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Venngage Business Plan Maker
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Construction Company Business Plan
Growing a construction company is much more difficult and taxing than completing projects.
From acquiring a new project to meeting deadlines, managing the budget, and many more things in between- you will find yourself drowning in responsibilities when you start a construction company.
A construction business plan can come to your rescue in such burdensome situations. If prepared well, it can become a reference point for your company as it continues to grow.
Confused about how to write a business plan?
Well, this article will serve you perfectly. It will help you understand the contents of the business plan and offer a sample template for your construction company.
So let’s build a solid construction company business plan with this detailed guide.
Let’s dive right in.
- Venture into the market by conducting thorough industry and market analysis.
- Widen the scope of your service offerings to cater varying needs of your target audience.
- Create a detailed operations plan to get thorough guidance in your business operations.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify your competitive edge over the competitors.
- Determine your marketing strategies to launch your business and get it popular amongst your target market.
- Define your business objectives, goals, and mission values to create a foundation for essential business policies.
- Account for various project costs, operating costs, and office expenses to form realistic cash-flow projections.
Why do you need a construction company business plan?
Apart from the fact that investors and banks would ask for a business plan when you seek funding, here are a few more reasons you need a business plan.
- A business plan offers a roadmap to your business. It acts as a guiding block that has answers to all your how, when, where, and what.
- It helps in determining the exact target market for your business and formulating strategies to cater accordingly.
- There are millions of construction companies competing in the industry. You can identify your strengths through a business plan and design a competitive edge to stand apart.
- A well-rounded plan prepares you for emergencies that may arise in your business by making a plan for every situation.
- A whole lot of business processes repeat every day. A business plan helps bring consistency by establishing SOPs for various business activities.
And of course, you get your desired funding with a solid business plan that vouches for the potential of your construction company.
Key components of a construction business plan
Writing a business plan gets much easier with a structurally defined flow. Well, let’s have a look at key components that a construction company business plan must have.
A brief summary of an entire business plan that will encourage the readers to read further.
A brief company description including every detail from company structure to its mission statement and future goals.
A thorough analysis of the construction industry and your target market. It also includes sections for competitor analysis, future market trends, and scope of growth.
Outline the construction services that your company will offer. Highlight any additional services that will make you a distinct player.
Marketing and Sales Strategy
It includes a strategic plan to achieve success through marketing and sales. Determine the best course of action for your business.
Introduce key personnel in managerial and leadership roles. Discuss their roles, qualifications, experience, and expertise.
A detailed plan that streamlines the everyday operations right from construction methods to hiring employees.
A financial plan highlights the prominent figures and key reports of your construction company by making necessary financial projections.
Let’s dive further into these topics and get a detailed understanding of writing your business plan.
Related Construction Company Resources
- Construction Company Marketing Plan
- Key Stats for the Construction Sector
- Start-up Cost For Construction Company
- How to Start a Construction Business
A step-by-step guide to creating a construction company business plan
A poorly written plan serves no purpose. However, with this step-by-step guide, you will uncover every detail that goes into making a fantastic and purpose-serving business plan.
1. Get a business plan template
Writing a comprehensive business plan is taxing and time-consuming. But if you do it well, you will have a guidebook for running your construction company.
Now, there is a lot that needs to be considered, planned, and accounted for as you start writing the plan. Even if you closely follow a construction business plan outline, there are higher chances of you losing track or getting stuck at certain sections.
This is why you need a business plan template to give a solid structure to your business idea. With industry-relevant examples and a guide, the Upmetrics business plan template is easy to edit and customize.
Whether you own a general contracting firm or specialize in residential construction or specialty trades- we have plenty of construction-related templates for you to choose from.
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2. Write an executive summary
The executive summary is a concise yet insightful description of your entire business plan.
This one-page document summarizes the most important questions that a reader might have and offers a peek into what they are about to uncover. Investors take a brief glance at your executive summary before deciding whether to proceed further or not.
An executive summary must outline the following details of your construction business in persuasive consecutive paragraphs.
- The exact business opportunity
- The target market
- The problem and the solution to it
- Products and services offered by you
- Market size and growth potential
- Financial highlights
- Management team
Maintain a personal storytelling tone while writing this section and encapsulate every minute detail that can make a difference.
But wait, don’t start writing yet. Write your executive summary only after you are done writing an entire plan. This will help you summarize effectively.
3. Prepare a company overview section
This section of a business plan will focus entirely on the details of your construction company.
From the type of construction company to the construction company’s goals- everything in this section is about your company description.
To begin with, highlight the type of construction business you will start. For instance, a residential construction company, general contracting company, industrial construction company, or specialty trade construction.
Clarify, if this will be a new business or an extension of existing business. If the business is already operating, offer a brief description of the business history.
After that, highlight the business structure of your construction company. Are you going to be a sole trader or start a limited liability company (LLC) or a limited partnership firm? The business structure you choose will decide how the finances and taxes will work in your business.
Now, this section is your chance to weave magical stories around your construction company. Present the mission statement, company’s objectives, and future goals over here.
Mission statement : Syncore aims to become a trusted name for sustainable residential construction projects in Arizona by 2028. With our commitment to the highest quality standards, we will penetrate the market with our premium budgeted solutions.
Business goals :
- Onboarding and signing 15 construction projects in a span of 6 months.
- Generating revenue of $2 million by 2025.
Like this, you will write this entire section in parts by offering a brief overview of your construction business.
4. Conduct a competitive and market analysis
In this section of a business plan, you begin with industry analysis and then narrow it down to your particular market segment. This is important to show your potential investors that there are promising opportunities in this market.
Using market research practices determine the target market for your construction business. Create a buyer persona to identify what your ideal customer will look like.
Further, highlight your competitors in this competitive construction industry. Using SWOT analysis and PESTEL, determine the strengths and weaknesses of competing construction companies. In this section, you will also highlight your strengths to gain a competitive edge over existing players.
Don’t limit your market study to merely understanding the current scenarios. Extend the research and identify future trends and growth possibilities in your targeted market.
If you are a residential construction company focused on sustainable building practices, you must include the following details in your market analysis section.
- How large is the construction industry?
- What segment of the construction market will you capture?
- Who will avail of the construction services?
- What is the spending capacity of your target customers?
- Who are the top competing construction companies?
- What are the emerging trends in the industry and how will you leverage those?
- What is the growth potential of your target market?
Focus on quality market research as this will form the base of your further projections and strategies.
This screenshot of the construction business plan example highlights only the market size for HDFL construction. You can also include details like competitors analysis, growth potential, and market trends here.
5. Describe your construction service offerings
What construction services will you offer your potential clients?
Offer a detailed answer to this question, as you write a business plan section for service offerings.
Overall, this section should highlight every service offering that will bring you money. This could include services like,
- General contracting services
- Design and Engineering
- Renovation and remodeling
- Project management
- Specialty services i.e. concrete work, HVAC installation, Roofing services
- Maintenance and repairs
Offer a brief understanding of these service offerings and highlight construction jobs you will specialize in. For instance, remodeling of kitchen and bathroom.
Now, will your construction company sell any construction materials for profit? If so, include details for that as well.
It’s important to consider the breadth of your service offerings to keep the customers coming back.
Overall, this section is your chance to prove to potential investors that your services can stand solid in the competitive construction industry.
6. Propose marketing and sales strategies
According to the IBIS world report , there are more than 3,787,470 construction businesses in the USA. Starting a construction company will add one more to this list, but hey- How do you wish to make a brand that your target audience can recall easily?
All the market assessment and understanding of your potential clients will come in handy at this stage as you make your marketing plan and sales strategies.
Take an opportunity to lay out your sales plan in this section. If you have existing customers, explain how you plan to retain them.
After you are done making your sales strategies, touch the marketing aspect.
Firstly, identify the way you want your brand to be recognized- as an ordinary construction firm, a luxury construction company, a sustainable solutions firm, or an affordable construction company. This will help you make a marketing plan.
Your marketing strategy should answer the following questions:
- Which marketing channels will you use- Online, offline, or a mix of both?
- How will you generate more leads?
- Online marketing methods- search engines, social media, Email marketing, content marketing, etc.
- If you are going to be utilizing social media platforms- which ones?
- How much will you budget for paid ads?
- Will you use billboards, pamphlets, and newspaper advertisements to market your business?
Keep in mind the marketing channels where you can find your potential customers. For instance, you are more likely to find conversions through Email campaigns than social media campaigns, if you are finding clients for commercial construction.
All in all, in this section you have to draw potential investors’ attention with your sales and marketing strategy.
7. Introduce your management team
Everyone is aware of the cutthroat competition in the construction industry. Knowing that you need an able team to transform your business plan into a successful venture.
After laying out your marketing strategy, it’s time to introduce the key management and leadership team to your business plan.
It’s okay to brag about the talented individuals you have in your company. From construction heads to project managers, highlight the achievements, experience, and expertise of these people and prove their asset-worthiness for your company.
Also, draw the hierarchical map to give potential investors an idea of your organizational structure.
This is your time to prove that you have both the means and manpower to run a successful company.
8. Outline your operational plan
You may know construction, but do you know how to run a construction business?
As someone said, “ Seamless operations are the silent engine of extraordinary business achievements”
Before even taking the first project, it’s important to define operations and SOPs for different business activities. Make it so thorough that it can act as a guidebook whenever a problem arises in your construction company.
As you write a business plan for this section, focus on answering the following questions:
- What construction materials will you use?
- What will be the supply chain process in your construction company?
- Who will oversee the project management on site?
- What will be the timeline for completing projects?
- What will be health and safety protocols for construction workers?
- What will be the process of construction work?
- How will the communication flow within an organization?
- What technologies and equipment will you use?
- How will you ensure quality work?
- How will you hire employees?
- What accounting software will you use?
This is just a general gist of questions that can help you prepare this section. Consider it as a living document that will undergo various changes as the business commences and grows.
A thorough operations plan will lay a clear groundwork for running a company. Moreover, it will instill investors’ faith in your ability to run a construction company.
9. Create a financial plan
Writing a sound financial plan is a challenge but nothing that your determined mind can’t handle.
Whether you plan to raise funds or get bank loans, you need a sound financial plan. Investors will analyze this section and only if they find your business financially viable, will they invest.
In this section, you will make financial projections and estimates for your construction company. This includes forecasting sales, estimating startup costs , projecting overhead costs, and making a pricing plan.
Using the startup costs projection, determine how much funding is essential to start your own construction company.
Also, prepare different reports like income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and break-even analyses using the projections made earlier.
To make a financial plan more relevant, consider various progressive and aggressive situations.
Lastly, prepare graphs, charts, and diagrams to make this section visually appealing and easy to grasp.
Now, stop. Don’t start writing a financial plan yet. You need a financial forecasting tool from Upmetrics to help you with projections and calculations of cash flow, sales, revenue, and everything else. Simply enter the data and it will make detailed and precise calculations for you.
Trust us, you don’t want to scratch your heads writing the entire plan from ground level.
And that’s it! With all this information you pretty much know everything that a construction business plan must have.
Construction Industry Highlights 2023
Now that you are almost set to open a construction company, here are a few industry statistics that might interest you.
- Market size : The US construction market sector was valued at 1.8 trillion US dollars in 2022.
- Growth of the virtual construction market : The global BIM market is 7.9 billion US dollars . North America is projected to be a market leader capturing 30% of this market.
- Rise in prefabrication and modular construction : Healthcare facilities followed by hotels/motels and educational institutions are most likely to avail of modular construction facilities.
- Major concerns : The leading concerns encircling the construction industry are inflation and supply chain disruptions faced by nearly 90% of constructors.
- Sustainable and green building : There is a continuous increase in demand for sustainable and green building solutions. As for 2021, the green building market in the USA was reported to be approximately 83 billion dollars .
- Growing investment in smart cities : According to IDC, the investment in smart cities is expected to grow to 203 billion dollars by 2024.
From sustainability to tech-centric processes, the construction industry is making huge shifts in trends. Both, small businesses and large have to evolve according to changing times to keep themselves relevant.
Download a sample construction business plan
Facing difficulty writing a business plan? Well, we have a perfect resource for you.
Download the Upmetrics sample business plan template. Our template offers step-by-step instructions and prompts to ease the entire plan writing process. It’s designed to meet modern market needs and is perfectly detailed with construction-relevant examples.
The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan
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Upmetrics is an intuitively designed business planning app with more than 400+ sample business plans . Our business planning tool features AI assistance that will transform your business writing process. Not only that, it allows you to design, collaborate, and share your business plan in real-time with your team.
So what are you waiting for?
Let’s Build your plan with our business plan builder.
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Frequently asked questions, what kind of market research should i include in my construction business plan.
The market research for your construction business plan must include the following details:
- The market size of your targeted market, i.e. commercial construction, residential construction, etc.
- The target audience of your services and their buyers’ persona
- Top competing firms and companies offering similar services
- Emerging trends in your market
- Growth potential for your firm
Is a SWOT analysis necessary for a construction company business plan?
Absolutely yes. There are more than a billion construction companies in the USA itself. Starting another business won’t guarantee success unless you have a business that can withstand the dynamic competitive environment. SWOT analysis will make you aware of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, and the opportunities it can avail
What are the initial startup costs for a construction company?
It is possible to start a construction company with as little as $10,000. However, if you plan to set up a mid-sized construction company, expect to spend anywhere around $50,000-$250,000 on getting a basic setup. This includes accounting for licenses, insurance, office setup, construction materials, and payroll for the initial months.
Can I get government grants for a construction business?
Yes, you can apply for government grants to start your construction business. Check the local, federal, and state regulations to see which grants are applicable to your business. Check the eligibility and apply accordingly.
How often should I update my construction business plan?
A business plan is a living document that can guide you toward success if mapped properly. Ideally, you should update your business plan every 4-6 months to make it relevant. Set aside time to do so as a renewed plan will offer deep and meaningful insight into your business goals.
About the Author
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 Start a Homebuilder Company: All Your Questions Answered
Get your building business off the ground with this comprehensive guide
If you’re considering how to start your own homebuilding company, look no further. Here we share 14 steps to do just that, explaining each in detail. Whether you want to learn how to start a custom homebuilding business or you want to work with more typical designs, this guide will give you a solid foundation for success.
Click one of the links below to jump to the section you’re most interested in:
- Identify your niche
- Conduct market research
- Write a builder business plan
- Name your building company
- Decide on a business entity type
- Register your business
- Get building licenses and permits
- Get builder insurance
Set up your business to receive and send funds
- Get funding
- Set up your office
- Build your team
- Choose homebuilder business software
- Find your first client
How to identify your home building niche
The first step in figuring out how to start a housebuilding business is to decide which niche to pursue. This way you can select the types of projects that best suit your skillset and your new business’ goals. There are four main niches:
- Tract/production: This involves building clusters of homes (dozens to hundreds) in a single neighborhood, typically with a set number of floor plans and design features for buyers to choose from. A model home is often shown to potential buyers, and price is often the deciding factor for buyers.
- Speculation (aka spec): This involves buying a parcel of land and building a house or houses before finding a buyer. The builder determines the floor plan before breaking ground, but if clients buy in before the work is finished, they might be able to choose finishes and appliances.
- Custom: This involves working with the client to build a unique home based on his or her wishes and local regulations, with complete flexibility regarding the architecture and features. Custom builders also can do renovations and add-ons.
- Luxury: In this sector, the homes are generally custom, given the higher budget. But whether the home is custom or not, the architecture is generally more distinctive than for the typical home, and the finishes, appliances and other elements are high end. Artisans might even be brought in to create show stopping components, such as artful gates, stairway railings and tilework.
Consider also the possible specialties within any of the above categories. “Green” or sustainable construction is popular, as is the kitchen-and-bath niche.
How to conduct builder market research
When you’re learning how to start a homebuilding company, it’s imperative to conduct research in certain areas so you’re not just guessing at what clients want and what the local economy and region will support. To make it easier, focus on each area individually. For example:
- Your intended market (both geographical and in terms of specialty)
- The local client base
- Local building trends
It’s not hard to do this research on your own, thanks to all the resources out there. All you need is a computer and the knowledge of where to look. For instance:
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers lots of information on conducting market research and doing competitive analyses and much more in its Business Guide for general businesses.
- The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers many resources including info on industry news , economic analyses , and more.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lets you search typical salary ranges and other economic info
- Put out questionnaires and surveys on social media or mailing lists. This is a great way to find out what people really want. You can also join relevant social media groups and get plenty of info without even posting.
- Do an internet search for “residential construction companies + [your area]” to find competitors. Once you’ve identified them, you can check out their websites and social media to see what types of homes and projects are locally popular and what the typical price ranges are.
Attend industry events and/or search their websites as well as other industry websites for published findings. For instance, Houzz offers a number of regularly updated research reports and IBISWorld offers data on industry trends .
How to write a homebuilder business plan
A solid builder business plan is essential for long-term success. Not only will it help you shape your goals and make sure you have enough capital to realize them, but bank lenders and investors will want to see it as part of their research. It doesn’t have to be long and complex to be effective, either. And while charts and graphs can be helpful and in conveying info and giving your plan a professional appearance, they aren’t strictly necessary. But your homebuilder business plan should include the following at a minimum:
- Executive summary: Summarize your business through a bio, goals, and mission statement. Include the niche you chose earlier. This can be just one or two pages.
- Company overview: Describe the founder(s), share your values statement and what makes your company different, and specify the type of business entity (we’ll explain that later).
- Market analysis: Use the research you did in the previous step to show a clear demand and how your company can satisfy it.
- Business structure: More detail about the type of business entity, including whether there are shareholders, what the organizational layout looks like, and the current or planned number of employees.
- Products and services descriptions. Will you offer eco-friendly solutions, for example? Will you focus on a certain style of home, such as modern or traditional? You can also include how you’ll charge for your services (lump sum, unit price, or cost plus) and if you have any existing relationships with developers, subcontractors or suppliers.
- Marketing and sales plan: Include what types of platforms you’ll have a presence on (Houzz is a great one, of course), advertising you’ll be using, any existing email lists, any other ways you’re planning to reach potential clients, and how you’re planning to turn leads into clients.
- Financial plan: Included projected income and expenses, cash flow forecasts, and any debt obligations (investments, loans, and so on).
Note that the components above are the same whether you’re creating a custom homebuilder business plan or a business plan for a building company that works only with fixed designs.
How to name a homebuilding business
This is actually often the first thing people wonder when they’re figuring out how to start a homebuilding company. And it’s worth some serious thought, given that a name is important in terms of conveying your identity as well as in branding , creating a memorable customer impression and maximizing your firm’s appearance in internet search results. Your market research will help you come up with a name that will draw clients, and you can either get creative or take a more straightforward approach using just your name and/or the types of projects you’ll be focusing on (for example, Custom Traditional Homes by Carl). Ideally the name should indicate what your business is, but your own full name alone might be fine if you’ve already built a reputation.
Important: Do a trademark search and also a general internet search to make sure you’re not infringing on someone else’s name either legally or informally. Even if a business doesn’t hold official rights to a name, it can cause confusion among customers if you have the same or a similar name.
Feeling stuck or uninspired? Do an internet search for “building business name generator” for ideas.
What is the best business entity for a homebuilding company?
It’s helpful to consult a tax professional for this, because each entity type has its own tax implications and reporting requirements. However, a sole proprietorship is not recommended, as it exposes you to personal risk (see below).
- Sole proprietorship: This is the simplest type of business entity, but it offers little protection and no special tax benefits. Your business is under your own name and social security number. If you get sued or owe any debt, your personal assets (home, car, and the like) will be on the line.
- LLC (limited liability company): You get certain asset protections and can choose to be taxed as a partnership or a corporation. Reporting requirements and tax calculations are generally not too onerous. Note, however, that not all states recognize LLCs.
- C Corp: The business is a separate taxable entity, and the owners and shareholders have limited liability because of that. It involves several reporting requirements as well as holding regular meetings. One plus is that you can sell stock in the entity to raise capital.
- S Corp: This is technically a tax status rather than an entity type. So, for instance, your business can be an LLC that’s taxed as an S Corp. It can result in tax savings depending on profit amounts, but also has reporting and other requirements — for example, there must be fewer than 100 shareholders.
As mentioned above, you’ll include the chosen entity type on your builder business plan.
How to register a homebuilding company
If your company is a sole proprietorship in your own name, this might not be technically necessary, but it’s still important as you’re working out how to start a housebuilding business to register it as a legal entity to get certain liability protections, legal benefits and tax deductions. The registration requirements for a homebuilding company are the same as or similar to the requirements for other types of businesses; for most small businesses, you just need to register your business name with the local and state governments.
First get a federal tax ID number (TIN) or employer tax ID number (EIN) through the IRS . You’ll need it for paying taxes, hiring staff, opening bank accounts, getting loans and applying for business licenses.
LLCs registration is handled at the state level, but corporations need to file with the federal government, again through the IRS (see Form 2553 ). Then you also need to register with state and possibly local governments; consult the SBA and local government websites to find out your locale’s requirements.
How to get builder licenses and permits
If you’re just beginning your research on how to start a homebuilding business, you might not be aware that you need licenses and permits. But they’re 100% necessary! Without them, your business could be subject to fines or other penalties and even closure. Every state has different requirements, so it's important that you check in with your state’s agency as well as know all the building codes for your state and city.
What are permits? Permits are evidence of permission granted at the state and/or local level for, among other things, hauling certain types or sizes of materials, or if your vehicle is overweight or oversize.
What are licenses? Licenses are granted for operating the business itself. In most states, you’ll need at least a general contractor’s license. If you’ll be doing a specialty service such as carpentry, painting, electrical, roofing or HVAC work, you might need a specific license for that as well.
You can check what licenses and permits are needed and apply for them on the SBA website as well on other government websites.
What insurance does a builder need?
You might be wondering, do builders need insurance? Definitely! Taking out a few kinds of insurance policies not only is often required by the project agreement, but it will help you protect your business in the event of accidents, lawsuits and more. There are four main types to consider:
- General liability. This covers work-related bodily injury (to subcontractors, clients, vendors etc.) and property damage; the specifics of what’s covered are unique to the particular insurance policy. Note that it does not cover the cost of repairing defective work.
- Professional liability. This insurance is often taken out by homebuilders who are also architects or engineers, as it protects businesses from financial liability for design issues.
- Builder’s risk. This is for anyone with a financial interest in the home being built, and it typically covers the property on the jobsite in the event that it is damaged or completely ruined by fire, wind, vandalism, vehicle collisions or other accidents. Some builder’s risk policies also cover construction materials stored at another location.
- Commercial auto. This is coverage for company-owned vehicles used for work-related purposes, and is similar to what many people carry for their personal autos. It can protect light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles, and you can take out a policy for just one vehicle or several, as well as add on vehicles personally owned by employees that they use for work.
You might also be required to purchase worker’s compensation insurance, which is helpful to have even if it’s not required; it pays workers in the event that they are injured on the job. Consider also inland marine (aka equipment) insurance, which covers any property that might be moved, including tools and equipment.
Think about not just how clients will pay you but how you’ll pay vendors, subcontractors and any employees. First you’ll need a dedicated business bank account, which requires a TIN or EIN (see above). Be sure to check any fees that will be charged; most business bank accounts have a minimum monthly service charge, and some charge for every check deposited or financial transfer as well. If you’ll be taking credit card payments, you’ll also need to get set up with a payment processor (tip: Houzz Pro allows you to take both credit card and ACH payments online ).
In addition, decide which billing method(s) your business will use and study up on how to price your construction jobs so you turn a healthy profit.
How to get funding for a homebuilder business
Funding sources should be included in your builder business plan, and it’s essential to make sure you always have enough working capital to cover the amounts you’ll need to lay out for materials and supplies, office overhead, and payments due until the client pays you. Luckily, there are a number of sources to possibly tap as you figure out how to start a homebuilding company.
SBA and other small business loans. While they can be hard to get and require lots of paperwork, SBA loans are a great option to try for due to their low interest rates and generous terms. Three of the most common are:
- 7(a) loan program: Up to $5 million, and can be used for a variety of business-related purposes.
- Microloans: Up to $50,000 and can be repaid over as many as six years.
- CDC/504 loans: Up to $5.5 million for purchasing fixed assets such as heavy machinery. Can be repaid over 10 or 20 years.
Many lenders both locally and nationwide offer small business loans as well. You can find out about these via internet search; be aware that terms can vary widely.
- Working capital loans: To cover day-to-day expenses such as office rent and payroll. These include lines of credit through a financial institution.
- Vendor financing: Individual vendors may offer short-term financing/payment plans at varying interest rates, generally between 1% and 6%; be sure to read the fine print on the terms of repayment.
- Equipment loans: For purchasing machinery; the amount loaned must go directly to the cost of the machinery. The equipment’s value serves as collateral, so this is a good option if you have no other collateral or a not-ideal credit score.
Tip: Networking can be a great way to get advice about financing from those who have “been there, done that.” Check out our handy guide to networking in construction for ideas.
How to set up an office for your homebuilding company
While it might be tempting to save money by working from home, a dedicated office confers an air of legitimacy and acts as a place where you can easily meet clients, investors and others involved in your business. You can also set aside a portion of it for holding material samples, project models and other bulk items.
- Pick the best geographical location. Ideally it will be convenient for both you and anyone who visits. Consider your commute time, local traffic and the parking situation.
- Consider office style. Remember that everything the client sees creates an impression. And if your company focuses on modern housing, for example, setting up in an old Victorian mansion might send mixed messages. Make sure the setting is professional-looking and creates a trustworthy image as well as fits your brand.
- Research costs. You should account for rent or leasing costs in your builder business plan, and make sure that you can afford them. You might have to trade a favorable location for something that works with your budget.
- Ensure security. If you’re not in a building with a guard and/or an alarm system, set up your own security system. Keep in mind that while your files might not be worth dollars to a thief, you’ll be working with clients’ sensitive financial information, and it’s worth protecting.
- Furnish it. At a minimum, you’ll need a desk and chair for you and somewhere else for others to sit, plus a filing cabinet and some general storage. As you might be working on how to start a homebuilding company on a shoestring, check out secondhand stores and local online resale websites such as Craigslist. Add at least a bit of decor too, including any framed certificates of training or printed accolades.
- Equip it. If you work only on a laptop and use your cell phone, you’ll likely still need a printer, some good task lighting for your desk and perhaps a paper shredder for sensitive documents.
How to build your team
1. Decide what roles to fill
Your team might be small to start, but you’ll need at least a project manager to oversee the construction and development of the homes; a home dealer, who will handle pre-project client-related tasks such as selling the homes; and the subcontractors who will do the actual work. Aside from those, you’ll likely need to bring some or all of the following on staff or hire them on a freelance basis:
- Construction foreperson
- Equipment manager
2. Interview candidates
Building the right team requires interviewing people thoroughly to make sure they’re:
- Truly interested
- A good fit in terms of personality, values and work ethic
See our articles on common construction titles and how to recruit for your team for more info.
3. Keep your employees happy
Job satisfaction is just as important as good pay for many people, so make sure to keep the lines of communication open and listen to what your employees and contractors need. Be flexible when you can and offer opportunities for advancement. See our article on how to retain construction talent for ideas.
How to choose builder business management software
The right software won’t just make your job easier; it’ll help you organize and follow up with leads, increase the accuracy of all of your calculations, let you easily analyze your business’ finances and keep your clients and team members in the loop. So as you’re working out how to start a homebuilding business, consider that investing in software will pay for itself in the long run. Look for something that can help you with everything from organizing to taking payments. It’s especially important that the software is easy to adopt (that is, it has a low learning curve) and that it includes:
- Tools for creating takeoffs and estimates
- Features that promote collaboration
- Cloud-based storage and other features
The ability to use the software on a mobile device also is essential, so you can work whether you’re in the field or at a desk. For home builder software , you can’t beat Houzz Pro, which has all of these features and capabilities and more. Try it free today to put your new construction business on the path to success!
How to find your first builder lead
Getting the word out about your new business is mission critical for the long-term success of your business. And even when you start landing clients, you want to keep focusing on bringing in new clients so you always have a steady stream of work. Our guide to getting leads for a residential construction business is a great place to start; it covers digital marketing, networking, getting referrals and more. Also check out our articles dedicated to:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Increasing sales
Conclusion: ‘Should I start a homebuilding company?’
By now you should have a pretty good idea of the answer to that question. Even if you’re excited to get started right away, take some time to think it all through instead of just rushing in. Research all of the next steps involved in the actual work too so that you’re comfortable with what’s required. For instance, learn all about the construction project workflow . And talk with booth new and veteran builders to get their take — there’s no substitute for personal experience!
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How to Write a Successful Construction Business Plan That Sets You Up for Success
by: Daniel Quindemil
What if I told you there was a “copy and paste” formula that any construction business can follow and be successful?
Seriously…. there is…
Before I started I AM Builders, I helped grow a Commercial Construction Company from a $0 to $7,000,000 per year company.
I initially started I AM Builders to be an estimating firm. But as time went on I realized there was a big problem in the construction industry…. Contractors know how to build, but no one teaches them how to grow a company.
As a side a note: we specialize in estimating projects for busy contractors . If you ever need help estimating projects, we can prepare your entire estimate and bid for you and we can walk you through all strategies to help you close. Learn more about our estimating service for Contractors and Subcontractors .
Every entrepreneur wants to write a business plan. And yes, in most businesses you need a business plan to get financing, venture capital money, etc.
But construction is the only industry where you can start a business with zero financing become a million-dollar business almost overnight.
And guess what….. it doesn’t take a fancy business plan.
When I walked into Caroni, they were a drywall labor company and had just starting getting their first GC jobs. We didn’t know how to grow a construction business .
We started trying out different ways to get leads, estimating strategies, negotiations strategies….
We tried it all….
And after all was said and done, the secret to growing a construction business can be summarized in these three steps.
This is your business plan.
5 Pillars of a Contractor Business Plan
1. develop a system to get a ton of potential projects and client leads, 2. develop an estimating team that can bid jobs fast, 3. develop a follow-up system to negotiate and close sales.
4. Set Up Project Management Systems to Keep Everything Running Smoothly
5. Build Your Field Team and Perform an Outstanding Job on Every Single Project
Before you start… do this.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What do you want your reputation to be?
- How do you want to handle your bidding process?
- How much time do you have for your construction company?
Next, it’s time to get some specific goals.
Too many contractors are only caught up with their jobs and the busyness of their daily schedules that they never sit down and think, “ what am I working toward ?”
This is why it’s important to get into the specifics and have clear goals on what to achieve.
For more info on how to prepare detailed goals and targets read this post: Grow Your Construction Business in 3 Months .
After helping over 1200 contractors grow their company, we’ve concluded that there are 5 steps to creating an effective business plan.
Let’s get into each one.
1. Determine Your Lead Generation Strategy
How are you getting your leads?
Before doing any work on the field, before estimating the job, before even getting the job , you need to capture the lead for the job.
That’s why it’s the first step in this list.
So the question is, how do you capture leads? Well, the first thing you should probably do is educate yourself deeply on this specific topic alone. Lucky for you, we have an article on how to get more jobs for you to dive into.
Next, you need to sign up for lead generation services like iSqft and Bluebook to consistently get the opportunity to bid on jobs. They both serve as the lead generation tool and the bidding tool as well, so it’s a 2-in-1 deal.
If you want more details on these lead gen services and a few other ones, check out this article .
After investing in these lead gen services you’ll have potential jobs coming in guaranteed, but there’s also another strategy you can take to get more leads.
It involves building a Select 12 Cluster (S12C). An S12C is essentially a list of 12 potential clients that you handpick and focus on that will provide you with a steady stream of business.
For example, if you’re a general contractor you would do a quick Google search for developers in your area,
Then you would pick 12 of them and either send out personalized emails, give them all a call, or visit their offices.
But you’re not just going to introduce yourself, remember that goal is to let them know you exist. Not any other contractor… but you . Stand out from other contractors, display authority and give value by helping them with their jobs, or by giving potential clients advice. This goes a long way in developing a relationship with everyone in your S12C.
The main idea with the S12C is to put your horse blinders on and laser focus on 12 ideal clients and develop relationships with them so they can start using you as the go-to when they need work with your trade.
So just to recap:
- Invest in lead generation services
- Set up and develop a S12C
After securing leads consistently and reliably, it’s time to have a specific plan to bid and estimate those jobs.
2. Establish Your Bidding and Estimating Process
The second step after getting leads is to have a system that bids and estimates those jobs for you at lightning speed so you can focus most of your time on selling the job.
There’s 3 options for you to consider:
- Hire an in-house estimator to work full-time.
- Hire an estimating service to handle each individual project.
- Do the whole thing yourself.
If you choose to do it yourself, it will prove to be really tough to expand your business when you’re so deep in it all day. Plus, imagine working for 1 and a half days straight to estimate a project, only to find out your potential client just used you for better pricing (they really do this). Successful contractors are ones that know how to build a team , how to lead them , and how to sell jobs to bring in business.
In other words, delegate as much as possible so you can focus on the thing that really brings in revenue, selling jobs.
So if you’re estimating jobs yourself as a one-man show, then delegate that task as soon as possible, otherwise, you won’t ever be able to effectively grow.
Let’s say you finally decide to hire an estimator to work in your office. The average salary of an estimator is $81,219/Yr, according to Indeed . Then after payroll taxes and insurance (26%), you’re looking at over $102,000 a year!
Which translates to about $8,500/Mn and $2125/Wk. If you want to bid 10 average-sized projects a month, that means you’re paying your estimator $850 per project!
To save money, time, and effort to manage an extra employee(s), the best option is to outsource your estimating to a reliable firm that can produce accurate pricing and only work on a per-project basis, so you only pay when there’s a project to bid, instead of having to pay an estimator full-time whether they’re hard at work or not.
3. Create a Sales Team that Closes Jobs
After you have leads coming in and you’re bidding those jobs at lightning speed without doing the tedious work, it’s time to dedicate most of your time to sell the job.
There are many strategies to closing jobs, but as a whole, it involves investing in the client .
Investing in a client means giving , being patient, and then asking when the time is right. You can give to the client through automatic follow-up or manual follow-up.
Automatic follow-up means using a Customer Relations Manager (CRM) to systematically contact specific people at specific times. It’s a software you can also use it to send mass emails with similar pitches to different clients in your area.
Manual follow-up involves a lot of calling and talking to people. This is on your own time, that’s why it’s called “manual” follow-up.
Before bidding a project, be sure to meet your potential client in person to:
- See if they’re someone you want to work with
- Get them to know who you are and what you bring to the table
If someone knows who you are, gets calls from you now and then where you genuinely help them out with any problems or ask how they’re doing…
Who do you think they’re most likely to pick for the job?
This is why it’s critical for contractors to have a S12C where they focus on 12 specific clients and get 80% of their work from them.
It’s ideal for the owner of the construction company to be the main salesperson but if there’s just not enough time in the day (we understand), then hire 1-2 Account Managers who’s entire job consists of talking to potential clients, following up with previous ones, and being the main form of communication between your company and the outside.
4. Set Up Project Management Systems
At this point you’ll have leads pouring in, you’ll be estimating those jobs on autopilot, and you’ll be selling the projects. It’s only a matter of time before you suddenly have a couple projects to work on, and the hard work really begins. This is where you need to understand how to manage subcontractors .
As stated above, the owner of a construction company, or any company for that matter, should focus on leading teams and selling. That’s it. Being on the job site all day stressing and pulling your hair out is not going to bring in new business. Unless you truly love being on the field, you need to delegate everything to seasoned professionals.
But before you go running around and delegating everything, you need to set up a system to manage all your projects so your contracting business can be a coordinated, smooth-oiled machine that pumps out only quality work.
You’re going to need 3-4 software to help you manage your fieldwork:
Bid Management Software
This is what you’re going to use to bid out jobs and keep track of your bids. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a whole lot better than handing people estimates all day and having to remember due dates off the top of your head. If you want to check out some bidding software go take a look at SmartBid and Quick Bid .
Project Management Software
This is software for people on the field to be in constant communication with one another. One of the first steps in professionalizing a construction company is to get a project management software that helps all the workers, supervisors, project managers, and superintendents all be on the same page all the time. Some great P.M.S are CoConstruct , Buildertrend , and Procore .
It always helps to have all your finances done automatically and as hands-off as possible. Let an accounting software manage all your finances so you can focus most of your effort on bringing in revenue by selling jobs. QuickBooks is the cream of the crop here but Zipbooks and Stripe are also great alternatives.
This is optional because if you outsource your estimating to qualified estimating firms, then spending money on estimating software won’t be necessary. But if you want to hire estimators in-house or want to do a mix of in-house and out-house estimating, then you’re without a doubt going to need a takeoff and estimating software that can help you be as accurate and as quick as possible. We use Planswift in our office but Bluebeam is also great as well.
You can find software packages that include all-in-one packages like Procore, Corecon, or Buildertrend that include everything you need to professionalize your construction business. The pricing will reflect that, but it’s a necessary investment for your construction company.
5. Found a Field Operations Team
Now that you have project management systems set up, it’s time to create a field operations team. Keep in mind this is only for people in the field , not in the office.
Every construction company is different, some may choose to subcontract work instead of hiring workers and training them, and then others may lease workers from other companies.
So first understand how you want your company to operate, then the next step is to understand the roles of a steamrolling field operations team and how to find the right people for the job.
This is the main field operations manager. He/she is the one overseeing all the projects a company is currently working on. A general superintendent needs to be comfortable under pressure, an effective leader that gets people to work, and able to raise their voice from time to time.
There are the overseers of single projects. They put all their attention on a single job to make sure it runs well. They need to have a deep understanding of construction, their workers, and be on top of their game even when under pressure.
This is the next subdivision in the field. Larger jobs typically get broken up into multiple sections and while they’re all being managed by the project superintendent, the foreman is the one managing specific sections or trades.
Skilled laborers are the true engine behind the construction job. These are the people on the field doing the actual work. Hiring workers is relatively simple but be sure not to fall in the trap of hiring cheaper labor to save money because the reality is all the mistakes they make end up costing more than if you would have hired workers a bit more expensive.
Hire people, train them, and let them train other workers.
We’re not going to have a project manager on the list because they’re not typically on the field but a good project manager will be in the field often to help the superintendent run the job.
That’s how you set up a strategical business plan that set’s you up for success.
Construction can be a tough industry, but a great plan on how you’re going to run your business and even better execution on that plan can make your life a lot easier.
We hope you enjoyed this piece and got some real value from it. Feel free to comment below your $0.02.
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Write your business plan
Business plans help you run your business.
A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through the key elements of your business.
Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.
Pick a business plan format that works for you
There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs.
Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.
Traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to go into detail in each section. They tend to require more work upfront and can be dozens of pages long.
Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page.
Traditional business plan
Lean startup plan
Traditional business plan format
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. Traditional business plans use some combination of these nine sections.
Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company’s leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing.
Use your company description to provide detailed information about your company. Go into detail about the problems your business solves. Be specific, and list out the consumers, organization, or businesses your company plans to serve.
Explain the competitive advantages that will make your business a success. Are there experts on your team? Have you found the perfect location for your store? Your company description is the place to boast about your strengths.
You'll need a good understanding of your industry outlook and target market. Competitive research will show you what other businesses are doing and what their strengths are. In your market research, look for trends and themes. What do successful competitors do? Why does it work? Can you do it better? Now's the time to answer these questions.
Organization and management
Tell your reader how your company will be structured and who will run it.
Describe the legal structure of your business. State whether you have or intend to incorporate your business as a C or an S corporation, form a general or limited partnership, or if you're a sole proprietor or limited liability company (LLC).
Use an organizational chart to lay out who's in charge of what in your company. Show how each person's unique experience will contribute to the success of your venture. Consider including resumes and CVs of key members of your team.
Service or product line
Describe what you sell or what service you offer. Explain how it benefits your customers and what the product lifecycle looks like. Share your plans for intellectual property, like copyright or patent filings. If you're doing research and development for your service or product, explain it in detail.
Marketing and sales
There's no single way to approach a marketing strategy. Your strategy should evolve and change to fit your unique needs.
Your goal in this section is to describe how you'll attract and retain customers. You'll also describe how a sale will actually happen. You'll refer to this section later when you make financial projections, so make sure to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales strategies.
If you're asking for funding, this is where you'll outline your funding requirements. Your goal is to clearly explain how much funding you’ll need over the next five years and what you'll use it for.
Specify whether you want debt or equity, the terms you'd like applied, and the length of time your request will cover. Give a detailed description of how you'll use your funds. Specify if you need funds to buy equipment or materials, pay salaries, or cover specific bills until revenue increases. Always include a description of your future strategic financial plans, like paying off debt or selling your business.
Supplement your funding request with financial projections. Your goal is to convince the reader that your business is stable and will be a financial success.
If your business is already established, include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years. If you have other collateral you could put against a loan, make sure to list it now.
Provide a prospective financial outlook for the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. For the first year, be even more specific and use quarterly — or even monthly — projections. Make sure to clearly explain your projections, and match them to your funding requests.
This is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business.
Use your appendix to provide supporting documents or other materials were specially requested. Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts.
Example traditional business plans
Before you write your business plan, read the following example business plans written by fictional business owners. Rebecca owns a consulting firm, and Andrew owns a toy company.
Lean startup format
You might prefer a lean startup format if you want to explain or start your business quickly, your business is relatively simple, or you plan to regularly change and refine your business plan.
Lean startup formats are charts that use only a handful of elements to describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. They’re useful for visualizing tradeoffs and fundamental facts about your company.
There are different ways to develop a lean startup template. You can search the web to find free templates to build your business plan. We discuss nine components of a model business plan here:
Note the other businesses or services you’ll work with to run your business. Think about suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, and similar strategic partners.
List the ways your business will gain a competitive advantage. Highlight things like selling direct to consumers, or using technology to tap into the sharing economy.
List any resource you’ll leverage to create value for your customer. Your most important assets could include staff, capital, or intellectual property. Don’t forget to leverage business resources that might be available to women , veterans , Native Americans , and HUBZone businesses .
Make a clear and compelling statement about the unique value your company brings to the market.
Describe how customers will interact with your business. Is it automated or personal? In person or online? Think through the customer experience from start to finish.
Be specific when you name your target market. Your business won’t be for everybody, so it’s important to have a clear sense of whom your business will serve.
List the most important ways you’ll talk to your customers. Most businesses use a mix of channels and optimize them over time.
Will your company focus on reducing cost or maximizing value? Define your strategy, then list the most significant costs you’ll face pursuing it.
Explain how your company will actually make money. Some examples are direct sales, memberships fees, and selling advertising space. If your company has multiple revenue streams, list them all.
Example lean business plan
Before you write your business plan, read this example business plan written by a fictional business owner, Andrew, who owns a toy company.
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W r iting your business plan just got easier.
Our Interactive Business Plan Builder will provide you with guidance and support when it comes to putting together a compelling business plan. Th is free interactive tool is for anyone—from aspiring entrepreneurs with a new business idea , to existing business owners looking to pivot their current business model or secure new funding.
What is it?
We know writing a business plan alone can seem like a big undertaking. Our free Business Plan Builder makes writing your business plan simple —t he tool walk s you through the business planning process from start to finish and includes tips, examples, and 1:1 support along the way from our Business Strategists.
The tool breaks down your plan into easy-to-manage steps and sections and allows you to save your work as you go so that you can complete it whenever it works for you. When you’re finished putting everything together, you can submit your business plan for review and our Business Strategists will provide one-on-one coaching and support.
Who is it for?
- Entrepreneurs & aspiring entrepreneurs in Alberta with a new business idea
- Existing business owners looking at pivoting their current business model
- Business owners or entrepreneurs that never really had the time needed to develop a comprehensive business plan
- Business owners or entrepreneurs looking to secure funding
Whether you are just getting started or an experienced business owner, this tool can help you with your business plan. Still feel lost? Our Small Business Basics video series and Small Business Guides can provide the clarity you need to get started. We can also review your business plan when you are done with your plan.
What’s so great about it?
Detailed descriptions, examples, and tips to help you complete your business plan with ease
Our Business Strategists are available to help yo u as you work through each section
Submit your business plan for personalized feedback from our team of Business Strategists
Download your plan as a Microsoft Word doc or PDF file, or add it to your Google Drive to add final touches
Check out our Interactive Business Plan Builder!
Don’t have a business plan yet? Get started with our free Interactive Business Plan Builder. The tool will walk you through the business planning process with details on what to include in each section, helpful tips, and examples.
Have your business plan reviewed
Our small business strategists can review your business plan and provide you with feedback and coaching to get it to where it needs to be – whether you’re looking for financing, or just need to work out the details of your business idea.
Don’t have a business plan yet? Get started with our free interactive Business Plan Builder . The tool will walk you through the business planning process with details on what to include in each section, helpful tips, and examples. When you’re done, export your plan and submit it for review!
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Do you plan on asking for funding for your small business? Access the cash flow template you need to go with your funding request.
Is there a time limit to complete my business plan?
No. Take your time to do the necessary research needed to complete your business plan. Don’t forget to contact us for help if you need it!
Should I complete all the sections in order?
The business plan is designed to guide you through the process; however, you can work on the sections in any order you like.
Can I duplicate my business plan?
Yes. Go to “My Business Plans” and find the business plan you want to duplicate. Click on the “Duplicate” button and rename your business plan.
Can I collaborate with my business partner(s) (another user) on creating the business plan?
Unfortunately, this tool doesn’t currently offer this functionality. However, you can export your plan and collaborate with others outside of the tool if needed.
If I need some help while writing my business plan, where can I go?
At Business Link, we’ve got a number of different resources and supports that can assist you in creating a compelling business plan, depending on what type of assistance you need. Here are some resources to get you started:
1. In each business plan section, we provide tips and examples to point you in the right direction.
2. On the right-hand side navigation bar, you’ll find more resources to help you work through your business plan. You can also download our Cashflow Template here .
3. Have specific questions and want one-on-one help? We understand that writing a business plan can feel like a daunting task. Many of our business strategists are or have been entrepreneurs themselves, so they know the struggle. Contact us for personalized support.
Can I further customize my business plan, for example, by adding a business logo?
Definitely! Simply export the business plan as a Word Doc or Google Doc and you can begin further customization from there.
Will my business plan be shared with anyone?
Your business plan is your intellectual property (IP), and we take confidentiality seriously. We will never share your data or your business plan with anyone unless we get explicit permission to do so. If you submit your plan for review by a business strategist, only that strategist will have access to your plan.
Now my business plan is completed! What’s next?
Feel free to submit your business plan to us for review ; one of our business strategists will provide feedback and help you with one-on-one support.
I completed my business plan using a template found online, can I still submit it for review?
Yes! Just connect with one of our business strategists through our contact us form before submitting a copy for review.
Doing market research is an important part of a business plan and I know you offer that service. Is there any way to bundle these services together?
We have teams that are experts in different areas, so it’s tough to create a package of different services right now. However, if you access our secondary market research services, we’ll send you a promo code that will give you a discount when you submit your business plan for review.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- In each business plan section, we provide tips and examples to point you in the right direction.
- On the right-hand side navigation bar, you’ll find more resources to help you work through your business plan. You can also download our Cashflow Template here .
- Have specific questions and want one-on-one help? We understand that writing a business plan can feel like a daunting task. Many of our business strategists are or have been entrepreneurs themselves, so they know the struggle. Contact us for personalized support.
Feel free to submit your business plan to us for review; one of our business strategists will provide feedback and help you with one-on-one support.
Doing market research is an important part of a business plan and I know you offer that service. Is there any way to bundle these services together?
We have teams that are experts in different areas, so it’s tough to create a package of different services right now. However, if you access our secondary market research services, we’ll send you a promo code that will give you a discount when you submit your business plan for review.
Did you have a business plan in the old business plan builder? Unfortunately, after September 30th you can no longer access your Business Link user account to export your business plans, as the account function has been removed. To receive a copy of any plans you had in the original builder, please contact us today and we will be happy to help you.
Business Link acknowledges and respects that we are on traditional land, meeting grounds, territories, gathering places, and travelling routes of Treaty 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 and the home to many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the lands of those who have come before us, reside here now and in the future.
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Frequently asked questions, how does a business plan builder like liveplan compare to free templates or other tools.
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Do I need to have anything ready, like research or financials, before using LivePlan to build my business plan
No! Using LivePlan you can dive right in to starting your business plan with no preparation necessary. Working through LivePlan, you’ll be guided through where you need to supplement your knowledge of your market and industry. Of course, as you create your business plan you may need to gather additional data to add important details to your plan.
What is SBA approved formatting and will LivePlan help me create a business plan for the SBA?
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Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a new entrepreneur, a business plan is crucial to the success and growth of your business, but it can feel like an overwhelming task.
A business plan should act as a “compass,” according to Danielle Langton, a business strategist and coach based in Austin, Texas. It can help you maintain focus as you navigate the market, silence internal and external distractions, and secure business financing .
A well-written business plan will also create confidence, clarity, direction and alignment for a business owner and their team. To help you navigate the process, two business advisors share their best tips for writing a business plan.
1. Think big picture
Rather than diving into a 60-page business plan template, start by conceptualizing your business, recommends Oren Shani, a certified business advisor at Accion Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit community development financial institution based in California.
For new businesses, that means thinking about what differentiating value you bring to the market and how to turn that value into revenue, says Shani. For operating businesses, Langton says, it means understanding what worked the previous year and what didn’t.
Once you have this “bird’s-eye view,” you can more easily narrow down your action steps, which will vary based on your business, says Shani. “A lot of businesses find that they don’t need that 60-pager,” he says, noting that some businesses really only need a one-page mini-plan, or “lean plan.”
2. Factor in your lifestyle
Langton’s main advice to her clients is to prioritize the balance between business and their personal lives. Understanding and outlining your priorities outside of the business gives you clarity on how you can spend time with your business, which can ultimately make you a more efficient and effective business owner. “As you are creating a living,” she asks her clients, “are you actually also enjoying the life that it is providing, or are you just so focused on the revenue?”
To create this clarity, she recommends starting with your “nonnegotiables,” or things that you aren’t willing to sacrifice in your daily life to run your business. From there, you can build what your ideal week looks like and work your business schedule around that.
3. Make the time
As for actually sitting down to write your business plan , consider both your schedule and how you work best. For those who prefer to focus on one task at a time, Langton suggests setting aside a week, even blocking the time on your calendar if you’re having trouble making it a priority. Consider a change of scenery to clear any mental blocks or provide extra inspiration.
However, if feeling overwhelmed has kept you from starting in the first place, Shani advises against compartmentalizing. Getting something on paper, even if it’s just a bulleted list to start, is more effective than waiting for a free day with no distractions, he says. Plus, working on your business plan while running your business can provide benefits too, as real-time analysis can enhance your strategy as you go.
Langton adds that perfectionism and business plans don’t go hand in hand, especially for new business owners.
4. Embrace the living business plan
Whether you’re a new business owner or 20-year veteran, a business plan is never truly done, according to both Shani and Langton. As your understanding of your business, the market, and your customer base changes and adapts, so should your business plan.
The lengthiest part of the business plan process is the learning, rather than actually getting it on paper, says Shani. Every time a sale is made or not made, for instance, a business owner should seek to understand why or why not. This will help them identify their customers’ purchasing behaviors and how their customers engage with the business’s brand and products.
For some business owners, a monthly or quarterly cadence to check in, reprioritize and shed the things that aren’t working may make the most sense. Others may find it more useful to revisit their plan when there are new insights or significant changes to the market, such as new regulations, nearby real estate developments or fresh competitors, says Shani.
5. Leverage your busy season
For business owners expecting an upcoming holiday rush , this can be good news for your business plan, in addition to your bottom line. Leaning in during your busy season can be one of the best ways to collect data about your business, and capitalizing on that information at the end of the year can set you up well for the next, says Langton.
Not everything has to be buttoned up by the first of the year, but making observations and mental notes now will set you up to make meaningful updates to your business plan in January, she says.
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Home > Business > Business Startup
- 5 Best Business Plan Software and Tools in 2023 for Your Small Business
Data as of 3 /13/23 . Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure .
A business plan can do a lot for your business. It can help you secure investors or other funding. It can give your company direction. It can keep your finances healthy. But, if we’re being honest, it can also be a pain to write.
Luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch or go it alone. Business plan software and services can help you craft a professional business plan, like our top choice LivePlan , which provides templates, guidance, and more.
You’ve got quite a few choices for business plan help, so we’re here to help you narrow things down. Let’s talk about the best business plan tools out there.
- LivePlan : Best overall
- BizPlanBuilder : Most user-friendly
- Wise Business Plans : Best professional service
- Business Sorter : Best for internal plans
- GoSmallBiz.com : Most extra features
- Honorable mentions
Business plan software 101
The takeaway, business plan software faq, compare the best business plan software.
LivePlan: Best overall business plan software
Data as of 3 /13/23 . Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *With annual billing
LivePlan has been our favorite business plan software for a while now, despite the stiff competition.
There’s a lot to like about LivePlan. It has pretty much all the features you could want from your business plan software. LivePlan gives you step-by-step instructions for writing your plan, helps you create financial reports, lets you compare your business’s actual financials to your plan’s goals, and much more. And if you ever need inspiration, it includes hundreds of sample business plans that can guide your writing.
LivePlan software pricing
But the best part? You get all that (and more) at a very competitive price. (You can choose from annual, six-month, or monthly billing.) While LivePlan isn’t quite the cheapest business plan builder out there, it’s not too far off either. And if comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. So there’s no risk in trying LivePlan out for yourself.
With a great balance of features and cost, LivePlan offers the best business plan solution for most businesses.
BizPlanBuilder: Most user-friendly
Need something easy to use? BizPlanBuilder fits the bill.
BizPlanBuilder doesn’t have a flashy, modern user interface―but it does have a very clear, intuitive one. You’ll be able to see your plan’s overall structure at a glance, so you can quickly navigate from your title page to your market trend section to that paragraph on your core values. And as you write, you’ll use a text editor that looks a whole lot like the word processing programs you’re already familiar with.
BizPlanBuilder software pricing
Data effective 3/13/23. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
BizPlanBuilder also offers lots of helpful guidance for actually writing your plan. It gives you pre-written text, in which you just have to fill in relevant details. It offers explanations for what information you need to include in each section of your plan and way. It even gives you helpful tips from experts, so you’ll have all the information you need to plan like a pro.
So if you want planning software with almost no learning curve, you’ll like BizPlanBuilder.
Wise Business Plans: Best professional service
- Custom quote
Unlike all the other companies on this list, Wise Business Plans doesn’t offer software. Instead, it offers professional business plan writing services―meaning someone does all the hard work for you.
Now, you might think that sounds expensive―and you’re probably right (you have to request a custom quote for your plan). But there’s a lot to be said for expertise, and Wise Business Plans has plenty of that. Your business plan will get written by an experienced writer (with an MBA, no less). They’ll get information from you, do their own research, and then write your plan. You get one free revision, and you can always pay for more.
Wise Business Plans service pricing
Your end result will be a polished, entirely original business plan. (You can even get printed copies.) And best of all, you won’t have to spend your precious time working on the plan yourself. Wise Business Plans takes care of all the hard parts, and makes your business look good while doing it. Sounds like a service worth paying for, right?
Put simply, if you want the most professional business plan possible, we recommend using Wise Business Plans’s writing service.
Business Sorter: Best for internal plans
Many businesses need plans to show to people outside the company (to get financing, for example). But what if you just need a plan for internal use? In that case, we suggest Business Sorter.
Business Sorter uses a unique card-based method to help you craft the perfect business plan. (You can watch a demo video to see how it works.) You’ll plan some of the usual things, like finances and marketing. But Business Sorter also lets you make plans for specific teams and team members. It also emphasizes more internal matters, like operations, that might get overlooked in a business plan for outsiders.
Business Sorter software pricing
After you’ve made your business plan, Business Sorter also helps you stay accountable to it. You can create tasks, give them deadlines, and assign them to team members―giving you basic project management tools to make sure your business plans become business actions. (Oh, and did we mention that Business Sorter has the lowest starting prices of any software on this list?)
It all adds up to a business plan software that works great for internal planning.
GoSmallBiz: Most extra features
Want to get way more than just business planning software? Then you probably want GoSmallBiz.
See, GoSmallBiz offers business plan software as part of its service―but it’s just one part of a much bigger whole. You also get everything from discounts on legal services to a website builder to a CRM (customer relationship manager) to business document templates. And more. In other words, you get just about everything you need to get your startup off the ground.
GoSmallBiz software pricing
Don’t worry though―you still get all the business planning help you need. GoSmallBiz gives you business plan templates, step-by-step instructions, and the ability to create financial projections. And if you get stuck, GoSmallBiz will put you in touch with experts who can offer advice.
If you want business planning and much, much more, give GoSmallBiz a try.
- PlanGuru : Best financial forecasting
- EnLoop : Cheapest tool for startups
We recommend the software above for most business planning needs. Some businesses, though, might be interested in these more specialized planning software.
Honorable mention software pricing
Planguru: best financial forecasting features.
PlanGuru is pretty pricey compared to our other picks, but you might find its forecasting features worth paying for. It has more forecasting methods than other software (over 20) plus it lets you forecast up to 10 years.
EnLoop: Cheapest tool for startups
EnLoop doesn’t have our favorite features or interface, but it does have really, really low pricing plus a seven-day free trial. It's the most affordable software for startup business planning and still provides all the essential features like financial analysis, team collaboration, charting, and more.
Data as of 3 /13/23 . Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. * With annual billing
Several of our previous favorite planning software, including BusinessPlanPro and StratPad, seem to have gone out of business.
A business plan is a written, living document that tells the story of your business and what you plan to do with it. It serves as the source of truth for you—the business owner—as well as potential partners, employees, and investors, but it also serves as a roadmap of what you want your business to be.
Why you need a business plan
While some small-business owners don’t see the point of creating a formal business plan, it can have some concrete benefits for your business. For example, one 2016 study found that business owners with written plans are more successful than those that don’t. 1
Still too vague? Then let’s get specific.
If you ever seek business funding (from, say, banks, angel investors , or venture capitalists ), you’ll have to prove that your business deserves the money you want. A formal business plan―complete with financial data and projections―gives you a professional document you can use to make your case. (In fact, most potential investors will expect you to have a business plan ready.)
Even if you’re not seeking funding right now, a business plan can help your business. A formal plan can guide your business’s direction and decision making. It can keep your business accountable (by, for example, seeing if your business meets the financial projections you included). And a formal plan offers a great way to make sure your team stays on the same page.
What to include in your business plan
Not all business plans are created equal. To make a really useful business plan, you’ll want to include a number of elements:
- Basic information about your business
- Your products/services
- Market and industry analysis
- What makes your business competitive
- Strategies and upcoming plans
- Your team (and your team’s background)
- Current financial status
- Financial and market projections
- Executive summary
Of course, you can include more or fewer elements―whatever makes sense for your business. Just make sure your business plan is comprehensive (but not overwhelming).
How business plan software can help
With so many elements to include, business plan creation can take a while. Business plan software tries to speed things up.
Most business plan software will include prompts for each section. In some cases, you can just fill in your business’s specific information, and the software will write the text for you. In other cases, the software will give you specific guidance and examples, helping you write the text yourself.
Plus, business plan software can help you stay organized. You’ll usually get intuitive menus that let you quickly flip through sections. So rather than endlessly scrolling through a long document in a word processor, you can quickly find your way around your plan. Some software even lets you drag and drop sections to reorganize your plan.
Sounds way easier than just staring at a blank page and trying to start from scratch, right?
Choosing business plan software
To find the right business plan builder for your business, you’ll want to compare features. For example, would you rather write your own text, getting prompts and advice from your software? Or would you rather go with a fill-in-the-blank method?
Likewise, think about the elements you need. If your plan will have a heavy focus on finances, you’ll want to choose business plan software with robust financial projection features. If you care more about market and competitor analysis, look for software that can help with that research.
You may also want to find business plan software that integrates with your business accounting software . Some plan builders will import data from Xero, QuickBooks, etc. to quickly generate your financial data and projections.
And of course, you’ll want to compare prices. After all, you always want to end up with software that fits your business budget.
The right business plan software can make your life easier. With LivePlan ’s wide breadth of features and online learning tools, you can’t go wrong. Plus, BizPlanBuilder 's one-time pricing makes it easy to invest while Business Sorter has a low starting cost. And if you're business is looking to grow, GoSmallBiz and Wise Business Plans will scale with you.
But of course, different companies have different needs. So shop around until you find the software that’s best for you and your business.
Now that you've got a business plan, take a look at our checklist for starting a small business. It can help you make sure you have everything else you need to get your startup off to a good start!
- 7 Steps to Build a Successful Project Management Sales Plan
- Best Project Management Software and Tools in 2023
- 4 Cost Management Techniques for Small Businesses
Creating a business plan can take anywhere from a couple hours to several weeks. Your timeline will depend on things like the elements you choose to include, whether you use software or hire a writing service, and how much research goes into your plan.
That said, much of the business plan software out there brags that it can help you create a fairly detailed plan in a few hours. So if you’re going the software route, that can help you set your expectations.
If you want to get the most out of your business plan, you should update it on a regular basis―at least annually. That way, you can continually refer to it to inform your company’s strategies and direction.
At the very least, you should update your business plan before you start looking for a new round of funding (whether that’s with investors or lenders).
Thanks to business plan software, you can easily write your own business plan rather than pay someone to do it for you. And in most cases, software will cost you less than a professional business plan service.
There are some times you might want to go with a service though. If time is tight, you might find that it’s worth the cost of a service. Or if you’ve got big investor meetings on the horizon, you might want the expertise and polish that a professional service can offer.
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether business plan software or a business plan service will work better for your company.
We ranked business plan software and tools based on features, pricing and plans, and connections to project management and other services. The value of each plan and service, along with what it offers, was a big consideration in our rankings, and we looked to see if what was offered was useful to small businesses or just extra. The final thing we looked at was the ease of use of the software to see if it's too complex for small businesses.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
Sources 1. Harvard Business Review, “ Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed .” Accessed March 13, 2023.
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How to write a business plan step-by-step in 2024 (+ examples and free template).
This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan for your new venture. In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.
This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.
Table of Contents
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.
Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.
A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.
Small Business Deals
Why you should write a business plan.
Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan in 2024:
- Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
- Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
- Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
- Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
- Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.
What are the Different Types of Business Plans?
In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:
- Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
- Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
- Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
- Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
- Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
- Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
- Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
- One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
- Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
- Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.
How to Write a Business Plan
Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.
The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.
It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.
Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.
Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.
Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.
Overview and Business Objectives
In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.
It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.
This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.
Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:
- Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
- Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
- Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.
The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.
Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.
Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.
Example: Founded in 2023, EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.
Define Your Target Market
Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).
Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.
Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.
The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.
This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.
Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.
Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.
A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.
Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.
Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.
Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.
- Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
- Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
- Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.
- Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
- Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.
- Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
- Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
- Expansion into international markets.
- Intense competition from established technology companies.
- Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.
In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.
By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Example: Key competitors include:
GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.
EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.
By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.
Organization and Management Team
Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.
Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.
Products and Services Offered
Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.
This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.
Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.
Marketing and Sales Strategy
In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.
Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.
Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.
This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.
Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.
Logistics and Operations Plan
The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.
Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.
Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.
Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.
Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.
We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.
Financial Projections Plan
In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.
Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.
This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.
By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.
This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.
Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:
- Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
- Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
- Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.
These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.
The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.
Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.
Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:
- Revenue: $1,500,000
- Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
- Gross Profit: $700,000
- Operating Expenses: $450,000
- Net Income: $250,000
This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.
Cash Flow Statement
A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.
By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.
Example: The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:
- Depreciation: $10,000
- Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
- Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000
- Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
- Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000
- Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
- Loan Repayments: -$50,000
- Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
- Net Increase in Cash: $210,000
This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.
Tips on Writing a Business Plan
1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.
2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.
3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.
4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.
5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.
6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.
7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.
FREE Business Plan Template
To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.
The template is divided into the following sections:
- Mission statement
- Business Overview
- Key products or services
- Target market
- Financial highlights
- Company goals
- Strategies to achieve goals
- Measurable, time-bound objectives
- Company History
- Mission and vision
- Unique selling proposition
- Pain points
- Industry trends
- Customer needs
- Competitor strengths and weaknesses
- Competitor products and services
- Market positioning
- Pricing strategies
- Organizational structure
- Key roles and responsibilities
- Management team backgrounds
- Product or service features
- Competitive advantages
- Marketing channels
- Advertising campaigns
- Promotional activities
- Sales strategies
- Supply chain management
- Inventory control
- Production processes
- Quality control measures
- Projected revenue
- Cash inflows
- Cash outflows
- Net cash flow
Using Business Plan Software
Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.
LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.
Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.
Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.
Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.
5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz
Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.
Business Plan FAQs
What is a good business plan.
A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.
What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?
The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:
- It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
- It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
- It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
- It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
- It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
- It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
- It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
- It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
- It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
- It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
- It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
- It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
- It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
- It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.
Can I write a business plan by myself?
Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.
We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .
Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?
Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.
How long should a business plan be?
A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.
What is a business plan outline?
A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.
What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?
The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.
What questions should be asked in a business plan?
A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?
What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?
A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.
How is business planning for a nonprofit different?
Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.
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Gale Business: Plan Builder
Gale Business: Plan Builder , formerly Small Business Builder, helps you plan and optimize your business or nonprofit. It provides a step-by-step process that helps you produce complete business plans and other documents essential for gaining access to capital and growing your enterprise.
- Go to Gale Business: Plan Builder . You will enter your library card number for verification.
- Click Sign In in the upper-right corner.
- On the Sign In page, click Get Started.
- Create your own username and password.
- The Small Business Builder account is not linked to your library card number or the My APL catalog login .
Gale Business: Plan Builder seamlessly includes information from these resources: Gale Business: DemographicsNow , Gale Business: Entrepreneurship and Texas Legal Forms .
- View the Niche Academy tutorial .
- Watch these video tutorials for tips.
- For additional resources, the City of Austin Small Business Division provides business training, educational events, and coaching to empower entrepreneurs.
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How to build a website for free in 5 simple steps
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Published 7:27 a.m. UTC Dec. 8, 2023
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A website for your business is crucial to attract customers, sell your goods and services and amplify your brand messaging. And while add-ons, features and domain hosting for a website can get expensive quickly, if you’re on a budget, you can do it for a low cost.
Different website-building platforms can make it easy for you to go the DIY route and get a functional, eye-pleasing website up and running quickly. You can build your site with templates, drop-and-drop features and widgets.
Learn how to create a website for free and how to go about it with popular website providers.
1. Figure out the type of website you want to make
There are a handful of different types of websites. Exploring your different options will help make the website creation process easier. These have features and capabilities that pertain to your specific kind of business:
- Blog. Blogs are designed to relay insights, brand messaging or thought leadership to position you as an expert in your space.
- Online portfolio. A portfolio website showcases your work and skills and can help you land new clients.
- Product-focused websites. These e-commerce websites are designed to attract customers and process orders. They typically have inventory management and order tracking capabilities.
- Professional services websites. I f you’re a coach, consultant or own a company in the legal, architectural, financial or medical field, a website can relay your services to clients and show your proven track record.
2. Pick a website builder platform
A website builder platform has a content management system (CMS), which helps you create, run and tweak a website without much technical know-how. You can make a website for free and get it up and running quickly.
Besides featuring the option to make a website for no cost, you’ll have the choice to upgrade to a paid plan down the line to access more advanced design and functionality features. To decide the best website builder for you, check what “free” entails. Otherwise, you could end up paying for the features needed to build the website you want.
“Look to understand what services are included, the potential limitations and any future costs tied into the free offering,” said Garry West, creative director at Imagefix , a design and marketing agency based in Bedfordshire, UK.
3. Pick a domain name
Your domain name is a unique online address. It’s important to spend time landing on the right one for your business, as it’s used to identify your small business, is a big part of your branding and sets you apart from your competitors.
To obtain a domain name, you can search to see if the domain or web address you had in mind is available. This is called a whois search. You can conduct a whois search through a domain registrar like GoDaddy, NameCheap or Hostinger.com.
If the domain is available, add it to your cart, just as you would when buying a tee shirt or carton of orange juice online, and checkout.
Instead of buying your domain through a website builder, it’s best to buy your domain through one of the separate registrars listed above, recommends Bethany McCamish, a brand strategist, website designer and founder of Bethany Works .
“It’s especially important not to use the ones they give you — like yourbusinessname.[nameofwebsitebuilder].com,” said McCamish. A custom domain will serve your business best.
4. Make your website for free
Once you’ve picked a website-building platform and a domain, it’s time to get to work. Look carefully at the accessible features of a platform and play around with the different tools. Chances are, it’ll be a reasonably straightforward process.
Just be mindful of the limitations that come with using the free option. Some free platforms will display ads on your website and lack many bells and whistles.
5. Share your website
Once you’ve created your website, it’s time to link it to other places online — like your company’s social media accounts, business pages and review sites such as Google Business and Yelp.
As you know, your website engages current customers and attracts potential ones. It’s a platform for potential customers to learn more about your goods and services, company mission and objectives and its founders.
Your website also serves as another channel to sign up for your newsletter, make an online order or sign up for a free consultation or introductory call. Making your website as visible as possible can help grow your business.
Pros and cons of free websites
Let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses of a free website:
- It can be a budget-conscious way to build a basic website to launch your business.
- It is often easy to use, especially if you’re not a designer or tech-savvy.
- It is a good choice for personal websites or if you need a barebones website with few features to fully brand your site or sell goods and products.
- It can serve as a testing ground to explore building a website without incurring costs.
- Your website will likely be required to run ads.
- It may be co-branded with the website builder.
- It may come with limitations, such as a cap on pages and storage and few customization options.
- Usually, it doesn’t have search engine optimization (SEO) tools and features, which helps your website rank higher in Google searches.
- You might need to upgrade to a paid plan for the desired look and functionality.
“Free website builders offer a financially accessible entry point for those on a budget or just starting,” said West. “They come with trade-offs, such as feature limitations and branding impositions.”
Creating a free site with popular website builders
Among the sea of website builders offering the option to create a website for free, a few stand out as providing a bounty of free features and are easy to use. Let’s take a look at a few popular website builders and how to create a free website:
Weebly has some of the most robust features to create a basic website for free, not to mention eye-pleasing templates.
Note the limitations: You’ll only get 500 MB of storage, a domain name with “Weebly” folded in and Square ads. Plus, you can only upload files with a maximum size of 10 MB.
According to Strikingly’s website, building and publishing a simple website in under 30 minutes is possible. The platform’s website editor offers a selection of templates and the option to put up a blog and online store. Plus, you can create sign-up and contact forms for potential customers.
Another standout feature of Strikingly’s free website editor is that you can contact its customer support 24/7 through email or chat. One downside: You’ll need to use a Strikingly domain. If you upgrade down the line, you can register a new or existing domain.
Square offers a free e-commerce website that syncs up to its payment processing. It’s free, easy to use and offers basic inventory and tracking. Plus, you can easily sync a brick-and-mortar retail location’s data to the inventory, pricing and product data on your website.
Unlike some free website builders, expect limited design options and a barebones aesthetic. The tools aren’t as intuitive and can feel clunky. Plus, you’ll need to incorporate your domain with Square’s URL.
Understanding website costs
- Web hosting services. Some web hosting services offer a free month or domain, but only if you sign up and pay for a plan.
- Domain name registration. Registering your domain name can cost anywhere from $2 to $20 a year per domain, depending on the domain extension (.net or .com, for example) and the promotions and discounts available at the time of purchase.
- Marketing. To make the most of your website, you might pour money into marketing it or run a newsletter or email campaign to engage with your customers, share updates about your business, offer special discounts and share upcoming sales. Associated costs include those for marketing software and labor.
- Website development. After building your website for free, consider working with a professional to refine it further. “Once you’ve found what works and you’ve solidified profitability, then it’s time to look at hiring a pro to build your website,” said McCamish. “They can consider [the] user experience and SEO setup and can help communicate your value to your ideal clients.”
- Maintenance and upkeep. If your website is more robust or runs into a complicated snag, you might have to hire a tech professional to perform regular maintenance and upkeep. They might offer a flat monthly rate or an hourly rate.
You can make a website for free by using a website-building platform that has the option to create a website for free. Each platform has different features and tools with varying levels for each use.
The best website builders currently on the market include Strikingly, WordPress.com, Wix, Shopify and Weebly. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and you can learn what works best for you with a bit of trial and error.
You can get a free domain name if it’s included in a web hosting plan. The web registrars dot.tk and freenom.com offer domains with the extensions “.TK, .ML, .GA, .CF and .GQ” at no cost.
However, you don’t own the rights, so you can’t transfer the domain. Your usage rights can be taken at any time.
Most website hosting services do charge a fee to use their services. However, Bluehost is a top website hosting service and offers a free domain for the first year. Hostinger has a low monthly cost and gives you three months free.
No, you do not need to know how to code to build a website. Website builders strip away the need to code. Instead, you can create a website to your liking and specifications with easy-to-use templates, drag-and-drop functionality and adding widgets.
Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.
Jackie Lam has covered personal finance for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in TIME, CNET, BuzzFeed, Salon.com, Forbes Advisor, and others. As an AFC® financial coach and educator, she is committed to helping self-employed creatives and artists with their money.
Alana is the deputy editor for USA Today Blueprint's small business team. She has served as a technology and marketing SME for countless businesses, from startups to leading tech firms — including Adobe and Workfusion. She has zealously shared her expertise with small businesses — including via Forbes Advisor and Fit Small Business — to help them compete for market share. She covers technologies pertaining to payroll and payment processing, online security, customer relationship management, accounting, human resources, marketing, project management, resource planning, customer data management and how small businesses can use process automation, AI and ML to more easily meet their goals. Alana has an MBA from Excelsior University.
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