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How to Write a Successful Business Plan for a Loan

Lisa Anthony

Lisa A. Anthony is a lead writer on NerdWallet’s small-business team, primarily covering small-business lending. She has over 20 years of diverse experience in finance, lending and taxes. Prior to joining NerdWallet, Lisa worked as a writer for Intuit Turbo Tax, loan officer for Bank of America and a business analyst for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to interact directly with consumers on lending products and tax preparation software. Her work has appeared in The Associated Press, Washington Post and Entrepreneur, among other publications.

Sally Lauckner

Sally Lauckner is an editor on NerdWallet's small-business team. She has over 15 years of experience in print and online journalism. Before joining NerdWallet in 2020, Sally was the editorial director at Fundera, where she built and led a team focused on small-business content and specializing in business financing. Her prior experience includes two years as a senior editor at SmartAsset, where she edited a wide range of personal finance content, and five years at the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, where she held a variety of editorial roles. She is based in New York City.

loan business plan format

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Table of Contents

What does a loan business plan include?

What lenders look for in a business plan, business plan for loan examples, resources for writing a business plan.

A comprehensive and well-written business plan can be used to persuade lenders that your business is worth investing in and hopefully, improve your chances of getting approved for a small-business loan . Many lenders will ask that you include a business plan along with other documents as part of your loan application.

When writing a business plan for a loan, you’ll want to highlight your abilities, justify your need for capital and prove your ability to repay the debt. 

Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

A successful business plan for a loan describes your financial goals and how you’ll achieve them. Although business plan components can vary from company to company, there are a few sections that are typically included in most plans.

These sections will help provide lenders with an overview of your business and explain why they should approve you for a loan.  

Executive summary

The executive summary is used to spark interest in your business. It may include high-level information about you, your products and services, your management team, employees, business location and financial details. Your mission statement can be added here as well.

To help build a lender’s confidence in your business, you can also include a concise overview of your growth plans in this section.

Company overview

The company overview is an area to describe the strengths of your business. If you didn’t explain what problems your business will solve in the executive summary, do it here. 

Highlight any experts on your team and what gives you a competitive advantage. You can also include specific details about your business such as when it was founded, your business entity type and history.

Products and services

Use this section to demonstrate the need for what you’re offering. Describe your products and services and explain how customers will benefit from having them. 

Detail any equipment or materials that you need to provide your goods and services — this may be particularly helpful if you’re looking for equipment or inventory financing . You’ll also want to disclose any patents or copyrights in this section.

Market analysis

Here you can demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and showcase your understanding of your industry, current outlook, trends, target market and competitors.

You can add details about your target market that include where you’ll find customers, ways you plan to market to them and how your products and services will be delivered to them.

» MORE: How to write a market analysis for a business plan

Marketing and sales plan

Your marketing and sales plan provides details on how you intend to attract your customers and build a client base. You can also explain the steps involved in the sale and delivery of your product or service.

At a high level, this section should identify your sales goals and how you plan to achieve them — showing a lender how you’re going to make money to repay potential debt.

Operational plan

The operational plan section covers the physical requirements of operating your business on a day-to-day basis. Depending on your type of business, this may include location, facility requirements, equipment, vehicles, inventory needs and supplies. Production goals, timelines, quality control and customer service details may also be included.

Management team

This section illustrates how your business will be organized. You can list the management team, owners, board of directors and consultants with details about their experience and the role they will play at your company. This is also a good place to include an organizational chart .

From this section, a lender should understand why you and your team are qualified to run a business and why they should feel confident lending you money — even if you’re a startup.

Funding request

In this section, you’ll explain the amount of money you’re requesting from the lender and why you need it. You’ll describe how the funds will be used and how you intend to repay the loan.

You may also discuss any funding requirements you anticipate over the next five years and your strategic financial plans for the future.

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

Financial statements

When you’re writing a business plan for a loan, this is one of the most important sections. The goal is to use your financial statements to prove to a lender that your business is stable and will be able to repay any potential debt. 

In this section, you’ll want to include three to five years of income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets. It can also be helpful to include an expense analysis, break-even analysis, capital expenditure budgets, projected income statements and projected cash flow statements. If you have collateral that you could put up to secure a loan, you should list it in this section as well.

If you’re a startup that doesn’t have much historical data to provide, you’ll want to include estimated costs, revenue and any other future projections you may have. Graphs and charts can be useful visual aids here.

In general, the more data you can use to show a lender your financial security, the better.

Finally, if necessary, supporting information and documents can be added in an appendix section. This may include credit histories, resumes, letters of reference, product pictures, licenses, permits, contracts and other legal documents.

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Lenders will typically evaluate your loan application based on the five C’s — or characteristics — of credit : character, capacity, capital, conditions and collateral. Although your business plan won't contain everything a lender needs to complete its assessment, the document can highlight your strengths in each of these areas.

A lender will assess your character by reviewing your education, business experience and credit history. This assessment may also be extended to board members and your management team. Highlights of your strengths can be worked into the following sections of your business plan:

Executive summary.

Company overview.

Management team.

Capacity centers on your ability to repay the loan. Lenders will be looking at the revenue you plan to generate, your expenses, cash flow and your loan payment plan. This information can be included in the following sections:

Funding request.

Financial statements.

Capital is the amount of money you have invested in your business. Lenders can use it to judge your financial commitment to the business. You can use any of the following sections to highlight your financial commitment:

Operational plan.

Conditions refers to the purpose and market for your products and services. Lenders will be looking for information such as product demand, competition and industry trends. Information for this can be included in the following sections:

Market analysis.

Products and services.

Marketing and sales plan.

Collateral is an asset pledged to a lender to guarantee the repayment of a loan. This can be equipment, inventory, vehicles or something else of value. Use the following sections to include information on assets:

» MORE: How to get a business loan

Writing a business plan for a loan application can be intimidating, especially when you’re just getting started. It may be helpful to use a business plan template or refer to an existing sample as you’re going through the draft process.

Here are a few examples that you may find useful:

Business Plan Outline — Colorado Small Business Development Center

Business Plan Template — Iowa Small Business Development Center

Writing a Business Plan — Maine Small Business Development Center

Business Plan Workbook — Capital One

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U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA offers a free self-paced course on writing a business plan. The course includes several videos, objectives for you to accomplish, as well as worksheets you can complete.

SCORE. SCORE, a nonprofit organization and resource partner of the SBA, offers free assistance that includes a step-by-step downloadable template to help startups create a business plan, and mentors who can review and refine your plan virtually or in person.

Small Business Development Centers. Similarly, your local SBDC can provide assistance with business planning and finding access to capital. These organizations also have virtual and in-person training courses, as well as opportunities to consult with business experts.

Business plan software. Although many business plan software platforms require a subscription, these tools can be useful if you want a templated approach that can break the process down for you step-by-step. Many of these services include a range of examples and templates, instruction videos and guides, and financial dashboards, among other features. You may also be able to use a free trial before committing to one of these software options.

A loan business plan outlines your business’s objectives, products or services, funding needs and finances. The goal of this document is to convince lenders that they should approve you for a business loan.

Not all lenders will require a business plan, but you’ll likely need one for bank and SBA loans. Even if it isn’t required, however, a lean business plan can be used to bolster your loan application.

Lenders ask for a business plan because they want to know that your business is and will continue to be financially stable. They want to know how you make money, spend money and plan to achieve your financial goals. All of this information allows them to assess whether you’ll be able to repay a loan and decide if they should approve your application.

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Why Do I Need a Business Plan?

Sections of a business plan, the bottom line.

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How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

How to secure business financing

Matt Webber is an experienced personal finance writer, researcher, and editor. He has published widely on personal finance, marketing, and the impact of technology on contemporary arts and culture.

loan business plan format

  • How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example
  • Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One
  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Meaning, Types, Impact
  • How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan CURRENT ARTICLE
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  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites
  • Starting a Business with No Money: How to Begin
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  • Partnership: Definition, How It Works, Taxation, and Types
  • What is an LLC? Limited Liability Company Structure and Benefits Defined
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A business plan is a document that explains what a company’s objectives are and how it will achieve them. It contains a road map for the company from a marketing, financial, and operational standpoint. Some business plans are more detailed than others, but they are used by all types of businesses, from large, established companies to small startups.

If you are applying for a business loan , your lender may want to see your business plan. Your plan can prove that you understand your market and your business model and that you are realistic about your goals. Even if you don’t need a business plan to apply for a loan, writing one can improve your chances of securing finance.

Key Takeaways

  • Many lenders will require you to write a business plan to support your loan application.
  • Though every business plan is different, there are a number of sections that appear in every business plan.
  • A good business plan will define your company’s strategic priorities for the coming years and explain how you will try to achieve growth.
  • Lenders will assess your plan against the “five Cs”: character, capacity, capital, conditions, and collateral.

There are many reasons why all businesses should have a business plan . A business plan can improve the way that your company operates, but a well-written plan is also invaluable for attracting investment.

On an operational level, a well-written business plan has several advantages. A good plan will explain how a company is going to develop over time and will lay out the risks and contingencies that it may encounter along the way.

A business plan can act as a valuable strategic guide, reminding executives of their long-term goals amid the chaos of day-to-day business. It also allows businesses to measure their own success—without a plan, it can be difficult to determine whether a business is moving in the right direction.

A business plan is also valuable when it comes to dealing with external organizations. Indeed, banks and venture capital firms often require a viable business plan before considering whether they’ll provide capital to new businesses.

Even if a business is well-established, lenders may want to see a solid business plan before providing financing. Lenders want to reduce their risk, so they want to see that a business has a serious and realistic plan in place to generate income and repay the loan.

Every business is different, and so is every business plan. Nevertheless, most business plans contain a number of generic sections. Common sections are: executive summary, company overview, products and services, market analysis, marketing and sales plan, operational plan, and management team. If you are applying for a loan, you should also include a funding request and financial statements.

Let’s look at each section in more detail.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is a summary of the information in the rest of your business plan, but it’s also where you can create interest in your business.

You should include basic information about your business, including what you do, where you are based, your products, and how long you’ve been in business. You can also mention what inspired you to start your business, your key successes so far, and your growth plans.

Company Overview

In this section, focus on the core strengths of your business, the problem you want to solve, and how you plan to address it.

Here, you should also mention any key advantages that your business has over your competitors, whether this is operating in a new market or a unique approach to an existing one. You should also include key statistics in this section, such as your annual turnover and number of employees.

Products and Services

In this section, provide some details of what you sell. A lender doesn’t need to know all the technical details of your products but will want to see that they are desirable.

You can also include information on how you make your products, or how you provide your services. This information will be useful to a lender if you are looking for financing to grow your business.

Market Analysis

A market analysis is a core section of your business plan. Here, you need to demonstrate that you understand the market you are operating in, and how you are different from your competitors. If you can find statistics on your market, and particularly on how it is projected to grow over the next few years, put them in this section.

Marketing and Sales Plan

Your marketing and sales plan gives details on what kind of new customers you are looking to attract, and how you are going to connect with them. This section should contain your sales goals and link these to marketing or advertising that you are planning.

If you are looking to expand into a new market, or to reach customers that you haven’t before, you should explain the risks and opportunities of doing so.

Operational Plan

This section explains the basic requirements of running your business on a day-to-day basis. Your exact requirements will vary depending on the type of business you run, but be as specific as possible.

If you need to rent office space, for example, you should include the cost in your operational plan. You should also include the cost of staff, equipment, and any raw materials required to run your business.

Management Team

The management team section is one of the most important sections in your business plan if you are applying for a loan. Your lender will want reassurance that you have a skilled, experienced, competent, and reliable senior management team in place.

Even if you have a small team, you should explain what makes each person qualified for their position. If you have a large team, you should include an organizational chart to explain how your team is structured.

Funding Request

If you are applying for a loan, you should add a funding request. This is where you explain how much money you are looking to borrow, and explain in detail how you are going to use it.

The most important part of the funding-request section is to explain how the loan you are asking for would improve the profitability of your business, and therefore allow you to repay your loan.

Financial Statements

Most lenders will also ask you to provide evidence of your business finances as part of your application. Graphs and charts are often a useful addition to this section, because they allow your lender to understand your finances at a glance.

The overall goal of providing financial statements is to show that your business is profitable and stable. Include three to five years of income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. It can also be useful to provide further analysis, as well as projections of how your business will grow in the coming years.

What Do Lenders Look for in a Business Plan?

Lenders want to see that your business is stable, that you understand the market you are operating in, and that you have realistic plans for growth.

Your lender will base their decision on what are known as the “five Cs.” These are:

  • Character : You can stress your good character in your executive summary, company overview, and your management team section.
  • Capacity : This is, essentially, your ability to repay the loan. Your lender will look at your growth plans, your funding request, and your financial statements in order to assess this.
  • Capital : This is the amount of money you already have in your business. The larger and more established your business is, the more likely you are to be approved for finance, so highlight your capital throughout your business plan.
  • Conditions : Conditions refer to market conditions. In your market analysis, you should be able to prove that your business is well-positioned in relation to your target market and competitors.
  • Collateral : Depending on your loan, you may be asked to provide collateral , so you should provide information on the assets you own in your operational plan.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Business Plan?

The length of time it takes to write a business plan depends on your business, but you should take your time to ensure it is thorough and correct. A business plan has advantages beyond applying for a loan, providing a strategic focus for your business.

What Should You Avoid When Writing a Business Plan?

The most common mistake that business owners make when writing a business plan is to be unrealistic about their growth potential. Your lender is likely to spot overly optimistic growth projections, so try to keep it reasonable.

Should I Hire Someone to Write a Business Plan for My Business?

You can hire someone to write a business plan for your business, but it can often be better to write it yourself. You are likely to understand your business better than an external consultant.

Writing a business plan can benefit your business, whether you are applying for a loan or not. A good business plan can help you develop strategic priorities and stick to them. It describes how you are going to grow your business, which can be valuable to lenders, who will want to see that you are able to repay a loan that you are applying for.

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Fund Your Business .”

Navy Federal Credit Union. “ The 5 Cs of Credit .”

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Home » Blog » Business Loans » How To Write A Business Plan For A Loan

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How To Write A Business Plan For A Loan

A solid business plan is often critical to securing funding for your small business. Learn how to create a business plan for a loan that includes the information lenders want to see.

Shannon Vissers

WRITTEN & RESEARCHED BY

Lead Staff Writer

loan business plan format

A business plan is a crucial business document you need to have on hand when applying for business loans. However, the mere thought of writing a business plan for a loan is intimidating to a lot of business owners.

A one-page business plan may be sufficient for certain types of small business loans (for example, online loans), but bank loans and SBA loans typically require a more in-depth business plan that delves further into your financials.

If you need to write a business plan for a loan, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about everything you need to include in your business plan to improve your chances for loan approval.

Table of Contents

What Is A Business Plan For A Loan?

10 key sections to include in your business plan, what do lenders look for in a business plan, business plan examples, resources for writing a business plan for a loan, final thoughts on writing a business plan for a loan, faqs about how to create a business plan for a loan.

A business plan is a written document that provides a complete overview of your business, including information about your business’s services, strategies, finances, and goals. All businesses should have a business plan, but a business plan is especially important when applying for a business loan.

Most business plans should include some version of the following sections. Depending on your industry and other factors, such as whether you own a startup or established business, some sections could be condensed or combined. The exact verbiage for section titles can vary, as well.

For a business plan that’s longer than one page, it’s a good idea to preface these sections with a cover page and table of contents.

Executive Summary

This section is a condensed version of your entire business plan. It will likely include:

  • Details of when, how, and why you started your business
  • Your company mission statements
  • High-level financial information about your business
  • An explanation of how funding will help your business

Depending on whether you’re a startup or an established business, you may use this section to focus on your growth strategy or your past successes.

Company Description

Use this section to delve deeper into your company’s offerings, core principles, legal structure, and leadership. Your company description should also include your unique value proposition . Describe your company’s unique strengths that will ensure your success.

Products & Services

This section should detail the products and/or services your company provides. Make clear the problem that your offerings solve. Include information such as:

  • Information on your raw materials and production process (if applicable)
  • Profit margins
  • Whether you have or plan to file patents or copyrights

Market Analysis

Use this section to demonstrate your understanding of your overall industry and the specific markets you serve, including market trends, competitors, and the demographics of your target customers. Some companies hire a consultant or agency to perform the research for the market analysis section.

Marketing & Sales Plan

Building off your market analysis, how will you market to your target customers and beat your competitors? How will you sell to them and distribute your product? What are your sales goals and projections? Provide these details in this section.

Organization & Management

Use this section to include your organizational and leadership structure, ideally including an organizational flowchart. Also include job descriptions, qualifications, and years of experience to demonstrate why your team is capable of delivering on your company goals and is worthy of investment.

Operational Strategy

This section is used to describe your day-to-day operational processes, including information about your location, facility, equipment, inventory, and daily production. If you have a service-based business, this section may focus more on your team’s daily activities and how they contribute to long-term goals.

Financial Outlook

This section should tell lenders how much you spend and how much you make in profits. Include up to five years of data if possible, including financial documents such as:

  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Capital expenditure budgets
  • Sales forecasts
  • Projected income statements
  • Information on any collateral you have to secure the loan

Depending on how much financial documentation you have, you might refer to specific documents in this section and indicate that the full documents can be found in the Appendix section.

Though startups may not have all of this data, you can make projections based on monthly or quarterly data and industry averages.

Funding Request

Now that you’ve laid out your expenses and financial projections, it’s time to make your case for a loan. Be clear about how much money you need, how you will spend it, and how you will repay the loan. Be as detailed as possible.

In the Appendix, include any supporting documents, such as financial documents referred to in the Financial Outlook section. Some other types of documents you might include in this section are:

  • Business licenses  or permits
  • Credit reports
  • Product photos
  • Marketing materials
  • Letter of intent to purchase business

If you know what lenders are looking for in a business plan for a loan, you will increase your chances of approval. Learn the five things lenders want to see in your business plan, followed by five tips to create a loan-worthy business plan.

The 5 Cs Of Credit

The Five Cs of Credit is a phrase that summarizes what lenders look for when deciding whether to extend a loan to a business. Lenders will, accordingly, look for the five Cs when reviewing the business plan in your loan application. The five Cs are:

  • Character: Your knowledge, experience, and creditworthiness
  • Capacity: Your ability to repay the loan
  • Capital: How much you have already invested in your business
  • Conditions: Your market viability, considering your industry as well as overall economic conditions
  • Collateral: Assets you can use to secure the loan

5 Business Plan Tips For Loan Approval

Besides emphasizing your “5 Cs,” there are a few other things you can do to make the best impression with your business plan to increase your chances of securing funding.

  • Avoid Industry Jargon: Use plain English rather than industry terminology that the lender might not be familiar with. Remember that the loan underwriter may not have deep knowledge of your specific industry.
  • Show Cash Flow: Cash flow is one of the most important factors that determine loan eligibility. You can even get a loan with bad credit as long as your cash flow is sufficiently high. The more insight you can provide into your past, current, and future cash flow, the better.
  • Show Your Investment: Before extending a loan, the lender will want to see that you have already invested some of your own resources, such as personal savings, into your business. Be sure to include documentation that demonstrates your investment.
  • Enlist Help: You will likely need some professional assistance in creating your business plan, whether that means hiring a writer, an industry consultant, or both. At the very least, you should have a third party review your business plan before you submit it as part of a loan application.
  • Revise Your Plan As Needed: If this is the first time you’ve taken a close look at your business strategy and financials, you will surely learn some things about your business while creating your plan. For example, you may realize you cannot afford a business loan as large as you planned to ask for. Rather than trying to justify the number you started with, it’s better to modify your funding request (and other aspects of your plan) to align with your financial reality.

It’s easy to find templates and examples of business plans online. Though you may not want to copy and paste from a template verbatim, these samples provide a starting point and show you different ways a business plan can be structured. Here are a few to start with:

  • Business plan template for a startup (from SCORE)
  • Business plan template for traditional businesses  (from the SBA)
  • Business plan template for retail or eCommerce (from Shopify; requires email address)

These tools and resources can help you create a solid business plan for a loan. While some free business plan creation tools are available online, you will have to pay for some options.

SBA Business Plan Resources (Free)

The SBA has a great resource in its online learning center that includes business plan worksheets . In addition to business plan templates, the SBA also helps you connect to free local business counselors who may be able to help you with your business plan.

Business Plan Software ($)

If you need extra help creating a business plan and don’t mind spending a little bit of money, consider business plan creation software. For example, LivePlan ($20/month) is business plan software that connects with QuickBooks to import your financial data to your plan.

Business Plan Writer/Consultant ($$$)

If you’re willing to invest more heavily into your business plan, consider hiring a writer or consultant that specializes in creating business plans. This option costs anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000, with the lower end of that scale typically including only basic writing services and the higher end representing a specialized industry consultant agency.

While it’s helpful to know how to write a business plan for a loan, you can always hire someone to help you draft the plan if the task is too daunting. A business plan is a worthwhile investment no matter what type of business you have or whether you are currently trying to secure business funding. Even if you don’t need a loan right now, it’s important to maintain an updated business plan to serve as a guide for your own business decisions.

Was your loan denied because of your business plan (or another reason)? Learn what to do if your business loan was denied .

Do you need a business plan to get a loan?

No, you do not always need a business plan to get a loan. Most traditional business lenders, including banks and SBA lenders, do require a business plan. However, a lot of online business lenders (such as OnDeck ) do not ask for a business plan.

How do you write a business plan for a bank loan?

To write a business plan for a bank loan, you first need to lay the groundwork by analyzing your business’s finances, strategies, and market conditions. Alternatively, you can hire someone to do this research for you. Once you have all this information, you can use a guide, template, or software to help you organize it into a business plan.

How do you write a business plan for an SBA loan?

To get an SBA loan, you will usually need a comprehensive business plan, including a detailed plan for how you intend to use the funds. On the SBA website, you can find general information about what to include in a business plan, or you can download a free business plan template. Some online SBA loan services, such as SmartBiz , do not require a business plan.

How long should a business plan be?

There is no set length for a business plan. A typical business plan used to secure financing might be 20-40 pages. A so-called “lean business plan” that serves as an internal company document for a small business may only be one or two pages.

Who writes business plans?

Business plans are often written by the business owners themselves, but you can also hire a freelance writer or consultant to write a business plan. A business plan writer will still need the business owner’s input (and access to the business’s financial documents or accounting software ) in order to prepare the plan.

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Shannon Vissers

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How to Write a Professional Business Plan for a Loan

  • March 27, 2024

11 Min Read

how to make business plan for loan

So, are you thinking of getting a loan or funding to start an exciting business journey?

That’s great! But before you go any further, it’s very important to have a solid business plan in place.

Well, we understand that creating a successful plan for a loan can be a daunting task. That’s why we’re here to help you!

This investment-ready business plan template for loans will help you include all the essential elements in your plan, from summarizing your business concept to projecting the financial data. It not only impresses business loan lenders but also sets the stage for success.

Ready to get started? Let’s first understand how business plans will help you with loan proposals.

How business plans help in loan applications?

A business plan is a professional document that serves as a written loan proposal if you want to secure a loan for capital investment. It details every aspect of your business, including its concept, goals, market opportunity, and financial data.

Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or a small business owner, you’ll need a well-prepared business plan. It helps you persuade potential investors or lenders of its viability and potential for success.

Here are a few primary reasons why business plans are necessary in loan applications:

It helps you showcase your vision

A well-written business plan communicates your business vision effectively and allows you to demonstrate your clarity of purpose and strategic direction. It offers lenders a compelling narrative of what your business is aimed for and how it will achieve its goals.

It helps you prove your financial feasibility

Well, lenders need assurance that they’re making a wise investment. A detailed business plan presents them with realistic financial projections, along with how your business will earn money and repay the loan. This infuses confidence in lenders and convinces them that your business is a safe bet.

It helps you mitigate potential risks

Once you start your business, it naturally involves fair enough risks. However, a good business plan clarifies that you’re aware of those challenges and have backup plans or strategies to mitigate them. This shows lenders that you’ve considered different situations and keep contingency plans in place.

It helps you demonstrate your preparedness

A business plan shows lenders that you’ve carefully outlined every aspect of your business—from conducting market analysis to predicting finances. It assures that you’re serious about your business and well-prepared to manage the ups and downs of starting a business.

In short, having a solid business plan can be the cornerstone of a successful loan application that explains your business idea and how you plan to utilize the loan money to get started.

Now that you know how business plans help in a loan application, it’s time to check out and understand the key elements of a business plan for a loan template.

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loan business plan format

Key components of a successful business plan for a loan

1. executive summary.

An executive summary is the first section of the plan, providing a concise overview of the entire business plan.

Generally, it is written in the last, as it summarizes the most important components you mentioned in your plan.

Since the potential investors or lenders would read this section first, make sure that you keep it simple, crisp, and compelling to build their confidence in your business. Also, it should not be more than 1 or 2 pages.

You may write your executive summary with a precise explanation of your business concept, the type of business you operate, and its status.

Here are a few primary elements you must add to your summary:

  • Your company’s mission statement
  • The product or service you intend to offer
  • Market Opportunity
  • Management team’s background and experience
  • Growth plans or long-term objectives
  • Financial projections and funding needs

2. Company Overview

As you’ll give a brief introduction in the executive summary, this chapter will expand on it, providing an in-depth understanding of your business.

Company description includes all the business-related facts, such as the startup concept, vision-mission statements, company location, etc. Also, it explains the problems or challenges you aim to solve.

In addition to that, consider answering a few questions that would help lenders to grasp the significance of your business:

  • What is the legal structure of your business?
  • Who is the business owner?
  • Do you have any business partners?
  • Why did you start this business, and when it was founded?
  • What are your business accomplishments to date?
  • Who will get benefits from your company’s product or service?

Note that the company overview section can be regarded as your extended elevator pitch.

So, it’s a good opportunity to present your business’s specific details and structural aspects that the financing partner needs to know.

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section provides readers with a deep understanding of the specific industry or market in which you plan to serve.

This seems unnecessary but serves different purposes. Those who are looking to fund a franchise business should do some serious work for this section, as lenders will review it very closely.

To carefully draft this section, you should conduct thorough market research and industry analysis to define your target customers, industry trends, market demand, and competitors.

This will demonstrate that you understand the market dynamics and validate the demand for your products or services.

Here are a few elements you should include in your market analysis section:

  • Ideal target market
  • Market size and growth potential
  • Customer segments
  • Competitive analysis
  • Emerging trends
  • Applicable government regulations

4. Product or Service Offerings

In this section, you may provide a detailed description of your products and service offerings, along with their features, benefits, and pricing structure.

It helps you highlight what your business offers to its ideal customers, how your offerings will satisfy their needs and explains the value proposition of your products or services.

You may consider including these points in the product or service section:

  • A brief description of your product & service
  • Pricing details
  • Intellectual property, copyright, and patent filings
  • Quality measures
  • Any additional offerings

5. Sales and Marketing Strategies

Your marketing and sales plan elucidates how you intend to market your products or services in greater detail. It helps you outline the marketing and sales strategies you’ll use to attract and retain potential customers.

The primary goal is to give a flexible and practical marketing and sales strategy that persuades the lenders you know how to advertise or develop a public relations campaign to reach the company’s revenue goals.

For a well-crafted marketing plan, you might consider adding the following details in your plan:

  • Your target audience and brand positioning
  • Detailed marketing strategy
  • Sales and marketing goals and KPIs
  • Sales and marketing budgets
  • Customer retention plan

While reviewing your loan application, lenders would like to know how you plan to make money and how you overcome marketing and sales challenges, so ensure that this strategy is always relevant.

6. Operations Plan

The operations plan section provides a clear picture of your company’s day-to-day operations and activities. It is a detailed-oriented section that outlines how you’ll manage to run your business smoothly.

Also, operational excellence is necessary to achieve your goals, satisfy client commitments, and maximize results. So, try to mention your operational intricacies and showcase efficient systems and processes.

Here are a list of details you must include in your operations plan:

  • Staffing & training
  • Operational processes
  • Inventory needs and supplies
  • facilities & technology
  • Regulatory compliance

By offering insights into these operational aspects, this section helps you instill confidence in lenders about your ability to effectively handle and grow your company.

7. Management Team

Your management team section introduces the key individuals who are responsible for driving your business ahead.

It helps lenders easily understand your team’s roles & responsibilities, educational qualifications, industry experience, and how you plan to compensate your leadership team.

Even this will assure lenders that your team is capable enough to navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and reach strategic objectives. Also, they feel confident giving you a loan—even if it’s your startup.

So, you may consider including the below information:

  • Company owner profile
  • Resume-styled summary of key executives
  • Organizational chart
  • Compensation plan
  • Details of advisory board members(if any)

8. Financial Plan

A well-written and comprehensive financial plan is one of the most crucial sections of your plan, as it helps you prove to lenders your business’s financial health, growth potential, and ability to repay the business loan.

So, your financial analysis must include the projected financial statements for three years or more. The following are the key financial projections that you should add:

  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Capital expenditure budgets
  • Balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Funding requirements

As well as you should also list hard or soft collateral if you possess it so that you can put it up to get a loan. Even lenders may request to add more granular data(such as cost of sales or cost per product/service).

Note that if you’re a startup and don’t carry enough data to highlight, consider including estimated costs, revenue streams, and other strategic future projections you may have.

9. Appendix

The appendix is the last section of a professional business plan that typically provides supplementary information and other supporting documents the lender may need for better understanding.

You may include the following details in an appendix:

  • Business licenses and permits
  • Contractual agreements or other legal documents
  • Letters of reference
  • Credit histories and tax returns
  • Key managers’ resumes and certificates
  • Product photos

By adding these details, you offer more detailed explanations or validation for your business plan, strengthening your discussions and claims.

What factors do lenders look for in a business plan

When you submit a business plan to secure funding, lenders will analyze it to evaluate the viability and creditworthiness of your loan application. Here are several key factors they look for:

Character of your management team

Lenders will assess a business’ character that includes subjective or intangible qualities like whether its owners or key executives are perceived as honest, competent, or committed. Also, they consider educational background, industry experience, skills, leadership capabilities, and credit histories. This can be critical for evaluating prospects as most lenders don’t wish to lend to whom they don’t feel trustworthy.

Your capability to repay loans

Loan officers also spend a lot of time analyzing the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. They will thoroughly examine the financial statements such as projected revenue, expenses, cash flows, growth plans, and loan payments. Further, lenders analyze the financial history to see how much revenue you have generated or how much profit you have made in the past.

The capital amount you’re seeking

While reviewing loan applications, lenders will go through your financial information that highlights how much funding you’re seeking, how much cash you carry on hand, and how much debt you have. Also, they assess your personal financial investments as a sign of commitment and seriousness. So, make sure your business plan clearly outlines your investment amount and funding needs.

Collateral or personal guarantees

In some cases, lenders may request collateral or personal guarantees to secure the loan. Thus, you should document any assets or valuable items you can offer as collateral or additional security. Even lenders may still approve your loan without collateral if you have a good credit history and a reliable business plan.

By understanding these key considerations, you can prepare a business plan that resonates with the lender’s interests and concerns. Now, let’s move to a few business plan examples for a loan.

Business plan examples for a loan

When you’re just venturing into your entrepreneurship journey, crafting a comprehensive business plan for a loan application can be overwhelming.

So, try to consider some sample business plan templates or resources to get started on the first draft of your plan. Here are a few business plan examples that you may find helpful:

  • Sample business plan outline
  • Small business plan template
  • Comprehensive business plan writing
  • Business Plan Workbook for Loan Applications

Start preparing your business plan

Finally, you understand the importance and key elements of drafting a business plan for securing a loan or funding. But it requires some extra effort to find success down the road.

If you’re still confused about where to start, Upmetrics could be a great choice. It’s a modern business plan app that helps entrepreneurs or small business owners create an actionable plan quickly.

With Upmetrics, you’ll get easy-to-follow guides, a library of business plan templates , AI support, a financial forecasting tool, and other valuable resources to streamline your entire business planning approach.

So, don’t wait and start preparing your business plan for a loan!

Build your Business Plan Faster

with step-by-step Guidance & AI Assistance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do i need a business plan to get a loan.

Of course, most lenders or financial institutes require a solid business plan, even if you are a well-established business. A well-crafted business plan helps you highlight every essential information about your business and demonstrate to lenders that you have a realistic plan in place to generate income and repay the loan.

Can I write a business plan myself?

Definitely, you can write a business plan by yourself. Also, you can get help from various resources available, including business plan templates and guides, to create a comprehensive plan. But, if you’re unsure or need assistance, you may consider having a business plan software or hiring a professional writer.

How long should my business plan be?

The length of your business plan should be concise and focused, typically depending on its purpose. A one-page business plan is a single-page document, a lean or mini business plan comprises 1–10 pages, while a comprehensive business plan can range from 15 to 35 pages and beyond.

What's the most important element of a loan-seeking business plan?

The financial plan is the most crucial element of a loan-seeking business plan, as lenders want to check realistic and well-structured financial forecasts that present your ability to repay the loan. Also, this section can make or break a lender’s confidence and willingness to raise capital.

What format should I use?

It’s essential to select a format that can effectively convey your business idea, strategy, and financial projections to the lenders. Following are a few common options to consider:

  • Traditional text-based document
  • PowerPoint or Keynote presentation deck
  • Executive summary or a pitch deck

So, whatever format you choose, it should align with your preferences, the lender requirements, and the complexity of your business.

About the Author

loan business plan format

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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How To Write A Business Plan for A Bank Loan (3 Key Steps)

Wondering how to create a business plan that will wow your banker.

You're not alone.

Most entrepreneurs see writing a business plan as a gargantuan task – especially if they've never written one before.

Where do you start?

How do you calculate the financials?

How can you be sure you're not making a mistake?

And if you need a business plan for a bank loan, getting this document right is absolutely essential.

So here's what we recommend: simplify the planning process by breaking the work up into manageable, bite–sized steps. That way, you can focus on one section at a time to make sure it's accurate.

Here's a quick overview of the step–by–step process we guide entrepreneurs through when they sign up for LivePlan.

Step 1: Outline The Opportunity

This is the core of your business plan. It should give loan officers a clear understanding of:

  • What problem you're solving
  • How your product or service fits into the current market
  • What sets your business apart from the competition

There are three key parts to this step:

The Problem & Solution

Detail exactly what problem you are solving for your customers. How do their lives improve after you solve that “pain point” for them?

We recommend actually going out and chatting with your target audience first. That way, you can validate that you're solving a real problem for your potential customers.

Be sure to describe your solution in vivid detail. For example, if the problem is that parking downtown is expensive and hard to find, your solution might be a bike rental service with designated pickup and dropoff locations.

Target Market

Who exactly are you selling to? And roughly how many of them are there?

This is crucial information for determining whether or not your business will succeed long–term. Never assume that your target market is “everyone.”

For example, it would be easy for a barber shop to target everyone who needs a haircut. But most likely, it will need to focus on a specific market segment to reach its full business potential. This might include catering to children and families, seniors or business professionals.

Competition

Who are your direct competitors? These are companies that provide similar solutions that aim to solve your customers' pain points.

Then outline what your competitive advantages are. Why should your target market choose you over the other products or services available?

Think you don't have any competition? Think again. Your customers are likely turning to an indirect competitor that is solving their problem with a different type of solution.

For example: A taco stand might compete directly with another taco stand, but indirectly with a nearby hot dog vendor.

Boost your chances of securing a loan

See how LivePlan can help you write a fundable business plan

Step 2: Show how you'll execute

This is where the action happens! Here you'll get into the details of how you'll take advantage of the opportunity you outlined in the previous section. This part demonstrates to banks that you have a strong plan to achieve success.

The three main components of this step include:

Marketing & Sales Plan

There can be a lot of moving parts to this one, depending on your business model.

But most importantly, you'll need to fully explain how you plan to reach your target market and convert those people into customers. A few example of what should be included:

  • Positioning strategy. What makes your business both unique and highly desirable to your target market?
  • Marketing activities. Will you advertise with billboards, online ads or something else entirely?
  • Pricing. What you charge must reflect consumer demand. There are a few models to choose from, including ‘cost–plus pricing’ and ‘value pricing.’

This is the nuts and bolts of your business. It's especially important for brick–and–mortar companies that operate a storefront or have a warehouse.

You may want to explain why your location is important or detail how much space you have available. Plan to work at home? You can also cover your office space and any plans to move outside your house.

Any specialized software or equipment and tools should also be covered here.

Milestones & Metrics

Lenders and investors want to be confident that you know how to turn your business plans into financial success. That's where your milestones come in.

These are planned goals that help you progress your company. For example, if you're launching a new product your milestones may include completing prototypes and figuring out manufacturing.

Metrics are how you will gauge the success of your business. Do you want to generate a certain level of sales? Or keep costs at a certain level? Figuring out which metrics are most important and then tracking them is essential for growth.

Step 3: Detail your financial plan

This is the most crucial – and intimidating – part of any business plan for a bank loan. Your prospective lender will look especially close at this section to determine how likely your business is to succeed.

But the financial section doesn't have to be overwhelming, especially if you break the work into smaller pieces. Here are 3 items that your plan must have:

Simply put, this is your projections for your business finances. It gives you (and the bank) an idea of how much profit your company stands to make. Just a few items you'll need to include:

  • Revenue. List all your products, services and any other ways your business will generate income.
  • Direct costs. Or in other words, what are the costs to make what you sell?
  • Personnel. Salaries and expenses related to what you pay yourself, employees and any contactors.
  • Expenses. Things like rent, utilities, marketing costs and any other regular expenses.

Exactly how will you use any investments, loans or other financing to grow your business? This might include paying for capital expenses like equipment or hiring personnel.

Also detail where all your financing is coming from. Lines of credit, loans or personal savings should be listed here.

Bankers will be giving this section a lot of attention. Here's what you'll need:

  • Profit & Loss. This statement pulls in numbers from your sales forecast and other elements to show whether you're making or losing money.
  • Projected Balance Sheet. This is likely the first thing a loan officer will look at: it covers your liability, capital and assets. It provides an overview of how financially sound your business is.
  • Projected Cash Flow. Essentially, this statement keeps track of how much money you have in the bank at any given point. Loan officers are likely to expect realistic monthly cash flow for the next 12 months.

Don't forget the Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is the first section of your business plan, but we recommend you tackle it last.

It's basically an introduction to your company, summarizing the main points of your plan. Keep it to just one or two pages and be as clear and concise as possible.

Think of it as a quick read designed to get the lender excited about your business.

If you need help writing your plan

Not everyone feels confident writing a business plan themselves, especially if it's needed to secure a bank loan.

And although you don't need an MBA to write one, getting your business plan right often does require quite a bit of work. So if you need help writing your plan, here are two options to consider:

  • Hire a professional business plan writer to do it for you. This is typically the most expensive route, but worth it if you're pursuing $100,000 or more in capital.
  • Sign up for LivePlan. It's business planning software that walks you through a step–by–step process for writing any type of plan. It's an affordable option that also gives you an easy way to track your actuals against your business plan, so you can get the insights you need to grow faster.

LivePlan makes it easy to write a winning business plan

No risk – includes our 35-day money back guarantee.

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SBA Business Plan Template: Full Guide [2023]

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  • January 12, 2023
  • Small Businesses

SBA business plan template

In 2020, SBA’s flagship 7(a) loan program approved more than 42,000 loans totalling $22 billion . Yet, SBA loans are notoriously difficult to obtain for small businesses: less than 15% of SBA loan applications were granted by big banks. If you’re applying for a SBA loan , you will need a solid business plan template for your loan application.

In this article we go through, step-by-step, all the different sections you need in your business plan to build a complete, clear and solid business plan lenders will approve. Read on!

Why do you need a business plan for your SBA loan application?

Other than your basic eligibility requirements, the primary element that lenders would review is your business plan. Having a good business plan determines if your business is a lucrative opportunity for SBA lenders.

Also, a solid business plan makes it easier to get your loans approved because banks would be confident that your business would be successful and you would be able to repay your loan.

However, business plans tend to differ depending on the nature and status of your business. If you’re running an independent business or launching a startup for example, your business plan will be reviewed more thoroughly.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is the most important page of your SBA business plan template . We can’t make this clearer. This is the first section that the lenders will have a look at.

Before we go into specifics, keep in mind the executive summary actually is a summary. Keep it brief: your executive summary should never be more than 2 pages maximum .

Your executive summary should consists of 5 parts:

  • The “mission statement “: what problem(s) is your business solving?
  • Product and service : what is it that you sell? to whom? where?
  • People : who are the founders / management? What about their experience? How many people / teams do you employ?
  • Key financials and projections : what are your key metrics and financials today (revenues, customers, etc.)? What do you expect these to be in 3/5 years from now?
  • Funding ask : what (how much) are you asking as part of this loan? Where will you spend it? For what?

2. Company description

The company description is where we go into more details about your business, and which problem(s) it actually solves.

You should explain here clearly:

What is the problem at stake?

You should list here the 2/3 friction points you aim to tackle.

Remember: even if your business isn’t necessarily innovative, your business is potentially solving a problem, as obvious as it may be, for many people out there. The more obvious the problem is, the more people it affects, the better

What is your solution?

Your business is commercialising a product and/or a service which solves the problem mentioned above. Here, you should explain 2 things: how your product / service works, and what benefits it brings to your customers.

Ideally, you should compare the pain points explained earlier (the problem) to the benefits your solution brings to your customers. That way, it is crystal clear to lenders and investors your solution really adds value to potential customers .

When explaining your business’ solution, you should explain clearly who is your customer persona . In other words, who are your customers (or who do you think they will be)? Which gender, age range, social background, interests, etc?

Where are you going?

The third section of the company description should explain what your strategy is in the short to long term. Are you expecting to launch new products? To expand regionally, internationally? Etc.

3. Market plan and analysis

The market plan and analysis section tell investors and lenders that you have extensively studied the market and reveal your competitive plan.

Your market plan and analysis section should include the following:

Industry overview and outlook

Here you need to clearly identify 2 very important metrics:

  • Market size : how big is your market?
  • Market growth: how fast does your market grow?

If you are operating in a niche market, chances are that you will face some challenges: the information might not be publicly available. In any case, you should be able to make a high-level estimation of your market. Read our article on market sizing and how to estimate TAM, SAM and SOM for your startup .

When looking for these metrics, you have multiple sources of information: public reports, specialised press, etc. Even public companies publish press releases and annual reports including some of their proprietary market estimates so be sure to look there too.

Competitive landscape

Here we must answer 2 key questions:

How fragmented is your market?

Are there 3 big players sharing 90% market share or thousands of small players? Here, refer to public market reports and your own understanding of the competitive landscape .

A few questions you could ask yourself, among others:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • Are they local, regional, national or global?
  • Are there any product alternatives to your product?
  • What about their IP / technological advantage?

Where do you position yourself vs. competition?

Is your solution a game changer other competitors don’t have (yet)? Do you have competitors with similar products/services?

Ideally, you would create a small table with, for each type of competitors and their main characteristics.

For instance, do they all a global presence? Do they cover all the products you offer? What is their relative price positioning (expensive vs. accessible)?

4. Organization and management

The amount of details you need to include here varies depending on the size of your company.

No matter how many leadership roles there are, an organizational chart effectively shows lenders and investors how the management system is structured.

If you plan on running your business alone indefinitely, you can write a short paragraph explaining your qualifications and previous professional experiences.

The first thing you should include in this section is a list of each management position. This list includes who will fill the role and the qualifications of these people. These people are the heart of your company, and their skills and experience are vital in ensuring your company’s success.

Next, provide any additional information about how the management team will contribute to the business’s success. Be sure to give as many details as possible since lenders need to be comfortable and confident that you have a good team running your business.

Lastly, include information about the Board of Directors (and/or any other advisors to your business).

5. Service or product line

The level of detail and the content of this section changes depending on the type of business you have. A number of questions you need to answer are shown below (but not limited to):

  • Are you selling products or services (or both)?
  • How many products do you sell?
  • What are they?
  • What is their pricing?
  • How do they work?
  • Are your products protected by any kind of intellectual property (copyright, patent, etc.)?
  • If you do not manufacture all of your product(s): who are they suppliers? Where do they fit in the value chain ? etc.

loan business plan format

Expert-built financial model templates for tech startups

6. Marketing and sales

Your SBA business plan template should include a marketing and sales plan where you describe your strategy for acquiring potential clients.

Here, you should give details about your marketing plan. A few questions you should answer are:

  • How you plan to build and support your sales strategy ?
  • What channel(s) are you using (online vs. offline)?
  • How it makes sense for your target audience (the customer persona mentioned above)?

What about your metrics?

Sales and marketing goals and KPIs are also provided in this section. Don’t forget to include a detailed report about budgets for both sales and marketing.

Include metrics such as conversion rate, customer acquisition cost (CAC) , the efficiency of your sales team, etc.

It’s ok if you don’t know them already (if you are about to launch you new venture for example), yet you should have at least targets for them. How many website visitors do you expect to generate next year? What is your target conversion rate? Etc.

This particular report would be of great interest to lenders since they will glimpse how you handle your budget. Indeed, if you expect to spend in average $100 Customer Acquisition Cost, lenders will tie the number into your financial projections later on (more on that below).

Proving lenders you are able to link your financial projections with your actual business metrics (customers, sales volume, etc.) is a big plus . Indeed, that way you will show lenders you understand very clearly your business and how it ties into your financials (more on that in our article on why you should build a solid financial projections ).

7. Funding request

The funding request is the section of your SBA business plan template where you communicate to your investors how much you need.

This report also includes how you plan on repaying your loan. It’s also essential to explain how you plan to spend the funding you’ll receive for your business.

Will you spend the loan in working capital , in equipment, in inventory, salaries or marketing costs? The more specific you are, the better.

If you haven’t done so, we really recommend you read our article on how to determine how much you should raise for you business . While raising too little creates obvious problems, raising too much isn’t necessarily better.

On top of the amount, a good practice is to include a pie chart of where you will spend that money over a given period (your runway). Will you spend the bulk of it in product development to build your MVP? Or will you use a large portion in sales & marketing to commercialise your product and find product-market fit?

Our financial model templates include a cash burn dashboard where you can easily assess how much you should raise, and where you will spend your money. We also included charts ready to be included in your pitch deck. See how to use our cash burn dashboard here .

The funding request usually includes an overview of the business. You also have to outline how much funding you need for the next five years.  The standard timeframe for repaying your loan is usually ten years, so lenders expect to see some success in your business by that time. Mention a  detailed explanation of how the funds will be used and strategic financial plans for the future here.  Include financial information for current operations if applicable.

8. Financial projections

The financial projections section of your SBA business plan is one of the most important one.

Why? Lenders will have a thorough review of your expected financials over the next 3 to 5 years and judge whether your financial projections:

Are realistic (and use verifiable assumptions)

We are all by nature optimistic, especially when we are running businesses. It’s good to be optimistic, yet it is another one to be unrealistic.

Also, when presenting your financial projections, make sure to make it clear what are your assumptions. The more sources you can find to back up your forecasts, the better.

If you need help building realistic projections for your business, we have lots of free content. Make sure to check out our guides below:

  • The 5 Mistakes To Avoid For Your Startup Financial Plan
  • How To Build Realistic Revenue Projections For Your Startup?

Allow you to repay the SBA loan in the future

It’s great if you have built rock-solid and realistic financial projections for your business plan. Yet, if your plan doesn’t allow you to meet your debt obligations (the SBA loan and any other debt your business might have), lenders will not grant you any loan.

When assessing whether your financial plan allows you to repay the debt, you should check if the positive cash flows your business generates are enough to cover your debt repayment (and interests).

What financials should you include?

In short, you should present 3 different set of financials:

  • Profit-and-loss
  • Balance sheet
  • Cash flow statement

If you don’t know them already, these are the financial statements every business need to prepare at least annually (with the help of an accountant). For more information on what they are and how to prepare them, read our articles below:

  • 4 Key Financial Statements For Your Startup Business Plan
  • SBA Loan Application: 6 Steps To Build Solid Financial Projections

9. Appendix

This section is the best place to add supporting documents like charts, graphs, and data.

For example, a complete list of documents like licenses, contracts, maps, etc. makes you more attractive to lenders as it gives them more content to review. If you do so, make sure to reference the documents in appendix and link them to pages in earlier sections. Avoid using the appendix as a dump section: it should be well organised and structured (else no one will bother looking at it).

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More From Forbes

How to write a business plan for an sba-backed loan or bank loan.

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How to Write an SBA Business Plan + Template

Author: Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

10 min. read

Updated November 21, 2023

Applying for a Small Business Administration loan typically requires a business plan.

Unfortunately, there’s no SBA loan business plan format that guarantees approval. The SBA even states you should “pick a business plan format that works for you.” 

While I agree with this sentiment, I’ve found that entrepreneurs who explain how funds will be used and how they will repay the loan tend to be more successful. 

Luckily, these details can be covered using our SBA-lender-approved business plan format . I’ll go over that structure in this article, and focus on the sections that the SBA prioritizes, so you can maximize your chances of getting funded .

You can even download a free SBA-lender-approved business plan template to fill out as you read. 

Let’s get started.

  • Why you need a business plan for SBA loans

SBA loans require good documentation of your business and personal finances. You’ll need to pull together your past tax returns, bank statements, and various application forms depending on the type of SBA loan you apply for.

The bank issuing the loan will also want to know about the future of your business. 

They’ll want to see how the loan will be used and if future cash flow projections are realistic and indicate you can afford loan payments.

That’s where writing an SBA business plan comes in. 

Not only will your business plan describe your business to the lender, but it will include the financial projections the bank will use to determine if you qualify for the loan .

  • What your business plan should include, according to the SBA

Business plans for SBA loans follow a fairly standard structure, but that doesn’t mean you need to follow it exactly. 

The SBA even recommends adjusting the plan outline to serve your needs. If a section does not apply to your business, it’s fine just to remove it.

Here’s the successful business plan structure I recommend for SBA loans:

loan business plan format

1. Executive summary

A great executive summary is a short, simple overview of your business. It should be easy for a loan officer to read and clearly understand what your business does. 

When applying for an SBA loan, highlight your: 

  • Business opportunity
  • Financial forecast
  • How much money you want to borrow and how it will be used

Remember, an executive summary should be short and to the point. The rest of your business plan will provide additional details.

[Dig deeper: How to write an executive summary ]

2. Company description

Some people call this section “Products and Services.” Either option is fine. The important thing is that you use this section to explain what your business opportunity is. 

You need to cover: 

  • The problem you solve
  • Who you’re solving it for
  • What your solution is and why it’s better

Be specific and tell the story of your business and your customers. Focus on your strengths and what sets you apart from competitors. 

If your company is developing a product, include information on:

  • What the product life cycle looks like
  • Intellectual property filings
  • Current research and development

If these topics don’t apply to your product, that’s fine. Just be sure that the description of what you sell is clear.

3. Market analysis

The market analysis chapter explains who your customers are. It provides an overview of your target market, competition, and industry.

Your target market is essentially a description of your ideal customers. Be sure to include specific demographic information (like age, gender, location, income) and psychographic information (hobbies, purchasing behaviors). 

This data should reinforce that your target market needs your solution .

It’s helpful to also include information on the size of your target market . Lenders will want to see evidence of enough potential customers to drive growth. 

While your target market information describes your customers, an industry overview discusses the type of business you’re in and its potential for growth. 

For example: If you’re starting a fast-casual restaurant, your industry overview might discuss the increased interest in fast-casual dining and how more people are eating in these types of restaurants every year. 

Finally, you’ll need to include a competitive analysis . This is a list of current competitors and alternatives, with explanations of why your business is a better option. 

Your goal is to show how your business is unique, what opportunities and threats there are, and how you plan to address the competition.

4. Organization and management

Also known as your company overview, this section is where you describe your legal structure, history, and team .

For your SBA loan application, you should focus on describing who is managing the business as clearly as possible. 

You may want to include an organizational chart. You should provide detailed resumes for everyone in leadership positions. Each team member’s experience, skills and professional qualifications can mitigate risk in the eyes of a lender .

To show you’re thinking ahead, it’s also helpful to include key positions you plan to fill as you grow. 

5. Sales and marketing plan

Your goal in this section is to summarize how you will attract, retain, and sell to your customers.

The marketing strategies and sales methods you describe should always have the customer top of mind, and demonstrate that you know how to connect with them. 

To help a loan officer visualize this, you can provide examples of marketing messaging, visuals, and promotions. If you have any research or results to show that your strategy has merit, include those as well. 

6. Financial projections

SBA lenders typically require 5 years of financial projections — including profit and loss statements , balance sheets , and cash flow statements . 

Be sure to include the SBA loan in your projections in the following areas: 

  • A liability on your balance sheet.
  • Payments on your cash flow.
  • Interest expenses on your profit and loss statement. 

I’ll dive into specific details of what you should focus on in the “how to improve your chances” section.

Your first year of financial projections should include monthly details. After that, annual summaries are usually sufficient for most SBA lenders. Occasionally, a lender might require 24 months of monthly projections, so check with your bank before submitting your business plan. 

If your business is up and running, you must also provide historical financial reports for the past 12-24 months of operations—including income statements and a current balance sheet.

Typically, you will also need to provide reports on your personal finances , including any assets you have, such as a home or car. 

Finally, include a section explaining your use of funds—what exactly you plan to use the loan for.

7. Appendix

The appendix is your chance to provide additional documents that support sections of your business plan. 

When applying for a loan, these may include:

  • Employee resumes
  • Licenses and permits
  • Patents and other legal documents
  • Historical financial statements
  • Credit histories

Don’t worry about stuffing your appendix full of additional documentation. Only include information if you believe it will strengthen your approval chances, or if your lender specifically asks for it.

  • How to improve your chances of being approved for an SBA loan

Your SBA business plan needs to focus on the loan you are applying for and how that will impact your business financially. 

Make sure to include the following information in your financial plan to increase your chances of success with your lender:

Funding request 

In your executive summary, document how much money you are asking for. It’s best to put your number where it can be clearly read, instead of trying to bury it deep within your business plan.

Remember, there are limitations to how much you can borrow through SBA-backed loans.  Most have a maximum loan amount of $5 million, while SBA Express loans have a maximum loan amount of $350,000. 

Use of funds

You should also describe how you plan to use the loan and which aspects of the business you want to invest in. 

Some SBA loans are designed specifically for expanding export businesses or funding real estate transactions. So, make sure your use of funds description is appropriate for the loan you are applying for.

Cash flow forecast

Be sure to include the loan in your cash flow statements and projections . You want to demonstrate that you’ve planned how you will use and repay the loan.

You need to show:

  • When you anticipate receiving the loan.
  • How the loan will impact your finances. 
  • Loan payments for the life of the loan. 

Having this prepared won’t just increase the chances of your application being approved—It  will make it much easier to manage the loan after you receive funding . 

Balance sheet 

You’ll also want to put the loan on your projected balance sheet , and show how the loan will get paid down over time. 

The money you owe will show up on your balance sheet as a liability, while the cash you receive from the loan will be an asset. Over time, your forecasted balance sheet will show that the loan is getting paid back. 

Your lender will want to see that you have forecasted this repayment properly.

Profit & Loss forecast

Your P&L should include the interest expenses for the loan, and show how the interest will impact your profitability in the coming months and years.

  • How long does an SBA business plan need to be?

The SBA doesn’t have an official recommended or required business plan length . As a general rule of thumb, you should make your business plan as short and concise as possible. 

Your business plan is going to be reviewed by a bank loan officer, and they will be less than excited about the prospect of reading a 50-page business plan.

If possible, keep the written portion of your business plan between 10-15 pages. Your financial forecasts will take up several additional pages. 

If you’re struggling to keep it short, try a one-page plan

A great way to start your business plan is with a simple, one-page business plan that provides a brief and compelling overview of your business. 

A good one-page plan is easy to read and visually appealing. Once you have your one-page plan, you can expand on the ideas to develop your complete written business plan, and use the one-page plan as your executive summary. 

Loan officers will appreciate a concise overview of your business that provides the summary they need before they start looking at your complete business plan and financial plan .

  • Resources and tools for writing an SBA business plan

Remember, you can download a free SBA-lender-approved business plan template . It includes detailed instructions to help you write each section, expert guidance and tips, and is formatted as lenders and investors expect.

If you’re looking for a more powerful plan writing tool, one that can also help you create financial forecasts for the use of your loan, I recommend you check out LivePlan . 

With LivePlan, you get:

  • AI-powered recommendations: Generate and rewrite sections of your plan to be more professional and persuasive.
  • Step-by-step instructions: In-app examples, tutorials, and tips to help you write an impressive business plan.
  • Automatic financials: Skip the spreadsheets and complex formulas, and quickly create accurate financial forecasts with everything a lender needs.
  • A built-in pitch presentation: Print or share your full business plan, one-page pitch, and financial reports—all with a professional and polished look.

Whether you use the template, LivePlan, or try writing a business plan yourself, following the structure and tips from this article will improve your chances of getting an SBA-backed loan. 

And for additional SBA-focused resources, check out our guide on how to get an SBA loan .   

Not sure how much money you need to raise?

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Check out LivePlan

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Loan Officer Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Loan Officer Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your Loan Officer business plan.

We have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their Loan Officer business.

Below is a loan officer business plan template to help you create each section of your Loan Officer business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company is a startup mortgage loan company based in Newton, Massachusetts. The company is founded by Trent Hawthorn, a loan officer who has successfully completed over seven hundred loan packages for individuals during the past fifteen years while working for a large mortgage loan company in nearby Boston, Massachusetts.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will provide loan officers experienced in the full spectrum of lending and mortgage coaching services for individuals or families. Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will become known for their friendly and experienced loan officers, and also for the results-driven attitudes and affirming responsiveness to applicants who are served by Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company. Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will project at least 1M in lending business within the first year.

Product Offering

The following are the services that Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company loan officers will provide:

  • Conduct initial client meetings to determine lending needs, including refinancing existing loans and first-time mortgages
  • Review customer applications; prepares and presents lending packages based on the client specifications
  • Assist clients with completion of mortgage applications
  • Review applications, research credit histories, report, assess capacities to pay and default risks
  • Officers will view or visit properties for real estate purchase or refinance
  • Develop and maintain contact with potential clients: realtors, developers, builders and banks or other financial institutions

Customer Focus

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will target individuals within the greater Boston region, including nearby townships or smaller areas near Newton.

Management Team

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will be owned and operated by Trent Hawthorn, a loan officer who has successfully completed over 450 loan packages for individuals during the past fifteen years while working for a large mortgage loan company in nearby Boston, Massachusetts. He has recruited two key management employees from other loan companies in the area.

Clay Singleton is a mortgage loan officer with ten years of experience in a large, nationally-recognized mortgage loan company. While with his former employer, Clay instituted a streamlined process of analyzing credit worthiness, resulting in a 28% increase in speed and, thereby, a significant reduction in package preparation time. Clay successfully completed over 300 loan packages for individuals and families during the time he was employed by the former mortgage company.

Success Factors

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly qualified team of Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company loan officers
  • Comprehensive menu of services provided by loan officers who actively work to best represent clients in the lending process–every time on time.
  • Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company offers the best pricing in town. Their pricing structure is the most cost effective compared to the competition.

Financial Highlights

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company. The funding will be dedicated toward securing the office space and purchasing office equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated toward three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for the social media campaign and website development. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Office space build-out: $20,000
  • Office equipment, supplies, and materials: $10,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $150,000
  • Marketing costs: $10,000
  • Working capital: $10,000

The following graph below outlines the financial projections for Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company Pro Forma Projections

Company Overview

Who is montgomery mortgage loan company.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company is a newly established full-service mortgage loan company in Newton, Massachusetts. Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will be the most reliable, cost-effective, and efficient choice for individuals in greater Boston and the surrounding communities. Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will provide a comprehensive menu of mortgage loan officer services for any individual customer to utilize. Their full-service approach includes a comprehensive set of loan package services, application oversight and completion of mortgage loans, refinancing or first-time mortgage loan needs.

  Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company loan officers will be able to manage all aspects of the mortgage application process, including refinancing and servicing of loans due to the superior customer service offered to individuals and families who seek mortgage loans in a process that can often be daunting and unfamiliar. The team of loan officer professionals are highly qualified and well-experienced in evaluating and processing loan applications and, in particular, assisting individuals through the various mortgage types and options, as well as the thorny questions found within applications and additional requirements of applicants. Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company removes all headaches and issues surrounding mortgages on behalf of their customers and ensures all issues are taken care off expeditiously, while delivering the best customer service.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company History

Since incorporation, Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company has achieved the following milestones:

  • Registered Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company as a C-corporation to transact business in the state of Massachusetts.
  • Has completed the training required for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) and is now licensed to operate in the U.S.
  • Has negotiated office space in a corporate office building to set up the services of a mortgage loan company in the 10,000 square foot location.
  • Reached out to numerous contacts to include Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company in the databases of available, highly-experienced loan officers.
  • Began recruiting a staff of Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company and office personnel to assist and support the mortgage loan officers.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company Services

The following will be the services Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will provide:

  • Friendly and highly-experienced loan officers will conduct initial client meetings to determine lending needs, including refinancing existing loans or first-time mortgages
  • Confidential and private review of customer applications, customer protections in place to avoid identity theft, and trust-building processes that ensure the customers are comfortable with the overall experience.
  • Highly-experienced loan officer conducts application preparation and presents lending packages based on the client specifications
  • Review applications, conducts research, may approve loans
  • Loan officer views or visits properties for real estate purchase or refinance
  • Loan officers develop and maintain contact with potential networking affiliations or collaborations: realtors, developers, builders and banks or other financial institutions

Industry Analysis

The mortgage industry is expected to grow over 7% during the next five years to over $423M. This stable growth will be driven by economic conditions that lead to increased homebuyer or homeowner trust, resulting in refinancing and first-time mortgages, in addition to traditional mortgages for homebuyers. Costs may be reduced in the future, depending on supply chain issues. It is probable that, as supply chain issues are solved and more materials become available, the costs for a loan or mortgage package will be correspondingly reduced. The cost of living expenses for the median of the population in middle-to-upper economic ranges has been steady and will likely continue to be, which stabilizes and supports the mortgage industry growth. As various materials are adapted to green or environmental standards within state laws, construction supplies and new home amenities will also change, reducing the costs of homeownership, which will invite a larger pool of mortgage applicants in the process.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will target those individuals and corporations in the greater region of Boston, Massachusetts in need of a mortgage or refinance package. They will also target first-time homebuyers with a strategic effort to take university graduates and other young adults into condominiums and other attached home scenarios as first-time homebuyers.

TotalPercent
    Total population1,680,988100%
        Male838,67549.9%
        Female842,31350.1%
        20 to 24 years114,8726.8%
        25 to 34 years273,58816.3%
        35 to 44 years235,94614.0%
        45 to 54 years210,25612.5%
        55 to 59 years105,0576.2%
        60 to 64 years87,4845.2%
        65 to 74 years116,8787.0%
        75 to 84 years52,5243.1%

Customer Segmentation

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Individuals and families who are refinancing or applying for a new mortgage
  • First-time homebuyers who have never applied for a mortgage or large loan
  • Corporations with affiliation or collaboration potential
  • Community, civic or governmental agencies with specific loan funding needs

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

TRS Mortgage Services

TRS Mortgage Services is a mortgage loan company based in Newton, Massachusetts. It is a direct competitor to the Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company, with the primary focus on first-time homebuyers who may have little to no knowledge of the homebuying process.

TRS Mortgage Services is a C-corporation and is owned by a family group with ten siblings and cousins included on the corporate register. It has 20 employees and advertises heavily to the young adult demographic, targeting under-represented nationalities within the American home buyer statistical experience. Their motto is, “Let Us Find Your First and Last Home,” and the target audience is directed toward “security” and “safety” for homeowners in the marketing strategies applied.

Silver Estates Home Loans

Silver Estates Home Loans is a direct competitor to the Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company. The company has segmented one portion of the mortgage loan industry, however, within the mobile or manufactured home mortgage loan services arena. Manufactured or mobile homes are not typically included in federal or state buying incentive programs due to the rent payments owed on a monthly basis for the land on which the manufactured homes sit. While this fact invalidates much of the mortgage loan market, Silver Estates Home Loans and others focus on meeting that niche target market and excelling within it.

Silver Estates Home Loans is an S-corporation owned by Connie Lyn and Heidi Matthews, who started the home loan company in 2015 as a result of being unable to secure a loan for their own purposes in purchasing a mobile home. Silver Estates Home Loans now services “kit” or pre-manufactured homes, as well, whether on land that is owned or leased.

Sunnyside Home Loans

Sunnyside Home Loans is a direct competitor and is owned by Hank and Mae Marsten, who formed a Limited Liability Company as the legal entity under which it operates. Sunnyside Home Loans has targeted home refinancing, first-time buyer mortgages and second mortgages for homeowners within the Boston region. A target area is that of seniors who need second mortgages for homes with no mortgages and reverse mortgage loans for seniors who need liquid assets for living expenses. Sunnyside Home Loans collaborates with federal senior agencies and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to provide mortgage application education seminars and other support systems so seniors can better understand mortgage processes. They also provide application support and expanded communication for seniors in need of comprehensive assistance.

Competitive Advantage

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:

  • Confidential and private review by loan officers of customer applications, customer protections in place to avoid identity theft, and trust-building processes that ensure the customers are comfortable with the process.
  • Highly-experienced mortgage loan officers will conduct application preparation and present lending packages based on the client specification
  • Loan officers will assist clients with completion of mortgage applications
  • Loan officers will view or visit properties for real estate purchase or refinance
  • Loan officers will develop and maintain contact with potential networking affiliations or collaborations: realtors, developers, builders and banks or other financial institutions

Loan Officer Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Highly-qualified team of skilled loan officers who are able to provide comprehensive assistance to applicants in the home loan market sector.
  • Unbeatable service in pricing for its clients. Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company loan officers will offer the lowest prices and percentage rates for the services offered and the ancillary costs attached to the loan processes.

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company is as follows:

Referral Marketing

Trent Hawthorn has built up an extensive list of contacts over the years by providing exceptional service and expertise to his clients. They have communicated to Trent that they kept returning for all their home mortgage needs because they were happy with the services Trent was providing as a loan officer. Once Trent advised them he was leaving to open his own mortgage loan business, they signaled their commitment to follow him to his new company and help spread the word of the Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company. This audience will be a great source of referral marketing.

Professional Associations and Networking

The pivotal area of networking will be attended to by both Trent Hawthorn and Clay Singleton, who together have over 25 years of mortgage loan officer experience. The potential for networking or joining association memberships is found in the affiliations that make sense for mortgage loan officers: real estate brokers, commercial brokers, mortgage companies, and banks or other financial institutions. These associations and networking opportunities pave the way for business, both in the immediate and long-term future.

Social Media Marketing

The oversight of social media marketing will be handled on a short-term basis by a part-time social media manager. This will include posting on social media, adding video reels, podcasts, images and other announcements that intrigue potential customers to contact the firm. The entities involved will be converted to followers on social media, who will continue to follow if material is relevant, timely and well-executed. Young adults are the largest target for this medium and they are also first-time buyers who will be researching mortgage loans and loan officers.

Website/SEO Marketing

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will utilize their short-term social media marketing manager who oversees the social platforms to also design their website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all the services that the Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company is able to provide. The website will also list their contact information and list their available interest rates and other salient information for homebuyers who are watching economic indicators.

The social media manager will also manage the website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that anytime someone types in the Google or Bing search engine, “Boston mortgage loan company” or “mortgage loan company near me”, Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will be listed at the top of the search results.

The pricing of Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will be moderate and on par with competitors so customers feel they receive excellent value when purchasing their services.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company. Operation Functions:

  • Trent Hawthorn will be the Owner and President of the company. He will oversee all staff and manage client relations. Trent has recruited the following staff:
  • Clay Singleton – General Manager and Senior Loan Officer who will oversee the loan officers and handle human resources onboarding and other day-to-day operations.
  • Stuart Asbury – Loan Officer, who will advise and assist corporations with mortgage loan packages.
  • Elizabeth Stanton – Loan Officer, who will advise and assist homebuyers in loan packages and application processes.

Milestones:

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.

  • 5/1/202X – Finalize contract to lease office space
  • 5/15/202X – Finalize personnel and staff employment contracts for the Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company
  • <6/1/202X - Begin networking at corporate levels
  • 6/15/202X – Begin networking at mortgage industry events
  • 6/22/202X – Begin moving into Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company office
  • 7/1/202X – Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company opens its office for business

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company will be owned and operated by Trent Hawthorn, a mortgage loan officer who has successfully completed over 450 loan packages for individuals during the past fifteen years while working for a large mortgage loan company in nearby Boston, Massachusetts. He has recruited two key management employees from other loan companies in the area.

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company are the loan origination fees and associated costs charged to the customers for their services. .

The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff the Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company. The expenses will be the payroll cost, rent, utilities, office supplies, and marketing materials.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Montgomery Mortgage Loan Company is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its mortgage loan business. The funding will be dedicated toward securing the office space and purchasing office equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated toward three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for the marketing campaign and association memberships. The breakout of the funding is below:

Key Assumptions

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.

  • Number of Applications Processed and Closed Per Month: 90
  • Average Costs per Month: $65,000
  • Office Lease per Year: $100,000

Financial Projections

Income statement.

FY 1FY 2FY 3FY 4FY 5
Revenues
Total Revenues$360,000$793,728$875,006$964,606$1,063,382
Expenses & Costs
Cost of goods sold$64,800$142,871$157,501$173,629$191,409
Lease$50,000$51,250$52,531$53,845$55,191
Marketing$10,000$8,000$8,000$8,000$8,000
Salaries$157,015$214,030$235,968$247,766$260,155
Initial expenditure$10,000$0$0$0$0
Total Expenses & Costs$291,815$416,151$454,000$483,240$514,754
EBITDA$68,185 $377,577 $421,005 $481,366 $548,628
Depreciation$27,160$27,160 $27,160 $27,160 $27,160
EBIT$41,025 $350,417 $393,845$454,206$521,468
Interest$23,462$20,529 $17,596 $14,664 $11,731
PRETAX INCOME$17,563 $329,888 $376,249 $439,543 $509,737
Net Operating Loss$0$0$0$0$0
Use of Net Operating Loss$0$0$0$0$0
Taxable Income$17,563$329,888$376,249$439,543$509,737
Income Tax Expense$6,147$115,461$131,687$153,840$178,408
NET INCOME$11,416 $214,427 $244,562 $285,703 $331,329

Balance Sheet

FY 1FY 2FY 3FY 4FY 5
ASSETS
Cash$154,257$348,760$573,195$838,550$1,149,286
Accounts receivable$0$0$0$0$0
Inventory$30,000$33,072$36,459$40,192$44,308
Total Current Assets$184,257$381,832$609,654$878,742$1,193,594
Fixed assets$180,950$180,950$180,950$180,950$180,950
Depreciation$27,160$54,320$81,480$108,640 $135,800
Net fixed assets$153,790 $126,630 $99,470 $72,310 $45,150
TOTAL ASSETS$338,047$508,462$709,124$951,052$1,238,744
LIABILITIES & EQUITY
Debt$315,831$270,713$225,594$180,475 $135,356
Accounts payable$10,800$11,906$13,125$14,469 $15,951
Total Liability$326,631 $282,618 $238,719 $194,944 $151,307
Share Capital$0$0$0$0$0
Retained earnings$11,416 $225,843 $470,405 $756,108$1,087,437
Total Equity$11,416$225,843$470,405$756,108$1,087,437
TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY$338,047$508,462$709,124$951,052$1,238,744

Cash Flow Statement

FY 1FY 2FY 3FY 4FY 5
CASH FLOW FROM OPERATIONS
Net Income (Loss)$11,416 $214,427 $244,562 $285,703$331,329
Change in working capital($19,200)($1,966)($2,167)($2,389)($2,634)
Depreciation$27,160 $27,160 $27,160 $27,160 $27,160
Net Cash Flow from Operations$19,376 $239,621 $269,554 $310,473 $355,855
CASH FLOW FROM INVESTMENTS
Investment($180,950)$0$0$0$0
Net Cash Flow from Investments($180,950)$0$0$0$0
CASH FLOW FROM FINANCING
Cash from equity$0$0$0$0$0
Cash from debt$315,831 ($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)
Net Cash Flow from Financing$315,831 ($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)($45,119)
Net Cash Flow$154,257$194,502 $224,436 $265,355$310,736
Cash at Beginning of Period$0$154,257$348,760$573,195$838,550
Cash at End of Period$154,257$348,760$573,195$838,550$1,149,286

Loan Officer Business Plan FAQs

What is a loan officer business plan.

A loan officer business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your loan officer business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can easily complete your Loan Officer business plan using our Loan Officer Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Loan Officer Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of loan officer businesses , some examples include: Commercial Loan Officer, Consumer Loan Officer, and Mortgage Loan Officer.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Loan Officer Business Plan?

Loan Officer business plans  are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

What are the Steps To Start a Loan Officer Business?

Starting a loan officer business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Loan Officer Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed loan officer business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your loan officer business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your loan officer business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Loan Officer Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your loan officer business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your loan officer business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.

7. Acquire Necessary Loan Officer Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your loan officer business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your loan officer business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

What is a business loan proposal?

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Starting a business can be the start of pursuing a lifelong dream. But turning a dream into reality requires putting your ideas on paper — especially if you want to secure a small business loan from a lender.

In most cases, lenders will request prospective business owners to present a business loan proposal. This relatively straightforward document informs the lender why you believe your business would be a good investment worthy of a loan. Think of it as a pitch for why you should get the loan and how you plan to repay it.

Key Takeaways

  • A business loan proposal is a streamlined pitch to a lender that explains what you need the loan for and how you would pay it back
  • A good business loan proposal should include financial information about your business, a high-level explanation of how your business operates and a loan repayment plan
  • Business loan proposals are important documents for getting a lender to approve your loan request

Is a business loan proposal different from a business plan?

While a business plan and a business loan proposal may sound similar, they serve different goals. A business plan is more of a guide to your entire business. It takes you through the stages from start-up to operation, lays out how your company will be structured and considers your prospects and how they might affect your plans for the future.

By contrast, a business loan proposal has a simpler purpose: secure funds to start your business. This will typically be a shorter document and includes information most important to the lender, like how you plan to repay the loan in a timely manner.

Why would lenders want a business loan proposal?

Lenders typically want a business loan proposal and a business plan to better understand your business’s financial state and short-term prospects. This allows the lender to understand where your company stands in the market and how likely you are to succeed.

Lenders want to see available cash , projected revenues and other details relevant to your ability to generate profit. Lenders also want to know how much of a risk they are taking by lending you money and the likelihood that their loan will be repaid.

How to write a business loan proposal

A successful business loan proposal should be well-written and thoughtful. You will want to include essential financial documents as attachments in addition to the details about your business.

As for the format of your proposal, there are a few options, but it is best to ask the lender if there’s a preferred format. If the lender doesn’t provide guidance, you can create a document with several sections highlighting essential information for a potential lender.

1. Executive summary

Start by offering the lender information about you and your operation. Provide a brief background on yourself and an overview of your business. You can briefly explain how you want to use the funds, but keep it short as you will provide more details later on.

2. Overview of your business model

The overview should include a short history of operation, legal structure and essential details about operations, including any licensing and your company’s current revenue. You can also include information about the market that you operate in, including industry trends and details about your customer base.

3. Owner investments

Some lenders, like the SBA, require you to exhaust all other financing options before qualifying for a loan. In this section, you should show how much equity you have in your business, what you have invested or any profits. If there are other owners, lenders will also want to see what they’ve invested.

4. Loan request

Here you’ll outline the amount of money you need and how you plan to use it. Explain what you’ll purchase with the funds — like if you plan to use it for fixed assets or working capital — and how you believe it will impact the business. The loan request should also show how you determined the loan amount.

5. Loan repayment plan

The lender will want to know your plan for repaying the loan. Use this section to lay out a repayment schedule based on the loan terms. Make clear what your plan is to ensure payments are made on time and in full and how repaying the loan is likely to affect your overall cash flow. Also, explain how you would pay back the loan in case of a downturn in sales, such as cash reserves. You can include details about pledged collateral here as well.

6. Financial statements

While you’ll want to attach financial statements in full to your business loan proposal, you can provide a brief overview in this section. Provide insight into what your books look like over the last few quarters of operation, including income statements . If your business has any existing liabilities, you can also include those details here.

Additionally, you should include personal financial statements from major stakeholders in the company, usually anyone with 20 percent or more equity. These should be an overview of assets and liabilities and personal net worth for each stakeholder.

7. Income projections

In addition to past statements about your business’s operation, lenders will want to know what to expect from your business in the future. Include your projected income and cash flow statements. Include any details regarding changes you would make to your business if you fall short of projections, and provide at least one year of projections for the lender to consider.

The bottom line

Business loan proposals are important documents for business owners seeking financial support to present to a lender. They provide key details about the business as it currently operates and how a business loan would be used so that a lender can feel secure in providing funding and recouping its investment over time.

Frequently asked questions about business loan proposals

What’s the difference between a business plan and a business loan proposal, how do i write a business loan proposal.

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Loan Officer Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

loan officer business plan template

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped thousands of loan officers develop business plans to grow their businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a loan officer business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is a Loan Officer Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your loan business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for a Loan Officer

If you’re looking to grow your existing loan business, you need a business plan. A business plan will plan out the growth of your loan business in order to improve your chances of success. Your loan business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

If you want to grow your loan officer business, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your loan officer business plan template:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

In it you must provide an overview of each of the sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the loan industry. Discuss the type of loan business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of loan business you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of loan businesses:

  • Commercial Loan Officer : this type of loan business focuses on arranging business loans.
  • Consumer Loan Officer: this type of business focuses on providing loans for things such as vehicles.
  • Mortgage Loan Officer: this type of loan obtains loans for consumer to purchase real estate.

In addition to explaining the type of loan business you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of customers served, number of positive reviews, dollar value of loans arranged, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the loan industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the loan industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your loan business plan:

  • How big is the loan industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your loan business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your loan officer business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: parents, students, professionals, businesses, couples, families, prospective home buyers, prospective car buyers, contractors, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of loan business you operate. Clearly, someone interested in purchasing a new car would respond to different marketing promotions than a business seeking equipment financing, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most loan businesses primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

Finish Your Loan Officer Business Plan in 1 Day!

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other loan businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes commercial banks, online loan brokers, etc. You need to mention such competition as well.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other loan businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be loan officers located very close to your location.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What types of loans do they specialize in?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide higher value loans?
  • Will you offer lower interest rates on loans?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer a wider variety of loan options?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a loan officer business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of loan company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to loans, will you provide insurance, financial advisory, or real estate services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your loan company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your loan business located near a real estate brokerage, or car dealership, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your loan officer marketing plan is the promotions section. This is perhaps the most important section of your plan. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your website and/or location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Reaching out to local websites
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your loan business, including processing loan applications, arranging signings, marketing your business, paperwork, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to arrange your 100 th loan, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your loan business to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your loan business’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing loan businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience as a loan officer or success being a local bank or credit union manager.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you work on commission, or on a fee for services model? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your loan business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a loan business:

  • Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
  • Cost of equipment and supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or outline your strategic partnerships with local realtors and lenders.  

Putting together a business plan for your loan officer business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the loan industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful loan business.  

Loan Officer Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my loan officer business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Loan Officer Business Plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of loan officer business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a loan officer business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of loan officer businesses?

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your Loan Officer business plan?

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Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how Growthink’s professional business plan consulting services can create your business plan for you.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Your Step-by-Step Guide

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So, you’ve got an idea and you want to start a business —great! Before you do anything else, like seek funding or build out a team, you'll need to know how to write a business plan. This plan will serve as the foundation of your company while also giving investors and future employees a clear idea of your purpose.

Below, Lauren Cobello, Founder and CEO of Leverage with Media PR , gives her best advice on how to make a business plan for your company.

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What is a business plan, and when do you need one?

According to Cobello, a business plan is a document that contains the mission of the business and a brief overview of it, as well as the objectives, strategies, and financial plans of the founder. A business plan comes into play very early on in the process of starting a company—more or less before you do anything else.

“You should start a company with a business plan in mind—especially if you plan to get funding for the company,” Cobello says. “You’re going to need it.”

Whether that funding comes from a loan, an investor, or crowdsourcing, a business plan is imperative to secure the capital, says the U.S. Small Business Administration . Anyone who’s considering giving you money is going to want to review your business plan before doing so. That means before you head into any meeting, make sure you have physical copies of your business plan to share.

Different types of business plans

The four main types of business plans are:

Startup Business Plans

Internal business plans, strategic business plans, one-page business plans.

Let's break down each one:

If you're wondering how to write a business plan for a startup, Cobello has advice for you. Startup business plans are the most common type, she says, and they are a critical tool for new business ventures that want funding. A startup is defined as a company that’s in its first stages of operations, founded by an entrepreneur who has a product or service idea.

Most startups begin with very little money, so they need a strong business plan to convince family, friends, banks, and/or venture capitalists to invest in the new company.

Internal business plans “are for internal use only,” says Cobello. This kind of document is not public-facing, only company-facing, and it contains an outline of the company’s business strategy, financial goals and budgets, and performance data.

Internal business plans aren’t used to secure funding, but rather to set goals and get everyone working there tracking towards them.

As the name implies, strategic business plans are geared more towards strategy and they include an assessment of the current business landscape, notes Jérôme Côté, a Business Advisor at BDC Advisory Services .

Unlike a traditional business plan, Cobello adds, strategic plans include a SWOT analysis (which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and an in-depth action plan for the next six to 12 months. Strategic plans are action-based and take into account the state of the company and the industry in which it exists.

Although a typical business plan falls between 15 to 30 pages, some companies opt for the much shorter One-Page Business Plan. A one-page business plan is a simplified version of the larger business plan, and it focuses on the problem your product or service is solving, the solution (your product), and your business model (how you’ll make money).

A one-page plan is hyper-direct and easy to read, making it an effective tool for businesses of all sizes, at any stage.

How to create a business plan in 7 steps

Every business plan is different, and the steps you take to complete yours will depend on what type and format you choose. That said, if you need a place to start and appreciate a roadmap, here’s what Cobello recommends:

1. Conduct your research

Before writing your business plan, you’ll want to do a thorough investigation of what’s out there. Who will be the competitors for your product or service? Who is included in the target market? What industry trends are you capitalizing on, or rebuking? You want to figure out where you sit in the market and what your company’s value propositions are. What makes you different—and better?

2. Define your purpose for the business plan

The purpose of your business plan will determine which kind of plan you choose to create. Are you trying to drum up funding, or get the company employees focused on specific goals? (For the former, you’d want a startup business plan, while an internal plan would satisfy the latter.) Also, consider your audience. An investment firm that sees hundreds of potential business plans a day may prefer to see a one-pager upfront and, if they’re interested, a longer plan later.

3. Write your company description

Every business plan needs a company description—aka a summary of the company’s purpose, what they do/offer, and what makes it unique. Company descriptions should be clear and concise, avoiding the use of jargon, Cobello says. Ideally, descriptions should be a few paragraphs at most.

4. Explain and show how the company will make money

A business plan should be centered around the company’s goals, and it should clearly explain how the company will generate revenue. To do this, Cobello recommends using actual numbers and details, as opposed to just projections.

For instance, if the company is already making money, show how much and at what cost (e.g. what was the net profit). If it hasn’t generated revenue yet, outline the plan for how it will—including what the product/service will cost to produce and how much it will cost the consumer.

5. Outline your marketing strategy

How will you promote the business? Through what channels will you be promoting it? How are you going to reach and appeal to your target market? The more specific and thorough you can be with your plans here, the better, Cobello says.

6. Explain how you’ll spend your funding

What will you do with the money you raise? What are the first steps you plan to take? As a founder, you want to instill confidence in your investors and show them that the instant you receive their money, you’ll be taking smart actions that grow the company.

7. Include supporting documents

Creating a business plan is in some ways akin to building a legal case, but for your business. “You want to tell a story, and to be as thorough as possible, while keeping your plan succinct, clear, interesting, and visually appealing,” Cobello says. “Supporting documents could include financial projects, a competitive analysis of the market you’re entering into, and even any licenses, patents, or permits you’ve secured.”

A business plan is an individualized document—it’s ultimately up to you what information to include and what story you tell. But above all, Cobello says, your business plan should have a clear focus and goal in mind, because everything else will build off this cornerstone.

“Many people don’t realize how important business plans are for the health of their company,” she says. “Set aside time to make this a priority for your business, and make sure to keep it updated as you grow.”

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A Comprehensive Guide: Sample Business Plan Format for Startups

Starting a business is an exciting endeavor, but it requires careful planning and organization to ensure success. One essential tool that every startup should have is a well-crafted business plan. A business plan serves as a roadmap, outlining the goals, strategies, and financial projections of the venture. However, creating a business plan from scratch can be daunting. That’s where a sample business plan format comes in handy. In this guide, we will explore the key sections of a sample business plan format and provide insights on how to create an effective one for your startup.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first section of your business plan and serves as an overview of your entire document. It should provide a concise summary of your company’s mission, vision, products or services, target market, competitive advantage, and financial projections. The goal is to grab the reader’s attention and entice them to continue reading.

In this section, start with a brief introduction about your company and its background. Highlight what sets your startup apart from others in the market. Describe your target market and explain why it presents a lucrative opportunity for your business.

Next, outline your products or services in detail. Explain how they meet customer needs or solve their problems better than existing alternatives in the market. Provide evidence of demand through market research data or customer testimonials.

Lastly, include financial projections such as revenue forecasts and profitability estimates for the next three to five years. This will give potential investors or lenders an idea of the growth potential and return on investment.

Company Description

The company description section provides an in-depth look into your startup’s history, mission statement, legal structure, ownership details, and location(s). It should give readers a clear understanding of what your company does and why it exists.

Start by providing some background information about how the idea for your startup originated. Explain the problem or opportunity that inspired you to start the business. Then, state your mission statement, which should encapsulate your company’s purpose and values.

Next, outline your legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company) and provide details about the ownership structure. If applicable, mention any key partnerships or strategic alliances that you have formed.

Finally, discuss the location(s) of your business. This could include physical locations (if any) as well as online presence or plans for expansion into new markets.

Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan is where you demonstrate a deep understanding of your target market and industry. It involves researching and analyzing market trends, customer demographics, competitors, and potential barriers to entry.

Start by defining your target market in terms of demographics (e.g., age, gender, income), psychographics (e.g., interests, lifestyle), and geographic location. Use market research data to support your claims about the size and growth potential of your target market.

Next, conduct a competitive analysis by identifying direct and indirect competitors in the industry. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses to identify opportunities for differentiation. Highlight how your products or services are unique or superior to those offered by competitors.

Finally, identify any potential barriers to entry such as regulations or high startup costs. Discuss how you plan to overcome these challenges and establish a strong foothold in the market.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

The marketing and sales strategy section outlines how you plan to attract customers and generate revenue for your startup. It should detail your marketing channels, pricing strategy, promotional tactics, distribution methods, and sales projections.

Start by describing your overall marketing approach. Will you focus on digital marketing through social media advertising? Or will you employ traditional methods like print ads or direct mail campaigns? Outline the specific channels you will use to reach your target audience effectively.

Next, discuss your pricing strategy. Will you position your products or services as premium, mid-range, or budget options? Explain how you arrived at your pricing decisions and justify them based on market research and competitor analysis.

Then, outline your promotional tactics such as content marketing, influencer partnerships, or public relations campaigns. Explain how these tactics will help raise awareness about your brand and generate leads.

Lastly, provide sales projections for the next one to three years. Use market research data and industry benchmarks to estimate the number of customers you expect to acquire and the revenue they will generate.

In conclusion, a well-crafted business plan is an essential tool for startups looking to secure funding or attract potential partners. By following a sample business plan format that covers the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and marketing and sales strategy sections outlined in this guide, you can create a comprehensive business plan that sets your startup up for success. Remember to tailor each section to your specific industry and target market for maximum impact.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.

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Best Online Financial Advisors 2024: Find the Right Fit for Your Needs

Paid non-client promotion: Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate investing products to write unbiased product reviews.

What Are Online Financial Advisors?

A financial advisor is a catch-all term that includes financial planners and investment advisors. Most online advisors offer investment management — whether it's carried out by a human or a sophisticated computer algorithm — and financial planning services or tools.

Types of Online Advisors

The main types of online financial advisors are: 

  • Robo-Advisors: Automated investment platforms (aka robo-advisors) use algorithms to generate a custom investment portfolio based on an individual's risk tolerance, goals, and time horizon. Robo-advisors typically offer low-cost ETFs as a cost-effective way to instantly diversify an investor's asset allocation and mitigate risk. 
  • Human Advisors (Virtual): Financial advisors that offer personalized financial planning and investment advice online through virtual meetings, email, and other virtual communication channels. 
  • Hybrid Models: Some online brokerages offer hybrid financial advice, combining automated investment advice and management through a robo-advisor and one-on-one consultation from a human advisor. 

Benefits of Using Online Financial Advisors

Online financial advisors allow you to ditch the in-person hassle and access expert financial guidance from your phone or home computer. Online financial advisors leverage investment technology and generally low-cost compared to traditional in-person consultants.  

Not only does it make investing more affordable for many individuals, but clients can more easily adjust and monitor their investments on their own time. Robo-advisor and hybrid online advisors typically offer online dashboards and tools for convenient managing and monitoring. 

Compare the Top Online Financial Advisors 2024

For this list, we didn't consider online advisors that match clients and advisors for comprehensive financial  planning services, such as Zoe Financial or Facet Wealth . Instead, we focused on tech-driven firms where you can access an automated and personalized portfolio and consult a professional for advice when needed.

Here are our top picks for the best online financial advisors as picked by Business Insider editors in 2024.

SoFi Automated: Best Online Advisor for Low Fees 

SoFi SoFi Automated Investing

SoFi Automated Investing supports individual investment accounts, joint accounts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and 401(k) rollovers.

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. No account minimum or management fees to invest
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Goal planning and automatic portfolio rebalancing
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Range of other account options across SoFi website
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. SoFi offers complimentary CFP access across all accounts
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No tax-loss harvesting
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No socially responsible portfolio options

SoFi Invest is one of the best investment apps and the best investment apps for beginners. It's a great platform for US investors who are looking for an intuitive online trading experience, an open active or automated investing account, and assets like cryptocurrencies.

  • Promotion: None at this time.
  • Consider it if: You're new to investing and want to leave the trading decisions to professionals.

SoFi Automated Investing offers individual and joint taxable brokerage accounts , traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and SEP IRA.

SoFi stands out for its lack of advisory fees, free one-on-one consultations with CFPs, portfolio diversity, and goal-planning features. SoFi builds a personalized investment portfolio based on your risk tolerance, goals, and time horizon. Additional SoFi membership perks include loan discounts and career counseling. 

What to look out for: SoFi doesn't have tax-loss harvesting features and limited portfolio diversity. 

SoFi Invest review

Betterment: Best Online Advisor for Diversified Investing

Betterment Betterment Investing

Betterment offers individual or joint accounts, IRAs, trust accounts, and cash reserve or checking accounts.

$0 to open, $10 to start investing ($100,000 for premium plan)

$4 per month (or 0.25%/year) for digital plan; 0.40%/ year for premium plan; 1%/year for crypto portfolios

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. No minimum for standard investing account
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Goal-based planning, tax-loss harvesting, charitable giving, and socially responsible investing available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Access to certified financial planners
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Mobile app with external account syncing options
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. You'll have to pay to consult a human advisor, unless you have the premium plan
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. $4 monthly fee (or 0.25% annual fee)

Betterment is best for hands-off investors who want to take advantage of professionally built, personalized ETF and cryptocurrency portfolios. The platform offers CFP access, so it could suit those in search of additional guidance from human advisors.

  • App store rating: 4.7 iOS/4.5 Android
  • Consider it if: You want access to robo-advice with multiple service levels.

Betterment Investing offers individual and joint taxable brokerage, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, inherited IRA, and trust.

What stands out:  Betterment is a robust trading platform offering premium plans with unlimited access to CFPs through phone or email. Investors can use the platform's goal-setting feature, ESG investing, automatic rebalancing, and easy-to-use financial dashboard. 

What to look out for:  Accounts with a $100,000 balance can upgrade to get advisor access, but the annual fee increases from 0.25% (an industry low) to 0.40%

Betterment review

Wealthfront: Best Online Advisor for 529 Plans

Wealthfront Wealthfront Investing

Fund your first taxable investment account with at least $500 in the first 30 days of account opening and earn a $50 bonus.

$1 ($500 for automated investing)

$0 for stock trades. 0.25% for automated investing (0.06% to 0.13% for fund fees)

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Low annual fee for investment accounts; crypto trust investments available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Tax-loss harvesting, portfolio lines of credit, 529 college savings plans available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Cash account
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Mobile app and investing and retirement tools
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. You need at least $100,000 to utilize additional investment strategies
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No human advisor access

Wealthfront is one of the best robo-advisor options if you're in search of low-cost automated portfolio management, and one of the best socially responsible investing apps for features like tax-loss harvesting, US direct indexing, and crypto trusts.

  • Consider it if: You're balancing several goals and want to streamline your finances.
  • Promotion: Fund your first taxable investment account with at least $500 in the first 30 days of account opening and earn a $50 bonus.

Wealthfront Investing offers individual and joint taxable brokerage, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, trust, and 529 savings plan .

Wealthfront is one of the best online financial advisors for college education savings and cryptocurrency trusts. You can borrow up to 30% of your investment balance at a low interest rate with a portfolio line of credit. Wealthfront also offers personalized recommendations with smart financial planning software. 

What to look out for:  On-staff financial advisors don't offer personalized advice

Wealthfront review

Ellevest: Best Online Advisor for Financial Planning and Personal Development

Ellevest Ellevest

Ellevest offers two investing portfolios to fit your needs.

$1 - $240 (varies by portfolio)

$54 - $97 annually; $5 or $9/month

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Personalized, automated investment advice with a $0 minimum requirement
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Monthly plans include discounted access to certified financial planners
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Automated IRA accounts and 401(k)/403(b) rollovers available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Private wealth management for individuals, families, and institutions who have at least $1 million to invest
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No active trading opportunities available; money is mainly invested in stock ETFs and bond ETFs
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. You can only open individual investment accounts and retirement accounts; joint accounts or custodial accounts not available

Ellevest is one of the best robo-advisors for goal-focused investing. It could be a good fit if you want automated investing and retirement accounts.

  • Consider it if: You're looking for a one-stop shop for financial planning.

Ellevest offers individual taxable brokerage, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and SEP IRA (all held at Folio Investments).

Ellevest is a comprehensive financial advisor and trading platform built around women's unique needs and challenges. Investors get access to an extensive library of content and advisor-led workshops. Additionally, Ellevest offers a socially responsible investment portfolio and monthly progress reports. 

What to look out for:  Financial coaching costs extra (but members get 30%- 50% off). Access to retirement account management requires an upgrade.

Ellevest review

Ameriprise Financial Investments: Best Online Advisor for Retirement Saving

Ameriprise Financial Services Ameriprise Financial Investments

Ameriprise Financial Services has been operating for 130 years Ameriprise Financial Services is licensed in all 50 states but only has 10 physical locations throughout the US; it's currently headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Varies by account

$500 annual advisory fee, 2% AUM

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Access to personal finance research and investment tools
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Fiduciary financial advisor access
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Various account and investment options
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. High account minimums
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Difficult to navigate website
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Complex fee structure

Ameriprise Financial Services is a brokerage and financial advisory firm best for experienced, passive investors interested in using the site's financial planning services, wealth management tools, and fiduciary advisor access.

Ameriprise Financial Investments offers three managed account options that can be opened as an individual brokerage account, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Simple IRAs, SEP IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 529 plans, and Coverdell education savings accounts (CESA). 

Ameriprise Financial Investments is one of the largest registered investment advisors in the US and is best for experienced investors looking for advanced charting and investing features. You'll get access to fiduciary financial advisors for consultations or account management. 

What to look out for: Ameriprise 's managed account fees are high, and it has a complex fee structure. 

Ameriprise Financial Services review

How Much Do Online Financial Advisors Cost?

Financial advisors providing financial advice often charge by the hour, typically between $100 to $300. Advisors creating a comprehensive financial plan tend to charge a flat rate between $1,000 and $3,000. 

If you hire an advisor to manage your investment portfolio, you'll be charged a percentage of your account balance, typically between 1% and 3% annually. In comparison, that's much higher than the fees that the best robo-advisors charge; you get the added benefit of building a relationship with a trusted source who can adjust your strategy as needed, provide personal recommendations, and answer questions when they arise.

How to Choose the Best Online Financial Advisors

The best online financial advisor for you depends on your goals, risk tolerance, investments, and time horizon. If you're a new investor interested in passive investing, an online robo-advisor is likely a good place to start. On the other hand, if you're looking for professional insight and a customized financial plan, you're better off with access to a human advisor through phone or video calls. 

You can also meet with an expert in person for financial guidance. So if you prefer to meet face-to-face, here are some tools to find some in your area:

  • This is a database of all CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals who are authorized to use their CFP® marks by the CFP® Board and are accepting new clients.
  • Using the advanced search function, you can choose from over 40 focus areas you're looking to get help with and include your current amount of investable assets.
  • Click here to visit the CFP Board website .
  • This database helps connect young professionals — those in generations X and Y (millennials) — with individual advisors.
  • Every advisor holds the CFP® certification, is a fiduciary , does not require a minimum net worth to take on new clients, and does not earn commissions.
  • Click here to visit XY Planning Network .
  • This platform maintains a database of fee-only financial advisors, not specifically CFP® certificates, who commit to a fiduciary oath once a year. 
  • You can filter by location to see a list of advisory firms in your area.
  • Click here to visit the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors website .

Online financial advisors are generally trustworthy. The best advisors follow the fiduciary rule, meaning they operate in their clients' best interest and are fee-only. This means client fees are their only compensation, and they don't earn a commission when they invest in certain funds or buy financial products.

Not everyone needs a robo-advisor, but beginners or passive investors looking for a hands-off approach to stock trading may prefer how cost-effective and convenient robo-advisors are. Affordable financial advisors can be hard to come by, so robo-advisors are a great alternative for many people. However, a financial advisor may be better if you need specific advice on your finances or investment strategy or if you're too overwhelmed or confused by your money to plan for retirement or invest in the stock market. 

The cost of an online financial advisor varies from platform to platform and advisor to advisor. The cost largely depends on the services, licensing, account balance, and complexity. Robo-advisors typically charge lower fees than human advisors. 

Why You Should Trust Us: Our Methodology

We Reviewed the best online financial advisors using Business Insider's methodology for rating investment platforms . We compared a long list of Registered Investment advisors (RIAs), considering fees, investment selection, access, ethics, and customer service. The best online advisors have top marks in all five categories. Investment platforms are given a rating between 0 and 5.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

    Character. A lender will assess your character by reviewing your education, business experience and credit history. This assessment may also be extended to board members and your management team ...

  2. How To Write A Successful Business Plan For A Loan

    A business plan is a document that lays out a company's strategy and, in some cases, how a business owner plans to use loan funds, investments and capital. It demonstrates that a business is ...

  3. How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

    Common sections are: executive summary, company overview, products and services, market analysis, marketing and sales plan, operational plan, and management team. If you are applying for a loan ...

  4. How to Write a Business Plan That Will Get Approved for a Loan

    1. Cover Page and Table of Contents. Your business plan for a loan application is a professional document, so be sure it looks professional. The cover page should contain the name of your business and your contact information. If you have a logo, it should go on the cover.

  5. Write your business plan

    You might prefer a traditional business plan format if you're very detail-oriented, want a comprehensive plan, or plan to request financing from traditional sources. When you write your business plan, you don't have to stick to the exact business plan outline. Instead, use the sections that make the most sense for your business and your needs.

  6. How To Write an SBA Business Plan [+Free Template]

    Step 7: Write the Financing Request. This section is where you should specify how much funding you need, why you need it, what you'll use it for, and the impact you expect it will have on your business. It's also a good idea to indicate when you expect to use the funds over the course of the next three to five years.

  7. How To Write A Business Plan For A Loan

    Business plan template for retail or eCommerce (from Shopify; requires email address) Resources For Writing A Business Plan For A Loan. These tools and resources can help you create a solid business plan for a loan. While some free business plan creation tools are available online, you will have to pay for some options. SBA Business Plan ...

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  9. How to Write a Professional Business Plan for a Loan

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  10. How To Write A Business Plan for A Bank Loan (3 Key Steps)

    Step 1: Outline The Opportunity. This is the core of your business plan. It should give loan officers a clear understanding of: What problem you're solving. How your product or service fits into the current market. What sets your business apart from the competition. There are three key parts to this step:

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    In 2020, SBA's flagship 7(a) loan program approved more than 42,000 loans totalling $22 billion.Yet, SBA loans are notoriously difficult to obtain for small businesses: less than 15% of SBA loan applications were granted by big banks. If you're applying for a SBA loan, you will need a solid business plan template for your loan application.. In this article we go through, step-by-step, all ...

  12. How to Write a Business Plan for Funding

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  18. How to Write an SBA Business Plan + Template

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    The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan. Number of Applications Processed and Closed Per Month: 90. Average Costs per Month: $65,000. Office Lease per Year: $100,000.

  20. How to Write a Business Plan

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