Ready to get the business plan template? This template has been used by universities such as Princeton and Babson to teach entrepreneurs how to start businesses. You can see the template below or you can download it as a Word document using the form on the right side of this page. Why you should start with a business plan template: With all the options available for business planning, is a template the best place to start? A good business plan template can help you get your thoughts organized.
Plus, it can show you the general layout of a standard business plan. A great business plan template will also provide instructions for each step of your plan and show you what an investor-ready and SBA-approved business plan should look like. There are tons of free business plan templates available including the one you can download right here on this page. You can also find business plan examples specific to your industry by searching our sample business plan library. However, be careful—there are lots of people out there who will try and charge you for a template.
If you need more than a free, simple template can provide, look into online business planning solutions like LivePlan , which provides more help and customization options than any template can. Your forecasts should cover a range of scenarios, and you should include the contingency plans you've developed to offset any risks. You can also review benchmarks and averages for your type of business and discuss your business' position. Find out how your business measures up to others in your industry with this benchmarking tool.
Early planning will give you the opportunity to consider all of your options, including strategies that may take time to implement. For example, if you plan on passing your business on to your children, you'll need sufficient time to train them and integrate them into your business. As you prepare your exit strategy, you will want to ask yourself the following questions: When do I want to leave my business? What do I want to do with my business?
Options include selling it, passing it on to a family member, or closing the business and liquidating its assets. How will I determine the value of my business? How much money will I require to lead a comfortable life after exiting my business?
Once you considered your options and set objectives, it's time to add an exit strategy to your business plan. Although you may not be exiting your business for some time, a solid strategy will be a roadmap to your future goals. Find the right strategy for selling your business or handing it over to someone else.
Additional resources You'll want to thoroughly review your plan once it's done. Try to avoid using jargon — the person reading your plan may not understand your businesses as well as you do.
You can ask friends, family, associates, and mentors to review it. Don't be afraid to seek advice from professionals such as lawyers and accountants.
Market-based pricing. If public relations if part of your promotional strategy, detail your plans here.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. What are your sources of revenue and income? Your positioning strategy will often be a major driver of how you price your offerings. I help entrepreneurs become more successful. As you write the rest of the business plan, keep the distance between your business today and your desired future in mind, and be prepared to show the step-by-step path that will take your business there.
Discover some of the many ways you can use information communications technologies to your advantage. Instead, Ford was competing against other modes of transportation—horses, bikes, trains, and walking. No matter what, you need to know who your customer is and have a rough estimate of how many of them there are.
Detail your management team and organizational structure.
Report on your competitors' strengths and weaknesses and describe the products that will compete with yours. Will you be advertising online?
This template has been used by universities such as Princeton and Babson to teach entrepreneurs how to start businesses. Analyzing your venture from three points of view — optimistic, pessimistic, and realistic — can give you a solid idea of what to expect as you move forward. Competition How is your target market solving their problem today? Executive Summary.
What are your sources of revenue and income? Unlike [key competition], it [most important distinguishing feature]. But if you selling to other businesses B2B , you may have a few key customers that are critical to the success of your business, or a handful of important customers that are trend leaders in your space. You may also want to consider hiring a professional proofreader to check for errors. You will still need to cover the logistics of how you will get your products to your customers from your warehouse, but a direct distribution model is usually fairly simple.
If appropriate, include information about professional support -- attorneys, accountants and consultants. Why you should start with a business plan template: With all the options available for business planning, is a template the best place to start?
This lets readers know you have a strong vision for the company. Although you may not be exiting your business for some time, a solid strategy will be a roadmap to your future goals.
Photographs of the building or the interior work areas are appropriate for this section. Start with a quick review of your milestones.
If you are a one-person management team, be sure to emphasize all your skills. Tips Clearly define what your business does and what makes it unique. This is also known as your value proposition. Your forecasts should cover a range of scenarios, and you should include the contingency plans you've developed to offset any risks. Unlike [name omitted], LivePlan creates a real business plan, with real insights—not just cookie-cutter, fill-in-the-blank templates.