Simple Business Plan Template

Here's a Simple Business Plan Template for Entrepreneurs

Business plan template
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Think you have a great idea for a business? That best way to find out is to do your background research and write a business plan to see if your idea is feasible. The simple business plan template presented here can get you started on creating a business plan for your new enterprise.

A standard business plan consists of a single document divided into several sections, including a description of the organization, the market research, competitive analysis, sales strategies, capital and labor requirements, and financial data.

The resulting document can serve as the blueprint for your business and be supplied to financial institutions or investors if debt or equity financing is needed to get your business off the ground. 

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long, but for a small business it is best to keep the plan as short and concise as possible, especially if you intend to submit it to bankers or investors — 25-30 pages should be sufficient unless you need to include photos of products, equipment, logos, business premises or site plans, etc. Potential money-lenders or investors will be looking for solid research and analysis in your plan rather than long, wordy descriptions. 

How to Use the Template

The enclosed sample template is broken into sections as described in the table of contents. Each section of the template can be copied into a Word, Excel or similar office document by selecting the text and using copy/paste (using Windows, outline the text to be selected with the mouse, and hit CTRL-C to copy and CTRL-V to paste).

 

For a detailed description of each section of the plan see: Guide to Writing a Business Plan Step By Step.

Simple Business Plan Template:

Title Page

Enter your business information including the legal name, address, etc. If you already have a business logo you can add it at the top or bottom of the title page.

 

Business Plan

For
"Business Name"

"Date"

"Business Address"
"Phone#"
"email"
"website"

If addressing to a company or individual include:

Presented to:
"Name"
"Company or Financial Institution"

 

1. Table of Contents:

Table of Contents

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

 Table of Contents

 Executive Summary.............................

 Business/Industry Overview.................

 Market Analysis and the Competition...

 Sales & Marketing Plan.........................

 Ownership and Management Plan........

 Operating Plan.....................................

 Financial Plan......................................

 Appendices and Exhibits......................

 

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Section 1: Executive Summary 

The executive summary goes near the beginning of the plan but is written last. It should provide a short, concise and optimistic overview of your business that captures the reader's attention and gives them an interest in learning more about it. The executive summary should be no more than 2 pages long, with brief summaries of other sections of the plan. See How to Write the Executive Summary of the Business Plan.

Section 1: Executive Summary

  • · Describe your mission what is the need for your new business?
  • · Introduce your company and the management and ownership.
  • · Describe your main product and service offerings.
  • · Briefly describe the customer base you will be targeting and how your business will serve those customers.
  • · Summarize the competition and how you will get market share (what is your competitive advantage?)
  • · Briefly outline your financial projections for the first few years of operation.
  • · Describe your start-up financing requirements (if applicable).

Section 2: Business/Industry Overview

An overview of the industry and how your business will compete in the sector. (See Business Plan Example of the Industry Section.)

Section 2: Business/Industry Overview

  • · Describe the overall nature of the industry, including sales and other statistics. Include trends and demographic, economic, cultural, and governmental influences. See Example of the Industry Overview.
  • · Describe your business and how it fits into the industry.
  • · Describe the existing competition.
  • · Describe what area(s) of the market you will target and what unique, improved or lower cost services you will offer.

Section 3: Market Analysis and the Competition

In this section, you need to demonstrate that you have thoroughly analyzed the target market and that there is enough demand for your product or service to make your business viable.

The competitive analysis includes an assessment of your competition and how your business will compete in the sector. (See How to Write the Competitors Analysis Section of the Business Plan.) The Target Market description and Competitive Analysis portions can be two separate sections in the plan or combined as shown:

Section 3: Market Analysis and the Competition

  • · Define the target market(s) for your product or service in your geographic locale (see Define Your Customer Before Marketing).
  • · Describe the need for your products or services.
  • · Estimate the overall size of the market and the units of your product or service the target market might buy, potential repeat purchase volume, and how the market might be affected by economic or demographic changes.
  • · Estimate the volume and value of your sales in comparison with any existing competitors. It helps to summarize the results in table form as in the following example which demonstrates that there is a gap in the high-quality sector of the market that your business intends to target:
BusinessCompetitor ACompetitor BYour Business
Est. Annual Revenue $1,000,000$600,000$500,000
Employees20105
PriceAverageHighHigh
QualityLowAverageHigh
  • · Describe any helpful barriers to entry that may protect your business from competition, such as access to capital, technology, regulations, employee skill sets, location, etc. 

Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan

A description of how you intend to entice customers to buy your product(s) or service(s), including advertising/promotion, pricing strategy, sales and distribution, and post-sales support if applicable. See The Marketing Plan Section of the Business Plan for a detailed description.

Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan

Product or Service Offerings

  • · Describe your product or service, how it benefits the customer, and what sets it apart from competitor offerings: e.g. what is your Unique Selling Proposition? (Be specific.)

Pricing Strategy

  • · Describe how you intend to price your product or service. Pricing has be competitive to attract customers but high enough to cover costs and generate a profit. Pricing can be based on markup from cost, value to the buyer, or in comparison with similar products/services in the marketplace. Breakeven analysis can help determine sales and pricing for profitability. See also Pricing Strategies to Increase Profitability.

Sales and Distribution

  • · Describe how you will distribute your products to the customer (if applicable). Will you be selling wholesale, retail? What type of packaging will be required? How will the product(s) be shipped? What methods will be used for payment?

Advertising and Promotion

Section 5: Ownership and Management Plan

This section describes the legal structure, ownership, and (if applicable) the management, and staffing requirements of your business. See How to Write The Management Plan Section of the Business Plan.

Section 5: Ownership and Management Plan

Ownership Structure

Management Team

  • · Describe managers and roles, key employee positions, and how each will be compensated. Include brief resumés.

External Resources and Services

  • · List any external professional resources required, such as accountants, lawyers, consultants, etc.

Human Resources

  • · List the type and number of employees or contractors you will need and estimate the salary and benefit costs of each.

Advisory Board (if required)

  • · Include an advisory board as a supplemental management resource if applicable.

Section 6: Operating Plan

The operating plan outlines the physical requirements of your business, such as office, warehouse, or retail space, equipment, inventory and supply needs, labor, etc. For a one-person, home-based consulting business the operating plan will be short and simple, but for a business such as a restaurant or manufacturer that requires custom facilities, supply chains, specialized equipment, and multiple employees, the operating plan needs to be much more detailed. See The Operating Plan Section of the Business Plan for additional information. 

Section 6: Operating Plan

Development (if applicable)

  • · Explain what you have done to date in terms of identifying possible locations, sources of equipment, supply chains. Describe your production workflow.

Production:

Facilities

  • · Describe the physical location of the business, including location, land, and building requirements. Include square footage estimates with room for expansion if expected. Include the mortgage or leasing costs. Also include estimates of expected maintenance, utilities and related overhead costs. Include zoning approvals and other permissions necessary to operate your business.

Staffing

  • · Outline expected staffing needs and the main duties of staff members, especially the key employees. Describe how the employees will be sourced and the employment relationship (contract, full-time, part-time, etc.) Detail any employee training needed and how it will be provided. 

Equipment

  • · Include a list of any specialized equipment needed. Include the cost and whether it will be leased or purchased and the sources.

Supplies

  • · If your business is manufacturing, retail, food services, etc. include a description of the materials needed and how you will reliably source them (give descriptions of major suppliers if needed). Describe how you will manage inventory.

Section 7: Financial Plan

The financial plan section is the most important section of the business plan, especially if you need debt financing or wish to attract investors. The financial plan has to demonstrate that your business will grow and be profitable. To do this you will need to create projected income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. For a new business, these are forecasts, and a good rule of thumb is to underestimate revenues and overestimate expenses.

Section 7: Financial Plan

Include your 3 financial statements. Each is described in Writing the Business Plan: The Financial Plan, including templates:

Income Statements

  • · The Income Statement shows your projected Revenues, Expenses and Profit. Do this on a monthly basis for at least the first year for a startup business.

Cash Flow Projections

  • · The Cash Flow projection shows your monthly anticipated cash revenues and disbursements for expenses. It is important for demonstrating that you can manage your cash flow and will be a good credit risk.

Balance Sheet

  • · The Balance Sheet is a snapshot summary of the assets, liabilities, and equity of your business at a particular point in time - for a startup this would be on the day the business opens. Note that a new business will have no accounts receivable entries on the balance sheet. Note also that the Balance Sheet is much simpler for unincorporated businesses without employees - income tax, pensions, medical, etc. are only applicable to incorporated businesses, as are Earnings/Retained Earnings.

Breakeven Analysis

  • · Including a breakeven analysis will demonstrate to financiers or investors what level of sales you need to achieve to make a profit. See How to Do a Breakeven Analysis for more information.

Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits

The appendices and exhibits section contains any detailed information needed to support other sections of the plan.  

Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits

Possible Appendix/Exhibit Items

  • · Credit histories for the business owners.
  • · Detailed market research and analysis of competitors.
  • · Resumés of the owners and key employees.
  • · Information about your industry.
  • · Information about your products/services.
  • · Site/building/office plans.
  • · Copies of mortgage documents, equipment leases, etc. (or quotes on these).
  • · Marketing brochures and other materials.
  • · References from business colleagues.
  • · Links to your business website.
  • · Any other supporting material that may impress potential lenders or investors if you are looking for financing.