan of the business plan.

In business practice, an investment plan is always created when an investment decision has to be made – usually for one of the following reasons:

  • Initial investment: Initial investment refers to the procurement of all operationally required assets in connection with founding the company.
  • Replacement investment: Replacing an asset of the company with a new asset is called a replacement investment.
  • Rationalization investment: Rationalization investment denotes investments that result in a cost saving.
  • Expansion investment: If the expansion of business operations necessitates the procurement of assets, this is referred to as an expansion investment.

As part of a comprehensive finance plan, the investment plan is not only the basis for the business plan but also a guideline for financing . It thus represents a prerequisite for raising capital. You should present the itemization in a transparent and structured manner so capital providers like banks or private investors get an overview of all expenses associated with the investment. Generally, you’ll only receive an investment loan if your backers are able to see where you’d like to use the borrowed funds.

In an investment plan, you draw up a list of all one-off expenses for all investment items associated with an investment, including the costs incurred during the start-up phase for advance financing . If it concerns an initial investment for incorporating a business, the investment plan will also contain all costs associated with establishing the company .

We illustrate the structure of an investment plan using the example of an initial investment and apply the following outline for this purpose:

  • Capital requirement for the (formal) incorporation of the company
  • Capital requirement for ongoing operating expenses in the start-up phase
  • Capital requirement for investments in fixed assets
  • Capital requirement for investments in current assets
  • Expenses for debt servicing

If your planned investment concerns an initial investment, you should list the costs of incorporation in the investment plan separately. The capital requirement for formally establishing the company includes all expenses incurred in preparing the founding process – for example consulting costs as well as fees for registration, permits or notary certifications.

Moreover, investments are usually associated with expenses for material and immaterial assets . A distinction is made between fixed and current assets. Fixed assets are all assets you procure as part of investing for continuous use in operations – such as equipment, machines or vehicles as well as immaterial assets like licenses and patents. Assets such as goods, materials or resources used for disposal, consumption or processing – and are therefore held by the company only temporarily – are allocated to current assets.

For investments which you wish to fund entirely or partly using borrowed funds, you should also indicate the expenses for interest and repayment installments in the investment plan.

  • Rent deposit
  • Legal advisors
  • Tax advisors
  • Business advisors
  • Business registration
  • Development of a corporate design
  • Opening event
  • Opening advertising
  • Website setup
  • Market information
  • Registrations/approvals
  • Entry into the commercial register
  • Reserves for start phase, follow-up investments and unforeseen costs
  • Patent, license and franchise fees
  • Plots/real estate including incidental costs
  • Production equipment, machines and tools
  • Operating and office equipment
  • Communication technology (PCs, telephones, etc.)
  • Materials and goods inventory
  • Raw, auxiliary and operating materials
  • Interest on founding loan/bank credit

All the above details are added up in the investment plan. The final amount of the investment plan indicates how much capital you need in the initial phase of the investment to implement the planned project.

Make sure that you have specific offers for the individual cost items. Only then will you ensure that the amount of the necessary investment is determined as thoroughly as possible.

As part of the finance plan , the investment plan is also part of the business plan. It is typically combined with an operating expense plan in the finance plan.

While the investment plan only covers one-off costs and additional expenses during the start-up phase, the operating expense plan provides backers with an overview of the ongoing costs of your company.

Operating expenses include:

  • Staff costs (including wage and incidental wage costs) as well as your own salary as managing director for stock corporations (all costs including incidental wage costs)
  • If relevant, a management wage (to ensure personal living costs for sole proprietorships and partnerships)
  • Rent, tenancy and leasing
  • Heating, electricity, water and gas
  • Market development expenses (advertising and marketing)
  • Motor vehicle costs
  • Travel costs
  • Telephone, fax and internet
  • Office materials
  • Contributions (to chambers of commerce and professional associations, for example)
  • Consulting (lawyers, business consultants and tax advisors)
  • Other expenses

By adding the investment amount determined in the investment plan to the total from the operating expense plan, you obtain the capital requirements of your business venture.

You show how you cover this capital requirement in the financing plan – another part of the finance plan. Since investment projects are typically funded by a combination of equity capital, subsidized loans and bank credit, it is critical that you take interest and repayments into consideration when planning capital requirements. Intermediate bottlenecks can be identified by means of a liquidity forecast .

In addition, it’s important to ensure that all operating costs as well as your cost of living are covered by your company alone following the budgeted start-up phase and that there are no fears of long-term losses. You can calculate whether your investment makes financial sense using a profitability forecast , which likewise forms part of the finance plan. If you’d like to assess how your investment compares to alternative options, an investment appraisal technique such as the net present value method can be helpful.

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Free Financial Templates for a Business Plan

By Andy Marker | July 29, 2020

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In this article, we’ve rounded up expert-tested financial templates for your business plan, all of which are free to download in Excel, Google Sheets, and PDF formats.

Included on this page, you’ll find the essential financial statement templates, including income statement templates , cash flow statement templates , and balance sheet templates . Plus, we cover the key elements of the financial section of a business plan .

Financial Plan Templates

Download and prepare these financial plan templates to include in your business plan. Use historical data and future projections to produce an overview of the financial health of your organization to support your business plan and gain buy-in from stakeholders

Business Financial Plan Template

Business Financial Plan Template

Use this financial plan template to organize and prepare the financial section of your business plan. This customizable template has room to provide a financial overview, any important assumptions, key financial indicators and ratios, a break-even analysis, and pro forma financial statements to share key financial data with potential investors.

Download Financial Plan Template

Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Financial Plan Projections Template for Startups

Startup Financial Projections Template

This financial plan projections template comes as a set of pro forma templates designed to help startups. The template set includes a 12-month profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement for you to detail the current and projected financial position of a business.

‌ Download Startup Financial Projections Template

Excel | Smartsheet

Income Statement Templates for Business Plan

Also called profit and loss statements , these income statement templates will empower you to make critical business decisions by providing insight into your company, as well as illustrating the projected profitability associated with business activities. The numbers prepared in your income statement directly influence the cash flow and balance sheet forecasts.

Pro Forma Income Statement/Profit and Loss Sample

company investment plan example

Use this pro forma income statement template to project income and expenses over a three-year time period. Pro forma income statements consider historical or market analysis data to calculate the estimated sales, cost of sales, profits, and more.

‌ Download Pro Forma Income Statement Sample - Excel

Small Business Profit and Loss Statement

Small Business Profit and Loss Template

Small businesses can use this simple profit and loss statement template to project income and expenses for a specific time period. Enter expected income, cost of goods sold, and business expenses, and the built-in formulas will automatically calculate the net income.

‌ Download Small Business Profit and Loss Template - Excel

3-Year Income Statement Template

3 Year Income Statement Template

Use this income statement template to calculate and assess the profit and loss generated by your business over three years. This template provides room to enter revenue and expenses associated with operating your business and allows you to track performance over time.

Download 3-Year Income Statement Template

For additional resources, including how to use profit and loss statements, visit “ Download Free Profit and Loss Templates .”

Cash Flow Statement Templates for Business Plan

Use these free cash flow statement templates to convey how efficiently your company manages the inflow and outflow of money. Use a cash flow statement to analyze the availability of liquid assets and your company’s ability to grow and sustain itself long term.

Simple Cash Flow Template

company investment plan example

Use this basic cash flow template to compare your business cash flows against different time periods. Enter the beginning balance of cash on hand, and then detail itemized cash receipts, payments, costs of goods sold, and expenses. Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate total cash payments, net cash change, and the month ending cash position.

Download Simple Cash Flow Template

12-Month Cash Flow Forecast Template

company investment plan example

Use this cash flow forecast template, also called a pro forma cash flow template, to track and compare expected and actual cash flow outcomes on a monthly and yearly basis. Enter the cash on hand at the beginning of each month, and then add the cash receipts (from customers, issuance of stock, and other operations). Finally, add the cash paid out (purchases made, wage expenses, and other cash outflow). Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate your cash position for each month with.

‌ Download 12-Month Cash Flow Forecast

3-Year Cash Flow Statement Template Set

3 Year Cash Flow Statement Template

Use this cash flow statement template set to analyze the amount of cash your company has compared to its expenses and liabilities. This template set contains a tab to create a monthly cash flow statement, a yearly cash flow statement, and a three-year cash flow statement to track cash flow for the operating, investing, and financing activities of your business.

Download 3-Year Cash Flow Statement Template

For additional information on managing your cash flow, including how to create a cash flow forecast, visit “ Free Cash Flow Statement Templates .”

Balance Sheet Templates for a Business Plan

Use these free balance sheet templates to convey the financial position of your business during a specific time period to potential investors and stakeholders.

Small Business Pro Forma Balance Sheet

company investment plan example

Small businesses can use this pro forma balance sheet template to project account balances for assets, liabilities, and equity for a designated period. Established businesses can use this template (and its built-in formulas) to calculate key financial ratios, including working capital.

Download Pro Forma Balance Sheet Template

Monthly and Quarterly Balance Sheet Template

company investment plan example

Use this balance sheet template to evaluate your company’s financial health on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. You can also use this template to project your financial position for a specified time in the future. Once you complete the balance sheet, you can compare and analyze your assets, liabilities, and equity on a quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year basis.

Download Monthly/Quarterly Balance Sheet Template - Excel

Yearly Balance Sheet Template

company investment plan example

Use this balance sheet template to compare your company’s short and long-term assets, liabilities, and equity year-over-year. This template also provides calculations for common financial ratios with built-in formulas, so you can use it to evaluate account balances annually.

Download Yearly Balance Sheet Template - Excel

For more downloadable resources for a wide range of organizations, visit “ Free Balance Sheet Templates .”

Sales Forecast Templates for Business Plan

Sales projections are a fundamental part of a business plan, and should support all other components of your plan, including your market analysis, product offerings, and marketing plan . Use these sales forecast templates to estimate future sales, and ensure the numbers align with the sales numbers provided in your income statement.

Basic Sales Forecast Sample Template

Basic Sales Forecast Template

Use this basic forecast template to project the sales of a specific product. Gather historical and industry sales data to generate monthly and yearly estimates of the number of units sold and the price per unit. Then, the pre-built formulas will calculate percentages automatically. You’ll also find details about which months provide the highest sales percentage, and the percentage change in sales month-over-month. 

Download Basic Sales Forecast Sample Template

12-Month Sales Forecast Template for Multiple Products

company investment plan example

Use this sales forecast template to project the future sales of a business across multiple products or services over the course of a year. Enter your estimated monthly sales, and the built-in formulas will calculate annual totals. There is also space to record and track year-over-year sales, so you can pinpoint sales trends.

Download 12-Month Sales Forecasting Template for Multiple Products

3-Year Sales Forecast Template for Multiple Products

3 Year Sales Forecast Template

Use this sales forecast template to estimate the monthly and yearly sales for multiple products over a three-year period. Enter the monthly units sold, unit costs, and unit price. Once you enter those values, built-in formulas will automatically calculate revenue, margin per unit, and gross profit. This template also provides bar charts and line graphs to visually display sales and gross profit year over year.

Download 3-Year Sales Forecast Template - Excel

For a wider selection of resources to project your sales, visit “ Free Sales Forecasting Templates .”

Break-Even Analysis Template for Business Plan

A break-even analysis will help you ascertain the point at which a business, product, or service will become profitable. This analysis uses a calculation to pinpoint the number of service or unit sales you need to make to cover costs and make a profit.

Break-Even Analysis Template

Break Even Analysis

Use this break-even analysis template to calculate the number of sales needed to become profitable. Enter the product's selling price at the top of the template, and then add the fixed and variable costs. Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate the total variable cost, the contribution margin, and break-even units and sales values.

Download Break-Even Analysis Template

For additional resources, visit, “ Free Financial Planning Templates .”

Business Budget Templates for Business Plan

These business budget templates will help you track costs (e.g., fixed and variable) and expenses (e.g., one-time and recurring) associated with starting and running a business. Having a detailed budget enables you to make sound strategic decisions, and should align with the expense values listed on your income statement.

Startup Budget Template

company investment plan example

Use this startup budget template to track estimated and actual costs and expenses for various business categories, including administrative, marketing, labor, and other office costs. There is also room to provide funding estimates from investors, banks, and other sources to get a detailed view of the resources you need to start and operate your business.

Download Startup Budget Template

Small Business Budget Template

company investment plan example

This business budget template is ideal for small businesses that want to record estimated revenue and expenditures on a monthly and yearly basis. This customizable template comes with a tab to list income, expenses, and a cash flow recording to track cash transactions and balances.

Download Small Business Budget Template

Professional Business Budget Template

company investment plan example

Established organizations will appreciate this customizable business budget template, which  contains a separate tab to track projected business expenses, actual business expenses, variances, and an expense analysis. Once you enter projected and actual expenses, the built-in formulas will automatically calculate expense variances and populate the included visual charts. 

‌ Download Professional Business Budget Template

For additional resources to plan and track your business costs and expenses, visit “ Free Business Budget Templates for Any Company .”

Other Financial Templates for Business Plan

In this section, you’ll find additional financial templates that you may want to include as part of your larger business plan.

Startup Funding Requirements Template

Startup Funding Requirements Template

This simple startup funding requirements template is useful for startups and small businesses that require funding to get business off the ground. The numbers generated in this template should align with those in your financial projections, and should detail the allocation of acquired capital to various startup expenses.

Download Startup Funding Requirements Template - Excel

Personnel Plan Template

Personnel Plan Template

Use this customizable personnel plan template to map out the current and future staff needed to get — and keep — the business running. This information belongs in the personnel section of a business plan, and details the job title, amount of pay, and hiring timeline for each position. This template calculates the monthly and yearly expenses associated with each role using built-in formulas. Additionally, you can add an organizational chart to provide a visual overview of the company’s structure. 

Download Personnel Plan Template - Excel

Elements of the Financial Section of a Business Plan

Whether your organization is a startup, a small business, or an enterprise, the financial plan is the cornerstone of any business plan. The financial section should demonstrate the feasibility and profitability of your idea and should support all other aspects of the business plan. 

Below, you’ll find a quick overview of the components of a solid financial plan.

  • Financial Overview: This section provides a brief summary of the financial section, and includes key takeaways of the financial statements. If you prefer, you can also add a brief description of each statement in the respective statement’s section.
  • Key Assumptions: This component details the basis for your financial projections, including tax and interest rates, economic climate, and other critical, underlying factors.
  • Break-Even Analysis: This calculation helps establish the selling price of a product or service, and determines when a product or service should become profitable.
  • Pro Forma Income Statement: Also known as a profit and loss statement, this section details the sales, cost of sales, profitability, and other vital financial information to stakeholders.
  • Pro Forma Cash Flow Statement: This area outlines the projected cash inflows and outflows the business expects to generate from operating, financing, and investing activities during a specific timeframe.
  • Pro Forma Balance Sheet: This document conveys how your business plans to manage assets, including receivables and inventory.
  • Key Financial Indicators and Ratios: In this section, highlight key financial indicators and ratios extracted from financial statements that bankers, analysts, and investors can use to evaluate the financial health and position of your business.

Need help putting together the rest of your business plan? Check out our free simple business plan templates to get started. You can learn how to write a successful simple business plan  here . 

Visit this  free non-profit business plan template roundup  or download a  fill-in-the-blank business plan template  to make things easy. If you are looking for a business plan template by file type, visit our pages dedicated specifically to  Microsoft Excel ,  Microsoft Word , and  Adobe PDF  business plan templates. Read our articles offering  startup business plan templates  or  free 30-60-90-day business plan templates  to find more tailored options.

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Blog Business

15+ Business Plan Examples to Win Your Next Round of Funding

By Jennifer Gaskin , Jun 09, 2021

15+ Business Plan Examples to Win Your Next Round of Funding Blog Header

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” according to words of wisdom dubiously attributed to Benjamin Franklin. While there’s no solid evidence that Franklin actually coined this phrase, the sentiment rings true for any business.

Not having a solid plan makes it unlikely you’ll achieve the goals you seek, whether the goals are getting your to-do list done or launching a successful organization.

In the early stages of a company, that means developing things like pitch decks, business plans, one-sheeters and more. With Venngage’s Business Plan Builder , you can easily organize your business plan into a visually appealing format that can help you win over investors, lenders or partners.

Learn more about  how to create a business plan  so you can hit the ground running after reading through this list for inspirational examples of business plans.


Click to jump ahead:

Simple business plan example, startup business plan example, small business plan example, nonprofit business plan example, strategic business plan example, market analysis business plan example, sales business plan example, organization and management business plan example, marketing and sales strategy business plan example, apple business plan example, airbnb business plan example, sequoia capital business plan example.

While your business plan should be supported by thorough and exhaustive research into your market and competitors, the resulting document does not have to be overwhelming for the reader. In fact, if you can boil your business plan down to a few key pages, all the better.

business plan example


The simple, bold visual aesthetic of this  business plan template  pairs well with the straightforward approach to the content and various elements of the business plan itself.

Use Venngage’s My Brand Kit  to automatically add your brand colors and fonts to your business plan with just a few clicks.

Return to Table of Contents

An essential startup business plan should include a clear and compelling value proposition, market analysis, competitive analysis, target audience identification, financial projections, and a well-defined marketing and operational strategy.

For a typical startup, the need to appear disruptive in the industry is important. After all, if you’re not offering anything truly new, why would an investor turn their attention toward your organization. That means establishing a problem and the ways in which you solve it right away.

business plan example


Whether it’s a full-scale business plan or, in this case, a pitch deck, the ideal way for a startup to make a splash with its plans is to be bold. This successful business plan example is memorable and aspirational.

In the Venngage editor, you can upload images of your business. Add these images to your plans and reports to make them uniquely your own.

All businesses start out small at first, but that doesn’t mean their communications have to be small. One of the best ways to get investors, lenders and talent on board is to show that you’ve done your due diligence.

business plan example

In this small business plan example, the content is spread over many pages, which is useful in making lengthy, in-depth research feel less like a chore than packing everyone on as few pages as possible.

Organizations that set out to solve problems rather than earning profits also benefit from creating compelling business plans that stir an emotional response in potential donors, benefactors, potential staff members or even media.

business plan example


Simplicity is the goal for nonprofits when it comes to business plans, particularly in their early days. Explain the crisis at hand and exactly how your organization will make a difference, which will help donors visualize how their money will be used to help.

Business plans are also helpful for companies that have been around for a while. Whether they’re considering new products to launch or looking for new opportunities, companies can approach business plans from the strategy side of the equation as well.

business plan example

Strategic business plans or strategy infographics should be highly focused on a single area or problem to be solved rather than taking a holistic approach to the entire business. Expanding scope too much can make a strategy seem too difficult to implement.

Easily share your business plan with Venngage’s multiple download options, including PNG, PNG HD, and as an interactive PDF.

One-page business plan example

For organizations with a simple business model, often a one-page business plan is all that’s needed. This is possible in any industry, but the most common are traditional ones like retail, where few complex concepts need to be explained.

business plan example

This one-page strategic business plan example could be easily replicated for an organization that offers goods or services across multiple channels or one with three core business areas. It’s a good business plan example for companies whose plans can be easily boiled down to a few bullet points per area.

Especially when entering a saturated market, understanding the landscape and players is crucial to understanding how your organization can fit it—and stand out. That’s why centering your business plan around a market analysis is often a good idea.

business plan example

In this example, the majority of the content and about half the pages are focused on the market analysis, including competitors, trends, pricing, demographics and more. This successful business plan example ensures the artwork and style used perfectly matches the company’s aesthetic, which further reinforces its position in the market.

You can find more memorable business plan templates to customize in the Venngage editor. Browse Venngage’s  business plan templates  to find plans that work for you and start editing.

Company description business plan example

Depending on the market, focusing on your company story and what makes you different can drive your narrative home with potential investors. By focusing your business plan on a company description, you center yourself and your organization in the minds of your audience.

business plan example

This abbreviated plan is a good business plan example. It uses most of the content to tell the organization’s story. In addition to background about the company, potential investors or clients can see how this design firm’s process is different from their rivals.

With Venngage Business , you can collaborate with team members in real-time to create a business plan that will be effective when presenting to investors.

Five-year business plan example

For most startups or young companies, showing potential investors or partners exactly how and when the company will become profitable is a key aspect of presenting a business plan. Whether it’s woven into a larger presentation or stands alone, you should be sure to include your five-year business plan so investors know you’re looking far beyond the present.

business plan example


With Venngage’s Business Plan Builder , you can customize a schedule like this to quickly illustrate for investors or partners what your revenue targets are for the first three to five years your company is in operation.

The lifeblood of any company is the sales team. These are the energetic folks who bring in new business, develop leads and turn prospects into customers. Focusing your energy on creating a sales business plan would prove to investors that you understand what will make your company money.

business plan example

In this example sales business plan, several facets of ideal buyers are detailed. These include a perfect customer profile that helps to convey to your audience that customer relationships will be at the heart of your operation.

You can include business infographics in your plan to visualize your goals. And with Venngage’s gallery of images and icons, you can customize the template to better reflect your business ethos.

Company mergers and shakeups are also major reasons for organizations to require strong business planning. Creating new departments, deciding which staff to retain and charting a course forward can be even more complex than starting a business from scratch.

business plan example

This organization and management business plan focuses on how the company can optimize operations through a few key organizational projects.

Executive summary for business plan example

Executive summaries give your business plan a strong human touch, and they set the tone for what’s to follow. That could mean having your executive leadership team write a personal note or singling out some huge achievements of which you’re particularly proud in a business plan infographic .

business plan example

In this executive summary for a business plan, a brief note is accompanied by a few notable achievements that signal the organization and leadership team’s authority in the industry.

Marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin, and clever companies know how they play off each other. That’s why centering your business plan around your marketing and sales strategy can pay dividends when it comes time to find investors and potential partners.

business plan example

This marketing and sales business plan example is the picture of a sleek, modern aesthetic, which is appropriate across many industries and will speak volumes to numbers-obsesses sales and marketing leaders.

Do business plans really help? Well, here’s some math for you; in 1981, Apple had just gone public and was in the midst of marketing an absolute flop , the Apple III computer.  The company’s market cap, or total estimated market value,  could hit $3 trillion this year.

Did this Apple business plan make the difference? No, it’s not possible to attribute the success of Apple entirely to this business plan from July 1981, but this ancient artifact goes to show that even the most groundbreaking companies need to take an honest stock of their situation.

business plan example

Apple’s 1981 business plan example pdf covers everything from the market landscape for computing to the products that founder Steve Jobs expects to roll out over the next few years, and the advanced analysis contained in the document shows how strategic Jobs and other Apple executives were in those early days.

Inviting strangers to stay in your house for the weekend seemed like a crazy concept before Airbnb became one of the world’s biggest companies. Like all disruptive startups, Airbnb had to create a robust, active system from nothing.

business plan example

As this Airbnb business plan pitch deck example shows, for companies that are introducing entirely new concepts, it’s helpful not to get too into the weeds. Explain the problem simply and boil down the essence of your solution into a few words; in this case, “A web platform where users can rent out their space” perfectly sums up this popular company.

Sequoia Capital is one of the most successful venture capital firms in the world, backing startups that now have a combined stock market value of more than $1 trillion, according to a Forbes analysis .

For young companies and startups that want to play in the big leagues, tailoring your pitch to something that would appeal to a company like Sequoia Capital is a good idea. That’s why the company has a standard business plan format it recommends .

business plan example

Using Sequoia Capital’s business plan example means being simple and clear with your content, like the above deck. Note how no slide contains much copy, and even when all slides appear on the screen at once, the text is legible.

In summary: Use Venngage to design business plans that will impress investors

Not every business plan, pitch deck or one-sheeter will net you billions in investment dollars, but every entrepreneur should be adept at crafting impressive, authoritative and informative business plans.

Whether you use one of the inspirational templates shared here or you want to go old school and mimic Apple’s 1981 business plan, using Venngage’s Business Plan Builder helps you bring your company’s vision to life.

24 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: August 17, 2023

Free Business Plan Template

company investment plan example

The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

Thank you for downloading the offer.

Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and confirms your venture is sustainable for the long term.

sample business plans and examples

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formally, then take a look at business plan templates and samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

company investment plan example

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

Most executive summaries include:

  • Mission statement
  • Company history and leadership
  • Competitive advantage overview
  • Financial projections
  • Company goals

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

And the executive summary below tells potential investors a short story that covers all the most important details this business plan will cover in a succinct and interesting way.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market. Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will your product fill that gap?

In this section, you might include:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry. You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

This example uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Speaking of market share, you'll need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are. After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another. Performing a competitive analysis can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

The competitive landscape section of the business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are. It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

This section will describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Ask yourself:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

The example below uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you with this part of your business plan.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler. It offers a comprehensive picture of how it plans to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

The example below outlines products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

This business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet example shows the level of detail you will need to include in the financials section of your business plan:

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

Business Plan Types

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. So, we’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. Internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it. There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders. It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis. The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made. Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly. It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (We always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

We absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service. You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of our favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business. Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you. It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things we love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, we especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan. Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

Top Business Plan Examples

Here are some completed business plan samples to get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business. We’ve chosen different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best. For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Outdoor clothing retailer, Patagonia, has one of the most compelling mission statements we’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University . While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. You can also use this template as a guide while you're gathering important details. After looking at this sample, you'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do for your own business plan.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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Business Plan for an Investment Company

DEC.20, 2022

Business Plan for an Investment Company

1. Investment company Business Plan For Starting Your Own Business

The sample business plan for an investment company outlines the creation of an investment company. The company’s mission is to provide clients with access to a wide range of investment opportunities, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and alternative investments. The company will also provide financial planning and wealth management services, including portfolio design, asset allocation, and risk management strategies.

The Investment Company’s business plan includes strategies for marketing and advertising, financial projections, and a detailed description of the company’s services and fees. This is the business Plan for Investors who want to invest in a company with a significant probability of success.

2. Sources Of Financing For Investment Firms

In writing a business plan for an investment company, the sources of financing for investment firms typically include private investors, venture capital firms, angel investors, crowdfunding, and debt capital. Private investors are individuals or groups who invest in the company in exchange for equity or a portion of the profits. Venture capital firms provide financing and advice to companies in exchange for equity. Angel investors are wealthy individuals or groups who invest in companies in exchange for equity. Crowdfunding involves the collection of small amounts of money from a large group of people. Debt capital is a loan secured by the company’s assets and must be repaid with interest.

The most common sources of financing for investment firms are debt financing, equity financing, and derivatives. Debt financing involves loans from banks, other lending institutions, or private investors. Equity financing involves the issuance of stock to raise capital. Derivatives are contracts between two parties that derive their value from an underlying asset or benchmark.

The most important source of financing for an investment company in the business plan investment company is the capital that the company brings in from its own operations.

3. Executive Summary Of Investment Company Business Plan

The business.

The new investment company business plan for an Investment Company is designed to provide an overview of our company’s mission and objectives. We are a full-service investment firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial advice and services to individuals, families, and business owners. We aim to maximize investment returns and increase our clients’ net worth.

We plan to provide a wide range of services, including portfolio management, asset allocation, retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, and general financial planning.

Management Of Investment Company

The investment company business plan outlines the management team of experienced financial and legal professionals committed to providing the highest quality of investment management services. Our goal is to create a fully integrated, world-class investment company that provides our clients with a range of innovative and tailored investment solutions.

Customers Of Investment Company

In the investment company business plan template, the customers of our investment company will be individuals, small businesses, and institutions that are looking for a trusted financial partner to help them manage and grow their wealth. We will offer our clients a wide range of services, including portfolio management, retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, and philanthropic planning. Our goal is to provide our clients with the best advice, products, and services to help them meet their financial goals.

Business Target

The business target for our investment company is to create long-term capital appreciation and wealth for our investors by making prudent investments in start-up and established businesses. Our goal is to be a reliable and trusted partner for our investors and maximize their investment return.

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Business Target

4. Investment Company Summary

Company owner.

Our investment company, JS Investment Group, is owned and operated by John Smith. John Smith is a highly experienced investor and entrepreneur who has successfully founded and managed several small investment company business plans. He deeply understands the investment industry and is passionate about helping others achieve success through strategic investments.

Why The Investment Company Is Being Started

The primary reason for starting an investment company in an investment company business plan sample is to provide clients with a safe and secure place to invest their money. With a wide range of investment options available, our team of experienced financial professionals can help clients make informed decisions about their investments. We also plan to provide clients with up-to-date market analysis and research.

How The Investment Company Will Be Started

The company will seek to raise capital through debt and equity financing. Equity financing will come from the founders and outside investors. The company will also seek to raise capital through debt financing, which will be used to fund the startup costs and ongoing operations of the company. In the business plan for the investment holding company, the company will focus on providing quality investment advice and services to its clients.

The Investment company owner John Smith estimates startup costs based on assets, investments, loans, and expenses in collaboration with financial experts.

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Startup Cost

JS Investment Group’s start-up requirements include total startup expenses, total assets, total start-up funding, total funding requirements, total assets, total liabilities, total planned investment, total capital, total liabilities, and total funding.

5. Services of Investment Company

The product description section in a business plan for an investment banking company includes services. However, below are the all services offered by our investment company include:

  • Investment Advisory: Providing tailored advice and strategies to meet individual, business, and corporate clients’ investment goals.
  • Investment Management: The business plan for an investment banking company provides services of designing, constructing, and managing bespoke portfolios for clients, as well as providing ongoing monitoring and rebalancing services.
  • Mutual Fund Management: The business plan for an investment management company offers selecting and monitoring mutual funds for clients, as well as providing risk management and portfolio diversification services.
  • Estate Planning: Developing strategies for both tax and non-tax-related estate planning objectives.
  • Retirement Planning: Assisting clients with the creation of retirement plans and investments to meet their retirement income needs.
  • Financial Planning: Helping clients to prepare for their financial future by creating strategies that integrate their investment, tax, insurance, and estate planning goals.
  • Risk Management: Identifying and managing investment risks to help clients reach their financial goals.
  • Portfolio Analysis: Examining and evaluating portfolios to ensure they are in line with the client’s investment objectives.
  • Tax Planning: Developing strategies to minimize the client’s tax liability and maximize after-tax returns.
  • Asset Allocation: Designing and implementing asset allocation strategies to help clients meet their long-term financial goals.

6. Marketing Analysis

A marketing analysis is an important part of a sample business plan for an investment company. This analysis provides information on the market in which the company operates, including the size and growth of the market, the competition, and potential growth opportunities.

The investment company market is highly competitive, as investors have a wide range of options when it comes to deciding where to invest their money.

The company will face competition from both traditional and online investment companies. Traditional investment companies offer services such as portfolio management and financial planning. Online investment companies offer services such as stock trading and portfolio management.

In addition to traditional investment companies, investors can choose from online brokers, mutual funds, and other alternative investments. As a result, it is important for an investment company to differentiate itself from the competition and to create a strong value proposition for its customers.

The investment industry is expected to continue to grow as people become more aware of the need for financial planning and the importance of investing.

Market Trends

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In order to compete effectively in the investment company market, it is important to understand the current market trends and identify areas of opportunity.

In the investment company business plan example, one of the most important trends to consider is the shift towards more technology-driven investment strategies. This trend is driven by advancements in technology and increased access to data, which has enabled more sophisticated portfolio management techniques.

Additionally, many investors are increasingly looking to alternative investments such as cryptocurrency, venture capital, and private equity as a way of diversifying their portfolios. Furthermore, an increasing number of investors are turning to online trading platforms as a way of managing their investments. Finally, it is important to consider the potential impact of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing on the industry, as ESG-focused investments are gaining traction in the financial markets.

Marketing Segmentation

In the private investment company business plan, the company will target a wide range of potential customers, including individual investors, high-net-worth individuals, family offices, and institutional investors. Each of these customer segments will require different strategies and services, so the company will tailor its marketing and services accordingly.

For individual investors, the company will focus on providing personalized services that are tailored to the specific needs and investment goals of each client. The company will also provide educational resources and tools to help clients make informed decisions about their investments.

For high-net-worth individuals, the company will focus on providing personalized portfolio construction and asset management services.

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Marketing Segmentation

We plan to target high-net-worth, individuals and institutional clients who are looking for a more personalized approach to investing. We will use a combination of traditional and alternative investment strategies to provide our clients with the best return on their investments. We plan to use our extensive network of banks and other financial institutions to secure the most attractive terms for our clients.

We have identified three key areas of focus when it comes to our business plan. First, we plan to build a strong customer base by offering superior customer service and customer education. Second, we plan to develop our own proprietary financial products and services to offer our clients. Finally, we plan to focus on developing relationships with banks and other financial institutions to ensure that we can offer the best terms for our clients.

Product Pricing

JS Investment Group will use a combination of fixed fees and performance-based fees for our services. For our portfolio management and asset allocation services, we will charge a flat fee of 1% of the total assets under management. For our investment research and risk management services, we will charge a fixed fee of $250 per hour.

For our performance-based fees, we will charge a 20% fee on any profits earned by our clients. This fee will be applied on a quarterly basis and will be calculated based on the performance of the portfolio during that period.

7. Marketing Strategy Of Investment Company

Competitive analysis, eb5 business plan.

The business plan for an investment company covers the company analysis in which the company’s competitive landscape is large and diverse. There are a number of large and well-established firms that have been in the industry for many years. Additionally, there is a large number of small, independent firms that have emerged in recent years.

Sales Strategy

Our sales strategy is to target potential customers through a variety of outlets, including direct mail, email marketing, social media campaigns, and online advertising. We will focus our efforts on targeting potential customers who are likely to be interested in our services, such as high-net-worth individuals, small business owners, and those with an interest in investing. We will also work to build relationships with local financial advisors and other industry professionals in order to develop a strong referral network.

Sales Monthly

The company’s primary source of revenue will be from the sales of investment products, with a focus on monthly sales. The company will also offer financial advice and portfolio management services, for which it will charge a fee. Experts predict the following sales each month for our company.

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Sales Monthly

Sales Yearly

The JS Investment Group will generate revenue by selling various services. Experts predict the following sales yearly for our company.

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Sales Yearly

Sales Forecast

Our sales forecast for the next three years predicts a steady increase in revenue. Below is a forecast of sales for our company:

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Sales Forecast

8. Personnel Plan Of Investment Company

Company staff.

The Company Staff will be responsible for the overall management and operation of the investment company. They will be responsible for recruiting and managing a team of qualified and experienced professionals to ensure the success of the business.  The JS Investment Group operations will require the following employees:

The management staff includes:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Operation Manager
  • Investment Manager

The operational team includes:

  • Front Desk Coordinator
  • Investment Advisor
  • Security Guards

Other Staff includes:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Tax Planner
  • Receptionist

Average Salary of Employees

The investment holding company business plan includes the average salary of employees, which varies according to the role of employees and services. We will offer competitive salaries to all our employees to ensure we attract and retain the best talent. The average salary of our employees will be approximately $40,000 per year.

9. Financial Plan For Investment Company

In collaboration with financial experts, John Smith assessed the company’s financial needs and developed a financial plan for sample of investment company business plan. A three-year financial plan outlines the company’s development.

Important Assumptions

The following are important assumptions for the financial plan of the investment company:

Deviations, however, are expected to be limited to levels that do not impact the investment company’s major financial goals.

Brake-even Analysis

The following is a breakdown of the investment company’s fixed and variable costs:

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Brake-even Analysis

The following table shows an analysis of monthly break-evens of an investment company

Projected Profit and Loss

The following is the projected profit and loss for an investment company.

Profit Monthly

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Profit Monthly

Profit Yearly

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Profit Yearly

Gross Margin Monthly

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Gross Margin Monthly

Gross Margin Yearly

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Gross Margin Yearly

Projected Cash Flow

The following column diagram shows cash flow projections.

Business Plan for an Investment Company - Projected Cash Flow

The following table shows the pro forma cash flow of an private equity firm business plan . The cash flow statement includes cash received from operations, cash received from operations, and general assumptions.

Projected Balance Sheet

Below is a projected balance sheet of an investment holding Company Business Plan that shows data about the pro forma balance sheet, total current assets, total long-term assets, total assets, current subtotal liabilities, total liabilities, total capital, and total liabilities.

Business Ratios

The following table shows business ratios, ratio analysis, and total assets.

10. Get the Expertise to Create a Winning Business Plan!

“Start Your Investment Company with Professional Assistance: Get the Support of OGS Capital’s Expert Team!”

At OGS Capital, our experienced consultants provide professional assistance to help you start and grow your investment company. Our team has in-depth knowledge and expertise in launching businesses, and we understand the complexities of the investment industry. We can provide expert advice and guidance to help you create and execute a custom sample business plan for investment holding company that will ensure your investment company’s success.

We can help you with the entire process of developing your business, from crafting a comprehensive financial plan to finding appropriate funding sources. With our knowledge and resources, we can help you create a detailed business plan that will serve as a roadmap for your business.

  • What is the main business of an investment company? The main business of an investment company is to manage investments and provide financial advice and solutions to their clients. They may provide services such as portfolio management, asset allocation, retirement planning and financial planning. They may also offer a variety of other services such as stock and bond trading, insurance, estate planning and tax planning.
  • Can I create my own investment company? Yes, you can create your own investment company. The process involves registering the company with the SEC, registering with the state in which you will be doing business, setting up the necessary accounts and paperwork, and finding clients. You should also consult a qualified accountant, lawyer, and financial adviser to ensure you have all the appropriate information and documents in place.
  • How much does it cost to start an investment firm? The cost of starting an investment firm will vary depending on the type of firm you are looking to establish and the services you plan to provide. Typically, startup costs can range from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on the complexity of the business. Costs may include office equipment, legal and accounting fees, licensing fees, technology costs, marketing costs, and other miscellaneous costs.

Download Investment Company Business Plan Sample in pdf

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Investment Company Business Plan

Start your own investment company business plan

Investment Company

Financial plan investor-ready personnel plan .">.

Content has been omitted from this sample plan topic, and following sub-topics.  This sample plan has an abbreviated plan outline.  With the exception of the Executive Summary, only those topics linked to key tables have been used.

The focus of this sample plan is to show the financials for this type of company.  Brief descriptions can be found in the topics associated with key tables.

8.1 Projected Profit and Loss

Please note that in the third year one investment is written off as a failure, producing a $5 million cost which ends up showing a loss for the year of nearly $5 million.  The sale of equity at the end of the period enters the sales forecast and the profit and loss statement as a $45 million gain. 

You will also note that there may be gains or losses in the value of the assets held as equity investments, but these gains or losses don’t enter the accounting until there is a transaction.  The accounting treatment is identical to what an individual investor does with stocks: changes in the market price of a share of stock are irrelevant until that share is actually sold to somebody else, or, if the company ceases to exist, that stock is written off as having no value. 

Investment company business plan, financial plan chart image

8.2 Projected Cash Flow

The Cash Flow shows four $5 million investments made in the first few months of the plan. 

In the third year, one of the target companies fails, so $5 million is written off as failure.  You’ll see that shows as a $5 million sale of long-term assets in the cash flow, and a balancing entry of $5 million in costs of sales in the profit and loss, making for a loss and write-off that year.  The result is a tax loss, and the balance of investments goes to $15 Million.

In the fifth year, another investment is transacted at $50 million.  This shows up as a $5 million equity appreciation in the Sales Forecast, plus a $5 million sale of long-term assets in the Cash Flow.  At that point there’s been a $45 million profit and the balance of long-term assets goes down to $10 million. 

The partners invest an additional $100,000 in the fourth year as additional working capital to balance the cash flow of the company. 

Investment company business plan, financial plan chart image

8.3 Projected Balance Sheet

You can see in the balance sheet how the ending balances for long-term assets were not re-valued.  They remain at the original purchase price until they are sold, or written off as a complete loss.  There is a $5 million write-off in the third year, and a sale of $5 million worth of assets in the last year.  That sale of $5 million in assets produces the $5 million sale at book value plus the $45 million gain in the sales forecast and profit and loss table.

8.4 Business Ratios

The Standard Industry Code (SIC) for this type of business is 7389, Business Services.  The Industry Data is provided in the final column of the Ratios table. 

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Creating an Investment Plan

Lay out a course of action before you invest., our two cents.

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While it's impossible to predict to future, a basic trade-off with investing is the more risk you take the higher your expected return. The more conservative the investment the lower the expected return. Knowing your ability and willingness to take risk along with your time horizon is key to determining how much risk you should take-before you invest.

Creating an investing plan may sound complex, but it can actually be very simple. It starts with your goals and your tolerance for risk.

Set your goals

If you haven't done it yet,  set your goals . Write down both your short-term and long-term goals. And make sure they're realistic and actionable.

Start early

Waiting to save and invest can be hazardous to your wealth. The sooner you get started, the sooner your money can get to work. And the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to reach your goals.

Consider how time affects risk

Time in the market is key when you invest. The longer you have to reach your goal, the more risk you can generally afford to take because your investments have more time to benefit from up markets and recover from down ones. This is why being more aggressive and taking more risk makes sense the further you are from your goal. As your goals get closer, it's typically a good idea to shift your investments to more stable (or conservative) investments to protect against losses.

A general guideline

If you'll need your money in:

  • Less than three years —You probably shouldn't be investing in stocks. They're just too volatile. Consider cash investments like money market funds or CDs and maybe short-term bonds or bond funds instead.  
  • Three to five years —It may be appropriate to invest some of your money in stocks (depending on your risk tolerance), but the bulk should be in bonds or cash equivalents since you don't have much time to recover from stock market losses.  
  • Six to 10 years or longer —You can add more stocks to the mix and it's quite reasonable to invest most of the money (more than half) given how much time you have to invest.

Think about risk

When investing, some people tend to focus on how much they can make and not think about how much they can afford to lose—their risk capacity. The reality of investing is that markets go up—and they also go down. Virtually any investment involves some level of risk, so it's very important that new investors understand how they feel about risk. This will help you decide if you want to invest conservatively, moderately or aggressively. The  investor profile questionnaire  can help you figure out your own risk tolerance.

Deciding how much risk you're willing to take is one of the first and most important steps. As the following chart shows, investments that have the greatest potential for return also carry the greatest risk.

Higher returns have come with increased short-term volatility

Indices underlying model asset allocation plans (1970-2021*)

Higher returns have come with increased short-term volatility

Source: Schwab Center for Financial Research with data provided by Morningstar, Inc. The return figures represented are the average, minimum, and maximum annual total returns of indices used to represent an asset class in Schwab’s hypothetical asset allocation plans. Returns include reinvestment of dividends and interest. The indices representing each asset class are S&P 500® Index (large-cap equity), Russell 2000® Index (small-cap equity), MSCI EAFE® Index-Net of Taxes (international equity), Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index (fixed income), and FTSE U.S. 3-month Treasury Bill Index (cash equivalents). CRSP 6-8 Index was used for small-cap stocks prior to 1979, Ibbotson Intermediate-Term Government Bond Index was used for fixed income prior to 1976, and Ibbotson U.S. 30-day Treasury Bill Index was used for cash investments prior to 1978. Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested in directly. For additional information, please see Definitions. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. *YTD as of 6/30/2021 © 2021 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member: SIPC . (0721-19EJ)

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

By mixing different kinds of investments that don't go up and down at the same time, you'll reduce the amount of risk you are taking. This is the idea behind diversifying your investments. Diversifying broadly means you have exposure to different kinds of investments and different sectors of the market. By not chasing performance or trying to "time the market," you'll decrease the odds of making mistakes.

Minimize fees and taxes

While you can't know or control the markets, you can estimate costs and taxes in advance. Take steps to minimize both. With investing, it's not just how much you make, but how much you keep. You don't always get more by paying higher fees (in fact, the odds are against it) and who likes to pay more in taxes? Use low cost investments and take advantage of tax-smart strategies like retirement accounts. Once you have a plan in place, you should monitor your investments and rebalance your portfolio regularly.

Keep learning

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Creating the right investment plan is a lot easier if your financial life is organized. Set goals. Get invested. Stay on track.

  • Get your financial life in order.  
  • Find the right asset allocation for you.

The Schwab Center for Financial Research is a division of Charles Schwab & Company, Inc. This is for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation or a recommendation that any particular investor should purchase or sell any particular security.  Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.  

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The core premise of investments is to expect a return in the form of monetary income or price animation with several significant statistics. Investment can refer to any mechanism that is used to generate future income. It can either be in the form of bonds , stocks , real estate , among other things. Even purchasing something that could lead to profit is considered an investment most of the time. Purchasing a property , a machine that can produce goods, all that can be considered an investment, depending on the amount of risk taken, holding period, and the source of the return. Risk and return go hand-in-hand in investment. Low risk usually has a low return, while higher risks are expected to come with even better returns. One can look at investments like gambling. Putting in money for a chance of gaining higher profit. Of course, you wouldn’t want to lose in gambling, you and your company is here to win.

Investment Company Business Plan

5+ investment company business plan samples, 1. investment company business plan sample, 2. formal investment company business plan, 3. investment company annual business plan, 4. investment company business plan format, 5. strategic investment company business plan, 6. editable investment company business plan, what is an investment business plan, elements of an investment company business plan, what is a good investment, what is a target market, what are the three types of investors.

This is where investment company business plans come into the picture. A business plan is a largely important document that any business, regardless of shape and size, need to have a guideline or a roadmap that a business will follow in order to ensure success. Operating without a business plan is generally not a good idea, especially for investment companies such as yours. And typically, those who do not establish a business plan first and foremost just don’t last very long. There are a lot of benefits that come with creating and sticking to a well written business plan .

One really good example is how a business plan can enable you to come up with ideas without having to invest too much resources in lieu of development. Business plans often cover a whole lot of components, especially those that are designed for the entirety of an investment company’s business operations. To get to know what an investment company business plan is and how it works, check out these various samples that we have listed for you right below. After getting familiar with the document and how it works, you can then use these samples as a guide or even as a template for when you want to develop your own business plan.

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A business plan is a written document that should describe how a business would define its objectives and what steps it would for it to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a roadmap for the whole company from the perspective of different departments within, marketing, financial, and operational, and gauge their standpoints. Business plans are largely important documents that’s usually used to attract prospective customers and investors even before the company has established an impressive track record. Although the document is more useful for new businesses and companies, every company should be able to establish a well written business plan.

This should enable them to review and periodically update to see if the goals have been met and how the circumstances that they have worked with has changed. A good business plan will be able to outline all the projected and estimated costs of a project or investment and the pitfalls of each decision the investment company makes. Even with competitors around the same industry, it can be very rare for business plans to be identical because most companies have their own unique way of dealing and approaching their own business venture.

The length of a business plan greatly varies depending on the nature of the investment company and the circumstances that they usually work with. The usual length of a business plan is typically around 15 to 20 pages. And although no two business plans are alike, they do work with almost all of the same elements. Listed below are some of the more common elements that you can see in a business plan.

  • Executive summary This section would outline the company and all the information related to the company’s mission-vision values, company leadership, employees, operations, and location. It should essentially talk about what the company is, the nature of their business, and all the other necessary basic information.
  • Products services This is where a company should outline the products and services that they are trying to offer. It includes pricing, product lifespan, and the customer benefits.  Other factors that can be included are manufacturing and production processes, patents, and proprietary technology.
  • Marketing strategy It is always a good idea for the company to have a crystal clear understanding of its target audience and their respective demographics. It will outline who or what the competition is and how they can stay ahead in the market. It will also describe the expected consumer demand for the product of the company and how hard it would be to take advantage of the market.
  • Financial planning The company should include its financial planning to attract the audience of the business plan. Financial statements, balance sheets, and other financial information that may be included for already well established companies.
  • Budget Every company needs to have a budget in place, especially investment companies. It includes costs, staffing, manufacturing, development, marketing, and all the other expenses related to the nature of your business.

A good investment is one that fulfills your financial goals, fits your preferred risk tolerance, and of course, makes money. Investing is all about trying to make do with what you currently have. One person’s investment may be your good investment.

A target market refers to a group of customers or a small population of a certain demographic that has a similar need for a product or service and of course, has the money to purchase your services.

Pre-investor. Passive Investor. Active Investor.

Despite how and what you choose to invest in, making sure to research your target and your investment manager or platform. The amount of consideration, and money needed to invest depends entirely on the type and nature of investment and the investor’s financial position. One last thing to remember about business plans is that it should remain a live document. Susceptible to change and adapt whenever the circumstances within your company change. It should evolve and adapt together with your investment company.

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The possibility for substantial financial gains is one of the main advantages of an investment company. As the company expands and gains customers, it has the potential to generate large fees and commissions based on investment portfolios.

Are you looking for the same rewards? Then go on with planning everything first.

Need help writing a business plan for your investment company? You’re at the right place. Our investment company business plan template will help you get started.

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How to Write An Investment Company Business Plan?

Writing an investment company business plan is a crucial step toward the success of your business. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first section planned to offer an overview of the entire business plan. However, it is written after the entire business plan is ready and summarizes each section of your plan.

Here are a few key components to include in your executive summary:

Introduce your Business:

Start your executive summary by briefly introducing your business to your readers.

Market Opportunity:

Products and services:.

Highlight the investment company services you offer your clients. The USPs and differentiators you offer are always a plus.

Marketing & Sales Strategies:

Financial highlights:, call to action:.

Ensure your executive summary is clear, concise, easy to understand, and jargon-free.

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2. Business Overview

The business overview section of your business plan offers detailed information about your company. The details you add will depend on how important they are to your business. Yet, business name, location, business history, and future goals are some of the foundational elements you must consider adding to this section:

Business Description:

Describe your business in this section by providing all the basic information:

Describe what kind of investment company you run and the name of it. You may specialize in one of the following investment businesses:

  • Mutual fund companies
  • Venture capital funds
  • Private equity funds
  • Asset management companies
  • Pension fund managers
  • Describe the legal structure of your investment company, whether it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or others.
  • Explain where your business is located and why you selected the place.

Mission Statement:

Business history:.

If you’re an established investment company, briefly describe your business history, like—when it was founded, how it evolved over time, etc.

Future Goals:

This section should provide a thorough understanding of your business, its history, and its future plans. Keep this section engaging, precise, and to the point.

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan should offer a thorough understanding of the industry with the target market, competitors, and growth opportunities. You should include the following components in this section.

Target market:

Start this section by describing your target market. Define your ideal customer and explain what types of services they prefer. Creating a buyer persona will help you easily define your target market to your readers.

Market size and growth potential:

Describe your market size and growth potential and whether you will target a niche or a much broader market.

Competitive Analysis:

Market trends:.

Analyze emerging trends in the industry, such as technology disruptions, changes in customer behavior or preferences, etc. Explain how your business will cope with all the trends.

Regulatory Environment:

Here are a few tips for writing the market analysis section of your investment company business plan:

  • Conduct market research, industry reports, and surveys to gather data.
  • Provide specific and detailed information whenever possible.
  • Illustrate your points with charts and graphs.
  • Write your business plan keeping your target audience in mind.

4. Products And Services

The product and services section should describe the specific services and products that will be offered to customers. To write this section should include the following:

Describe your services:

Mention the investment company services your business will offer. This list may include services like,

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
  • Investment research and analysis
  • Wealth management
  • Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds

Investment advisory services:

Additional services:.

In short, this section of your investment business plan must be informative, precise, and client-focused. By providing a clear and compelling description of your offerings, you can help potential investors and readers understand the value of your business.

5. Sales And Marketing Strategies

Writing the sales and marketing strategies section means a list of strategies you will use to attract and retain your clients. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing plan:

Unique Selling Proposition (USP):

Define your business’s USPs depending on the market you serve, the equipment you use, and the unique services you provide. Identifying USPs will help you plan your marketing strategies.

Pricing Strategy:

Marketing strategies:, sales strategies:, customer retention:.

Overall, this section of your investment company business plan should focus on customer acquisition and retention.

Have a specific, realistic, and data-driven approach while planning sales and marketing strategies for your investment business, and be prepared to adapt or make strategic changes in your strategies based on feedback and results.

6. Operations Plan

The operations plan section of your business plan should outline the processes and procedures involved in your business operations, such as staffing requirements and operational processes. Here are a few components to add to your operations plan:

Staffing & Training:

Operational process:, equipment & software:.

Include the list of equipment and software required for investment business, such as servers & data storage, network equipment, trading platforms, customer relationship management software, portfolio management software, etc.

Adding these components to your operations plan will help you lay out your business operations, which will eventually help you manage your business effectively.

7. Management Team

The management team section provides an overview of your investment business’s management team. This section should provide a detailed description of each manager’s experience and qualifications, as well as their responsibilities and roles.


Key managers:.

Introduce your management and key members of your team, and explain their roles and responsibilities.

Organizational structure:

Compensation plan:, advisors/consultants:.

Mentioning advisors or consultants in your business plans adds credibility to your business idea.

This section should describe the key personnel for your investment company, highlighting how you have the perfect team to succeed.

8. Financial Plan

Your financial plan section should provide a summary of your business’s financial projections for the first few years. Here are some key elements to include in your financial plan:

Profit & loss statement:

Cash flow statement:, balance sheet:, break-even point:.

Determine and mention your business’s break-even point—the point at which your business costs and revenue will be equal.

Financing Needs:

Be realistic with your financial projections, and make sure you offer relevant information and evidence to support your estimates.

9. Appendix

The appendix section of your plan should include any additional information supporting your business plan’s main content, such as market research, legal documentation, financial statements, and other relevant information.

  • Add a table of contents for the appendix section to help readers easily find specific information or sections.
  • In addition to your financial statements, provide additional financial documents like tax returns, a list of assets within the business, credit history, and more. These statements must be the latest and offer financial projections for at least the first three or five years of business operations
  • Provide data derived from market research, including stats about the industry, user demographics, and industry trends.
  • Include any legal documents such as permits, licenses, and contracts.
  • Include any additional documentation related to your business plan, such as product brochures, marketing materials, operational procedures, etc.

Use clear headings and labels for each section of the appendix so that readers can easily find the necessary information.

Remember, the appendix section of your investment firm business plan should only include relevant and important information supporting your plan’s main content.

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This sample investment company business plan will provide an idea for writing a successful investment company plan, including all the essential components of your business.

After this, if you still need clarification about writing an investment-ready business plan to impress your audience, download our investment company business plan pdf .

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Frequently asked questions, why do you need an investment company business plan.

A business plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful investment business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

Overall, a well-written plan can help you make informed decisions, which can contribute to the long-term success of your investment company.

How to get funding for your investment company?

There are several ways to get funding for your investment company, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

Small Business Administration (SBA) loan

Crowdfunding, angel investors.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available, check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

Where to find business plan writers for your investment company?

There are many business plan writers available, but no one knows your business and ideas better than you, so we recommend you write your investment company business plan and outline your vision as you have in your mind.

What is the easiest way to write your investment company business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any investment company business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software .

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How to Create an Investment Plan

Last Updated: April 15, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Erin A. Hadley, CFP® . Erin A. Hadley is the Managing Partner at Occidental Asset Management, LLC in California. Erin is a Certified Financial Planner with over 10 years of experience in investment management and financial planning. She has a Certificate in Personal Financial Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and is a member of The National Association of Personal Finance Advisors (NAPFA). There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 97% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 260,714 times.

Creating a viable investment plan requires a little more than simply establishing a savings account and buying a few random shares of stocks. In order to structure a plan that is right, it's important to understand where you're at and what you want to accomplish with the investments. Then, you'll define how to reach those goals and select the best investment options to reach them. The good news is that it is never too late to create and implement a personal investment plan and begin creating a nest egg for the future.

Assessing Where You're At

Step 1 Select an age-appropriate investment option.

  • Generally speaking, the younger you are, the more risk you can take. That's because you have more time to recover from a market downturn or loss of value in a particular investment. So, if you're in your 20s, you can allocate more of your portfolio to more aggressive investments (like growth-oriented and small-cap companies for example).
  • If you're nearing retirement, allocate more of your portfolio to less aggressive investments, like fixed-income, and large-cap value companies.

Step 2 Understand your current financial situation.

  • Generally speaking, stocks are more volatile than bonds, and bank accounts (checking and savings accounts) are not volatile. [2] X Research source
  • Remember, there are always risk trade-off's to be made. Often, when you take less risk, you make less. Investors are richly rewarded for taking significant risks, but they can also face steep losses. [3] X Research source

Establishing Your Goals

Step 1 Set goals for your investments.

  • As a rule of thumb, you're going to want a diversified portfolio no matter what your goal is (buying a house, saving for a child's college education, etc.). The idea is to let the investment grow over a long period of time so that you have enough to pay for the goal.
  • If your goal is particularly aggressive, you should put more money in the investment periodically rather than opting for a more risky investment. That way, you're more likely to achieve your goal rather than lose the money that you've invested.

Step 2 Establish a timeline for your goals.

  • If you're interested in getting a great return on your investment quickly, and you are prepared to take the risk that you could also see a great loss just as quickly, then you'll select more aggressive investments that have the potential for significant return. These include undervalued stocks, penny stocks, and land that might quickly appreciate in value.
  • If you're interested in building wealth slowly, you'll select investments that generate a slower return on investment over time.

Step 3 Determine the level of liquidity you want.

  • Stocks and mutual funds are very liquid and can be converted into cash, usually in a matter of days.
  • Real estate is not very liquid. It usually takes weeks or months to convert a property to cash.

Creating the Plan

Step 1 Decide on how you want to diversify.

  • Set up a short-term emergency savings account with three to six months worth of living expenses. It's important to have this established to protect yourself if something unexpected happens (job loss, injury or illness, etc.). This money should easy to access in a hurry.
  • Consider your options for long-term savings. If you are thinking about saving up for retirement, you may want to set up an IRA or 401(k). Your employer may offer a 401(k) plan in which they will match your contribution.
  • If you want to start an education fund, think about 529 plans and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Earnings from these accounts are free from federal income tax as long as they’re used to pay for qualified education expenses. [7] X Research source

Evaluating Your Progress

Step 1 Monitor your investments from time to time.

  • If you have money in risky investments, it's a good idea to sell them and move the money to more stable investments when you get older.
  • If your finances tolerate the volatility of your portfolio very well, you might want to take on even more risk so that you can reach your goals sooner.

Step 3 Evaluate whether or not you're contributing enough to reach your financial goals.

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  • Even the best investment plan may need tweaking as changes in the economy occur or your personal circumstances shift in some manner. See those situations as opportunities to rethink your strategy while still keeping your goals uppermost in your mind. Doing so will lend direction to your investment activities and make it easier to see the big picture even as you deal with what is happening today. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1

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About This Article

Erin A. Hadley, CFP®

Creating a solid investment plan will help your assets mature at a rate that suits your personal needs. If you’re young and prepared to take more risk, invest in more aggressive assets like stocks in growth-oriented and small-cap companies. For a safer option, allocate more of your portfolio to less aggressive investments, like fixed-income, and large-cap value companies. If you only want the money for retirement, consider investing in an IRA or 401(k). It’s always a good idea to diversify your portfolio to minimize your risk. For example, split your investment money between stocks, bonds, and savings accounts. You should also keep an emergency savings account with 3 to 6 months of living expenses in case of a big financial hit like losing your job. For more tips from our Financial co-author, including how to adjust your investment portfolio over time, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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What is an IRA vs. a 401(k)?

What is an ira, what is a 401(k), should you convert your 401(k) into an ira, how to get started.

  • Which is better?

Understanding the key differences between an IRA and a 401(k)

Our experts answer readers' investing questions and write unbiased product reviews ( here's how we assess investing products ). Paid non-client promotion: In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners . Our opinions are always our own.

  • A 401(k) is a retirement account funded with pre-tax dollars and has higher contribution limits.
  • With an IRA, contribution limits are lower, but you have more options for your investments.
  • A 401(k) and IRA can both be used to invest in stocks, bonds, and securities for retirement.

Insider Today

When you think about saving for retirement, the two most common accounts that come up are often a 401(k) or IRA. Depending on your investment strategy, you may want to use one over the other — or a combination of both.

When evaluating a retirement plan option, you'll want to consider factors like how much you can contribute annually, how your contributions are taxed, and when you can withdraw your money penalty-free.

Let's examine the similarities, differences, and overall structure of IRAs and 401(k)s below.

Read Insider's guide for the best retirement plans>>

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Wealthfront's investment services feature a 0.25% annual fee and $500 minimum deposit, the robo-advisor offers a wide range of account types and investment strategies.

0.25%; 0.06 - 0.13% for low-cost investment funds

Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs

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  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs
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Wealthfront is one of the best robo-advisor options if you're in search of low-cost automated portfolio management, and one of the best socially responsible investing apps for features like tax-loss harvesting, US direct indexing, and crypto trusts.

  • Consider it if: You're looking for goal-based strategies for retirement and other savings goals.
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While both are excellent retirement account options, the biggest difference between a 401(k) and IRA is that you only contribute to a 401(k) through your employer.

  • A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored plan where you contribute pre-tax dollars from your paycheck directly to a long-term investment account.
  • An IRA  stands for Individual Retirement Account, which you can open without employer involvement and contribute either pre-tax or post-tax dollars to an investment account for long-term growth.

You can open an IRA with almost any brokerage or financial institution that offers retirement plans. Before you open your account, however, you'll need to decide which type of IRA you want. The three main types of accounts are Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs.

  • A traditional IRA is similar to a 401(k) in that you fund your account with pre-tax income. As a result, you can deduct your traditional IRA contributions on your taxes each year. 
  • With a Roth IRA , you contribute taxed dollars so you can't deduct any contributions. When it's time to withdraw the money from your Roth IRA account, you won't pay taxes on it since you already paid the taxes upfront.
  • SEP IRAs , or Simplified Employee Pensions, are a flexible retirement account option for self-employed people.

Contribution and income limits 2024 and 2023

With both Roth and traditional IRAs, you can contribute up to $7,000 annually for 2024 (was $6,500 in 2023). If you're over the age of 50, you qualify to make extra, or catch-up, contributions of up to $1,000 each year. Anyone can open a traditional IRA and contribute funds. 

To contribute to a Roth IRA, your modified gross income must be less than $161,000 if you're single and $240,000 if you're married and file taxes jointly. These income limits are subject to change each year.

With a SEP IRA, you can contribute up to $69,000 or 25% of your income (whichever is less) for 2024.

Withdrawal guidelines

Once you reach the age of 59.5, you can start withdrawing money from your IRA without penalties. By the age of 72, it's required to withdraw from your account(s).

Generally, you can withdraw your contributions at any time. But to withdraw funds from an IRA, there's a 10% penalty. The only exceptions to this rule include:

  • First-time home-buyers can withdraw up to $10,000 to help with the purchase of their home (must be used with 120 days of the withdrawal)
  • Some educational expenses for yourself or your family
  • Disabled account holders can withdraw IRA funds without penalty
  • Medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income
  • Birth or adoption expenses up to $5,000
  • Health insurance premiums if you've been unemployed for at least 12 weeks

Of course, you'll need to check with the bank, brokerage, or financial institution where you keep your IRA to confirm whether your expense qualifies to waive the 10% early withdrawal penalty. Also, try to make sure you have the proper documentation to verify that the money will go directly toward a qualified exception so you don't face a potential fee later on.

When an IRA is better

An IRA could be better than a 401(k) if you're looking for more flexibility in your retirement planning. 

"Unlike a 401(k), with an IRA the investment world is at your fingertips," says Taylor J Kovar, Certified Financial Planner and CEO of Kovar Wealth Management . "Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real estate are all available while with a 401(k), you are limited to just the funds the plan allows you to invest in."

An IRA could also be a better option is if you currently have low tax rates but anticipate higher tax rates during retirement. By contributing to a Roth IRA, you'll pay your taxes upfront so your growth and withdrawals during retirement are tax-free.

Not all employers offer a 401(k) plan, so an IRA is one of the best alternatives to help you save for retirement on your own.

When a company hires you to work, they may offer you a retirement savings option in the form of a 401(k) account. These plans have been widely offered since the early 1980s after Congress established the Revenue Act which made it easier for employers to offer tax-advantaged savings accounts for employees. 

With a 401(k), your employer will automatically deduct a percentage of your income from that pay period (before taxes) and contribute it to an investment account. Some employers will even offer to match your contributions if you contribute a specific amount, like 3% of your income, for example. 

You can get the most out of your retirement plan, by maximizing your 401(k) and its benefits, like an employer match. 

Contribution limits

Currently, you can contribute up to $22,500 annually to your 401(k). If you're 50 or older, you can make additional catch-up contributions up to $7,500. 

But starting in 2026, you won't be able to deposit catch-up contributions to a traditional 401(k) plan if you make over $145,000 annually. Rather, catch-up contributions must be deposited into a Roth 401(k).

Just like with an IRA, you will pay a 10% penalty for taking money out of your 401(k) before you turn 59.5. In addition, the money you withdraw early gets taxed as income. There are very few ways to get around this 10% penalty. 

However, if you need to take money out of your retirement account, you can try a 401(k) loan . The IRS limits these loans to $50,000 or 50% of your 401(k)'s vested account balance. The interest rates for 401(k) loans are usually lower than most personal loan interest rates. Plus, you don't have to submit a credit check. 

You just need to make sure you pay the money back on time to restore your 401(k) balance. One major downside of borrowing against your retirement account this way is if you lose your job, the entire loan balance is usually due right away.

When a 401(k) is better

A 401(k) is a better option than an IRA if you are looking to invest more for retirement and you're not too picky about the investment options. Most plans are limited to which securities (like stocks and bonds) the employer chooses. 

A 401(k) could also be better if your employer is offering to match your contributions and you plan to stay at the job for a while. If you're contributing 3% of your income, an employer match would double that to 6%, so you'd be adding free money to your retirement account.

If you struggle with intentionally setting aside money to save, you'll like the consistent pre-tax contributions before you even see your paycheck. 

"Most people utilize a 401(k) through their employer and while I don't have a problem with this, I typically recommend that people only participate in the plan up to the amount that the employer matches, typically 3%," says Kovar. "If you are able to save more than what the employer matches, put that extra money into an IRA."

If you're leaving your current place of employment — or your employer is discontinuing your current 401(k) plan — you might be thinking of rolling over your 401(k) assets into an IRA. By rolling over your assets you can keep receiving tax advantages on the funds contributed to your retirement savings account.

Plus, IRAs offer more access to investment opportunities — including saving bonds, money market funds, CDs, ETFs, and mutual funds. They also typically have lower management fees compared to most 401(k) plans.

There are some downsides to consider first, however. With a 401(k), you can contribute more annual funds compared to an IRA. Moreover, it isn't advised that you roll over any company stock held in your 401(k) because of the net unrealized appreciation (NUA) — the value of the stock when it was placed in the 401(k) compared to its value when transferred out of the account. Instead, consider moving company stock into a brokerage account. 

How to rollover a 401(k) to an IRA

The first step to rolling over your 401(k) assets into an IRA account is choosing a brokerage. Your best option is to look for a brokerage offering minimum fees, an array of investment options, and other useful tools. After that, you can meet with a broker and discuss your current financial goals to open an IRA account, complete the necessary paperwork, and start moving your money. 

The funds from your 401(k) should be deposited within 60 days or else you'll receive early withdrawal tax penalties.

Alternatives to an IRA rollover

Just because you're leaving your current place of employment doesn't necessarily mean you have to open an IRA. You may be able to leave your assets in your existing 401(k), if your previous employment allows it. Or you could roll over your funds to a new 401(k) from a new place of employment. 

Although it is not often advised, you also have the option of withdrawing the funds from your 401(k). But you're likely to be charged an early withdrawal penalty of 10% if you're younger than 59 1/2.

Your 401(k) plan may offer you an employer match. Depending on the match rules, your employer may offer to match your retirement saving account contributions dollar-for-dollar or by matching the percentage of your paycheck contributed to the account (with restrictions).

You don't want to pass up free money, so it's in your best interest to try and contribute enough funds to your retirement savings account to get the maximum employer match. But keep in mind that employers only match up to a certain amount. For example, if an employer is only willing to match up to 3% of your salary but you're contributing 5%, the employer match will still be 3%.

Similarly, the sooner you set up your account and start investing, the more time the funds will have to gain compound interest. If you haven't already set up an account with your employer, you'll want to jump on it ASAP. 

For 2024, the employee and employer matching contributions can't be more than $69,000 for employees under 50. In 2022, the max you could contribute with an employee match was $66,000. 

However, if your employer doesn't offer to match your 401(k) contributions, you'll benefit from opening an IRA. Compared to 401(k)s, IRAs often have lower fees and more investment opportunities to help your assets grow. 

To set up an IRA, you'll need to find brokerages — the best online brokerages have good customer service, low fees, and account flexibility — and meet with a broker to discuss your retirement goals. For 2024, you can contribute up to $7,000 annually (with an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution if you're 50 or older). Folks could contribute up to $6,500 annually in 2023. 

company investment plan example

Which is better: A 401(k) or an IRA?

A 401(k) and IRA are both great tax-advantaged retirement savings options and many people use both. If your employer offers 401(k) with a contribution match, you should definitely consider utilizing it. Keep in mind that to take full advantage of the matched contributions — also referred to as being "fully vested" — you may need to stay at your job for a few years.

Not everyone has the option to save for retirement through an employer, and that's where an IRA can come in handy. While the contribution limits are lower, you can still open an IRA to manage retirement savings regardless of where you work.

Another option is to use an IRA to diversify your retirement savings accounts. Consider talking to a financial advisor about your options and weigh the tax advantages, benefits, and drawbacks to make the wisest choice for your situation.

company investment plan example


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