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Write your business plan

Business plans help you run your business.

A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through the key elements of your business.

Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.

Pick a business plan format that works for you

There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs.

Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.

Traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to go into detail in each section. They tend to require more work upfront and can be dozens of pages long.

Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page.

Traditional business plan

write traditional plan

Lean startup plan

A lean business plan is quicker but high-level

Traditional business plan format

You might prefer a traditional business plan format if you’re very detail-oriented, want a comprehensive plan, or plan to request financing from traditional sources.

When you write your business plan, you don’t have to stick to the exact business plan outline. Instead, use the sections that make the most sense for your business and your needs. Traditional business plans use some combination of these nine sections.

Executive summary

Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company’s leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing.

Company description

Use your company description to provide detailed information about your company. Go into detail about the problems your business solves. Be specific, and list out the consumers, organization, or businesses your company plans to serve.

Explain the competitive advantages that will make your business a success. Are there experts on your team? Have you found the perfect location for your store? Your company description is the place to boast about your strengths.

Market analysis

You'll need a good understanding of your industry outlook and target market. Competitive research will show you what other businesses are doing and what their strengths are. In your market research, look for trends and themes. What do successful competitors do? Why does it work? Can you do it better? Now's the time to answer these questions.

Organization and management

Tell your reader how your company will be structured and who will run it.

Describe the  legal structure  of your business. State whether you have or intend to incorporate your business as a C or an S corporation, form a general or limited partnership, or if you're a sole proprietor or limited liability company (LLC).

Use an organizational chart to lay out who's in charge of what in your company. Show how each person's unique experience will contribute to the success of your venture. Consider including resumes and CVs of key members of your team.

Service or product line

Describe what you sell or what service you offer. Explain how it benefits your customers and what the product lifecycle looks like. Share your plans for intellectual property, like copyright or patent filings. If you're doing  research and development  for your service or product, explain it in detail.

Marketing and sales

There's no single way to approach a marketing strategy. Your strategy should evolve and change to fit your unique needs.

Your goal in this section is to describe how you'll attract and retain customers. You'll also describe how a sale will actually happen. You'll refer to this section later when you make financial projections, so make sure to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales strategies.

Funding request

If you're asking for funding, this is where you'll outline your funding requirements. Your goal is to clearly explain how much funding you’ll need over the next five years and what you'll use it for.

Specify whether you want debt or equity, the terms you'd like applied, and the length of time your request will cover. Give a detailed description of how you'll use your funds. Specify if you need funds to buy equipment or materials, pay salaries, or cover specific bills until revenue increases. Always include a description of your future strategic financial plans, like paying off debt or selling your business.

Financial projections

Supplement your funding request with financial projections. Your goal is to convince the reader that your business is stable and will be a financial success.

If your business is already established, include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years. If you have other collateral you could put against a loan, make sure to list it now.

Provide a prospective financial outlook for the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. For the first year, be even more specific and use quarterly — or even monthly — projections. Make sure to clearly explain your projections, and match them to your funding requests.

This is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business.  

Use your appendix to provide supporting documents or other materials were specially requested. Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts.

Example traditional business plans

Before you write your business plan, read the following example business plans written by fictional business owners. Rebecca owns a consulting firm, and Andrew owns a toy company.

Lean startup format

You might prefer a lean startup format if you want to explain or start your business quickly, your business is relatively simple, or you plan to regularly change and refine your business plan.

Lean startup formats are charts that use only a handful of elements to describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. They’re useful for visualizing tradeoffs and fundamental facts about your company.

There are different ways to develop a lean startup template. You can search the web to find free templates to build your business plan. We discuss nine components of a model business plan here:

Key partnerships

Note the other businesses or services you’ll work with to run your business. Think about suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, and similar strategic partners.

Key activities

List the ways your business will gain a competitive advantage. Highlight things like selling direct to consumers, or using technology to tap into the sharing economy.

Key resources

List any resource you’ll leverage to create value for your customer. Your most important assets could include staff, capital, or intellectual property. Don’t forget to leverage business resources that might be available to  women ,  veterans ,  Native Americans , and  HUBZone businesses .

Value proposition

Make a clear and compelling statement about the unique value your company brings to the market.

Customer relationships

Describe how customers will interact with your business. Is it automated or personal? In person or online? Think through the customer experience from start to finish.

Customer segments

Be specific when you name your target market. Your business won’t be for everybody, so it’s important to have a clear sense of whom your business will serve.

List the most important ways you’ll talk to your customers. Most businesses use a mix of channels and optimize them over time.

Cost structure

Will your company focus on reducing cost or maximizing value? Define your strategy, then list the most significant costs you’ll face pursuing it.

Revenue streams

Explain how your company will actually make money. Some examples are direct sales, memberships fees, and selling advertising space. If your company has multiple revenue streams, list them all.

Example lean business plan

Before you write your business plan, read this example business plan written by a fictional business owner, Andrew, who owns a toy company.

Need help? Get free business counseling

24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

Clifford Chi

Published: February 06, 2024

Free Business Plan Template

written business plan samples

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

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I believe that reading sample business plans is essential when writing your own.

sample business plans and examples

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As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, it’s easier for you to learn how to write a good one.

But what does a good business plan look like? And how do you write one that’s both viable and convincing. I’ll walk you through the ideal business plan format along with some examples to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Format

Business plan types, sample business plan templates, top business plan examples.

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. To me, 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. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

written business plan samples

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

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

First, you’ll want to nail down your formatting. Most business plans include the following sections.

1. Executive Summary

I’d say the executive summary is the most important section of the entire business plan. 

Why? 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.

There are two main elements I’d recommend including in your executive summary:

Company Description

This is the perfect space to highlight your company’s mission statement and goals, a brief overview of your history and leadership, and your top accomplishments as a business.

Tell potential investors who you are and why what you do matters. Naturally, they’re going to want to know who they’re getting into business with up front, and this is a great opportunity to showcase your impact.

Need some extra help firming up those business goals? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free course to help you set goals that matter — I’d highly recommend it

Products and Services

To piggyback off of the company description, be sure to incorporate an overview of your offerings. This doesn’t have to be extensive — just another chance to introduce your industry and overall purpose as a business.

In addition to the items above, I recommend including some information about your financial projections and competitive advantage here too.:

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, and only include 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

This executive summary is so good to me because it tells potential investors a short story while still covering all of the most important details.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Start with a strong introduction of your company, showcase your mission and impact, and outline the products and services you provide.
  • 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.

The main question I’d ask myself here is this: Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will my product fill that gap?

More specifically, here’s what I’d include in this section:

  • 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

I like this example because it 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

Since we’re already speaking of market share, you'll also 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.

My favorite part of performing a competitive analysis is that it 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

I like how the competitive landscape section of this business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

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.

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

Use this section to 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. Here are some questions I’d ask myself here:

  • 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?

I’d also recommend building 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

I like the example below because it 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. I’d suggest including information:

  • Your 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

I think it’s helpful to have a marketing plan built out in advance to make this part of your business plan easier.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler.

In my opinion, it really works because it offers a comprehensive picture of how they plan 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 need to 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

In my opinion, the example below does a great job outlining 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, here’s what I’d might outline in this section:

  • 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

I like how 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

To me, 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 I’d include in this section.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet is a great example of level of detail you’ll 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.

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, I’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. In my opinion, 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.

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some of my favorite 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 I 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. (I 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.

I 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 my 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 I 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, I 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.

I’ve compiled some completed business plan samples to help you get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business.

I chose different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Let’s 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.

I 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.

"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 .

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. 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.

Patagonia has one of the most compelling mission statements I’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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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 essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" and this example does just that. 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 use this template as a guide while you're gathering important information for your own business plan. You'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do since Culina’s plan outlines these details so flawlessly for inspiration.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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Business plan templates

From competitive analysis to financial projections, business plans give your new business a roadmap for success. Download one of our free business plan templates and take your company to the next level.

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Business Plan Template

This business plan template is a great tool for your startup to customize to reflect your strong qualifications, experienced team, and marketable business idea.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that helps small business owners determine the viability of their business idea. Combining market research and financial analysis, a professional business plan helps startup CEOs and potential investors determine if the company can compete in the target market.

Typically, a good business plan consists of the following:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Mission statement
  • Product and services
  • Marketing plan
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion & appendix

Every section involved in a business plan is designed to help startup businesses reach their target market.

A business plan asks founders and entrepreneurs to detail their business strategy in a step-by-step process that makes sense from an operational perspective. This is essential if a startup is seeking a business loan or an investment from a venture capital firm.

However, even small businesses that are already economically viable can benefit from creating a business plan, since it encourages business owners and their management teams to examine their business model and reevaluate the best ways to reach their target customers.

Should I use a business plan template?

Yes.  If you’ve never written one, a business plan can be challenging to write.

Creating a successful plan that you can use to grow your small business can require weeks of market analysis and financial preparation. You may spend time using Microsoft Excel or Powerpoint in order to create documentation which better supports our operational decisions.

However, almost every professional business plan is structured in the same way and most ask for the same information. Because of this, using a business plan template is advisable to save time, money, and effort.

Business plan templates for free

Rather than spending time trying to figure out how to write a business plan , use a free template as a guide to completion.

Business plan templates from PandaDoc can help you reach an effective go-to-market strategy even faster by asking you to provide all the relevant information you need when creating an effective business plan.

Grab a free template to get started!

Frequently asked questions

How many pages should my business plan be.

This depends on the kind of business plan you need to write and how you intend to use the plan that you create.

For example, a plan for a small business seeking potential investors or a business loan will need to provide income statements, cash flow statements, and a balance sheet (usually for a three-year or five-year forecast period).

These financial statements can be omitted if a small business owner isn’t seeking funding and is instead planning to use their business plan as a guiding document for themselves and their management team members.

Some business plans may only run a few pages. Fully-developed business plans can be as long as 50 pages. Much of this depends on the type of business, the operational strategy, and the level of detail that goes into developing the business plan.

Who needs a business plan?

Every business should have a business plan. This is an essential guidance document for any founder or CEO.

Good business plans help a company determine the viability of its place in the market and can help the business develop better strategies for differentiating itself from its competitors.

Business planning also forces business owners to evaluate their marketing strategy, the cost of customer acquisition and retention, and how they plan to grow their business over time.

What is the best business plan template?

Business plans come in all shapes and sizes. The best business plan template for your business is one that you understand and that matches the size and legal structure of your operation.

If you’re a sole proprietor, a business plan template designed for a big corporation probably doesn’t make sense. However, a business plan that helps you build an effective roadmap to grow your business while protecting your intellectual property is a good starting point.

PandaDoc offers specialized business plan templates for common industries along with tips to help you get started with business planning.

Should I hire someone to write my business plan for me?

No. You’ll find freelance writers and business strategy companies out there who are happy to write your business plan for a fee.  These resources can guide you through the process, but you should write (or be heavily involved in) the creation of your business plan.

The reason for this is simple: You know the most about your business, and your business needs you to succeed.

A writer can work with you to make your business plan sound better to investors, and a consultant can help you fill in knowledge gaps — like how to conduct a SWOT analysis — and point out weaknesses in your plan. But, at the end of the day, you need to use the business plan to pitch investors and run your business.

Those ideas and guiding principles aren’t something you can outsource.

Should I use business planning software?

Software isn’t required when creating an effective business plan. Most business planning software is designed to help you navigate the outlining and writing process more effectively.

You don’t need software to write a professional business plan, but a solid template can help you get started. Download a free template from PandaDoc today and take your business to the next level.

Get started with PandaDoc today

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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.

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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

CREATE THIS PLAN TEMPLATE

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.

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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

CREATE THIS PRESENTATION TEMPLATE

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

CREATE THIS REPORT TEMPLATE

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

CREATE THIS PROPOSAL TEMPLATE

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.

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.

Bizee

A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

written business plan samples

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

On a similar note...

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How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

  • 3 years ago

Have you ever wondered how to write a business plan step by step? Mike Andes, told us: 

This guide will help you write a business plan to impress investors.

Throughout this process, we’ll get information from Mike Andes, who started Augusta Lawn Care Services when he was 12 and turned it into a franchise with over 90 locations. He has gone on to help others learn how to write business plans and start businesses.  He knows a thing or two about writing  business plans!

We’ll start by discussing the definition of a business plan. Then we’ll discuss how to come up with the idea, how to do the market research, and then the important elements in the business plan format. Keep reading to start your journey!

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is simply a road map of what you are trying to achieve with your business and how you will go about achieving it. It should cover all elements of your business including: 

  • Finding customers
  • Plans for developing a team
  •  Competition
  • Legal structures
  • Key milestones you are pursuing

If you aren’t quite ready to create a business plan, consider starting by reading our business startup guide .

Get a Business Idea

Before you can write a business plan, you have to have a business idea. You may see a problem that needs to be solved and have an idea how to solve it, or you might start by evaluating your interests and skills. 

Mike told us, “The three things I suggest asking yourself when thinking about starting a business are:

  • What am I good at?
  • What would I enjoy doing?
  • What can I get paid for?”

If all three of these questions don’t lead to at least one common answer, it will probably be a much harder road to success. Either there is not much market for it, you won’t be good at it, or you won’t enjoy doing it. 

As Mike told us, “There’s enough stress starting and running a business that if you don’t like it or aren’t good at it, it’s hard to succeed.”

If you’d like to hear more about Mike’s approach to starting a business, check out our YouTube video

Conduct Market Analysis

Market analysis is focused on establishing if there is a target market for your products and services, how large the target market is, and identifying the demographics of people or businesses that would be interested in the product or service. The goal here is to establish how much money your business concept can make.

Product and Service Demand

A search engine is your best friend when trying to figure out if there is demand for your products and services. Personally, I love using presearch.org because it lets you directly search on a ton of different platforms including Google, Youtube, Twitter, and more. Check out the screenshot for the full list of search options.

With quick web searches, you can find out how many competitors you have, look through their reviews, and see if there are common complaints about the competitors. Bad reviews are a great place to find opportunities to offer better products or services. 

If there are no similar products or services, you may have stumbled upon something new, or there may just be no demand for it. To find out, go talk to your most honest friend about the idea and see what they think. If they tell you it’s dumb or stare at you vacantly, there’s probably no market for it.

You can also conduct a survey through social media to get public opinion on your idea. Using Facebook Business Manager , you could get a feel for who would be interested in your product or service.

 I ran a quick test of how many people between 18-65  you could reach in the U.S. during a week. It returned an estimated 700-2,000 for the total number of leads, which is enough to do a fairly accurate statistical analysis.

Identify Demographics of Target Market

Depending on what type of business you want to run, your target market will be different. The narrower the demographic, the fewer potential customers you’ll have. If you did a survey, you’ll be able to use that data to help define your target audience. Some considerations you’ll want to consider are:

  • Other Interests
  • Marital Status
  • Do they have kids?

Once you have this information, it can help you narrow down your options for location and help define your marketing further. One resource that Mike recommended using is the Census Bureau’s Quick Facts Map . He told us,  

“It helps you quickly evaluate what the best areas are for your business to be located.”

How to Write a Business Plan

Now that you’ve developed your idea a little and established there is a market for it, you can begin writing a business plan. Getting started is easier with the business plan template we created for you to download. I strongly recommend using it as it is updated to make it easier to create an action plan. 

Each of the following should be a section of your business plan:

  • Business Plan Cover Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Description of Products and Services

SWOT Analysis

  • Competitor Data
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Expenses Strategy 

Pricing Strategy

  • Distribution Channel Assessment
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organizational Strategy
  • Financial Statements and/or Financial Projections

We’ll look into each of these. Don’t forget to download our free business plan template (mentioned just above) so you can follow along as we go. 

How to Write a Business Plan Step 1. Create a Cover Page

The first thing investors will see is the cover page for your business plan. Make sure it looks professional. A great cover page shows that you think about first impressions.

A good business plan should have the following elements on a cover page:

  • Professionally designed logo
  • Company name
  • Mission or Vision Statement
  • Contact Info

Basically, think of a cover page for your business plan like a giant business card. It is meant to capture people’s attention but be quickly processed.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 2. Create a Table of Contents

Most people are busy enough that they don’t have a lot of time. Providing a table of contents makes it easy for them to find the pages of your plan that are meaningful to them.

A table of contents will be immediately after the cover page, but you can include it after the executive summary. Including the table of contents immediately after the executive summary will help investors know what section of your business plan they want to review more thoroughly.

Check out Canva’s article about creating a  table of contents . It has a ton of great information about creating easy access to each section of your business plan. Just remember that you’ll want to use different strategies for digital and hard copy business plans.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 3. Write an Executive Summary

An executive summary is where your business plan should catch the readers interest.  It doesn’t need to be long, but should be quick and easy to read.

Mike told us,

How long should an executive summary bein an informal business plan?

For casual use, an executive summary should be similar to an elevator pitch, no more than 150-160 words, just enough to get them interested and wanting more. Indeed has a great article on elevator pitches .  This can also be used for the content of emails to get readers’ attention.

It consists of three basic parts:

  • An introduction to you and your business.
  • What your business is about.
  • A call to action

Example of an informal executive summary 

One of the best elevator pitches I’ve used is:

So far that pitch has achieved a 100% success rate in getting partnerships for the business.

What should I include in an executive summary for investors?

Investors are going to need a more detailed executive summary if you want to secure financing or sell equity. The executive summary should be a brief overview of your entire business plan and include:

  • Introduction of yourself and company.
  • An origin story (Recognition of a problem and how you came to solution)
  • An introduction to your products or services.
  • Your unique value proposition. Make sure to include intellectual property.
  • Where you are in the business life cycle
  • Request and why you need it.

Successful business plan examples

The owner of Urbanity told us he spent 2 months writing a 75-page business plan and received a $250,000 loan from the bank when he was 23. Make your business plan as detailed as possible when looking for financing. We’ve provided a template to help you prepare the portions of a business plan that banks expect.

Here’s the interview with the owner of Urbanity:

When to write an executive summary?

Even though the summary is near the beginning of a business plan, you should write it after you complete the rest of a business plan. You can’t talk about revenue, profits, and expected expenditures if you haven’t done the market research and created a financial plan.

What mistakes do people make when writing an executive summary?

Business owners commonly go into too much detail about the following items in an executive summary:

  • Marketing and sales processes
  • Financial statements
  • Organizational structure
  • Market analysis

These are things that people will want to know later, but they don’t hook the reader. They won’t spark interest in your small business, but they’ll close the deal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 4. Company Description

Every business plan should include a company description. A great business plan will include the following elements while describing the company:

  • Mission statement
  • Philosophy and vision
  • Company goals

Target market

  • Legal structure

Let’s take a look at what each section includes in a good business plan.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is a brief explanation of why you started the company and what the company’s main focus is. It should be no more than one or two sentences. Check out HubSpot’s article 27 Inspiring Mission Statement for a great read on informative and inspiring mission and vision statements. 

Company Philosophy and Vision

The company philosophy is what drives your company. You’ll normally hear them called core values.  These are the building blocks that make your company different. You want to communicate your values to customers, business owners, and investors as often as possible to build a company culture, but make sure to back them up.

What makes your company different?

Each company is different. Your new business should rise above the standard company lines of honesty, integrity, fun, innovation, and community when communicating your business values. The standard answers are corporate jargon and lack authenticity. 

Examples of core values

One of my clients decided to add a core values page to their website. As a tech company they emphasized the values:

  •  Prioritize communication.
  •  Never stop learning.
  •  Be transparent.
  •  Start small and grow incrementally.

These values communicate how the owner and the rest of the company operate. They also show a value proposition and competitive advantage because they specifically focus on delivering business value from the start. These values also genuinely show what the company is about and customers recognize the sincerity. Indeed has a great blog about how to identify your core values .

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement communicate the long lasting change a business pursues. The vision helps investors and customers understand what your company is trying to accomplish. The vision statement goes beyond a mission statement to provide something meaningful to the community, customer’s lives, or even the world.

Example vision statements

The Alzheimer’s Association is a great example of a vision statement:

A world without Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia.

It clearly tells how they want to change the world. A world without Alzheimers might be unachievable, but that means they always have room for improvement.

Business Goals

You have to measure success against goals for a business plan to be meaningful. A business plan helps guide a company similar to how your GPS provides a road map to your favorite travel destination. A goal to make as much money as possible is not inspirational and sounds greedy.

Sure, business owners want to increase their profits and improve customer service, but they need to present an overview of what they consider success. The goals should help everyone prioritize their work.

How far in advance should a business plan?

Business planning should be done at least one year in advance, but many banks and investors prefer three to five year business plans. Longer plans show investors that the management team  understands the market and knows the business is operating in a constantly shifting market. In addition, a plan helps businesses to adjust to changes because they have already considered how to handle them.

Example of great business goals

My all time-favorite long-term company goals are included in Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux . These goals were written in 2016 and drive the company’s decisions through 2026. They are the reason that investors are so forgiving when Elon Musk continually fails to meet his quarterly and annual goals.

If the progress aligns with the business plan investors are likely to continue to believe in the company. Just make sure the goals are reasonable or you’ll be discredited (unless you’re Elon Musk).

You did target market research before creating a business plan. Now it’s time to add it to the plan so others understand what your ideal customer looks like. As a new business owner, you may not be considered an expert in your field yet, so document everything. Make sure the references you use are from respectable sources. 

Use information from the specific lender when you are applying for lending. Most lenders provide industry research reports and using their data can strengthen the position of your business plan.

A small business plan should include a section on the external environment. Understanding the industry is crucial because we don’t plan a business in a vacuum. Make sure to research the industry trends, competitors, and forecasts. I personally prefer IBIS World for my business research. Make sure to answer questions like:

  • What is the industry outlook long-term and short-term?
  • How will your business take advantage of projected industry changes and trends?
  • What might happen to your competitors and how will your business successfully compete?

Industry resources

Some helpful resources to help you establish more about your industry are:

  • Trade Associations
  • Federal Reserve
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics

Legal Structure

There are five basic types of legal structures that most people will utilize:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

Partnerships

Corporations.

  • Franchises.

Each business structure has their pros and cons. An LLC is the most common legal structure due to its protection of personal assets and ease of setting up. Make sure to specify how ownership is divided and what roles each owner plays when you have more than one business owner.

You’ll have to decide which structure is best for you, but we’ve gathered information on each to make it easier.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the easiest legal structure to set up but doesn’t protect the owner’s personal assets from legal issues. That means if something goes wrong, you could lose both your company and your home.

To start a sole proprietorship, fill out a special tax form called a  Schedule C . Sole proprietors can also join the American Independent Business Alliance .

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is the most common business structure used in the United States because an LLC protects the owner’s personal assets. It’s similar to partnerships and corporations, but can be a single-member LLC in most states. An LLC requires a document called an operating agreement.

Each state has different requirements. Here’s a link to find your state’s requirements . Delaware and Nevada are common states to file an LLC because they are really business-friendly. Here’s a blog on the top 10 states to get an LLC.

Partnerships are typically for legal firms. If you choose to use a partnership choose a Limited Liability Partnership. Alternatively, you can just use an LLC.

Corporations are typically for massive organizations. Corporations have taxes on both corporate and income tax so unless you plan on selling stock, you are better off considering an LLC with S-Corp status . Investopedia has good information corporations here .

There are several opportunities to purchase successful franchises. TopFranchise.com has a list of companies in a variety of industries that offer franchise opportunities. This makes it where an entrepreneur can benefit from the reputation of an established business that has already worked out many of the kinks of starting from scratch.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 5. Products and Services

This section of the business plan should focus on what you sell, how you source it, and how you sell it. You should include:

  • Unique features that differentiate your business products from competitors
  • Intellectual property
  • Your supply chain
  • Cost and pricing structure 

Questions to answer about your products and services

Mike gave us a list  of the most important questions to answer about your product and services:

  • How will you be selling the product? (in person, ecommerce, wholesale, direct to consumer)?
  • How do you let them know they need a product?
  • How do you communicate the message?
  • How will you do transactions?
  • How much will you be selling it for?
  • How many do you think you’ll sell and why?

Make sure to use the worksheet on our business plan template .

How to Write a Business Plan Step 6. Sales and Marketing Plan

The marketing and sales plan is focused on the strategy to bring awareness to your company and guides how you will get the product to the consumer.  It should contain the following sections:

SWOT Analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Not only do you want to identify them, but you also want to document how the business plans to deal with them.

Business owners need to do a thorough job documenting how their service or product stacks up against the competition.

If proper research isn’t done, investors will be able to tell that the owner hasn’t researched the competition and is less likely to believe that the team can protect its service from threats by the more well-established competition. This is one of the most common parts of a presentation that trips up business owners presenting on Shark Tank .

SWOT Examples

Examples of strengths and weaknesses could be things like the lack of cash flow, intellectual property ownership, high costs of suppliers, and customers’ expectations on shipping times.

Opportunities could be ways to capitalize on your strengths or improve your weaknesses, but may also be gaps in the industry. This includes:

  • Adding offerings that fit with your current small business
  • Increase sales to current customers
  • Reducing costs through bulk ordering
  • Finding ways to reduce inventory
  •  And other areas you can improve

Threats will normally come from outside of the company but could also be things like losing a key member of the team. Threats normally come from competition, regulations, taxes, and unforeseen events.

The management team should use the SWOT analysis to guide other areas of business planning, but it absolutely has to be done before a business owner starts marketing. 

Include Competitor Data in Your Business Plan

When you plan a business, taking into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of the competition is key to navigating the field. Providing an overview of your competition and where they are headed shows that you are invested in understanding the industry.

For smaller businesses, you’ll want to search both the company and the owners names to see what they are working on. For publicly held corporations, you can find their quarterly and annual reports on the SEC website .

What another business plans to do can impact your business. Make sure to include things that might make it attractive for bigger companies to outsource to a small business.

Marketing Strategy

The marketing and sales part of business plans should be focused on how you are going to make potential customers aware of your business and then sell to them.

If you haven’t already included it, Mike recommends:

“They’ll want to know about Demographics, ages, and wealth of your target market.”

Make sure to include the Total addressable market .  The term refers to the value if you captured 100% of the market.

Advertising Strategy

You’ll explain what formats of advertising you’ll be using. Some possibilities are:

  • Online: Facebook and Google are the big names to work with here.
  • Print : Print can be used to reach broad groups or targeted markets. Check out this for tips .
  • Radio : iHeartMedia is one of the best ways to advertise on the radio
  • Cable television : High priced, hard to measure ROI, but here’s an explanation of the process
  • Billboards: Attracting customers with billboards can be beneficial in high traffic areas.

You’ll want to define how you’ll be using each including frequency, duration, and cost. If you have the materials already created, including pictures or links to the marketing to show creative assets.

Mike told us “Most businesses are marketing digitally now due to Covid, but that’s not always the right answer.”

Make sure the marketing strategy will help team members or external marketing agencies stay within the brand guidelines .

This section of a business plan should be focused on pricing. There are a ton of pricing strategies that may work for different business plans. Which one will work for you depends on what kind of a business you run.

Some common pricing strategies are:

  • Value-based pricing – Commonly used with home buying and selling or other products that are status symbols.
  • Skimming pricing – Commonly seen in video game consoles, price starts off high to recoup expenses quickly, then reduces over time.
  • Competition-based pricing – Pricing based on competitors’ pricing is commonly seen at gas stations.
  • Freemium services –  Commonly used for software, where there is a free plan, then purchase options for more functionality.

HubSpot has a great calculator and blog on pricing strategies.

Beyond explaining what strategy your business plans to use, you should include references for how you came to this pricing strategy and how it will impact your cash flow.

Distribution Plan

This part of a business plan is focused on how the product or service is going to go through the supply chain. These may include multiple divisions or multiple companies. Make sure to include any parts of the workflow that are automated so investors can see where cost savings are expected and when.

Supply Chain Examples

For instance, lawn care companies  would need to cover aspects such as:

  • Suppliers for lawn care equipment and tools
  • Any chemicals or treatments needed
  • Repair parts for sprinkler systems
  • Vehicles to transport equipment and employees
  • Insurance to protect the company vehicles and people.

Examples of Supply Chains

These are fairly flat supply chains compared to something like a clothing designer where the clothes would go through multiple vendors. A clothing company might have the following supply chain:

  • Raw materials
  • Shipping of raw materials
  • Converting of raw materials to thread
  • Shipping thread to produce garments
  • Garment producer
  • Shipping to company
  • Company storage
  • Shipping to retail stores

There have been advances such as print on demand that eliminate many of these steps. If you are designing completely custom clothing, all of this would need to be planned to keep from having business disruptions.

The main thing to include in the business plan is the list of suppliers, the path the supply chain follows, the time from order to the customer’s home, and the costs associated with each step of the process.

According to BizPlanReview , a business plan without this information is likely to get rejected because they have failed to research the key elements necessary to make sales to the customer.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 7. Company Organization and Operational Plan

This part of the business plan is focused on how the business model will function while serving customers.  The business plan should provide an overview of  how the team will manage the following aspects:

Quality Control

  • Legal environment

Let’s look at each for some insight.

Production has already been discussed in previous sections so I won’t go into it much. When writing a business plan for investors, try to avoid repetition as it creates a more simple business plan.

If the organizational plan will be used by the team as an overview of how to perform the best services for the customer, then redundancy makes more sense as it communicates what is important to the business.

Quality control policies help to keep the team focused on how to verify that the company adheres to the business plan and meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Quality control can be anything from a standard that says “all labels on shirts can be no more than 1/16″ off center” to a defined checklist of steps that should be performed and filled out for every customer.

There are a variety of organizations that help define quality control including:

  • International Organization for Standardization – Quality standards for energy, technology, food, production environments, and cybersecurity
  • AICPA – Standard defined for accounting.
  • The Joint Commission – Healthcare
  • ASHRAE – HVAC best practices

You can find lists of the organizations that contribute most to the government regulation of industries on Open Secrets . Research what the leaders in your field are doing. Follow their example and implement it in your quality control plan.

For location, you should use information from the market research to establish where the location will be. Make sure to include the following in the location documentation.

  • The size of your location
  • The type of building (retail, industrial, commercial, etc.)
  • Zoning restrictions – Urban Wire has a good map on how zoning works in each state
  • Accessibility – Does it meet ADA requirements?
  • Costs including rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance and any buildout or remodeling costs
  • Utilities – b.e.f. has a good energy calculator .

Legal Environment

The legal requirement section is focused on defining how to meet the legal requirements for your industry. A good business plan should include all of the following:

  • Any licenses and/or permits that are needed and whether you’ve obtained them
  • Any trademarks, copyrights, or patents that you have or are in the process of applying for
  • The insurance coverage your business requires and how much it costs
  • Any environmental, health, or workplace regulations affecting your business
  • Any special regulations affecting your industry
  • Bonding requirements, if applicable

Your local SBA office can help you establish requirements in your area. I strongly recommend using them. They are a great resource.

Your business plan should include a plan for company organization and hiring. While you may be the only person with the company right now, down the road you’ll need more people. Make sure to consider and document the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the current leadership structure and what will it look like in the future?
  • What types of employees will you have? Are there any licensing or educational requirements?
  • How many employees will you need?
  • Will you ever hire freelancers or independent contractors?
  • What is each position’s job description?
  • What is the pay structure (hourly, salaried, base plus commission, etc.)?
  • How do you plan to find qualified employees and contractors?

One of the most crucial parts of a business plan is the organizational chart. This simply shows the positions the company will need, who is in charge of them and the relationship of each of them. It will look similar to this:

Our small business plan template has a much more in-depth organizational chart you can edit to include when you include the organizational chart in your business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 8. Financial Statements 

No business plan is complete without financial statements or financial projections. The business plan format will be different based on whether you are writing a business plan to expand a business or a startup business plan. Let’s dig deeper into each.

Provide All Financial Income from an Existing Business

An existing business should use their past financial documents including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement to find trends to estimate the next 3-5 years.

You can create easy trendlines in excel to predict future revenue, profit and loss, cash flow, and other changes in year-over-year performance. This will show your expected performance assuming business continues as normal.

If you are seeking an investment, then the business is probably not going to continue as normal. Depending on the financial plan and the purpose of getting financing, adjustments may be needed to the following:

  • Higher Revenue if expanding business
  • Lower Cost of Goods Sold if purchasing inventory with bulk discounts
  • Adding interest if utilizing financing (not equity deal)
  • Changes in expenses
  • Addition of financing information to the cash flow statement
  • Changes in Earnings per Share on the balance sheet

Financial modeling is a challenging subject, but there are plenty of low-cost courses on the subject. If you need help planning your business financial documentation take some time to watch some of them.

Make it a point to document how you calculated all the changes to the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in your business plan so that key team members or investors can verify your research.

Financial Projections For A Startup Business Plan

Unlike an existing business, a startup doesn’t have previous success to model its future performance. In this scenario, you need to focus on how to make a business plan realistic through the use of industry research and averages.

Mike gave the following advice in his interview:

Financial Forecasting Mistakes

One of the things a lot of inexperienced people use is the argument, “If I get one percent of the market, it is worth $100 million.” If you use this, investors are likely to file the document under bad business plan examples.

Let’s use custom t-shirts as an example.

Credence Research estimated in 2018 there were 11,334,800,000 custom t-shirts sold for a total of $206.12 Billion, with a 6% compound annual growth rate.

With that data,  you can calculate that the industry will grow to $270 Billion in 2023 and that the average shirt sold creates $18.18 in revenue.

Combine that with an IBIS World estimate of 11,094 custom screen printers and that means even if you become an average seller, you’ll get .009% of the market.

Here’s a table for easier viewing of that information.

The point here is to make sure your business proposal examples make sense.

You’ll need to know industry averages such as cost of customer acquisition, revenue per customer, the average cost of goods sold, and admin costs to be able to create accurate estimates.

Our simple business plan templates walk you through most of these processes. If you follow them you’ll have a good idea of how to write a business proposal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 9. Business Plan Example of Funding Requests

What is a business plan without a plan on how to obtain funding?

The Small Business Administration has an example for a pizza restaurant that theoretically needed nearly $20k to make it through their first month.

In our video, How to Start a $500K/Year T-Shirt Business (Pt. 1 ), Sanford Booth told us he needed about $200,000 to start his franchise and broke even after 4 months.

Freshbooks estimates it takes on average 2-3 years for a business to be profitable, which means the fictitious pizza company from the SBA could need up to $330k to make it through that time and still pay their bills for their home and pizza shop.

Not every business needs that much to start, but realistically it’s a good idea to assume that you need a fairly large cushion.

Ways to get funding for a small business

There are a variety of ways to cover this. the most common are:

  • Bootstrapping – Using your savings without external funding.
  • Taking out debt – loans, credit cards
  • Equity, Seed Funding – Ownership of a percentage of the company in exchange for current funds
  • Crowdsourcing – Promising a good for funding to create the product

Keep reading for more tips on how to write a business plan.

How funding will be used

When asking for business financing make sure to include:

  • How much to get started?
  • What is the minimum viable product and how soon can you make money?
  • How will the money be spent?

Mike emphasized two aspects that should be included in every plan, 

How to Write a Business Plan Resources

Here are some links to a business plan sample and business plan outline. 

  • Sample plan

It’s also helpful to follow some of the leading influencers in the business plan writing community. Here’s a list:

  • Wise Plans –  Shares a lot of information on starting businesses and is a business plan writing company.
  • Optimus Business Plans –  Another business plan writing company.
  • Venture Capital – A venture capital thread that can help give you ideas.

How to Write a Business Plan: What’s Next?

We hope this guide about how to write a simple business plan step by step has been helpful. We’ve covered:

  • The definition of a business plan
  • Coming up with a business idea
  • Performing market research
  • The critical components of a business plan
  • An example business plan

In addition, we provided you with a simple business plan template to assist you in the process of writing your startup business plan. The startup business plan template also includes a business model template that will be the key to your success.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our business hub .

Have you written a business plan before? How did it impact your ability to achieve your goals?

Brandon Boushy

Brandon Boushy lives to improve people’s lives by helping them become successful entrepreneurs. His journey started nearly 30 years ago. He consistently excelled at everything he did, but preferred to make the rules rather than follow him. His exploration of self and knowledge has helped him to get an engineering degree, MBA, and countless certifications. When freelancing and rideshare came onto the scene, he recognized the opportunity to play by his own rules. Since 2017, he has helped businesses across all industries achieve more with his research, writing, and marketing strategies. Since 2021, he has been the Lead Writer for UpFlip where he has published over 170 articles on small business success.

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550+ Business Plan Samples To Inspire Your Plan

Inspire your own plan with 550+ business plan samples

Use real business plan examples to jump-start your own plan!

Business planning shouldn't be complicated

Don’t start from scratch — get a headstart with 550 real business plan examples

How do you know what elements to include in your business plan, if you’ve never written one before? Looking at real business plan samples can help you visualize what a successful plan looks like, so you know what you’re aiming for before you get started. With LivePlan you’ll have access to over 550 free example business plans to use as a starting point.

Access our full library and browse real sample content for a broad range of businesses. You’ll see how others have written effective executive summaries, planned marketing activities, created financial forecasts , and more. Plus we’ll be right there to walk you through it .

Whether you run a dentist office or dog walking service, you’ll find examples of a business plan for every type of business.

Whether you’re a small- or mid-sized business, freelancer, nonprofit, or still figuring that out, we’ve got you covered.

LivePlan’s library of business plan samples has real business plans from 150 industries and growing. You can see the complete list here .

It’s OK if you can’t find an exact match to your business. You don’t need an exact match for a sample plan to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that’s closely related to the type of business you’re starting. For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse will still be a great match.

While the specifics of your actual business will differ, the elements you’ll want to include in your restaurant’s business plan are similar—and they’re all included in LivePlan .

business plan examples

Real business plan examples to save you time

Read through as many sample business plans as you like to see how it’s done and get inspired. And if you really want to, you can even copy and paste sections to use in your own plan.

We’ve collected sample plans over more than 20 years, most through generous donations from happy customers who used our software and wanted to share their successful business plan samples with others.

Get LivePlan in your classroom

Are you an educator looking for real–world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry–best business plan samples, and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet–free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources to work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.

With LivePlan, it’s not just a classroom project. It’s your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students.

Built-in examples and step-by-step help so you won’t get stuck

In addition to complete sample plans, LivePlan includes specific examples for each part of your business plan. Browse through a few examples to get an idea of how other businesses have worded their executive summary, for instance, or other key sections of the business plan. Find an example that works for you and personalize it to fit your business.

You’ll be confident that your numbers are right

In addition to sample business plans, LivePlan includes current industry benchmarks so you can see what the numbers look like for businesses just like yours. Knowing your industry standards helps ensure that your plan is both competitive and realistic.

Download a free sample business plan

Download a free business plan today. You can use it as a template for your own business plan and to see an example of what you’ll find in LivePlan. Download my free business plan .

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written business plan samples

The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

So you want to start a business . Kudos! You’re doing big things.

One of the first steps to building a strong foundation for your new venture is to write a rock-solid business plan . When done right, your business plan can pave your path to success, all while helping you to smoothly cruise through any obstacles that may come up.

Plus, a good business plan can help you secure critical partnerships and funding that you might need in your early stages.

If you’re unsure how to write one, a great place to start is to learn from the pros. In this article, we’ll look at companies that built incredible business plans.

Take notes on the structure, format, and details. Hopefully you’ll leave with plenty of inspiration to write your own.

written business plan samples

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written business plan samples

7-part template for business plan examples

We’ll look at a business plan that is structured using a seven-part template. Here’s a quick review of those parts:

  • Executive summary: A quick overview of your business and the contents of your business plan.
  • Company description: More info about your company, its goals and mission, and why you started it in the first place.
  • Market analysis: Research about the market and industry your business will operate in, including a competitive analysis about the companies you’ll be up against.
  • Products and services: A detailed description of what you’ll be selling to your customers.
  • Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market.
  • Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background.
  • Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even long-term) financial goals and the costs to run the business. If you’re looking for funding, here’s the place to discuss your request and needs.

7 business plan examples (section by section)

In this section, you’ll find hypothetical and real-world examples of each aspect of a business plan to show you how the whole thing comes together. 

  • Executive summary

Your executive summary offers a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. You’ll want to include a brief description of your company, market research, competitor analysis, and financial information.  

In ThoughtCo’s sample business plan for a fictional company called Acme Management Technology, the executive summary is three paragraphs and occupies nearly half the page:

business plan executive summary

  • Company description

You might go more in-depth with your company description and include the following sections:

  • Nature of the business. Mention the general category of business you fall under. Are you a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of your products?
  • Background information. Talk about your past experiences and skills, and how you’ve combined them to fill in the market. 
  • Business structure. This section outlines how you registered your company —as a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC, or other business type.
  • Industry. Which business sector do you operate in? The answer might be technology, merchandising, or another industry.
  • Team. Whether you’re the sole full-time employee of your business or you have contractors to support your daily workflow, this is your chance to put them under the spotlight.

You can also repurpose your company description elsewhere, like on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business. Hair extensions brand Luxy Hair has a blurb on its About page that could easily be repurposed as a company description for its business plan. 

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

Market analysis comprises research on product supply and demand, your target market, the competitive landscape, and industry trends. You might do a SWOT analysis to learn where you stand and identify market gaps that you could exploit to establish your footing. Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis we did for a hypothetical ecommerce business: 

marketing swot example

You’ll also want to run a competitive analysis as part of the market analysis component for your business plan. This will show you who you’re up against and give you ideas on how to gain an edge over the competition. 

  • Products and services

This part of your business plan describes your product or service, how it will be priced, and the ways it will compete against similar offerings in the market. Don’t go into too much detail here —a few lines are enough to introduce your item to the reader.

written business plan samples

  • Marketing plan

Potential investors will want to know how you’ll get the word out about your business. As such, it’s essential to build a marketing plan that highlights the promotion and customer acquisition strategies you’re planning to adopt. 

Most marketing plans focus on the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. However, it’s easier when you break it down by the different marketing channels . Mention how you intend to promote your business using blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Here’s an example of a hypothetical marketing plan for a real estate website:

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

This section of your business plan provides information about your production, facilities, production, equipment, shipping and fulfillment, and inventory.

Financial plan

The financial plan (a.k.a. financial statement) offers a breakdown of your sales, revenue, expenses, profit, and other financial metrics. You’ll want to include all the numbers and concrete data to project your current and projected financial state. For example, the financial statement for ecommerce brand Nature’s Candy includes forecasted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs.

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

  • Funding needs
  • Project cash-flow statement
  • Project profit-and-loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet

You can use Shopify’s financial plan template to create your own income statement, cash-flow statement, and balance sheet. 

Types of business plan (and what to write for each)

A one-page business plan is a pared down version of a standard business plan that’s easy for potential investors and partners to understand. You’ll want to include all of the sections, but make sure they’re abbreviated and summarized.

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

A startup business plan is meant to secure outside funding for a new business. Typically, there’s a big focus on the financials, as well as other sections that help determine the viability of your business idea —market analysis, for example. Shopify has a great business plan template for startups that include all the below points.

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth

Internal 

Your internal business plan acts as the enforcer of your company’s vision. It reminds your team of the long-term objective and keeps them strategically aligned toward the same goal.

  • Market research

Feasibility 

A feasibility business plan is essentially a feasibility study that helps you evaluate whether your product or idea is worthy of a full business plan. 

Mix and match to make a killer business plan

The good news is: there’s no single right way to write a business plan. If you’re feeling unsure about how to craft yours, pull bits and pieces that you like from other examples, and leave out the parts that don’t apply or make sense for you.

The important thing is to clearly communicate your reason for starting the company, what’s needed to operate it, and how you plan to make it work in the long run.

When you can convince others that you have a killer game plan, you’ve nailed it.

Want to learn more?

  • Question: Are You a Business Owner or an Entrepreneur?
  • Bootstrapping a Business: 10 Tips to Help You Succeed
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset: 20 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur
  • 101+ Best Small Business Software Programs 

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Simple Business Plan Templates

By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020

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In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.

On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.

One-Page Business Plan Template

written business plan samples

Download One-Page Business Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business. 

For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."

Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.

For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."

Simple Business Plan for Startup

Start-Up Business Plan Template

‌ Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word

This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."

Simple Small-Business Plan Template

Small Business Plan Template

Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template

This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.

Lean Business Plan Template

Lean Business Plan Template

Download Lean Business Plan Template

This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Word  | PDF

Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.

Simple Business Plan Rubric Template

written business plan samples

Download Simple Business Plan Rubric

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.

Basic Business Plan Sample

Basic Business Plan Sample

Download Basic Business Plan Sample

This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.

For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”

Main Components of a Business Plan

The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business. 

Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:

  • Company name and contact information
  • Website address
  • The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
  • Table of Contents
  • Company background and purpose
  • Mission and vision statement
  • Management team introduction
  • Core product and service offerings
  • Target customers and segments
  • Marketing plan
  • Competitive analysis
  • Unique value proposition
  • Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
  • Business and industry overview
  • Historical timeline of your business
  • Offerings and the problem they solve
  • Current alternatives
  • Competitive advantage
  • Market size
  • Target market segment(s)
  • Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Pricing strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Promotional plan
  • Distribution methods
  • Legal structure of your business
  • Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
  • Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
  • Staffing requirements and training plans
  • Physical location(s) of your business
  • Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
  • Production workflow
  • Raw materials and sourcing methods
  • Projected income statement
  • Projected cash flow statement
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Charts and graphs
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Information about your industry
  • Information about your offerings
  • Samples of marketing materials
  • Other supporting materials

Tips for Creating a Business Plan

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan. 

  • Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
  • Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
  • Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
  • Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
  • Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
  • Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
  • Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
  • What product or service are we offering?
  • Who is the product or service for?
  • What problem does our product or service offering solve?
  • How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
  • Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
  • How can we outperform our competitors?
  • What is our unique value proposition?
  • When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
  • If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
  • When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
  • What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
  • When do you expect to be profitable?

To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .

Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template

Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. 

Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
  • Provides structure to help outline your plan
  • Saves time and valuable resources
  • Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details

Limitations of a Business Plan Template

A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.

Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:

  • Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
  • A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
  • Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
  • You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
  • Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).

Improve Your Business Plan with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

Upmetrics AI Assistant: Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights. Learn How

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Didn't find what you are looking for.

The answer is simple.

It’s an informal business plan that can convince you that your idea makes sense to the outside world because you are investing your time, money, and everything into that idea.

To write a business plan, maybe you think you don’t need a step-by-step guide or a sample business plan . After all, some entrepreneurs achieved success without writing a business plan. With great timing, past business experiences, entrepreneurial ambitions, and a little luck, some entrepreneurs build successful businesses without even writing an informal business plan.

But the odds are greater than those entrepreneurs fail.

And that’s why writing a business plan will help you succeed .

The easiest way to simplify the work of writing a business plan is to start with sample business plans.

What is business plan sample?

Why you should refer a business plan example, who should use business plan examples, how to use sample business plans.

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What is Business Plan Sample?

That’s why we created business plan examples to help you get started.

written business plan samples

Use our 400+ business plan examples written for all industries and write your business plan in half of the time with twice the impact.

written business plan samples

  • Guidance on what to include in each section.  If you’ve never attended business school, you might never have created a  SWOT analysis   or a balance sheet before. Business templates that give guidance — in plain language — about what to include and how to fill in each section and create a complete and effective plan.
  • A business plan is vital to get an investment.  If you’re seeking investment for your business, you’ll need to convince banks and investors why they should invest in your business . Lenders and investors will only risk their time and money if they’re certain that your business will be successful and profitable and they will get a great return on their investment.
  • A business plan can help you prioritize.  A complete, well-balanced business plan is one of the most valuable tools in assisting you to reach your long-term goals. It gives your business direction, defines your goals, outlines out strategies to reach your goals, and helps you to manage possible bumps in the way.

Who should use Business Plan Examples?

written business plan samples

Well Everyone, who wants to write a business plan should use these sample business plans. These plans apply to almost all industries.

We have created a library of professional sample business plans from a wide variety of industries to help you start writing your business plan with minimum effort.

Use our Upmetrics — business plan software that offers step by step guide to start writing your business plan , especially if you’re writing an informal business plan to get a bank loan or outside investment.

Our extensive sample business plans library includes  business plan templates  and  business plan examples  for almost all business industries.

Make your plan in half the time & twice the impact with Upmetrics.

written business plan samples

How to use Business Plan Examples to write your own?

Having real-life and industry-specific business plan examples by your side can be incredibly resourceful to help you write a business plan from scratch. 

A well-planned structure helps you outline your plan, while content inspiration helps you set the tone for your business document. 

Let’s dive deep and understand how to use these examples effectively to write your business plan.

1. Use examples as a guide

2. understanding the structure.

Traditional business plans generally follow a similar structure. 

It starts with an executive summary followed by a company description, market analysis, product and services, sales and marketing strategies, operational plan, management team, financial plan, and appendix.

Using an example business plan is the best way to understand the structure and outline your plan. 

3. Gaining Inspiration

Reading industry-specific business plan examples can help you gain inspiration for your plan. You can gain insights on presenting your business idea, vision, mission, and values and persuade investors to invest in your idea.

4. Learning Industry-Specific Language

There’s no universal template for business planning that fits all. An industry-specific template can help you learn and understand the business language for your industry and the best way to communicate your message to your investors.

5. Identifying Key Elements

Reading business plan examples of similar businesses can help you identify the key elements and information to include in your plan. You can keep note of these and ensure everything necessary for investors to consider is present in your final draft.

6. Crafting Financial Projections

A financial plan is a critical component of your business plan, and a good business plan example can help you better understand how they project their financials which can be incredibly helpful while forecasting yours.

7. Refining Your Executive Summary

As mentioned earlier, your executive summary is a key factor influencing potential investors and lenders to invest or lend you money. Analyzing free business plan templates can help you optimize your executive summary to make it more brief, persuasive, and attention-grabbing.

8. Realizing What Works and What Doesn’t

Analyzing industry-specific and real-life examples can help you determine what works best and what doesn’t within your industry. Understanding these factors can help you avoid many significant pitfalls.

While business plan examples can be incredibly helpful in writing a plan from scratch, ensure your plan is customized for your business and sends out a unique message. Your business plan must reflect its unique idea, vision, and target market.

Using your Business Plan as a Management Tool

It’s essential to have a business plan, but it’s also crucial to keep it up to date as your business progresses. A business plan is not merely a document that you write once and forget after you get started. It’s a business road map and vision that you should develop as your business progresses and evolves. It’s also important to update your business plan regularly as your business situation and position change.

How Business Plan Software can help you?

editor-half

We have created Upmetrics — business plan software to simplify the process of business planning.

Our financial forecasting module will create all the essential reports automatically. You just need to enter numbers and the application will do all the math to generate your financial reports. Later you can embed those reports into your business plan.

After completing your business plan, you can download your business plan in PDF or DOC file using Upmetrics. Also, you can share it online with investors or with other important people just by a quick link.

Ready to take the next step?

Now that you have a business idea and you know how to write a business plan, it’s time to go for it . Our business plan software will take you through each step outlined above in more detail so there are no surprises on your journey.

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Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights.

Imad Ahmed

Founder, CEO & Lead Scientist at Nanolyse Technologies

After trying Upmetrics, I wish to highly recommend this app to anyone who needs to write a business plan flexibly and to a high standard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sample business plan, how do i write a business plan.

In business plan writing you will need to write the following sections into your business plan. These sections include an Executive Summary, Company Overview, Problem Analysis, The Solution, Market Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, and Financial Plan.

Check out our article to learn how you can write these sections in detail for your business plan.

How long should my business plan be?

The length of your business plan depends on the type of plan you choose. There are one-page business plans that offer easy and practical planning. Then you have traditional business plans that usually vary from 20 to 50 pages. It’s worth noting that the quality of your business plan matters more than its length.

Should I hire someone to write my business plan for me?

Absolutely No, You as a business owner know all about your business idea, your business goals, target market and audience, and what you want to achieve by writing your plan. Don’t hire someone who doesn’t know what your readers will want, the reason is that, if you intend to raise funds, you are the best person that understands what investors will look out for in your business plan.

Consultants or  business plan writers  definitely can write a business plan but not better than you.

Looking for a faster way to finish your business plan?

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14 Professional Business Plan Samples [Downloadable pdf]

Looking for business plan examples for inspiration? Download or view 14 business plans examples/samples, vetted by our MBA business plan writers. Download in PDF format or read like a book. These real business plan samples would help in writing your own business plan.

14+professional business plan examples or samples

  • View Real Business Plan Examples/Samples

Bank Business Plan

As an entrepreneur, effectively pitching your idea to attract investors and secure funding can be a challenge. Moreover, when launching a business, creating a comprehensive business plan is paramount.

To aid you in these crucial tasks, we offer a collection of real-world and sample business plan examples across diverse industries. A well-structured business plan is indispensable in the fast-paced entrepreneurial landscape, as it delineates your goals, strategies, and financial projections, providing a clear roadmap for your venture.

Our aim is to facilitate the creation of an effective business plan by integrating real-life examples to elucidate the key elements involved. Below, you’ll find a range of 14 detailed business plan examples available for download and use.

Important Sections to Include in Business Plan

1. e-commerce plan sample or example, 2. online marketplace business plan example or sample, 3. snack bar business plan sample / business plan example, 4. coffee shop business plan sample/business plan example pdf, 5. food hall business plan sample/business plan example pdf, 6. printing shop business plan sample/business plan example plan, 7. acquisition business plan sample/ example pdf, 8. l-1 visa business plan example with sample pdf, 9. e-2 visa business plan sample/ example pdf, 10. eb-5 business plan sample/ example pdf, 11. investor business plan sample/ example pdf, 12. nonprofit business plan sample/ example pdf, 13. bank business plan sample/ example pdf, 14. cannabis business plan sample/ example pdf, detailed overview of key components of a business plan, tips for writing executive summary, tips for writing company description, tips for writing market analysis, tips for writing product and services, tips for writing marketing and sales plan, tips for writing operational planning, tips for writing organization and management summary, tips for writing financial plan, tips for writing key external drivers, tips for writing startup summary, tips for writing projected industry growth, tips for writing break-even analysis, tips for writing management summary, tips for writing financial indicators, discover business plan formats and free templates, business plan examples for students pdf, 1. one page business plan, 2. start-up business plan, 3. strategic business plan, 4. feasibility business plan, 5. internal business plan, conclusion​, download pack of 14 business plan examples, are you looking for top business plan writer.

To create a robust business plan, ensure inclusion of the following key sections:

  • Executive Summary: A brief snapshot of your business and the key highlights of your business plan. Read more
  • Product and Services: An elaborate description of the offerings you will provide to your customers. Read more
  • Marketing and Sales Plan: A strategic roadmap outlining how you intend to promote and market your business before, during, and after its launch. Read more
  • Operating Planning: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools necessary to efficiently run your business behind the scenes. Read more
  • Organization and Management: Organization and management in a business plan outline the structure and leadership of the company. Read more
  • Financial Plan: A comprehensive plan mapping out your short-term and long-term financial goals and the associated costs of running your business. If you require funding, this section is where you can outline your request and financial needs. Read more
  • Key External Drivers: External drivers encompass factors like outsourcing, economic changes, industry competition, and business legislation complexity. Read more
  • Startup Summary: The startup summary offers a comprehensive financial overview of , detailing expenses, asset value, and total requirements, crucial for transparency with entrepreneurs and investors. Read more
  • Projected Industry Growth : Projected industry growth forecasts the sector’s expansion, offering a 10-year perspective and average annual growth rate, providing clarity to investors. Read more
  • Break-even analysis: The break-even analysis visually presents key metrics and a 12-month revenue forecast to help stakeholders grasp the point where the business covers costs and starts generating profit . Read more
  • Management Summary: The management summary provides a concise overview of organizational structure, key personnel, their roles, and financial commitments, ensuring stakeholders understand the business’s operational strength and leadership capability. Read more
  • Financial Indicators: The financial indicators section evaluates organizational fiscal health, focusing on year-over-year profitability metrics, leverage ratios, liquidity ratios, and additional metrics, providing a comprehensive understanding of the business’s financial performance and efficiency in revenue generation from equity investments. Read more

Practical Business Plan Examples Illustrating Strategies for Startup Success

E-commerce Plan Sample or Example

Something Borrowed Something New is a burgeoning e-commerce enterprise specializing in wedding accessories and personalized gifts. Operating on a drop-shipping model, this business has the capability to make a significant impact in the market.

Moreover, leveraging social networking and blogging can be instrumental in generating awareness and capturing interest, thereby creating a robust online marketing strategy for Something Old and Something New.

To enhance their business operations, they are contemplating the integration of a WhatsApp CRM system. This initiative aims to optimize communication with potential customers, ensuring prompt responses to inquiries and fostering a seamless interaction process.

Online Marketplace Business Plan Example or Sample

EPlace Solutions will be an innovative online marketplace business portal offering a variety of products to consumers throughout the globe. Founded by Mr. John Jones, a seasoned business visionary with an eye toward profit and achievement, the organization is set to enter the market in 2023.

Online shopping is at an all-time high with new consumer mindsets calling for them to shop for the types of deals and bargains that will be so much a part of the online marketplace business model.

Snack Bar Business Plan Sample

There is an increasing demand for snack-type fast food to be consumed while window shopping and walking around inside a shopping mall.

Do you plan to start a snack bar business? Then here’s a complete snack bar startup business plan template and feasibility report you can use FREE of charge. It sounds easy to open a snack bar, but in reality, you need well-planned strategies to ensure that your business stands the test of time. 

Our snack bar business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market a nalysis  and competitive analysis.

It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable snack bar business by creating a unique menu and offering healthy, high-quality snac ks that meet custome r demand.

Your snack shop business plan can look as polished and professional as the sample plan. It’s fun and easy, with Wise Business Plan. Let’s review the  snack shop business plan sample  and adjust them according to your audience for the best results.

Coffee Shop Business Plan Sample

A coffee shop business plan is a document that outlines what your business idea is and how it will be implemented. Its purpose is to answer questions such as what it costs to start a coffee shop, how these costs will be financed, and how much money you can expect to earn from your cafe.

Are you looking for the right business plan for your cafe? Let’s review the  Coffee shop business plan sample  to find out how cloud-based software can make your day-to-day work more efficient.

Our coffee shop business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market analysis and competitive analysis.

It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable coffee shop business by creating a unique brand and offering high-quality products a nd customer service.

Food Hall Business Plan Sample

In the food industry, there is fierce competition. To ensure success, you need to hit the ground running with the right pitch. Our food house business plan is the ideal solution with an attractive design highlighting key information and conveying the right message.

This food business plan example features food images intended to tantalize the taste buds. It captures the theme perfectly and will convey the ultimate message to investors, clients and customers.

It is important to remember that the business plan template can be customized to meet your company’s specific needs and requirements. It will help showcase your business as a leader in the modern industry.

This food business plan template provides key slides to showcase everything from finances to marketing and key competitors. If you prefer, you can alter the content displayed to meet your specific needs, but this is a good starting point.

Ultimately, this  food house business plan  will be suitable for any business operating in the food industry and keen to get interested from key individuals. It will ensure that you can build up the rep of your company.

We provide a one-of-a-kind sales pitch deck designed to appeal to your prospective audience, as well as a custom presentation tailored to their information requirements.

Printing Shop Business Plan Sample

When establishing a think tank, you will need to develop a business plan and document it properly. As a mass think tank, you need a special strategy to legalize the think tank as a non-profit organization and to raise funds for your project successfully.

Copy and print businesses offer a variety of services to both businesses and consumers. A copy and print shop can handle everything from single-page printing to large-volume jobs using several types of media.

Our printing shop business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market analysis and competitive analysis. It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable printing shop business by offering high-quality, customized printing services with a focus on customer s ervice and efficient operations.

Let’s take a look at Printing and Photocopy Business Plan Sample that you can use to inspire your own and easily create one.

Acquisition Business Plan Sample

The acquisition business plan sample is intended for businesses seeking to acquire another company or merge with a competitor. This plan includes an analysis of the target company, a valuation, and a strategy for integrating the acquired business into the existing operations. We like this sample plan because it provides a clear roadmap for the acquisition process and demonstrates the potential benefits of the deal.

L-1 Visa Business Plan Sample

At Wisebusinessplans, we understand that obtaining an L1 visa for an executive or manager requires a thorough and compelling business plan.

Our L1 business plan sample includes all the necessary components to satisfy USCIS requirements and demonstrate your qualifications and your company’s viability in the US market.

The L1 business plan sample is a comprehensive plan for a new business seeking L1 visa approval for an executive or manager. This plan focuses on demonstrating the applicant’s qualifications and the company’s viability in the US market.

We like this sample plan because it is specific to the L1 visa process and includes all the necessary components to satisfy USCIS requirements.

E-2 Visa Business Plan Sample

If you’re an entrepreneur seeking E-2 visa approval, Wise Business Plans can help you create a persuasive business plan.

Our E-2 business plan sample outlines your investment, business operations, and financial projections, providing a clear and compelling case for your ability to successfully run a business and make a significant economic impact.

The E-2 business plan sample is designed for entrepreneurs seeking E-2 visa approval, which allows individuals to invest in and manage a business in the United States. This plan outlines the applicant’s investment, business operations, and financial projections. We like this sample plan because it provides a clear and compelling case for the applicant’s ability to successfully run a business and make a significant economic impact.

EB-5 Business Plan Sample

If you’re looking to obtain an EB-5 visa by investing in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, Wise Business Plans can help you create a compelling business plan.

Our EB-5 business plan sample includes a description of your business, a market analysis, and financial projections, providing a detailed and persuasive case for the potential success of your venture.

The EB-5 business plan sample is designed for individuals seeking to obtain an EB-5 visa by investing in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. This plan includes a description of the business, a market analysis, and financial projections. We like this sample plan because it provides a detailed and persuasive case for the potential success of the business, which is crucial for obtaining EB-5 visa approval.

Investor Business Plan Sample

If you’re seeking investment from angel investors, venture capitalists, or other private equity firms, Wise Business Plans can help you create a compelling pitch.

Our investor business plan sample includes a pitch deck, financial projections, and a detailed analysis of the market the potential return on investment and the scalability of your business.

The investor business plan sample is intended for businesses seeking to attract investment from angel investors, venture capitalists, or other private equity firms. This plan includes a pitch deck, financial projections, and a detailed analysis of the market opportunity. We like this sample plan because it emphasizes the potential return on investment and the scalability of the business.

Nonprofit Business Plan Sample

At Wisebusinessplans, we’re committed to helping non-profit organizations achieve their social impact goals.

Our non-profit business plan sample includes a mission statement, programs and services, marketing and outreach strategies, and a financial analysis, providing a clear roadmap for establishing or expanding your organization.

The non-profit business plan sample is designed for organizations seeking to establish or expand a non-profit entity. This plan includes a mission statement, programs and services, marketing and outreach strategies, and a financial analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates a strong commitment to social impact and outlines a clear strategy for achieving the organization’s goals.

Bank Business Plan Sample

Whether you’re seeking financing from a bank or other financial institution, Wise Business Plans can help you create a detailed and persuasive business plan.

Our bank business plan sample includes a thorough financial analysis, market research, and a strategy for achieving profitability, highlighting the key factors that banks consider when evaluating loan applications.

The bank business plan sample is tailored for businesses seeking financing from a bank or other financial institution. This plan includes a detailed financial analysis, market research, and a strategy for achieving profitability. We like this sample plan because it highlights the key factors that banks consider when evaluating loan applications, and provides a strong case for the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Cannabis Business Plan Sample

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, and Wise Business Plans can help you enter it with confidence.

Our cannabis business plan sample includes a market analysis, operational strategy, and regulatory compliance a comprehensive overview of the unique challenges and opportunities in the industry and offering a clear roadmap for success.

The cannabis business plan sample is tailored for entrepreneurs seeking to enter the rapidly growing cannabis industry. This plan includes a market analysis, operational strategy, and regulatory compliance plan. We like this sample plan because it provides a comprehensive overview of the unique challenges and opportunities in the cannabis industry, and offers a clear roadmap for success.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a concise overview of your business plan, highlighting the key points of each section. It should capture the essence of your business, its mission, and the purpose of the business plan. This section should be written last, but it’s placed at the beginning of the business plan. Here is an example executive summary from our professional business plan written for Eplace Solution , an innovative e-commerce portal.

executive summary

  • Keep it brief and focused on key points.
  • Clearly define the problem and your solution.
  • Highlight market opportunities and growth potential.
  • Showcase your team’s qualifications.
  • Include financial projections.
  • End with a clear call to action.
  • Tailor it to your audience.
  • Review and update regularly.

the executive summary of a real estate business example

2. Company Overview or Description

In this section, provide a detailed description of your company, including its history, legal structure, location, and vision. Explain your mission statement and core values that guide your business decisions. Use real-life examples of successful companies and how their strong company descriptions have contributed to their growth. In addition, you can reuse your company description on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business.

This section also allows you to describe how you register your business . Here you must choose whether your business is a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC , or another type of business .

Business Overview Example Screenshot

  • Describe your company’s mission and vision.
  • Explain what your business does and the problems it solves.
  • Mention your target market and customer base.
  • Highlight your unique selling points.
  • Provide a brief history and background.

3. Market Analysis

A market analysis analyzes how you are positioned in the market, who your target customers are, what your product or service will offer them, and industry trends. It might be useful to do a SWOT analysis to discover your strengths and weaknesses to identify market gaps that you may be able to exploit to build your business.

As part of your market research, you’ll also need to perform a competitive analysis. It will give you an idea of who your competition is and how to differentiate your brand. Here’s an example of a competitive analysis we did for a food business.

Market Analysis

  • Research and understand your industry thoroughly.
  • Identify market trends and growth opportunities.
  • Analyze your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Define your target audience and their needs.
  • Include data and statistics to support your analysis.

market analysis summary

4. Product and Services

Adding products and services to a business plan involves more than listing your company’s offerings. If you intend to gain funding or partner with another business, your products, and services section needs to demonstrate your company’s quality, value, and benefits.

Here’s an example of a product and service section in the business plan we wrote for an e-commerce business that offers wedding accessories.

An example of Product and service section of business plan

  • Clearly describe your offerings and their features.
  • Explain how your products/services address customer needs.
  • Highlight any unique qualities or advantages.
  • Discuss your pricing strategy.
  • Mention any future product/service development plans.

Here is example of services section of a bank.

Example of Services Section

5. Marketing and Sales Plan

It is always a good idea to have a marketing plan before launching your business. A potential investor will want to know how you will advertise your business. Therefore, you should create a marketing plan that explains your planned promotion and customer acquisition strategies.

Discuss how you will make a sale. How will you attract customers and maximize their lifetime value? Ensure your marketing and sales forecasts align with your financial forecasts Marketing plans are usually based on the four Ps : product, price, place, and promotion. Breaking it down by marketing channels makes it easier. Discuss how you intend to market your business via blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth. Here is an example of marketing strategies we develop for a restaurant business.

Marketing plan of business plan screenshot

  • Define your marketing goals and objectives.
  • Outline your marketing strategies, including channels and tactics.
  • Explain your sales strategy and target sales goals.
  • Include a budget for marketing and sales activities.
  • Discuss your sales team and their roles.
  • Detail your customer acquisition and retention strategies.
  • Mention any partnerships or collaborations for marketing and sales.

Example of marketing and sales plan section of a bank

Example of Marketing and Sales Plan Section

6. Operation Planning

The operation plan should include all the steps needed to run the business in the long run. The plan should include details about logistics, duties for each department of the company, and responsibilities for the team.

The main aspect of running a business is its costs. Whether it’s machinery or services, each requires capital.

how to write an operation plan in a business plan

  • Describe your day-to-day business operations.
  • Explain your supply chain and production processes.
  • Outline your facility and equipment requirements.
  • Discuss your quality control and efficiency measures.
  • Mention any legal and regulatory compliance considerations.
  • Detail your staffing and management structure.
  • Include contingency plans for potential disruptions.

7. Organization and Management

In this section, you can describe your current team and the people you need to hire. You will need to highlight your team’s relevant experience if you intend to seek funding. Basically, this is where you demonstrate that this team can be successful in starting and growing the business.

Management summary of a business plan screenshot

  • Introduce your leadership team and their roles.
  • Highlight their relevant experience and qualifications.
  • Explain your organizational structure and hierarchy.
  • Discuss key personnel responsibilities and functions.
  • Mention any plans for team growth or development.
  • Address any advisory boards or external support.

Management summary of coffee shoppe business.

Here is Example of Management Summary

8. Financial Plan

A financial plan should include sales and revenue forecasts, profit and loss statements , cash flow statements , and balance sheets .

Now, if you plan to pitch investors or submit a loan application, you’ll also need a “use of funds” report. Here you outline how you plan to leverage any funding you might acquire for your business.

With our business templates , you can create your own income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet.

Financial highlights of a business plan

  • Include detailed financial projections (income statement, cash flow, balance sheet).
  • Explain your funding requirements and sources.
  • Discuss your pricing and revenue model.
  • Describe your expense management and cost controls.
  • Mention any financial risks and mitigation strategies.
  • Highlight key financial milestones and goals.

Financial highlights of foodShack business.

Here is Example of Financial Highlights

9. Key External Drivers

External drivers refer to the external factors or influences that significantly impact the activity and growth of an industry. These drivers include outsourcing of non-core activities, changes in economic activity, competition from other industries, and the complexity of business legislation.

Additionally, external drivers encompass the effects of changes in new business formation, especially among small businesses, which directly affect the demand for services within the industry.

key External Driver

  • Identify and analyze current and emerging market trends in your industry.
  • Assess potential positive or negative impacts these trends may have on your business.
  • Evaluate broader economic conditions, including inflation rates, interest rates, and GDP growth.
  • Elucidate how changes in economic conditions could influence consumer behavior, product demand, and overall cost structure.
  • Outline key industry regulations and compliance requirements, discussing potential impacts on operations, costs, and market access.
  • Highlight relevant technological advancements and explain their potential effects on your product or service offerings, operations, and competitiveness.
  • Analyze current and potential future competitors, emphasizing the evolving competitive landscape’s impact on market share, pricing strategy, and overall business strategy.
  • Consider social and cultural factors influencing consumer preferences and behaviors, exploring how societal changes can affect product demand.
  • Evaluate environmental trends and regulations, discussing potential impacts on operations, supply chain, and customer perceptions.
  • Assess political stability, government policies, and geopolitical factors, exploring potential risks and opportunities from political changes.
  • Discuss global market conditions, analyzing how global economic trends, trade policies, and currency fluctuations may affect operations and expansion plans.
  • Identify and discuss potential risks in the supply chain, such as disruptions, shortages, or geopolitical issues.
  • Consider demographic shifts affecting your target market and discuss how changes may impact your customer base and marketing strategies.
  • Highlight key legal and regulatory factors affecting the business, discussing potential legal challenges, compliance costs, and regulatory changes.
  • Outline comprehensive risk management strategies, including contingency plans and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Explain how you will monitor external drivers and emphasize the importance of staying agile and responsive to changes in the external environment.

Tips Key External

10. Startup Summary

The startup summary serves as a comprehensive overview of essential financial aspects, encompassing total startup expenses, the overall value of startup assets, and the total requirements, which is the cumulative sum of all expenses and startup investments.

It provides a clear financial snapshot, outlining the costs involved in launching the business, the value of assets acquired, and the overall financial needs for the startup.

This section is crucial for entrepreneurs and potential investors, offering a transparent understanding of the financial foundation required to initiate and sustain the business successfully.

This roadmap ensures a realistic evaluation of the business idea, identifying potential challenges and offering solutions.To write an effective plan, focus on what sets your venture apart from competitors, maintain conciseness, and embrace flexibility as a living document.

Answer fundamental questions about your business, create actionable checklists, execute the plan, and continually revise and update based on experiences and feedback.This iterative process fosters continuous improvement, helping entrepreneurs stay adaptable and enhance their business strategies over time.

Overview Example of Ecommerce Company

  • Clearly state the startup’s name and provide a concise description of its activities.
  • Include a succinct mission statement capturing the startup’s purpose and goals, reflecting its core values.
  • Specify the founding date and offer brief bios of key founders, highlighting relevant experience.
  • Summarize the startup’s concept, explaining offered products or services and key distinguishing features.
  • Clearly articulate the problem or need in the market that the startup addresses, defining the target audience.
  • State what makes the startup unique, whether it’s a special feature, market gap, or competitive advantage.
  • Provide a brief description of the market opportunity, covering target market size, trends, and growth prospects.
  • Outline how the startup plans to generate revenue, detailing streams, pricing strategy, and potential partnerships.
  • Offer a snapshot of the startup’s current status, highlighting key achievements such as product development or partnerships.
  • If seeking funding, clearly state the amount sought and its allocation, covering areas like product development and marketing.
  • Include a high-level financial summary with key projections for revenue, expenses, and profitability.
  • Briefly outline future aspirations and plans, encompassing areas like expansion, product development, or strategic partnerships.

11. Projected Industry Growth

The projected industry growth is a pivotal aspect that forecasts the expansion of a specific sector over a defined timeframe.

For instance, it could provide an estimate of where that particular business will be standing in the next 10 years, and what will be the average annual growth rate of that industry.

This information provides prospective investors and stakeholders with a clear understanding of the industry’s potential and positions the startup within a dynamic and flourishing market.

Projected Industry Growth

  • Emphasize the importance of industry trends and growth to your business.
  • Provide a concise overview, including market size, major players, and recent trends.
  • Briefly explain how you gathered data on industry growth projections (e.g., market research reports, expert interviews).
  • Identify and discuss prevailing trends, such as technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, and regulatory shifts.
  • Summarize the industry’s historical growth, highlighting growth rates, market expansion, and notable milestones.
  • Highlight key factors expected to drive industry growth, such as emerging markets, technological innovations, and demographic shifts.
  • Discuss specific opportunities within the industry, including gaps in the market, underserved segments, or areas of competitive advantage.
  • Acknowledge potential challenges or risks that could impact industry growth, demonstrating a realistic understanding.
  • Present projections for future growth rates based on historical data, expert opinions, and your analysis. Include short-term and long-term projections.
  • Discuss how key competitors are positioned to leverage industry growth, emphasizing your business’s differentiation strategies.
  • Consider the regulatory landscape impacting growth, discussing anticipated changes and their potential effects on the industry.
  • Explore international trends and their implications for industry growth, including factors like global economic conditions and geopolitical influences.

Here is example of market analysis section of a bank.

Tips for Writing Projected Industry Growth

12. Break-even Analysis

The break-even analysis serves as a vital financial tool, offering a detailed estimation of key metrics such as Sales Revenue, Cost of Sales, Gross Profit, Fixed Expenses, and Income Before Tax.

These critical components are visually presented through a bar graph, providing a clear and concise overview of the financial dynamics.

Additionally, the break-even analysis delves into a 12-month forecast, outlining the projected amount of revenue generated and the corresponding fixed costs.

This section is instrumental in helping stakeholders understand the financial threshold at which the business covers its costs and begins to generate profit.

Break Even Analysics

  • Define break-even analysis as a financial calculation where total revenue equals total costs.
  • Identify constant costs regardless of production or sales levels.
  • Enumerate and explain costs changing with production or sales.
  • Present the break-even analysis formula, indicating the units needed to cover costs.
  • Perform a practical break-even calculation using business-specific fixed costs, selling price, and variable cost per unit.
  • Include a break-even chart or graph for a visual understanding of cost-revenue dynamics.
  • Conduct a proactive sensitivity analysis to explore how changes in variables impact the break-even point.
  • Specify the anticipated timeframe to reach the break-even point in terms of months or units sold.
  • Clearly outline assumptions made in the analysis and provide justifications for transparency and credibility.
  • Acknowledge potential risks or challenges that may affect the accuracy of the break-even analysis.
  • Briefly mention contingency plans for difficulties in reaching the break-even point within the projected timeframe.

13. Management Summary

The management summary within the business plan provides a concise overview of the organizational structure and key personnel.

This includes a count of individuals, specifying the number of founders and operational team members integral to the organization.

The summary delves into the roles and responsibilities of each key figure, offering insights into the leadership dynamics driving the business.

Furthermore, the management summary sheds light on the financial aspect by presenting details about personal wages and payroll allocations for both founders and operational staff.

This comprehensive section ensures a clear understanding of the human resource framework and the financial commitments associated with the management team, crucial for stakeholders evaluating the business’s operational strength and leadership capability.

Mangement Summary

  • Highlighting the critical role the management team plays in the business’s success, the introduction emphasizes their significance.
  • Listing each key member with names, positions, and brief role summaries introduces the core of the management team.
  • Providing brief biographies for each team member underscores their relevant experience, skills, achievements, and industry-specific expertise.
  • Clearly outlining roles and responsibilities emphasizes how each team member’s skills contribute to the overall success of the business.
  • Sharing the team’s vision and strategy involves discussing key strategic goals and outlining the plans to achieve them.
  • Highlighting notable achievements or milestones showcases the team members’ successful ventures, industry recognition, or career accomplishments.
  • Discussing team dynamics emphasizes collaboration and the complementary nature of their skills in driving the business forward.
  • Introducing advisory board members, if applicable, underscores the additional guidance and expertise they bring to the business.
  • Discussing how the team plans to contribute to future growth and development includes strategies for talent acquisition, leadership development, and succession planning.
  • Touching on the team’s culture and values emphasizes their role in shaping the overall ethos of the business.
  • If seeking investment, briefly mentioning how the management team plans to use funding for business growth and development provides insight into their financial strategy.

Here is example of marketing and sales plan section of a bank.

Tips for Writing Management Summary

14. Financial Indicators

The financial indicators section within the business plan helps in evaluating the fiscal health and performance of the organization.

Year-after-year profitability estimates take center stage, encompassing key metrics such as gross margin, net profit margin, and EBITDA to revenue.

These indicators provide a comprehensive understanding of the business’s ability to generate profit relative to its revenue.

Furthermore, the financial indicators extend to leverage ratios, including the critical Debt to Equity ratio, Debt to Assets ratio, and Interest Coverage ratio.

These metrics illuminate the organization’s capital structure, debt management, and its capacity to meet interest obligations.

Liquidity ratios includes the Current Ratio and Current Debt to Total Asset Ratio.

These ratios provide insights into the company’s short-term financial health and its ability to meet immediate obligations.

The financial indicator toolbox is enriched with additional metrics, notably the Revenue to Equity ratio, which sheds light on the efficiency of generating revenue from equity investments.

Financial Indicator

  • Detailed revenue forecasts for the next 3-5 years. Breakdown by product/service and geographical regions.
  • Detailed breakdown of anticipated expenses. Include fixed and variable costs, operational expenses, and other relevant expenditures.
  • Historical P&L statements if available. Projected future profits and losses based on revenue and expense projections.
  • Outline of expected cash inflows and outflows. Emphasis on the ability to meet short-term obligations.
  • Snapshot of the company’s financial position. Includes assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Calculation and presentation of key financial ratios (liquidity, solvency, profitability). Discussion on the significance of these ratios.
  • Identification and explanation of relevant KPIs. Highlighting alignment with the overall business strategy.
  • Discussion of potential financial risks. Mitigation strategies and addressing uncertainties.
  • Clear statement of the amount and purpose of funds required.
  • Outline of key assumptions underlying financial projections. Rationale for these assumptions.
  • Summary of industry financial trends and business positioning. Outlook on future financial prospects considering market dynamics.

Tips For Writing Financial Indicators

Looking For The Right Business Plan Format?

These sample business plans will provide you with a complete structure and format for your business plan, which will give you a head start on developing your document, so you won’t be stuck seeing an empty page and wondering what to write.

Simply going through the process of writing a business plan is one of its key benefits. If you sit down to write, you’ll naturally think about your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you’ll need to conduct. In addition to defining your position among your competitors, you will establish your goals and milestones.

You can see what should be included in a sample financial plan, but It is wrong to assume that a sample company’s financial projections will fit your own. If you need more resources to get you started, we recommend this guide on how to write a business plan .

In addition, you can download our 40+ free business plan templates covering a range of industries.

Common Types of Business Plan

One-page business plans are short, compact, and to the point and are designed to make the plan easy to read at a glance. Make sure to include all of the sections, but truncate and summarize them

Start-up business plans are for businesses that are just getting started. They are usually developed to secure outside funding. In this regard, financials are of increased importance, as well as other sections that determine whether your business idea is viable, such as market research.

A strategic business plan lays out a company’s goals and how it will achieve them at a high level. It is a foundational document for the company as a whole. A strategic business plan allows all levels of the business to see the big picture, inspiring employees to work together to reach the company’s goals.

Developing a feasibility plan answers two primary questions about a business venture: who would purchase the service or product the company wants to sell, and if the venture is profitable.

Internal Business plans are geared to a specific audience within a company to keep your team on the same page and focused on the same goals.

In conclusion, whether you’re venturing into a traditional business or creating an innovative startup, the significance of a well-crafted business plan cannot be overstated. Different types of business plans cater to specific needs, from internal alignment to strategic expansion. Employing a template in MS Word ensures a polished presentation. The process of writing an executive summary, creating a plan, and defining the components of your business plan is essential.

Recognizing the need for a comprehensive and standard business plan can help guide your endeavors. Whether you choose to write a full business plan or opt for a one-page business overview, leveraging templates in MS Word can simplify the process. In essence, understanding the types of business plans and utilizing an executive summary template provides a structured approach to showcase your business overview.

Take inspiration from example business plans to tailor your strategy, ensuring a roadmap for success in the dynamic world of entrepreneurship. Always remember, a meticulously crafted business plan not only communicates your vision effectively but also serves as a valuable resource that can help secure investments and guide your business’s growth trajectory.

Begin with an executive summary, delve into market analysis, outline your strategies, create financial projections, and use available business plan examples as templates to guide your writing.

A comprehensive business plan template should encompass key sections such as an executive summary, business description, market analysis, marketing strategy, organizational structure, and financial projections. Seek templates online that cover these elements.

Tailor your business plan to the scale of your small business. Define your objectives clearly, outline cost-effective strategies, and emphasize agility in adapting to market changes.

Explore well-crafted business plan examples you can visit our website  wisebusinessplan.

The fundamental components include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, marketing and sales strategy, organizational structure, product/service description, and financial projections.

Investors focus on growth potential, detailed financial projections, market analysis, competition analysis, and the qualifications and experience of your management team when reviewing a business plan.

To find a business plan example for a tech startup,you can visit our visit wisebusinessplan .

A business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your entire business, including strategies, operations, and financials. In contrast, a business proposal typically focuses on a specific project or offer, outlining the details and benefits to a potential client.

Craft an engaging executive summary by summarizing your business’s mission, highlighting the market opportunity, showcasing your product or service, and providing a concise overview of your financial projections.

Seek tailored business plan examples for nonprofit organizations you can visit wisebusinessplan .

These business plans are written by MBA writers. Real-world use cases were used in these plans.

Get our business plan writing and consultation service.

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Whether you’re a long-time business owner or starting to think about  launching a business , to-do lists pile up fast, and determining how to write a business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels overwhelming.

But nearly 70% of business owners who have been there and done that  recommend writing a business plan  before starting a business. When done right, business plans have enormous payoffs. In fact, a  wealth of data  now exists on the difference a written business plan makes, especially for small or growing companies.

First, know your audience

Start with a clear picture of the audience your plan will address. Is it a room full of angel investors? Your local bank’s venture funding department? Or is it you, your leaders, and your employees?

Defining your audience helps you determine the language you’ll need to propose your ideas as well as the depth to which you need to go to help readers conduct due diligence.

Once you’ve got your audience in mind, you can start your business plan, which should include:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market research and growth potential
  • Competitive analysis
  • Product or service description
  • Marketing/sales strategy
  • Business financials
  • Organization and management
  • Funding request

Executive summary

1. Executive summary

Even though it appears first in the official plan, write this section last so you can condense essential ideas from the other nine sections. For now, leave it as a placeholder. 

What is an executive summary?

The executive summary lays out all the vital information about your business within a relatively short space. An executive summary is typically one page or less. It’s a high-level overview which summarizes the other sections of your plan.

How do I write an executive summary?

This executive summary focuses on what’s often called the value proposition or unique selling point: an extended motto aimed at stakeholders.

You can follow a straightforward problem/solution format or this fill-in-the-blanks framework:

  • For [ target customers ]
  • Who are dissatisfied with [ current solutions ]
  • Our [ offering ] solves [ key customer problems ]
  • Unlike [ competing product ], we have [ differentiating key features ]

This framework isn’t meant to be rigid, but serves as a jumping-off point.

An illustration explaining the "who, what, and why" questions to ask when figuring out how to write a business plan.

2. Company description

Your company description should contain three elements:

  • Mission statement

These elements give context to the bigger picture, letting investors know the company’s purpose so your goals make sense as well.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is your company’s reason for existing. It’s more than what you do or what you sell, it’s about why exactly you do what you do. Effective mission statements should be:

  • Inspirational to make others believe in your vision
  • Emotional to captivate readers and grab their interest

Throughout each part of your plan, less is more. Nowhere is that truer than your mission statement. Think about what motivates you, what experiences led you to start the business, the problems you solve, the wider social issues you care about, etc.

How do you describe a company’s history?

Don’t worry about making your company history a dense narrative. Instead, write it like you would a profile:

  • Founding date
  • Major milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Number of employees
  • Executive leadership roles
  • Flagship products or services

Then, translate that list into a few short paragraphs.

Why do business objectives matter?

Business objectives give you clear goals to focus on. These goals must be SMART:

They must also be tied to key results. When your objectives aren’t clearly defined, it’s hard for your team to work toward a common purpose. What’s worse, fuzzy goals don’t inspire confidence from investors and other stakeholders.

written business plan samples

3. Market research & potential

Outline your ideal potential customer as well as the actual and potential size of your market. Target markets identify demographic information like:

By getting specific, you’ll illustrate expertise and generate confidence. If your target market is too broad, it can be a red flag for investors.

The same is true with your market analysis when you estimate its size and monetary value. In addition to big numbers that encompass the total market, drill down into your business’s addressable market—meaning, local numbers or numbers that apply the grand total to your specific segments. You may even map your customer’s journey to get a better understanding of their needs and preferences.

Internal business plan vs external business plan

4. Competitive analysis

Competitive research begins with identifying companies that currently occupy the market you’re looking to enter. The idea of carving out time to learn about each potential competitor you have may sound overwhelming, but it will be an extremely useful exercise.

Answer these questions about your most significant competitors:

  • Where do they advertise?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • How good is their customer service?
  • What are their sales and pricing strategies?
  • How do they rank on third-party rating/review platforms?

Spend some time thinking about what sets you apart. If your idea is truly original, be prepared to explain the customer pain points you see your business solving. If your business doesn’t have any direct competition, research other companies that provide a similar type of product or service.

Next, create a table or spreadsheet listing your competitors (competitor analysis table) to include in your plan.

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5. Product or service description

Describe the benefits, production process, and life-cycle of your offering, and how it’s better than your competitors.

When describing benefits, focus on:

  • Unique features
  • Translating features into benefits
  • Emotional and practical payoffs to your customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents that protect differentiation

For the production process, answer how you:

  • Create existing and new products or services
  • Source raw materials or components
  • Assemble them through manufacturing
  • Maintain quality control and quality assurance
  • Receive and deliver them (supply chain logistics)
  • Manage your daily operations, like bookkeeping and inventory

Within the product life cycle portion, map elements like:

  • Time between purchases
  • Up-sells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Future plans for research and development

How to distinguish your business plan from competitors

6. Marketing and sales strategy

Your marketing plan can be the difference between selling so much that growth explodes or getting no business at all. Growth strategies are a critical part of your business plan.

You should briefly reiterate topics such as your:

  • Value proposition
  • Ideal target markets
  • Existing customer segments

Then, add your:

  • Launch plan to attract new business
  • Growth tactics for established businesses to expand
  • Retention strategies like customer loyalty or referral programs
  • Advertising and promotion channels such as search engines, social media, print, television, YouTube, and word of mouth

You can also use this section of your business plan to reinforce your strengths and what differentiates you from the competition. Be sure to show what you’ve already done, what you plan to do given your existing resources, and what results you expect from your efforts.

Business plan template download

7. Business financials

If you’re just starting, your business may not yet have financial data , financial statements, or comprehensive reporting. However, you’ll still need to prepare a budget and a financial plan.

If your company has been around for a while and you’re seeking investors, be sure to include:

  • Income statements
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets

Other figures that can be included are:

  • How much of your revenue you retain as your net income
  • Your ratio of liquidity to debt repayment ability
  • How often you collect on your invoices

Ideally, you should provide at least three years’ worth of reporting. Make sure your figures are accurate and don’t provide any profit or loss projections before carefully going over your past statements for justification.

Avoid underestimating costs

Costs, profit margins, and sale prices are closely linked, and many business owners set sale prices without accounting for all costs. New business owners are particularly at risk for this mistake. The cost of your product or service must include all of your costs, including overhead. If it doesn’t, you can’t determine a sale price to generate the profit level you desire.

Underestimating costs can catch you off guard and eat away at your business over time.

Example of financials

Given the high degree of specificity required to accurately represent your business’s financials, we suggest using one of our free Excel templates and entering your own data:

  • For new businesses: Start up budget template
  • For existing businesses: Income statement template

Once complete, create a big picture representation to include here as well as in your objectives in step two.

8. Your organization & management

Your business is only as good as the team that runs it. Identify your team members and explain why they can either turn your business idea into a reality or continue to grow it. Highlight expertise and qualifications throughout —this section of your business plan should show off your management team superstars.

You should also note:

  • Roles you still need to hire to grow your company
  • The cost of hiring experts to assist operations

To make informed business decisions, you may need to budget for a bookkeeper , a CPA, and an attorney. CPAs can help you review your monthly accounting transactions and prepare your annual tax return. An attorney can help with client agreements, investor contracts (like shareholder agreements), and with any legal disputes that may arise.

Ask your business contacts for referrals (and their fees), and be sure to include those costs in your business plan.

9. Funding request

When outlining how much money your small business needs, try to be as realistic as possible. You can provide a range of numbers if you don’t want to pinpoint an exact number. However, be sure to include a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario.

Since a new business doesn’t have a track record of generating profits, it’s likely that you’ll sell equity to raise capital in the early years of operation. Equity means ownership—when you sell equity to raise capital, you are selling a portion of your company.

Most small business equity sales are private transactions. The investor may also expect to be paid a dividend, which is a share of company profits, and they’ll want to know how they can sell their ownership interest. Additionally, you can raise capital by borrowing money, but you’ll have to repay creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on the debt.

If you look at the capital structure of any large company, you’ll see that most firms issue both equity and debt. When drafting your business plan, decide if you’re willing to accept the trade-off of giving up total control and profits before you sell equity in your business.

The founder can access cash by contributing their own money into the business by securing a line of credit (LOC) at a bank or applying for QuickBooks Capital . If you raise cash through a LOC or some other type of loan, it needs to be paid off ASAP to reduce the interest cost on debt.

10. Appendix

Finally, assemble a well-organized appendix for anything and everything readers will need to supplement the information in your plan. Consider any info that:

  • Helps investors conduct due diligence
  • Gives context and easy access to you or your employees

Useful details to cover in an appendix include:

  • Deeds, local permits, and legal documents
  • Certifications that bolster your credibility
  • Business registries and professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Patents and intellectual properties
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Key customer contracts and purchase orders

Your appendix should be a living section of the business plan, whether the plan is a document for internal reference only or an external call for investors.

Make your business plan stand out

Investors have little patience for poorly written documents. You want your business plan to be as attractive and readable as possible.

  • Keep it brief.  A typical business plan can range from 10 to 20 pages. As long as you adequately cover the essentials, less is more.
  • Make it easy to read.  Divide your document into distinct sections, so that investors can quickly flip between key pieces of information.
  • Know your margins.  List every cost your business incurs, and make sure that you’re assigning those costs to each product or service that you sell.
  • Proofread.  Double-check for typos and grammatical errors. Then, triple-check. Otherwise, you might risk your credibility.
  • Invest in quality design and printing.  Proper layout, branding, and decent printing or bookbinding give your business plan a professional feel.
  • Be prepared in advance.  Have everything ready to go at least two weeks ahead so you have time to make revisions in case of a last-minute change.

Updating your business plan

It’s a good idea to periodically revisit your business plan, especially if you are looking to expand. Conducting new research and updating your plan could also provide answers when you hit difficult questions.

Mid-year is a good time to refocus and revise your original plans because it gives you the opportunity to refocus any goals for the second half of the year. Below are three ways to update your plan.

1. Refocus your productivity

When you wrote your original business plan, you likely identified your specific business and personal goals. Take some time now to assess if you’ve hit your targets.

If you only want to work a set number of hours per week, you must identify the products and services that deliver the returns you need to make that a reality. Doing so helps you refocus your productivity on the most lucrative profit streams.

Also, use what you’ve achieved and the hard lessons you’ve learned to help you re-evaluate what is and isn’t working.

2. Realign with your goals

Do a gut check to determine whether all of your hard work is still aligned with your original goals and your mission statement. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my goals still relevant?
  • Am I still focused on the big picture?
  • Where do I want to be a year from now?
  • Will my existing plan still take me where I want to go?

These questions may be tough to answer at first glance, but they reveal your ties to your goals and what most likely needs to change to achieve new wins.

3. Repurpose your offerings

If your time has become more focused on small projects rather than tangible growth and building a valuable client list, consider packaging your existing products or services differently. Can you bundle a few things together?

You must deliberately manage your revenue streams, and that might require shuffling things around a little to focus on what is working for you.

Business plan template download

Download our free template to build your business from the ground up, considering all the important questions that will help your investors and employees. Fill it in or use it as one of your business plan examples. Happy pitching!

Business plan FAQ

A business plan is a comprehensive road map for your small business’s growth and development. It communicates who you are, what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it. It also helps you attract talent and investors.

Investors want to know you have:

  • Product-market fit:  Have you done the research to determine the demand for your product or service?
  • A solid team in place:  Do you have the people you need to support your goals and objectives?
  • Scalability:  Can you grow sales volume without proportional growth in headcount and fixed costs?

A  templated business plan  gives investors a blueprint of what to expect from your company and tells them about you as an entrepreneur.

You need a business plan because the majority of venture capitalists (VCs) and all banking institutions will not invest in a startup or small business without a solid, written plan. Not only does a business plan help you focus on concrete objectives, but it gives outside parties reassurance that you’ve planned ahead.

According to  research :

  • Businesses with a business plan  grow 30% faster  than those without
  • Owners with business plans are  2x as likely  to grow, get investments, or secure loans than those without
  • Entrepreneurs with a business plan have a  129% increased likelihood  of growing beyond the startup phase and a  260% increased likelihood  of growing from “idea” to “new business”

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Free business plan template for small businesses

  • Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg
  • Dec 7, 2023

Free business plan template for your new business

Creating a successful business is about more than launching a business website or hanging a shingle on your front door. It requires a well-crafted plan that keeps you on track, anticipates obstacles and acts as a concrete roadmap for launching or improving your small business.

Business planning allows you to clarify your vision while providing information to both intrigue and reassure potential investors. The process may seem daunting, but creating a business plan isn’t difficult—and templates like the one below can help simplify the process even further.

Ready to launch your business? Create a website today.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is used by small business owners and entrepreneurs when starting a new business venture. It’s a strategic document that outlines the goals, objectives and strategies of your new or expanding business, including the company's vision, target market, financial projections and operational plans.

A business plan can attract potential partners, convince investors and banks to help you raise capital, and serve as a resource for future growth. Most importantly, you’ll be able to use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, operate and manage your new venture, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, a partnership or something larger.

Who needs a business plan?

Every business owner needs a business plan. They’re an essential tool for any person or entity interested in starting a business . There are many benefits, including:

Defining your business idea

Clarifying the market and competitive landscape

Outlining your marketing strategy

Stating your value proposition

Identifying/anticipating potential risks

Seeking investments from banks and other sources

Setting benchmarks, goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)

A business plan also gives you a way to assess the viability of a business before investing too much time or money into it. While all business involves risk, taking the time to create a plan can help mitigate fallout and avoid potentially costly mistakes.

When creating a business plan, it's important to establish your business goals up front and be prepared to spend time researching the market, performing a competitor analysis and understanding your target market .

Download Wix’s free business plan template

Creating a successful business plan is no easy feat. That’s why we’ve put together a simple, customizable, and free-to-download business plan template that takes the guesswork out of getting started. Use it to create a new business plan or to refresh an existing one.

Download your free Wix business plan template

Lean startup versus traditional business plan formats

In terms of types of business plans , there are two main formats to choose from: traditional and lean.

Traditional business plan format

A traditional business plan includes every detail and component that defines a business and contributes to its success. It's typically a sizable document of about 30 to 50 pages that includes:

Executive summary: The executive summary contains a high-level overview of everything included in the plan. It generally provides a short explanation of your business and its goals (e.g., your elevator pitch ). Many authors like to write this section last after fleshing out the sections below.

Company description: A company description should include essential details like your business name, the names of your founders, your locations and your company’s mission statement . Briefly describe your core services (or products if you’re writing an eCommerce business plan ), but don't go into too much detail since you’ll elaborate on this in the service/product section. Wix offers some helpful mission statement examples if you get stuck. It’s also a good idea to create a vision statement . While your mission statement clarifies your company’s purpose, a vision statement outlines what you want your company to achieve over time.

Market analysis: One of the most extensive sections of the business plan, this section requires that you conduct market research and write your conclusions. Include findings for the following: industry background, a SWOT analysis , barriers/obstacles, target market and your business differentiators.

Organization and management: This is where you outline how your business is structured and who's in charge, including founders, executive team members, board members, employees and key stakeholders. To this end, it can be helpful to create a visual layout (e.g., org chart) to illustrate your company structure.

Service or product line: Create a detailed list of your current and future products and services. If you’re still working on your idea, create a concept statement to describe your idea or product. You should also include a proof of concept (POC), which demonstrates the feasibility of your idea. Wherever applicable, include diagrams, product images and other visual components to illustrate the product life cycle.

Marketing and sales: Detail how your business idea translates into selling and delivering your offerings to potential customers. You can start by outlining your brand identity, which includes the colors and fonts you plan to use, your marketing and advertising strategy, and details about planned consumer touchpoints (like your website, mobile app or physical storefront).

Financial projections and funding requests: Include financial statements, such as a balance sheet, profit-and-loss statement (P&L), cash flow statement and break-even analysis. It's not uncommon for a business plan to include multiple pages of financial projections and information. You’ll also want to mention how much funding you seek and what you plan to do with it. If you’ve already secured funding, provide details about your investments.

essential parts of a business plan

Lean startup business plan format

A lean startup business plan—also referred to as a “lean canvas”—is presented as a problem/solution framework that provides a high-level description of your business idea. A lean plan is a single-page document that provides a basic overview of the most essential aspects of your business. It’s a good way to dip a toe into business planning since it doesn't require the same level of detail as a traditional plan. This includes:

Problem: What problem does your product or service solve, or what need does it fulfill?

Solution: How do you intend to solve it?

Unique value proposition (UVP): Why should people use your product or service versus someone else’s?

Unfair advantage: What do you have that other companies don’t?

Customers: Who are your ideal customers?

Channels: How will those customers find you?

Key metrics: How do you define success? How will you track and measure it?

Revenue streams: How will your business make money?

Cost structure: What will you spend money on (fixed and variable costs)?

Benefits of a business plan template

Business plan templates offer numerous benefits for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. Here are some key advantages:

1. Save time and effort: Templates provide a pre-defined structure, eliminating the need to start from scratch. This frees up valuable time and effort that can be invested in other crucial aspects of business development.

2. Improve structure: Templates ensure a consistent and organized approach to presenting your business plan. This makes it easier for potential investors, lenders and advisors to understand your vision and evaluate the feasibility of your business. 3. Enhance professionalism: Using a well-designed template demonstrates professionalism and seriousness to external stakeholders. This can significantly impact their perception of your business and increase their confidence in your venture. 4. Guide your thought process: Templates act as a helpful framework, prompting you to consider all the key elements of your business plan and ensuring you haven't overlooked any critical areas. 5. Ensure completeness: Templates often include checklists and prompts to ensure you cover all essential information, minimizing the risk of missing crucial details. 6. Standardize formatting: Templates ensure a consistent and uniform appearance throughout your business plan, contributing to a more polished and professional presentation. 7. Access to expert knowledge: Many templates are developed by experienced business professionals or organizations, incorporating best practices and insights gained from successful ventures. 8. Adaptability and customization: While templates offer a basic structure, they can be easily customized to reflect the unique characteristics and needs of your specific business. 9. Cost-effectiveness: Templates are generally available for free or at a low cost, making them an accessible and budget-friendly option for entrepreneurs. 10. Increased success rate: Studies have shown that businesses with well-developed plans are more likely to succeed. Templates can help you create a comprehensive and persuasive plan, increasing your chances of securing funding and achieving your business goals.

Tips for filling out your business plan template

The hardest part of a journey is always the first step, or so the saying goes. Filling out your business plan template can be daunting, but the template itself is meant to get you over that crucial first hurdle—getting started. We’ve provided some tips aimed at helping you get the most from our template.

These are best practices—they’re not rules. Do what works for you. The main thing to remember is that these tips can help you move more easily through the planning process, so that you can advance onto the next (exciting) step, which is launching your business.

Consider your goals: What is the purpose of your business? Are you looking to expand, launch a new product line or fund a specific project? Identifying your goals helps you prioritize important information in your business plan.

Fill out what you can: You may already have a vague—or specific—idea of what you want your business to achieve. Go through each section of the template and fill out what you can. We suggest leaving the executive summary blank for now, since it'll be the last thing you write.

Be realistic: Even though this document is meant to serve as a marketing tool for potential investors, don't exaggerate any numbers or make any false promises.

Dig into the research: Nothing's more motivating than getting some intel about your competitors and your market. If you're truly stuck, a little research can help motivate you and provide valuable insight about what direction to take your business. For example, if you plan to start a landscaping business, learn about the specific pricing offered in your area so that you can differentiate your services and potentially offer better options.

Get help from others: Bouncing your ideas off a friend, mentor or advisor is a great way to get feedback and discover approaches or products to incorporate into your plan. Your network can also give you valuable insight about the industry or even about potential customers. Plus, it's nice to be able to talk through the challenges with someone who understands you and your vision.

Revise and review: Once complete, step back from your plan and let it "cook." In a day or two, review your plan and make sure that everything is current. Have other people review it too, since having another set of eyes can help identify areas that may be lacking detail or need further explanation.

Once you’ve completed your business plan template, it can become a meaningful resource for developing your mission statement, writing business proposals and planning how to move forward with the marketing, distribution and growth of your products and services.

After launch, you can also analyze your value chain to identify key factors that create value for your customers and maximum profitability for you. This can help you develop a more effective business plan that considers the entire value chain, from research and development to sales and customer support.

Business plan template FAQ

What is the easiest way to write a business plan.

The easiest way to write a business plan is to utilize a template. Templates provide a structured format and guide you through each section, simplifying the process of creating a comprehensive plan.

Is there a template for how to write a business plan?

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Sample Consulting Firm Business Plan

consulting firm business plan

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a consulting firm. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring consulting firm business owners, having access to a sample consulting firm business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own consulting firm business plan.

Download our Ultimate Consulting Firm Business Plan Template

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful consulting firm venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A consulting firm business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The consulting firm business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your consulting firm as Growthink’s Ultimate Consulting Firm Business Plan Template , but it can help you write a consulting firm business plan of your own.

Example – InsightAdvantage Consultants

Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.

Welcome to InsightAdvantage Consultants, our new consulting firm rooted in the vibrant landscape of San Francisco, CA. Born out of a vision to fill the void for high-quality local consulting services, our mission is dedicated to offering unparalleled consulting solutions tailored to the unique needs of businesses in our community. Specializing in strategic planning, management consulting, and financial advisory, we craft personalized solutions that empower our clients to navigate their specific challenges and seize opportunities for growth. With our firm strategically located in San Francisco, we not only ensure our services are highly relevant and specialized for the local market but also contribute actively to the local business ecosystem, making us the go-to consulting firm in the area.

Our success at InsightAdvantage Consultants is driven by a blend of factors. The wealth of experience brought by our founder, who has a proven track record in the consulting industry, sets a solid foundation for our operations. Coupled with our commitment to superior consulting expertise, we stand out as a leader in the field. Our specialized understanding of the San Francisco market further cements our position as the preferred local consulting partner. Since our launch in January 2024, we’ve hit several key milestones, including establishing our brand identity, securing a prime location for our operations, and structuring our business as an S Corporation ready for growth. These accomplishments underscore our readiness and enthusiasm to empower local businesses towards success.

The Consulting Firm industry in the United States, currently valued at over $250 billion, exhibits a robust demand across various sectors, including healthcare, technology, and finance. With an expected annual growth rate of 3-4%, the industry is on a trajectory of steady expansion. A notable trend is the emergence of specialized niche consulting firms like InsightAdvantage Consultants, which cater to specific business needs with highly targeted expertise and solutions. This trend aligns with our focus on the San Francisco market, positioning us to leverage the increasing demand for specialized consulting services in the region.

InsightAdvantage Consultants targets a diverse customer base, starting with local residents to establish a strong community presence. We also focus on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and tech startups in San Francisco, offering them tailored consulting services to address their unique challenges. By providing strategies for growth, efficiency improvements, and competitive positioning, we aim to support the backbone of the local economy and the dynamic tech startup sector with agile, innovative solutions that drive sustainable success.

Our main competitors include Run Right Business Consulting, with their tailored services and deep local market understanding; Piedmont Avenue Consulting, specializing in marketing and branding strategies; and BookSoEasy, which combines business consulting with technological solutions. Despite the strengths of these firms, InsightAdvantage Consultants remains unmatched in our blend of industry experience, innovative strategies, and deep local market insights. Our diverse team of industry veterans and young innovators enables us to offer solutions that are both time-tested and infused with fresh, forward-thinking ideas. This unique combination, along with our strategic location in San Francisco, positions us as a leader in the consulting industry.

InsightAdvantage Consultants offers a comprehensive suite of services, including Strategic Planning, Management Consulting, and Financial Advisory, each designed to meet our clients’ diverse needs. Our pricing strategy is tailored to reflect the value and customization of our services, with prices varying based on scope and complexity. To promote our offerings, we employ a robust digital marketing strategy, leveraging social media, SEO, and email campaigns, complemented by content marketing to position us as thought leaders. Networking events, referral programs, and targeted advertising campaigns further amplify our visibility and attract a broad spectrum of clients.

Our operations at InsightAdvantage Consultants are centered around key processes such as client communication, market research, strategy development, project management, and quality assurance, to name a few. We are committed to continuous learning and professional development to stay ahead of industry trends. In the coming months, we aim to achieve several milestones, including securing initial client contracts, achieving operational efficiency, and building a strong local network. These efforts are all geared towards ensuring our firm’s success and sustainable growth.

At the helm of InsightAdvantage Consultants is Lucas Jackson, our President, who brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record from the consulting industry. His expertise in strategic planning, operational efficiency, and business development is invaluable to guiding our firm towards achieving its strategic goals. Lucas’s leadership and deep market understanding ensure we are well-equipped to navigate the industry landscape and achieve lasting success.

Welcome to InsightAdvantage Consultants, a new consulting firm based in the vibrant city of San Francisco, CA. As a local consulting firm, we stand out in a landscape that previously lacked high-quality local consulting services. Our mission is to bridge this gap and offer unparalleled consulting solutions that cater specifically to the needs of businesses in our community.

At InsightAdvantage Consultants, we specialize in a range of services designed to empower businesses to achieve their goals. Our offerings include strategic planning, which helps businesses chart a course for success in an ever-changing market. We also provide management consulting to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and foster leadership within teams. Additionally, our financial advisory services are tailored to help businesses optimize their financial strategies for growth and stability. Each of these services is crafted with our clients’ success in mind, offering personalized solutions that address their unique challenges and opportunities.

Our firm is proudly based in San Francisco, CA, serving customers within this dynamic city. This strategic location not only allows us to be close to our clients but also to be an integral part of the local business ecosystem. By focusing on serving San Francisco businesses, we ensure that our services are highly relevant and tailored to the specific needs of companies operating in this unique market.

InsightAdvantage Consultants is uniquely qualified to succeed for several reasons. Firstly, our founder brings valuable experience from previously running a successful consulting firm, ensuring that we have the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver exceptional results. Moreover, we pride ourselves on offering superior consulting expertise compared to our competition, setting us apart as a leader in the field. These factors, combined with our deep understanding of the local market, position us as the go-to consulting firm in San Francisco.

Since our inception on January 5, 2024, InsightAdvantage Consultants has achieved several milestones. We have successfully established our brand, starting with the design of our logo and the development of our company name, which resonate with our vision and values. Furthermore, we secured a prime location that not only serves as our base of operations but also reflects our commitment to being an accessible and integral part of the local business community. As a S Corporation, we are poised for growth and are excited to continue building our legacy as we serve and empower businesses in San Francisco.

The Consulting Firm industry in the United States is a thriving sector with a significant market size. Currently, the industry is estimated to be worth over $250 billion, showcasing the high demand for consulting services across various sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, and more.

Market research indicates that the Consulting Firm industry is expected to experience steady growth in the coming years. With an annual growth rate projected to be around 3-4%, the industry is set to reach new heights as businesses increasingly seek out expert advice and guidance to navigate complex challenges and drive growth.

One of the key trends in the Consulting Firm industry is the rise of specialized niche consulting firms, such as InsightAdvantage Consultants. These firms offer tailored services to specific industries or business needs, providing clients with highly targeted expertise and solutions. This trend bodes well for InsightAdvantage Consultants, as their focus on serving customers in San Francisco, CA, positions them to capitalize on the growing demand for specialized consulting services in the region.

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

InsightAdvantage Consultants will target a diverse range of customer segments, beginning with local residents. This group is essential for establishing a strong community presence and reputation. By focusing on the unique needs and challenges of San Francisco’s residents, InsightAdvantage Consultants will tailor services to offer practical, impactful advice and solutions.

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the city will also form a significant part of InsightAdvantage Consultants’ target market. These businesses, which are the backbone of the local economy, often encounter unique challenges that require specialized consulting services. InsightAdvantage Consultants will provide these companies with strategies for growth, efficiency improvements, and competitive positioning.

Furthermore, tech startups, which are prolific in the San Francisco area, will be another primary customer segment for InsightAdvantage Consultants. This sector is dynamic and requires agile, innovative consulting solutions to navigate rapid growth, funding rounds, and scaling challenges. The firm will offer bespoke services that align with the fast-paced nature of tech startups, helping them to achieve sustainable success.

Customer Needs

InsightAdvantage Consultants caters to the distinct needs of San Francisco residents by delivering high-quality consulting services that align with their diverse ambitions and challenges. Clients can expect tailored solutions that resonate with their unique scenarios, whether they are startups seeking to innovate, enterprises aiming to scale, or individuals pursuing personal growth. This dedication to customization ensures that every strategy is not just a roadmap but a reflection of the client’s vision and potential.

In an environment as dynamic and competitive as San Francisco, customers demand not just advice but actionable insights that can lead to tangible outcomes. InsightAdvantage Consultants rises to this expectation by leveraging cutting-edge research, data analytics, and industry expertise to empower clients with strategies that are both innovative and practical. This approach guarantees that clients not only navigate their immediate challenges but are also equipped for long-term success.

Moreover, InsightAdvantage Consultants understands the value of accessibility and ongoing support for San Francisco’s bustling clientele. Clients have the convenience of engaging with experts who are committed to their success beyond the initial consultation. This includes follow-up services, the provision of resources for implementation, and the availability of guidance through the evolution of their projects or businesses. Such comprehensive support underscores our dedication to not just meeting but exceeding client expectations.

InsightAdvantage Consultants’ Competitors Include the Following Companies

Run Right Business Consulting

Run Right Business Consulting offers a comprehensive suite of services including strategy development, operational improvements, and financial advisory. The firm specializes in serving small to medium-sized businesses across various industries. Their services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client, ensuring a personalized consulting experience.

Pricing models at Run Right Business Consulting are project-based, with costs varying depending on the scope and complexity of the consulting engagement. This flexibility allows them to cater to a wide range of budgets. The firm reports annual revenues in the mid-range, indicating a stable client base and consistent service delivery.

Located primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, Run Right Business Consulting has a strong local presence. However, they also serve clients across the United States, leveraging remote consulting capabilities. Their customer segments include startups, established SMEs, and occasionally larger corporations seeking niche expertise.

Key strengths of Run Right Business Consulting include their tailored service approach and deep local market understanding. Weaknesses may include limited international exposure and a narrower service offering compared to larger consulting firms.

Piedmont Avenue Consulting

Piedmont Avenue Consulting focuses on marketing and branding strategies, offering services such as social media management, public relations, and digital marketing. They cater to a diverse clientele, including retail, hospitality, and technology sectors. This specialization enables them to offer deep insights and innovative strategies in these areas.

Their pricing strategy is flexible, offering both retainer-based and project-specific engagements. This allows businesses of varying sizes and budgets to access their services. Piedmont Avenue Consulting’s revenue is competitive, reflecting their strong position in the niche of marketing consultancy.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Piedmont Avenue Consulting maintains a strong local presence while also serving clients nationwide. Their geographic reach is supported by a robust online consulting platform. The primary customer segments include small to medium-sized businesses looking to enhance their market presence and brand visibility.

The firm’s key strengths lie in its specialized focus on marketing and branding, coupled with a strong understanding of digital trends. However, their narrow focus could be seen as a weakness, limiting their appeal to businesses seeking more comprehensive consulting services.

BookSoEasy offers a unique combination of business consulting and technological solutions, with a focus on streamlining operations, improving customer engagement, and enhancing digital presence for their clients. Their services are particularly appealing to the hospitality and retail sectors, where they leverage technology to drive growth and efficiency.

The firm employs a value-based pricing strategy, ensuring clients only pay for tangible improvements and outcomes. This approach has contributed to their competitive positioning in terms of revenue, signaling strong client satisfaction and results-driven service delivery. BookSoEasy operates primarily in San Francisco but has started expanding its services to other major cities across the US.

Their customer base mainly consists of small to medium-sized enterprises seeking to leverage technology for business improvements. BookSoEasy’s strength lies in its ability to integrate consulting services with technological implementation, providing a comprehensive solution to business challenges.

A potential weakness is their sector-specific approach, which might limit their appeal to a broader audience. Additionally, as they expand geographically, maintaining the high level of personalized service that characterizes their San Francisco operations could present a challenge.

Competitive Advantages

At InsightAdvantage Consultants, we pride ourselves on delivering superior consulting expertise compared to our competitors. Our team comprises industry veterans and young innovators, all of whom bring unique perspectives and cutting-edge strategies to the table. This blend of experience and fresh ideas enables us to provide our clients with solutions that are not only time-tested but also infused with innovative approaches. We understand that the landscape of business is ever-changing, and our ability to adapt and foresee shifts in the market sets us apart. Our consultants specialize in various sectors, ensuring that clients receive tailored advice that directly impacts their specific industry challenges and opportunities.

Furthermore, our location in a vibrant city such as San Francisco allows us to stay at the forefront of technological advancements and trends. This geographical advantage complements our commitment to utilizing the latest tools and methodologies in our consultancy services. We leverage local networks and partnerships to offer our clients exclusive insights and opportunities that are not readily available elsewhere. Additionally, our commitment to fostering strong relationships with each client means we go beyond traditional consultancy roles, acting as true partners invested in their success. Our approach is holistic and personalized, ensuring that every strategy we develop is not only innovative but also practical and sustainable in the long run. This unique combination of expertise, innovation, and partnership is what makes InsightAdvantage Consultants a leader in the consulting industry.

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

InsightAdvantage Consultants offers a comprehensive suite of services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its clients. With a focus on delivering actionable insights and strategic direction, the firm has positioned itself as a valuable partner for businesses looking to navigate the complexities of today’s market landscape. Among the services offered, Strategic Planning, Management Consulting, and Financial Advisory stand out as core competencies, each designed to address specific areas of client concern.

Strategic Planning is a critical service offered, designed to help businesses define their vision, set achievable goals, and develop a roadmap for success. Clients can expect to engage in deep-dive sessions aimed at understanding their market position, competition, and internal capabilities. The average selling price for Strategic Planning services is typically around $10,000. This price can vary based on the scope and complexity of the project, tailored to meet the unique needs of each client.

Management Consulting is another key service area, focusing on improving organizational performance through the analysis of existing business problems and the development of plans for improvement. InsightAdvantage Consultants leverages industry best practices and innovative strategies to guide leadership teams through transformational changes. Clients opting for Management Consulting services can expect to invest approximately $15,000, depending on the project’s duration and depth.

Lastly, the Financial Advisory service aims to help clients manage their financial strategy, planning, and risk. This service covers a broad spectrum of financial disciplines, including mergers and acquisitions, financial planning, and risk management. With an average selling price of $20,000, this service provides clients with expert advice and insights into optimizing financial performance and achieving long-term financial stability.

InsightAdvantage Consultants prides itself on delivering high-quality, tailored services that drive value and competitive advantage for its clients. By focusing on strategic planning, management consulting, and financial advisory, the firm ensures that it covers a comprehensive range of needs that are crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in the modern economy.

Promotions Plan

InsightAdvantage Consultants employs a comprehensive suite of promotional methods to attract customers, with a keen focus on leveraging the power of online marketing. In the digital age, establishing a robust online presence is non-negotiable, and InsightAdvantage Consultants recognizes this by prioritizing a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. This includes the utilization of social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing campaigns, all designed to build brand awareness and drive customer engagement.

In addition to these online marketing efforts, InsightAdvantage Consultants also taps into the potential of content marketing. By creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, the firm aims to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. This strategy not only positions InsightAdvantage Consultants as thought leaders in the consulting industry but also helps in building trust with potential clients. High-quality blog posts, whitepapers, and case studies will serve as tools to showcase the firm’s expertise and success stories.

Networking events and industry conferences represent another pivotal promotional method for InsightAdvantage Consultants. By actively participating in these gatherings, the firm has the opportunity to connect with potential clients face-to-face, build meaningful relationships, and stay abreast of the latest industry trends. These interactions often translate into business opportunities and collaborations, further amplifying the firm’s reach and influence within the consulting sector.

Referral programs will play a critical role in the firm’s promotional strategy as well. Encouraging satisfied clients to refer others to InsightAdvantage Consultants not only helps in acquiring new customers but also strengthens the firm’s reputation. Offering incentives for referrals demonstrates appreciation for existing clients while simultaneously expanding the customer base.

Lastly, targeted advertising campaigns, both online and offline, will complement the firm’s promotional activities. These campaigns will be carefully crafted to reach potential clients within specific industries or sectors, ensuring that the messaging is relevant and resonates with the intended audience. By employing a mix of traditional advertising mediums and digital channels, InsightAdvantage Consultants aims to maximize its visibility and appeal to a broad spectrum of clients.

In conclusion, InsightAdvantage Consultants employs a diverse range of promotional methods to attract customers, with a strong emphasis on online marketing. By integrating content marketing, networking, referral programs, and targeted advertising into its promotional strategy, the firm is well-positioned to build its brand, engage with potential clients, and achieve sustainable growth in the competitive consulting industry.

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of InsightAdvantage Consultants, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Client Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with clients through emails, phone calls, and meetings to understand their needs and provide timely updates.
  • Market Research: Conduct continuous market research to stay updated on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities relevant to our clients’ businesses.
  • Strategy Development: Develop customized strategies for each client, focusing on their specific goals, challenges, and market position.
  • Project Management: Utilize project management tools to track progress, manage deadlines, and ensure that all team members are aligned and accountable.
  • Data Analysis: Analyze data from various sources to inform strategies, measure performance, and make data-driven decisions.
  • Quality Assurance: Regularly review and assess the quality of our work to ensure that it meets high standards and delivers value to our clients.
  • Professional Development: Engage in continuous learning and professional development to enhance our skills and stay ahead of industry changes.
  • Networking: Actively participate in local and industry-specific events to build and maintain a strong professional network in San Francisco and beyond.
  • Financial Management: Monitor and manage the firm’s finances, including budgeting, invoicing, and financial reporting, to ensure healthy cash flow and profitability.
  • Feedback Collection: Solicit feedback from clients post-engagement to identify areas for improvement and strengthen client relationships.
  • Marketing and Business Development: Implement marketing strategies and business development activities to attract new clients and retain existing ones.
  • Team Collaboration: Foster a collaborative work environment where team members can share ideas, solve problems together, and contribute to each other’s professional growth.
  • Compliance and Ethics: Ensure that all business practices comply with local laws and regulations and adhere to the highest ethical standards.

InsightAdvantage Consultants expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Launch Our Consulting Firm : Successfully establish and officially launch InsightAdvantage Consultants, including setting up a fully functional office in San Francisco, CA, and a polished online presence that showcases our value proposition and services offered.
  • Secure Initial Client Contracts : Within the first three months, secure at least 3-5 initial client contracts through networking, marketing efforts, and leveraging personal and professional contacts. This will provide an early revenue stream and case studies/testimonials for future business.
  • Achieve Operational Efficiency : Streamline business processes, including client onboarding, project management, and billing, to ensure operations are as efficient and scalable as possible. Proper use of technology and software tools should be integrated to support these operations.
  • Build a Strong Local Network : Participate in local business events, join relevant associations, and actively engage with the business community in San Francisco. Building a strong local network will be crucial for word-of-mouth referrals and gaining trust within the community.
  • Develop a Robust Marketing Strategy : Implement a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes digital marketing (SEO, content marketing, and social media), speaking engagements, and workshops. This strategy should aim to establish InsightAdvantage Consultants as thought leaders in the industry.
  • Hire and Train Key Staff : As revenue starts to grow, hire additional consultants and support staff to ensure the ability to scale operations without compromising on the quality of service. Implement a training program to ensure all team members are aligned with the company’s methodologies and values.
  • Get to $15,000/Month in Revenue : This is a critical financial milestone that indicates the business is gaining traction. Achieving this goal will likely require a combination of increasing the client base, possibly raising prices for services (based on the value delivered), and ensuring high levels of client satisfaction for repeat business and referrals.
  • Establish Partnerships : Form strategic partnerships with other businesses and organizations that can offer complementary services or refer clients, such as law firms, accounting firms, and local business associations. These partnerships can help expand the client base and add value to InsightAdvantage Consultants’ offerings.
  • Implement a Client Feedback System : Develop and implement a systematic approach for collecting and analyzing client feedback to continuously improve the service quality and address any areas of concern. This will not only help in refining the services but also in retaining clients and encouraging referrals.
  • Evaluate Expansion Opportunities : After achieving a stable client base and consistent revenue growth in San Francisco, begin evaluating opportunities for expansion either by offering additional services or by extending the geographic reach to other cities or regions.

InsightAdvantage Consultants management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Lucas Jackson, President

Lucas Jackson brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success to InsightAdvantage Consultants. Having previously helmed a consulting firm, Lucas has demonstrated an exceptional ability to lead, innovate, and drive growth within the consulting industry. His expertise spans strategic planning, operational efficiency, and business development, making him well-positioned to guide InsightAdvantage Consultants towards achieving its strategic goals. Lucas’s leadership skills, combined with his deep understanding of the consulting market, ensure that InsightAdvantage Consultants is not just equipped to navigate the complexities of the industry but is also poised for lasting success.

To reach our growth goals, InsightAdvantage Consultants requires $397,000 in funding. This capital will be allocated across both capital and non-capital investments, including location buildout, equipment, working capital, initial marketing, and staffing. These resources are crucial for establishing our operations, securing a competitive position in the market, and laying a foundation for future growth and profitability.

Financial Statements

Balance sheet.

[insert balance sheet]

Income Statement

[insert income statement]

Cash Flow Statement

[insert cash flow statement]

Consulting Firm Business Plan Example PDF

Download our Consulting Firm Business Plan PDF here. This is a free consulting firm business plan example to help you get started on your own consulting firm plan.  

How to Finish Your Consulting Firm Business Plan in 1 Day!

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How to Write a Food and Beverage Business Plan + Sample Business Plan PDF

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Elon Glucklich

7 min. read

Updated February 17, 2024

Free Download: Sample Food and Beverage Business Plan Templates

The food and beverage sector is booming. Restaurant openings rose 10% in 2023 compared to 2022 — even higher than in pre-pandemic years.

From fine dining to food trucks, farmers to brewers, and wholesalers to coffee makers, there are opportunities across the food and beverage industry. 

But starting a business without covering the basics — your operations plan, marketing tactics, financial strategy, and more — carries huge risks. 

That’s why we recommend you write a business plan.

  • Why write a food and beverage business plan?

Writing a business plan is an easy first step that you can start for free. Plus, businesses that take time to plan are significantly more successful than those that don’t.

Many food and beverage establishments fail because of one of the following:

  • Poor inventory management
  • Underestimated expenses
  • High employee turnover
  • Misjudged the size of their market

Writing a business plan can help you:

  • Develop processes for managing inventory and logistics
  • Understand your cash flows and create a realistic expense budget
  • Budget for competitive employee pay that increases worker retention
  • Analyze your competition and determine how big your market is  

If you’re looking for funding from investors for your business, you’ll definitely need a business plan.

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  • How to write a food and beverage business plan

Many business plans follow a standard format and you can use it as a starting point when writing your own plan. Here’s what that includes:

Executive summary

  • Company summary and funding needs
  • Products and services
  • Marketing plan
  • Management team

Financial plan

For food and beverage companies, you must give extra attention to your market analysis, operations plan, and financial forecasts.

If you’re ready to start, download a free business plan template and fill it out as you read this article.

A sample business plan outline for a food and beverage business.

Every business plan should include an executive summary . It’s a brief outline summarizing the plan, no more than one or two pages.

We recommend that you write the executive summary last after fleshing out the details of your plan. 

Just summarize the vision for your business, describe your offerings and target market , and touch on your management team and financials. Don’t go into tons of detail — just provide a high-level sense of what you want your business to accomplish.

Opportunity: problem and solution

This section of your food and beverage business plan describes the opportunity you hope to capture.

Maybe you’re a farmer looking to diversify your revenue streams by distributing to grocery stores. Or a bar owner with high-end liquor that competitors in the market aren’t serving. 

Whatever your business is, describe the gap in the market and how you aim to fill it.

If you’re operating a more common type of business, like a restaurant , you can probably keep this section short. But it’s useful to document what makes your business unique and it will help focus your sales and marketing efforts later on.

Market analysis

In a field as crowded with competitors as the food and beverage space, a detailed market analysis is essential. 

Your focus should be on identifying the specific customer segments you aim to serve. 

Maybe you’re a butcher with connections to fresh livestock. Will you be more successful selling directly to consumers, or should you focus on selling to grocery stores and markets in your area?

Or, you’re opening  a diner. Should your menu focus on healthy meals or easy-to-make child-friendly options?

These are the types of questions that market research helps you answer. This section should detail the defining characteristics of your target market, including the demographics and preferences of your ideal customer and the size of the market you’re targeting. Market research questions specific to a food and beverage business could include:

  • Business location and characteristics
  • Area income
  • Local food and beverage preferences
  • Existing food and beverage options 

Elaborate on how your food and beverage offerings align with that target market ’s needs. Remember, you can’t please everyone, so focus on a specific group of people or type of person and build out from there.

Marketing and sales

For food and beverage businesses promotions are how you stand out and seize a share of your market.

The marketing and advertising chapter of your business plan is where you’ll detail your strategies for capturing the attention — and loyalty — of the customers you identified as your target market in the previous section.

With so many options for consumers in the food and beverage space, you’ll likely have to rely on multiple marketing channels , including::

  • Advertising on websites, television, and in relevant publications.
  • Content marketing — developing an engaging website and writing blog content that’s search engine optimized to drive traffic to your site.
  • Engaging with your customers on social media.
  • Offering discounts and customer loyalty programs.
  • Appearing at food and beverage industry trade shows and community events.

It doesn’t matter how delicious your recipes are, how fresh your crops are, or how innovative your cocktails are — if you don’t operate efficiently, your business probably won’t last long.

The operations strategy may be the most detailed section of your business plan, especially if you’re writing it for a bank loan or investment. This section describes how you will run your business day to day.

When writing the operations section, describe the following:

Physical space

Whether it’s a restaurant, a farm, or a food transportation business, describe the space you’re operating in, and all of the physical assets and equipment you’ll need to be successful. 

If it’s a sit-down restaurant, consider including a floorplan mockup in your appendix.

Supply chain 

List the suppliers and partners that get your product to customers. Think about the businesses you purchase ingredients from, the warehouses that goods are stored in, and the trucking companies that deliver your products to grocery stores. 

These are your supply chain partners. It’s crucial that you maintain good relationships with them.

Production processes

How long it takes to make your product, and what materials and equipment are required. Documenting how you produce your goods or services demonstrates that you understand the costs of making them. 

You may also uncover ways to produce them more quickly, or at a lesser cost.

Detail how you’ll handle matters of efficiency like order fulfillment, storage, shipping, and returns, as well as customer satisfaction. If you provide delivery services, document how you will handle the process of getting your product to customers’ homes or businesses.

List your staffing needs, training, and experience requirements for key staff. Also, document the management structure of your business. 

This helps ensure that important tasks you don’t have time to monitor are being done and that workers are being supervised.

Describe investments in payment processing systems, inventory management software, and other tools that support sales or operations in your business. Cataloging your technology systems will help you determine where it might make sense to invest in upgrades for efficiency.

Take some time to write a financial plan . Create detailed financial projections, including sales , expenses , and profitability .

If that sounds intimidating, take a deep breath, and remember that financial forecasts are really just best guesses. If you’re running an existing business, you can start with your previous year’s numbers. If you’re starting, make an educated guess about where you hope to be financially a year from now.

Investors will want to see a: 

  • Sales forecast
  • Income statement (also called a profit and loss statement )
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet 

If you use a tool like LivePlan , you’ll be able to build out your financial forecasts relatively quickly, even if you don’t have experience with business numbers.

Even if you aren’t seeking investment, the financial plan is crucial for understanding the viability of your business. It allows you to adjust your business model based on projected performance, and make informed decisions about where to spend your money.

  • Food and beverage business plan templates and examples

If you want to see how other food and beverage businesses have created their plans, check out our free library of food and beverage business plans . 

You can download all of them in Word format and jump-start your own business plan.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.

Check out LivePlan

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Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

In Word, you can create a form that others can fill out and save or print.  To do this, you will start with baseline content in a document, potentially via a form template.  Then you can add content controls for elements such as check boxes, text boxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. Optionally, these content controls can be linked to database information.  Following are the recommended action steps in sequence.  

Show the Developer tab

In Word, be sure you have the Developer tab displayed in the ribbon.  (See how here:  Show the developer tab .)

Open a template or a blank document on which to base the form

You can start with a template or just start from scratch with a blank document.

Start with a form template

Go to File > New .

In the  Search for online templates  field, type  Forms or the kind of form you want. Then press Enter .

In the displayed results, right-click any item, then select  Create. 

Start with a blank document 

Select Blank document .

Add content to the form

Go to the  Developer  tab Controls section where you can choose controls to add to your document or form. Hover over any icon therein to see what control type it represents. The various control types are described below. You can set properties on a control once it has been inserted.

To delete a content control, right-click it, then select Remove content control  in the pop-up menu. 

Note:  You can print a form that was created via content controls. However, the boxes around the content controls will not print.

Insert a text control

The rich text content control enables users to format text (e.g., bold, italic) and type multiple paragraphs. To limit these capabilities, use the plain text content control . 

Click or tap where you want to insert the control.

Rich text control button

To learn about setting specific properties on these controls, see Set or change properties for content controls .

Insert a picture control

A picture control is most often used for templates, but you can also add a picture control to a form.

Picture control button

Insert a building block control

Use a building block control  when you want users to choose a specific block of text. These are helpful when you need to add different boilerplate text depending on the document's specific purpose. You can create rich text content controls for each version of the boilerplate text, and then use a building block control as the container for the rich text content controls.

building block gallery control

Select Developer and content controls for the building block.

Developer tab showing content controls

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

In a combo box, users can select from a list of choices that you provide or they can type in their own information. In a drop-down list, users can only select from the list of choices.

combo box button

Select the content control, and then select Properties .

To create a list of choices, select Add under Drop-Down List Properties .

Type a choice in Display Name , such as Yes , No , or Maybe .

Repeat this step until all of the choices are in the drop-down list.

Fill in any other properties that you want.

Note:  If you select the Contents cannot be edited check box, users won’t be able to click a choice.

Insert a date picker

Click or tap where you want to insert the date picker control.

Date picker button

Insert a check box

Click or tap where you want to insert the check box control.

Check box button

Use the legacy form controls

Legacy form controls are for compatibility with older versions of Word and consist of legacy form and Active X controls.

Click or tap where you want to insert a legacy control.

Legacy control button

Select the Legacy Form control or Active X Control that you want to include.

Set or change properties for content controls

Each content control has properties that you can set or change. For example, the Date Picker control offers options for the format you want to use to display the date.

Select the content control that you want to change.

Go to Developer > Properties .

Controls Properties  button

Change the properties that you want.

Add protection to a form

If you want to limit how much others can edit or format a form, use the Restrict Editing command:

Open the form that you want to lock or protect.

Select Developer > Restrict Editing .

Restrict editing button

After selecting restrictions, select Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .

Restrict editing panel

Advanced Tip:

If you want to protect only parts of the document, separate the document into sections and only protect the sections you want.

To do this, choose Select Sections in the Restrict Editing panel. For more info on sections, see Insert a section break .

Sections selector on Resrict sections panel

If the developer tab isn't displayed in the ribbon, see Show the Developer tab .

Open a template or use a blank document

To create a form in Word that others can fill out, start with a template or document and add content controls. Content controls include things like check boxes, text boxes, and drop-down lists. If you’re familiar with databases, these content controls can even be linked to data.

Go to File > New from Template .

New from template option

In Search, type form .

Double-click the template you want to use.

Select File > Save As , and pick a location to save the form.

In Save As , type a file name and then select Save .

Start with a blank document

Go to File > New Document .

New document option

Go to File > Save As .

Go to Developer , and then choose the controls that you want to add to the document or form. To remove a content control, select the control and press Delete. You can set Options on controls once inserted. From Options, you can add entry and exit macros to run when users interact with the controls, as well as list items for combo boxes, .

Adding content controls to your form

In the document, click or tap where you want to add a content control.

On Developer , select Text Box , Check Box , or Combo Box .

Developer tab with content controls

To set specific properties for the control, select Options , and set .

Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each control that you want to add.

Set options

Options let you set common settings, as well as control specific settings. Select a control and then select Options to set up or make changes.

Set common properties.

Select Macro to Run on lets you choose a recorded or custom macro to run on Entry or Exit from the field.

Bookmark Set a unique name or bookmark for each control.

Calculate on exit This forces Word to run or refresh any calculations, such as total price when the user exits the field.

Add Help Text Give hints or instructions for each field.

OK Saves settings and exits the panel.

Cancel Forgets changes and exits the panel.

Set specific properties for a Text box

Type Select form Regular text, Number, Date, Current Date, Current Time, or Calculation.

Default text sets optional instructional text that's displayed in the text box before the user types in the field. Set Text box enabled to allow the user to enter text into the field.

Maximum length sets the length of text that a user can enter. The default is Unlimited .

Text format can set whether text automatically formats to Uppercase , Lowercase , First capital, or Title case .

Text box enabled Lets the user enter text into a field. If there is default text, user text replaces it.

Set specific properties for a Check box .

Default Value Choose between Not checked or checked as default.

Checkbox size Set a size Exactly or Auto to change size as needed.

Check box enabled Lets the user check or clear the text box.

Set specific properties for a Combo box

Drop-down item Type in strings for the list box items. Press + or Enter to add an item to the list.

Items in drop-down list Shows your current list. Select an item and use the up or down arrows to change the order, Press - to remove a selected item.

Drop-down enabled Lets the user open the combo box and make selections.

Protect the form

Go to Developer > Protect Form .

Protect form button on the Developer tab

Note:  To unprotect the form and continue editing, select Protect Form again.

Save and close the form.

Test the form (optional)

If you want, you can test the form before you distribute it.

Protect the form.

Reopen the form, fill it out as the user would, and then save a copy.

Creating fillable forms isn’t available in Word for the web.

You can create the form with the desktop version of Word with the instructions in Create a fillable form .

When you save the document and reopen it in Word for the web, you’ll see the changes you made.

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IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. Write your business plan

    Executive summary Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company's leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing.

  2. 550+ Sample Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own

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    8. Panda Doc's Free Business Plan Template. 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.

  4. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

    Market analysis Competitive analysis Description of organizational management Description of product or services Marketing plan Sales strategy Funding details (or request for funding) Financial projections If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference.

  5. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

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    How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples Noah Parsons 24 min. read Updated February 2, 2024 Download Now: Free Business Plan Template Writing a business plan doesn't have to be complicated.

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    Business Plan Templates: 26 FREE Samples - 2024 Updated Home Business plan templates From competitive analysis to financial projections, business plans give your new business a roadmap for success. Download one of our free business plan templates and take your company to the next level. What is a business plan?

  9. 300+ Great Free Business Plan Examples for 2024

    300+ Business Plan Examples. Below you can choose from over 300 free business plan examples within numerous industries. You'll also learn the answers to key sample business plan questions and find tips on how to write your business plan. Finally, you'll see a full-length business plan sample. Rest assured that you're in good hands; over ...

  10. 15+ Business Plan Examples to Win Your Next Round of Funding

    Return to Table of Contents. Startup business plan example. 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.

  11. 15+ Business Plan Examples to Help You Write Your Own

    15+ Business Plan Examples to Help You Write Your Own Written by: Caleb Bruski Dec 15, 2021 Having a clear business plan and sharing your goals with investors and stakeholders is an important first step to starting a successful business. It's like Utibe Samuel Mbom said, "Those who work hard, work alone. Those who work smart, work as a team."

  12. How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

    7. Perform a business financial analysis. 8. Make financial projections. 9. Add additional information to an appendix. Business plan tips and resources. MORE LIKE THIS Small Business. A business ...

  13. How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

    Make sure to use the worksheet on our business plan template. How to Write a Business Plan Step 6. Sales and Marketing Plan. The marketing and sales plan is focused on the strategy to bring awareness to your company and guides how you will get the product to the consumer. It should contain the following sections: SWOT Analysis; Competitor Data

  14. 550+ Business Plan Samples To Inspire Your Plan

    Looking at real business plan samples can help you visualize what a successful plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. With LivePlan you'll have access to over 550 free example business plans to use as a starting point. Access our full library and browse real sample content for a broad range of businesses.

  15. The 7 Best Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2024)

    . Kudos! You're doing big things. One of the first steps to building a strong foundation for your new venture is to write a rock-solid business plan. When done right, your business plan can pave your path to success, all while helping you to smoothly cruise through any obstacles that may come up.

  16. 7 Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2024)

    7 business plan examples: section by section The business plan examples in this article follow this example template: Executive summary. An introductory overview of your business. Company description. A more in-depth and detailed description of your business and why it exists. Market analysis.

  17. Download Free Business Plan Examples

    Search our gallery of over 550 sample business plans and find the one that's right for you. View the Gallery What You'll Get: A complete business plan Unlike other blank templates, our business plan examples are complete business plans with all of the text and financial forecasts already filled out.

  18. Free Simple Business Plan Templates

    In this article, we've compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats. On this page, you'll find a one-page business plan template, a simple business plan for startups, a small-business plan template, a business plan outline, and more.

  19. 400+ Business Plan Examples and Templates [2024 Download]

    400+ Business Plan Examples To help you write your business plan, we have created a library of business plan examples for almost all industries. Startup Business Plan Template Business Plan Template for Small Business One Page Business Plan Select your Business Category IT, Staffing & Customer Service (16)

  20. 14 Business Plan Examples & Samples to Write Your Own [2024]

    Download or view 14 business plans examples/samples, vetted by our MBA business plan writers. Download in PDF format or read like a book. These real business plan samples would help in writing your own business plan. Download Pack of 14 Business Plan Examples FREE.

  21. 10-part business plan template and how write a business plan

    Leer en español. Whether you're a long-time business owner or starting to think about launching a business, to-do lists pile up fast, and determining how to write a business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels overwhelming. But nearly 70% of business owners who have been there and done that recommend writing a business plan before starting a business.

  22. Free Business Plan Template For Small Businesses

    Download Wix's free business plan template. Creating a successful business plan is no easy feat. That's why we've put together a simple, customizable, and free-to-download business plan template that takes the guesswork out of getting started. Use it to create a new business plan or to refresh an existing one.

  23. Free editable and printable business plan templates

    Document by Ubara Startup Business Plan in Cream Black and White Modern Sophisticated Style Document by Canva Creative Studio Green and White Modern Business Plan Cover Page Document by Magic Power Orange Grey Professional Business Plan Cover Document by Ubara Brown and White Modern Restaurant Business Plan Document Document by Morp

  24. Sample Consulting Firm Business Plan

    A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A consulting firm business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

  25. How to Write a Food and Beverage Business Plan + Sample Business Plan

    Writing a business plan is an easy first step that you can start for free. Plus, ... If you're ready to start, download a free business plan template and fill it out as you read this article. Executive summary. Every business plan should include an executive summary. It's a brief outline summarizing the plan, no more than one or two pages.

  26. Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

    Open a template or use a blank document. To create a form in Word that others can fill out, start with a template or document and add content controls. Content controls include things like check boxes, text boxes, and drop-down lists. If you're familiar with databases, these content controls can even be linked to data.