Money Prodigy

7 Business Plan Templates for Kids (Free Printables!)

By: Author Amanda L. Grossman

Posted on Last updated: January 5, 2023

Download one of these (mostly) free business plan templates for kids to help your child focus on a business idea.

What do super soakers, Apple computers, and Nike shoes all have in common?

kid on ground with laptop, text overlay

They all started as a business plan.

A business plan template for kids is great for two reasons:

  • Your child can play around with it and get familiar with what’s required (even if they never start the business)
  • It helps kids focus on just one business idea at time, and to see if they should move forward with it

No matter which category your own child falls into – just playing with business plans, or they have an actual business idea – I’ve got just the free business plan template for you.

Honestly? I wish my own parents would’ve given me one of these when, as a kid, my childhood friend and I had come up with our first kid business idea: selling bean bags. So, good on you for getting your kids involved with business plans so early in life!

Best Business Plan Templates for Kids

Use one of the business plan templates for kids below with one of these 16 kid business ideas .

OR, help them to use one of their original ideas sending sparks in their brain. You can use these 3 kid business plan examples for help with filling it out.

1. Solid Gold Biz Plan

I’ve been in business for 7 years and I’ve made about every mistake in the book.

Probably one of the biggest? Was that I didn’t sit down to write a proper business plan (or, ANY business plan) until I was several years into blogging. 

Because of this, I created a free business plan template for kids and teens (on Page 6 of this free printable), so that they practice how to do it right, from the beginning! 

What makes my free Solid Gold Biz Plan different is that it starts your child thinking about the problem that they want to solve – because ultimately, that is the purpose of creating a product or a service. To solve a specific problem for people.

It then goes on to ask them simple questions that will focus them in on what it takes to plan out a business idea.

For example, I raise the question of how much it will cost to not only create the product/service, but to also deliver it and maintain it. These are sometimes costs forgotten costs when creating a business plan.

2. BizKids’ Guide to Writing a Business Plan

This free business plan guide for kids includes sections for your idea, your marketing (and what makes your product unique), your startup costs, and an area for pricing so that you can make sure you’ll make a profit.

screenshot of bizKids business plan for kids

At the end is a one-page summary where your child can write up their answers from the previous pages all in the same place. Great for tacking up on the wall!

3. Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox

Anthony ONeal partnered up with Dave Ramsey to create the  Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox , a kid’s entrepreneur kit and small business guide for teens.

In other words, it’s so much more than just a business template for kids!

business plan grade 6

The entrepreneur kit includes the following:

  • Access to Free Entrepreneur Toolbox app
  • Teen Portfolio Book
  • DVD of Anthony’s Training Video
  • Parent’s Guide Book
  • Pack of Thank You Cards
  • Deck of Conversation Starter Cards about Starting a Business
  • Goal Tracker Poster

Here’s my full review of the Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox .

4. Home Sweet Road’s My Business Plan

Check out this business plan for kids, which asks kids questions like what makes their idea unique, whether or not their idea is a product or service, and who their customers will be.

screenshot of my business plan for kids

5. Proverbial Home Maker’s Family Business Plan Guide

This is such a fun guide that you can fill out with your child, teen, tween, or even the whole family. It includes family business ideas, a sales ledger, inventory worksheet, and much more.

screenshot of family business guide - free printable

Business Plan Examples

You may be wondering where you can find business plan examples to show your kids or teens.

For starters, you should look right at home. Are you a small business owner?

Then you’ll definitely want my free Take Your Child to Work Day printables – it’s got a section for you to fill in about your own business, which is a perfect business plan example to discuss with your child.

You can also find two business plan examples on the Small Business Administration’s site (scroll down until you see red buttons to Rebecca’s example business plan, and Andrew’s plan).

They’re not entirely kid-friendly, but can give lots of ideas for the kind of information and research to put into a business plan.

Business Plan Activity Worksheets

Check out these free PDF Shark Tank worksheets for students . Students or kids can work through coming up with their own business idea, create an advertisement for it, and a scoring card to judge the business ideas.

You’ll find a free 30-minute Small Business Administration course for young entrepreneurs meant for teens that you can use with your students (or have your child go through).

Hint: In Objective 3, it goes over how to create a business plan.

Are you an educator? Great – you can get free entrepreneur curriculum for Grades 1 – 12, with lots of worksheets, from the Venture Lab .

Further resources include:

  • Teen Business Video Lessons
  • EverFI’s Entrepreneurial Expedition
  • FEE’s Course on the Entrepreneur’s Role in Creating Value
  • Business Plan Note Taker (lots of great prompts to create a business plan with)

Grab 23 more entrepreneur lesson plans here.

I hope you’ve found some business template for kid resources that interest you? Below, you’ll find other related kid entrepreneurship articles that will help your kids, teens, and students learn about the entrepreneur career path. 

Related Kid Entrepreneurship Resources

  • 27 Youth Entrepreneur Awards and Scholarships
  • 5 Kid Entrepreneur Kits
  • 14 Kid Entrepreneur Books
  • 11 Best Business Simulation Games for Kids
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Home » Teens

Business Plan Templates for Teens

If you want to launch a business, you have to have a plan! Here are some templates to help you get started.

teenage-boy-and-girl-writing-business-plan

The key to any successful business is to have a plan before getting started. Mapping out the business details is instrumental in determining if this idea is worth pursuing, which can save a lot of time and resources that could be used towards a different business that would be better suited for you and your business needs and wants. 

What To Include In a Business Plan

The point of a business plan is to outline your business strategy and plan your business out on paper. As your business grows and you are looking at expansion options, lenders will want a well-defined business plan to help them determine if lending to your business is the best option. When looking at business plan template packages for teens, you are looking for business plan templates that will help you transition your business ideas to full-fledged businesses that will help adults see the vision. 

The 7 parts of a business plan include:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Strategy and Implementation of Strategy
  • Organizational Structure and Management Team
  • Financial Plan and Future Projections

Best Business Plan Templates for Teenagers

Bizkids’ guide to writing a business plan.

This resource helps define the business idea and determine what to charge for the products and services that you want to offer. Learn how to evaluate your competition and what they are doing with their brand to bring value to their customers to figure out ways to make your brand unique so you can stand out in the marketplace. Determine what resources you need to build your business and how much those resources will cost you. Are there ways to bootstrap the company to make startup costs cheaper? Learn about breakeven costs and how many units you have to sell before you start making a profit with your business idea.

Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox: The Small-Business Guide for Teens

This toolbox provides 8 easy to follow, actionable steps to help teens evaluate whether or not their business idea is feasible for them to start and how to go about getting started. If you don’t currently have an idea for what business to start, this provides ideas and how to get started with them! Real teens share real business experiences and advice from their own journey, which can help you avoid making common business mistakes that will decrease your learning curve and get motivation and encouragement from teens that have faced similar challenges while building their businesses. Learn about marketing techniques that work, how to provide top-notch customer service, money management of profits, and goal setting for future growth. 

Home Sweet Road’s My Business Plan

This one-page business plan is free and easily downloadable. It can be printed out and hung on the wall for easy reference. The questions asked in this document are thought-provoking and help teens determine who the target audience is for their products and services. Defining the target audience will help establish a solid marketing plan that conveys the value of the product offering while making sure that the customer’s needs are being met. Customers want to buy from businesses that understand their needs and provide an ideal solution.

Proverbial Homemaker’s Family Business Plan Guide

Families can work together to build a business that kids and teens can run themselves and are passionate about running using this comprehensive business template and associated resources. Consider first why you want to start a business and why you are choosing THIS specific business. Understanding the reason for selecting that business idea builds confidence and helps maintain the passion for the company as time goes on. Create a monetary budget based on projected profits and figure out what price is best to charge for your products and services to secure sales from your target market. Set goals and manage your time, then figure out what laws are applicable for your business venture.

Learn how to conduct market research to see if there is a need for the services you want to provide before starting by conducting surveys or soft test launches. Find out where to source materials to make products and how much that will cost.  

Boss Club Kid Entrepreneur Kit

This kit is literally a business in a box, so kids and teens can get started right away as soon as they have it in their hands! Choose your kit and create the following businesses:

  • Homemade dog treats
  • Specialty cake pops
  • Luxury bath bombs
  • Delicious fudge
  • Handmade soaps

If you are homeschooling, this kit counts as a homeschooling resource that you can receive credit for completing, which is a fantastic additional perk of using this tool. The intended audience is kids and teens ages 11-18, and provides over 100 videos with step-by-step instructions on how to set up and grow a business from the ground up. So far, over 100 schools across the United States are using this option for their students to learn how to set up a business that they are passionate about running. Getting teens started young on their entrepreneurial journey has been found to build self-esteem and teach decision-making early on that helps young adults make solid decisions in their lives as they mature. The benefit of this specific program is that it was created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs and not created by scholars that don’t have practical business knowledge. There is a quiz on their website that takes 30 seconds and helps you decide what business is best for your needs. 

Small Business Administration

This is a great government resource for teens who want to learn about business for free and about what resources are available from the government, such as loans and business coaching from experienced business owners in your community. There is no absolute right or wrong way to write a business plan in business, and you can choose how your business will run or how much money you need to start it. This resource allows you to walk through your business idea and plan with an experienced business owner that can talk through the pros and cons of what you feel is the next step for your business, from expansion to new investors to additional product offerings. This resource offers two different business plan templates that walk you through example business plans.

Solid Gold Biz Plan

This free business plan template from Money Prodigy discusses the author’s mistakes during her first 7 years in business and provides insights into how she would have conducted her business affairs differently if she had to start over again knowing what she knows now. The primary goal of this template is to find a problem that your business will solve. Many new entrepreneurs focus on the product or service but not on the problem it will solve in the marketplace. The goal should be to identify the problem and then develop the solution that will be offered as a product or service by your company. After determining the primary problem, she focuses on how to best deliver the solution and how much it will cost to maintain the delivery of the product or service. 

Shark Tank Lessons in Business and Entrepreneurship from Scholastic

A free lesson plan with a teacher’s guide that can be used in a group setting or as a family! Topics covered include entrepreneurship basics, writing an effective business plan, crafting persuasive pitches for investment presentations, and how to find a great business mentor. The target age group is grades 6 to 12.

Shark Tank Marketing Plan

A worksheet template that focuses on the target demographic for your business and the motivation that that demographic would have to buy a product or service that you are offering so you can establish the best way to market to them. Games are encouraged with this marketing package because this helps draw out ideas in fun ways that promote creativity and growth. Business is about finding creative solutions to problems and pivoting the company into new arenas when it becomes necessary for growth. Keeping an active marketing plan up to date as the business grows is key to expanding when necessary or finding innovative ways to keep customers engaged with your brand. 

Shark Tank Analysis Worksheet

Use this worksheet when evaluating businesses to learn what investors are looking for when assessing whether or not to invest in a business. Understanding what investors are looking for in a management team, mission, vision, product/service, research and development, and strategic implementation will help you create that within your own business to make your foundation strong.

A strong business plan that is well defined will take even the novice entrepreneur to the expert level of business in no time with the proper preparation. Using a business plan template in areas of planning, marketing, product development, and strategy will assist in building a business that can be bootstrapped and stood up quickly to test the business out in ways that require little startup capital.

Related Reading

  • Entrepreneurship for teens
  • How to earn money for teens

business plan grade 6

  • Are you currently busy with school or is it summertime? Think about when the work for your business will be done. [2] X Research source
  • Consider business ideas that are seasonal. For example, if it’s near Christmas, consider ideas that cater to that, like a gift wrapping service or making gift baskets.
  • Are you in the middle of a very hot summer? This might be a perfect time to launch a neighborhood lemonade stand.

Step 3 Decide whether you want to offer a product or a service.

  • Examples of product-driven businesses: baking cookies, building birdhouses, making gift baskets, creating greeting cards, selling candy, making doggie treats.
  • Examples of service-driven businesses: lawn care, car washing, computer repair, pet sitting, babysitting, cleaning houses, dog walking, and teaching computer skills to older people. [4] X Research source

Step 4 Select the idea that best suits your skills.

  • Are you an animal lover? Consider offering pet sitting services.
  • Maybe you’re crafty and enjoy making handmade jewelry or gift baskets. These are great products to sell. [5] X Research source

Step 5 Decide on a name for your business.

  • Make sure your business name is easy to pronounce, as well.
  • Clever and unique business names work well, just remember that the name needs to relate to what your business entails.

Step 6 Write a short paragraph that describes your business idea and goals.

  • List any specific objectives and goals for your business, as well.
  • Write out what you think makes your product/service unique. [7] X Research source

Planning Your Business

Step 1 Figure out if you’ll need employees.

  • If you have a sibling that wants to help out, that would be a good place to start.
  • You will be splitting your profits, so you will need to decide how much and when your employees will be paid.

Step 2 Make a list of any supplies you will need to get started.

  • You could also ask your parents if they’d consider donating some of your future allowance as seed money for your business.
  • If you bring them a solid business plan, they will be more likely to help you.

Step 3 List the ongoing expenses you expect to have.

  • By adding up your ongoing expenses, you will have a pretty good idea of what it will cost to keep your business running. [9] X Research source
  • Another example – if you’re making cookies to sell, you will need to total up how much the ingredients cost and how often you’ll need to buy them.

Step 4 Decide what you will be charging for your product/service.

  • Let’s say that when you add up the cost of the ingredients, it costs you $3.50 to make a dozen chocolate chip cookies. You will want to charge more than that for each dozen in order to make a profit.
  • You should also factor in how much time it takes you to make your product/perform your service. [10] X Research source You can then work out prices based upon how much you want to make. You should also factor in time that you aren't being paid (such as advertising your business or walking to a customer's home).
  • For example, if it takes you a half hour to make the chocolate chip cookies mentioned above and another half hour to sell them, you will need to charge an amount that represents the amount of time you spent preparing them. This additional time is your "wage" for preparing them.
  • You can work out your hourly wage by dividing your pay for a project or product (minus your expenses) by the amount of time spent working.
  • In this case, if you charged $9.50 for the dozen cookies, you would be making $6 for the hour that you spent making and selling them.
  • Subtract your expenses from your revenue to get your profit amount. [11] X Research source

Marketing Your Business

Step 1 Figure out who your customers are.

  • You should also consider your market area. Unless you have a car (or your parents' help), market area is relatively small. This may include only areas that you can safely walk or bike to.
  • These customer types are called customer profiles. Once you have your customer profiles, you will have a better idea of how to market your business to them.
  • Different customer profiles sometimes require entirely different marketing strategies.

Step 2 Figure out if you have any competitors.

  • You can market most effectively once you know these specific details about your competitors.
  • Offering lower prices or providing higher quality products/services are two ways you can compete with them.
  • For example, if you start a lawn care business, you will be competing with established lawn care businesses. You can build a customer base by offering better service and encouraging customer recommendations.

Step 3 Explore your marketing strategy options.

  • Remember to keep your customer profiles in mind when choosing your marketing strategies.
  • For instance, if you’re starting a pet sitting business, you could post flyers at veterinary offices and pet stores, and also hand deliver flyers to people in your neighborhood with pets.

Step 4 Get or make business cards for your company.

Putting Your Business Plan on Paper

Step 1 Create a cover sheet with your business name and description.

  • Write the business name in large letters, or use a large font, and make it bold. It’s the most important thing on the page.
  • The description paragraph can be in a normal size or standard 12 point font.

Step 2 Begin page 2 with the company’s management and history.

  • Owner/Management example: “Kelly’s Doggy Daycare is owned by Kelly Klein. She has several years of experience pet-sitting and truly loves working with and caring for dogs of all kinds.”
  • Business History example: "Kelly noticed that most of her neighbors were dog owners who worked long hours every day. Occasionally, they took vacations and/or experienced family emergencies, which could take them away from their pets for days at a time."
  • "With her love for dogs, Kelly knew she could provide a pet care service that her neighbors would benefit from, and that’s how Kelly’s Doggy Daycare was born."

Step 3 Space down and write 3-4 sentences about your product/service.

  • You don’t need to get incredibly detailed – summarize and highlight the most important information for each.
  • Example for product/service: "Kelly’s Doggy Daycare will provide hands-on pet care for today’s busy pet owner. The business will offer day rates along with in-house extended stay pet sitting. Walking services are included at no charge with every appointment."

Step 4 Space down and write 3-4 sentences about your business objectives.

  • "It’s her mission to put your mind at ease when you have to be away from your pets. Kelly will make sure your pets are loved and cared for in your absence."
  • "An email summary of every pet sitting appointment will always be sent to you via email during your absence or upon your return."

Step 5 Space down and write 3-4 sentences about your marketing information.

  • Example: “Kelly’s Doggy Daycare caters to today’s busy adults. These are business people who work long hours every day and/or travel regularly for work, family vacationers, and anyone who finds themselves in need of last minute pet care."
  • "The business has one competitor, Sam’s Sitting Service, but Kelly offers lower pricing and in-house extended stay care."
  • "She plans to post flyers about the new business in her neighborhood to promote it. She will also be going door-to-door to introduce herself and inform neighbors of her services.”

Step 6 Space down and write 3-4 sentences about your funding needs/profit.

  • Example: "Kelly will need very few supplies to launch the business – a bag of doggie treats, 1 dog leash for a small dog and 1 dog leash for a large dog."
  • "Ongoing expenses will be the replenishment of doggie treats and occasionally dog toys and/or dog blankets. The rate is $5.00 for each hour of pet care provided. The rate for in-house extended care is $25 per day."
  • "Customers will need to provide their own pet food or reimburse Kelly for any food she has to purchase during pet care. Profit for each hour is approximately $3.50 after expenses."
  • "Profit for each day of extended care is approximately $18.50 after expenses."

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Start a Business (for Kids)

  • ↑ http://bizkids.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/Kids-Business-Plan.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-business-plan-by-answering-4-simple-questions
  • ↑ http://www.mikemichalowicz.com/the-37-greatest-business-ideas-for-young-entrepreneurs/
  • ↑ http://www.teachingkidsbusiness.com/business-plan-example.htm
  • ↑ http://content.moneyinstructor.com/664/kids-starting-business.html

About This Article

Michael R. Lewis

To make a business plan for kids, create a cover sheet with the business name in large, bold font and a 5-6 sentence description of the business. Have a logo? Include that, too! Start writing up the company’s management and history on the second page, talking about yourself in 1-2 sentences and how and why you came up with your business in another 2-3 sentences. Then craft 3-4 sentences, each, to describe your product or service, business goals, marketing strategy, and funding needs. To learn more from our Entrepreneur co-author, like how much to charge for your product or service, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Business Plan Template for Kids

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Table of Contents

A business plan is important to people who want to start their own businesses. This business plan template for kids will serve as a guide to understand how entrepreneurs use business plans to keep them from making mistakes.

See the fact file below for more information on Business Plan Template or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Business Plan Template for Kids worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.

Key Facts & Information

Making a business plan.

  • A business plan is an overall outline of your business: how you will be working on it, and how will it bring you profit in the long run.

Determine what business you would like to establish

  • Choose a business that interests you, shows your skills, or a business that is needed in your area. 
  • Determine if your business will offer either a service or a product or even both.
  • Think of a business that will make you stand out among your competitors.

Make your business name

  • Decide on a business name that is unique but easy to pronounce and remember.
  • People should be able to easily determine what your business offers.
  • Provide a brief discussion of what your business is all about.
  • Include your goals, objectives, your product, and what makes your business different among others.

Plan your team

  • You can do your business by yourself, hire employees, or seek help from your family members.
  • Identify all your materials and determine the cost for each.
  • If you are going to hire employees, compute how much you will pay them.
  • If commercial spaces are to be rented, include the renting and utility costs in your expenses.
  • After considering all expenses, you can now make a price for your product and estimate how much will be your profit.

Know your market

  • Determine who will be your customers.
  • Consider the place of your business and research the demographics of the area.
  • Are there more professional people, young, old, mothers, fathers, or students? 

Competitors

  • Know who will be your competitors.
  • Do research on businesses in the same location that have the same product or service as you.
  • Identify how long they have been established, how much they charge for their product, and how does their product differs from yours.
  • With all the information you have gathered, determine how you can make an edge with your business.
  • You can either offer lower prices without sacrificing the quality of your product or you can also offer additional services that your competitors don’t have.

Marketing Strategy

  • Think of how you will market your business.
  • How will you advertise your business?
  • You can promote using social media platforms, send out flyers, make posters, make door-to-door advertising, or whichever strategy you think will work best for your business.
  • With an effective marketing strategy, people will get curious about what you sell and this will push the consumers to try your product or service.

Business Plan Template Worksheets

This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Business Plan Template across 19 in-depth pages. These are  ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Business Plan Template for Kids which will serve as a guide to understand how entrepreneurs use business plans to keep them from making mistakes.

business plan grade 6

Complete List Of Included Worksheets

  • Business Plan for Kids Facts
  • My Own Product
  • Do You Like My Service?
  • The Clothing Line
  • Free for All
  • What Went Wrong?
  • In 5 Years…
  • Click and Sell
  • Special Delivery
  • Show Me Your Strategy

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Use With Any Curriculum

These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.

KidsKonnect is a growing library of high-quality, printable worksheets for teachers and homeschoolers.

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Small Revolution

A Simple Guide for Kids’ Business Plans

business plan grade 6

Who said kids can’t run successful businesses ? Kids can start and run a successful business as early as the 4th grade.

Of course, you still need to get good grades in school, but it’s also great to nurture your entrepreneurial skills.

If you have a great business idea and would like to nurture it to join the likes of Mikaila Ulmer and Jack Bonneau, you should write a plan for it.

If you’re a parent, you want the best for your child . What better way to secure their future than to help them convert their business idea into a small business?

You can help your kid put down their ideas and plans by writing a business plan with one of the many free business plan templates available online.

Before perfecting your plan, you can write a sample business plan to orient you to the dynamics of a business plan for kids.

The Components of a Sample Business Plan for Kids

Starting a business requires commitment to a plan, much like studying for your tests.

State Your Business Ideas

The first part of a good business plan will be laying out your big idea(s).

What’s the Big Idea?

Before helping to start your kid’s business, you should clearly understand your child’s idea and how you can convert it into a money generating venture.

Talk about the equipment you need to run the business, any relevant training you have (or will get), and how you intend to actualize the business plans.

Conduct Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis is a breakdown of what your competitors offer, their prices, and their marketing strategies.

When you plan a business, you must know what your competitors offer to gain a competitive edge.

Some of the items you should include in  your competitor analysis are:

  • A product list for each competitor
  • A price list for each product, for each competitor
  • The needs that each competitor fulfils in the target market
  • A list of the gaps in the market
  • A proposal of how you intend to fill the gaps

Here’s a template of what your analysis should look like:

Record Your Research Findings

As a parent helping your child develop a business plan, guide them through the research process and help them identify the gaps. You could even be helping your child improve their grades in school as they learn how to conduct research.

Support their idea with facts, statistics, and visual elements to make it as accurate as possible.

You and your kid can even create a template like the one below to help you record your research findings.

Market Your Business

You already have your product and business laid out, but how do you get your target consumers to know about it?

A business is as good as its marketing strategy because it is the only way to make sales. When you, or your kid, write a business plan, map out a marketing path.

In the marketing section of  your business plan, have the following segments:

What’s Your Product ?

Work Values Activity Sheet

Although you introduced your product or service in the first part of your business plan, you need to talk about it in detail here.

Explain what your product is, what it is made of, and how it’s different from other products in the market. If you’re selling a service, explain why and how it’s different from other similar services in the market.

If your product or service is the first in the industry, explain what it is, what gaps it fills, and why the consumer should buy it.

Name Your Price

What is the price tag for your product/service?

You can easily influence your customer base by offering them unbeatable prices for your product.

This is where your math lessons come in handy; striking a balance between your sales volume and your prices to make a decent profit.

Are You Investing in Product Promotion?

How do you intend to introduce and maintain your product in the market? Discuss the forms of advertising you intend to use for your merchandise and how effective the strategies will be.

For instance, do you intend to use social media campaigns, or will you be marketing on other forms of media such as television adverts and printables?

Discuss how your product will be packaged to entice prospective consumers. The name, packaging, and contents of your product speak volumes about your business.

Explain the brand name and how it speaks to your target market. You can also include a pictorial sample of your logo or packaging to help explain how your product connects with the intended consumer.

What’s Your Location?

When you finally start supplying your goods or services, how will your consumers access them?

Are you a purely online seller, or will you have a brick-and-mortar store? If you have several stores, be sure to provide detailed information about them.

If you sell online, give accurate and working links to your online store. You can also provide a guide on how consumers can access your shop and make purchases.

Organize Your Finances

According to Alfred Marshall, an economics mogul of his time, “Capital is that part of wealth which is devoted to obtaining further wealth.”

Your business needs both human and financial capital to produce, distribute and sell your product or service.

You can list down a management team and have a worksheet to show their responsibilities and how much you intend to pay them.

In your business plan , explain how much capital you need to get your business up and running. Provide a working figure with a breakdown of how you will use it.

Sourcing Capital

Explain how you intend to raise the startup costs for your business. Do you have savings, or do your parents/guardians intend to finance your project?

What about angel investors? Do you have any?

If you are a parent intending to finance your child’s business, will you be investing from your savings, or do you intend to get a loan?

Breakdown Capital Usage

At this level, you will explain how your capital will be used. How much do you need for manufacturing and distribution?

Are there any other overheads between manufacturing and selling your products/service? If there are, explain how much they will cost.

Return on Investment (RoI)

Here, you explain how you will get back your capital and realize profits from your business. Indicate how you will price your product/service and show the projected profit margin.

Also, provide a timeline for how soon you should have regained your capital. Give a projection of how much profit your business should be reeling in a specific time frame.

Successful kids’ businesses are not run by geniuses; they are owned and run by kids who were passionate enough to capitalize on their dreams.

Awaken Your Entrepreneurial Self

Building your successful business starts with creating a well-detailed business plan.

If you aspire to become one of those kid entrepreneurs or would like to grow your child’s business dream into a successful business , write down an actionable plan.

Actualize your great business idea by creating and following a great business plan.

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Katrina McKinnon

I'm Katrina McKinnon, the author behind Small Revolution . With two decades of hands-on experience in online work, running eCommerce stores, web agency and job boards, I'm now on a mission to empower you to work from home and achieve work-life balance. My passion lies in crafting insightful, education content. I have taught thousands of students and employees how to write, do SEO, manage eCommerce stores and work as Virtual Assistants. Join our most popular course: SEO Article Masterclass

Teaching Kids Business

Business Plan Example

Writing the plan, what goes in a business plan, sample plans.

One of the best ways to learn about writing a business plan is to study the plans of established businesses in your industry.

http://www.bplans.com/sp/businessplans.cfm

Develop a Business Plan Worksheet

This worksheet describes the basic components of any business plan. Please note that every plan will be unique to its particular company.

The Executive Summary

Include crisp, clear descriptions of the following elements:

  • Company history
  • Company objectives
  • Product/service offerings
  • Competitive advantage (A persuasive statement of why and how the business will succeed)
  • Projected growth for the company and the market
  • Key management team members
  • Funding requirements, including a timeline and details on how the funds will be used

The Products and Services

Answer the following questions in this section:

  • Why is there a need for your offering?
  • Is your product or service already on the market, or is it still in the research and development stage? If you are still in the development stage, what is the rollout strategy or timeline to bring the product to market?
  • What makes your product or service unique? What competitive advantage does the product or service have over its competition?
  • Can you price the product or service competitively and still maintain a healthy profit margin?
  • What patents, copyrights and trademarks does your company currently own or plan to obtain?
  • What confidential and non-disclosure protection have you secured?
  • What barriers do you face in bringing the product to market, such as government regulations, competing products, high product-development costs, the need for manufacturing materials, etc.?

Include the following elements:

  • A detailed description of your market
  • A detailed description of your niche and why you chose it
  • An explanation of the market demand for your product or service offering (Requires supporting documentation)
  • What percentage of market share do you project you can capture?
  • What is the growth potential of the market? (Requires supporting documentation)
  • Will your share of the market increase or decrease as the market grows?
  • How will you satisfy market growth?
  • How will you price your goods or services to remain competitive in a growing market?

Note: If you are launching a new product, include your market research data. Likewise, if you have existing customers, provide a customer profile, detailing their purchasing habits and their buying cycle.

The Marketing Strategy

The following are some promotional options to consider:

  • Social Media
  • Direct mail
  • Trade shows
  • Public relations
  • Promotional materials
  • Telephone sales
  • One-on-one sales
  • Strategic alliances

If you have current samples of marketing materials or strategies that have proven successful for you, include them with your plan.

Discuss your distribution strategy:

  • Will you mail order, personally deliver, hire sales reps, contract with distributors or resellers, or use some other method?
  • What are the costs associated with your proposed delivery methods?
  • How will you track the effectiveness of the methods you choose?

The Competition

Specific areas to address in this section are:

  • Who are your closest competitors and what are their product/service offerings?
  • Where are they located?
  • What are their revenues?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Who is their target market?
  • What percentage of market share do they currently hold?
  • Do they service a local, geographic market or a national customer base? Is that the same or different from your approach?
  • In what other ways do your operations differ from each of them? How are they similar?
  • What do your rivals do well? Where is there room for improvement?
  • In what ways is your business superior to the competition?
  • How is their business doing? Is it growing, declining or stable?
  • Are there certain areas of the business where the competition surpasses you (management team, economies of scale, better distribution, volume discounts, etc.)? If so, what are those areas, and how do you plan on compensating for them?

This section of the plan should describe the following requirements of your business:

  • Manufacturing

Note: Provide a rollout strategy as to when these requirements need to be purchased and implemented. In addition, describe the vendors you will need to build the business. Do you have current relationships, or do you need to establish new ones? Who will you choose and why?

The Management Team

When preparing this section of the business plan, you should address the following five areas:

  • Business background of the principals
  • Past experience — tracking successes, responsibilities and capabilities
  • Educational background (formal and informal)
  • Personal data: age, current address, past addresses, interests, education, special abilities, reasons for entering into business
  • Personal financial statements with supporting documentation
  • Direct operational and managerial experience in related businesses
  • Indirect managerial experiences
  • Who will do what and why? Who is responsible for final decisions?
  • Organizational chart with chain of command and listing of duties
  • A simple statement of what management members will be paid, by position
  • Listing of bonuses in realistic terms
  • Benefits (medical, life insurance, disability, etc.)
  • Insurance brokers
  • Accountants
  • Consulting groups
  • Small Business Association
  • Local business information centers
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Local colleges and universities
  • Federal, state and local agencies
  • Board of Directors
  • World Wide Web (various search engines)

Consider the following questions in completing this section of the business plan:

  • What are your current personnel needs (full- and/or part-time)? How many employees do you envision in the near future, and then in the next three to five years?
  • What skills must your employees have?
  • What will their job descriptions be?
  • Are the people you need readily available? If not, how will you attract them?
  • Will you pay salaries or hourly wages?
  • Will you provide benefits? If so, what will they be, and at what cost?
  • Will you pay overtime?

Financial Data

Have a certified public accountant establish your accounting system before the start of business to provide you with data in the following four areas:

  • Balance Sheet – indicates what the cash position of the business is and what the owner’s equity is at any given point (the balance sheet will show assets, liabilities and retained earnings).
  • Break-Even Analysis – Shows the volume of revenue from sales that are needed to balance the fixed and variable expenses. Without exception, all businesses should perform this analysis, which is based on the income statement and cash flow.
  • Income Statement (also called the profit and loss statement) – Indicates how well the company is managing its cash, by subtracting disbursements from receipts.
  • Cash Flow – Projects all cash receipts and disbursements. Healthy cash flow is critical to the survival of any business.

Supporting Documentation

You will need to include all documents that lend support to statements made in the body of your company’s business plan. Please be aware that this list is not complete and may vary depending on the stage of development of your business.

  • Credit information (include in appendix)
  • Quotes or estimates
  • Letters of intent from prospective customers
  • Letters of support from credible personal references
  • Leases or buy/sell agreements
  • Legal documents relevant to the business
  • Census/demographic data

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

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  • 11.4 The Business Plan
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 Entrepreneurship Today
  • 1.2 Entrepreneurial Vision and Goals
  • 1.3 The Entrepreneurial Mindset
  • Review Questions
  • Discussion Questions
  • Case Questions
  • Suggested Resources
  • 2.1 Overview of the Entrepreneurial Journey
  • 2.2 The Process of Becoming an Entrepreneur
  • 2.3 Entrepreneurial Pathways
  • 2.4 Frameworks to Inform Your Entrepreneurial Path
  • 3.1 Ethical and Legal Issues in Entrepreneurship
  • 3.2 Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship
  • 3.3 Developing a Workplace Culture of Ethical Excellence and Accountability
  • 4.1 Tools for Creativity and Innovation
  • 4.2 Creativity, Innovation, and Invention: How They Differ
  • 4.3 Developing Ideas, Innovations, and Inventions
  • 5.1 Entrepreneurial Opportunity
  • 5.2 Researching Potential Business Opportunities
  • 5.3 Competitive Analysis
  • 6.1 Problem Solving to Find Entrepreneurial Solutions
  • 6.2 Creative Problem-Solving Process
  • 6.3 Design Thinking
  • 6.4 Lean Processes
  • 7.1 Clarifying Your Vision, Mission, and Goals
  • 7.2 Sharing Your Entrepreneurial Story
  • 7.3 Developing Pitches for Various Audiences and Goals
  • 7.4 Protecting Your Idea and Polishing the Pitch through Feedback
  • 7.5 Reality Check: Contests and Competitions
  • 8.1 Entrepreneurial Marketing and the Marketing Mix
  • 8.2 Market Research, Market Opportunity Recognition, and Target Market
  • 8.3 Marketing Techniques and Tools for Entrepreneurs
  • 8.4 Entrepreneurial Branding
  • 8.5 Marketing Strategy and the Marketing Plan
  • 8.6 Sales and Customer Service
  • 9.1 Overview of Entrepreneurial Finance and Accounting Strategies
  • 9.2 Special Funding Strategies
  • 9.3 Accounting Basics for Entrepreneurs
  • 9.4 Developing Startup Financial Statements and Projections
  • 10.1 Launching the Imperfect Business: Lean Startup
  • 10.2 Why Early Failure Can Lead to Success Later
  • 10.3 The Challenging Truth about Business Ownership
  • 10.4 Managing, Following, and Adjusting the Initial Plan
  • 10.5 Growth: Signs, Pains, and Cautions
  • 11.1 Avoiding the “Field of Dreams” Approach
  • 11.2 Designing the Business Model
  • 11.3 Conducting a Feasibility Analysis
  • 12.1 Building and Connecting to Networks
  • 12.2 Building the Entrepreneurial Dream Team
  • 12.3 Designing a Startup Operational Plan
  • 13.1 Business Structures: Overview of Legal and Tax Considerations
  • 13.2 Corporations
  • 13.3 Partnerships and Joint Ventures
  • 13.4 Limited Liability Companies
  • 13.5 Sole Proprietorships
  • 13.6 Additional Considerations: Capital Acquisition, Business Domicile, and Technology
  • 13.7 Mitigating and Managing Risks
  • 14.1 Types of Resources
  • 14.2 Using the PEST Framework to Assess Resource Needs
  • 14.3 Managing Resources over the Venture Life Cycle
  • 15.1 Launching Your Venture
  • 15.2 Making Difficult Business Decisions in Response to Challenges
  • 15.3 Seeking Help or Support
  • 15.4 Now What? Serving as a Mentor, Consultant, or Champion
  • 15.5 Reflections: Documenting the Journey
  • A | Suggested Resources

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the different purposes of a business plan
  • Describe and develop the components of a brief business plan
  • Describe and develop the components of a full business plan

Unlike the brief or lean formats introduced so far, the business plan is a formal document used for the long-range planning of a company’s operation. It typically includes background information, financial information, and a summary of the business. Investors nearly always request a formal business plan because it is an integral part of their evaluation of whether to invest in a company. Although nothing in business is permanent, a business plan typically has components that are more “set in stone” than a business model canvas , which is more commonly used as a first step in the planning process and throughout the early stages of a nascent business. A business plan is likely to describe the business and industry, market strategies, sales potential, and competitive analysis, as well as the company’s long-term goals and objectives. An in-depth formal business plan would follow at later stages after various iterations to business model canvases. The business plan usually projects financial data over a three-year period and is typically required by banks or other investors to secure funding. The business plan is a roadmap for the company to follow over multiple years.

Some entrepreneurs prefer to use the canvas process instead of the business plan, whereas others use a shorter version of the business plan, submitting it to investors after several iterations. There are also entrepreneurs who use the business plan earlier in the entrepreneurial process, either preceding or concurrently with a canvas. For instance, Chris Guillebeau has a one-page business plan template in his book The $100 Startup . 48 His version is basically an extension of a napkin sketch without the detail of a full business plan. As you progress, you can also consider a brief business plan (about two pages)—if you want to support a rapid business launch—and/or a standard business plan.

As with many aspects of entrepreneurship, there are no clear hard and fast rules to achieving entrepreneurial success. You may encounter different people who want different things (canvas, summary, full business plan), and you also have flexibility in following whatever tool works best for you. Like the canvas, the various versions of the business plan are tools that will aid you in your entrepreneurial endeavor.

Business Plan Overview

Most business plans have several distinct sections ( Figure 11.16 ). The business plan can range from a few pages to twenty-five pages or more, depending on the purpose and the intended audience. For our discussion, we’ll describe a brief business plan and a standard business plan. If you are able to successfully design a business model canvas, then you will have the structure for developing a clear business plan that you can submit for financial consideration.

Both types of business plans aim at providing a picture and roadmap to follow from conception to creation. If you opt for the brief business plan, you will focus primarily on articulating a big-picture overview of your business concept.

The full business plan is aimed at executing the vision concept, dealing with the proverbial devil in the details. Developing a full business plan will assist those of you who need a more detailed and structured roadmap, or those of you with little to no background in business. The business planning process includes the business model, a feasibility analysis, and a full business plan, which we will discuss later in this section. Next, we explore how a business plan can meet several different needs.

Purposes of a Business Plan

A business plan can serve many different purposes—some internal, others external. As we discussed previously, you can use a business plan as an internal early planning device, an extension of a napkin sketch, and as a follow-up to one of the canvas tools. A business plan can be an organizational roadmap , that is, an internal planning tool and working plan that you can apply to your business in order to reach your desired goals over the course of several years. The business plan should be written by the owners of the venture, since it forces a firsthand examination of the business operations and allows them to focus on areas that need improvement.

Refer to the business venture throughout the document. Generally speaking, a business plan should not be written in the first person.

A major external purpose for the business plan is as an investment tool that outlines financial projections, becoming a document designed to attract investors. In many instances, a business plan can complement a formal investor’s pitch. In this context, the business plan is a presentation plan, intended for an outside audience that may or may not be familiar with your industry, your business, and your competitors.

You can also use your business plan as a contingency plan by outlining some “what-if” scenarios and exploring how you might respond if these scenarios unfold. Pretty Young Professional launched in November 2010 as an online resource to guide an emerging generation of female leaders. The site focused on recent female college graduates and current students searching for professional roles and those in their first professional roles. It was founded by four friends who were coworkers at the global consultancy firm McKinsey. But after positions and equity were decided among them, fundamental differences of opinion about the direction of the business emerged between two factions, according to the cofounder and former CEO Kathryn Minshew . “I think, naively, we assumed that if we kicked the can down the road on some of those things, we’d be able to sort them out,” Minshew said. Minshew went on to found a different professional site, The Muse , and took much of the editorial team of Pretty Young Professional with her. 49 Whereas greater planning potentially could have prevented the early demise of Pretty Young Professional, a change in planning led to overnight success for Joshua Esnard and The Cut Buddy team. Esnard invented and patented the plastic hair template that he was selling online out of his Fort Lauderdale garage while working a full-time job at Broward College and running a side business. Esnard had hundreds of boxes of Cut Buddies sitting in his home when he changed his marketing plan to enlist companies specializing in making videos go viral. It worked so well that a promotional video for the product garnered 8 million views in hours. The Cut Buddy sold over 4,000 products in a few hours when Esnard only had hundreds remaining. Demand greatly exceeded his supply, so Esnard had to scramble to increase manufacturing and offered customers two-for-one deals to make up for delays. This led to selling 55,000 units, generating $700,000 in sales in 2017. 50 After appearing on Shark Tank and landing a deal with Daymond John that gave the “shark” a 20-percent equity stake in return for $300,000, The Cut Buddy has added new distribution channels to include retail sales along with online commerce. Changing one aspect of a business plan—the marketing plan—yielded success for The Cut Buddy.

Link to Learning

Watch this video of Cut Buddy’s founder, Joshua Esnard, telling his company’s story to learn more.

If you opt for the brief business plan, you will focus primarily on articulating a big-picture overview of your business concept. This version is used to interest potential investors, employees, and other stakeholders, and will include a financial summary “box,” but it must have a disclaimer, and the founder/entrepreneur may need to have the people who receive it sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) . The full business plan is aimed at executing the vision concept, providing supporting details, and would be required by financial institutions and others as they formally become stakeholders in the venture. Both are aimed at providing a picture and roadmap to go from conception to creation.

Types of Business Plans

The brief business plan is similar to an extended executive summary from the full business plan. This concise document provides a broad overview of your entrepreneurial concept, your team members, how and why you will execute on your plans, and why you are the ones to do so. You can think of a brief business plan as a scene setter or—since we began this chapter with a film reference—as a trailer to the full movie. The brief business plan is the commercial equivalent to a trailer for Field of Dreams , whereas the full plan is the full-length movie equivalent.

Brief Business Plan or Executive Summary

As the name implies, the brief business plan or executive summary summarizes key elements of the entire business plan, such as the business concept, financial features, and current business position. The executive summary version of the business plan is your opportunity to broadly articulate the overall concept and vision of the company for yourself, for prospective investors, and for current and future employees.

A typical executive summary is generally no longer than a page, but because the brief business plan is essentially an extended executive summary, the executive summary section is vital. This is the “ask” to an investor. You should begin by clearly stating what you are asking for in the summary.

In the business concept phase, you’ll describe the business, its product, and its markets. Describe the customer segment it serves and why your company will hold a competitive advantage. This section may align roughly with the customer segments and value-proposition segments of a canvas.

Next, highlight the important financial features, including sales, profits, cash flows, and return on investment. Like the financial portion of a feasibility analysis, the financial analysis component of a business plan may typically include items like a twelve-month profit and loss projection, a three- or four-year profit and loss projection, a cash-flow projection, a projected balance sheet, and a breakeven calculation. You can explore a feasibility study and financial projections in more depth in the formal business plan. Here, you want to focus on the big picture of your numbers and what they mean.

The current business position section can furnish relevant information about you and your team members and the company at large. This is your opportunity to tell the story of how you formed the company, to describe its legal status (form of operation), and to list the principal players. In one part of the extended executive summary, you can cover your reasons for starting the business: Here is an opportunity to clearly define the needs you think you can meet and perhaps get into the pains and gains of customers. You also can provide a summary of the overall strategic direction in which you intend to take the company. Describe the company’s mission, vision, goals and objectives, overall business model, and value proposition.

Rice University’s Student Business Plan Competition, one of the largest and overall best-regarded graduate school business-plan competitions (see Telling Your Entrepreneurial Story and Pitching the Idea ), requires an executive summary of up to five pages to apply. 51 , 52 Its suggested sections are shown in Table 11.2 .

Are You Ready?

Create a brief business plan.

Fill out a canvas of your choosing for a well-known startup: Uber, Netflix, Dropbox, Etsy, Airbnb, Bird/Lime, Warby Parker, or any of the companies featured throughout this chapter or one of your choice. Then create a brief business plan for that business. See if you can find a version of the company’s actual executive summary, business plan, or canvas. Compare and contrast your vision with what the company has articulated.

  • These companies are well established but is there a component of what you charted that you would advise the company to change to ensure future viability?
  • Map out a contingency plan for a “what-if” scenario if one key aspect of the company or the environment it operates in were drastically is altered?

Full Business Plan

Even full business plans can vary in length, scale, and scope. Rice University sets a ten-page cap on business plans submitted for the full competition. The IndUS Entrepreneurs , one of the largest global networks of entrepreneurs, also holds business plan competitions for students through its Tie Young Entrepreneurs program. In contrast, business plans submitted for that competition can usually be up to twenty-five pages. These are just two examples. Some components may differ slightly; common elements are typically found in a formal business plan outline. The next section will provide sample components of a full business plan for a fictional business.

Executive Summary

The executive summary should provide an overview of your business with key points and issues. Because the summary is intended to summarize the entire document, it is most helpful to write this section last, even though it comes first in sequence. The writing in this section should be especially concise. Readers should be able to understand your needs and capabilities at first glance. The section should tell the reader what you want and your “ask” should be explicitly stated in the summary.

Describe your business, its product or service, and the intended customers. Explain what will be sold, who it will be sold to, and what competitive advantages the business has. Table 11.3 shows a sample executive summary for the fictional company La Vida Lola.

Business Description

This section describes the industry, your product, and the business and success factors. It should provide a current outlook as well as future trends and developments. You also should address your company’s mission, vision, goals, and objectives. Summarize your overall strategic direction, your reasons for starting the business, a description of your products and services, your business model, and your company’s value proposition. Consider including the Standard Industrial Classification/North American Industry Classification System (SIC/NAICS) code to specify the industry and insure correct identification. The industry extends beyond where the business is located and operates, and should include national and global dynamics. Table 11.4 shows a sample business description for La Vida Lola.

Industry Analysis and Market Strategies

Here you should define your market in terms of size, structure, growth prospects, trends, and sales potential. You’ll want to include your TAM and forecast the SAM . (Both these terms are discussed in Conducting a Feasibility Analysis .) This is a place to address market segmentation strategies by geography, customer attributes, or product orientation. Describe your positioning relative to your competitors’ in terms of pricing, distribution, promotion plan, and sales potential. Table 11.5 shows an example industry analysis and market strategy for La Vida Lola.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis is a statement of the business strategy as it relates to the competition. You want to be able to identify who are your major competitors and assess what are their market shares, markets served, strategies employed, and expected response to entry? You likely want to conduct a classic SWOT analysis (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) and complete a competitive-strength grid or competitive matrix. Outline your company’s competitive strengths relative to those of the competition in regard to product, distribution, pricing, promotion, and advertising. What are your company’s competitive advantages and their likely impacts on its success? The key is to construct it properly for the relevant features/benefits (by weight, according to customers) and how the startup compares to incumbents. The competitive matrix should show clearly how and why the startup has a clear (if not currently measurable) competitive advantage. Some common features in the example include price, benefits, quality, type of features, locations, and distribution/sales. Sample templates are shown in Figure 11.17 and Figure 11.18 . A competitive analysis helps you create a marketing strategy that will identify assets or skills that your competitors are lacking so you can plan to fill those gaps, giving you a distinct competitive advantage. When creating a competitor analysis, it is important to focus on the key features and elements that matter to customers, rather than focusing too heavily on the entrepreneur’s idea and desires.

Operations and Management Plan

In this section, outline how you will manage your company. Describe its organizational structure. Here you can address the form of ownership and, if warranted, include an organizational chart/structure. Highlight the backgrounds, experiences, qualifications, areas of expertise, and roles of members of the management team. This is also the place to mention any other stakeholders, such as a board of directors or advisory board(s), and their relevant relationship to the founder, experience and value to help make the venture successful, and professional service firms providing management support, such as accounting services and legal counsel.

Table 11.6 shows a sample operations and management plan for La Vida Lola.

Marketing Plan

Here you should outline and describe an effective overall marketing strategy for your venture, providing details regarding pricing, promotion, advertising, distribution, media usage, public relations, and a digital presence. Fully describe your sales management plan and the composition of your sales force, along with a comprehensive and detailed budget for the marketing plan. Table 11.7 shows a sample marketing plan for La Vida Lola.

Financial Plan

A financial plan seeks to forecast revenue and expenses; project a financial narrative; and estimate project costs, valuations, and cash flow projections. This section should present an accurate, realistic, and achievable financial plan for your venture (see Entrepreneurial Finance and Accounting for detailed discussions about conducting these projections). Include sales forecasts and income projections, pro forma financial statements ( Building the Entrepreneurial Dream Team , a breakeven analysis, and a capital budget. Identify your possible sources of financing (discussed in Conducting a Feasibility Analysis ). Figure 11.19 shows a template of cash-flow needs for La Vida Lola.

Entrepreneur In Action

Laughing man coffee.

Hugh Jackman ( Figure 11.20 ) may best be known for portraying a comic-book superhero who used his mutant abilities to protect the world from villains. But the Wolverine actor is also working to make the planet a better place for real, not through adamantium claws but through social entrepreneurship.

A love of java jolted Jackman into action in 2009, when he traveled to Ethiopia with a Christian humanitarian group to shoot a documentary about the impact of fair-trade certification on coffee growers there. He decided to launch a business and follow in the footsteps of the late Paul Newman, another famous actor turned philanthropist via food ventures.

Jackman launched Laughing Man Coffee two years later; he sold the line to Keurig in 2015. One Laughing Man Coffee café in New York continues to operate independently, investing its proceeds into charitable programs that support better housing, health, and educational initiatives within fair-trade farming communities. 55 Although the New York location is the only café, the coffee brand is still distributed, with Keurig donating an undisclosed portion of Laughing Man proceeds to those causes (whereas Jackman donates all his profits). The company initially donated its profits to World Vision, the Christian humanitarian group Jackman accompanied in 2009. In 2017, it created the Laughing Man Foundation to be more active with its money management and distribution.

  • You be the entrepreneur. If you were Jackman, would you have sold the company to Keurig? Why or why not?
  • Would you have started the Laughing Man Foundation?
  • What else can Jackman do to aid fair-trade practices for coffee growers?

What Can You Do?

Textbooks for change.

Founded in 2014, Textbooks for Change uses a cross-compensation model, in which one customer segment pays for a product or service, and the profit from that revenue is used to provide the same product or service to another, underserved segment. Textbooks for Change partners with student organizations to collect used college textbooks, some of which are re-sold while others are donated to students in need at underserved universities across the globe. The organization has reused or recycled 250,000 textbooks, providing 220,000 students with access through seven campus partners in East Africa. This B-corp social enterprise tackles a problem and offers a solution that is directly relevant to college students like yourself. Have you observed a problem on your college campus or other campuses that is not being served properly? Could it result in a social enterprise?

Work It Out

Franchisee set out.

A franchisee of East Coast Wings, a chain with dozens of restaurants in the United States, has decided to part ways with the chain. The new store will feature the same basic sports-bar-and-restaurant concept and serve the same basic foods: chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and the like. The new restaurant can’t rely on the same distributors and suppliers. A new business plan is needed.

  • What steps should the new restaurant take to create a new business plan?
  • Should it attempt to serve the same customers? Why or why not?

This New York Times video, “An Unlikely Business Plan,” describes entrepreneurial resurgence in Detroit, Michigan.

  • 48 Chris Guillebeau. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future . New York: Crown Business/Random House, 2012.
  • 49 Jonathan Chan. “What These 4 Startup Case Studies Can Teach You about Failure.” Foundr.com . July 12, 2015. https://foundr.com/4-startup-case-studies-failure/
  • 50 Amy Feldman. “Inventor of the Cut Buddy Paid YouTubers to Spark Sales. He Wasn’t Ready for a Video to Go Viral.” Forbes. February 15, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestreptalks/2017/02/15/inventor-of-the-cut-buddy-paid-youtubers-to-spark-sales-he-wasnt-ready-for-a-video-to-go-viral/#3eb540ce798a
  • 51 Jennifer Post. “National Business Plan Competitions for Entrepreneurs.” Business News Daily . August 30, 2018. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6902-business-plan-competitions-entrepreneurs.html
  • 52 “Rice Business Plan Competition, Eligibility Criteria and How to Apply.” Rice Business Plan Competition . March 2020. https://rbpc.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs806/f/2020%20RBPC%20Eligibility%20Criteria%20and%20How%20to%20Apply_23Oct19.pdf
  • 53 “Rice Business Plan Competition, Eligibility Criteria and How to Apply.” Rice Business Plan Competition. March 2020. https://rbpc.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs806/f/2020%20RBPC%20Eligibility%20Criteria%20and%20How%20to%20Apply_23Oct19.pdf; Based on 2019 RBPC Competition Rules and Format April 4–6, 2019. https://rbpc.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs806/f/2019-RBPC-Competition-Rules%20-Format.pdf
  • 54 Foodstart. http://foodstart.com
  • 55 “Hugh Jackman Journey to Starting a Social Enterprise Coffee Company.” Giving Compass. April 8, 2018. https://givingcompass.org/article/hugh-jackman-journey-to-starting-a-social-enterprise-coffee-company/

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business plan grade 6

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business plan grade 6

Economic and management sciences

What is a business plan, the business plan.

"Plan your work and work your plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Ancient entrepreneurial truth

It is true that many successful business people managed to develop successful businesses without much planning. If they could do it, we might also manage it.

Let us look at the simple example of having a barbecue. It may be possible to braai without any equipment, but to do so with the help of a grid and a pair of braai tongs is much easier and certainly less painful. Using the appropriate tools simply improves our chances of success.

It is a document drawn up by an entrepreneur to indicate the nature of the business and the steps to be taken to develop it into a successful business . It is like a textbook or road map against which an entrepreneur can measure or test himself/herself continually to determine whether he or she is on the right track. There are three particular reasons why it is important for such a businessperson to draw up a sound business plan.

  • It gives the prospective businessperson an idea of whether he/she actually wants to become involved with the specific type of business.
  • The business plan should indicate danger zones.
  • It serves as a continuous measure for the entrepreneur to control whether he/she is on track.
  • It is a useful document for external parties, like banks, to determine whether they want to / can become involved with the business.

What information should be summarised in a business plan?

A business plan should provide basic answers to the following questions:

Who would be interested to pay for the product or service?

Why should they want to have it?

How would the product or service be promoted?

What will the marketing costs be?

Who will produce/deliver the product/service and what will the costs be?

How would the business be organised and managed?

Where would the money be obtained to start the business?

Will the business be profitable?

  • The business concept Online Chapter
  • Primary, secondary and tertiary industries Online Chapter
  • Economic and management sciences Online Course

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Finish your plan faster with step-by-step guidance, financial wizards, and a proven format.

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Example business plan format

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

Executive summary

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

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

Products & services

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

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

Market analysis

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

Competition

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

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

Marketing & sales

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

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

Milestones & metrics

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

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

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

Company & team

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

Financial projections

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

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

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

Types of business plans explained

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

Traditional business plan

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

Business model canvas

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

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

One-page business plan

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

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

Growth planning

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

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

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

Download a free sample business plan template

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

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

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

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

Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company

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

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

Use a business plan example as a guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepare to pitch your business

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

Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.

With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.

Get LivePlan in your classroom

Are you an educator looking for real-world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry-best business plans and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet-free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources that work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.

With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .

Ready to get started?

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

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

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Free business plan template (with examples)

Alan Bradley

Sierra Campbell

Sierra Campbell

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Updated 3:37 a.m. UTC Feb. 12, 2024

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Featured Image

AzmanL, Getty Images

Starting a business can be a daunting undertaking. As with so many large projects, one of the most difficult challenges is just getting started, and one of the best ways to start is by putting together a plan. A plan is also a powerful tool for communication and can serve as a cornerstone for onboarding new partners and employees or for demonstrating your philosophy and priorities to potential collaborators. 

A solid business plan will not only provide a framework for your business going forward but will also give you an early opportunity to organize and refine your thoughts and define your mission statement, providing a guidepost that can serve as a beacon for your business for years to come. We’ve provided a business plan template below to help guide you in the creation of your new enterprise.

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Business plan template

What should a business plan include?

Regardless of the type of business you own or the products and services you provide, every business plan should include some core elements:

  • Mission statement. The definition and executive summary of your business.
  • Market analysis. A breakdown of the market segment and customers you hope to reach, built through primary (gathered by you) and secondary (gathered from outside sources) research.
  • Organization and logistics. The nuts and bolts of how your business is operated
  • Products or services. What your company provides its customers.
  • Advertising and marketing. How you intend to get your products in front of your customers.
  • Forecasting. Revenue forecasting for partners or potential investors.

Why do you need a business plan?

A business plan is a framework for success. It provides a number of key benefits:

  • Structure. The outline around which to design your business.
  • Operational guidance. A signpost for how to run your business from day to day.
  • Expansion. A vision for the future growth of your enterprise.
  • Definition. A platform to consider every element of your business and how best to execute your plans for them.
  • Collaboration. A synopsis of what’s exceptional about your business and a way to attract funding, investment or partnerships.
  • Onboarding. An efficient summary of your business for new or potential employees.

Business plan examples

We’ve created two fictional companies to illustrate how a business might use a business plan to sketch out goals and opportunities as well as forecast revenue.

Bling, Incorporated

Our first hypothetical example is a jewelry and accessory creator called Bling, Incorporated. A hybrid business that manufactures its products for sale both online and through physical retail channels, Bling’s mission statement is focused on transforming simple, inexpensive ingredients into wearable statement pieces of art. 

Market analysis includes gathering data around sourcing sustainable, inexpensive components, aesthetic trends in fashion and on which platforms competitors have had success in advertising jewelry to prospective customers. Logistics include shipping products, negotiating with retailers, establishing an e-commerce presence and material and manufacturing costs. 

Bling, Incorporated advertises initially through social platforms like TikTok and Facebook, as well as with Google AdSense, with plans to eventually expand to television advertising. Revenue forecasting is structured around a low overhead on the basis of inexpensive materials, no dedicated storefront and broad reach through digital platforms.

Phaeton Custom Cars

Phaeton is a custom car builder and classic car restoration business with a regional focus and reach. Its mission statement defines it as a local, family-owned business serving a community of auto enthusiasts and a broader regional niche of collectors. 

Market analysis breaks down the location and facilities of other competitor shops in the region as well as online communities of regional car enthusiasts likely to spend money on custom modifications or restoration projects. It also examines trends in valuations for custom parts and vintage cars. Logistics include pricing out parts and labor, finding skilled or apprentice laborers and mortgaging a garage and equipment. 

Phaeton advertises in regional publications, at local events and regional car shows and online through Facebook and Instagram, with an emphasis on a social presence highlighting their flashiest builds. Revenue forecasting is built around a growing reputation and high-value commissions.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

A business plan may not be a prerequisite for every type of business, but there are few businesses that wouldn’t benefit from one. It can serve as an important strategic tool and help crystalize a vision of your business and its future.

Business plans do just that: they help you plan the future of your business, serve as a platform to brainstorm ideas and think through your vision and are a great tool for showcasing why your business works to potential investors or partners.

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.

Alan Bradley

Alan is an experienced culture and tech writer with a background in newspaper reporting. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, The Escapist, PC Mag, PC Gamer, and a multitude of other outlets. He has over twenty years of experience as a journalist and editor and is the author of the urban fantasy novel The Sixth Borough.

Sierra Campbell is a small business editor for USA Today Blueprint. She specializes in writing, editing and fact-checking content centered around helping businesses. She has worked as a digital content and show producer for several local TV stations, an editor for U.S. News & World Report and a freelance writer and editor for many companies. Sierra prides herself in delivering accurate and up-to-date information to readers. Her expertise includes credit card processing companies, e-commerce platforms, payroll software, accounting software and virtual private networks (VPNs). She also owns Editing by Sierra, where she offers editing services to writers of all backgrounds, including self-published and traditionally published authors.

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

Business Eric Rosenberg

COMMENTS

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    Goal Tracker Poster. Here's my full review of the Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox. 4. Home Sweet Road's My Business Plan. Check out this business plan for kids, which asks kids questions like what makes their idea unique, whether or not their idea is a product or service, and who their customers will be. 5.

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    See the fact file below for more information on Business Plan Template or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Business Plan Template for Kids worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment. ... Kindergarten (ages 5-6) Grade 1 (age 6-7) Grade 2 (age 7-8) Grade 3 (ages 8-9) Grade 4 (ages 9-10) Grade 5 (ages 10-11 ...

  6. A Simple Guide for Kids' Business Plans

    When you plan a business, you must know what your competitors offer to gain a competitive edge. Some of the items you should include in your competitor analysis are: A product list for each competitor. A price list for each product, for each competitor. The needs that each competitor fulfils in the target market. A list of the gaps in the market.

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    This section of the plan should describe the following requirements of your business: Manufacturing. R&D. Purchasing. Staffing. Equipment. Facilities. Note: Provide a rollout strategy as to when these requirements need to be purchased and implemented. In addition, describe the vendors you will need to build the business.

  9. PDF Creating a Business Plan Lesson 1: I Have an Idea!

    4. As the class comes back, the teacher writes the words "Business Plan" on the board, and asks the class what they think needs to be included in a business plan. (5 min) 5. From there the teacher will pass out copies of the first part of a transcript from the article How Entrepreneurs Can Create Effective Business Plans. The interview was

  10. Template

    A schedule of deadlines in which the project should be completed by. A business plan is often a document taken with an entrepreneur when pitching for investment, so it needs to be as comprehensive and professional as possible. A business plan should also be presented with a logo, a prototype (if relevant) and a strong, confident entrepreneur.

  11. Write your business plan

    Executive summary. 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.

  12. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

    That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks: Product goals and deadlines for each month. Monthly financials for the first two years. Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years. Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years. Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create ...

  13. 11.4 The Business Plan

    Create a Brief Business Plan. Fill out a canvas of your choosing for a well-known startup: Uber, Netflix, Dropbox, Etsy, Airbnb, Bird/Lime, Warby Parker, or any of the companies featured throughout this chapter or one of your choice. Then create a brief business plan for that business.

  14. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Updated February 2, 2024 Download Now: Free Business Plan Template Writing a business plan doesn't have to be complicated. In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn how to write a business plan that's detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  15. Grade 6, What is a business plan?, By OpenStax

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    Once you've got your audience in mind, you can start your business plan, which should include: 1. Executive summary. Even though it appears first in the official plan, write this section last so you can condense essential ideas from the other nine sections. For now, leave it as a placeholder.

  17. How to Write a Good Business Plan (teacher made)

    This is why learning to write a good business plan is an important part of the grade 9 Economic and Management Sciences work. We have included all the important aspects learners need to know to write a successful business plan. We have included black and white versions for easy and low-cost printing and an A3 version which can be printed in ...

  18. 550+ Sample Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own

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

  19. How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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