Do you want to increase the odds that your business startup will be a success? Download this step-by-step business plan template to lay the groundwork for your new business.
Writing a business plan allows you to carefully think through every step of starting your company so you can better prepare and handle any challenges. While a thorough business plan is essential in the financing process, it's helpful even if you don’t need outside financing.
Creating a business plan can:
- Help you discover any weaknesses in your business idea so you can address them before you open for business
- Identify business opportunities you may not have considered and plan how to take advantage of them
- Analyze the market and competition to strengthen your idea
- Give you a chance to plan strategies for dealing with potential challenges so they don’t derail your startup
- Convince potential partners, customers, and key employees that you’re serious about your idea and persuade them to work with you
- Force you to calculate when your business will make a profit and how much money you need to reach that point so that you can be prepared with adequate startup capital
- Determine your target market and how to reach them
A detailed, step-by-step plan gives you a blueprint you can refer to during the startup process and helps you maintain momentum.
What this business plan template includes
Writing a business plan for a startup can sometimes seem overwhelming. To make the process easier and more manageable, this template will guide you step-by-step. The template includes easy-to-follow instructions for completing each business plan section, questions to help you think through each aspect, and corresponding fillable worksheet/s for critical sections.
After you complete the 11 worksheets, you will have a working business plan for your startup to show your SCORE mentor .
Business plan sections covered in this template:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Management and Organization
- Startup Expenses and Capitalization
- Financial Plan
The Appendices include documents that supplement information in the body of the plan. These might be contracts, leases, purchase orders, intellectual property, key managers’ resumes, market research data or anything that supports assumptions or statements made in the plan.
The last section of the template, “Refining Your Plan,” explains ways to modify your plan for specific purposes, such as getting a bank loan, or for specific industries, such as retail or manufacturing.
Complete the Business Plan Template for a Startup Business to create a working business plan for your startup.
Then, contact a SCORE mentor to review and refine your plan online or in person.
Quick Start Business Plan The aim of this module is to give you the tools, direction and ideas you need to build a business plan. If you're starting a business then a business plan is essential, because it forces you to think through your ideas and options.
10 Business Planning Tips for Starting a Business In this webinar, you'll learn 10 business planning tips to help you start your entrepreneurial journey on the right path.
Business Plan 101: Sales & Marketing The sales and marketing section of your business plan describes how you intend to sell your product. Learn what you should include in this section.
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
Business Plan Templates
A well-written business plan can help you identify your goals, map out strategies to achieve them, and measure progress along the way. And while some proponents of the ' no plan ' business plan argue that businesses can survive without a business plan — research shows that having a solid plan can help fuel growth and improve business performance, especially if you're a startup.
What's a Startup Business Plan?
Before diving into the specifics, let’s revisit the basics of a startup business plan. Briefly, a business plan is a written document outlining your strategies and ideas for launching, growing, managing, and (later on) exiting your business venture.
Business plans are by no means set in stone. In fact, your plan will likely evolve as the market changes and as you learn more about your customers. A typical business plan will include your financial projections, marketing strategies, timelines, products and services, management plans, competitive analysis, and more.
Why Does it Matter?
Studies show that both new and existing businesses can benefit from a business plan , as planning drastically improves business performance and efficiency. Also, companies with business plans tend to grow at least 30% faster than those that don't have any sort of planning in place.
Additionally, 71% of fast-growing companies attribute their growth to having defined their budgets, sales goals, and business strategies early on. And to really drive the point home, yet another study revealed that companies that had a growth rate in sales of over 92% year-over-year all had business plans to inform their next steps.
Briefly put, business plans help you focus on your business goals and keep your team and investors informed regarding the future of your company. Putting things on paper enables you to set realistic goals and actionable steps for reaching them. For example, if you're developing a new product, you'll need to know exactly how much it will cost and whether you need additional funding.
Who Will Want to Read It?
No, sorry, the "About Us" section on your website or social media page is not enough. You'll need a well-written, comprehensive business plan to get your startup off the ground — and that means you should be prepared to share it with potential investors, partners, and lenders.
Your potential investors or partners will want to know exactly what they're investing in and how their money will help your company reach its goals. By having a comprehensive business plan in place, you can show potential investors and partners that you have done your homework and are serious about taking your business venture to the next level. Plus, it gives them a glimpse into what kind of returns they can expect from financing your business or partnering with you.
The Starting Point
Creating a business plan can be a daunting task. That’s why we created the Startup Business Plan Template – an easy-to-use editable template that provides guidance on writing a high-quality business plan (or checking what you already have so far). Here's what the kit contains:
- Guidelines for Writing a rockstar business plan
- The nine components your business plan needs
- Editable fields for easy creation
- A business plan gut checklist
- How to make the template work for you.
Get access to the templates now
Built to scale with hubspot for startups.
It takes some time to put together a startup pitch deck that works, but once you’ve nailed your presentation, you can reuse it for multiple pitches with just a few tweaks to update any data or statistics. HubSpot for Startups helps you track marketing and sales data to make this process easier. New investors can rest easy knowing you’ve got the support of HubSpot’s powerful CRM at your fingertips.
Amazon Web Services
From Airbnb to Zocdoc, the world’s top startups build on Amazon Web Services. But they didn’t do it alone. So whether you need help solving a technical challenge, hiring the right engineers, or finalizing a fundraising round, we have all the resources you need to get started. There’s a reason more startups build on AWS than any other provider: we’re here to help you succeed, from inception to IPO.
To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com .
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Simple business plan template for startup founders
Most new businesses that fail do so for one of two reasons: (1) lack of market need and/or (2) no more cash.
These two reasons account for more than 70% of new businesses not making it. However, both causes can often be avoided if founders invest upfront time in developing a carefully researched business plan.
A simple business plan template provides a proven framework to start from, concisely helps structure ideas, and shows potential investors what an organized and professional team looks like — one that can bring this business idea to market.
This article will share our custom-developed, simple business plan template, cover what should be included, and more.
Get the template
What is a simple business plan template?
A business plan is a written document outlining how a company intends to achieve its primary objectives — obtaining a particular market share, growing revenue, or reaching the next round of funding.
Download Excel template
While companies of all stages and sizes use business plans, they are beneficial for startups, as they can be the key to attaining funding.
A business plan template is a customizable document that provides all the crucial and necessary elements of a great business plan, allowing company leaders to start from a solid and established foundation rather than from scratch.
A simple business plan template typically includes:
- table of contents
- executive summary
- company description
- analysis of the target market
- description of the management team
- details of the product or service
- financial forecasts
- funding requirements
- appendices such as legal documents, permits, patents, and licenses
Business plans can quickly become huge, cumbersome documents, requiring a significant time investment from the creator. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends business plans be between 30 and 50 pages long.
While there is some benefit to spending this time developing a comprehensive business plan, agility is often more critical in the startup business world. That’s the main reason why simple business plan templates exist.
Simple business plan templates typically follow a structure outlining goals, teams, and financials.
- Company description : What does the business do? What problems does it solve?
- Team : Who is involved? What key hires have been made? What expertise do they bring to the table? Why are they the right team to get the job done?
- Industry and competitive analysis: Who are the company’s competitors? What are they doing well and not so well? What opportunities exist to differentiate and be successful in this industry?
- Target market: Who are the customers being targeted? What are their interests? What are their everyday challenges and goals?
- Timeline : What are the critical dates for tasks/goals?
- Marketing plan : How will the plan attract new customers?
- Financial plan : What do current revenue streams, cash on hand, revenue structure, required funding or funding already received, etc., look like.
Why use a simple business plan template?
We highly recommend founders use a simple business plan template, mainly for the speed and agility they offer.
Creating a business plan takes time and effort, no matter how many times it’s been done. Even a simple, one-page business plan designed for small businesses requires a fair bit of research.
Each section of the business needs to be analyzed. First, it’s essential to understand the market conditions and have a step-by-step plan. Then finally, it’s necessary to determine the plan’s structure.
Templates are even more crucial for first-time startup founders.
It’s understandable not to be super-confident in the first (or 2nd or 3rd) business plan writing process. A proven framework will help all — even seasoned veterans, ensure they:
- Don’t miss any critical elements.
- Structure ideas neatly and concisely.
- Foster a sense of professionalism, improving the confidence of potential investors
What are some examples of simple business plan templates?
These sample business plan templates serve as a great jumping-off point. Use them as inspiration. Take note of the similarities across the different examples.
1. One-page business plan template
A one-page business plan template is perfect for creating a plan to bring to the next startup pitch. But of course, supplementing the template with appendices for financial reports like balance sheets or income statements is important.
Summarizing the entire business into a single page is a great exercise. It ensures a robust and concise knowledge of each area of operation, creating more confidence to discuss each point with potential investors.
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2. Simple business plan template in Excel
While Excel does not have all the bells and whistles, it’s still a popular and widely-used platform — one that many founders choose to use to create simple business plans. This template can be used for any type of business, though it’s built for early-stage startups to plan out the first few months in business.
Notice how the template breaks overall costs down into smaller, more detailed items. This is useful to understand better the costs associated with starting a new business. Noting when those costs are owed also helps business owners monitor cash flow.
3. Startup business plan template
Here’s another excellent example of a business plan template built for startups.
What’s great about this template is rather than providing simple headers for each section, it includes questions and prompts to help guide the necessary information.
4. Lean business plan template
Lean business is a style of startup operation that focuses on minimizing waste, moving fast, and keeping costs low. It’s a popular methodology for companies wanting to get off the ground quickly and build revenue without raising significant funding.
This business plan template supports startups based on the lean concept, allowing for a simple, single-page business plan with minimal time investment.
monday.com’s simple business plan template
Most free business plan templates come in PDF, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word formats. Unfortunately, while these are popular formats and tools, they don’t tend to be particularly collaborative.
Have a distributed team? The monday.com simple business plan template will be your best friend.
Customize it to include all the fields necessary for a stellar business plan plus any additional ones unique to your business. But the most significant benefit of the template is the platform it’s built on .
The monday.com Work OS means building apps and workflows is simple. Customizing fields and columns to fit what the company is already doing, not the other way around. For example, once a business plan has been created using the monday.com simple template, it’s super-easy to set up a collaborative board to manage the marketing plan , assign tasks and due dates to employees and freelancers, and turn that business plan into reality.
Simple business plan template tips & tricks
Here are a few tips to make the most of this template and create a business plan that works.
1. Use simple, approachable language.
The goal is for people to read the business plan, right? Using everyday language over complex jargon and corporate terminology is an excellent place to start. Then, ensuring anyone who comes across the plan will have no issue understanding its meaning.
2. Write the executive summary last.
The executive summary is a short section that summarizes every aspect of the business plan. So, first, write the entire plan. THEN write the executive summary.
3. Supplement the business plan with supporting documents
While simple business plans are fast and effective, they leave out a lot of information by nature. Consider supplementing the plan with appendices such as financial statements , data sets, and market analyses.
4. Be conservative with financial estimates.
Where possible, financial projections should be based on real-life data. But even with the most accurate and up-to-date information out there, there’s always room for interpretation. So it’s best to give a range where possible, and if not, stay conservative with financial estimates.
5. Include thorough research and analysis
Invest the time early on and capture accurate, comprehensive data to support all claims. Interview customers and prospects to get a realistic picture of the target audience. Consider hiring a professional firm to provide a market research report.
FAQs about simple business plan templates
How do i write a simple business plan.
Simple business plans can be as little as one page with concise writing. Include information for each of these sections:
- Company description : What does the company do and sell? What problems does it solve?
- Team : Who works for the company, and what value do they provide?
- Industry : What competitors or other options exist?
- Target market : What does the ideal customer look like?
- Marketing strategy and plan : What is the plan to bring in new customers?
- Financial plan : What do the revenue streams look like?
What are the 7 parts of a business plan?
A 7-part business plan starts with the executive summary, moves on to describe the company, and finishes with financials.
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Organization and management team
- Products and services
- Market analysis
- Strategy and implementation timeline
- Financial plan and projections
What are common mistakes in a business plan?
Typical business plan mistakes include:
- not being research-driven
- unrealistic financial estimates
- providing too much information
- not using data to back up claims
- not offering an analysis of the competitive landscape
- only outlining vague goals and priorities
- Common Scams
- Business Plan Template
Business Plan template
What is a business plan.
A Business Plan is a written document that describes your core business objectives and how you plan to achieve them over a set period of time. It is designed to help you, and others, understand how you plan to generate money and make your business sustainable. A Business Plan often includes information about your goals, strategies, marketing and sales plans and financial forecasts. Read on below for more information about the key sections of a Business Plan.
Download your copy of the Business Plan template now. The document includes a Personal Survival Budget template and a Cash Flow Forecast template, which are also required for your application:
The guide is an annotated version of the Business Plan template with notes from our Business Advisers about what type of information, examples and evidence to include in order to help us understand you and your business. While we encourage you to use this Business Plan template, it is not mandatory and you are welcome to submit your own Business Plan template provided it details similar information.
Please note, the following documents should open on any device with a document viewer and editor but for the best user experience, we recommend editing this Business Plan template on a desktop.
Why is a Business Plan important?
There are many great reasons why it is worth your time creating a Business Plan – even if you’re not quite ready to apply for a Start Up Loan. Here are just seven:
A Business Plan:
- Provides a structured way of organising your thoughts and clarifying your idea.
- Helps you set out your goals and spot any potential problems in achieving these goals.
- Gives you a clear strategy to follow when things get busy.
- Is often essential for securing external finance for your business (and is required if you’re applying for a Start Up Loan).
- Allows you to measure your progress as you go along.
- Ensures all of your team are working towards the same vision.
- Helps you plan for the future.
Key sections of a Business Plan:
A Business Plan can include whatever information you feel is required to best convey how you are planning to make your business sustainable and, when it comes to applying for a Start Up Loan, the following are the core sections we require.
Your business and key objectives: A brief description of your business and its core products or services. This section also includes a clear and concise overview of the goals your business is trying to achieve over a set period of time. Sometimes these are broken down as short, mid and long-term goals, but it helps if they’re measurable (how will you know if you have achieved this?) and realistic (can you achieve this with the money, resources and time you have?).
If you are applying for a Start Up Loan, you will of course also need to detail how you intend to use the money if you’re successful. Our Loan Assessment team will want to see that the Start Up Loan will support your overall business objectives.
Your skills and experience: An overview of your experience as it relates to your business. If you’ve previously worked in a similar business, or have experience running another business, this will help provide confidence that you are in a good position to start up. Even if this is all brand new to you, think about any transferable skills you’ve developed, life experiences you’ve had or training you’ve completed that may be useful.
Your target customers, market and competition: A summary of key insights that demonstrate you have a strong understanding of your customers (and how to identify them), your market (and how to position yourself within it) and your competitors (and how to differentiate yourself from them on factors like price, quality, brand etc).
Your sales and marketing plans: This section is all about how you are planning to attract customers. You might include information about where you’ll distribute your products, what your branding and logo will be and what pricing you’ll apply. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate how you will spread the word about your product/services in order to generate demand, such as using social media, exhibiting at a trade conference or investing in online advertising.
Your operational plans: This will be different depending on your business model, but may include information on where you’ll trade (like a home office or external premises), the number of staff you’ll need to employ, what their roles will be and any equipment or tools you’ll need to run your business. You can also use this section to detail any processes that are important to your operations, as well as any industry, tax or legal regulations related to your business. It’s also good to think about any risks you may face, how you will overcome them and what you will do if things don’t go to plan.
Financials Many business plans include a financial section, which outlines how you’ll fund all of the activities you’ve outlined and what revenue you expect to generate. Because we ask you to complete a Cash Flow Forecast as part of your Start Up Loan application, we don’t require too much detail on this in your Business Plan. Rather, these two documents should be complementary.
Check out our Cash Flow Forecast guide and template >>
Writing a Business Plan – our top tips:
The tips below have been prepared by our Business Advisers and Loan Assessment team to help you understand some of the key things that will strengthen your application. For more in-depth advice, read our guidelines on how to write a Business Plan .
- Demonstrate that you understand your market and customer. For our Loan Assessment team to feel comfortable that your business plans are viable, they will want to see that there is a market who wants and needs your product/service, that you have thought about how you’ll set yourself apart from competitors and that you know how to attract your customers. Any market research you can do, like a simple online survey, looking up industry reports or interviews with potential customers will help.
- Use evidence and examples to back up any statements you make. It’s always more powerful when you can prove what you’re saying with hard facts, whether it’s with a strong statistic, a customer quote, examples of similar activity or other research. It doesn’t have to be detailed – sometimes it will be sufficient to include a link to further information – but it will help our loan assessment team feel more confident that your business plan is viable.
- Make sure everything ties together by linking every strategy to your core objectives. The purpose of a Business Plan is to show what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them so remember to put your objectives at the heart of your plan. For example, if one of your goals is to generate 10 new sales per month, then in your marketing section you’ll need to think about how many sales each promotional channel needs to deliver in order to support this objective.
- Consider any risks you face and how you will overcome them. Every business has risks so don’t shy away from referencing these in your business plan. Demonstrating that you are aware of your key risks. Having a clear plan for how to reduce or overcome these is something that will set your business plan apart and give our loan assessment team confidence that you’re ready for the challenge.
- Be as clear and concise as possible and avoid waffle. Remember, we’re not looking to see every single detail about how your business will operate, rather we just need to know enough information to give us confidence that you have a clear plan in place. You might like to use bullet points, graphs, tables and subheadings to help you keep your content focused and help you avoid the temptation to go into too much detail.
- Presentation matters: proof read, review and format your document. As with most things in life, first impressions count. Use clear headings, structure your document in a clear order and check you’ve used consistent fonts throughout. Remember, you don’t have to be a writer or a designer to prepare a professional looking document. Most importantly, double check that you haven’t made any spelling or grammatical errors. It can be a good idea to have someone proof read your work for you once you’re finished to pick up anything you might have missed.
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A Business Plan can include whatever information you feel is required to best convey how you are planning to make your business sustainable and, when it comes to applying for a Start Up Loan, the following are the core sections we require (our Business Plan template includes them).