A business plan can be a crucial element to guide you through each stage of starting and growing your business. You can start creating your business plan by using a free template to get you started or using our document builder to help guide you through the process. Below are sample business plans and helpful information to help you start writing yours today.
Below you can find sample business plans for specific business types. You can also find more in-depth information on writing a business plan for your business, whether it’s a food truck, coffee shop, or real estate business:
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a document that details how a business, both startups and existing companies, will achieve its goals and objectives.
Business plans can be the foundation of your business, acting as a written roadmap that covers all aspects of how to structure, run, and grow your business and allows you to track your business’s success.
As well as being a helpful document internally, they are also vital for businesses looking to secure investment and funding by showing potential investors how the proposed business will be successful or profitable.
Ideally, a business plan will be updated as you go, allowing you to alter your goals depending on whether you’re meeting them or your business direction has changed.
Components of a Business Plan
When writing a business plan, several elements need to be covered. A typical business plan includes the following features:
An executive summary is a brief summary of a business plan but one of the most important as it’s the first impression of your business. Here are some tips for executive summary:
- Start with a compelling executive summary that provides a snapshot of your business plan.
- Include the business concept, mission statement, key goals, and a summary of financial projections.
- Make it concise and engaging to grab the reader’s attention.
This section introduces the individuals responsible for leading and managing the business. It outlines their qualifications, experience, and roles within the company. You can include an organizational chart to illustrate the team’s roles and reporting structure.
Products and Services
Describe the products and services you offer. Pinpoint the value they provide to current and future customers and share your plans for research and development. It may also cover the development or production process, pricing strategy, and intellectual property rights.
Customers and Marketing
Here, you outline your target market and the characteristics of your ideal customers. The goal is to show you understand your market and target audience, including how you plan to reach and engage with customers. Market research and competitive analysis are often included to support your marketing approach.
SWOT analyses are used to determine how closely a business will adhere to its growth trajectories. It helps understand the business’s competitive position and areas that need improvement.
This section assesses the internal and external factors that can impact the business:
- Strengths: These are the things your project or company does well.
- Weaknesses: These barriers prevent your project or company from reaching certain milestones.
- Opportunities: These positive external factors could give you a competitive edge.
- Threats: These are events, competitors, and situations that pose a risk to your company and the goals you’ve set for it.
This is where you’ll include your company’s financial projections and estimates. Provide detailed financial forecasts, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
It should also include a break-even analysis, funding requirements, and assumptions used to create the financial forecasts. This section is crucial for investors to evaluate the business’s potential profitability and financial stability.
Milestones and Metrics
Set specific milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your business’s progress. This helps track your success and make adjustments as needed.
This section reveals your manufacturing, fulfillment, managing, staffing, hiring strategies, location, suppliers, distribution channels and technology, and all the other processes you go through when running your business daily. The goal is to provide a clear understanding of how the business functions.
Attach supporting documentation and materials referenced in the other sections or requested by the reader, such as resumes of key team members, market research data, legal documents, and any other relevant information.
Why is a Business Plan Important?
There are many reasons why a business plan is essential, such as to guide critical decisions and help secure investments or loans. Here are our top seven reasons why you need a business plan:
1. Help With Strategic Decisions
A business plan can help you think objectively about your business’s key elements and inform your decision-making as you move forward.
A detailed plan can provide a semblance of control over a potentially cumbersome process. Formulating a plan can improve your ability to make choices and decisions for yourself and the business. This approach is much better than suddenly making a critical decision without time to evaluate or haphazardly letting others decide for you.
2. Secure an Investment or a Loan
An accurate business plan is essential whether or not you need to secure a business loan. Investors and lenders often require a business plan before they commit capital. A solid plan demonstrates your commitment, viability, and potential return on investment.
Create a business plan that grabs the attention of potential investors and provides them with enough structure and confidence that they will move forward and grant funding and support to your business.
3. Set Goals
A business plan sets specific, measurable, and time-bound goals. This helps you track progress, evaluate performance, and make adjustments as needed.
By laying out goals, you have a clear and attainable plan of action with the ability to see and monitor your progress. You can also aim for short-, mid-, and long-term goals and adjust accordingly to meet your objectives.
4. Minimize Risk
A business plan includes a SWOT analysis that helps identify potential risks and challenges. It is essential to allocate resources and demonstrate monthly profit or loss. By recognizing these early, you can develop strategies to mitigate or address them.
5. Understand The Market
Market research within the plan helps you better understand your target audience, competition, and industry trends. This knowledge is crucial for making informed business decisions.
By learning about your competition, you can help make your goods or services stand out and help validate your business idea.
How to Write a Business Plan
1. Create an Executive Summary
Provide a concise overview of your business, including its mission, key goals, and a snapshot of your financial projections. Think of it as the elevator pitch for your business plan, where you need to grab the reader’s attention and pique their interest in your venture.
The project management software market is experiencing rapid growth, driven by the increasing demand for efficient project collaboration and the rise of remote work. TechSolutions is poised to tap into this opportunity, targeting small and medium-sized businesses that are in need of a cost-effective yet powerful project management solution.
2. Compose Your Company Description
In this section, you’d expand on the mission statement by providing background on the founders, the reason for starting the company (e.g., recognizing a need in the market), and the company’s core values.
TechSolutions is an innovative SaaS startup specializing in project management software. Our mission is to simplify and enhance project management for businesses of all sizes. We offer an intuitive, cloud-based platform designed to streamline tasks, promote collaboration, and boost productivity.
Our objectives are:
- Develop and launch the first version of our project management software within the next 12 months, focusing on essential features and functionalities
- Acquire 1,000 active users within the first year and maintain a user retention rate of 80%
- Reach $200,000 in ARR by the end of year one, with a clear plan for scaling to meet the year two target
3. Summarize Market Research and Potential
Summarize the findings from your market research in this section. Highlight key information about your target market, such as its size, demographics, and buying behavior.
A significant trend in the project management software market is the shift towards cloud-based solutions. Businesses are increasingly adopting cloud-based project management software due to its scalability, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global project management software market was valued at $5.32 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $7.63 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 4.6% during this period.
The project management software market is competitive, with established players like Asana, Trello, and Microsoft Project. However, there is room for innovation and differentiation. TechSolutions aims to stand out by focusing on user-friendliness, customization, and integrations with popular productivity tools.
4. Conduct Competitive Analysis
Identify and analyze your competitors in the market. Discuss their strengths, weaknesses, market share, and strategies. Clearly explain how your business will differentiate itself from these competitors and carve out its own niche or competitive advantage.
Example: Identify key competitors in the project management software space, like Trello and Asana. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and explain how TechSolutions aims to differentiate itself through user-friendliness, customizable features, or exceptional customer support.
5. Describe Your Product or Service
Describe your products or services in detail, emphasizing their unique features and benefits. Show how they directly address the needs and desires of your target audience. Include information about the development, manufacturing, or sourcing processes, as relevant, to give a clear picture of what you offer.
Example: Detail the features of TechSolutions, highlighting its user interface, task tracking, team collaboration capabilities, and integration with popular productivity tools like Slack and Google Drive. Use visuals or screenshots to illustrate if possible.
6. Develop a Marketing and Sales Strategy
Outline your marketing plan, including online advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and participation in industry events. Describe your sales strategy, which might include a combination of direct sales, partnerships with software resellers, and a free trial period for potential customers.
7. Compile Your Business Financials
Create financial projections, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the first few years of operation. If you need funding, specify the amount and how you plan to use it.
8. Describe Your Organization and Management
Introduce your organizational structure and key team members in this section. Highlight the qualifications, relevant experience, and roles of each member. You can also include an organizational chart to illustrate the reporting structure within your company.
9. Explain Your Funding Request
If you’re seeking funding or investment for your business, explain the amount you need and how you intend to use it. Be transparent about the terms you’re offering to investors or lenders.
Example: Clarify why you’re seeking $500,000 in funding. Break down the allocation, such as $300,000 for product development, $150,000 for marketing, and $50,000 for operational expenses in the first year.
10. Compile an Appendix for Official Documents
Include any relevant documents, such as resumes of key team members, legal agreements, market research data, product design mock-ups, and your business’s legal structure documents.
Remember that each business plan is unique, and the content should be tailored to your specific venture and audience. Your business plan should effectively communicate your vision, strategy, and financial viability to potential investors, partners, and stakeholders.
Business Plan Example
You can download a free business plan template below, in Word format: