Our Business Plan Template provides a step by step guide that allows you to fill in the form and print it for future reference. Keep in mind that a business plan is a living document and grows with you as your business grows, it also serves as a guide to provide focus and direction for business decisions.
While there isn't a universally applied format, a business plan generally consists of the following information:
- A Cover Page
- An Index Page (Table of Contents)
- Executive Summary
- Business Overview
- Management Team
- Industry and Market Analysis
- Operations Plan
- Financial Plan
Visit Business Plan Outline for the details of each section.
While it's a basic business plan template, the following pdf provides the basic framework for what needs to be in a business plan and where it should go. We offer several business plan samples that provide more insight on how each section may look once you complete the plan. It is also important to know that the executive summary is the last part of the plan that gets written.
You can also download this template as a Word document:
Business Plan Template (Word)
Sections of a Business Plan
While it is not part of the business plan writing process, brainstorming is important. You will want to periodically spend time throwing ideas out on the table, without being objective, to see what kind of ideas you can come up with. There can be a lot of great ideas that come out of a brainstorm session.
It's importatn to keep in mind that a business plan is a living document; it will evolve with the business. Regardless of whether or not you are currently seeking capital, it is good to develop and maintain in the event you do need to make a sales pitch for financing, or maybe to find a new partner. A solid plan will take time to develop, it will take weeks to do adequate research on the market and industry. You'll also want to spend a significant amount of time working through the industry analysis and marketing section to ensure you have a strong understanding of the market you are in, who your competitors are, and how you will compete in the industry (what will differentiate you from your competitors, how will you ensure you capture market share).
Keep in mind that statistics are not in a start-ups favor; the odds are stacked against you. A majority of businesses fail and for many entrepreneurs it will take several failures before they start a successful venture. But, regardless of the odds stay passionate, be persistant, and learn as much as you can about your business, the market, the industry, and your customers.
The following is a guide on how to write each section of a business plan:
- How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan
- What is a Business Overview
- Management Team Section of a Business Plan
- How to Write an Industry Analysis
- Marketing Plan Section of a Business Plan
- How to Write a Business Plan Operations Plan
- Business Plan Financial Plan
- Risk Section of a Business Plan