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Simplify Your Processes with a Free Workflow Process Template
In today’s fast-paced business environment, streamlining processes is crucial to maintaining efficiency and productivity. One effective way to achieve this is by utilizing a workflow process template. These templates provide a structured framework that guides you through each step of a specific process, ensuring consistency and clarity for everyone involved. What’s even better is that there are numerous free workflow process templates available online, allowing you to simplify your processes without breaking the bank.
The Benefits of Using a Workflow Process Template
Implementing a workflow process template can bring several benefits to your organization. Firstly, it promotes consistency. By following a predefined structure, all team members will understand their roles and responsibilities within the process, leading to greater efficiency and fewer errors. Moreover, it ensures that every step is completed in the correct order, minimizing confusion or missed tasks.
Secondly, using a workflow process template enhances communication within your team. With clear instructions provided in the template, employees can easily understand what needs to be done at each stage of the process. This eliminates any ambiguity and encourages collaboration among team members.
Additionally, workflow process templates enable better tracking and accountability. As each task is clearly defined in the template, it becomes easier to monitor progress and identify any bottlenecks or areas for improvement. This allows you to identify potential issues early on and take appropriate action before they become significant problems.
Where to Find Free Workflow Process Templates
Now that we understand the benefits of using workflow process templates let’s explore where you can find them for free.
Online Template Libraries: Many websites offer free access to various types of templates, including workflow processes. Websites like Template.net and Trello provide an extensive collection of customizable templates that cater to different industries and purposes.
Software Platforms: Some project management software platforms like Asana and Monday.com offer built-in workflow templates as part of their features. These platforms often provide templates specific to different departments or industries, making it easier to find one that suits your needs.
Online Communities: Participating in online communities or forums related to your industry can be a great way to connect with professionals who have already created and shared their workflow process templates. Websites like Reddit and LinkedIn groups often have active discussions on topics like process optimization, where members willingly share their resources.
Customizing Your Workflow Process Template
While free workflow process templates offer a solid foundation, it’s important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Each organization has its own unique processes and requirements. Therefore, customizing the template to align with your specific needs is essential.
Start by reviewing the template and identifying any steps or sections that don’t apply to your organization’s workflow. Remove or modify these elements accordingly. Next, consider adding any additional steps or information that are crucial for your team’s success but may not be included in the template.
Furthermore, don’t shy away from incorporating your branding into the template. Adding your company logo and color scheme can help reinforce a sense of ownership and make the template feel more aligned with your organization’s values.
Implementing Your Workflow Process Template
Now that you have chosen a free workflow process template and made necessary customizations let’s discuss how you can effectively implement it within your organization.
Firstly, provide clear instructions on how to access and use the template. Share it with all relevant team members through a centralized platform such as email or project management software. Ensure everyone understands where they can find the latest version of the template and how they should update or complete each section.
Secondly, conduct training sessions if required. Depending on the complexity of the process, some employees may benefit from additional guidance on using the template effectively. These training sessions can also serve as an opportunity for feedback gathering and addressing any questions or concerns related to the template.
Lastly, regularly review and update your workflow process template. As your organization evolves, so do your processes. Periodically assess the effectiveness of the template and make necessary adjustments to ensure it remains relevant and useful.
In conclusion, by using a free workflow process template, you can simplify your processes, enhance communication and collaboration within your team, and achieve greater efficiency. Take advantage of the numerous free resources available online, customize the template to fit your organization’s needs, and implement it effectively to reap the benefits of a streamlined workflow.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
MORE FROM ASK.COM
Simple Business Plan Templates
By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020
In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.
On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.
Simple Business Plan Template
Download Simple Business Plan Template
This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.
One-Page Business Plan Template
Download One-Page Business Plan Template
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business.
For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."
Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.
For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."
Simple Business Plan for Startup
Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word
This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."
Simple Small-Business Plan Template
Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template
This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.
Lean Business Plan Template
Download Lean Business Plan Template
This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.
Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Word | PDF
Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.
Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Excel | Smartsheet
This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.
Simple Business Plan Rubric Template
Download Simple Business Plan Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.
Basic Business Plan Sample
Download Basic Business Plan Sample
This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.
For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”
Main Components of a Business Plan
The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business.
Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:
- Company name and contact information
- Website address
- The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
- Table of Contents
- Company background and purpose
- Mission and vision statement
- Management team introduction
- Core product and service offerings
- Target customers and segments
- Marketing plan
- Competitive analysis
- Unique value proposition
- Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
- Business and industry overview
- Historical timeline of your business
- Offerings and the problem they solve
- Current alternatives
- Competitive advantage
- Market size
- Target market segment(s)
- Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
- Differentiation from competitors
- Pricing strategy
- Marketing channels
- Promotional plan
- Distribution methods
- Legal structure of your business
- Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
- Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
- Staffing requirements and training plans
- Physical location(s) of your business
- Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
- Production workflow
- Raw materials and sourcing methods
- Projected income statement
- Projected cash flow statement
- Projected balance sheet
- Break-even analysis
- Charts and graphs
- Market research and competitive analysis
- Information about your industry
- Information about your offerings
- Samples of marketing materials
- Other supporting materials
Tips for Creating a Business Plan
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan.
- Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
- Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
- Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
- Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
- Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
- Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
- Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
- What product or service are we offering?
- Who is the product or service for?
- What problem does our product or service offering solve?
- How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
- Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
- How can we outperform our competitors?
- What is our unique value proposition?
- When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
- If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
- When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
- What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
- When do you expect to be profitable?
To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .
Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template
Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:
- Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
- Provides structure to help outline your plan
- Saves time and valuable resources
- Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details
Limitations of a Business Plan Template
A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.
Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:
- Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
- A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
- Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
- You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
- Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).
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Simple business plan template for startup founders
Most new businesses that fail do so for one of two reasons: (1) lack of market need and/or (2) no more cash.
These two reasons account for more than 70% of new businesses not making it. However, both causes can often be avoided if founders invest upfront time in developing a carefully researched business plan.
A simple business plan template provides a proven framework to start from, concisely helps structure ideas, and shows potential investors what an organized and professional team looks like — one that can bring this business idea to market.
This article will share our custom-developed, simple business plan template, cover what should be included, and more.
Get the template
What is a simple business plan template?
A business plan is a written document outlining how a company intends to achieve its primary objectives — obtaining a particular market share, growing revenue, or reaching the next round of funding.
Download Excel template
While companies of all stages and sizes use business plans, they are beneficial for startups, as they can be the key to attaining funding.
A business plan template is a customizable document that provides all the crucial and necessary elements of a great business plan, allowing company leaders to start from a solid and established foundation rather than from scratch.
A simple business plan template typically includes:
- table of contents
- executive summary
- company description
- analysis of the target market
- description of the management team
- details of the product or service
- financial forecasts
- funding requirements
- appendices such as legal documents, permits, patents, and licenses
Business plans can quickly become huge, cumbersome documents, requiring a significant time investment from the creator. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends business plans be between 30 and 50 pages long.
While there is some benefit to spending this time developing a comprehensive business plan, agility is often more critical in the startup business world. That’s the main reason why simple business plan templates exist.
Simple business plan templates typically follow a structure outlining goals, teams, and financials.
- Company description : What does the business do? What problems does it solve?
- Team : Who is involved? What key hires have been made? What expertise do they bring to the table? Why are they the right team to get the job done?
- Industry and competitive analysis: Who are the company’s competitors? What are they doing well and not so well? What opportunities exist to differentiate and be successful in this industry?
- Target market: Who are the customers being targeted? What are their interests? What are their everyday challenges and goals?
- Timeline : What are the critical dates for tasks/goals?
- Marketing plan : How will the plan attract new customers?
- Financial plan : What do current revenue streams, cash on hand, revenue structure, required funding or funding already received, etc., look like.
Why use a simple business plan template?
We highly recommend founders use a simple business plan template, mainly for the speed and agility they offer.
Creating a business plan takes time and effort, no matter how many times it’s been done. Even a simple, one-page business plan designed for small businesses requires a fair bit of research.
Each section of the business needs to be analyzed. First, it’s essential to understand the market conditions and have a step-by-step plan. Then finally, it’s necessary to determine the plan’s structure.
Templates are even more crucial for first-time startup founders.
It’s understandable not to be super-confident in the first (or 2nd or 3rd) business plan writing process. A proven framework will help all — even seasoned veterans, ensure they:
- Don’t miss any critical elements.
- Structure ideas neatly and concisely.
- Foster a sense of professionalism, improving the confidence of potential investors
What are some examples of simple business plan templates?
These sample business plan templates serve as a great jumping-off point. Use them as inspiration. Take note of the similarities across the different examples.
1. One-page business plan template
A one-page business plan template is perfect for creating a plan to bring to the next startup pitch. But of course, supplementing the template with appendices for financial reports like balance sheets or income statements is important.
Summarizing the entire business into a single page is a great exercise. It ensures a robust and concise knowledge of each area of operation, creating more confidence to discuss each point with potential investors.
( Image Source )
2. Simple business plan template in Excel
While Excel does not have all the bells and whistles, it’s still a popular and widely-used platform — one that many founders choose to use to create simple business plans. This template can be used for any type of business, though it’s built for early-stage startups to plan out the first few months in business.
Notice how the template breaks overall costs down into smaller, more detailed items. This is useful to understand better the costs associated with starting a new business. Noting when those costs are owed also helps business owners monitor cash flow.
3. Startup business plan template
Here’s another excellent example of a business plan template built for startups.
What’s great about this template is rather than providing simple headers for each section, it includes questions and prompts to help guide the necessary information.
4. Lean business plan template
Lean business is a style of startup operation that focuses on minimizing waste, moving fast, and keeping costs low. It’s a popular methodology for companies wanting to get off the ground quickly and build revenue without raising significant funding.
This business plan template supports startups based on the lean concept, allowing for a simple, single-page business plan with minimal time investment.
monday.com’s simple business plan template
Most free business plan templates come in PDF, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word formats. Unfortunately, while these are popular formats and tools, they don’t tend to be particularly collaborative.
Have a distributed team? The monday.com simple business plan template will be your best friend.
Customize it to include all the fields necessary for a stellar business plan plus any additional ones unique to your business. But the most significant benefit of the template is the platform it’s built on .
The monday.com Work OS means building apps and workflows is simple. Customizing fields and columns to fit what the company is already doing, not the other way around. For example, once a business plan has been created using the monday.com simple template, it’s super-easy to set up a collaborative board to manage the marketing plan , assign tasks and due dates to employees and freelancers, and turn that business plan into reality.
Simple business plan template tips & tricks
Here are a few tips to make the most of this template and create a business plan that works.
1. Use simple, approachable language.
The goal is for people to read the business plan, right? Using everyday language over complex jargon and corporate terminology is an excellent place to start. Then, ensuring anyone who comes across the plan will have no issue understanding its meaning.
2. Write the executive summary last.
The executive summary is a short section that summarizes every aspect of the business plan. So, first, write the entire plan. THEN write the executive summary.
3. Supplement the business plan with supporting documents
While simple business plans are fast and effective, they leave out a lot of information by nature. Consider supplementing the plan with appendices such as financial statements , data sets, and market analyses.
4. Be conservative with financial estimates.
Where possible, financial projections should be based on real-life data. But even with the most accurate and up-to-date information out there, there’s always room for interpretation. So it’s best to give a range where possible, and if not, stay conservative with financial estimates.
5. Include thorough research and analysis
Invest the time early on and capture accurate, comprehensive data to support all claims. Interview customers and prospects to get a realistic picture of the target audience. Consider hiring a professional firm to provide a market research report.
FAQs about simple business plan templates
How do i write a simple business plan.
Simple business plans can be as little as one page with concise writing. Include information for each of these sections:
- Company description : What does the company do and sell? What problems does it solve?
- Team : Who works for the company, and what value do they provide?
- Industry : What competitors or other options exist?
- Target market : What does the ideal customer look like?
- Marketing strategy and plan : What is the plan to bring in new customers?
- Financial plan : What do the revenue streams look like?
What are the 7 parts of a business plan?
A 7-part business plan starts with the executive summary, moves on to describe the company, and finishes with financials.
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Organization and management team
- Products and services
- Market analysis
- Strategy and implementation timeline
- Financial plan and projections
What are common mistakes in a business plan?
Typical business plan mistakes include:
- not being research-driven
- unrealistic financial estimates
- providing too much information
- not using data to back up claims
- not offering an analysis of the competitive landscape
- only outlining vague goals and priorities
Simple Business Plan Template for Startups, Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs
Our simple business plan template.
A business plan template is a document that allows you to quickly write a detailed business plan. Among other things, it includes all key business plan sections: an executive summary, company description, industry and market analyses, competitive overview, marketing and operations plans, management team and five year financial projections. Get started writing your business plan today by using our simple business plan template.
Growthink’s business plan template is the result of 20+ years of research into the business plans that help entrepreneurs and small business owners attract potential investors, raise investment capital, and build successful companies.
Using our traditional business plan format, you will be able to write a proper business plan for your new or growing business. It will also help you lay out your business goals and your strategies for reaching them.
Importantly, our simple business plan template allows you to create a winning business plan much faster than starting from scratch. Use our template now to complete your plan for your startup or established business and achieve the success you desire.
Next Section: Executive Summary >
BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE OUTLINE
- Business Plan Template Home
1. Executive Summary
- 2. Company Overview
- 3. Industry Analysis
- 4. Customer Analysis
- 5. Competitive Analysis
- 6. Marketing Plan
- 7. Operations Plan
- 8. Management Team
- 9. Financial Plan
- 10. Appendix
- Business Plan Summary
Start Your Business Plan Here
Writing a Business Plan and Business Plan Template FAQs
How can i access growthink’s ultimate business plan template.
Download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and complete a solid business plan and your financial statements in hours.
How Do You Write a Business Plan in Microsoft Word?
Our startup business plan template includes an outline of each of the 10 key sections to help you write a plan to start a new business, grow your existing business, and/or help you secure funding such as a business loan from the Small Business Administration, local bank, grants, angel investors, venture capitalists, or from other financial institutions.
Unlike our premium version, our free templates do not include all the key sub-sections, the questions that walk you through step-by-step, the professional cover page designs, nor the financial projections template that allows you to create a professional financial plan in minutes.
Click here to learn more about the World’s #1 Best-Selling Business Plan Template .
Where can i download a free business plan template pdf.
You can access our business plan pdf download here. This is a pdf version of our basic business plan template .
Our free business plan template pdf includes everything you need to include in your plan- executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management plan, financial plan and appendix- and the key questions that each must answer. This free business plan template pdf will definitely get you started in the right direction.
We do offer a premium version of our business plan template. Click here to learn more about it. The premium version includes numerous features not available in the free template . Its most touted feature is its financial projections template which allows you to simply enter your estimated sales and growth rates, and it automatically calculates your complete five-year financial projections including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements . Here’s the link to our Ultimate Business Plan Template.
How Do I Write a Simple Business Plan?
Steps to write a simple business plan template, company overview.
- What type of company are you operating (e.g., a software company, a bakery, etc.)?
- Are you offering a product or a service?
- What is the legal structure of your company (e.g., sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, etc.)?
- What is your mission statement and value proposition?
- What is the company’s history?
- What is your business model and business idea?
- Is there a market pain that your business solves?
- What is it about your company that makes it (or will make it) uniquely qualified to succeed?
- What milestones has your company achieved to demonstrate success?
2. Industry Analysis
- In what market are you competing (e.g., the fast-food market, the running shoe market)?
- How big is the industry and is that size big enough?
- Are there positive or negative trends affecting the market (e.g., is it growing/shrinking, is government regulation on the horizon that could change the market analysis)?
3. Customer Analysis
- Who are your target customers?
- What are their primary needs when choosing a product/service provider such as your company?
4. Competitive Analysis
- With whom will your company compete and how will your company better serve customer needs than your competitors?
- How else will you “beat” your competition? What are your key points of differentiation and your value proposition?
- How does your product or service compare to those offered by the competition?
5. Marketing Plan
- What is your product or service offering?
- What marketing and sales strategies will you use to attract customers? and what promotional methods will you employ (e.g., radio advertising, pay-per-click ads) ?
- How will you price your product or service?
- What discounts or promotions will you offer?
6. Management Team
Key members of the team.
- Who is on your management team?
- What experiences, relationships, etc. do they possess that will help your venture succeed? Have they ever run other businesses?
- Are there key employees that you must hire in the future to improve your company’s odds of success?
- Do you have any business partners that take part in developing the business strategy?
7. Financial Plan
- What is the main financial information about your company (revenue and expense projections) ?
- How much outside funding (if any) do you need? What are your specific needs? (equipment, supplies,e etc.)
- What are your revenue streams? How much revenue can you really generate each year over the next five years?
- Are the profit margins high enough to sustain the company?
- What are your loss projections?
Completing this simple business plan template will provide a road map to completing your business plan and force you to answer key questions about your company which will help in determining its feasibility and likelihood for success.
For example, in choosing the ideal promotions strategy to attract new clients, you will be able to estimate the cost of acquiring new customers. This will allow you to compare that cost to your estimated customer lifetime value and ensure healthy profit margins are possible (or not).
Likewise , a competitive analysis might alert you to stiffer competition than you imagined and prompt you to opt for a new business idea or creatively come up with ways to outmaneuver competitors.
On a similar note, in completing this lean business plan , you might realize the market size isn’t big enough to support the large, thriving enterprise you’d like to create. Or perhaps market trends are moving away from the problems your company’s products and services solve.
Yet another example of the importance of this exercise is that it forces you to really think about your target customers. The better and more narrowly you can define your target customers, the more cost-effectively you’ll be able to attract them and the more successful you can be in developing a value proposition that appeals to them.
In any case, a simple business plan template allows you to better understand your venture and what it will take to make it successful.
Two additional types of simple business plan templates:
- One-page business plan- A one-page business plan is a compressed version of a traditional business plan that fits neatly into a single page. It usually includes only high level information about your business. Looking for a one-page business plan? Learn more and download our free one-page business plan template.
- Lean Business plan- A lean startup is supported by a one-page business plan that does not require extensive financial information, market research and/or business development plans. The lean startup needs to focus on factors that present immediate opportunities in order to gain a competitive advantage. Looking for a lean business plan? Learn more about the lean business planning process .
What are Some Examples of Business Plans?
It can be helpful to review sample business plans before starting your own business planning process. You can download our sample business plan pdf here to help you get started.
While this is a very common business plan template faq, remember, the most important part of your plan is to explain why your company is uniquely qualified to succeed, so resist the urge to copy a business plan sample completely. Also, importantly, a business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
We also have over 300 business plan examples and free business plan templates available for you to develop a professional business plan.
How Do I Write a Startup Business Plan?
A startup business plan is nearly identical to writing a business plan for an established business. The main difference between a startup business plan and business plans for an existing company is that established businesses should focus more on discussing past accomplishments and rely on historical data in their financial forecasts. In a startup business plan, the company needs to spend more time validating future forecasts since there’s no hard data on which to base them and proving that you will be a successful business owner.
A startup business plan template provides a road map to long-term success and business growth. It should include the same 10 key components of all business plans – executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management plan, financial plan and appendix.
Learn the step-by-step writing process for how to write a comprehensive business plan and get a startup business plan template.
Can Anyone Write a Business Plan?
While anyone can write a business plan following a traditional business plan template, it’s important to remember that the most important part of your plan is to explain why your company is uniquely qualified to succeed and have strong financial data to support your business idea. This is why it’s important to do your market research to have a clear understanding of your industry, market analysis, target customer, and competitive landscape.
If you have a complex business or need help writing a professional plan, it can be helpful to use business plan software , hire an expert business plan consulting firm, or a business plan writer. So, while you may want to write your business plan, the experience of a consultant can help you develop a more thorough and achievable business plan for you to attract investors, secure funding and/or grow your business. They will also be able to provide helpful tips to help navigate the business planning process.
Learn more about Growthink’s expert business plan consultants and how we help develop winning business plans.
How Can I Get a Printable Business Plan Template?
A business plan is a very important document for any business. It helps you to outline your goals and business objectives, as well as how you plan to achieve them. If you’re looking for a printable business plan template, there are a few different options available to you.
One option is to download a free business plan template . Be aware that free business plan templates are often generic for any type of business, so while it will help you write your business plan, you may need to do some additional editing before using them.
Another option is to purchase a template from a business planning company. These types of business plan templates are of higher quality and include a range of features that can help you to create professional-looking business plans and financial model including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for high-quality, printable business plan templates that are easy to edit, then a purchasing a business plan template is the best option. If you’re on a tight budget or you don’t need a lot of features, then a free, simple business plan template may be a better choice. Whichever option you choose, make sure to take the time to customize the template to fit your specific business.
Is a Business Plan Required For Funding?
Yes, a written business plan is nearly always required when seeking financing. You need a business plan whether you are a small business, a startup, an existing business looking to grow or a seasoned business owner. Business plans fall into three common categories: business plans for funding, those used for strategy, and business plans for both fundraising and strategy.
Regardless of their business model, many business owners use their business plans to raise bank loans to grow. The funding request allows them to acquire additional business resources and improve their financial health. New business owners often seek bank loans as well as funding from angel investors and/or friends and family.
Importantly, regardless of the source of funding you desire, a good business plan will stand out to a potential investor by showing compelling reasons why you will achieve financial success. A successful business plan must clearly highlight the business opportunity and want investors to buy in. Investors will recognize a well researched business plan. A winning business plan will help you achieve long-term success, business growth and secure funding.
What are the 10 Key Elements of a Business Plan?
10 key elements of a winning business plan.
Most business plans have the following 10 key components:
Industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.
A professional business plan will also include a table of contents and a nicely designed cover page. Business plans should also be customized with your specific information and designed to fit with your business concept.
Other Helpful Business Planning Articles & Templates
Do you want to increase the odds that your business startup will be a success? Download this step-by-step business plan template to lay the groundwork for your new business.
Writing a business plan allows you to carefully think through every step of starting your company so you can better prepare and handle any challenges. While a thorough business plan is essential in the financing process, it's helpful even if you don’t need outside financing.
Creating a business plan can:
- Help you discover any weaknesses in your business idea so you can address them before you open for business
- Identify business opportunities you may not have considered and plan how to take advantage of them
- Analyze the market and competition to strengthen your idea
- Give you a chance to plan strategies for dealing with potential challenges so they don’t derail your startup
- Convince potential partners, customers, and key employees that you’re serious about your idea and persuade them to work with you
- Force you to calculate when your business will make a profit and how much money you need to reach that point so that you can be prepared with adequate startup capital
- Determine your target market and how to reach them
A detailed, step-by-step plan gives you a blueprint you can refer to during the startup process and helps you maintain momentum.
What this business plan template includes
Writing a business plan for a startup can sometimes seem overwhelming. To make the process easier and more manageable, this template will guide you step-by-step. The template includes easy-to-follow instructions for completing each business plan section, questions to help you think through each aspect, and corresponding fillable worksheet/s for critical sections.
After you complete the 11 worksheets, you will have a working business plan for your startup to show your SCORE mentor .
Business plan sections covered in this template:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Management and Organization
- Startup Expenses and Capitalization
- Financial Plan
The Appendices include documents that supplement information in the body of the plan. These might be contracts, leases, purchase orders, intellectual property, key managers’ resumes, market research data or anything that supports assumptions or statements made in the plan.
The last section of the template, “Refining Your Plan,” explains ways to modify your plan for specific purposes, such as getting a bank loan, or for specific industries, such as retail or manufacturing.
Complete the Business Plan Template for a Startup Business to create a working business plan for your startup.
Then, contact a SCORE mentor to review and refine your plan online or in person.
Quick Start Business Plan The aim of this module is to give you the tools, direction and ideas you need to build a business plan. If you're starting a business then a business plan is essential, because it forces you to think through your ideas and options.
10 Business Planning Tips for Starting a Business In this webinar, you'll learn 10 business planning tips to help you start your entrepreneurial journey on the right path.
Business Plan 101: Sales & Marketing The sales and marketing section of your business plan describes how you intend to sell your product. Learn what you should include in this section.
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
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Simple Business Plan Template for Entrepreneurs
Follow This Business Plan Outline to Write Your Own
Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.
Pros and Cons of Using a Business Plan Template
Do i need a simple or detailed business plan, how to use this business plan template, table of contents, section 1: executive summary, section 2: business/industry overview.
- Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition
Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan
Section 5: ownership and management plan, section 6: operating plan, section 7: financial plan.
- Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits
Ariel Skelley / Getty Images
Think you have a great idea for a business? The best way to find out whether your idea is feasible is to create a business plan .
A solid, well-researched business plan provides a practical overview of your vision. It can be used to ground your ideas into workable actions and to help pitch your idea to financial institutions or potential investors when looking for funding.
The standard business plan consists of a single document divided into several sections for distinct elements, such as a description of the organization, market research, competitive analysis, sales strategies, capital and labor requirements, and financial data. Your plan may include more or fewer sections to best represent your business.
The template presented here will get you well on your way toward your simple business plan.
Generic, not customized
No financial guidance
Additional skills needed
- Ready-made layouts : Templates offer general guidance about what information is needed and how to organize it, so you’re not stuck looking at a blank page when getting started. Especially detailed templates may offer instructions or helpful text prompts along the way.
- Variations : If you know what type of business plan you need—traditional, lean, industry-specific—chances are you can find a specialized template.
- Free downloads : There are many free business plan templates available online, which can be useful for comparing formats and features, or refining your own.
- Generic, not customized : Templates typically contain just the basics, and there will still be a lot of work involved to tailor the template to your business. For instance, you'll have to reformat, refine copy, and populate tables.
- No financial guidance : You’ll need enough industry knowledge to apply financial models to your specific business, and the math skills to generate formulas and calculate figures.
- Additional skills needed : Some degree of tech savvy is required to integrate charts and graphs, merge data from spreadsheets, and keep it all up-to-date.
A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long. However, for a small business, it's best to keep the plan short and concise, especially if you're submitting it to bankers or investors . Around 35 to 50 pages should be sufficient, and more allowed for extras, such as photos of products, equipment, logos, or business premises or site plans. Your audience will likely prefer solid research and analysis over long, wordy descriptions.
An entrepreneur who creates a business plan is nearly twice as likely to secure financing and grow their business compared with those who do not have a plan.
The business plan template below is divided into sections as described in the table of contents. Each section can be copied into a document of your own; you may need to add or delete sections or make adjustments to fit your specific needs.
Once complete, be sure to format it attractively and get it professionally printed and bound. You want your business plan to convey the best possible impression. Make it engaging, something people will to want to pick up and peruse.
Enter your business information, including the legal name and address. If you already have a business logo, you can add it at the top or bottom of the title page.
- Business Plan for "Business Name"
- Business address
- Website URL
If you're addressing it to a company or individual, include:
- Presented to "Name"
- At "Company"
- Executive Summary................................................Page #
- Business/Industry Overview.................................Page #
- Market Analysis and Competition.........................Page #
- Sales and Marketing Plan.......................................Page #
- Ownership and Management Plan.......................Page #
- Operating Plan..........................................................Page #
- Financial Plan............................................................Page #
- Appendices and Exhibits........................................Page #
The executive summary introduces the plan, but it is written last. It provides a concise and optimistic overview of your business and should capture the reader's attention and create a desire to learn more. The executive summary should be no more than two pages long, with highlights or brief summaries of other sections of the plan.
- Describe your mission —what is the need for your new business? Sell your vision.
- Introduce your company briefly, sticking to vital details such as size, location, management, and ownership.
- Describe your main product(s) and/or service(s).
- Identify the customer base you plan to target and how your business will serve those customers.
- Summarize the competition and how you will get market share. What is your competitive advantage?
- Outline your financial projections for the first few years of operation.
- State your startup financing requirements.
This section provides an overview of the industry and explains in detail what makes your business stand out.
- Describe the overall nature of the industry, including sales and other statistics. Note trends and demographics, as well as economic, cultural, and governmental influences.
- Explain your business and how it fits into the industry.
- Mention the existing competition, which you'll expand upon in the following section.
- Identify what area(s) of the market you will target and what unique, improved, or lower-cost products and/or services you will offer.
Many business plans cover their products/services in a standalone section to add more detail or emphasize unique aspects.
Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition
This section focuses on the competitive factor of your business and justifies it with financial models and statistics. You need to demonstrate that you have thoroughly analyzed the target market, assessed the competition, and concluded that there is enough demand for your products/services to make your business viable.
- Define the target market(s) for your products/services in your geographic locale.
- Explain the need for your products/services.
- Estimate the overall size of the market and the units of your products/services that the target market might buy. Include forecasts of potential repeat-purchase volume and how the market might be affected by economic or demographic changes.
- Estimate the volume and value of your sales in comparison with any existing competitors. Highlight any key strengths over the competition in easily digestible charts and tables.
- Describe any helpful barriers to entry that may protect your business from competition, such as access to capital, technology, regulations, employee skill sets, or location.
You may opt to split the target market description and competitive analysis into two separate sections, if either (or both) portray your business especially favorably.
Here's where you dive into profits, giving detailed strategic view of how you intend to entice customers to buy your products and/or services, including advertising or promotion, pricing, sales, distribution, and post-sales support.
Product or Service Offerings
If your products and/or services don't take up a standalone section earlier in the plan, here is where you can answer the question: What is your unique selling proposition? Describe your products and/or services, how they benefit the customer and what sets them apart from competitor offerings.
How will you price your products/services? Pricing must be low enough to attract customers, yet high enough to cover costs and generate a profit. You can base pricing decisions on a number of financial models, such as markup from cost or value to the buyer, or in comparison with similar products and/or services in the marketplace.
Sales and Distribution
For products, describe how you plan to distribute to the customer. Will you be selling wholesale or retail? What type of packaging will be required? How will products be shipped? If you offer a service, how will it be delivered to the customer? What methods will be used for payment?
Advertising and Promotion
List the various forms of media you will use to get your message to customers (e.g., website, email, social media, or newspapers). Will you use sales promotional methods such as free samples and product demonstrations? What about product launches and trade shows? Don't forget more everyday marketing materials such as business cards, flyers, or brochures. Include an approximate budget.
This section describes the legal structure, ownership, and (if applicable) management and staffing requirements of your business.
- Ownership structure : Describe the legal structure of your company (e.g., corporation, partnership, LLC, or sole proprietorship ). List ownership percentages, if applicable. If the business is a sole proprietorship, this is the only section required.
- Management team : Describe managers and their roles, key employee positions, and how each will be compensated. Include brief résumés.
- External resources and services : List any external professional resources required, such as accountants, lawyers, or consultants.
- Human resources : List the type and number of employees or contractors you will need, and estimate the salary and benefit costs of each.
- Advisory board : Include an advisory board as a supplemental management resource, if applicable.
The operating plan outlines the physical requirements of your business, such as office, warehouse, or retail space; equipment; supplies; or labor. This section will vary greatly by industry; a large manufacturer, for instance, should provide full details about supply chain or specialty equipment, while a therapist's office can get by with a much shorter list.
If your business is a small operation (like a one-person, home-based consulting firm), you might choose to eliminate the operating plan section altogether and include the operating essentials in the business overview.
- Development : Explain what you have done to date to identify possible locations, sources of equipment, supply chains, and other relevant relationships. Describe your production workflow.
- Production : For manufacturing, explain how long it takes to produce a unit and when you'll be ready to start production. Include factors that may affect the time frame of production and how you'll deal with potential problems, such as rush orders.
- Facilities : Describe the physical location of the business. Include geographical or building requirements; square footage estimates (with room for expansion if expected); mortgage or leasing costs; and estimates of maintenance, utilities, and related overhead costs . Include zoning approvals and other permissions that are necessary in order to operate.
- Staffing : Outline expected staffing needs and the main duties of staff members, especially the key employees. Describe how the employees will be sourced and the employment relationship (i.e., contract, full-time, part-time) as well as any training needs and how these will be provided.
- Equipment : Include a list of any specialized equipment needed, along with cost, whether it will be leased or purchased, and sources.
- Supplies : If your business is, for example, manufacturing, retail, or food services, include a description of the materials needed, reliable sources, major suppliers, and how you will manage inventory.
The financial plan is the most important section for lenders or investors. The goal is to demonstrate that your business will grow and be profitable. To do this, you will need to create realistic predictions or forecasts.
To avoid inflated expectations, a prudent financial plan underestimates revenues and overestimates expenses.
- Income statements : The income statement displays projected revenues, expenses, and profit. Do this on a monthly basis for at least the first year for a startup business.
- Cash-flow projections : The cash-flow projection shows your monthly anticipated cash revenues and disbursements for expenses. To be considered a good credit risk, it is important to demonstrate that you can manage your cash flow.
- Balance sheet : The balance sheet is a snapshot summary of the assets, liabilities, and equity of your business at a particular point in time. For a startup, this would be on the day the business opens.
- Breakeven analysis : Including a breakeven analysis will demonstrate to lenders or investors what level of sales you need to achieve to make a profit.
Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits
The appendices and exhibits section contains any detailed information needed to support other sections of the plan.
Possible Appendix or Exhibit items include:
- Credit histories for the business owners
- Detailed market research and analysis of competitors
- Résumés of the owners and key employees
- Diagrams and/or research about your products and/or services
- Site, building, or office plans
- Copies of mortgage documents or equipment leases (or quotes)
- Marketing brochures and other materials
- References from business colleagues
- Links to your business website
- Any other material that may impress potential lenders or investors
SCORE. " Business Plan Template for a Startup Business ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write your business plan ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
U.S. Small Business Administration. " SBA Recommended Business Plans and Length ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
Bplans. " Why Plan Your Business? Look at This Data ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
Marketing MO. " Pricing Strategy ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
Incorporate.com. " Write a Business Plan, a Step-by-Step Guide ." Accessed April 29, 2021.
Startup Nation. " The Five Costs You're Most Likely to Underestimate in Your Business Plan ." Accessed April 28, 2021.
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Business plan template for small businesses, startups, & entrepreneurs
Business planning can feel complicated. it doesn't have to be. start putting pen to paper today with your free business plan template download..
Our free template includes:
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More than just a template, you'll learn how to write a winning business plan.
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You don't need to be an expert. This template makes business planning easy.
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Business plan template FAQ
What is a business plan template?
A business plan template is a document designed to help streamline your ability to write a business plan. It handles the structure and organization so that you can focus on filling in the blanks and defining the key aspects of your business.
Why choose this business plan template?
There are a few key features that make this business template more functional and effective than your average template.
- Written by planning experts: This business plan template wasn't just thrown together. It was crafted by seasoned planning experts with a combined 40 years of experience writing and reviewing business plans. Throughout this template, you find their expert tips and tricks, along with detailed instructions.
- Free course access: When you download your business plan template, you'll get access to a week-long email course covering critical business planning mistakes to avoid.
- Works with other Bplans resources: Need additional guidance to write your business plan? Our free business planning guide is built to support this template—giving you even more detailed walkthroughs for each section.
- Designed for funding: Even if you're not going right to the bank, using this template will prepare you to pursue funding and impress potential investors whenever you're ready. This template ensures your plan is in SBA format.
What is included in this business plan template?
This template includes definitions, guidance, and examples for every business plan component needed to start, fund, and grow your business. After downloading the full template, you'll receive instructions for how to fill out each of the following sections.
Executive summary: The brief summary of your business plan that introduces everyone to your business, the problem you solve, and what you're asking from your readers. It's the first chapter of your business plan and the last thing you write once you have the details from your full plan.
Problem & solution: More than a simple description of your products and services - here you define the problem you're solving and the value you provide. It's also your chance to showcase any initial traction that shows you're on the right track.
Market analysis and target market: A detailed assessment of the market you intend to enter, including the size and value of the market, potential customer segments, and their buying patterns.
Competition: Show that you know who your competitors are, what advantages you have, and how you're positioning your business to be competitive.
Marketing & sales: Describe how you'll reach and sell to potential customers with a detailed sales plan and chosen marketing channels.
Operations: What makes your business run? Outline the day-to-day workflows, and what still needs to be set up for your business to deliver a product or service.
Milestones & metrics: Set goals for your business that include the dates and people responsible to accomplish them. This is what you'll use to manage responsibilities, track growth, and execute your larger strategy.
Company overview and team: Provide a brief rundown of the legal and structural components of your company including your history, current team, and gaps you need to fill.
Financial plan: Create well-structured and accurate financial statements to help you pitch to investors, land funding, and achieve long-term success. All without the help of a financial advisor or a degree in accounting.
Appendix: While not required, this last section of your business plan is a great place to drop in additional documents that support and strengthen the rest of your plan.
What file formats are available for this business plan template?
You can download and use this business plan template as a Google Doc, .docx (Microsoft Word), or PDF.
Can you print out this template?
This is a printable business plan template that can be downloaded and printed no matter which format you choose.
Why should you start with a business plan template?
Starting with a good business plan template (like this one) includes everything you need to get started. It helps you organize your thoughts, and provides guidance, instructions, and examples to create an investor-ready and SBA-approved business plan format. It really speeds up the planning process. Oh, and it's 100% free!
Why do you need a business plan?
Writing a business plan will help you develop a strategy for success, reduce the risk of starting a business, explore new business ideas, attract investors, and get funding. Learn more about how you can get value out of your business plan .
Is writing a business plan easy?
Using a business plan template can make writing a business plan easier. Additionally, if you focus on just getting your information down quickly, with the expectation that you'll revisit and revise your plan, you can speed up and simplify the process .
What are the 5 elements of a business plan?
While there are more than five sections of a business plan, you can group the key elements of a plan into the executive summary, business opportunity, execution, company overview, and financial plan. Thinking of the plan in this way can help you break up the writing process and make tackling each strategic component a separate and focused task.
Can someone write your business plan for you?
If you're still struggling to write your business plan even when using a template, you can look into hiring a professional business plan writer. We even have a free resource to help you ask just the right questions to make sure you find the right plan writer.
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