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What is a long-term plan?

Are long-term business plans a waste of time, why write a long-term business plan, what a 5-year plan should look like, how to write a five-year business plan, vision setting is the purpose of long-term planning, how to write a five-year business plan.

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Noah Parsons

14 min. read

Updated October 27, 2023

Male entrepreneur looking out into the distance considering the future and deciding if he needs a long-term plan.

Learn why the traditional way of writing a five-year business plan is often a waste of time and how to use a one-page plan instead for smarter, easier strategic planning to establish your long-term vision. 

In business, it can sometimes seem hard enough to predict what’s going to happen next month, let alone three or even five years from now. But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan for the long term. After all, your vision for the future is what gets you out of bed in the morning and motivates your team. It’s those aspirations that drive you to keep innovating and figuring out how to grow.

A long-term or long-range business plan looks beyond the traditional 3-year planning window, focusing on what a business might look like 5 or even 10 years from now. A traditional 5-year business plan includes financial projections, business strategy, and roadmaps that stretch far into the future.

I’ll be honest with you, though—for most businesses, long-range business plans that stretch 5 and 10 years into the future are a waste of time. Anyone who’s seriously asking you for one doesn’t know what they’re doing and is wasting your time. Sorry if that offends some people, but it’s true.

However, there is still real value in looking at the long term. Just don’t invest the time in creating a lengthy version of your business plan with overly detailed metrics and milestones for the next five-plus years. No one knows the future and, more than likely, anything you write down now could be obsolete in the next year, next month, or even next week. 

That’s where long-term strategic planning comes in. A long-term business plan like this is different from a traditional business plan in that it’s lighter on the details and more focused on your strategic direction. It has less focus on financial forecasting and a greater focus on the big picture. 

Think of your long-term strategic plan as your aspirational vision for your business. It defines the ideal direction you’re aiming for but it’s not influencing your day-to-day or, potentially, even your monthly decision making. 

No one knows the future. We’re all just taking the information that we have available today and making our best guesses about the future. Sometimes trends in a market are pretty clear and your guesses will be well-founded. Other times, you’re trying to look around a corner and hoping that your intuition about what comes next is correct.

Now, I’m not saying that thinking about the future is a waste of time. Entrepreneurs are always thinking about the future. They have to have some degree of faith and certainty about what customers are going to want in the future. Successful entrepreneurs do actually predict the future — they know what customers are going to want and when they’re going to want it.

Entrepreneurship is unpredictable 

Successful entrepreneurs are also often wrong. They make mistakes just like the rest of us. The difference between successful entrepreneurs and everyone else is that they don’t let mistakes slow them down. They learn from mistakes, adjust and try again. And again. And again. It’s not about being right all the time; it’s about having the perseverance to keep trying until you get it right. For example, James Dyson, inventor of the iconic vacuum cleaner, tried out 5,126 prototypes of his invention before he found a design that worked.

So, if thinking about the future isn’t a waste of time, why are 5-year business plans a waste of time? They’re a waste of time because they typically follow the same format as a traditional business plan, where you are asked to project sales, expenses, and cash flow 5 and 10 years into the future. 

Let’s be real. Sales and expense projections that far into the future are just wild guesses, especially for startups and new businesses. They’re guaranteed to be wrong and can’t be used for anything. You can’t (and shouldn’t) make decisions based on these guesses. They’re just fantasy. You hope you achieve massive year-over-year growth in sales, but there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen. And, you shouldn’t make significant spending decisions today based on the hope of massive sales 10 years from now.

So, what is the purpose of outlining a long-term plan? Here are a few key reasons why it’s still valuable to consider the future of your business without getting bogged down by the details.

Showcase your vision for investors

First, and especially important if you are raising money from investors, is your vision. Investors will want to know not only where you plan on being in a year, but where the business will be in five years. Do you anticipate launching new products or services? Will you expand internationally? Or will you find new markets to grow into? 

Set long-term goals for your business

Second, you’ll want to establish goals for yourself and your team. What kinds of high-level sales targets do you hope to achieve? How big is your company going to get overtime? These goals can be used to motivate your team and even help in the hiring process as you get up and running.

That said, you don’t want to overinvest in fleshing out all the details of a long-range plan. You don’t need to figure out exactly how your expansion will work years from now or exactly how much you’ll spend on office supplies five years from now. That’s really just a waste of time.

Instead, for long-range planning, think in broad terms. A good planning process means that you’re constantly revising and refining your business plan. You’ll add more specifics as you go, creating a detailed plan for the next 6-12 months and a broader, vague plan for the long term.

You have a long development time

Businesses with extremely long research and development timelines do make spending decisions now based on the hope of results years from now. For example, the pharmaceutical industry and medical device industry have to make these bets all the time. The R&D required to take a concept from idea to proven product with regulatory approval can take years for these industries, so long-range planning in these cases is a must. A handful of other industries also have similar development timelines, but these are the exceptions, not the rule.

Your business is well-established and predictable 

Long-term, detailed planning can make more sense for businesses that are extremely well established and have long histories of consistent sales and expenses with predictable growth. But, even for those businesses, predictability means quite the opposite of stability. The chances that you’ll be disrupted in the marketplace by a new company, or the changing needs and desires of your customers, is extremely high. So, most likely, those long-range predictions of sales and profits are pretty useless.

With the exception of R&D-heavy businesses, most 5-year business plans should be more like vision statements than traditional business plans. They should explain your vision for the future, but skip the details of detailed sales projections and expense budgets. 

Your vision for your business should explain the types of products and services that you hope to offer in the future and the types of customers that you hope to serve. Your plan should outline who you plan to serve now and how you plan to expand if you are successful.

This kind of future vision creates a strategic roadmap. It’s not a fully detailed plan with sales forecasts and expense budgets, but a plan for getting started and then growing over time to reach your final destination.

For example, here’s a short-form version of what a long-term plan for Nike might have looked like if one had been written in the 1960s:

Nike will start by developing high-end track shoes for elite athletes. We’ll start with a focus on the North West of the US, but expand nationally as we develop brand recognition among track and field athletes. We will use sponsored athletes to spread the word about the quality and performance of our shoes. Once we have success in the track & field market segment, we believe that we will be able to successfully expand both beyond the US market and also branch out into other sports, with an initial focus on basketball.

Leadership and brand awareness in a sport such as basketball will enable us to cross over from the athlete market into the consumer market. This will lead to significant business growth in the consumer segment and allow for expansion into additional sports, fashion, and casual markets in addition to building a strong apparel brand.

Interestingly enough, Nike (to my knowledge) never wrote out a long-range business plan. They developed their plans as they grew, building the proverbial airplane as it took off.

But, if you have this kind of vision for your business, it’s useful to articulate it. Your employees will want to know what your vision is and your investors will want to know as well. They want to know that you, as an entrepreneur, are looking beyond tomorrow and into the future months and years ahead.

Writing out your long-term vision for your business is a useful exercise. It can bring a sense of stability and solidify key performance indicators and broad milestones that drive your business. 

Developing a long-range business plan is really just an extension of your regular business planning process. A typical business plan covers the next one to three years, documenting your target market, marketing strategy, and product or service offerings for that time period. 

A five-year plan expands off of that initial strategy and discusses what your business might do in the years to come. However, as I’ve mentioned before, creating a fully detailed five-year business plan will be a waste of time. 

Here’s a quick guide to writing a business plan that looks further into the future without wasting your time:

1. Develop your one-page plan

As with all business planning, we recommend that you start with a one-page business plan. It provides a snapshot of what you’re hoping to achieve in the immediate term by outlining your core business strategy, target market, and business model.

A one-page plan is the foundation of all other planning because it’s the document that you’ll keep the most current. It’s also the easiest to update and share with business partners. You will typically highlight up to three years of revenue and profit goals as well as milestones that you hope to achieve in the near term.

Check out our guide to building your one-page plan and download a free template to get started.

2. Determine if you need a traditional business plan

Unlike a one-page business plan, a traditional business plan is more detailed and is typically written in long-form prose. A traditional business plan is usually 10-20 pages long and contains details about your product or service, summaries of the market research that you’ve conducted, and details about your competition. Read our complete guide to writing a business plan .

Companies that write traditional business plans typically have a “business plan event” where a complete business plan is required. Business plan events are usually part of the fundraising process. During fundraising, lenders and investors may ask to see a detailed plan and it’s important to be ready if that request comes up. 

But there are other good reasons to write a detailed business plan. A detailed plan forces you to think through the details of your business and how, exactly, you’re going to build your business. Detailed plans encourage you to think through your business strategy, your target market, and your competition carefully. A good business plan ensures that your strategy is complete and fleshed out, not just a collection of vague ideas.

A traditional business plan is also a good foundation for a long-term business plan and I recommend that you expand your lean business plan into a complete business plan if you intend to create plans for more than three years into the future.

3. Develop long-term goals and growth targets

As you work on your business plan, you’ll need to think about where you want to be in 5+ years. A good exercise is to envision what your business will look like. How many employees will you have? How many locations will you serve? Will you introduce new products and services? 

When you’ve envisioned where you want your business to be, it’s time to turn that vision into a set of goals that you’ll document in your business plan. Each section of your business plan will be expanded to highlight where you want to be in the future. For example, in your target market section, you will start by describing your initial target market. Then you’ll proceed to describe the markets that you hope to reach in 3-5 years.

To accompany your long-term goals, you’ll also need to establish revenue targets that you think you’ll need to meet to achieve your goals. It’s important to also think about the expenses you’re going to incur in order to grow your business. 

For long-range planning, I recommend thinking about your expenses in broad buckets such as “marketing” and “product development” without getting bogged down in too much detail. Think about what percentage of your sales you’ll spend on each of these broad buckets. For example, marketing spending might be 20% of sales. 

4. Develop a 3-5 year strategic plan

Your goals and growth targets are “what” you want to achieve. Your strategy is “how” you’re going to achieve it.

Use your business plan to document your strategy for growth. You might be expanding your product offering, expanding your market, or some combination of the two. You’ll need to think about exactly how this process will happen over the next 3-5 years. 

A good way to document your strategy is to use milestones. These are interim goals that you’ll set to mark your progress along the way to your larger goal. For example, you may have a goal to expand your business nationally from your initial regional presence. You probably won’t expand across the country all at once, though. Most likely, you’ll expand into certain regions one at a time and grow to have a national presence over time. Your strategy will be the order of the regions that you plan on expanding into and why you pick certain regions over others.

Your 3-5 year strategy may also include what’s called an “exit strategy”. This part of a business plan is often required if you’re raising money from investors. They’ll want to know how they’ll eventually get their money back. An “exit” can be the sale of your business or potentially going public. A typical exit strategy will identify potential acquirers for your business and will show that you’ve thought about how your business might be an attractive purchase.

5. Tie your long-term plan to your one-page plan

As your business grows, you can use your long-term business plan as your north star. Your guide for where you want to end up. Use those goals to steer your business in the right direction, making small course corrections as you need to. 

You’ll reflect those smaller course corrections in your one-page plan. Because it is a simple document and looks at the shorter term, it’s easier to update. The best way to do this is to set aside a small amount of time to review your plan once a month. You’ll review your financial forecast, your milestones, and your overall strategy. If things need to change, you can make those adjustments. Nothing ever goes exactly to plan, so it’s OK to make corrections as you go.

You may find that your long-term plan may also need corrections as you grow your business. You may learn things about your market that change your initial assumptions and impacts your long-range plan. This is perfectly normal. Once a quarter or so, zoom out and review your long-range plan. If you need to make corrections to your strategy and goals, that’s fine. Just keep your plan alive so that it gives you the guidance that you need over time. 

Part of what makes entrepreneurs special is that they have a vision. They have dreams for where they want their business to go. A 5-year business plan should be about documenting that vision for the future and how your business will capitalize on that vision.

So, if someone asks you for your 5-year business plan. Don’t scramble to put together a sales forecast and budget for 5 years from now. Your best guess today will be obsolete tomorrow. Instead, focus on your vision and communicate that. 

Explain where you think your business is going and what you think the market is going to be like 5 years from now. Explain what you think customers are going to want and where trends are headed and how you’re going to be there to sell the solution to the problems that exist in 5 and 10 years. Just skip the invented forecasts and fantasy budgets.

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See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan.

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What is a 5 year plan?

The benefits of creating a 5 year plan, how to create a 5 year plan in 6 easy steps, 5 year plan examples.

You may have heard of SMART goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals), but have you ever heard of HARD goal setting?

Society has been pushing SMART goals since the early ’80s, but a 2020 study found that people who set SMART goals are much less likely to love their jobs , while people who set HARD goals are 53% more likely to love their jobs. 

But, what are HARD goals? HARD goals are defined as: 

  • Heartfelt 
  • Animated 
  • Required 
  • Difficult 

They are goals for which you have an emotional connection, strong visualization, great urgency, and difficulty. 

While there are laudable aspects of SMART goals, the study shows serious problems regarding the ‘achievable’ and realistic’ aspects of SMART goal-setting. 

Methodologies that emphasize creating difficult goals are far more likely to be successful and generate higher employee engagement.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use HARD goals to make a 5 year plan, as well as show you two 5 year plan examples.

SMART goals vs. HARD goals - 5 year plan

A 5 year plan is a personal and/or professional list of goals that you want to achieve in the next 5 years. 

Oftentimes, 5 year plans include smaller, concrete goals, to help you achieve the larger goals on your list. 

For example, if a long-term goal is to buy a bigger house, then a smaller goal might include setting aside a certain amount of money each month to go toward a deposit on a home loan. 

Or, if one of your long-term goals is to be a certified nurse, then a smaller goal might include finding the best nursing program in your area or applying for a student loan.

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One of the best things about a 5 year plan is that it can significantly motivate you to create the life you want to live. Notice we said “create the life “ not just “achieve the goal.” A 5 year plan that works for you will be more effective if you think of your life holistically — how do you want to feel? What values will you be living? — as you create it. 

Whatever the specific goals you have in mind — whether it’s starting a business, becoming certified or developing expertise, competing in an event, having a child, or taking a big trip — a 5 year plan can help you move from dreaming into doing, wish into a reality. 

Here are some other benefits of creating a 5 year plan:

  • It creates a starting point for a career, start-up idea, or personal goal . If you have a goal without a plan, it may not ever happen. But, if you know you want to be a real estate broker by 2026, you’re in a better position to start the process and take actionable steps to achieve that.
  • It helps you stay focused and aligned with your ambitions, rather than your dreams constantly hanging out in the back seat. 
  • It’s a consistent reminder of what you’re aiming toward, and what you need to do to get there. 

The trick is: keep your plan as visible as possible, make sure it’s what you deeply desire, and make sure your goals are specific, measurable, time-bound, and HARD. 

What should be included in a 5 year plan? 

Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Visualize your life 5 years from now, and write down everything you see without thinking or judging . If any fears, doubts, or negative emotions come up, that’s normal. The key is to ignore them and not attribute any meaning to them.

Brainstorming your 5-year plan

Use the following categories to help you write your complete brainstorm. 

How do you want your nutritional health , mental fitness , physical health , and mental health to look in 5 years?

Are you interested in being vegan? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to start a yoga practice ? Would you like to regularly meet with a therapist? 


Imagine your future professional relationships, friendships, and familial relationships. What do you want them to look like?

Do you want to join a networking group? Are you interested in starting a book club? Do you want to adopt a child? Do you want to take more trips with your partner?

Visualize your financial goals in these buckets: 

  • Bills 
  • Everyday expenses (i.e. groceries) 
  • Flexible spending (i.e. entertainment) 
  • Emergency savings 
  • Goal savings 
  • Investments 

What do you see?

Will you be contributing higher amounts to your 401(k)? Are you planning on saving for higher education? What do you want your emergency savings to look like? Do you want to save for a big trip?


What are your career and business aspirations?

Do you picture yourself leading a huge team or an entire corporation? Do you want to be a digital nomad? Are you planning on starting a blog? 

The truth is, the world of business and how people buy and use goods and services is constantly changing — and fast. Don’t get hung up on roles and titles. Especially if you’re early in your career, you will discover career aspirations and opportunities that don’t even exist today. That being said, spend time thinking about what types of activities interest you, what type of environment you enjoy, what type of impact you want to make day-to-day.

If you’re feeling stuck about your career goals, consider:

  • Taking career assessments
  • Making a list of various career paths
  • Finding the overlap between things you like and what companies are hiring for
  • Working with mentors
  • Building your network
  • Creating your own job or business that lines up with your interests
  • Listing your passions, values, skills, and interests, then finding or creating jobs that match some parts of the list

If you’re still unsure about your dream job, don’t worry. Go after jobs you’re interested in, learn from them, and eventually, you’ll come across pursuits you’re excited about. Many people also worry if they don’t have a passion. The reality is that pursuing interests and immersing yourself in the work is a good way to discover and develop passion . It’s also okay if you’re multi-passionate and interested in several jobs. 

Personal/spiritual/religious development

How do you want to grow personally and/or spiritually?

Are you interested in starting a home church? Do you want to work with a life coach or career coach? Do you want to meditate more? Would you like to start a gratitude or prayer practice? Do you want to build resilience ? 


How do you picture your future environment?

Are you living in a tropical bungalow in Bali? Are you in a newly decorated and renovated home? Do you have a custom pool in your backyard? Are you living with your family to save money? Are you embracing minimalism?


What kinds of hobbies will you have in the future?

Will you be snowboarding every winter and surfing every summer? Are you interested in joining a soccer league? Do you want to take up cooking or art classes? 


What kind of meaningful contribution would you like to be a part of?

Are you interested in volunteering for a vegetable co-op? Will you be tutoring kids on the weekends? Being a mentor ? Do you want to buy monthly groceries for one of your friends in need until they get back on their feet?

  • Focus your plan
  • Consider potential goals
  • Determine your 'why?'
  • Identify annual goals and create monthly goals
  • Research how to reach your goals
  • Adjust and revisit as needed

Here’s how to use your notes to create your plan:

1. Focus your plan

Take a look at your notes and decide which specific areas to focus on. 

You might decide that you’d rather focus on a few areas, like your health and career, or you might decide that you want to focus on all areas. 

Once you decide, grab a piece of paper for every area you plan to focus on and write the area of growth at the top of each. 

For example, if you decide just to focus on health and money, you’ll write ‘health’ at the top of your first paper and ‘money’ at the top of your second paper. 

2. Consider potential goals

Next, divide each paper into two columns. The left column will be for ‘goals,’ and the right column will be for ‘action steps’ or ‘skills.’ 

Then, decide which goals you want to achieve for each category. Remember that ‘specific’, ‘measurable’, and ‘time-bound’ are positive aspects of SMART goals. That said, the ‘achievable’ and ‘realistic’ aspects of SMART goals can deter you from going after more audacious goals. 

Challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone with HARD goals. 

This doesn’t mean setting goals with no chance of success. But, setting goals with, let’s say, a 50/50 chance of success is difficult and ambitious enough to give you a real sense of accomplishment when you succeed.

For example, on your ‘health’ paper, let’s say you decide to write the following in the ‘goals’ column: 

  • Be more active
  • Increase nutrients 

Then, you might write the following in the ‘action steps’ or ‘skills’ column: 

  • Eat raw and organic fruits and vegetables three times a day 
  • Walk for two hours a day
  • Take a daily multivitamin and add superfoods to morning smoothies 

Next, decide between long-term and short term goals:

How to breakdown your goals - 5 year plan

Review your list of goals. Decide which are better suited for short-term goals and which are better suited for long-term goals. 

For example, you might decide that being a teacher in Peru is a long-term goal while researching places to live in Peru is a short-term goal. You might start outlining your short- and long-term goals with a 30-60-90 day plan . 

3. Determine your ‘why?’

What’s your big ‘why?’ Why do you want to be a Teaching English Foreign Language (TEFL) teacher in Peru? 

Write your reason down and hang it in a place where you’ll see it daily. 

For example, “I want to be a TEFL teacher in Peru, so I can learn Spanish, help students develop their English skills, and fulfill my dream of exploring South America.”

4. Identify annual goals and create monthly goals

First, establish annual goals that will help you reach your 5 year goals. 

For example, if one of your 5 year goals is to adopt a child, then your first annual goal will probably consist of setting interviews with adoption agencies.

Next, break down your annual goals into monthly goals. 

For example, if your annual goal is becoming a TEFL teacher in Peru, your monthly breakdown could look like this:

  • Month 1: Research reputable TEFL programs and set online appointments with TEFL advisors to decide which program you like best
  • Months 2-3: Take your TEFL course, study for exams, and write essays
  • Month 4: Take your final TEFL exam and wait for your certificate 
  • Months 5: Edit your resume and look for a short TEFL internship
  • Month 6: Intern with a TEFL academy and ask for feedback from your mentors
  • Month 7: Create a lesson plan portfolio and start looking for jobs
  • Month 8: Set up job interviews 
  • Month 9-10: Land a job from one of your interviews and buy your plane tickets
  • Month 11: Move to Peru, find a furnished apartment, and get to know your neighborhood
  • Month 12: Start work at your new job as a TEFL teacher 

5. Research how to reach your goals

Next, research the best ways to reach your goals. 

If you plan on moving to Peru, are there some YouTube channels you can check out with tips on how to move? If you plan on creating a start-up, can you meet with some start-up experts that can mentor you? If you plan on learning how to bake macarons, is there a French macaron cookbook you can buy?

6. Adjust and revisit as needed

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. While the 5 year plan is designed to help you stay focused and persist despite bumps and detours, sometimes the unexpected is you.

As you start working on your goals, you may realize that your interests and passions don't quite align. This is where self-directed learning can help.

Plan for periodic review, reflection, and adjustment as part of life. If your long-range plan still feels right, zoom in to your monthly goals. Decide if your monthly goals are working or if you need to adjust them.

For example, you might find that trying to conduct online interviews with a Peruvian academy is impossible. So you could decide to fly out early to meet directors in person instead. 

You may also decide that creating weekly or even daily goals is essential to hitting your monthly goals.

Revisit and revise your plan as often as needed (at least once a year). You might be surprised at how fast you reach some goals while other goals might take a bit longer than expected.

Here's an example of a 5 year plan for a student interested in being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA):

5 year plan example #1

Here’s a personal 5 year plan example for someone interested in becoming fluent in Spanish:

5 year plan example #2

Creating a 5 year plan is one of the best ways to see your dreams come to life. 

At BetterUp, we love seeing individuals reach their fullest potential and achieve their dreams. Request a demo today to find out more.

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Maggie Wooll

Thought Leader

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October 31, 2023

Block Advisors

How to Write a Business Plan Step-By-Step

October 31, 2023 • Block Advisors


  • A business plan outlines your business’s goals, services, financing, and more.
  • Business plans vary in length and complexity but should always include an explanation of what your business will do and how it will do it.
  • Business plans serve as a guide for business owners and employees and are key to boosting investor confidence.

Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur or just getting your first small business idea off the ground, creating a business plan is an important step. Good business planning will help you clarify your goals and objectives, identify strategies, and note any potential issues or roadblocks you might face.

Not every business owner chooses to write a business plan, but many find it to be a valuable step to take when starting a business. Creating a business plan can seem daunting and confusing at first. But taking the time to plan and research can be very beneficial, especially for first-time small business owners.

If you want to learn how to create a business plan or if you feel you just need a little business plan help, read on!

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan serves as a comprehensive document that outlines your business’s goals, services, financing, leadership, and more details essential to its success. Think of the plan as the who, what, and why of your new business:

A small business owner learning how to write a business plan

Who are the major players in your business?

What goods or services do you offer and why are they important?

Why are you in business and why should customers choose you?

Business plans can range in complexity and length, but, at their core, all plans explain what the business will do and how it will do it. A business plan serves as a guide for business owners and employees and should boost investor confidence. Some important advantages of business plans include:

  • Shows investors you have an in-demand product or service, a solid team to achieve business goals, and the potential for growth and scalability.
  • Increases the likelihood of securing a business loan, locking in investments, or raising capital. >>Read: A Guide to Raising Capital as a Small Business Founder
  • Helps recognize partnership opportunities with other companies.
  • Identifies and defines competitors within your given industry.

Looking for an examples of a successful business plan? Check out the SBA’s business plan page for walkthroughs of different business plan outlines.

How to Write a Business Plan: 10 Simple Steps

Starting with a blank page is undoubtedly intimidating. So, begin with a structured business plan template including the key elements for each section. Once your outline is complete, it’ll be time to fill in the details. Don’t worry, you’ll know how to write a business plan in no time. We’ve broken each section down to help you write a business plan in a few simple steps.

1. Brainstorm and Draft an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan

This will be the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your business’ written elevator pitch. In this high level summary, include a mission statement, a short description of the products or services you will be providing, and a summary of your financial and growth projections.

This section will be the first part people read, but you may find it easier to write it last. Writing it after building out the rest of your plan may help you condense the most important information into a concise statement. You’ll need to streamline your thoughts from the other sections into a one page or less summary.

2. Create a Business Description

In this next section, describe your business. Add more specific details than the executive summary. You should include your business’s registered name, the address of your business’s location, basic information about your business structure , and the names of key people involved in the business.

The company description should also answer these two questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you plan to do?

Explain why you’re in business. Show how you are different from competitors. Tell investors why they should finance your company. This section is often more inspirational and emotional. Make sure you grab the reader’s attention. The goal is to get them to believe in your vision as much as you do.

What business structure is right for my company?

Answer these six questions to help you find your fit

3. Outline Your Business Goals

This section should serve as an objective statement. Explain what you want to accomplish and your timeline. Business goals and objectives give you a clear focus. They drive your business to success, so dream big. Include objectives that will help you reach each goal. Don’t forget to make your goals and objectives SMART – that is, they should be:

S pecific | M easurable | A ttainable | R elevant | T ime-bound

4. Conduct and Summarize Market Research

Next, outline your ideal customer with some research. Do the math to estimate the potential size of your target market. Make sure you are choosing the right market for your product, one with plenty of customers who want and need your product. Define your customer’s pain points. Explain your expertise in relation to the market. Show how your product or service fills an important gap and brings value to your customers. Use your findings to build out a value proposition statement.

5. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

In a similar way, you’ll also want to conduct and include a competitive analysis. The purpose of this analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in your market, strategies that will give you a competitive advantage, and how your company is different. Some people choose to conduct a competitive analysis using the SWOT method .

6. Outline Your Marketing and Sales Strategies

Your marketing sales strategy can make or break your business. Your marketing plan should outline your current sales decisions as well as future marketing strategies. In this section, you should reiterate your value proposition, target markets, and customer segments. Then, include details such as:

  • A launch plan
  • Growth tactics and strategies
  • A customer retention plan
  • Advertising and promotion channels (i.e. social media, print, search engines, etc.)

7. Describe Your Product or Service

By this point, your products or services have probably been mentioned in several areas of the business plan. But it’s still important to include a separate section that outlines their key details. Describe what you’re offering and how it fits in the current market. Also include details about the benefits, production process, and life cycle of your products. If you have any trademarks or patents, include them here. This is also a good time to ask yourself, “Should my plan include visual aids?”

[ Read More Must-Have Tips to Start Your Small Business ]

8. Compile Financial Plans

Financial health is crucial to the success of any business. If you’re just starting your business, you likely won’t have financial data yet. However, you still need to prepare a budget and financial plan. If you have them, include income statements , balance sheets , and cash flow statements . You can also include reporting metrics such as net income and your ratio of liquidity to debt repayment ability.

If you haven’t launched your business yet, include realistic projections of the same information. Set clear financial goals and include projected milestones. Share information about the budget. What are the business operations costs? Ensure you are comprehensive when considering what costs you may need to prepare for.

9. Build a Management and Operations Plan

Identify your team members. Highlight their expertise and qualifications. Outline roles that still need to be filled now to establish your company and later as the business grows. Read More: 8 tax steps to take when hiring employees >>

Include a section detailing your logistics and operations plan. Consider all parts of your operation. Create a plan that provides details on suppliers, production, equipment, shipment and fulfillment, and inventory. This shows how your business will get done.

10. Create an Appendix – A Place for Additional Information and Documents

Lastly, assemble an organized appendix. This section can contain any other relevant information a reader might need to enhance their understanding of other sections. If you feel like the appendix is getting long, consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section. Appendices often include documents such as:

  • Licenses and permits
  • Bank statements
  • Resumes of key employees
  • Equipment leases

How to Create a Business Plan: The Bottom Line

A business plan helps you identify clear goals and provides your business direction. Many small business plans are 10-20 pages in length. But as long as the essentials are covered, feel empowered to build a plan that works for you and your company’s needs. Creating a business plan will help you identify your market and target customers, define business aims, and foster long-term financial health.

We’re ready to help you get your business started on the right foot today, and help you find long-term satisfaction as you pursue your business dream. Writing a business plan can be exciting. But if the steps to starting your business are feeling overwhelming, Block Advisors is here to help. Make an appointment today – our experts can assist you with tax prep , bookkeeping , payroll , business formation , and more .

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How to Create a 5-Year Plan You'll Actually Stick To [In 4 Steps]

Martina Bretous

Published: September 19, 2023

One common question you’ll get asked in an interview is, " Where do you see yourself in five years? "

woman creates 5-year plan on laptop

When it’s coming from a hiring manager, we usually have an answer ready. When it comes to your personal life, do you have a five-year plan?


In the most stressful times in my life, planning brings me great joy and peace. But who says you have to wait for the stress to come? In this article, we’ll outline why you should create a five-year plan and how to build one you’ll follow through with.

What is a 5-year plan?

A five-year plan is an outline of professional and/or personal goals you want to reach within the next five years. It usually includes broad goals relating to career, relationships, health, and finances that are broken down into action items and milestones.

Benefits of a 5-Year Plan

Whether professional or personal, a five-year plan can serve as a reset for your life. Who doesn’t like a fresh start?

After all, that’s why New Year’s resolutions are so popular. They give us something to look forward to. There’s also something to be said about writing out a detailed plan. It can be a great motivator to put something in motion.

Personally, I’ve said countless times that I want to be fluent in Spanish. However, it's not until I write a detailed plan for how that it will become real.

This brings us to our next point: clarity. Sometimes, a path seems scarier than it actually is because we don’t actually know what it looks like.

Creating a plan is like pointing a flashlight in a dark road. A more accurate description is that it turns that dark, twisty road into a clear path forward. Doesn’t mean there won’t be any bumps in the road but at least you’ll know exactly where you’ll land and how to get there.

Lastly, a five-year plan can serve as a reminder of what’s at stake. In your daily life, it can be easy to forget that every day, we’re shaping our future.

The decisions we make today affect what our life will look like years from now. Having a visual reminder of this can keep you focused on your goals.

how to write a 5 year business plan

Free 5-Year Plan Template

Access a free 5-year plan template, alongside...

  • SMART Goal Template
  • MBO Template
  • Skill Development Template

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get to work.

What to cover in a 5-year plan.

Before you get started with your plan, there are a few things you’ll need to figure out ahead of time.

1. Determine areas of focus.

Your five-year plan can cover various areas from education, career development, finance, hobbies, or even health. It’s up to you. Don’t feel stuck having to stick to one category and choose the ones that best interest you and fit your needs.

2. Write down your values.

Putting down your values in writing will help you discover your “why” (more on that later). This step will also help you narrow down what’s most important to you and shape the goals you set for yourself.

3. Research the path to your goals.

Your five-year plan is only as successful as the effort put into creating it. In order to create a viable plan it has to be actionable. Once you’ve got an idea of the goals you’d like to include, start researching the path to attaining them.

For example, if you’d like to set a career goal to become a marketing director, start looking at the steps and credentials required. Do you need to skill up? Is there a pathway at your current job? Doing some initial research will set you up for success.

4. Decide if you’d like to include HARD goals.

Tackling heartfelt, animated, required, and difficult (HARD) goals can be a rewarding but challenging part of a five-year plan. These types of goals will push you out of your comfort zone and help you achieve things you didn’t think were possible before. Think of these goals as highly ambitious but achievable with a five-year timeline.

Think of HARD goals this way:

Heartfelt : What reasons are behind achieving this goal?

Animated : What gets you excited about achieving this goal? Get specific.

Required : What is it going to take to achieve this goal? What will you need to accomplish in six months to a year to stay on track?

Difficult : What skills will you need to accomplish this goal and how will you obtain them?

Now that we’ve covered the groundwork, we’ve got more tips to help you create a five-year plan that keeps you motivated and inspired.

5-year Plan Tips

If creating a plan from scratch makes your eyes glaze over, check out these tips to help you start getting some ideas on paper.

1. Give yourself space to brainstorm.

To help you focus better when creating your plan, do a bit of pre-work. Give yourself time to really think about what you’d like to accomplish and the things that are most important to you. For example, you could write out a list of potential goals or ideas, and then rank them in order of importance — including notes about why they are important.

2. Consider separating long-term and short-term goals.

Once you’ve jotted down some goals, decide which are better suited for short or long-term ones. For example, completely paying off debt might be a long-term goal, but deciding which debt to tackle first could be a short-term goal. It may also help to divide them up into a 30-60-90 day plan to help best set a timeline.

3. Break down annual goals into monthly ones.

Tackling lofty goals can be overwhelming. This is why it’s important to break them down into smaller tasks that are manageable so you don’t get discouraged along the way. Let’s say you want to save $10,000 in a year. You can break that amount down into a recurring monthly payment of $833 or even split it into smaller weekly payments.

4. Find an accountability partner.

Sometimes life gets in the way and throws us curve balls — greatly impacting our ability to stay motivated and consistent. Having an accountability partner can help you stay on track. This could be someone you check in with monthly, a close friend, a family member, or a mentor. Whoever you choose, just make sure it’s someone who will keep you honest. Perhaps they’ll even have their own 5 year plan and you can take this journey together.

5. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments.

Remember that your five-year plan is yours. You can make adjustments as you see fit once you start tracking your progress. If your priorities change, update your plan.

5-Year Plan Template

If you're ready to create your own five-year plan, we've got you covered.

HubSpot created the following five-year plan template for you to download.


Download this five-year plan template

Next, let's dive into how to fill out your plan.

How to Make a 5-Year Plan

1. Know your "why."

This is singlehandedly the most important step in creating a plan.

A clear "why" is your North star. It’s what will guide you throughout your journey and motivate you to keep moving forward.

It can take a while to narrow this down. You’ll know you have the answer when it’s linked to a core value or belief. Otherwise, you have to keep digging.

One way to get to this is by just asking the question over and over again. For instance:

  • I want to learn American Sign Language. Why?
  • To become more connected to another culture. Why?
  • To broaden my perspective. Why?
  • To be a more understanding, tolerant, and inclusive person.

Now, we’ve taken something at surface level and brought it down to a personal, human level.

2. Choose your objective.

When creating a five-year plan, you want to review your life as a whole and decide what your objective will be.

Are you focusing on your professional career, your financial goals, or your spiritual growth? Or perhaps you're taking a more holistic approach and combining all of these elements.

If you don’t know where to start, use this: "In five years, I want to be [fill in the blank]." This will help you figure out goals that you may not have vocalized before.

Here are four core pillars you should always consider:

  • Health (physical and mental)
  • Relationships (with self and others)

Depending on your goals, you can also add categories for religious or spiritual development, recreation, and service.

Don’t forget bucket-list items – have you been wanting to learn a new language? Or perhaps you want to visit every country in the world. Bucket list items are perfect for five-year plans because you can spread them out over a long period of time and have fun tracking your progress.

3. Start with the big ideas then narrow your focus.

When you’re first writing your five-year plan, start with an end goal for each year.

From there, break it down by:

  • Process: What steps will you take to meet this end goal?
  • Success metric: How will you gauge success?
  • Benefit: How does this end goal bring you closer to your five-year plan?
  • Resources: Which resources will you leverage to achieve your goal?

This process will help you turn your broad ideas into clear action items that can be executed.

Research will play a big role in this, as you will need to identify resources and set a structure to meet your goal.

For instance, say your five-year financial plan is to be debt-free.

That’s the big idea but you need to dive deeper. How exactly will you achieve that? Your research will likely suggest setting a budget, paying off your most expensive loan first, consolidating your debts, and more.

Once you know the key action items, you can break them down by year.

This is a S.M.A.R.T. goal in action. The more specific you are, the better you will be at fulfilling your five-year plan.

More on that in the next section.

4. Make it S.M.A.R.T.

To give you the best chances of success, every goal should pass the SMART test . That means being:

  • Specific – The vaguer your goal, the harder it will be to reach.
  • Measurable – You must be able to quantify your goals because otherwise, how will you know you’ve reached it? This doesn’t always mean assigning a figure to it, it can also be a feeling.
  • Achievable – While it’s good to push yourself beyond your limits, your goal should be attainable and realistic based on where you stand currently.
  • Relevant – How does this goal fit within the bigger picture? Does it align with your personal values? What’s the impact on your life?
  • Time-bound – It’s not enough to say it’s a five-year plan, you have to create a timeline and set milestones at specific points within your journey.

5-Year Plan Common Mistakes

We’ve covered what to do and best practices. Next let’s talk about what not to do. Here are some five-year plan pitfalls to avoid.

1. Not setting clear goals.

If your goals are vague, it’s going to be nearly impossible to hit them. You can’t accomplish a goal that’s not clearly defined. When it comes to setting your five-year plan, specifics are key.

2. Not doing enough research.

If you’ve set any formal education or career goals, thoroughly researching requirements is a must. Skipping this step could cause you to miss important prerequisites and derail your goals completely.

3. Failing to set a timeline.

To achieve your goals you must track them. In order to track your progress, you need deadlines in place. Without deadlines you run the risk of aimlessly moving along (or not at all) without hitting important milestones — hindering you from accomplishing long-term goals.

4. Keeping a rigid plan that no longer suits you.

Yes, staying on task with your plan is important, but it is meant to serve you. If the plan you originally set no longer suits your needs, it is perfectly fine to make adjustments. The plan is not set in stone and it should be revised as needed.

Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s look at some plan examples and templates to help you quickly get started on your own

5-Year Plan Example

Don't let the task of creating a plan from scratch in Excel put you off. There’s plenty of ready-to-use templates that will make light work of formatting so you can focus on hitting your goals.

Best for : Personal or Professional Use

Using our downloadable five-year plan template , we were able to create a detailed five-year plan, broken down by year, process, success metric, benefit, and resources.

five year plan example: HubSpot

2. 24 Slides

Best for : Professional Use

If you’re looking to create a more visual plan to help you stay on track, 24 Slides has an easy-to-customize 5-year business plan template. This template has space to include both short and long-term business goals, plus it includes a variety of charts to help you build an engaging presentation. It’s a good option if you’d like to create a 5-year plan that can be presented to stakeholders within the company.

24 Slides 5 year plan example

3. Template.Net

Best for : Personal use

This personal 5-year personal development plan from Template.Net offers a quick way to jot down your goals and strategize how to achieve them. The categories are simple: objective, goals, timeline and activities, and has additional space for you to write out any reminders you’d like to set. Be sure to include your “why” in the objective section to keep your reasons for creating the plan top of mind.

5 year plan example:

Accomplish More With a Plan

If you want to add more structure to your life and play a more active role in shaping your future, consider creating a five-year plan. While things may not pan out exactly as you've expected, you'll be surprised at how close you'll get to what you wished for.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in May 2022 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


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The Basics of Writing a Business Plan Here's why you need a business plan and everything you need to know to get started writing yours.

By Entrepreneur Staff • Oct 27, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • What is the purpose of a business plan?
  • Building your plan brick-by-brick.
  • How long should your plan be?
  • At what stage do you need a business plan?
  • Writing a back-of-the-napkin plan.

Writing a business plan is like the architectural plan for a home or a brick-and-mortar building. You need to know what materials you need, how you're going to construct the building, and when you need to build each piece of the building. You start by building the foundation because your business can't stand up without it.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written description of the future of your business. It is a document that tells the story of what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities. You want to get to a "there," a point in the future (usually three to five years out) at which time your business will have a different set of resources and abilities as well as greater profitability and more assets. Your plan shows how you will get from here to there. In essence, it is a road map from where you are now to where you want to be later on.

Building your business plan brick-by-brick

If you've done any research about business plans online or through an agency like the Small Business Administration (SBA), you've probably heard about some generally accepted conventions about what a business plan should include and how it should be presented. In sum, a plan should cover all the important matters that will contribute to making your business a success, including:

1. Your basic business concept. This is where you discuss the industry, your business structure, your particular product or service, and how you plan to make your business a success. To use the analogy of building a brick-and-mortar building, this is the concrete you use for your foundation.

2. Your strategy and the specific actions you plan to take to implement it. What goals do you have for your business? When and how will you reach your goals? After all, you need to know how you plan to construct your building.

3. Your products and services and their competitive advantages. Here is your chance to dazzle the readers with good, solid information about your products or services and why customers will want to purchase your products and services and not those of your competitors. Your products and services are the materials you'll use for the building.

4. The markets you'll pursue. Now you have to lay out your marketing plan. Who will your customers be? What is your demographic audience? How will you attract and retain enough customers to make a profit? What methods will you use to capture your audience? What sets your business apart from the competition? How are you going to get people to come to your building and spend money?

5. The background of your management team and key employees. Having information about key personnel is an important but often misrepresented portion of a business plan. It's not a long and detailed biography of each person involved but an accurate account of what they have done and what they bring to the table for this specific business opportunity. Readers will want to know who will construct your building and if they're qualified builders.

6. Your financing needs. These will be based on your projected financial statements and provide a model of how your ideas about the company, its markets, and its strategies will play out. With a building, you need to know the costs of your materials and how you will adapt to changing conditions, including pricing and construction delays due to weather.

As you write your business plan, stick to facts instead of feelings, projections instead of hopes, and realistic expectations of profit instead of unrealistic dreams of wealth. You want to show readers that your building will last for years. And facts—checkable, demonstrable facts—will invest your plan with the most important component of all: credibility.

How Long Should Your Plan Be?

A useful business plan can be any length, from a one-page summary to more than 100 pages for an especially detailed plan describing a complex enterprise. A typical business plan runs fifteen to twenty-five pages, created and (usually) sent electronically, sometimes accompanied by forms the receiver requests you fill out. Occasionally, you may still be asked for a hard copy of your plan.

Mini plans of five to ten pages are the popular concise models that may stand on their own for smaller businesses. Larger businesses, seeking major funding, will often have mini plans, but the full business plan will be waiting in the wings. It's advantageous to run long when creating your plan and then narrow it down for presentation purposes.

The size of the plan will also depend on the nature of your business and your reason for writing the plan. If you have a simple concept, you can express it in very few words. On the other hand, if you are proposing a new kind of business or even a new industry, it may require quite a bit of explanation to get the message across. If you are writing a plan for a division of a large organization, you may be given a set format and prescribed length.

The purpose of your plan also determines its length. If you are looking for millions of dollars in seed capital to start a risky venture, you will usually (although not always) have to do a lot of explaining and convincing. If you already have relationships with potential investors, they may simply want a mini plan. If you are just going to use your plan for internal purposes to manage an ongoing business, a much more abbreviated version may suffice.

If you want to start small with an effective way to get your ideas down, you can follow the guidance of LivePlan , a business planning and management software, on writing your one-page plan for your business.

Many business plan presentations are made with PowerPoint decks, using ten to twelve slides to tell your story. This is a great starting point, but you should have at least a mini plan available, especially if you seek millions of dollars.

When Should You Write Your Business Plan?

The fact that you're reading this article means you suspect it's about time to write a business plan. Odds are you are at or near one of the many occasions when a business plan will prove useful.

  • A business plan is a good way to explore the feasibility of a new business without actually having to start it and run it. A good plan can help you see serious flaws in your business concept. You may uncover tough competition when researching the market section, or you may find that your financial projections simply aren't realistic.
  • Any venture that faces major changes (and that means almost all businesses) needs a business plan. If the demographics of your market are rapidly changing, strong new competitive products challenge your profitability, you expect your business to grow or shrink dramatically, or the economic climate is improving or slipping rapidly, you'll need a business plan. This will allow you to make changes accordingly.
  • If you are contemplating buying or selling a business, your business plan can provide you with a handy tool to establish a value—and to support that value if challenged.
  • You will need a business plan if you are seeking financing. Your business plan is the backbone of your financing proposal. Bankers, venture capitalists, and other financiers rarely provide money without seeing a plan. Less sophisticated investors or friends and family may not require a business plan, but they deserve one. Even if you're funding the business with your own savings, you owe it to yourself to plan how you'll expend the resources you're committing.

Writing a business plan is not a one-time exercise. Just because you wrote a plan when you were starting out or raising money to get underway doesn't mean you are finished. Many companies look for additional rounds of funding. By updating business plans to let investors know how the funding has been used to date, and the results of such efforts, the chances of procuring such funding are improved. A business plan should be rewritten or revised regularly to get maximum benefit from it. Commonly, business plans are revised yearly, more frequently if conditions have changed enough to make the previous plan unrealistic.

Business Plan Buzzword

Competitive advantage makes you different from, and better than, your competition. Lower prices, higher quality, and better name recognition are examples of competitive advantages. By studying your competition, you can devise your own competitive advantage by providing something (or several things) that it does not offer.

Cocktail Napkin Business Plan

Business plans don't have to be complicated, lengthy documents. They just have to capture the essence of what the business will do and why it will be a success.

The business plan for one of the most successful startups ever began with a triangle scrawled on a cocktail napkin. The year was 1971, and Herb Kelleher and Rollin King were formulating their idea for an airline serving Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. The triangle connecting the cities was their route map—and the basis of the business plan for Southwest Airlines.

The two entrepreneurs soon expressed their vision for Southwest Airlines more fully in a full-fledged business plan and raised millions in initial capital to get off the ground. Eventually, they went public. Along the way, the airline expanded beyond the three cities to include other Texas destinations, and now it serves over 100 destinations in 42 states plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, with over 4,000 flights daily and revenues of $15.8 billion in 2021. Southwest specializes in low-cost, no-frills, high-frequency service, which, if you add some lines to the original triangle, is the same strategy mapped out on that cocktail napkin.

Entrepreneur Staff

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[Updated 2023] How to Write a Five Year Business Plan [Best Templates Included]

[Updated 2023] How to Write a Five Year Business Plan [Best Templates Included]

Smriti Srivastava


Achieving a set of goals is challenging.

Maintaining the motivation and productivity to achieve business goals is even harder.

In the words of Yogi Berra, a big-league baseball player-turned-manager, “Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. You need to have goals, create milestones, and have a strategy in place to set yourself up for success.”

This is why everyone in the industry — from an interviewer looking to hire top talent to an entrepreneur who accomplishes goals systematically — splits their business plan into five years. A five-year business plan not only extends a generous period to attain the set targets but at the same time keeps everyone on their toes, removing procrastination.

But writing a five-year business plan can get tedious, messy, and, sometimes, take forever to hit the right spot.

Therefore, this blog will cover the essential steps to help you write a tremendous five-year business plan.

Chronology of writing a spectacular five-year business plan

It is quite simple. You cannot achieve something great when you don’t know your priorities, objectives, ways, and timeframe to achieve those targets. It is essential to build a five-year plan for your business as well as the outcomes and expectations related to it.

But where do you start?

Here are the five sections you must include in your plan:

#1 A clear company introduction

A brief yet effective overview of your business, its market, team structure, roles and responsibilities, company offerings, and value proposition builds the foundation for your future endeavors. You use a company overview to set the right tone at the beginning of your business plan, as it serves as the base and a direction for your audience.

Related read: How to Create an Attention-Grabbing Company Introduction Slide in 10 Minutes

#2 vision and mission statement.

You have to ensure your employees, stakeholders, investors, and potential clients understand what your company is all about and what you stand for. Your vision and mission statement helps you with it. It enlightens the audience about your future plans - where you see your company in five years and the results you will work to achieve.

Related read: Top 10 Mission and Vision Statement Templates to Guide Your Organizational Culture

#3 target market and branding.

State who your company is looking to serve and why. Provide clarity on your target market based on psychographics and demographics. And do not forget to mention the size of your target market. You have to create a framework for making your brand visible exponentially and simultaneously create a lead generation and conversion strategy.

Related read: Top 30 PowerPoint Templates to Analyze Dominant Market Drivers

#4 product overview.

Set clear priorities based on the distinction between your primary and secondary products. You need to connect your branding around the product or service core to your company. This categorization will help you establish the revenue your products generate and the impacts they create. Further, it will help modify your plans accordingly.

Related read: Top 10 One-Page Product Overview PowerPoint Templates to Drive Sales

#5 swot analysis.

Measuring your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the industry can help you successfully dominate the market. Therefore, your five-year business plan must include regular and timely analysis of all your business operations. There is no better way to meet targets than keeping a check on one’s activities. It will help you focus on the proprietary system of your company.

Related read: Top 50 SWOT Analysis PowerPoint Templates Used by Professionals Worldwide

Templates to nail your business plan.

Often we have countless ideas to plan our way to a successful business. But as the day-to-day grind starts, it is easy to get distracted from the end goal and stray from the path leading to our intent. We look for a north star to point us directly to our mission. So we decided to make your life a bit easier by providing our readymade and editable five-year business plan templates. You can access them below. Dive in!

Template 1: Five Year Business Plan Roadmap Template

Help your team stay on track with your future business ambitions by taking the assistance of our invigorating PowerPoint template. This content-ready template helps you visualize your work plan and present your vision impactfully. You just need to click the download link to start customizing it.

Five Year Business Plan Roadmap PowerPoint Slides

Download this template

Template 2: Key Poniters for Five Year Business Plan

Use this business plan template that includes vital pointers such as setting clear goals and objectives, conducting market research and competitor analysis, developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, creating financial projections, and establishing a system for measuring progress and adjusting your plan accordingly. By following a structured template and considering these essential elements, you can create a plan that sets your organization up for long-term success.

Five Year Business Plan

Template 3: Five Year Roadmap Timeline for Business Plan

Employ this professionally curated template to improve the success rate of your business. This template helps you track the progress of all your operational activities without any hassle. Also, our color-coded template makes it easy to comprehend and follow. So download this adaptable template to start adding your data effortlessly.

Five Years Roadmap Timeline For Business Plan PowerPoint Slides

Template 4: Five-Year Business Plan Roadmap with Operations and Functions

You can utilize this template to articulate the workflow of your organization smoothly. This template allows you to write an attractive executive summary of your business operations and functions. Download the template and start assembling your key milestones immediately. Click the link below!

Five Years Business Plan Roadmap With Operations And Functions Templates

Template 5: Five Year Milestones Template

Outline the timeline for achieving future goals with the help of this template. Our experts have designed this PowerPoint template to help you summarize your vision, mission, targets, and timeframe in an easily accessible format. Grasp the attention of your employees and stakeholders right away by downloading this template.

Future Timeline Five Year Milestones PowerPoint Slides

Template 6: Five-Year Roadmap for Business Planning

A comprehensive plan of action displays confidence and foresightedness. Therefore, we have curated this content-specific template to help you create a strategic roadmap for your business goals. This template distributes the target phases based on yearly milestones, thereby making it easily understandable. Grab it now!

Five Years Roadmap To Start A Business With Planning PowerPoint Templates

Template 7: Five Year Business Plan with Roadmap

Take your business to the next level with this five-year business roadmap with checkpoints. It includes sections for sales, product, operations,  and targets set for different team members. It also includes timelines and checkpoints for processes and activities. Download this editable PowerPoint Slide now to streamline your business alignment.

Five Year Business Plan with Checklist

Template 8: Five Year Business Plan With Financial Projection

Make your future financial outcomes expectations loud and clear by using this PowerPoint template. Represent your business planning elements creatively by employing this template. You can even highlight your company’s ongoing functions and practices in a structured way with the assistance of our entirely adaptable PPT template.

Five Years Roadmap Business Plan With Financial Projection PPT Templates

Template 9: Five Year Business Plan Implementation Roadmap

The success rate of business plans hugely depends on the plan of action, and this editable five years roadmap of the organization rightly serves the purpose. Encapsulate all the information related to the project in a well-structured manner to obtain maximum efficiency by incorporating this stunning PowerPoint slide. State the critical deliverable, steps involved, time frame, workforce allocation, and lots more in an easy-to-understand manner by utilizing this pre-designed roadmap layout. Download now!

Implementing five year business plan

Template 10: Five Year Business Plan with Risk Status

Select this PowerPoint template to predict your future growth. Using this PPT template, you can assess potential risks that can stunt your business development in the coming years. Revamp your venture by utilizing this template as a guiding star. Download it and start with your strategic planning right away!

Business Plan Five Year Roadmap With Risk Status PowerPoint Templates

Having a strategic roadmap for handling your business operations and objectives is the only way to go. You cannot expect high profit and returns on investment without having a clear outline for the next five years of your business. With our stunning templates, you will definitely look confident, assertive, reliable, and foresighted.

FAQs on Five-Year Business Plan

How to write a five year business plan.

Here are some key steps to consider when writing your plan:

Define your mission and vision: Start by articulating your organization's purpose and long-term goals.

Conduct market research : Analyze your industry, identify trends, and understand your target audience.

Evaluate your competition: Analyze your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, and determine how you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

Develop a marketing and sales strategy: Outline how you will reach and engage with your target audience and define your pricing strategy.

Create financial projections: Develop a comprehensive financial model that includes revenue and expense projections, as well as cash flow analysis.

Establish a system for measuring progress: Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track progress towards your goals, and create a plan for reviewing and updating your plan on a regular basis.

What is a good 5-year business plan?

A good 5-year business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines an organization's strategy for achieving its long-term goals. Here are some key elements to include in a good 5-year business plan:

Executive summary: Provide an overview of your organization's mission, vision, and goals, as well as a summary of the key elements of your plan.

Market analysis: Conduct thorough research to understand your industry, target audience, and competition.

Marketing and sales strategy: Outline how you will reach and engage with your target audience, and define your pricing strategy.

Financial projections: Develop a comprehensive financial model that includes revenue and expense projections, as well as cash flow analysis.

Organizational structure: Outline the roles and responsibilities of key personnel, and describe how your organization will be structured to achieve its goals.

Risk management: Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Performance metrics: Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track progress towards your goals, and create a plan for reviewing and updating your plan on a regular basis.

Related posts:

5 essential tips to develop a solid 5-year business plan.

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3 ways to find truffles, how to analyze a movie, how to identify a bengal cat: 9 steps, 5 ways to make your lips bigger, how to sew a cell phone holder, how to grow lavender from cuttings, 3 ways to fight off multiple opponents, 3 ways to spot signs of illness in a cockatiel, 8 ways to pick your nose inconspicuously, how to write a five year plan: 15 steps.

how to write a 5 year business plan

A well-structured five-year plan can help you achieve both personal and professional goals. In this article, we will discuss 15 steps to create an effective five-year plan.

1. Determine your objectives: Begin by identifying the key goals that matter most to you, whether they are career-related, personal, or a mix of both.

2. Prioritize your goals: Rank your objectives in order of importance to ensure you focus on high-priority goals first.

3. Break down long-term goals into smaller milestones: Divide your five-year plan into annual or semi-annual achievable targets, making it more manageable and achievable.

4. Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives: Ensure each goal is well-defined and can be tracked over time.

5. Identify possible obstacles and challenges: Be prepared for any potential roadblocks that may arise during the implementation of your plan.

6. Create contingency plans: Develop alternate strategies in case of unforeseen setbacks or changes in circumstances.

7. Allocate necessary resources: Determine the financial, time, and personal investments required to achieve your goals.

8. Establish timelines: Set realistic deadlines for each milestone on your five-year journey.

9. Develop habits and routines that support your objectives: Adopt daily actions that will facilitate progress towards your long-term goals.

10. Monitor and measure progress : Continuously evaluate your achievements against the benchmarks defined in your five-year plan.

11. Review and update your plan regularly: Revise your goals or milestones as needed based on changing circumstances or newfound insights during the process.

12. Seek feedback and support from others: Engage friends, family, or professional mentors to provide guidance, encouragement, and accountability throughout the journey.

13. Celebrate small victories along the way: Recognizing milestones achieved will keep you motivated and focused on the bigger picture of success within reach.

14. Stay flexible and adapt to change: Embrace the inevitability of change and revise your plan to accommodate new circumstances or opportunities.

15. Reflect on your progress: After five years, assess your accomplishments and identify any areas that may need reassessment or refocusing.

In conclusion, a well-structured and thought-out five-year plan can be instrumental in guiding your personal and professional growth. Following these steps will help you create an actionable roadmap towards achieving your long-term goals.

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Six things to know about the political debate around daylight saving time

Emily Olson

how to write a 5 year business plan

This picture taken in March 2018 shows a technician working on the clock of the Lukaskirche Church in Dresden, eastern Germany. This weekend, Americans will wind back this clocks as daylight saving time ends. Sebastian Kahnert/DPA/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

This picture taken in March 2018 shows a technician working on the clock of the Lukaskirche Church in Dresden, eastern Germany. This weekend, Americans will wind back this clocks as daylight saving time ends.

Twice a year, every year, the ritual returns as literal clockwork: the start or end of daylight saving time.

Millions of Americans, filled with grunts or glee, tap at their devices or wind their watch hands, manually changing the time to reflect a change in seasons.

But in recent years, lawmakers have talked as if this timeworn tradition might be on its last legs. A raft of bills on the federal and state levels are taking aim at the biannual time changes — and yet nothing is changing, at least for now.

Here's a look at where things stand.

What's the status of that Senate bill to end time changes?

In March 2022, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act. The intent behind the bill was to make daylight saving time permanent starting in spring of 2023.

The Senate approves a bill to make daylight saving time permanent

The Senate approves a bill to make daylight saving time permanent

The U.S. tried permanent daylight saving time in the 1970s — then quickly rejected it

The U.S. tried permanent daylight saving time in the 1970s — then quickly rejected it

And at first, it looked as though it might become a reality. The Senate passed the bill through an expedited process and with unanimous consent — legislative rarities in this day and age.

But the bill failed to be taken up in the House. Members cited higher priorities, like a budget deficit and war in Ukraine, but there was also a growing chorus of criticism about the bill's approach (more on this below).

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reintroduced the bill this March, and it was sent to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, but there's been no notable movement on it since. A companion bill, introduced by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., is similarly stuck in committee at the House level.

Daylight saving time ends Sunday. Here are 4 things you should know

Daylight saving time ends Sunday. Here are 4 things you should know

Even if either bill manages to pass both chambers, it'd still need to be signed by President Biden, who hasn't indicated how he leans on the issue.

So for now, the tradition remains intact.

When is the end of daylight saving time 2023?

This season's turnover time is 2 a.m. on Nov. 5, meaning residents of most states will want to move their clocks back an hour when they go to bed this Saturday.

Two states — Hawaii and Arizona — don't observe daylight saving time. The U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands also don't change their clocks.

What's the argument against the Sunshine Protection Act?

When the Sunshine Protection Act was first debated in a House subcommittee, experts said switching to permanent daylight saving time would do everything: save lives, reduce crime, conserve energy and improve health.

And pretty much everyone agrees that ending the time changes is generally a good idea. Our bodies can be very sensitive to disruptions to our circadian rhythms.

But the medical community has taken issue with how the bill proposes to make the change — specifically, that it mandates all states adopt permanent daylight saving time rather than sticking to standard time.

Changing our clocks is a health hazard. Just ask a sleep doctor

Shots - Health News

Changing our clocks is a health hazard. just ask a sleep doctor.

Doctors and scientists argue that standard time is actually better for our health. Our internal clock is better aligned with getting light in the morning, which, in turn, sets us up for better sleep cycles.

The bill's sponsors aren't budging though. Sen. Rubio is still pushing for permanent daylight saving time.

And the biggest argument for this approach may be an economic one. The idea is that having more light in the evenings encourages people to go out and do things — i.e., spend money.

The nation's convenience stores, for example, told a congressional subcommittee that they see an uptick in spending when clocks are set to daylight saving.

Could the states adopt their own time change rules?

With federal legislation stuck in a holding pattern, states could take up the issue, but they're still subject to some federal limitations.

The Uniform Time Act , which was passed in 1966, says that states can enact permanent standard time but not permanent daylight saving time.

At least 550 bills and resolutions have surfaced concerning time changes at the state level in recent years, according to a tally from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). So the same debate that's happening at the federal level is playing out in statehouses across the country.

Which states are trying to end daylight saving time?

Nineteen states have actually passed measures pledging to switch to permanent daylight time if Congress changes the rules to allow for such an action.

Those states are:

  • Mississippi 
  • Montana 
  • South Carolina

California voters also authorized a resolution in 2018, but lawmakers haven't taken any action on the legislation so we're not counting it here.

As of September 2023, nine states were actively considering legislation that would also end daylight saving, but by switching the state to year-round standard time, according to the NCSL.

  • Massachusetts
  • Pennsylvania

But these pieces of legislation are all marked 'pending' so residents should still plan to turn back their clocks this year — and check in before the next time daylight saving time starts up again.

When will daylight saving time resume in 2024?

That'll be Sunday, March 10. Mark your calendars.

Correction Nov. 3, 2023

An earlier version of this story said Samoa doesn't observe daylight saving time. In fact, American Samoa doesn't observe it.

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Five-year business plan: why you need one and how to write it

Kaylin sullivan.

Many founders roll their eyes at the idea of forecasting the growth of their business for the next five years. However, having a clear plan that sets out your ambitious yet realistic growth targets can help get investors on board.

In this article, we’ll reveal why you need to write a five-year business plan with tips from Anthony Rose, SeedLegals’ CEO and serial entrepreneur.

What is a five-year business plan?

Do you actually need a five-year business plan, who is a five-year business plan for, how to write a five-year business plan, five business plan tips from anthony rose, final thoughts.

A five-year business plan gives an overview of what a business does, what it intends to do and how it plans to do it.

It includes everything from vision statements to market research, strategic planning and financial forecasts. The five-year plan helps prospective investors get an idea of whether they feel a business has long term potential.

Founders and investors both know that a five-year business plan includes some artistic licence. You don’t know exactly how things are going to go. Things can take longer than you expect and the economic landscape can shift overnight.

However, there’s still plenty of value in a five-year business plan. If you get your numbers right, you can use the business plan to show investors why they should invest in you and how they could see a return on their time and money.

Your five-year plan is also necessary if you’re applying for SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance . HMRC needs to see a three or five-year business plan in your pitch deck so they can be confident that you actually plan to grow the business.

In the startup space, a five-year business plan is especially useful for founders and investors.

It helps founders strategise how their business is going to work and shows investors how they might get a return on their investment.

Founders can use the business plan to align on the direction of travel with other senior members of the team.

Investors see the five-year business plan as a measure of the market opportunity for the business. If the opportunity looks good, investors are more likely to want to get involved.

It’s a good idea to create two versions of your business plan: a detailed version and a compact general overview.

A detailed plan that covers all aspects of your business can help you gain clarity and refine your goals.

Once you’re clear on what you want to do, the general overview shows investors what your plans are in a digestible way.

What to include in your detailed five-year business plan

The purpose of your five-year plan is to explain the who, what, why and, most importantly, the how behind your company’s plans. The detailed version of your plan should include:

  • A description of your business
  • Long-term goals
  • Short-term goals
  • A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • A competitor analysis
  • Details on who your customers are
  • What your products and services are and their pricing
  • Details on the management team you have and need
  • A spreadsheet that details all your company’s financials
  • A financial forecast including a line graph depicting growth in revenue
  • Investment you require

Once you have that, you can condense it into a general overview.

What to include in your general overview

Creating a general overview helps you to convey the most important information about your business in a concise manner.

When dealing with investors, your time is limited. No investor wants to go through a 20-page business plan. They want to cut to the chase, and founders need to be prepared to accommodate them.

Based on feedback from founders who’ve been through funding rounds themselves, we recommend that you condense your detailed five-year plan into the following:

  • A one-page executive summary
  • A SWOT analysis
  • A line graph showing your revenue growth forecast over 5 years
  • A spreadsheet that breaks down all the financials behind that line graph including profit and loss, expenditure and revenue

Your pitch deck for investors should include the line graph, SWOT analysis and executive summary. HMRC will also want to see this info when you apply for SEIS/EIS.

In your pitch, you’ll need to describe your business and point out your business goals, but you don’t need to include all of the finer details from your in-depth business plan at this stage. The financials spreadsheet doesn’t need to be in your pitch deck. It’s only for later on when you meet with investors.

It’s worth having a look at some pitch deck examples for inspiration.

What to include in your line graph

The purpose of the graph is to depict your projected growth in revenue at a glance.

The number of years you show depends on your business’ initial growth rate. If it’s going to take a few years before you generate revenue because you have complex product development to do, you’ll want to forecast far enough into the future to show when the exponential growth happens.

The graph should include:

  • Profit forecast over X number of years
  • Loss forecast over X number of years

What to include in your financials spreadsheet

This is your opportunity to break down every financial detail behind what’s depicted in the line graph. Your spreadsheet should include:

  • All your business costs
  • Your revenue projections
  • Market size
  • Cost of acquiring customers

The more information the better. This is what you’re going to present to investors once they’ve expressed interest in your pitch.

What you present will be a significant factor in whether they invest in you or not. Here’s an idea of what your spreadsheet might look like.

Image source: Brixx

SeedLegals CEO Anthony Rose has been through a fair amount of funding rounds and seen hundreds of pitch decks himself. In the video below, he offers his insights on “The art of the five-year business plan”.

We’ve put Anthony’s thoughts from the video into a written breakdown below to help you digest the information. 

1. Show the potential for ROI

Showing your ambition goes beyond an inspiring vision statement. It’s about creating hype through numbers – the real, grounded kind of hype that makes investors feel excited and confident that the goals can be achieved.

A five-year business plan that’s going to close investments needs to show the founder’s ambitions to grow the business exponentially. The investor is going to want to see that making this investment is worth their while.

Many founders are satisfied with a modest approach. The fact that they can create a good, profitable business that will add value to its market and pay the salaries and bills that need to be paid is what makes them happy.

But an investor might see it as a “hobby business” if you’re not ambitious enough. Your five-year business plan needs to include financial projections that show a steady, exponential increase in your revenue (which means the same for their ROI).

An investor is going to want to see a massive return on investment. In five years they’re going to want to see a 10x or a 50x return on the investment to make it worthwhile, given the risks involved. Anthony Rose Co-founder & CEO, SeedLegals

2. Don’t overpromise

The key here is to get your five-year number just right. Your graph should show a steady increase in revenue, but not at an unachievable rate.

If you’re not delivering on the numbers you projected at the get-go, you’ll have unhappy investors and a lot of changes to make. You will most likely have trouble getting investors on board in the first place if you’re projecting growth at a statistically unlikely rate.

Seeing that founders can run the numbers is an important measure for investors. If the numbers aren’t connecting from one year to the next, or you appear to be losing money altogether, investors aren’t going to have a whole lot of faith in you running your business well.

3. Use the unicorn formula

Before we dive into the formula, it will help to know that a company is classified as a unicorn if it is valued at US$1 billion or more (around £800 million).

The unicorn formula is the growth pathway to becoming a unicorn company, and it goes like this: triple, triple, triple, double, double.

So what does that mean for your five-year business plan? It means that if you can create a graph projecting financial growth at a rate of tripling year-on-year revenue for three years and doubling it for two, you’re on a good, steady growth path towards becoming a unicorn.

At a rate of 10x revenue for your valuation, reaching that (roughly) £100 million in revenue after five years would classify your company as a unicorn.

Not every company intends to become a unicorn, however, so how does this apply if that’s you? Well, the golden nugget in this formula is the rate of growth it suggests. It’s ambitious and steady, which will appeal to investors. So even if you’re not aiming for a unicorn valuation, applying the formula to your financial forecasting will still be beneficial.

The line graph below depicts a hypothetical business’s revenue according to the unicorn formula rate. It’s the shape of the line that’s important here – this is the shape of a healthy growth rate.

4. Spreadsheet the numbers

We covered this in the section on how to write a five-year business plan, so make sure you read and re-read that section. In case you missed it, though, we’ll reiterate the point here.

The most important part of your meetings with investors is presenting a robust breakdown of your company’s financials. Make sure you keep an up-to-date spreadsheet that details current and future income and expenditure.

5. Be honest about where you are now

Be fully transparent about where your business’s revenue is now. Don’t allow for disparity between what is displayed in the graph on your pitch deck and the revenue your business is making today.

Make sure your financial forecasting is up-to-date and begins with where you stand currently. Make sure you update it regularly so you remain confident and transparent whenever you meet with investors.

The five-year business plan still has value. It will help with procuring investment and getting your SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance from HMRC.

The key takeaway is to get your financials just right. Show ambition, grow steadily and be transparent. First-hand advice from people who have been there and done that is extremely valuable, so turn to expert input for help.

At SeedLegals, we have a team of experts who can help you with all the nuances involved in starting and growing your business, so hit the chat button to get in touch. We’ll be happy to guide you and answer any questions.

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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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 .

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. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.


ZenBusiness: Start Your Dream Business

Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.

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

This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, 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, which should contain 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, it should cover 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

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

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

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

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.

Your sales strategy.

Your distribution 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.

how to write a 5 year business plan

» 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.

You may also include 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.

» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

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.

List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. 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. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.

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.

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How to Write a Five Year Plan

Last Updated: October 7, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM . Shannon O'Brien is the Founder and Principal Advisor of Whole U. (a career and life strategy consultancy based in Boston, MA). Through advising, workshops and e-learning Whole U. empowers people to pursue their life's work and live a balanced, purposeful life. Shannon has been ranked as the #1 Career Coach and #1 Life Coach in Boston, MA by Yelp reviewers. She has been featured on, Boldfacers, and the UR Business Network. She received a Master's of Technology, Innovation, & Education from Harvard University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 781,750 times.

Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM

Sample Five-Year Plans

how to write a 5 year business plan

Choosing Categories

Step 1 Think about how you want to change.

  • Visualize yourself, as you see yourself, in five years. Where do you see yourself living? What do you see yourself doing?
  • It's possible that you're already quite happy and satisfied in your life and you want your five year plan to continue on the path you're already on. If that's the case, think more about what you'll need to continue living the way you enjoy.

Tip: Be as honest as possible. Don't think about what you feel is expected of you — instead, think about what truly makes you happy.

Step 2 Think about personal goals.

  • Starting a novel
  • Watching less television
  • Quitting smoking
  • Starting a band
  • Getting more exercise

Step 3 Think about financial goals.

  • Saving more money
  • Getting a graduate degree
  • Asking for a promotion
  • Starting a 401k
  • Finding another job

Step 4 Think about fun goals.

  • Sky-diving, at least once
  • Going on a blind date
  • Hiking the Cumberland Gap
  • Traveling abroad
  • Going to a music festival

Step 5 Think about family goals.

  • Having a child
  • Saving money for your child's education
  • Starting your child in school
  • Adding on to your home
  • Moving to a larger home
  • Going on a family vacation

Drawing Up the List

Step 1 Be as specific as possible.

  • In the margin of each list, label every item on the list either A, B, or C. Label an A goal as a goal that is extremely important to you and that you want or need the most. Label a C goal as something that would be nice to have, but isn't something that you really want or need. If a goal is in between the two categories, label it a B goal. In order to find out what your priorities are, be as honest as possible.

Tip: Alternatively, you could also organize your list in order of how long it will take you to accomplish them. If you've got "learn to speak Italian" on your list as well as "get organized," you can take drastic steps toward one in the next week, while the other may take a lot longer.

Step 3 Make a separate list for each item.

  • If you identified, "Get a graduate degree" on your list as an important item, make a separate list for each goal that you identify as being very important, such as this. Even if it seems simple, something like, "Get organized," it's still important to treat that with as much attention as possible.

Step 4 Identify subsidiary goals for each item.

  • You might need to do a little research to find out for sure what needs to happen to turn your goals into a reality.

Step 5 Write an item for each year.

Tip: For some goals, it might help to start working backward. Imagine yourself as you'd like to imagine yourself in five years, and then imagine what needed to happen for you to get there. If you imagine yourself with a graduate degree and a good job, living on a mountain somewhere, what needed to happen in the weeks leading up to that image of your yourself? What needed to have happened the previous year?

Step 6 Narrow your focus.

Tackling the List

Step 1 Use realistic timelines.

  • Try not to get discouraged. Remember, you're thinking long term. Keep breaking down those big goals until they become a small series of things you can do. Set smart goals and make plans to accomplish them.

Step 2 Cross things out as you accomplish them.

Tip: Take a minute to celebrate each time you finish something. You're getting that much closer to accomplishing a life goal, so treat yourself to something special. Dinner, drinks, a spa day. Take some time for yourself.

Step 3 Pay attention to what new objectives present themselves.

  • Periodically amend your list of goals to take into account these new observations and goals that come up. Revise your five year plan to account for the new information. This isn't a failure, it's a sign you're learning more and getting closer to those goals.

Step 4 Memorize the highlights for job interviews.

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

Expert Q&A

Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM

  • A technique to see through to your goals is rewriting them every day in the present tense, to hammer them into your subconscious brain. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • If new methods pop up to you, review your main goal and your 'A methods' to see if it will work into your plan. If necessary, rewrite your main goal and methods to see if anything has changed. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1

how to write a 5 year business plan

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  • ↑ Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM. Life & Career Coach. Expert Interview. 10 December 2019.
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About This Article

Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM

To write a five year plan, come up with some goals that are as specific as possible, which will make them easier to track. For example, instead of saying "I want to be making more money," you could say "I want my salary to increase by 15 percent." Once you've made a list of goals, write out a plan for achieving each one. Also, break your goals up into a series of short-term goals so that you feel like you're accomplishing things along the way. For help choosing goals and working toward achieving them, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How do I write a five-year business plan for a company?

October 2021  .

A business plan describes what a company does and what you hope to achieve. It’s crucial if you want to grow your company in future.

It’s normal for business owners to hate the idea of planning. After all, why waste time thinking about doing something when you could spend the time actually doing it?

The hard truth is that things usually turn out better when you plan. Planning helps leaders to see the bigger picture: the company’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, financials, and available resources.

A five-year business plan makes your business work more effectively and allows you to continually meet expectations. Don’t assume that business plans are just for startups or companies applying for loans either – they’re valuable for every business.

The benefits of a business plan for a company

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to five-year plans.

Identify a long-term goal

A business plan forces you to settle on a direction and goal for your business, which is essential if you’re easily distracted by trends or new projects.

Once you’ve identified the direction you want to take, you’ll have a better idea of how strategically aligned your business is. Does your day-to-day activity match up with what you want to achieve?

Set priorities

You can’t do everything at once. A business plan ensures your time, effort and resources are best spent. When thinking about how to write a strategic plan, ensure you choose which tasks to prioritise, and which tasks aren’t as essential as part of the process.

Once you understand your priorities, you can set objectives for the company based on these priorities.

Calculate your resources

Putting together a five-year business plan for a company helps to map out what you'll need in the next few years. While circumstances inevitably change over time, you’ll know roughly what resource is required to get projects successfully out of the door.

Spot potential problems

A business plan encourages you to take a critical look at the next steps you’ll take. That makes them useful for spotting any potential problems that could derail the business.

For example, you might find your financial projections are unrealistic or you haven’t factored in the budget you need for extra developers. It’s better to realise this now, rather than suddenly facing a blocker a year down the line.

How to write a strategic plan for your business

There are seven main components of a business plan.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary provides an overview of your plan and business. Although it comes first, it’s best to write it last when you have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve.

Try to keep the executive summary to a single page. It should be a concise, accessible way for employees, advisers, and investors to understand your business plan.

2. Company mission statement

You’re planning for your company’s future, so what better time to remind yourself of the reason why you started? The goals you set in your business plan should ultimately relate back to your mission statement.

3. SWOT analysis

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis lets you analyse your company’s capabilities.

By identifying your strengths, you’ll know which areas of the business you can build on and which areas need improvement before you can progress.

For example, your strengths might be in your operational capabilities. You have an efficient service that customers rate highly and there’s plenty of opportunity for growth. However, your weaknesses are that your marketing team is inexperienced, and your internet presence is minimal.

As a result of this SWOT analysis, your next steps could be:

Hire a marketing manager with experience in your sector

Research the resources needed to build a competitive online presence

Strengthen your leadership team to prepare for growth

4. Setting goals

Having long-term goals is essential for businesses. If you don’t have an ambitious goal that excites you and drives your team forward, your business may not progress as quickly as you would like.

The first step is to identify your five-year or long-term goals.

Keep goals clear, simple, and specific

Be ambitious – your long-term goals shouldn’t be something you can achieve in six months

Make sure your goals tie back to your mission statement

Try to make your goals as specific as possible. For example, if it’s to increase your share of the market, ask yourself: by how much? The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to measure how much progress you’re making towards them.

5. Customer, industry, and competitor analysis

By this point in your business plan, you will have established your strengths, areas for improvement and goals. But a business plan shouldn’t just focus on your company – you need to look at external factors that could affect you too.

Customer analysis

This component of your business plan looks at who your target customers are and where you’ll focus your marketing efforts. The more you know about your prospective customers, the higher your return on investment will be.

Even if you’ve been running your business for a while, bear in mind that the market is constantly changing, and customers’ demands around speed and quality of service is increasing. Will your current marketing methods still be effective in five years? What other ways could you attract new customers?

Industry analysis

This section doesn’t have to be an exhaustive report on your market. But it is important to look at where it is likely to go in the future.

You need to ensure the market is growing and there are future opportunities in your current sector. If not, you might need to diversify your offering and look at new opportunities you could take.

Competitor analysis

Define your main competitors and list their strengths and weaknesses. Online reviews can help to give you a customer’s perspective.

This analysis determines your current competitive advantage and any areas you could build on.

Examples of competitor analysis questions include:

What markets or market segments do your competitors work in?

Why do customers buy from them?

Is there a service that customers want from your competition that they don’t offer?

6. Summary of your team

Even with a comprehensive business plan in place for your company, you won’t achieve your goals if you don’t have the right people on board.

Provide a summary of your team, including brief bios of key members. Look in particular at their experience and skills to see where you might have gaps.

Can you accomplish your goals with your current team? Does your team have the relevant industry experience and background?

7. Financial projections

Financial projections are an essential component of your business plan because they help you decide the best opportunity to pursue. If you don’t analyse your future finances, you risk spending a year on a project and then running out of money.

This section will also help you clarify your goals and ensure they’re grounded in financial knowledge. For example, if your goal is to increase the number of first-time customers, look at how much it’ll cost you to reach your goal each month.

Try to roughly outline your annual projections over the next five years but be prepared to come back to this section regularly. You can update it each month as you have more clarity and insight about what your business is spending.

Be prepared if your business plan goes off course

Five-year plans rarely stay the same. You’ll need to continually reassess the components of your business plan in response to changing market conditions, staff, and competition.

What matters most is how you adapt to unexpected challenges. If something comes up, be flexible and prepared to rework your plan. Don’t tie yourself to a goal if it’s no longer in your company’s best interests.

None of us know what is around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an idea of where you want to get to, but being too rigid is a mistake

Writing a five-year business plan for a company

Planning helps leaders to see the bigger picture: the company’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, financials, and available resources..

With a business plan, you will be able to:

Choose long-term goals

The key components of a business plan

This provides an overview of your plan and business. Although it comes first, it’s best to write it last when you have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve.  

When choosing the direction of your business, it helps to remind yourself of why you started.  

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis lets you analyse your company’s capabilities.  

Be ambitious

Make sure your goals tie back to your mission statement  

5.  Customer, industry, and competitor analysis

Look at your target customers and where you’ll focus your marketing efforts

Identify growth in your market or potential opportunities in different sectors

Consider strengths and weaknesses of your competitors  

6. Team summary

Provide a summary of your team, thinking about experience, skills, and potential capabilities you might be missing.  

Your financial projections will: 

a) Help you decide which is the best opportunity or direction to pursue

b) Clarify your goals and ensure they’re grounded in financial knowledge

This article was written and originally published by The Productivity Group (trading as Be the Business). Be the Business is an independent, not for profit organisation set up to help business owners and leaders improve the performance of their business. © Copyright 2021 The Productivity Group.  All rights reserved.

Everything we publish on Business Talk is provided as general information only. It isn’t advice or an insight into the views of TSB or any of our Partners. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances.

Please think about getting independent financial advice if you want help with your personal situation.

While we make every effort to make sure the content is accurate and up to date, no liability is accepted by TSB Bank for any loss or damage caused by relying on any statement or omission. 

Links to external content are provided for information purposes only and not a TSB recommendation of any brand or service.

How to Write a 5-Year Business Plan

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6 types of business plans, effective communication skills used in public relations & marketing.

  • How to Create Effective Business Plans
  • How to Write a 3-Year Business Forecast

A 5-year business plan will help you manage your company and seek loans or investment money. This term is familiar to most commercial loan officers and small business investors. Learning how to write an effective five year business plan helps you manage better and improves your chances of receiving the loans or investment dollars you need to succeed.

You should thoroughly understand business plan components and your company to complete a winning blueprint for success. Below are several points to consider when writing an effective 5-year business plan.

Design Your Strategic Plan

Design your strategic plan. Combine your goals with your vision for your company. Decide on the best strategies – e-commerce, retail locations, business-to-business, business-to-consumers or combinations thereof – to reach your business objectives. These will be the benchmarks for your five-year business plan

Prepare an Executive Summary

Prepare an executive summary. This section outlines your goals, objectives, strategies and your expertise in achieving the results you project. When seeking loans or investment, this is the most critical section of your business plan. You have limited time to impress a loan officer or investor, both of whom read many business plans daily. Make it brief, "hard hitting" and highly focused on achievement.

Introduce Your Management Team

Display the talent of your management team. Like a resume – only more interesting – management team biographies increase the credibility of your executive summary and all projections that follow. If you are a one-person management team, be sure to emphasize all your skills.

For example, if you are strong in technology and accounting, be sure to mention your marketing, customer relations and operations skills. If you're going to "outsource" these functions, explain how you plan to use other experts and whom you're considering.

Describe Products or Services

Describe the products or services you offer, in detail. In a five-year business plan, you should convince the reader that your products/services are marketable now and will continue to be popular in the coming years. Clearly state sound reasons that your products are currently viable and how you will react to future challenges in the market.

Create Financial Projections

Create financial projections for the next five years. Include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow estimates. For years one and two, show Income and cash flow Statements on a monthly basis. You can use quarterly projections for years three through five. If your starting a small business, you can estimate your balance sheet on a semi-annual basis because you probably expect few major changes.

Things You Will Need

Valid business idea

Popular product or service

Calculator or PC

Accounting statement knowledge

Write a detailed "narrative" to explain and support your financial projections. Keep your plan thorough, but clear. Exotic, colorful graphs or other additions are unnecessary in most cases. Anticipate and prepare answers for questions that may come from readers. Spend more time researching and studying your market than writing the plan.

Don't fill your plan with unnecessary or subjective text or numbers. Readers want you to stay "on point" and focused. Never exaggerate or dramatically overestimate financial results. Your plan quickly loses credibility.

  • Characteristics of Business Plans
  • Forbes: trategic Plan Template: What To Include In Yours
  • Stirling Council Five-year Business Plan
  • Business Plan Checklist
  • Write a detailed "narrative" to explain and support your financial projections.
  • Keep your plan thorough, but clear. Exotic, colorful graphs or other additions are unnecessary in most cases.
  • Anticipate and prepare answers for questions that may come from readers.
  • Spend more time researching and studying your market than writing the plan.
  • Don't fill your plan with unnecessary or subjective text or numbers. Readers want you to stay "on point" and focused.
  • Never exaggerate or dramatically overestimate financial results. Your plan quickly loses credibility.

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How To Make A 5 Year Business Plan

5-year business plan

Whether you’re running a multi-million corporation or a small home-based company, planning your business is one of the most important things you need to think about.  You should have a business plan for your company. This guide will show you how to make a 5 year business plan.

Failing to plan is like setting out on a journey towards unchartered territories.

Without a roadmap, you’ll only end up losing your way and diverting your focus from your original destination.

As a business owner, it can be tempting to ignore the planning stage altogether.

After all, if you’re already earning some decent profit anyway, what’s the point of pouring your time and effort on creating a business plan forecast?

According to business experts, here are 3 reasons why you should have a business plan.

3 Reasons Why You Should Have A Business Plan

It gives you a point of reference.

How to write a 5 year business plan

A business plan allows you to clearly define what your business is and what you hope for it to be in the future.

Having this point of reference to look back to whenever you encounter trouble is a great way to motivate yourself and your team into action.

Going back to your business plan should inspire you to press on as you work towards reaching the business goals that you’ve set.

It Helps You Analyze Your Business Operations

One year business plan

Writing a business plan involves analytic thinking so having one will help you manage your operations better, even on a day to day basis.

It helps you recognize opportunities within your industry that you can take to increase your profit margin in the long run.

When you write down your goals and action plan on paper, it becomes much easier for you to come up with decisions that will allow your business to thrive.

It Shows You Which Direction To Take

How to create a 5 year plan for business

And since businesses need to adapt to the changing times, developing a business plan helps you keep your operations relevant.

It allows you to plan for changes brought by industry innovations and market trends.

A business plan doesn’t just show you where you started, it also offers you a vision into the future.

Simply put, having a business plan helps you manage your business better, which is not only beneficial for your team, but also for your customers, investors, and potential partners.

But not all business plans are created equal.

Some companies are quite content with a 1-year business plan, and there are others that choose to have a 5-year business plan.

As a business owner, it’s up to you to know how to structure a business plan that best represents your organization.

Whichever time frame you choose, here are 10 components of a business plan that you definitely need to keep in mind.

10 Components Of A Business Plan

Executive summary.

How to write one to three year business plan

The first thing that people will see on a business plan.

It’s a compelling summary of what you hope to accomplish with your business.

It highlights all the strong points of your business – your mission statement, products and services, and a brief explanation of how you started your business.

Most business experts suggest that you write this part last.

Description Of The Company

Writing a 5 year business plan

This part includes all the vital information about your company.

This is where you specify your goals (short term and long term), your target customers, and what factors differentiate your company in the specific industry that you’re a part of.

Description Of The Organization

Developing a business plan

This is where you outline your business organization and specify the details on the kind of business structure that you already have.

You can also include details on how you plan to restructure the company once you reach a certain milestone.

Don’t forget to introduce your upper management and give a brief description of their job responsibilities and skills.

You can also include a diagram of your company’s chain of command if you have it available.

Description Of Your Products And/Or Services

Best 5 year business plan

You can’t have a company without having products or services that you’re selling.

While you may have already briefly mentioned what you have on offer in the executive summary, this is the part where you give a more detailed description.

Always include features, benefits, and other relevant details that you think your readers would like to know. If you have suppliers, mention them as well.

Competitive Analysis

How to do a business plan

You should also give the lowdown on the competitors that you’re up against.

A good business plan will give information on where the business is positioned in comparison to their direct and indirection competitors.

By knowing their strengths and weaknesses, you give readers, especially investors, the impression that you know exactly how your business stacks up in your industry.

Market Analysis

How to build a business plan

This part shows that you’re aware of the ins and outs of your industry.

By using data and statistics you’ve gathered in your market research, you can have a better understanding of where the market has been and where it’s anticipated to go.

You can then show in your business plan how your company will fit in the current market.

Marketing Plan

How to develop a 5 year strategic plan for existing business

The marketing plan is one of the most important parts of a business plan because it lets readers know how you intend to get your products and services to your target market.

In this part, you can give a background on your target market and include opportunities you would like to take to get more people to recognize your brand.

Sales Strategy

How to write a business plan

In any business, marketing can only do so much.

You also need dedicated sales reps to turn brand awareness into actual sales.

When writing down your sales strategy, be sure to be as specific as you can with the numbers.

Like how many sales reps do you plan to hire over a period of time and what are their sales targets.

Funding Request

Creating a 5 year business plan

If you’re writing a business proposal to get more funding, this part should clearly let investors know how much you need.

When writing this part down, make sure to be specific on how you plan to use the additional capital.

You should also disclose if you’ll need your capital replenished in the next couple of years.

Financial Goals

5 year business plan outline

Don’t forget to write your financial projections over the next couple of years.

In order to show that you’re a viable business, you need to create a report on your anticipated revenue based on market research.

Since you’re writing a 5-year business plan, you should disclose your projected earnings for the second to the fifth year of business.

Not all business plans will look the same so don’t get discouraged if your business plan looks nothing like that of another company’s.

As long as you have the key components that were mentioned above, this important business document should keep you on the right track.

Small business 5 year plan

But what if you’re still in the early stages of operating a new business?

Is it practical to create a 5-year business plan if you have no idea what could happen to your business 5 years from now?

Well, if you want your business to be growing in 5 years, then the answer is yes.

It may be hard to envision where your business is headed that far out, but that’s what a strategic business plan is for.

It gives you the opportunity to plan for different scenarios that could affect your business.

Whether it’s a sudden drop in the stock market or a product’s failure to launch, having a business plan can help you prepare for any challenges that you might encounter along the way.

Here are 7 steps to creating a business plan forecast.

7 Steps To Developing A Business Plan

Do your research.

Writing a business plan

In order to know how to write a business plan for your company, you need to do your research.

Investors aren’t going to put their money into an idea that isn’t backed up by top-notch information.

Aside from ironing out the details of your internal operations, you need to immerse yourself in the industry so that you know every single topic that is related to the business.

As much as you would like to include every single detail into your plan, you need to keep in mind that you’re writing material that you’ll be using in your presentations and pitches.

Since you’ll be presenting your business plan to busy people, your business plan needs to be concise.

Avoid turning it into a brain dump of everything and anything that’s related to your industry.

Know The Purpose Of Your Business Plan

Creating a business plan forecast

Once you have your information, the next thing that you need to do is to know the purpose of your business plan.

Are you going to use it to get more funding?

Is it going to serve as a historical document? Whatever your reasons are, make sure to define your purpose for your business plan clearly.

Part of knowing how to write a business plan is to understand your own personal motives in creating it.

Tell Your Story

How to write a business plan step by step

Stories sell, so if you want to know how to come up with a 5-year business plan, you need to give the reader a clear picture of what your company is about.

In the business world, this is what people call a company profile. It tells people how a company started and what it does in just a few paragraphs.

It’s designed to stick to a reader’s mind quickly so you have to be strategic with how you tell your story.

If there’s one thing that you want readers to remember about your company, what would you like it to be?

That’s all you need to think of when creating your company story or snapshot.

You don’t have to write this from scratch because if you already have one on your business website, you can just work with that.

Understand Your Audience

How to create a business plan

Not everyone reading your business plan is going to be an investor.

A company employee, for example, doesn’t need to know the exact figures of your expansion project.

If you want to get the most impact out of your work, you need to write different versions of your business plan for different audiences.

Part of planning your 5-year business plan is knowing the different people that you’ll be working with.

You can’t expect everyone to get on board with you with just one version of your business plan.

It’s just like applying for a job.

If you want to increase your chances of getting hired, you need to write different versions of your resume for different prospective employers.

Try To Be As Specific As You Can

How to create a 5 year business plan

Some business owners prefer to only highlight the selling points of their operations in the hopes that it will make their business seem more viable.

While it can be tempting to leave out the not-so-ideal details of your business, investors will wonder where the company is in the bigger picture.

Investors are aware that every venture has its pros and cons so it’s better that you just come out in the open with it.

You need to detail the status of your company in full.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s also highly recommended that you also include your weaknesses, complete with strategies on how you plan to address them.

A complete and specific business plan is guaranteed to get you more support.

Plus, your investors will appreciate the transparency.

Make Sure That Your Business Plan And Your Marketing Plan Are Cohesive

How to make a business plan

One of the biggest mistakes that most rookie business owners make is developing a business plan without knowing how their product or service is going to be sold.

While a business plan often includes a segment on marketing efforts, you need to have a separate document that describes in detail how you’re going to sell your products and services to consumers.

Your separate marketing plan document will show how you plan to communicate the value of the products and services, as well as how they’re going to be sold to your target market.

It should also include details like price, promos, and marketing platforms.

Highlight Your Motivation

Creating a business plan

Lastly, you need to include your motivation in your business plan.

Whether you’re writing a 1-year business plan or a 5-year business plan, you should include a part about your aspirations for your business.

It’s the part where you share your passions without sounding too melodramatic about it.

Where exactly do you write your motivation in your business plan?

Most business owners include it in the mission /vision part of the document.

The motivation needs to convince people that the venture will succeed.

For many entrepreneurs, a well-written business plan is more than just a document, it’s often a requirement for getting additional funding for their companies.

It doesn’t just help convince investors that the business is viable,  it also provides them with a set of benchmarks that they can hold the business partner accountable to.

Elements of a business plan

It may be too idealistic to say that a business plan can help you in your fundraising efforts, but the reality is, you can’t get an investor interested in your idea if you don’t have anything to show for it.

Before you can write a business plan for investors, you need to think about 2 things.

How much money do you need exactly and what are you going to spend it on?

It’s unlikely for an investor to simply write you a check without showing the slightest interest on where the money is going.

With that said, here are some things you need to keep in mind when writing a business plan for your investors.

How To Write A Business Plan For Investors

Work on your executive summary.

How to create a one year business plan

Here’s the hard truth.

Investors, especially those who have been doing it for years, receive so many business plans that they all start to look the same over the course of time.

If you want to create a 5-year business plan that will get noticed, you need to spend some time crafting your executive summary.

Write your executive summary the same way you would craft your elevator pitch.

To seize the interest of your readers.

Always Backup Your Claims With Facts And Figures

Business plan

Investors more often than not are more focused on the numbers than the words so it’s important that you always backup your claims with research.

Sure, your business plan might answer all the obvious questions but you also need to prepare yourself with studies and statistics – just in case.

Always try to cover all your bases.

Make Sure That Your Document Is Complete

Creating a one year plan for a business

Always double and triple check your business plan before sending it out.

Investors are usually very busy people so they tend to skip sections when going over business plans.

Since you only get one chance to make an impression, make sure that you give a complete and well-written document.

This will give you better odds of getting the financing that you’re applying for.

As a business owner and an industry leader, it’s up to you to decide the path that you want your company to take.

This is why it’s important that you drive the writing of your company’s business plan yourself.

If there’s anyone who should have ownership over the plan, it’s you.

Now, if you simply don’t know how to come up with a business plan, you can ask your management team to work on this with you.

Once you’re done, turn it over to a freelance editor who can proofread and polish the document for you.

Are you working on a business plan for your company? How is this going?

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how to make a 5 year business plan


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Pfizer swings to quarterly loss due to Paxlovid, Covid vaccine write-offs


  • Pfizer reported a quarterly loss for the third quarter as the drugmaker recorded charges largely related to struggles for its Covid antiviral treatment Paxlovid and the Covid vaccine.
  • The pharmaceutical giant also reiterated the full-year adjusted earnings and revenue guidance it announced two weeks ago amid weakening demand for coronavirus products.
  • That decline in demand also led Pfizer to announce a sweeping $3.5 billion cost-cutting plan at the same time. 

In this article

Pfizer swings to quarterly loss due to Paxlovid, Covid vaccine write-offs

Pfizer on Tuesday reported a narrower-than-expected adjusted loss for the third quarter as the drugmaker recorded charges largely related to struggles for its Covid antiviral treatment Paxlovid and the Covid vaccine .

Pfizer said it recorded a $5.6 billion charge for inventory write-offs in the third quarter due to lower-than-expected use of Covid products. Of these previously announced write-offs, $4.7 billion is chalked up to Paxlovid and $900 million is attributed to the company's vaccine.

The pharmaceutical giant also reiterated the full-year adjusted earnings and revenue guidance it announced two weeks ago, which is drastically lower than its initial projections due to weakening demand for its Covid products. That decline in demand also led Pfizer to announce a sweeping $3.5 billion cost-cutting plan at the same time. 

Those efforts were seen as necessary to shore up investor sentiment as Pfizer and its rivals such as Moderna struggle to navigate the rapid decline of their Covid businesses, which are transitioning to the commercial market in the U.S. this year.

Here's what Pfizer reported for the third quarter compared to what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Loss per share: 17 cents, adjusted vs. 34 cents expected
  • Revenue: $13.23 billion vs. $13.34 billion expected

Pfizer's stock closed flat Tuesday. Shares of Pfizer are down roughly 40% for the year, putting the company's market value at around $172 billion.

Pfizer reported third-quarter revenue of $13.23 billion, down 42% from the same period a year ago, due to the decline in sales of its Covid products.

The company's Covid vaccine raked in $1.31 billion in sales, down 70% from the year-ago quarter. Analysts had expected the shot to bring in $1.53 billion in sales, according to FactSet estimates.

Paxlovid posted $202 million in revenue, a drop of 97%. Analysts had expected $613.5 million in sales of the drug, according to FactSet estimates.

Together, the products pulled in around $1.5 billion in revenue for the quarter. That compares with roughly $12 billion in sales during the same period a year ago.

For the third quarter, Pfizer booked a net loss of $2.38 billion, or 42 cents per share. That compares to a net income of $8.61 billion, or $1.51 per share, during the same period a year ago. 

Excluding certain items, the company's loss per share was 17 cents for the quarter. The inventory write-offs of Covid products accounted for an 84 cent per share adjusted loss, Pfizer CFO David Denton said during an earnings call on Tuesday.

Pfizer reiterated the guidance it outlined in October: The company expects 2023 sales of $58 billion to $61 billion and full-year adjusted earnings of $1.45 to $1.65 per share.

The company anticipates that its Covid vaccine will rake in $11.5 billion in sales this year.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical giant expects its Covid antiviral treatment Paxlovid to bring in $1 billion in revenue. Pfizer has agreed to take eight million Paxlovid courses back early from the U.S. government, which is part of an effort to get more higher-priced sales of the drug on the commercial market.

Denton said 2023 will inform the company's expectations for vaccination rates and Covid product utilization rates in the U.S. next year.

Pfizer's non-Covid drugs

Excluding Covid products, Pfizer said revenue for the quarter grew 10% operationally.

The company said that growth was partly fueled by its new vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, which entered the market during the quarter for seniors and expectant mothers. The shot, known as Abrysvo, posted $375 million in sales for the period. 

Pfizer is "really pleased" with the performance of Abrysvo, which exceeded the company's expectations, chief commercial officer Angela Hwang said during the earnings call. 

She added that there is "very fast uptake" and Pfizer expects that momentum to continue.

Recently acquired drugs also drove revenue. Biohaven Pharmaceuticals' migraine drug Nurtec ODT and Global Blood Therapeutics' sickle cell disease treatment Oxbryta drew in $233 million and $85 million, respectively.

The company said revenue was also fueled by strong sales of Vyndaqel drugs, which are used to treat a certain type of cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle. Those drugs booked $892 million in sales, up 48% from the third quarter of 2022.

A group of shots to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia also contributed, raking in $1.85 billion in sales for the quarter, up 15% from the year-ago period. 

Meanwhile, Pfizer's blood thinner Eliquis posted $1.49 billion in revenue for the third quarter, up just 2% from a year ago. That came in slightly under analysts' estimates of $1.54 billion, according to FactSet.

Eliquis, which is marketed in partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb , is among the first 10 drugs to face Medicare drug price negotiations.

Wells Fargo analyst Mohit Bansal said in a research note Tuesday that the operational revenue growth during the quarter "bodes well" for Pfizer to meet its full-year guidance of 6% to 8% growth for non-Covid products compared to 2022. 

Pfizer drug pipeline, M&A

Pfizer is hoping to shift investor focus away from Covid toward its growth opportunities, including mergers and acquisitions and a record pipeline.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla noted that the company is nearing its goal of launching 19 new products or drug indications in an 18-month span – a target set last year. Indications refer to using a drug for a different disease type.

The company had a busy few months of product launches, which included a vaccine for RSV , an ulcerative colitis pill, a meningococcal vaccine and of course, the newest version of its Covid vaccine. That brings Pfizer to 13 out of 19 planned product launches.

Among the six remaining product launches is Pfizer's experimental flu vaccine, which it expects to launch after 2024. The company on Tuesday announced that its shot achieved positive initial results when compared to a currently marketed flu vaccine in an ongoing late-stage trial on people ages 18 to 64.

But investors are still waiting for more data on Pfizer's flu vaccine in adults 65 and older. People 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu, compared with young, healthy adults. Between 70% and 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths in the U.S. occurred among people 65 years and older in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Investors are also waiting for updates on a midstage trial of Pfizer's oral obesity pill danuglipron , which could potentially compete with Eli Lilly 's experimental obesity pill orforglipron. Positive data could solidify Pfizer as a viable competitor in the weight loss drug space, which Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have so far dominated.

Pfizer executives said that the company expects to close its $43 billion acquisition of cancer therapy maker Seagen in late 2023 or early 2024, subject to customary closing conditions such as clearance by the Federal Trade Commission.

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, already approved the proposed buyout earlier this month.

Pfizer continues to believe the deal could contribute more than $10 billion in risk-adjusted sales by 2030. 

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  1. How To Write A Business Plan STEP BY STEP Guide + FREE Business Plan Template

  2. How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step l INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS PLAN WRITING

  3. WHY Write a Business PLAN for Your NEW BUSINESS

  4. 3 Effective Ways to Plan Your Business

  5. 5 বছর ব্যবসা করে কোটিপতি

  6. How do I develop a 10-year business plan?


  1. 5 Steps to Write a 5-Year Business Plan[2023 Guide]

    14 min. read Updated October 27, 2023 Learn why the traditional way of writing a five-year business plan is often a waste of time and how to use a one-page plan instead for smarter, easier strategic planning to establish your long-term vision.

  2. 11 Steps for Writing a 5-Year Business Plan

    1. Write an executive summary Include this section at the beginning of your five-year business plan to summarize all the other sections within the plan, and to help employees and investors quickly understand the key points that you may cover within the plan.

  3. How to Write an Achievable 5 Year Plan (Template and 2 Examples)

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  4. How to Create a 5-Year Plan (Plus Template and Examples)

    Here are the basic steps you should take to create your five-year plan: 1. Consider what you want for your life Start by simply evaluating what you want for your life within the next five years. Thoughtfully, and privately, consider what will make you happy in the future and provide you with a feeling of accomplishment.

  5. How to Write a Business Plan in 10 Steps

    We've broken each section down to help you write a business plan in a few simple steps. 1. Brainstorm and Draft an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan. This will be the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your business' written elevator pitch.

  6. How to Create a 5-Year Plan You'll Actually Stick To [In 4 Steps]

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  7. The Basics of Writing a Business Plan

    1. Your basic business concept. This is where you discuss the industry, your business structure, your particular product or service, and how you plan to make your business a success. To use the ...

  8. [Updated 2023] How to Write a Five Year Business Plan [Best Templates

    It is quite simple. You cannot achieve something great when you don't know your priorities, objectives, ways, and timeframe to achieve those targets. It is essential to build a five-year plan for your business as well as the outcomes and expectations related to it. But where do you start? Here are the five sections you must include in your plan:

  9. How to Write a Five Year Plan: 15 Steps

    2. Prioritize your goals: Rank your objectives in order of importance to ensure you focus on high-priority goals first. 3. Break down long-term goals into smaller milestones: Divide your five-year plan into annual or semi-annual achievable targets, making it more manageable and achievable. 4.

  10. Daylight saving 2023: Here are the states that want it to end : NPR

    Twice a year, every year, the ritual returns as literal clockwork: the start or end of daylight saving time. ... This season's turnover time is 2 a.m. on Nov. 5, meaning residents of most states ...

  11. Write your business plan

    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.

  12. Five-year business plan: why you need one and how to write it

    Final thoughts What is a five-year business plan? A five-year business plan gives an overview of what a business does, what it intends to do and how it plans to do it. It includes everything from vision statements to market research, strategic planning and financial forecasts.

  13. PDF How to write a strategic plan

    Preparing a long, ambitious, 5 year plan that sits on a shelf Finding a balance between process and a final product Communicating and executing the plan Lack of alignment between mission, action, and finances

  14. How to Develop a 5-Year Career Plan

    How to Develop a 5-Year Career Plan. Published on October 31, 2023. Creating a five-year career plan can reduce stress, enhance employability, and strengthen your sense of purpose. Mary McNevin, Ed. D. for Harvard Business Review explains to build this plan, start by brainstorming your career aspirations, skills, and areas for improvement.

  15. How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

    1. Write an executive summary This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or...

  16. 11 steps for writing a strategic 5-year business plan

    Maintain focus The business plan helps keep focus and alignment with the business's ambitions. It serves as a reminder of its aims and future goals and how it can best get there. The plan also focuses on why the business is a worthy investment for potential suitors.

  17. How to Write a Winning Business Plan

    How to Write a Winning Business Plan. by. Stanley R. Rich. and. David E. Gumpert. From the Magazine (May 1985) A comprehensive, carefully thought-out business plan is essential to the success of ...

  18. How To Write A Business Plan (2023 Guide)

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  19. How to Write a Five Year Plan

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    Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses.

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    How to Write a Five-Year Business Plan. To make an effective five-year business plan, it needs to have a complete set of strategies and important details that helps your business plan. A goal and an executive summary are the most common things in a business plan. Here are four simple steps to follow to make an effective five-year business plan.

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    There are seven main components of a business plan. 1. Executive summary. The executive summary provides an overview of your plan and business. Although it comes first, it's best to write it last when you have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve. Try to keep the executive summary to a single page.

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    How to Write a 5-Year Business Plan Develop Long-term Growth Targets Making a Good Business Future To run and grow a successful business, planning is crucial. A typical business plan covers the next one to three years and details your target audience, marketing strategy, and products or services for that time period.

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  25. How to Write a Five-Year Business Plan

    5. Analyze your competition in the next section. Include who the main competitors are, how your company is different and how you plan on capturing market share from competitors. Perhaps your ...

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    Prepare an executive summary. This section outlines your goals, objectives, strategies and your expertise in achieving the results you project. When seeking loans or investment, this is the most...

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    Executive Summary The first thing that people will see on a business plan. It's a compelling summary of what you hope to accomplish with your business. It highlights all the strong points of your business - your mission statement, products and services, and a brief explanation of how you started your business.

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