A business plan is a crucial activity for any entrepreneur or business owner looking to start or expand their business. Without a plan a business is likely to fail or stagnate. BizConnect provides a Free Business Plan template that asks all the right questions so that you can start thinking about important business aspects such as: ncludes:
- Executive Summary of Information
- Company Description
- The opportunity, Industry and Market
- The Business Strategy
- Management and Operations
- The Marketing Plan
- The Financial Plan
This template aims to show you what key information you would need to include and why.
Why use a business plan template?
Your business plan should provide certain details about your idea, including your intended market and the industry in general. Using a business plan template will ensure that you don’t overlook any important information.
While it’s not essential to have a business plan, you may find it easier to get funding if you have one that is well thought out and contains all of the necessary detail about your prospective business.
We often ask business owners to include a business plan when they apply for bank finance. Consider that, in the same way as you would test-drive a vehicle before purchasing it, we need information about your company before we partner with you.
Potential business partners need to know how their investment will be used, and ultimately, what it will achieve for the business. In this sense, your business plan is like your ambassador - showing how the various elements of your company are integrated into a vibrant whole.
Download Your Sample Business Plan
Below are two detailed business plan templates for you to download and edit.
Click Here to Download a Business Plan Template (Word)
Click Here to Download a Business Plan Template (Pdf)
Understanding the Key Components of a Business Plan
Once you have downloaded the business plan template you’ll be required to complete several different sections. Here are a few guidelines for each of them:
1. The Executive Summary
Use these two pages to pitch the reader on your business idea. Include brief details on your company, the management team, your business objectives and your basic financial requirements for getting the business up and running. Complete this part of your business plan last so that you can pick out key points from each of your more detailed sections.
2. Company Description
When completing this section of your business plan, include details on the name of the company as well as the type of ownership and registration. Here is where you should list your objectives and take the time to create a punchy mission statement that truly speaks to what your business stands for. Here are some great pointers for developing your mission statement.
3. The Opportunity, Industry and Market
Use two to three pages to share the details of your offering. You should provide a description of the specific sector that you’ll be operating in as well as who your customers are. If you know of any trends or industry insights that your business would benefit from, now is the time to mention it.
4. The Business Strategy
This section of your business plan looks at how you’ll go about competing in your chosen market. Delve into how you’ll position your brand, whether you’ll have a niche offering or not and how you are different to your competitors. This is also where you would include details on your business model.
Below is a video on the components of a business model and how you can develop your own.
5. Management and Operations Summary
This sections provides some insights into how your business will be run. Who are the founders of your business and how are their skills and experience going to benefit the company? Go into some detail on the day to day running of the business and where specific responsibilities lie within your team.
6. The Marketing Plan
This area of your business plan will allow you to build on the market research that you’ve performed by explaining the strategy that will be actioned in order to compete in your market. Include information on your product’s positioning, product offering, pricing strategy and promotional activities.
Growthink.com offers a few tips for developing an effective marketing strategy for your business plan.
7. The Financial Plan
This is a very important part of your business plan and requires thorough research and thought. How much money are you going to need to get started and why? If you want to include any useful graphs or detailed calculations, add it to the appendix and refer readers to it from this section. Other information to include here is:
- A balance sheet
- A 12 month cash flow projection
- Start-up expense calculations
- Profit and loss projections
- A break-even analysis
Often start-up entrepreneurs make the mistake of trading from their personal bank account. This makes it harder to differentiate between your personal expenses and business expenses. It also doesn’t allow you to build up a credit risk profile for your business, which is an important factor should you ever want to approach a bank for financing. Rather, start trading as a business from the get-go by opening up a Business Current Account.
Additional Pages to Include in Your Business Plan Structure
This can be done right at the end too once you are satisfied with all sections of your business plan. Making it easier for investors to find the information they are looking for will count in your favour.
This where you will include all reference documents such as marketing material, spreadsheets, maps, leases and contracts as well as your market research.
Tips for Using this Business Plan Template
Remember that investors and banks see a multitude of business plans all the time so it’s essential that you find a way to make your plan stand out. Here are a few tips to use along with this business plan format guide:
- Be realistic. Think carefully about your figures and projections and don’t overshoot. Seasoned investors can tell whether you have truly done your homework
- Visuals are always a plus point. Graphs and images will bring some life to your business plan but don’t overdo it
- Focus on the details. Read through your business plan and check your spelling and grammar. After all, you are a business professional
- This is a working document. Use your business plan to keep track of your progress as an entrepreneur. As your business grows, your business plan will need to change and adapt. This is probably one of the most important documents you’ll write. Here’s how to use your plan as a working document
- Understanding is everything. It’s one thing to write your own business plan but it’s essential for you to be able to demonstrate your understanding of each area of your new business. Take the time to familiarise yourself with each section of your plan
- Keep It On a Need to Know Basis. Only include details if they are truly necessary and would potentially affect the decision of your investor otherwise the bare minimum is good enough
If you are looking for additional business plan template resources, here is a list of apps that you can use for assistance.