If you are a small business, entrepreneur, small business start up company, or any body of organization that needs a business plan, I’ve got you extremely well covered today.
I have scoured the internet for all of the best business plan templates, and put them all in one place (here) for you – so you don’t have to go hunting around for them yourself.
Along with that, I have added some additional resources to help you create the best business plan. I’ve included links to sample business plans to help you get an idea of what a completed business plan should look like. Along with that, I’ve included resources for business plan outlines as well as a few articles on how to write a business plan. Hopefully, all of these will give you all the knowledge you need to write a killer business plan that attracts business partners, lenders, and investors – or whatever it is you want to accomplish with your business plan!
13 Free Business Plan Templates
Of all the business plan templates I’ve listed here, this one by the U.S. Small Business Administration is among the best when it comes to ease of use and understand what you need to do when you open the document. The table of contents let’s you know exactly what is in the business plan and the fill in the blank template is very simple and straight forward. And since this template is provided by the U.S. Business Administration, you know you are getting a proper and professional template. This template is a 35 page document that you fill in right on their website. You can then save the document to your computer or print it right off the website. If you have no idea where to start, then this is where I suggest you go.
Invoice Berry has an interesting set of business plan templates. They have 5 various templates, including business plan structure & sample template, business plan presentation, business plan checklist, and a business plan cash budget. If you feel your business needs any of these, then their templates could be useful. They are downloadable in either Microsoft Word format or Powerpoint. You’ll need to “like” them or give them your email before you are given your free download, and judging by the amount of likes they’ve received, they’ve got some pretty popular templates.
Rocket Lawyer’s free business plan template is one of the easiest and fool proof ones you can use. It’s a template that you fill in your own details and it will generate a business plan form for you. The upside about this is that it’s very easy to complete and require you to only fill in the blanks. But the downside is that it is more generic because it uses a template that cannot be modified. Though, you will have the ability to download your business plan in Word format and then edit it however you like afterwards. They also have a sample business plan you can check out. I’d say this template is best for those who perhaps needs a quick and simple business plan or is starting a business that isn’t overly complicated or big.
The Score’s business plan for a start up is an excellent business plan template. It’s similar to the first one by the U.S. Business Administration, however there is no fill in the blanks. All the sections are written neatly and concisely, and the text describes what this section means and what you should do with it. And that’s really powerful and helpful! So what you’d need to do is read the section to understand what it’s about, and then delete the text and fill in details about your start up business – or any business type. I really really like this template for it’s professional feel and helpfulness. It comes in Word format.
Most business plans are very long, spanning dozens of pages. And that’s how they should be when you need that type of depth in explaining your business to others. However, sometimes you just need a one page business plan, and that’s what the $100 Startup business template is here! It is the most simple template you’ll find on this list. There is a need for one pager templates and I’m glad to be able to share with you this one. It’s extremely simple and a little bit on the “fun” side of things, because it uses words like “ka-ching” and “hustling” to describe the fields you need to fill in. It can be downloaded in pdf format. I recommend filling it in on the website and then downloading it for print, or you can print it off first and write it by hand.
This template is 18 pages and is a shrunken down version of some of the larger 30+ page business plans you’ll see here. I like this template because it’s shorter for new companies who don’t need a full scale business plan. yet, it’s still very complete and detailed enough to accurately describe what your business is all about. They offer the template in Word and PDF format. Also, they include a business plan financial tables in Excel format that could be super handy for you too.
The Law Depot has a very cool free business plan form. It is a “fill in the blank” style template, however it’s likely the most in depth one you’ll find anywhere. It’s very easy to use. I think if you are really new to writing a business plan and have looked around at some of the other samples and templates here, and it scares you a lot, then give this one a try. Fill in the fields with your start up business info and check out the finished product. It will give you a great idea of what your business plan should look like. You can use this business plan or modify it afterwards, or use another if you wish. But I just really like the ease of this one for beginners and newbies. But that’s not to say it’s not professional, it’s a very good business form by itself.
My Own Business has a collection of business templates in Word format for free download. They are all sample business plans forms and related forms. For example, they have sample business plans for home based business, business organizations, accounting and cash flow, company growth program, and other useful financial templates like balance sheet and income statements. It’s basically a collection of templates in Word format that your business may or may not need. Most of them probably won’t be too important for most businesses, but you may need a specific business form and they may have one pre made for you.
Here is another business plan template from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This one however is very brief and simple. It’s basically the most simple template you can find that is also somewhat detailed, if you know what I mean. It’s 11 pages long and includes headers that describe what the particular section is about and what you should include in that section. And right below that is where you can write your text. Overall, it’s not too bad and it’s worth a look if you need a simple and quick business plan template. Otherwise, I’d stick with the longer more in depth ones for more serious business who are looking to really impress with their business plans.
Planware has the most in depth resource on writing a business plan on this list here. It’s a 102 page whopper. It’s not exactly a template where you fill in the blanks or delete and paste your own info, rather it’s a very in depth resource on writing a business plan, and what you need to think about and fill in at each point. You’d then go and write it on your own in a Word document for example. Their website is a bit old school and you can tell it was written awhile ago, but the info is gold. If you wish to use it, you will need to download a file. It will give you their “free plan financial projects” in Word and Excel format.
The very recognizable entrepreneur.com has a business form template free for you to use. This business plan helps you create a structured business plan overview, with standard sections like company background, distribution strategy, and various business analysis sections. It can be used for start up businesses or established businesses. Overall, it’s a very nice form and has a nice feel to it. You’ll need to register an account with them before they allow you to use their form.
BPLAN’s business template is one of the finest ones you’ll find. It’s a very complete form and very professional. You wouldn’t expect anything less from BPLAN. This business plan doesn’t give you any instructions on what to write and how you should write it. It is truly a blank business plan template. All the sections are laid out nicely with a lot of blank space to tailor your business information on the page. The great thing about this template is that you will have the ability to write everything the way you want. It gives you the most control. It’s also a template with a lot of pre-made charts to help quantify your business, which is especially useful when it comes to financials.
It’s a longer document too, so you can create one of the most professional business plans out of all the free templates available. The downside is that if you are a beginner or need more guidance, this template will be difficult to use because it “comes with no instructions”. You’ll pretty much have to learn a lot on your own first before being able to use it. I’d suggest using one of the other templates listed here that have a little more hand holding. Otherwise, this a fantastic blank business plan template for startups and new businesses.
The last business plan template I want to share with you is an official one from the Australian government. As you’d expect, it’s very professional and complete. It’s 26 pages long and outlines all the major fields necessary. There’s a few templates just like this one that I’ve listed here, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. This particular one guides you a little on what you need to write in each section, but not as much hand holding as some of the other templates. Along with this template, you can also download a business plan guide off their website. Both are in Microsoft Word format for download.
6 Sample Business Plans (What A Good Business Plan Looks Like)
Sometimes we need examples to help us learn and get a good idea of what something should look like. Well here are 6 excellent samples of business plans for your pleasure.
Office Depot has created fictitious companies for the sake of learning! They’ve created a sample manufacturer’s business plan, service business plan, and retailer’s business plan for us. The main point of these sample business plans is to show you that your market will dictate a large part of your business plan. They want you to see that you need to tailor your plan towards your market, and they want to show you that with their free sample templates.
Bplan is a one of the most authoritative small business and big business resources. They have the largest (that I know of) collection of sample business plans on the internet. You won’t be able to access all of them unless you pay, but you can still view some of them. They have a large variety of business plan samples, including restaurant business plans, bakery business plans, service business plans, and retail business plans. I think it would be valuable to see what a specific business plan that is similar to your own business could look like. Check them out.
Another great example of a complete business plan is one by Live Plan. This sample plan is about University Cycle Works, and it’s a 48 page whopper. It’s an excellent learning tool and I highly recommend checking it out. Along with this free sample, they have hundreds of other ones that they have collected over a 15+ year period.
I also like this example business plan a lot. It’s one of the best sample business plan learning tool you’ll find anywhere. You are prompted constantly about what you should include in each section. It makes it easy to follow along and create your own business plan. It’s half template half sample business plan. If you are very new or need a bit of hand holding through the process of creating a business plan, I highly recommend checking this one out.
The popular online retailer Shopify created a free example business plan that is short and to the point. If you need a quick glance at the mechanics of a business plan, this is pretty good for that. It’s not detailed like the other examples here, and I’d be hesitant to use it for a big start up idea, but if you have something small or need something quick, this is a good example.
This Excel file has the bare minimum components needed for a business plan. It’s really just the bare bones with no instructions or help. The only time I can see you needing this is to see what a skeletal biz plan is like, which is why I included it. Otherwise, look at the other samples I’ve included here if you need something complete.
4 Business Plan Outlines
So far I’ve shared with you templates for business plans and samples of completed business plans. But if you need an outline of a business plan to help you write one, I’ve got you covered here too.
These 4 outlines are excellent. They are all somewhat the same and include familiar information from each other, however I’d check them all out to find the one that makes you feel the most comfortable with.
Forbes has a 23 point checklist for creating a successful business plan. It’s a nice to the point outline of the main components you need, along with a quick explanation.
This business plan outline is very very to the point. Explanations are usually just one sentence. Zero fluff and barebones. If you’re looking for an outline like that, then check this one.
If you thought the last outline was bare bones, then this one is even barer! What you get here is simply the main sections and subsections, and that’s it. No explanations of what to write or what the section means. It’s good and bad. Not great for a learning tool, but excellent for looking at a zoomed out big picture of what needs to be written about in your business plan.
SBA has a quick outline on writing your business plan. I included this one because SBA is very very authoritative in the business and entrepreneurship industry, and it’s good to hear what the big dogs have to say. Though it’s a very simple outline, it’s still worth a quick glance to make sure you are on track. But, along with an outline of your business plan, it has a ton of other financial information about starting a business on the side bar, including registering your business and financing your business.
How To Write A Business Plan Like A Boss
A lot of us entrepreneurs are do-it-yourself type people, and writing our own business plans is just another part of that.
There are many many things that go into writing a successful business plan that clearly outlines what your business is about and how it will profit. You’ll learn all about these things when you check out the best articles on how to write a business plan below.
But, just to get your brain flowing with some ideas, here are my top 3 things your business plan needs to focus on in order to be successful:
1. It needs to be specific
Your business plan cannot be fluffy in any way. You need to write words down clearly and unambiguously. The people reading it needs to be able to understand it. If they can’t understand it, they surely won’t invest their time and money into it. So take your time writing your business plan and make sure you make ever sentence and paragraph as clear as possible. Along with writing things clearly, you need to be specific about what you’re talking about. If you’re talking about your target market, who EXACTLY are these people? Get as specific as you can. Details win when it comes to writing business plans.
2. You need to know your market
A business needs to sell things in order to generate revenue And, as you know, people need to buy things from your business in order for you to turn a profit. But who are these people? It is INCREDIBLY important that you detail specifically who these people are and why they would be interested in your product/service. Different demographics of people have very very different desires and wants. If your business wants to be successful, understanding your target audience is one of the most (if not the most) important thing you need to nail down. When you do, your communication in your business plan will be much more clear and persuasive.
3. You need to know your finances
You will need to think very clearly about how much money your business will make. But more than that, HOW will your business make money? Potential investors are “in it” to make money – not to be your friend. They MUST see a clear path to financial success, and that boils down to you explaining very clearly how much money your start up business will make, and how it will make this money. Writing this section of your business plan will also help you fine tune your business financials and help you really nail down the core reason why you started a business in the first place – to make money.
With that said, here are 5 articles on writing successful business plans:
- Business Plan Outline
- Entrepreneur.com writing a business plan
- How to write a business plan by Bplan
- Writing business plans by Discover Business
What Is A Business Plan?
A business plan has many purposes, and the reasons why you need to create one is also varied. But, if you want to break it down to the most simplest form, a business plan is a roadmap for your business’s success. It will outline clearly outline what you wish to achieve with your business and how you will achieve it.
Why Do You Need A Business Plan?
There are so many reasons why you need a business plan. For most people, they need a business plan to document what their business is about, what business goals they have, and how they will get there. And the reason why they need to document this is largely because they wish to attract a business partner(s), bankers or investors. So it’s incredibly important to create a solid business plan that truly exemplifies what your business is about as clearly as possible. After all, if you can’t get a loan or get others interested in your business, perhaps your idea isn’t as good as you may think, or you are lacking in your ability to communicate your business in writing to others.
But another often overlooked reason why businesses and start ups create business plans is the process of researching and thinking about your business in a systematic way. When you write a business plan, you need to go over many many details that you may not have fully thought through, or have not thought about at all. The process of creating a business plan will get your mind thinking about how the big and little things that need to come together for your business to succeed.
I hope you got a lot of useful information out of this business plan guide.
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