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The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

As an aspiring entrepreneur gearing up to start your own business , you likely know the importance of drafting a business plan. However, you might not be entirely sure where to begin or what specific details to include. That’s where examining business plan examples can be beneficial. Sample business plans serve as real-world templates to help you craft your own plan with confidence. They also provide insight into the key sections that make up a business plan, as well as demonstrate how to structure and present your ideas effectively.

example of business plan brainly

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example of business plan brainly

Example business plan

To understand how to write a business plan, let’s study an example structured using a seven-part template. Here’s a quick overview of those parts:

  • Executive summary: A quick overview of your business and the contents of your business plan.
  • Company description: More info about your company, its goals and mission, and why you started it in the first place.
  • Market analysis: Research about the market and industry your business will operate in, including a competitive analysis about the companies you’ll be up against.
  • Products and services: A detailed description of what you’ll be selling to your customers.
  • Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market.
  • Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background.
  • Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even long-term) financial goals and the costs to run the business. If you’re looking for funding, this is the place to discuss your request and needs.

7 business plan examples (section by section)

In this section, you’ll find hypothetical and real-world examples of each aspect of a business plan to show you how the whole thing comes together. 

  • Executive summary

Your executive summary offers a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. You’ll want to include a brief description of your company, market research, competitor analysis, and financial information. 

In this free business plan template, the executive summary is three paragraphs and occupies nearly half the page:

  • Company description

You might go more in-depth with your company description and include the following sections:

  • Nature of the business. Mention the general category of business you fall under. Are you a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of your products?
  • Background information. Talk about your past experiences and skills, and how you’ve combined them to fill in the market. 
  • Business structure. This section outlines how you registered your company —as a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC, or other business type.
  • Industry. Which business sector do you operate in? The answer might be technology, merchandising, or another industry.
  • Team. Whether you’re the sole full-time employee of your business or you have contractors to support your daily workflow, this is your chance to put them under the spotlight.

You can also repurpose your company description elsewhere, like on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business. Hair extensions brand Luxy Hair has a blurb on it’s About page that could easily be repurposed as a company description for its business plan. 

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

Market analysis comprises research on product supply and demand, your target market, the competitive landscape, and industry trends. You might do a SWOT analysis to learn where you stand and identify market gaps that you could exploit to establish your footing. Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis for a hypothetical ecommerce business: 

marketing swot example

You’ll also want to run a competitive analysis as part of the market analysis component of your business plan. This will show you who you’re up against and give you ideas on how to gain an edge over the competition. 

  • Products and services

This part of your business plan describes your product or service, how it will be priced, and the ways it will compete against similar offerings in the market. Don’t go into too much detail here—a few lines are enough to introduce your item to the reader.

  • Marketing plan

Potential investors will want to know how you’ll get the word out about your business. So it’s essential to build a marketing plan that highlights the promotion and customer acquisition strategies you’re planning to adopt. 

Most marketing plans focus on the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. However, it’s easier when you break it down by the different marketing channels . Mention how you intend to promote your business using blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Here’s an example of a hypothetical marketing plan for a real estate website:

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

This section of your business plan provides information about your production, facilities, equipment, shipping and fulfillment, and inventory.

Financial plan

The financial plan (a.k.a. financial statement) offers a breakdown of your sales, revenue, expenses, profit, and other financial metrics. You’ll want to include all the numbers and concrete data to project your current and projected financial state.

In this business plan example, the financial statement for ecommerce brand Nature’s Candy includes forecasted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs.

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

  • Funding needs
  • Project cash-flow statement
  • Project profit-and-loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet

You can use Shopify’s financial plan template to create your own income statement, cash-flow statement, and balance sheet. 

Types of business plans (and what to write for each)

A one-page business plan is a pared down version of a standard business plan that’s easy for potential investors and partners to understand. You’ll want to include all of these sections, but make sure they’re abbreviated and summarized:

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

A startup business plan is meant to secure outside funding for a new business. Typically, there’s a big focus on the financials, as well as other sections that help determine the viability of your business idea—market analysis, for example. Shopify has a great business plan template for startups that include all the below points:

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth

Internal 

Your internal business plan acts as the enforcer of your company’s vision. It reminds your team of the long-term objective and keeps them strategically aligned toward the same goal. Be sure to include:

  • Market research

Feasibility 

A feasibility business plan is essentially a feasibility study that helps you evaluate whether your product or idea is worthy of a full business plan. Include the following sections:

A strategic (or growth) business plan lays out your long-term vision and goals. This means your predictions stretch further into the future, and you aim for greater growth and revenue. While crafting this document, you use all the parts of a usual business plan but add more to each one:

  • Products and services: for launch and expansion
  • Market analysis: detailed analysis
  • Marketing plan: detailed strategy
  • Logistics and operations plan: detailed plan
  • Financials: detailed projections

Free business plan templates

Now that you’re familiar with what’s included and how to format a business plan, let’s go over a few templates you can fill out or draw inspiration from.

Bplans’ free business plan template

example of business plan brainly

Bplans’ free business plan template focuses a lot on the financial side of running a business. It has many pages just for your financial plan and statements. Once you fill it out, you’ll see exactly where your business stands financially and what you need to do to keep it on track or make it better.

PandaDoc’s free business plan template

example of business plan brainly

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is detailed and guides you through every section, so you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. Filling it out, you’ll grasp the ins and outs of your business and how each part fits together. It’s also handy because it connects to PandaDoc’s e-signature for easy signing, ideal for businesses with partners or a board.

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template

Miro's business model canvas template

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template helps you map out the essentials of your business, like partnerships, core activities, and what makes you different. It’s a collaborative tool for you and your team to learn how everything in your business is linked.

Better business planning equals better business outcomes

Building a business plan is key to establishing a clear direction and strategy for your venture. With a solid plan in hand, you’ll know what steps to take for achieving each of your business goals. Kickstart your business planning and set yourself up for success with a defined roadmap—utilizing the sample business plans above to inform your approach.

Business plan FAQ

What are the 3 main points of a business plan.

  • Concept. Explain what your business does and the main idea behind it. This is where you tell people what you plan to achieve with your business.
  • Contents. Explain what you’re selling or offering. Point out who you’re selling to and who else is selling something similar. This part concerns your products or services, who will buy them, and who you’re up against.
  • Cash flow. Explain how money will move in and out of your business. Discuss the money you need to start and keep the business going, the costs of running your business, and how much money you expect to make.

How do I write a simple business plan?

To create a simple business plan, start with an executive summary that details your business vision and objectives. Follow this with a concise description of your company’s structure, your market analysis, and information about your products or services. Conclude your plan with financial projections that outline your expected revenue, expenses, and profitability.

What is the best format to write a business plan?

The optimal format for a business plan arranges your plan in a clear and structured way, helping potential investors get a quick grasp of what your business is about and what you aim to achieve. Always start with a summary of your plan and finish with the financial details or any extra information at the end.

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

550+ Free Sample Business Plans

550+ Business Plan Examples to Launch Your Business

550+ Free Sample Business Plans

Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 550 industry-specific business plan examples for inspiration.

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Example business plan format

Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.

Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).

Products & services

The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and any traction that proves that it truly meets the need you identified.

This is your chance to explain why you're in business and that people care about what you offer. It needs to go beyond a simple product or service description and get to the heart of why your business works and benefits your customers.

Market analysis

Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.

Competition

Part of defining your opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage may be. To do this effectively you need to get to know your competitors just as well as your target customers. Every business will have competition, if you don't then you're either in a very young industry or there's a good reason no one is pursuing this specific venture.

To succeed, you want to be sure you know who your competitors are, how they operate, necessary financial benchmarks, and how you're business will be positioned. Start by identifying who your competitors are or will be during your market research. Then leverage competitive analysis tools like the competitive matrix and positioning map to solidify where your business stands in relation to the competition.

Marketing & sales

The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.

The operations section covers the day-to-day workflows for your business to deliver your product or service. What's included here fully depends on the type of business. Typically you can expect to add details on your business location, sourcing and fulfillment, use of technology, and any partnerships or agreements that are in place.

Milestones & metrics

The milestones section is where you lay out strategic milestones to reach your business goals.

A good milestone clearly lays out the parameters of the task at hand and sets expectations for its execution. You'll want to include a description of the task, a proposed due date, who is responsible, and eventually a budget that's attached. You don't need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them.

You should also discuss key metrics, which are the numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common data points worth tracking include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, profit, etc.

Company & team

Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure and history if you're already up and running.

Financial projections

Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.

Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.

The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or out-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or in any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.

By starting with a one-page plan , you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.

Growth planning

Growth planning is more than a specific type of business plan. It's a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, forecast, review, and refine based on your performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27 minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a more detailed plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of growth planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the growth planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.

It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Download a free sample business plan template

Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2024.

This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.

How to use an example business plan to help you write your own

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How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.

Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company

You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.

For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.

Use a business plan example as a guide

Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.

One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.

You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.

If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, our business planning guide is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template .

Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document

Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.

Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool

Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.

If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.

Prepare to pitch your business

If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.

Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily we have a round-up of real-world pitch deck examples used by successful startups that you can review and reference as you build your pitch.

For more resources, check out our full Business Pitch Guide .

Ready to get started?

Now that you know how to use an example business plan to help you write a plan for your business, it's time to find the right one.

Use the search bar below to get started and find the right match for your business idea.

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Free Business Plan Template (With Examples)

August 3, 2022

Free Business Plan Template (With Examples)

Have you ever found it difficult to get other people to agree to your entrepreneurial ideas? If so, consider writing a business plan. We’ve created a business plan template to help you meet your business goals, but it makes sense to give some background information.

I (Brandon Boushy) grew up in a unique family. I was the oldest of six kids and my parents are highly successful. One of the things I had to do growing up was write business proposals for anything that was different from the standard operating procedure. (Yes, our family ran like a business.)

That made me pretty proficient at creating a business plan format. We’re going to share some of the lessons I learned growing up with a dad that managed a multi-billion dollar merger and a mom that had a double major in psychology and philosophy. Along the way, we hope to help you understand what people look for in a business plan.

What makes a good business plan template?

A business plan template should be based on your audience. If it’s just you, then it needs to be enough to keep you honest and focused on your goals, but if there are other people who will be viewing it, it should give them enough information to buy into the business plans.

Whether you use ours, someone else’s, or make your own template, you’ll want to make sure a business plan template includes the following:

  • An executive summary

Your mission and goals

  • Your strategies 
  • Your strengths and weaknesses

How you fit in the external environment

Call to action.

  • Documentation

If you’re interested just in a template, you may download it here .

This outline is partially inspired by the book Writing Winning Business Plans by Garrett Sutton, Esq.

If you prefer YouTube videos, check out our interview with Mike about how to create a business plan :

Let’s look at how each of these plays into a great business plan template.

The Executive Summary in a Business Plan Template

A good business plan should start with a story. All stories have three major parts:

That’s what your executive summary will be. It will be your story. It will basically tell why your company exists. The sole purpose of the executive summary is to get your audience to say:

“I want to know more.”

If you look at UpFlip’s YouTube page, you can see our story right at the top.

UpFlip Youtube art example

When you write a business plan, you want the executive summary to be as easy to digest as possible. If this were in an actual business plan, it would look something like this:

We’ve all heard the statistics that eight out of 10 businesses fail in the first five years. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we flipped those numbers?

That’s our goal at UpFlip. Make it where 80% of businesses succeed. To do that, business owners need the best information possible in the format that they prefer. That’s what we’re doing.

UpFlip is a team of business owners who believe in educating and inspiring people to achieve success. UpFlip does this by using content marketing best practices, case studies, and data analysis to bring business owners content that helps them succeed.

Do you want to hear more? 

You might want to include a couple of paragraphs about the team, the market, where the business is now, and how you are going to accomplish the goals. At this point, it’s just high-level ideas to get them interested.

You also want to include what you’re asking for in the executive summary. That will change based on the viewer. Here are some common requests:

  • Looking for funding : How much? Do you want a loan or to sell equity?
  • Looking for employees : What do you want from them? What values should they hold dear to their hearts?
  • Looking for a partnership with another company : Why would the two be a good fit?
  • Just for you : An executive summary might be enough.

While this will be the first thing the viewer sees, it will normally be the last thing you write.

Company Description

The next section of our business plan template is the company description. It covers the following:

  • Your company mission and goals : Why does your company matter?
  • Your product and target market : What are you selling and to whom?
  • Your team : Who is going to help you succeed? You might want to create an organizational chart with your management team, including their skill sets and the gaps you need to fill.
  • Your legal structure : Will how you’re structured lead you to succeed? Don’t even bother applying for financing if you are a sole proprietorship. They won’t take you seriously. Register as an LLC or a Corporation.

Goals drawing in notebook

These are the high-end goals of a business. The mission statement is simply what you want to achieve. For instance, Boxabl has the mission to, “Significantly lower the cost of homeownership for everyone.”

Your goals should be highly measurable. They should be focused on accomplishing your mission and should be:

  • S pecific: What are you trying to achieve? In Boxabl’s case, it is lowering the cost of homeownership for everyone.
  • M easurable: How can you measure it? With Boxabl, you might measure against HomeAdvisor’s estimate to build in an area and the median home sale price in the area.
  • A chievable: Can it be done? For Boxabl, their factory claims to have a production capacity of 30,000 homes annually for $50,000 each (plus land costs). That’s a substantial savings, but it only covers .5% of the US housing sales in 2021 .
  • R ealistic: Can you actually do what needs to be done? In Boxabl’s case, it could reduce the costs in a single city based on current capacity. 30,000 sales would be equal to 60% of Las Vegas home sales in 2021 . 
  • T ime-Oriented: How long will it take? With Boxabl’s design, it could dramatically lower rates in Las Vegas in a year but would need to ramp up production to meet the nationwide levels. It would need to ramp up 120X capacity to reach 60% of all home sales. That means years down the road.

You might want to have a roadmap or graphics in this section to help people visualize them. Here’s an example of what a good roadmap looks like:

2021 roadmap

You can see the rest of it on Presearch’s website . 

Notice how many references I have in this section. A well documented business plan will be full of references because you have to prove all assumptions are reasonable.

With a business plan someone views online, you can use hyperlinks. Otherwise, you’ll want to include your links in an appendix or as footnotes. I recommend using IBIS World for most of your statistics because many banks use them to analyze how accurate your reports are. I’ll cover this more in the section on documentation.

This section of our business plan template focuses on the industry. You’ll want to start at the highest macroeconomic level and work your way down to the company level. This will include aspects like:

  • Whole Economy : Consider GDP growth or shrinkage, interest rates, consumer spending, and anything else that has the ability to impact your business from the highest market analysis standpoint.
  • Industry : What is the industry outlook over the next five to 10 years? How many total businesses are in your industry (both nationwide and locally)? Who are the major players? What percent of the market do the major players service? How much is left for smaller players? How is the industry changing?
  • Individual Companies : What are they doing? What gaps are they leaving? What can you do better? What do their 401K and quarterly reports show?

All this data matters; it shows whether you know what you are talking about or whether you are just chasing dreams. Don’t get me wrong it’s fun to chase dreams, but it’s better if your management team knows what it is talking about.

If you’re focused on local work, you might want to include a map of all your competitors in this section, for instance, the picture below is a map from Gas Buddy of all the local gas stations in a city. You’ll want to update it with opportunities for locations in the next section on strengths and weaknesses. 

Gas station map screenshot

Next, you’ll want to compare your experience with this information.

Include strengths and weaknesses in a business plan template

You’ll want to perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. This section of our business plan template includes questions about:

  • Your team : Include an organizational chart that outlines your management team, their skill sets, and the gaps you need to fill.
  • Divisions : Do you have divisions that are really strong or weak? How are you going to fix this?
  • Funding : How are your monetary or cash flow scenarios?
  • Vendors: Do you have special vendor scenarios that give you an advantage or disadvantage?
  • Industry : Do you have competitive advantages or disadvantages that other companies don’t have? Does that leave holes for you to fill a service area? Check out the map below for potential holes in the market for gas stations:

Opportunities For Gas Stations

Check out this video by Project Manager to understand SWOT analysis better.

Your strategies (Operations)

This section details how you plan to meet the goals you have set. The business strategies section includes concepts like:

  • Risk Management
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

Logistics show that you’ve really thought about how you plan to achieve your goal. I think the history of Ford, ExxonMobil, Tesla Motors, and previous electric vehicles really shows how the logistics of something matter.

Before the Model T, the majority of cars were electric vehicles. Unfortunately, it was far easier to go to a gas station than to have to charge your electric car. It still is, but part of Elon Musk’s plan to make electric vehicles achievable was nationwide charging stations . 

He had to start by strategically placing them so that a Tesla wouldn’t have to risk running out of power while traveling along major highways. If his business plan hadn’t included over 3,000 superchargers, do you think they’d have sold over 3.23 million vehicles ?

Of course not. You have to think about what can go wrong and how you’ll address it. That’s how logistics work in your favor––before you have a problem.

People working together on table

This section of the business plan should be focused on what you’ll be doing to get word out about your products and services. This section should include:

  • Target market data
  • Brand assets like logos
  • How you’ll be communicating with potential customers
  • Your marketing channels and budget
  • Examples of your ads if they are truly impressive

Financial History and Projections

Lenders, equity providers, and governments offering you relocation initiatives will care about the financial prospects. They’ll want to know the following:

  • Your assumptions

Your past performance

  • Your current year forecast 
  • Longer-term outlook (three, five or ten-year outlook)

Even if you’re not trying to make a deal, these can help you plan better. Let’s look at each.

Assumptions

You’ll want to start the financial projections section with a list of assumptions that are backed by valid resources. Assumptions are everything that could go wrong. They may include:

  • Wage growth
  • Industry growth
  • Market share growth
  • Financing rates
  • Production timelines
  • Marketing metrics

Murphy's laws

Anticipating everything that could go wrong helps you be prepared and shows your willingness to problem-solve. In Writing Winning Business Plans, the author recommends reviewing the SEC forward-looking statement guidelines because investors are used to reading them. I’d also recommend reading some 401Ks on EDGAR .

If you’re an existing business, you’ll also want to show the past history according to your tax returns for at least two years, but three to five years is better. This lets others see whether growth is steady, accelerating, or slowing.

Don’t try to minimize your taxes if you are trying to get a loan. Try to maximize your net income and cash flow. Think ahead and make it easy for the people to approve you. Also, remember that asset-light businesses have higher profit margins than if you have a billion-dollar plant (it might help with secured loans, though).

Your current year forecast

Create financial projections for the current year. These will show whether or not you have a solid business plan that can actually take on business loans or get equity investors. You’ll want to include at least:

  • Profit & Loss Statement : This is similar to a Net Income Statement but is made up. It’s for a one-year minimum and may be called a P&L statement.
  • Cash Flow Statement : Here you will show the annual flow of funds in and out of the business.
  • Balance Sheet : Give a comparison of the assets and receivables to the liabilities and owners’ equity.

I normally start with monthly spreadsheets because it makes it easier to predict where cash flow imbalances will occur.

Longer-term outlook (three, five, or ten-year outlook)

In addition, you may want to create three-year, five-year, or ten-year projections. Be careful with these, though. The economic environment can change fairly quickly, and in 30 to 90 days a lot of economic reports are released.

This part should change based on who will be viewing it, but it should stay similar. A call to action may be:

  • A request for financing for equipment, inventory, or other business needs
  • An offer to schedule a meeting to discuss equity purchases
  • Linking to employment applications for applicants
  • A link to a quiz to make sure employees processed the information
  • A request for a tax subsidy from a government

Each of these should stay true to the rest of the document, but you’ll only want to include a call to action for that specific goal. I would suggest saving a separate copy of the template for each type of action.

Here’s what the Appendix will look like for APA-style references. You can use online citation-creating sites like Purdue Owl to create them. 

About Us . (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.boxabl.com/about-us

A Better Search Engine for We the People. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://presearch.io/roadmap

Brewer, R. (2022, January 06). Record number of homes sold in 2021 in Las Vegas Area. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://vegasinc.lasvegassun.com/business/real-estate/2022/jan/06/record-number-of-homes-sold-in-2021-in-las-vegas-a/

Business Plan Template. (2021, April 19). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.upflip.com/learn/business-plan-template

Published by Statista Research Department, & 4, A. (2022, April 04). Total home sales in the United States from 2011 to 2021 with a forecast for 2022 and 2023. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/275156/total-home-sales-in-the-united-states-from-2009/

Research and Documentation

Now that we’ve covered the sections of our business plan template, let’s discuss how to research and document your findings. We can all use Google search, but will it give you the best answer? 

Maybe, maybe not.

You have to use real data, and there are two ways to get it. You can either go directly to the source or you can buy it. 

Get the Primary Data Set

Data drawing on a notebook

For anyone on a budget or who might prefer to do data analysis themselves, this section is for you. You’ll need the data for many of the sections of your business plan, primarily the industry analysis and the financial modeling.

If you’ve never downloaded a massive dataset, you should try it sometime. They are huge and hard to process. Start by downloading the 50.4 MB spreadsheet to analyze your NAICS code from census.gov . It’s a pain. I’ve had one nearly crash my computer.

After you get the data, you’ll have to process it, create graphs, and cite it in your Appendix. If you have time to do all that, awesome! You’ll want to get data from .gov sites or major organizations. Check out this list of free datasets .

If that sounds like a lot of work, try buying the data from trusted sources instead.

Buy the Processed Data from a Trusted Source

Fortunately, there are plenty of great resources that make it easy to document your statistics in a business plan. You have to pay for them, but they are worth it. Two of the ones I really like are IBIS World and Statista. 

They do the research for every NAICS code and all you have to do is buy their report. It even comes with sourced charts for you to use. If you think you’ll need the data long-term, I suggest getting one of their subscriptions.

You’ll be able to pull everything you need out of it and package it nicely in your business plan. Be sure to add your citations into our business plan template, though.

Add Citations to the Business Plan Template

There are a variety of ways to add citations to a business plan, but the most common are:

  • Appendix : Save the documents and add them at the end of your business plan. Make sure you label them well. You might want to use this in combination with footnotes to mark which citation goes with which statement.
  • Footnotes : You’ll want to add a footnote, then put the reference at the bottom of the page using The Chicago Manual of Style . Check the footnote below for how it looks.
  • Hyperlinks : These only work for digital copies, but they send the reader right to the website where the information was retrieved. Just make sure it’s not pay protected. Use these in conjunction with an appendix so you can use the same business plan for both print and digital.

I’ve put all the references to this blog in the Appendix section to give you an easy example.

In addition to The Chicago Manual of Style , you can also use:

  • American Psychological Association Style
  • Modern Language Association Style

I personally like the APA style, but everyone has their preferences. Just make sure you stay consistent throughout your business plan. Use Purdue Owl if you aren’t familiar with research and citation rules.

Free Business Plan Templates

There are a lot of places where you can get a business plan template. Some of the best places are:

  • UpFlip : Download the  template that follows this blog.
  • Score : View three Score templates .
  • Oprah : Oprah offers three templates for business owners.
  • My Own Business Institute : (That’s the name; I don’t own it.) Other than ours, I like this free business plan best. Check it out .
  • BizGym : Want a lean business plan, BizGym is a good one.

In any of them you’ll want to make sure it has something comparable to the parts in our list. All of them do, but rearrange the order.

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Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

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How to Resell Shoes (And Make $350K/Month)

Get to Know the Sneaker Resale Market

Where to get cheap sneakers to resell, how to know if shoes are fake, what is the sneaker resale value.

  • How Much to Pay For Used Shoes

Step 2. How to Clean Shoes

Step 3: photograph your sneakers, step 4. where can i sell shoes, step 5. shipping services are crucial, how to grow a sneaker flipping company, get started selling high quality sneakers.

  • Retailers and Ecommerce Stores: A sneaker business using this model will buy shoes in bulk and sell them in their stores.
  • Used Sneaker Resellers: These companies focus on used rare sneakers that they can cheaply buy and sell for more on the sneaker resale market.

How Much Money Do I Need to Start Reselling Sneakers?

sneaker shoe displayed on top of scattered money on the floor

What Are the Best Shoes to Resell?

  • Limited Edition Sneakers
  • Nike Air Jordan
  • Original Air Jordans
  • Yeezy’s (Kanye West Shoes)
  • Nike Air Mag
  • Hey Dude Shoes
  • Golden Goose Shoes
  • Mephisto Shoes

What Are the Most Expensive Shoes in the World?

About sneak city: from $50 to $350k/month selling sneakers, how to start reselling shoes.

woman carrying a box and shoes while thinking

  • Buying Shoes
  • Repairing and Cleaning Shoes
  • Photographing Sneakers
  • Adding Products to Instagram And Website Through Automation

Step 1. How to Buy Shoes for Resale

  • Where to buy shoes
  • How to tell if shoes are fake
  • How much to price used shoes
  • How much to pay for used sneakers

screenshot-and-sneakers

  • Wholesalers/Distributors : You can buy new Nike shoes and other brands that have limited releases from wholesalers and distributors. Flipping items this way creates profit from the difference between the wholesale price and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).
  • Reselling Apps : You can find shoes on online services like Offerup, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace. You’ll be responsible for meeting the person, assessing the shoes’ value, identifying fake ones, and negotiating price, 
  • Thrift Stores : Many people get into making money reselling shoes by starting at thrift stores.
  • Facebook Groups : There are multiple sneaker reselling Facebook groups with more than 1,000 people in them. You’ll be able to find some there. You can check for ones in your area as well by adding your city to the search.
  • Sneaker Con : Many locations have shoe conferences and trade shows where sneaker reselling occurs. Find niche market conferences .
  • Nike does not use stitch guides. If you can see the holes of a stitch guide under a black light, the shoes are fake Nikes.
  • Check for a chemical smell. If it smells like chemicals, they are fake. If it smells like dirty feet, it’s harder to tell.
  • Check the box. If you know what a Nike box looks like, a fake box will often be “too bright.”
  • Shoes are too soft. Fake Nikes don’t use real leather, but instead use low grade materials.

example of business plan brainly

How Much to Pay for Used Shoes 

  • How to clean leather shoes
  • Clean white shoes
  • How to clean suede shoes
  • How to remove odor from shoes

a man taking photo of a pair of shoes on the table

  • Amazon : Main image should be jpeg, png, tiff, or gif with a 1600 pixel long side. The product should fill 85% of the image and the file name should be identical to the title of the listing. Learn more .
  • StockX : Reselling sneakers on StockX does not require pictures because they already have the pictures, and they only allow sneaker reselling of a brand new pair. You’ll have to send the shoes to StockX for them to inspect them before you get paid.
  • GOAT : Sneaker reselling on GOAT requires pictures if you have less than a 100% seller rating, the pair sold is used, or the new shoes have defects. The photos will be rejected if you can’t see both shoes clearly.
  • Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media
  • Wholesale Channels

screenshot of shipping instructions from stockx website

  • The importance of a job when starting out
  • How to set Up a sneaker store 
  • How to grow the business
  • How to increase your social media following

Start Sneaker Reselling as an Employee

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How to Set Up Your Sneaker Reseller Locations

  • Choose a location.
  • Buy security cameras and a roll-down gate, and consider hiring an overnight security guard.
  • Separate shoes between one-offs, bulk shoes, and high-value shoes.  
  • Keep one-offs on one side, bulk shoes on the other side, and high-value shoes behind the counter.
  • Wrap the high-value sneakers to keep them in good condition. 
  • Keep each shoe brand together and sort them by size with the largest size at the top and the lowest size at the bottom. 

Importance of Growth

Social media for sneaker resellers.

young woman shoawing a pair of sneakers infront of a camera

Frequently Asked Questions About Selling Shoes

What is the biggest expense for shoe resellers.

calculator, money and a pair of shoes inside the box

How to Sell on Stock X

  • Sign up for StockX
  • Select a payout method and currency 
  • Create a listing 
  • Print a shipping label
  • Ship shoes to StockX within two business days
  • StockX verifies your shoes

How to Sell Shoes on GOAT

notebook, tablet and a pair of sneakers on a black background

  • Apply to sell on GOAT (They don’t give a timeline for approval because they only allow enough sellers to verify all transactions.)
  • Wait for approval
  • List items using SKU
  • Take pictures of the shoes
  • GOAT inspects shoes

338 Eye-Catching Travel Agency Names

Did you know Americans spend nearly $1.1 trillion traveling every year, but there are fewer than 50,000 travel agents? That’s an average of $2.2 million in vacations booked per travel agent.

Given that employment in the travel agent industry is going down while the number of vacations booked is going up, there may be short-term opportunities in the field.

Great travel agency names will help agents find potential customers who want to go to their dream destinations. We provide lots of travel agency name ideas and then explain how to register your travel business name.

[su_note note_color="#dbeafc"] Click on any of the links below to jump to the section.

How To Pick A Travel Agency Name

32 travel agency name ideas, 38 creative travel agency names, 30 unique travel agency names, 42 catchy travel agency names, 20 luxury travel agency names, 28 cool travel agency names, 50 travel company names, 20 good travel agency names, 30 travel agent business name ideas, 28 trip names, 20 travel website names, screen travel: summer vacations, how to name your travel agency.

  • Next Steps After Naming Your Travel Agent Business [/su_note]

Choosing the right name for your travel agency is an important step in starting your business. Your travel agency name should be memorable, easy to pronounce, and relevant to the services you offer.

Here’s some advice for choosing a travel agency name:

  • Consider your target audience. Who are you trying to attract? Once you know your target audience, you can start to brainstorm names that will appeal to them.
  • Focus on your unique selling points, or USP. What makes your agency different from the competition? What are your strengths? Once you know your USP, you can start developing names highlighting these qualities.
  • Keep it simple. Your agency's name should be easy to remember and pronounce. Avoid using long or complicated names.
  • Make it relevant. Your agency's name should be relevant to the services you offer. If you specialize in a particular type of travel, such as luxury travel or adventure travel, your name should reflect that.
  • Be creative. Your agency's name is a chance to show off your creativity. Don't be afraid to think outside the box and come up with a unique name.

The first thing you should think about is your target audience. Are you targeting luxury travelers? History buffs? Adventurers? These could factor into your agency name.

1. History Buffs Abroad 2. Luxe Expeditions 3. Elite Explorers Unlimited 4. Prestige Travel 5. Royal Wanderlust Agency 6. Imminent Escapes 7. Exclusive Expeditions 8. Premier Passage Agency 9. Havenfinders 10. The Noble Nomads 11. Aristocrat Adventures 12. Signature Sojourners 13. Global Hiking Trips 14. Find-a-Path Travel 15. Upper-Echelon Excursions 16. Genetic Pilgrimage Agency

17. Literary Journeybuilders 18. Majesty Awaits 19. Goldrush Journeys 20. Musical Excursions 21. Oceania Travel Co. 22. Pinnacle Passage Agency 23. Overwater Odysseys 24. Pristine Paths Agency 25. Bucket List Vacation Co. 26. ResortFinders 27. Happy Days Travel Co. 28. Apex Ascents Agency 29. Mountaintop Vistas Travel 30. Summit Seekers Agency 31. Posh Pilgrimage 32. Majestic Voyage Agency

Pro Tip: Creative travel agency names not only draw potential customers, but they can also help you find the right travel agent to join your team.

Names for a travel agency could include descriptive words, like “escapes,” “luxury,” “voyages,” “adventure,” “vacation,” and “getaway”—little descriptive words matter.

1. DreamScape Travel Co. 2. VistaVoyage Agency 3. Odyssey Vacations 4. Horizon Trails Travel 5. Roaming Routes 6. Excursion Experts 7. ExploreEase 8. JourneyJoy Travel Agency 9. Destination Dreamers 10. Adventure Awaits 11. Infinite Travels 12. ExploreMore Agency 13. Eternal Odyssey Travel 14. WanderWell Voyages 15. Nomadic Trails Travel 16. Serenity Seekers Agency 17. Quest Seekers 18. Epic Excursions 19. Aspire Adventures

20. Travel & Thrive Agency 21. Vagabond Adventures 22. TrailBlazer Travel Co. 23. Elysian Expeditions 24. VentureVista Travel 25. Discovery Trips 26. Journeybookers 27. Tripbookers Unlimited 28. Elite Odysseys 29. WanderWise Voyages 30. Evoke Adventure Travel 31. VistaFinders 32. Serene Expeditions 33. VentureVista Voyages 34. Origin Expeditions 35. Utopia Travel 36. Explore Evermore 37. DreamQuest Destinations 38. Boundless Bliss Travel

Pro Tip: The keywords related to your travel business should be represented in your name and or slogan. It’s very important to be clear on what services you offer to differentiate your travel agency from a similar travel company in your area.

In all likelihood, people are searching for travel agent services online. Stand out in the wall of text with a unique name.

1. Golden Ticket Travel Operations 2. Soul Travel Vacation 3. Broken Bow Lake Tours 4. Class Act Travel 5. Adventurous Travelers 6. TrekTrove Travel Co. 7. Discovery Dynamics 8. TravelTide Agency 9. Serendipity Sojourns 10. HorizonHue Voyages 11. JourneyGuru Travel 12. ExploreElysium Agency 13. RoamingRadiance Tours 14. Trailblaze Travelers 15. Odyssey Originators

16. PassagePoint Agency 17. JourneyJunction Expeditions 18. WanderWise Voyagers 19. TrekTrails Travel Co. 20. Trailblazer Trips 21. Odyssey Orbit Travel 22. VentureVista Voyagers 23. QuestQuell Expeditions 24. WayfarerWaves Agency 25. Elysian Escapes 26. WanderWells Voyages 27. ExploreEclipse Travel 28. JourneyJive Agency 29. PassagePilot Tours 30. HorizonHue Expeditions

Pro Tip: If your name is more plain, let your logo do the talking. Make sure you can envision your logo when you make your travel agency names list. If you see a name but can’t imagine what you would do for a catchy logo, it’s probably not a good fit.

Top-down shot of a travel agent’s desk with a succulent, a miniature airplane, a black and orange map of the world, and a tablet with the words "catchy travel name" on it

Sometimes, if your name rolls off the tongue, it’s impossible to forget. Try a name like:

1. Wanderlust Escapes 2. Horizon Hoppers 3. Globe Trotters 4. Vacation Vibes 5. Travel Tribe 6. Explore More Tours 7. World Wanderer 8. Compass & Camera 9. Map My Getaway 10. Wanderlust & Wine 11. Passport & Paradise 12. Jet Set Journeys 13. Roam & Relax 14. Dream Destination Travel 15. Travel Mavericks 16. The Adventure Collective 17. Off the Beaten Path Tours 18. The Bucket List Brigade 19. Voyage & Vistas 20. Nomad Nation 21. The World is My Office

22. Roam Sweet Roam 23. The Wanderlust Society 24. Jet Set Junkies 25. Journey Seekers 26. The Explorationists 27. Wanderlust Wonders 28. Globe Trotter Getaways 29. Adventure Avenue 30. Compass & Cork 31. Roam & Relish 32. Tranquil Trails 33. Pilgrim Paths 34. Sun-Kissed Safaris 35. Mystic Mountains 36. Oceanic Odyssey 37. Urban Escapades 38. Culinary Capitals 39. Artful Adventures 40. Eco-Explorers 41. Cultural Connections 42. Timeless Travel

A man carrying his suitcase toward a private jet with the words "luxury travel" hovering overhead

As a travel agent, you’ll likely serve wealthy clientele—and some travel agents gear their entire business around that. If you specialize in luxury trips, consider:

1. The Luxe Wanderer 2. The Grand Voyage 3. The Elite Traveler 4. The Opulent Odyssey 5. The Five-Star Safari 6. The Private Jetsetters 7. The Connoisseur's Cruise 8. The Bespoke Journey 9. The Indulgent Escape 10. The Exclusive Expedition

11. The Majestic Retreat 12. The Enchanting Getaway 13. The Serene Sanctuary 14. The Exquisite Experience 15. The Unforgettable Adventure 16. The Dreamlike Destination 17. The Heavenly Haven 18. The Divine Discovery 19. The LuxeVoyage Agency 20. The Jet Setters

Travel agent working on their laptop

Sometimes, naming a company can be simple. The strategy? Go for something cool. We thought these travel agency name ideas were cool.

1. Regal Routes Agency 2. Grand Travels 3. Wanderlust Explorers 4. Globe Trotter Adventures 5. Compass & Cleats 6. Infinite Horizon Tours 7. Voyage Voyagers 8. Roam & Ramble 9. Expedition Enthusiasts 10. Nomadic Souls 11. Trailblazers Uncharted 12. Odyssey Quest 13. Far & Away Adventures 14. The Travelling Kind

15. Beyond Borders Travel 16. The Wander Society 17. The World Wanderers 18. The Globe Hoppers 19. Boundless Journey 20. Global Reach Travel Agency 21. Enchanting Escapes Travel Agency 22. Compass & Key 23. Roam & Explore 24. The Travelling Soul 25. Nomadic Nation 26. The Roving Explorers 27. Seekers of Wonder 28. Boundless Journeys

Travel agent in front of a billboard that reads "travel company" with a jet flying overhead

Perhaps you offer more than travel agent services. Maybe you run proprietary tours and excursions, too. These names could be perfect for your travel company:

1. TravelVista Co. 2. VoyageWell Travels 3. ExploreWise Journeys 4. Wanderlust Wayfarers 5. AdventureScope Travel 6. JourneyEase Co. 7. TrekTide Travels 8. RoamRoots 9. Excursionista Tours 10. Globetrotter Getaways 11. OdysseyAxis Travel 12. HorizonHue Ventures 13. Trailblaze Travels 14. Wayfarer’s Quest 15. TrekVista Tours 16. WanderWise Expeditions 17. TravelMosaic Co. 18. VentureVista Journeys 19. ExploreQuest Agency 20. Odyssey Orchid Travels 21. PathFinder Expeditions 22. ExpeditionEase Tours 23. DiscoverEase Travel 24. NomadNest Voyages 25. Serenity Trails Co.

26. RoamReady Travel 27. OdysseyAura Journeys 28. ExploreBeyond Tours 29. Wayfarer Wonders Co. 30. WanderWhale Travel 31. JourneyVista Ventures 32. ExpeditionXplorer Co. 33. ExploreNest Tours 34. OdysseyTrail Journeys 35. TrailSeeker Travels 36. VentureVibe Agency 37. TravelZenith Co. 38. OdysseyWayfarer Travels 39. TrekTrekker Journeys 40. Voyager’s Haven 41. ExploreSphere Travel 42. JourneyJunction Co. 43. OdysseyVenture Tours 44. RoamRight Travels 45. WanderSphere Co. 46. TrailTrekker Journeys 47. QuestSphere Travel 48. OdysseyTrails Co. 49. TrekTrove Voyages 50. VoyageVista Travel

Haven’t found a good travel agency name yet? Here are a few more:

1. Demand Vacations 2. American Vacation 3. Vacation Connection 4. Sea Turtle Travel 5. International Adventures 6. Smart Flyer 7. Around the World 8. Travel Shoppe 9. Liberty Travel International 10. Budget Travelers

11. Exquisite Expeditions 12. Mapstop Travel Agent 13. Happy Vacations 14. Tremendous Trips 15. Adventures Bloom 16. Mercury Travel 17. MapStat Travel Agent 18. Adventure Travelers 19. World Adventure Travel Agents 20. Willow Tree Travel Resort

Travel agent in an airport terminal using a tablet to search for creative names for the travel industry

Don’t settle. Only go with travel agency name ideas that will jump off the page. Consider some of these:

1. Wanderlust & Co. 2. Elite Global Travel 3. Adventure Bound 4. Horizon Seekers 5. The Travel Alchemist 6. Off the Beaten Path 7. Jetset Journeys 8. The World Awaits 9. Journey Junkies 10. Wanderlust Warriors 11. The Global Nomad 12. Escape Artists 13. The Adventure Society 14. The Road Less Traveled 15. The World is Ours

16. Wanderlust Collective 17. The Travel Enthusiast 18. Holy Trinity Missions & Trips 19. The Travel Team 20. Airborne Travel Agency 21. Married Travel 22. Travel Business Advantage 23. Journey Makers 24. Pegasus Travel Services 25. Fly Tours 26. Mayflower Travel Agency 27. Weekend Getaways 28. Unbeatable Travel & Tour Co. 29. Top Flight Travel Agents 30. Can’t Touch This Travel Tours

A car road tripping in the American West with a white and green road sign that reads "trip names" and has an arrow pointing toward the highway

As a travel agent, you might offer pre-planned trip packages. The names will depend on the details, of course, but take these for inspiration.

1. Amazonian Escape 2. Alaskan Wilderness Excursion 3. Antarctic Expedition 4. Asian Odyssey 5. Australian Outback Adventure 6. Baja California Getaway 7. Balkan Delights 8. Brazilian Carnival Extravaganza 9. Canadian Rockies Getaway 10. Caribbean Cruise 11. Central American Discovery 12. Chinese Cultural Tour 13. Costa Rican Nature Retreat 14. Cuban Salsa Adventure

15. Dubai and Abu Dhabi Extravaganza 16. Egyptian Pyramids and Nile River Cruise 17. European River Cruise 18. Galapagos Island Expedition 19. Greek Island Hopping 20. Himalayan Trek 21. Indian Golden Triangle Tour 22. Indonesian Island Paradise 23. Irish Castles and Pubs 24. Italian Food and Wine Tour 25. Japanese Cultural Immersion 26. Moroccan Desert Adventure 27. New Zealand Adventure 28. Peruvian Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley

You’ll need a website, and obviously, it should mirror your business name. Consider one of these as a website name:

1. Nomad's Land 2. Wanderlust Wanderer 3. The Endless Journey 4. The Globe Trotter 5. The Traveling Soul 6. The Armchair Adventurer 7. The Adventure Junkie 8. The Offbeat Explorer 9. The Cultural Connoisseur 10. The Foodie Traveler

11. The Nature Lover 12. The Wildlife Enthusiast 13. The History Buff 14. The Art Aficionado 15. The Music Maven 16. The Beach Bum 17. The Ski Bunny 18. The Hiker's Haven 19. The Biker's Paradise 20. The Climber's Challenge

These days, real travel is always preceded by screen travel.

When selecting your travel agency names, imagine a couple or family sitting down in front of a computer screen and fantasizing about their summer vacations.

What will they search for and be drawn to in a local travel company? Your agency names should include the specialties your travel company wants to be known for , and these 50 ideas can help.

1. SunScape Tours 2. SummerBreeze Getaways 3. BeachBliss Travels 4. SunSplash Adventures 5. SummerSiesta Voyages 6. CoastalCharm Vacations 7. SunnySide Travels 8. TropicalDream Tours 9. SeaShore Serenity Trips 10. IslandHaven Getaways 11. SummerSizzle Travels 12. SunSeeker Expeditions 13. BeachBound Ventures 14. SandCastle Escapes 15. SummerWave Journeys 16. OceanView Odyssey 17. SunshineSojourn Travels 18. CoastalCove Vacations 19. SummerAura Getaways 20. BeachBreeze Tours 21. SunDaze Ventures 22. Shoreline Serenade 23. IslandEscape Tours 24. SummerSands Travel Co. 25. SunSplash Sojourns

26. BeachComber Voyages 27. CoastalEscape Getaways 28. TropicalTide Journeys 29. SummerSway Travels 30. SunShine Expeditions 31. BeachBliss Retreats 32. SandDune Sojourns 33. IslandWander Voyages 34. SummerRays Travels 35. CoastalWaves Getaways 36. SunTrail Expeditions 37. OceanBreeze Tours 38. SunnyShore Journeys 39. BeachVista Vacations 40. SummerSails Travels 41. SeaScape Sojourns 42. IslandOasis Tours 43. SunSerenity Ventures 44. BeachHaven Getaways 45. CoastalWonders Travels 46. TropicalTrek Voyages 47. SummerShore Trips 48. SunSpiral Journeys 49. BeachRover Travels 50. IslandCrest Getaways

A young travel agent doing research on his tablet with icons for Wi-Fi, documents, and trademarking hovering overhead

Once you’ve considered some creative travel agency names, you’ll need to register the name of your travel company. During the process you’ll want to:

  • Check domain availability: Travel agencies need a website, and it should match their travel business name.
  • Perform a web search: You want to check to see if the name is already in use by another travel agent. If it is, consider other catchy travel agency names.
  • Check for trademarks: A travel business name could already be trademarked. Check on USPTO.gov to make sure it’s available.
  • Register the travel agency name: As long as the business name is available, you can register the business and start selling business travel or family vacations.

Next Steps After Naming Your Travel Agent Business

You still have plenty of work to do to start a travel agent business. You’ll need to create your website, open your socials, negotiate deals with tour operators, market your business, and book clients. 

Check out our Business Hub to learn more about starting a business.

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How to Write a Business Plan [Complete Guide]

Last Updated on – Aug 8, 2023 @ 3:22 pm

Preparing to write your business plan? You’re already one step ahead of other entrepreneurs who don’t see its value.

A well-thought-out and well-written plan for starting and running your business helps you focus on what you need to do to make your business idea work. It can also boost your chance of getting investments and loans to finance your business .

Did you know that half of small businesses fail in their first four years? Planning is such a crucial step to reducing the risks of managing an enterprise. Turn your business idea from something abstract and uncertain into a successful venture. It starts with drafting a good business plan.

Here’s your definitive guide to writing a business plan that speaks for itself.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a written document that details what a business is, what direction it will take, and how you’ll get it there.

Practically speaking, the business plan evaluates your business’ viability. As the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) puts it , the document allows entrepreneurs to find out whether or not their business idea will bring in more money than how much it costs to start and run it.

More than just a document, the business plan helps business owners to figure out the key aspects of an enterprise, including the following:

  • Business goals and strategies to meet them
  • Competitive edge and how to leverage it
  • Potential problems and how to solve them
  • Funding required to start the business
  • Equipment, facilities, and manpower needed for operations

Who Needs a Business Plan and What Is It Used For?

Every aspiring entrepreneur who will spend a great amount of money, time, and energy to earn a profit needs a business plan.

Business planning is a crucial part of starting an entrepreneurial journey, no matter how small or big a business is. Never skip this step—as they say, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Here are some examples of business types that benefit much from business planning:

Founders of startup businesses seek funds to begin their new venture. Business plans help them persuade investors and lenders to provide the funding they need.

For startups, a business plan explains the nature of the new venture, how it will achieve its goals, and why the founders are the best people to lead the company. The startup business plan should also specify the capital needed to jumpstart the new business.

Related: Fast-Growing Startups in the Philippines

Existing Businesses

Not only do startups gain advantage from a business plan—existing enterprises need it, too.

But business plans for growing businesses serve a different purpose. Usually, a business plan helps a middle-stage business raise funds for additional facilities, equipment, manpower, and others needed for expansion. This document also defines strategies for growth and allocates resources based on strategic priorities.

Growing businesses also use business plans to communicate their vision to various stakeholders such as customers, business partners, potential investors and lenders, employees, and suppliers.

For such needs, a business plan for existing businesses lays out the goals, strategies, metrics to evaluate success, responsibilities, and resource allocation.

Social Enterprises

Social enterprises may not be as profit-driven as other business types, but that doesn’t mean they need business planning any less.

A social enterprise needs to prepare a business plan to achieve its social objectives and keep empowering the communities it’s supporting. This document is what government agencies and donor agencies require and evaluate when approving grants for funding a social project .

A social enterprise business plan determines the social issue that a business idea will solve, its beneficiaries, products or services, target market, and sales projections, among many others.

Non-Profit Organizations/NGOs

Like social enterprises, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can also use business plans to source funds for their campaigns and projects.

A nonprofit business plan discusses the problems an NGO is trying to solve through a certain project, as well as how it will do that and how much resources are needed.

It also helps the organization and its board members to prepare for risks by making projections on how likely the activities will push through and how the current sources of funds will continue to yield a certain level of revenue. Most importantly, the business plan defines the Plan B if the original plan ends up failing.

Business Plan Format and Its Components

How does a business plan exactly look like? There’s no recommended universal format for business plans. Ideally, yours is customized according to the nature of your business and what you’re going to use the plan for.

However, all business plans have sections in common. Here’s a quick walkthrough of the six components that make up a business plan.

1. Executive Summary

Like an abstract of a college thesis or a foreword of a book, the executive summary is meant to provide a brief overview of the document. It presents the highlights of a business plan in a page or two.

The executive summary the first thing that readers see, so keep it short yet engaging and compelling enough to make them want to view more details in your plan.

2. Company Profile

The company profile is your chance to introduce yourself and your business to people outside your company. It’s also called the company summary, company information, business description, and business profile.

This section quickly answers the five Ws and one H of your business: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Think of it as your business calling card. Being the shortest section of the business plan, the company profile provides a quick overview of the business—who the owner and founder is, management team, business goals, business address, product or service, and what makes it unique.

3. Operations Plan

The operations plan explains how you’ll run your business, focusing on the different aspects of manufacturing your product. This section includes the following information, among many others:

  • Type of business (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation , or non-profit)
  • How the product is made or the service completed
  • Necessary materials, equipment, and facilities to manufacture the product or complete the service
  • Any subcontractors needed
  • Quality control system

4. Organizational Plan

Your people should play a major role in your business plan, just as how they’re important to your business success . The organizational plan includes a chart that shows how your company is structured according to key departments or functions such as administration, production/manufacturing, marketing, and finance. This organizational chart not only presents the levels of authority in a company but also clarifies who is responsible for which people and function.

Aside from the organizational chart, the organizational plan also includes these details:

  • Number of employees to hire
  • Responsibilities of each job role
  • Qualifications of workers who will perform each role
  • Salaries and benefits per job assignment

5. Marketing Plan

The marketing plan and the succeeding chapters are the heart and soul of your business plan, explaining the things that will make your business work. This section details how you plan to promote your product or service in the market.

Specifically, the marketing plan covers the following:

  • How the product or service will work and how it will benefit customers
  • Target market and its profile
  • Strategies for packaging, advertising, public relations, and distribution
  • Competitive advantage

6. Financial Plan

A critical section in your business plan, the financial plan helps you assess how much money you’ll need to start or grow your enterprise and identify your funding sources to get your business off the ground and sustain its operations. This is where you’ll provide financial estimates that cover at least one year of running your business.

Investors and lenders specifically look for these financial details in business plans:

  • How much you’re going to borrow, what you’ll use the loan for, and how you’ll pay it back
  • How much profit you’re expecting to make (through an income statement and balance sheet)
  • How you can finance your business operations (through a cash flow statement)
  • Whether to keep the business going or close it down to cut losses (through a break-even analysis)

Related: How to Write a Business Proposal

Should You Use a Business Plan Template?

Business plan templates identify what information to put into each section and how it should be structured.

They provide instructions to guide entrepreneurs through the process. This way, nothing is missed out while writing the plan.

Thus, using a business plan template is a great idea, especially if this is your first time to prepare a plan for starting or growing your enterprise.

Helpful as it as may be, a business plan template doesn’t make business planning 100% effortless. While it provides the outline that makes writing the plan easy and quick, you still need to do your homework.

For example, a template won’t compute the financial projections for you—it’s a task you have to complete either on your own or with the help of a professional.

So before you use a business plan template, manage your expectations first and be prepared to do a lot of math!

8 Free Business Plan Templates

Yes, you read it right—you can download free online business plan templates. Some of these templates are designed for a specific niche, while others offer sample business plans for a wide range of business categories and industries.

Start off by choosing any of these free templates that suit your business planning needs.

1. Business Plan Format by the DTI

DTI has a wealth of useful information for micro, small, and medium businesses in the Philippines. Of course, it’s free to access since it comes from the government.

On the DTI website, simply look for the Business Planning section and download the business plan format in a PDF file. This document not only lists down all the information to be included in every section of a business plan, but it also provides guide questions per section—making business planning easier for first-timers.

If you want a more detailed discussion of what should go into each component of your business plan plus sample scenarios, check the DTI’s Negosyo Center e-book that fleshes out things for small business owners.

2. Simple Business Plan Template by The Balance Small Business 

The Balance is an online resource for small business owners. It has a free business plan template that’s simple and easy to understand for beginners, with instructions on how to use it. Broken down into sections, the simple business plan template tells you what to include in each component of the plan.

Simply copy the free template and paste it into a word document or spreadsheet. From there, you can start drafting your business plan with the template as a guide.

3. Free Sample Business Plans by Bplans

This website features a collection of over 500 free business plan samples for various industries, including restaurants, e-commerce, real estate, services, nonprofit, and manufacturing.

Under each category are links to many sample business plans for specific types of business. Each sample comes with a plan outline, too. For example, under the Services category, you’ll find sample plans for businesses like auto repair shops, advertising agencies, catering companies, health spas, photography studios, and more.

4. Business Plan Samples by LivePlan

More than 500 free sample business plans are available at the LivePlan website, so you’re likely to find one that suits your business best. The samples allow users to know how other businesses structured and worded each component of their business plans. You can copy and paste the sections into your own plan.

To download a full business plan sample, you’ll have to sign up by submitting your name and email address through the website.

5. Business Plan Templates by PandaDoc

PandaDoc offers free business plan templates for NGOs, startups, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, hotels, and salons. These documents can be downloaded in PDF format.

But if you want a customizable template, you can download the PandaDoc template for a 14-day free trial. This template allows you to edit the document, choose a theme that matches your branding, and add pictures and videos.

The website also has free templates for executive summaries and business letters.

6. The One-Page Business Plan by The $100 Startup

If your business has a simple concept, then a one-page business plan template is ideal to use. This downloadable PDF file is a very simple outline made up of a few sections with questions that you have to answer in just a short sentence or two.

7. Business Plans by Microsoft

Microsoft provides a broad selection of templates for its users, including business plan templates in Word, business plan presentations in PowerPoint, and business plan checklists in Excel.

  • Sample business plan template (Word) – Provides the steps in writing a complete business plan
  • Business plan presentation template (PowerPoint) – Consists of slides for different sections of a business plan that highlight the key points for viewers
  • Business plan checklist template (Excel) – Enumerates the important things to do when writing a business plan, using the Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) analysis framework

The advantage of using a template from Microsoft is having a professional-looking document, slideshow presentation, or spreadsheet. No need to do the formatting by yourself because the template is already formatted. All you have to do is enter the necessary information into the template to complete your business plan.

8. Social Business Plan Guidelines by the Ateneo de Manila

This free business plan format for social entrepreneurs comes from the Ateneo de Manila University’s John Gokongwei School of Management. In a glimpse, it provides the basic information you need to plan a social enterprise.

It also has more detailed business plan guidelines you can refer to. Simply click the link to the word document at the bottommost part of the page.

Related: 11 Best MBA Programs & Schools in the Philippines

How to Write a Business Plan

An outstanding business plan covers everything your stakeholders need to know about your business. So don’t just wing it—put a lot of thought into this critical document.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of drafting a business plan, whether you’ll use a template or not.

1. Brainstorm about your business idea

You may have a very promising business idea, but it won’t fly unless you develop it into a clear-cut concept.

Brainstorm with your team about everything you can think of about starting and running the business. Then list them all down.

Be as creative as possible. No need to be too critical at this point.

While brainstorming, aim to answer these key questions:

  • Why do you want to start the business? What has inspired you to go for it?
  • What product or service do you plan to sell?
  • Who will be your target customers? What are their problems that you’re hoping to solve through your product or service? How will you promote your offerings to them?
  • What will be your business branding ? How will you position your brand in the industry?
  • What is your competitive advantage? What makes your business unique?
  • Where do you see your business within a year?

2. Validate your business idea

Research on the specifics of your business idea—paying special attention to your product or service, target market, and competitors.

According to entrepreneurship experts, it’s best to spend twice as much time on this step as spending the time to the actual drafting of the business plan.

Here are some ways to validate your business idea:

  • Read studies and research to find information and trends about your industry .
  • Conduct market research to gather insights from industry leaders, potential customers, and suppliers . You can do this through surveys, focus group discussions, and one-on-one interviews with your stakeholders.
  • Collect data about your competitors , especially the product or service they offer and how they reach their customers. Consider buying from them or visiting their store to get a feel of their products and customer experience.

Gather all relevant information and analyze your findings to assess whether the business idea is feasible or not. You may need to tweak your business idea based on your evaluation of its feasibility.

3. Define the purpose of your business plan

It’s extremely difficult to carry out anything if you aren’t sure about why you’re doing it in the first place. Without a clear purpose, you’re like driving a car without knowing where you’re headed to.

When it comes to writing your business plan, you should have its purpose in mind from the get-go. It can be one or more of the following:

  • Create a roadmap to provide the directions the business must take to achieve your goals and overcome challenges. This is ideal for bootstrapping or self-funding startups.
  • Seek investments and loans to finance a business. If this is your purpose for making a business plan, it should be compelling enough to attract investors and lenders.
  • Set your targets, budget, timelines, and milestones. When you put them all in writing, it’s so much easier to evaluate and measure your business’ actual performance versus your goals.
  • Communicate your vision and strategic priorities with the management team. With this purpose, your business plan must establish specific goals for your managers so that they have something to commit to, you can track progress, and get them to follow through on their commitments. Also, having a business plan for this purpose ensures that everybody involved in running your business is on the same page.
  • Minimize risks. Running a business in itself involves a lot of risks, and it gets riskier with a poorly researched business idea. A business plan can help entrepreneurs mitigate them by organizing activities and preparing for contingencies.

4. Create an outline for the executive summary

The first section of any business plan is the executive summary. You don’t have to draft it yet at this point, but it helps to write an outline for it before you proceed with the rest of the sections.

In a sentence or two, describe these key aspects of your business:

  • Product or service
  • Target market
  • Competitors
  • Unique value proposition (how you set your business apart from the competition)
  • Management team
  • Short-term and long-term business goals
  • Possible sources of revenue

5. Describe your business

The next step is to write your company profile. Get your readers to become familiar with your business and realize why they should be interested in it.

If you have no idea what specifically goes into this crucial business plan section, you can check the company profiles of businesses in your industry. Usually, you can find them on their websites at the About Us or About the Company page. Take note of the information included and how they’re written.

Here are the must-haves of a great company profile:

  • Brief history of the company
  • Mission and vision
  • Product or service lineup
  • Target market and audience
  • How the business will address the customers’ pain points
  • What makes the business unique

6. Provide details about your operations and organizational structure

Anyone who will read your business plan needs to know what they should expect when they deal with you. They need to see a solid plan for your operations and the people who make up your team. So give your operations plan and organizational plan a careful thought.

For your operations plan, choose carefully the right legal structure for your business. Will you be a sole proprietor? Or will you partner with someone or form a corporation? Your choice will have an impact not only on your business operations but also on the taxes you’ll pay and your personal liability .  

As for the organizational plan, it’s where you put your organizational chart that shows a glimpse of the hierarchy within your organization. You can easily create this chart in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

Also introduce the people who comprise your management team—their relevant experience, qualifications, and expertise . The organizational plan must also include information of the support personnel, as well as who reports to whom and who manages whom.

If you’ll be outsourcing some of your business functions, add them to your organizational plan, too. These may include consultants , accountants , lawyers , logistics specialists, and IT specialists. This way, you’re showing that you’re planning to fill in any expertise and skill gaps in your in-house team.

Also Read: Business Process Outsourcing to the Philippines [Complete Guide]

7. Compose your marketing plan

Make this section of your business plan as comprehensive and detailed as possible. You’d want to prove that you’ll take a strategic and aggressive approach to reach your target customers and promote your brand and product or service to them.

Divide your marketing plan into five subsections: objectives, product/service description, target market profile, competition profile, and promotional activities.

A. Objectives

Zero in on the what and the why of your marketing activities. Under the marketing objectives section, list down all your goals and the strategies you’ll implement to meet them.

Your marketing goals can be any of the following:

  • Raise brand awareness
  • Introduce a new product or service
  • Regain or get more customers for an existing product or service
  • Secure long-term contracts with your ideal clients
  • Increase sales in a certain market, product, or price point
  • Improve product manufacturing or product/service delivery
  • Increase prices without affecting sales

B. Product/Service Description

Describe each product or service you’ll offer, including its features and benefits. You can use storytelling , images, charts, tables, or any visual element that best illustrates how each item will work to the benefit of your target customers.

C. Target Market Profile

Present as much relevant data as you can about your potential customers. Make sure to include the following:

  • Demographic profile: age range, gender, income level, education, interests, etc.
  • Buying behaviors
  • Factors that influence their buying decisions: purchasing power, personal preferences, economic conditions, marketing campaigns, social factors (such as peer pressure and social media influencers ), cultural factors, etc.

D. Competition Profile

Your marketing plan must focus not only on your own business but also those of your competitors. List down the similar products or services that they offer to your target customers.

Also, provide an assessment of your competitors’ performance. Which areas are they doing well? How can you improve on their strengths and weaknesses? How can your business stand out? Is it your more competitive pricing? Better customer service? Superior product quality?

To come up with a good competition profile, take the time to research about your competitors. When interviewing your target customers, ask them about the brands they use or businesses they deal with.

You can also do an online search of your competitors. For example, if you’ll run a pet supplies store in Pasig, search for “pet stores Pasig” on Google. The search engine results page may show you the different stores that sell the same products as the ones you plan to offer. Read customer reviews online to get deeper insights on how these businesses serve their clients.

Consider doing a “secret shopping” in your competitor’s store. This way, you can experience firsthand how they treat their customers and how they market and sell their products or services. You might even be able to get information about their product lineup and pricing.

E. Promotional Activities

The last subsection of your marketing plan must discuss how you’ll promote your brand and products or services and connect with customers. Also, be ready to allocate budget for each marketing activity you identify in your plan.

Create a list of marketing activities you plan to implement. Will you reach your audience through SEO (organic online search), paid advertising, and/or social media? Or will you go the traditional route through print and TV advertising or joining expos, exhibits, and trade shows? The right choice depends on the nature of your business and the type of audience you’re trying to reach.

8. Develop your financial plan

The financial plan is the section where you’ll crunch the numbers. Unless you’re really good at math, it’s best to hire an accountant or business consultant who will work with you to develop a foolproof financial plan.

Put simply, a financial plan explains how a business will spend money and make more money. It also estimates the amount of time it will take for the business to earn a profit.

Here are the specifics of a good financial plan:

  • Total capital requirement
  • Business financing plan and any loan requirement
  • Collateral to put up for a business loan
  • Schedule for loan repayment
  • Financial statements : cash flow statement, income statement/profit and loss statement, and balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Financial analysis

Ultimately, these financial projections answer the question, “Is your business financially feasible?”

9. Back up your business plan with supporting documents

Books and theses have an appendix section at the end that provides additional resources. Your business plan should have one, too. This final section consists of documents, surveys, studies, charts, tables, images, and other elements that provide supporting data.

Depending on the information you’ve presented in the other sections of the plan, your appendix may include these things:

  • Market research data and findings
  • Resumes of the management team
  • Relevant financial documents
  • Lease agreements
  • Bank statements
  • Licenses and permits

10. Review and refine your business plan

Your business plan is almost done at this point. Now all you have to do is go over the document once more to ensure you’ve covered everything and nothing crucial is left out.

Check your final draft and be sure it has the following:

  • Sound business idea – If you’ve done Step 2 properly (validating business idea), you can be confident that you have a sound business idea.
  • Comprehensive and in-depth look into your business in a professional format
  • Thorough understanding of your target customers , their behaviors, interests, and needs
  • Competent management team – The people who make up your team must possess the skills and expertise that complement yours.
  • Business focus or specialization

Aside from yourself, ask a business partner, proofreader, and accountant or financial expert to review your business plan and spot any errors and inconsistencies. You’d want to make sure that it looks professional and is accurate.

11. Write the executive summary

Lastly, get back to the outline you created in Step 4 and write it based on your final draft. Make sure to craft an engaging executive summary that hooks people into reading the rest of the plan.

6 Actionable Tips on Writing a Business Plan

Anyone can write a business plan—but it takes more than great writing skills to create an exceptional one.

Here are some tips to help you prepare an effective business plan that goes beyond the ordinary.

1. Write with your audience in mind

When drafting your business plan, you’re writing not for yourself but for people who will play key roles in starting and running your enterprise. This is why it’s important that you know whom you’re writing for and keep them in mind while preparing your business plan.

If you think you can’t create a plan that caters to all your audience groups, consider having different versions of the document. For example, you can come up with a business plan for investors, another for lenders, one for employees, and so on. But keep the data consistent across all versions.

To write a business plan that suits a particular audience, you have to use the right language, highlight the parts that interest them, and adjust the format accordingly.

A. Use the Right Language

One of the most important rules in business writing: use the language that your target audience easily understands. If you’re writing for engineers, finance people, or lawyers, your language can be technical—meaning you can use jargons and terminologies familiar to them.

However, if you’re writing for investors who barely have technical knowledge, tweak your language in simple terms that are easy to grasp and appreciate.

Likewise, if you’re writing a business plan to communicate internally with managers and employees your company’s direction and strategies, it’s best to use more casual language than you would when writing for high-level, external stakeholders.

B. Appeal to Your Audience’s Interests

It also helps to understand what interests your audience because they will influence how you’ll write your business plan.

Your management team, for instance, will be interested in knowing your business goals and strategies so that they can help you steer the company in the right direction.

Investors and lenders look at the business plan differently—they’ll be more interested in your financial statements to determine your financial health, like if your business is worth investing in or has the ability to pay back a loan.

C. Adopt a Suitable Business Plan Format

There’s no one-size-fits-all format for business plans because it depends mainly on your audience, aside from the nature of your business.

Let’s say you’ll set up a restaurant, and you’re drafting a business plan to apply for a business loan. To convince lenders that your business is viable, details such as your restaurant’s location and possible renovations are crucial.

Meanwhile, if you’re writing the plan for potential big-time investors, you’ll take a different approach. A good restaurant business plan focuses on the business aspects that will lead to growth and profitability (Remember that investors are interested in how they’ll make money from partnering with you).

2. Keep it concise

How long should a business plan be? According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , it depends on various factors such as the specific audience it’s written for and the nature of a business. The SBA cites surveys that found the ideal length to be at least 25 to 100 pages.

Sounds a lot? If you have a simple business idea and you’re writing a business plan for busy people who don’t have time to pore over hundreds of pages, then one page up to 20 pages should be fine.

However, you may need to provide more explanation (which will take up more pages in your business plan) if you’re planning to build a new kind of business, and a risky one at that.

The size of your business also affects the length of your business plan. Business plans for small businesses need not exceed 30 pages. Corporate business plans are expected to be longer.

What matters more than length is how concise your business plan is. Meaning, it provides all the necessary information—including solid research and analysis—using the fewest words possible. No place for wordiness here!

3. Document everything related to your business

Support your claims in the business plan with solid facts and proof. Investors, for instance, need an assurance that they won’t lose their investment when they trust you with their money. This is where documenting your business thoroughly plays a crucial role.

What kinds of documentation can you include in your business plan?

  • Industry forecast or projections
  • Licensing agreements
  • Location strategy
  • Prototype of your product or service
  • Survey and FGD results
  • Resumes of your management team

4. Show your passion and dedication to your business

Although business plans have straightforward, matter-of-fact content, you can still establish an emotional connection with your readers through your plan. After all, your readers are humans with feelings and motivations.

No need to be dramatic about it—you can show your passion and dedication while still sounding professional in your business plan. Write about the mistakes you’ve had (like a failed business in the past), what you’ve learned from the experience, the values you hold, and the problems of your customers you want to solve through your product or service.

5. Know your competition and how you’ll stand out

Your business won’t be the single player in your industry. Other businesses in the same niche have started way ahead of you, and some new ones will also compete for business in the future.

Write your business plan in such a way that you know your competitors so well. Identify all of them and what makes your business unique compared with the rest without belittling them.

6. Be realistic and conservative in all your estimates

In any aspect of your business, it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. This also holds true when writing a business plan. You wouldn’t want to set unrealistic expectations that will lead to disappointments and worse, losses, when you fail to deliver on your promise.

There’s no place for too much optimism in your business plan. Your budget allocation, timelines, capital requirements, sales and revenue targets, and financial projections must be reasonable, realistic, and conservative. These will lend credibility to your business plan and yourself as an entrepreneur. Because there are a lot of factors beyond your control, always assume that things will get completed longer and cost more ( consider inflation over time! ).

This is where your research prior to writing the draft comes extremely helpful. You have something solid and factual to benchmark against. For example, if your analysis based on the facts you’ve gathered indicates that you’ll be able to get 40% share off the market in your first year of operations, consider making your estimates a bit more conservative and attainable.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Business Valuation in the Philippines

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Business Plan

Now, let’s explore the mistakes entrepreneurs often commit when writing a business plan. Listing them all down here to let you know what to avoid.

1. Prioritizing Form Over Substance

Spend most of your time and energy on building solid research and facts rather than obsessing about which font type or background color will look best for your document.

2. Overthinking

Many entrepreneurs take too long to complete their business plans because they worry too much about it. Don’t get intimidated by business planning—you don’t have to be an expert or a degree holder in business management or business administration to be able to write an outstanding business plan. Overthinking will just lead to analysis paralysis and get nothing done.

As long as you know your business well and are passionate about it, then writing a business plan won’t be as difficult as you think, especially if you’re using a template.

3. Submitting the Document Without Proofreading It

If your business plan is filled with typos and grammatical errors, readers will get distracted even if you’re presenting substantial information. It may also give your audience an impression that you’re careless—and who wants to deal with a person who isn’t professional and careful enough?

Even if it costs you money, pay a professional proofreader to check your work and correct any errors so that the message you wanted to convey through your business plan will get across.

4. Making Empty Claims

Any statement that isn’t sufficiently supported by solid research or documentation has to go. For example, if you want to claim to be the top player in your industry but you don’t have any evidence to back it up, rethink about including it in your business plan.

5. Writing an Overly Long and Wordy Plan

Make sure that everything you put into your business plan is relevant and serves your purpose. Otherwise, remove unnecessary statements that just add fluff to the document.

Also, don’t waste your readers’ time by using too many words—including highfalutin ones. Remember, your goal is to make your audience understand your business, not to impress them with beautiful or complex prose.

6. Using Too Many Superlatives

Even if you really feel that your business, business idea, or projection is incredible, amazing, the best, great, fantastic, or one of a kind, avoid using these superlatives because they aren’t appropriate for formal documents like a business plan.

7. Doing the Financial Projections on Your Own

Unless you’re an accountant yourself, it’s best that you get a professional to do the job for you. It will save you time and the headache of dealing with numbers and formatting your financial plan properly.

8. Overestimating Your Projections

The business plan is not a place to make impossible promises—while they look good on paper, you might run into trouble fulfilling them. To avoid this mistake, always do your research. Find out how other businesses do it and what the typical timeframes and financial projections are before you come up with your estimates.

9. Long-Term Business Planning

As much as possible, limit your projections to only a year. A lot of things can happen and make your business different from how you initially planned it. Stick with your short-term or one-year targets and estimates, then just tweak your business plan as time goes by.

10. Including Unfounded Rumors About Your Competitors

Not only do rumors make your business plan look unprofessional, but they also distract your readers from your intended message, which is to highlight what makes your business different from the competition. Avoid including details based only on hearsay. Everything in your plan must be backed up by solid, quantifiable facts.

Key Takeaway

A business plan is more than just a document that you prepare once and will never look at again. Rather, it’s a strategic tool that you should use from time to time to guide your business operations, get the buy-in of your stakeholders, and grow your business over time.

Once you’re done with writing your business plan, make the most of it for your business. Use it and modify it as often as needed!

Ready and confident to start writing your business plan? Share your thoughts and questions below!

Other Useful Business Resources from Grit PH:

  • How to Sell a Business in the Philippines

example of business plan brainly

About Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta is an experienced writer and editor, specializing in personal finance and digital marketing.

She has been a regular columnist for some of the biggest business & finance publications in the Philippines, such as MoneyMax.ph and Filipiknow.net.

Hoping to retire early, she started investing and bought a home in her early 20s. This crazy cat mom eats ramen like there's no tomorrow.

Education: University of the Philippines (B.A. Journalism) Focus: Personal Finance, Personal Development, and Entrepreneurship

Reader Interactions

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March 3, 2020 at 10:00 am

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March 6, 2020 at 9:46 am

Hello Ms. Venus, Rise Against Hunger Philippines, N.G.O. , branching out into a new high ways… and i am newly hired as a social enterprise development officer… whose main tasks to launch a product line; an up-cycled tarpaulin bags.. manufactured by a group of community women (skills training’s, coordinated by life coached; aiming w-holistic transformation and sustainability program.. . with such a big tasks, i need a step by step guides, and if possible a coach for i cannot do it alone… thank you, henry reandino chua

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  3. What are the seven elements of a business plan?

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  6. what is a business plan

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VIDEO

  1. Business plan example

  2. BUSINESS PLAN EXAMPLE

  3. Medi-Cal Academy Session 02

  4. 📚 Entrepreneur's Business Plan guide🏅

  5. What Is a Business Plan?

  6. Business Analysis Questions & Answers

COMMENTS

  1. Write your business plan

    Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts. Example traditional business plans. Before you write your business plan, read the following example business plans written by fictional business owners.

  2. The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

    Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market. Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background. Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even ...

  3. How To Write A Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

    1. Investors Are Short On Time. If your chief goal is using your business plan to secure funding, then it means you intend on getting it in front of an investor. And if there's one thing investors are, it's busy. So keep this in mind throughout writing a business plan.

  4. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It's also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. After completing your plan, you can ...

  5. How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

    1. Create Your Executive Summary. The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans. Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

  6. How to Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Step 7: Financial Analysis and Projections. It doesn't matter if you include a request for funding in your plan, you will want to include a financial analysis here. You'll want to do two things here: Paint a picture of your business's performance in the past and show it will grow in the future.

  7. example of business plan

    A good business plan is typically very detailed and includes information on all aspects of the company, such as the industry, marketing, finance, employees, and other operating procedures. They are explicit, interact with all corporate personnel, and demand commitment from everyone. It includes the company's structure, products and services ...

  8. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  9. 550+ Sample Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own

    The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea. The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template.

  10. Simple Business Plan Template (2024)

    This section of your simple business plan template explores how to structure and operate your business. Details include the type of business organization your startup will take, roles and ...

  11. "SIMPLE BUSINESS PLAN"Directions: Think of a simple ...

    "SIMPLE BUSINESS PLAN" Directions: Think of a simple business you want to engage in. Fill in the following questions below based on your business idea: A. NATURE OF THE BUSINESS 1. NAME OF BUSINESS: Prepared by: Date: 2. MY BUSINESS IDEA IS: (Describe the Purpose of Your Business in one or two sentence) 3. I CHOSE THIS BUSINESS IDEA BECAUSE: 4.

  12. Free Business Plan Template (With Examples)

    Whether you use ours, someone else's, or make your own template, you'll want to make sure a business plan template includes the following: An executive summary. Your mission and goals. Your strategies. Your strengths and weaknesses. How you fit in the external environment. Logistics. Marketing. Financials.

  13. 7 Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2024)

    7 business plan examples: section by section. The business plan examples in this article follow this example template: Executive summary. An introductory overview of your business. Company description. A more in-depth and detailed description of your business and why it exists. Market analysis.

  14. How to Write a Business Plan: Tips, Format, & Templates

    To write a business plan that suits a particular audience, you have to use the right language, highlight the parts that interest them, and adjust the format accordingly. A. Use the Right Language. One of the most important rules in business writing: use the language that your target audience easily understands.

  15. A business plan example

    Explanation: 1. Business Description. Mia's Glazed Donuts specializes on gluten-free donuts. There is no chance of cross-contamination for anyone with celiac illness or gluten allergies because we only sell gluten-free donuts. 2. Company Description. The bakers who make the dough, fry, and glaze the donuts are the most important personnel.

  16. Example of personal Statement of business plan.

    In developing this business plan, I have conducted thorough market research, identifying key trends and opportunities in the renewable energy landscape. Leveraging my network and industry knowledge, I have forged strategic partnerships with suppliers, ensuring a reliable and sustainable supply chain for our products.

  17. example of business plan

    Our business model is based on a subscription-based model. We anticipate an initial investment of $1,000,000 to cover the cost of software development, marketing, and sales campaign. We expect to have 50 clients in the first year with a revenue of $500,000, 200 clients in the second year with revenue of $2,000,000 and 500 clients in the third ...

  18. what is a business plan

    AI-generated answer. A business plan is a written document that outlines the goals, strategies, and financial projections for a business. It serves as a roadmap for the company's future and is typically used to attract investors or secure financing. Here are the key elements typically included in a business plan: 1.

  19. What is business plan and example of business plan

    What is business plan and example of business plan - 41601161. wangilaaron76 wangilaaron76 09.06.2021 Science Secondary School answered What is business plan and example of business plan See answer Advertisement ...

  20. Example of a Business plan

    Click here 👆 to get an answer to your question ️ Example of a Business plan. jaybanda737 jaybanda737 28.07.2022 Business Studies Secondary School answered Example of a Business plan See answer Advertisement ... Get the Brainly App Download iOS App Download Android App

  21. What is Business plan ?

    A business plan is an essential written document that provides a description and overview of a company's plan. Explanation: A business plan is used to help manage an organization by stating how something will be achieved and when. A business plan also describes the company's goals.

  22. Sample of a business plan

    Business Studies - I. Sample Question Papers - Business Studies. Ritu Batra - All In One Business Studies 11. NIOS Class - 10 Business Studies. CBSE Board Exam - Business Studies. NIOS Class - 12 Business Studies - Book 1. NIOS Class - 12 Business Studies - Book 2. Business Studies - II. chevron right.

  23. What is a business plan

    Explanation: A business plan is a formal document that outlines the goals, objectives, strategies, and financial projections of a business. It provides a roadmap for the future of the business and helps the entrepreneur or management team to understand how the business will be structured, operated, and grow over time.