24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

Clifford Chi

Published: February 06, 2024

I believe that reading sample business plans is essential when writing your own.

sample business plans and examples

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As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, it’s easier for you to learn how to write a good one.

But what does a good business plan look like? And how do you write one that’s both viable and convincing. I’ll walk you through the ideal business plan format along with some examples to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Format

Business plan types, sample business plan templates, top business plan examples.

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. To me, the same logic applies to business.

If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

example of business plan in writing

Free Business Plan Template

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You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

First, you’ll want to nail down your formatting. Most business plans include the following sections.

1. Executive Summary

I’d say the executive summary is the most important section of the entire business plan. 

Why? Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

There are two main elements I’d recommend including in your executive summary:

Company Description

This is the perfect space to highlight your company’s mission statement and goals, a brief overview of your history and leadership, and your top accomplishments as a business.

Tell potential investors who you are and why what you do matters. Naturally, they’re going to want to know who they’re getting into business with up front, and this is a great opportunity to showcase your impact.

Need some extra help firming up those business goals? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free course to help you set goals that matter — I’d highly recommend it

Products and Services

To piggyback off of the company description, be sure to incorporate an overview of your offerings. This doesn’t have to be extensive — just another chance to introduce your industry and overall purpose as a business.

In addition to the items above, I recommend including some information about your financial projections and competitive advantage here too.:

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, and only include the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

This executive summary is so good to me because it tells potential investors a short story while still covering all of the most important details.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Start with a strong introduction of your company, showcase your mission and impact, and outline the products and services you provide.
  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market.

The main question I’d ask myself here is this: Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will my product fill that gap?

More specifically, here’s what I’d include in this section:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry.

You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

I like this example because it uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Since we’re already speaking of market share, you'll also need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are.

After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another.

My favorite part of performing a competitive analysis is that it can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

I like how the competitive landscape section of this business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. 

This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

Use this section to describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Here are some questions I’d ask myself here:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

I’d also recommend building a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

I like the example below because it uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. I’d suggest including information:

  • Your brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

I think it’s helpful to have a marketing plan built out in advance to make this part of your business plan easier.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler.

In my opinion, it really works because it offers a comprehensive picture of how they plan to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll need to review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services.

Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use. It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

In my opinion, the example below does a great job outlining products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. 

For this reason, here’s what I’d might outline in this section:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

I like how this business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

To me, this section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more.

 According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details I’d include in this section.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet is a great example of level of detail you’ll need to include in the financials section of your business plan.

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. 

So, I’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business.

You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. In my opinion, internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some of my favorite templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow.

Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why I Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it.

There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders.

It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis.

The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made.

Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly.

It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (I always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

I absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service.

You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business.

Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you.

It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things I love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, I especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan.

Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

I’ve compiled some completed business plan samples to help you get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business.

I chose different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Let’s take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue.

I included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives.

This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact. Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best.

For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement  should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Patagonia has one of the most compelling mission statements I’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University .

While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more.

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. 

This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. 

Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission.

The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" and this example does just that. In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. 

You can use this template as a guide while you're gathering important information for your own business plan. You'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do since Culina’s plan outlines these details so flawlessly for inspiration.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

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

1. Secure Funds

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

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

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

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

2. Monitor Business Growth

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

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

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

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

3. Measure Business Success

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

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

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

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

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

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

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

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

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

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

Executive Summary of the business plan

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

A good executive summary should do the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Add Your Company Overview

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

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

Your company overview should contain the following:

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

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

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

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

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

It describes what your business does

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

  • Mission Statement

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

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

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

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

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

Business Objectives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Market Analysis

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

Market Analysis for Online Business

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

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

  • Market Research

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

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

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

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

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

How to Quantify Your Target Market

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

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

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

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

Market Analysis Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

Competitive Analysis

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

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

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

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

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

Direct vs Indirect Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

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

1. Cost Leadership

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

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

2. Product Differentiation

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

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

3. Market Segmentation

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

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

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Management Team

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

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

Create Management Team For Business Plan

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

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

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

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

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

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

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

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

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

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

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

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

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

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

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

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

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

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

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

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

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

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

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

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

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

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

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

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

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

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

Target Market and Target Audience

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

Target Market Vs Target Audience

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

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

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

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

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

Your Positioning Statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

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

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

Pricing Strategy

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

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

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

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

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

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

Advertising

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

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

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

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

Public Relations

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

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

Content Marketing

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

The Benefits of Content Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media

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

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

Most popular social media platforms

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

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

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

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

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

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

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

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

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

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

2. Evaluate Your Competition

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

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

These questions can help you know your competition.

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

3. Consider Your Brand

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

4. Focus on Benefits

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

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

5. Focus on Differentiation

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

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

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

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

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

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

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

Case for Equity

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

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

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

Case for Debt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use Graphs and Charts

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

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

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Sales Forecast

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

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

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

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

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

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

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

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

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

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

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

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

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

The income statement section

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

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

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

4. Cash Flow Statement

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

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

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

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

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

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

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

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

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

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

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

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

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

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

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

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

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

1. Know Your Audience

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

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

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

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

2. Get Inspiration from People

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

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

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

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

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

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

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

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

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

4. Keep it Simple and Short

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

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

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

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

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

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

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

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

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

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

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

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

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

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

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

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

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

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

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

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

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

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

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

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

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

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

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

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

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

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

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

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

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

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

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

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

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

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

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

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

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

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

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

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

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

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

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

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

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

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

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

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

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

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

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

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

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

Lean Canvas

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

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

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

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

Startup Pitch Deck

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

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

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

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

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

Airbnb Pitch Deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Plan FAQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exlore Further

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

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

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

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Business plans might seem like an old-school stiff-collared practice, but they deserve a place in the startup realm, too. It’s probably not going to be the frame-worthy document you hang in the office—yet, it may one day be deserving of the privilege.

Whether you’re looking to win the heart of an angel investor or convince a bank to lend you money, you’ll need a business plan. And not just any ol’ notes and scribble on the back of a pizza box or napkin—you’ll need a professional, standardized report.

Bah. Sounds like homework, right?

Yes. Yes, it does.

However, just like bookkeeping, loan applications, and 404 redirects, business plans are an essential step in cementing your business foundation.

Don’t worry. We’ll show you how to write a business plan without boring you to tears. We’ve jam-packed this article with all the business plan examples, templates, and tips you need to take your non-existent proposal from concept to completion.

Table of Contents

What Is a Business Plan?

Tips to Make Your Small Business Plan Ironclad

How to Write a Business Plan in 6 Steps

Startup Business Plan Template

Business Plan Examples

Work on Making Your Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan FAQs

What is a business plan why do you desperately need one.

A business plan is a roadmap that outlines:

  • Who your business is, what it does, and who it serves
  • Where your business is now
  • Where you want it to go
  • How you’re going to make it happen
  • What might stop you from taking your business from Point A to Point B
  • How you’ll overcome the predicted obstacles

While it’s not required when starting a business, having a business plan is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Secure a Bank Loan: Before approving you for a business loan, banks will want to see that your business is legitimate and can repay the loan. They want to know how you’re going to use the loan and how you’ll make monthly payments on your debt. Lenders want to see a sound business strategy that doesn’t end in loan default.
  • Win Over Investors: Like lenders, investors want to know they’re going to make a return on their investment. They need to see your business plan to have the confidence to hand you money.
  • Stay Focused: It’s easy to get lost chasing the next big thing. Your business plan keeps you on track and focused on the big picture. Your business plan can prevent you from wasting time and resources on something that isn’t aligned with your business goals.

Beyond the reasoning, let’s look at what the data says:

  • Simply writing a business plan can boost your average annual growth by 30%
  • Entrepreneurs who create a formal business plan are 16% more likely to succeed than those who don’t
  • A study looking at 65 fast-growth companies found that 71% had small business plans
  • The process and output of creating a business plan have shown to improve business performance

Convinced yet? If those numbers and reasons don’t have you scrambling for pen and paper, who knows what will.

Don’t Skip: Business Startup Costs Checklist

Before we get into the nitty-gritty steps of how to write a business plan, let’s look at some high-level tips to get you started in the right direction:

Be Professional and Legit

You might be tempted to get cutesy or revolutionary with your business plan—resist the urge. While you should let your brand and creativity shine with everything you produce, business plans fall more into the realm of professional documents.

Think of your business plan the same way as your terms and conditions, employee contracts, or financial statements. You want your plan to be as uniform as possible so investors, lenders, partners, and prospective employees can find the information they need to make important decisions.

If you want to create a fun summary business plan for internal consumption, then, by all means, go right ahead. However, for the purpose of writing this external-facing document, keep it legit.

Know Your Audience

Your official business plan document is for lenders, investors, partners, and big-time prospective employees. Keep these names and faces in your mind as you draft your plan.

Think about what they might be interested in seeing, what questions they’ll ask, and what might convince (or scare) them. Cut the jargon and tailor your language so these individuals can understand.

Remember, these are busy people. They’re likely looking at hundreds of applicants and startup investments every month. Keep your business plan succinct and to the point. Include the most pertinent information and omit the sections that won’t impact their decision-making.

Invest Time Researching

You might not have answers to all the sections you should include in your business plan. Don’t skip over these!

Your audience will want:

  • Detailed information about your customers
  • Numbers and solid math to back up your financial claims and estimates
  • Deep insights about your competitors and potential threats
  • Data to support market opportunities and strategy

Your answers can’t be hypothetical or opinionated. You need research to back up your claims. If you don’t have that data yet, then invest time and money in collecting it. That information isn’t just critical for your business plan—it’s essential for owning, operating, and growing your company.

Stay Realistic

Your business may be ambitious, but reign in the enthusiasm just a teeny-tiny bit. The last thing you want to do is have an angel investor call BS and say “I’m out” before even giving you a chance.

The folks looking at your business and evaluating your plan have been around the block—they know a thing or two about fact and fiction. Your plan should be a blueprint for success. It should be the step-by-step roadmap for how you’re going from Point A to Point B.

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How to Write a Business Plan—6 Essential Elements

Not every business plan looks the same, but most share a few common elements. Here’s what they typically include:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Overview
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Financial Strategy

Below, we’ll break down each of these sections in more detail.

1. Executive Summary

While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it’s the section you’ll write last. That’s because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager.

Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what’s inside the business plan.

Your executive summary highlights key points of your plan. Consider this your elevator pitch. You want to put all your juiciest strengths and opportunities strategically in this section.

2. Business Overview

In this section, you can dive deeper into the elements of your business, including answering:

  • What’s your business structure? Sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.
  • Where is it located?
  • Who owns the business? Does it have employees?
  • What problem does it solve, and how?
  • What’s your mission statement? Your mission statement briefly describes why you are in business. To write a proper mission statement, brainstorm your business’s core values and who you serve.

Don’t overlook your mission statement. This powerful sentence or paragraph could be the inspiration that drives an investor to take an interest in your business. Here are a few examples of powerful mission statements that just might give you the goosebumps:

  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • InvisionApp : Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.
  • TED : Spread ideas.
  • Warby Parker : To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

3. Products and Services

As the owner, you know your business and the industry inside and out. However, whoever’s reading your document might not. You’re going to need to break down your products and services in minute detail.

For example, if you own a SaaS business, you’re going to need to explain how this business model works and what you’re selling.

You’ll need to include:

  • What services you sell: Describe the services you provide and how these will help your target audience.
  • What products you sell: Describe your products (and types if applicable) and how they will solve a need for your target and provide value.
  • How much you charge: If you’re selling services, will you charge hourly, per project, retainer, or a mixture of all of these? If you’re selling products, what are the price ranges?

4. Market Analysis

Your market analysis essentially explains how your products and services address customer concerns and pain points. This section will include research and data on the state and direction of your industry and target market.

This research should reveal lucrative opportunities and how your business is uniquely positioned to seize the advantage. You’ll also want to touch on your marketing strategy and how it will (or does) work for your audience.

Include a detailed analysis of your target customers. This describes the people you serve and sell your product to. Be careful not to go too broad here—you don’t want to fall into the common entrepreneurial trap of trying to sell to everyone and thereby not differentiating yourself enough to survive the competition.

The market analysis section will include your unique value proposition. Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the thing that makes you stand out from your competitors. This is your key to success.

If you don’t have a UVP, you don’t have a way to take on competitors who are already in this space. Here’s an example of an ecommerce internet business plan outlining their competitive edge:

FireStarters’ competitive advantage is offering product lines that make a statement but won’t leave you broke. The major brands are expensive and not distinctive enough to satisfy the changing taste of our target customers. FireStarters offers products that are just ahead of the curve and so affordable that our customers will return to the website often to check out what’s new.

5. Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis examines the strengths and weaknesses of competing businesses in your market or industry. This will include direct and indirect competitors. It can also include threats and opportunities, like economic concerns or legal restraints.

The best way to sum up this section is with a classic SWOT analysis. This will explain your company’s position in relation to your competitors.

6. Financial Strategy

Your financial strategy will sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. It’ll explain how you make money, where your cash flow goes, and how you’ll become profitable or stay profitable.

This is one of the most important sections for lenders and investors. Have you ever watched Shark Tank? They always ask about the company’s financial situation. How has it performed in the past? What’s the ongoing outlook moving forward? How does the business plan to make it happen?

Answer all of these questions in your financial strategy so that your audience doesn’t have to ask. Go ahead and include forecasts and graphs in your plan, too:

  • Balance sheet: This includes your assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Profit & Loss (P&L) statement: This details your income and expenses over a given period.
  • Cash flow statement: Similar to the P&L, this one will show all cash flowing into and out of the business each month.

It takes cash to change the world—lenders and investors get it. If you’re short on funding, explain how much money you’ll need and how you’ll use the capital. Where are you looking for financing? Are you looking to take out a business loan, or would you rather trade equity for capital instead?

Read More: 16 Financial Concepts Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Startup Business Plan Template (Copy/Paste Outline)

Ready to write your own business plan? Copy/paste the startup business plan template below and fill in the blanks.

Executive Summary Remember, do this last. Summarize who you are and your business plan in one page.

Business Overview Describe your business. What’s it do? Who owns it? How’s it structured? What’s the mission statement?

Products and Services Detail the products and services you offer. How do they work? What do you charge?

Market Analysis Write about the state of the market and opportunities. Use date. Describe your customers. Include your UVP.

Competitive Analysis Outline the competitors in your market and industry. Include threats and opportunities. Add a SWOT analysis of your business.

Financial Strategy Sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. If you’re applying for a loan, include how you’ll use the funding to progress the business.

What’s the Best Business Plan to Succeed as a Consultant?

5 Frame-Worthy Business Plan Examples

Want to explore other templates and examples? We got you covered. Check out these 5 business plan examples you can use as inspiration when writing your plan:

  • SBA Wooden Grain Toy Company
  • SBA We Can Do It Consulting
  • OrcaSmart Business Plan Sample
  • Plum Business Plan Template
  • PandaDoc Free Business Plan Templates

Get to Work on Making Your Business Plan

If you find you’re getting stuck on perfecting your document, opt for a simple one-page business plan —and then get to work. You can always polish up your official plan later as you learn more about your business and the industry.

Remember, business plans are not a requirement for starting a business—they’re only truly essential if a bank or investor is asking for it.

Ask others to review your business plan. Get feedback from other startups and successful business owners. They’ll likely be able to see holes in your planning or undetected opportunities—just make sure these individuals aren’t your competitors (or potential competitors).

Your business plan isn’t a one-and-done report—it’s a living, breathing document. You’ll make changes to it as you grow and evolve. When the market or your customers change, your plan will need to change to adapt.

That means when you’re finished with this exercise, it’s not time to print your plan out and stuff it in a file cabinet somewhere. No, it should sit on your desk as a day-to-day reference. Use it (and update it) as you make decisions about your product, customers, and financial plan.

Review your business plan frequently, update it routinely, and follow the path you’ve developed to the future you’re building.

Keep Learning: New Product Development Process in 8 Easy Steps

What financial information should be included in a business plan?

Be as detailed as you can without assuming too much. For example, include your expected revenue, expenses, profit, and growth for the future.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a business plan?

The most common mistake is turning your business plan into a textbook. A business plan is an internal guide and an external pitching tool. Cut the fat and only include the most relevant information to start and run your business.

Who should review my business plan before I submit it?

Co-founders, investors, or a board of advisors. Otherwise, reach out to a trusted mentor, your local chamber of commerce, or someone you know that runs a business.

Ready to Write Your Business Plan?

Don’t let creating a business plan hold you back from starting your business. Writing documents might not be your thing—that doesn’t mean your business is a bad idea.

Let us help you get started.

Join our free training to learn how to start an online side hustle in 30 days or less. We’ll provide you with a proven roadmap for how to find, validate, and pursue a profitable business idea (even if you have zero entrepreneurial experience).

Stuck on the ideas part? No problem. When you attend the masterclass, we’ll send you a free ebook with 100 of the hottest side hustle trends right now. It’s chock full of brilliant business ideas to get you up and running in the right direction.

Launch your side hustle training

About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

May 24, 2021

Have you ever wondered how to write a business plan step by step? Mike Andes, told us: 

This guide will help you write a business plan to impress investors.

Throughout this process, we’ll get information from Mike Andes, who started Augusta Lawn Care Services when he was 12 and turned it into a franchise with over 90 locations. He has gone on to help others learn how to write business plans and start businesses.  He knows a thing or two about writing  business plans!

We’ll start by discussing the definition of a business plan. Then we’ll discuss how to come up with the idea, how to do the market research, and then the important elements in the business plan format. Keep reading to start your journey!

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is simply a road map of what you are trying to achieve with your business and how you will go about achieving it. It should cover all elements of your business including: 

  • Finding customers
  • Plans for developing a team
  •  Competition
  • Legal structures
  • Key milestones you are pursuing

If you aren’t quite ready to create a business plan, consider starting by reading our business startup guide .

Get a Business Idea

Before you can write a business plan, you have to have a business idea. You may see a problem that needs to be solved and have an idea how to solve it, or you might start by evaluating your interests and skills. 

Mike told us, “The three things I suggest asking yourself when thinking about starting a business are:

  • What am I good at?
  • What would I enjoy doing?
  • What can I get paid for?”

Three adjoining circles about business opportunity

If all three of these questions don’t lead to at least one common answer, it will probably be a much harder road to success. Either there is not much market for it, you won’t be good at it, or you won’t enjoy doing it. 

As Mike told us, “There’s enough stress starting and running a business that if you don’t like it or aren’t good at it, it’s hard to succeed.”

If you’d like to hear more about Mike’s approach to starting a business, check out our YouTube video

Conduct Market Analysis

Market analysis is focused on establishing if there is a target market for your products and services, how large the target market is, and identifying the demographics of people or businesses that would be interested in the product or service. The goal here is to establish how much money your business concept can make.

Product and Service Demand

An image showing product service and demand

A search engine is your best friend when trying to figure out if there is demand for your products and services. Personally, I love using presearch.org because it lets you directly search on a ton of different platforms including Google, Youtube, Twitter, and more. Check out the screenshot for the full list of search options.

With quick web searches, you can find out how many competitors you have, look through their reviews, and see if there are common complaints about the competitors. Bad reviews are a great place to find opportunities to offer better products or services. 

If there are no similar products or services, you may have stumbled upon something new, or there may just be no demand for it. To find out, go talk to your most honest friend about the idea and see what they think. If they tell you it’s dumb or stare at you vacantly, there’s probably no market for it.

You can also conduct a survey through social media to get public opinion on your idea. Using Facebook Business Manager , you could get a feel for who would be interested in your product or service.

 I ran a quick test of how many people between 18-65  you could reach in the U.S. during a week. It returned an estimated 700-2,000 for the total number of leads, which is enough to do a fairly accurate statistical analysis.

Identify Demographics of Target Market

Depending on what type of business you want to run, your target market will be different. The narrower the demographic, the fewer potential customers you’ll have. If you did a survey, you’ll be able to use that data to help define your target audience. Some considerations you’ll want to consider are:

  • Other Interests
  • Marital Status
  • Do they have kids?

Once you have this information, it can help you narrow down your options for location and help define your marketing further. One resource that Mike recommended using is the Census Bureau’s Quick Facts Map . He told us,  

“It helps you quickly evaluate what the best areas are for your business to be located.”

How to Write a Business Plan

Business plan development

Now that you’ve developed your idea a little and established there is a market for it, you can begin writing a business plan. Getting started is easier with the business plan template we created for you to download. I strongly recommend using it as it is updated to make it easier to create an action plan. 

Each of the following should be a section of your business plan:

  • Business Plan Cover Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Description of Products and Services

SWOT Analysis

  • Competitor Data
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Expenses Strategy 

Pricing Strategy

  • Distribution Channel Assessment
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organizational Strategy
  • Financial Statements and/or Financial Projections

We’ll look into each of these. Don’t forget to download our free business plan template (mentioned just above) so you can follow along as we go. 

How to Write a Business Plan Step 1. Create a Cover Page

The first thing investors will see is the cover page for your business plan. Make sure it looks professional. A great cover page shows that you think about first impressions.

A good business plan should have the following elements on a cover page:

  • Professionally designed logo
  • Company name
  • Mission or Vision Statement
  • Contact Info

Basically, think of a cover page for your business plan like a giant business card. It is meant to capture people’s attention but be quickly processed.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 2. Create a Table of Contents

Most people are busy enough that they don’t have a lot of time. Providing a table of contents makes it easy for them to find the pages of your plan that are meaningful to them.

A table of contents will be immediately after the cover page, but you can include it after the executive summary. Including the table of contents immediately after the executive summary will help investors know what section of your business plan they want to review more thoroughly.

Check out Canva’s article about creating a  table of contents . It has a ton of great information about creating easy access to each section of your business plan. Just remember that you’ll want to use different strategies for digital and hard copy business plans.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 3. Write an Executive Summary

A notepad with a written executive summary for business plan writing

An executive summary is where your business plan should catch the readers interest.  It doesn’t need to be long, but should be quick and easy to read.

Mike told us,

How long should an executive summary bein an informal business plan?

For casual use, an executive summary should be similar to an elevator pitch, no more than 150-160 words, just enough to get them interested and wanting more. Indeed has a great article on elevator pitches .  This can also be used for the content of emails to get readers’ attention.

It consists of three basic parts:

  • An introduction to you and your business.
  • What your business is about.
  • A call to action

Example of an informal executive summary 

One of the best elevator pitches I’ve used is:

So far that pitch has achieved a 100% success rate in getting partnerships for the business.

What should I include in an executive summary for investors?

Investors are going to need a more detailed executive summary if you want to secure financing or sell equity. The executive summary should be a brief overview of your entire business plan and include:

  • Introduction of yourself and company.
  • An origin story (Recognition of a problem and how you came to solution)
  • An introduction to your products or services.
  • Your unique value proposition. Make sure to include intellectual property.
  • Where you are in the business life cycle
  • Request and why you need it.

Successful business plan examples

The owner of Urbanity told us he spent 2 months writing a 75-page business plan and received a $250,000 loan from the bank when he was 23. Make your business plan as detailed as possible when looking for financing. We’ve provided a template to help you prepare the portions of a business plan that banks expect.

Here’s the interview with the owner of Urbanity:

When to write an executive summary?

Even though the summary is near the beginning of a business plan, you should write it after you complete the rest of a business plan. You can’t talk about revenue, profits, and expected expenditures if you haven’t done the market research and created a financial plan.

What mistakes do people make when writing an executive summary?

Business owners commonly go into too much detail about the following items in an executive summary:

  • Marketing and sales processes
  • Financial statements
  • Organizational structure
  • Market analysis

These are things that people will want to know later, but they don’t hook the reader. They won’t spark interest in your small business, but they’ll close the deal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 4. Company Description

Every business plan should include a company description. A great business plan will include the following elements while describing the company:

  • Mission statement
  • Philosophy and vision
  • Company goals

Target market

  • Legal structure

Let’s take a look at what each section includes in a good business plan.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is a brief explanation of why you started the company and what the company’s main focus is. It should be no more than one or two sentences. Check out HubSpot’s article 27 Inspiring Mission Statement for a great read on informative and inspiring mission and vision statements. 

Company Philosophy and Vision

Writing the company philosophy and vision

The company philosophy is what drives your company. You’ll normally hear them called core values.  These are the building blocks that make your company different. You want to communicate your values to customers, business owners, and investors as often as possible to build a company culture, but make sure to back them up.

What makes your company different?

Each company is different. Your new business should rise above the standard company lines of honesty, integrity, fun, innovation, and community when communicating your business values. The standard answers are corporate jargon and lack authenticity. 

Examples of core values

One of my clients decided to add a core values page to their website. As a tech company they emphasized the values:

  •  Prioritize communication.
  •  Never stop learning.
  •  Be transparent.
  •  Start small and grow incrementally.

These values communicate how the owner and the rest of the company operate. They also show a value proposition and competitive advantage because they specifically focus on delivering business value from the start. These values also genuinely show what the company is about and customers recognize the sincerity. Indeed has a great blog about how to identify your core values .

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement communicate the long lasting change a business pursues. The vision helps investors and customers understand what your company is trying to accomplish. The vision statement goes beyond a mission statement to provide something meaningful to the community, customer’s lives, or even the world.

Example vision statements

The Alzheimer’s Association is a great example of a vision statement:

A world without Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia.

It clearly tells how they want to change the world. A world without Alzheimers might be unachievable, but that means they always have room for improvement.

Business Goals

You have to measure success against goals for a business plan to be meaningful. A business plan helps guide a company similar to how your GPS provides a road map to your favorite travel destination. A goal to make as much money as possible is not inspirational and sounds greedy.

Sure, business owners want to increase their profits and improve customer service, but they need to present an overview of what they consider success. The goals should help everyone prioritize their work.

How far in advance should a business plan?

Business planning should be done at least one year in advance, but many banks and investors prefer three to five year business plans. Longer plans show investors that the management team  understands the market and knows the business is operating in a constantly shifting market. In addition, a plan helps businesses to adjust to changes because they have already considered how to handle them.

Example of great business goals

My all time-favorite long-term company goals are included in Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux . These goals were written in 2016 and drive the company’s decisions through 2026. They are the reason that investors are so forgiving when Elon Musk continually fails to meet his quarterly and annual goals.

If the progress aligns with the business plan investors are likely to continue to believe in the company. Just make sure the goals are reasonable or you’ll be discredited (unless you’re Elon Musk).

A man holding an iPad with a cup of coffee on his desk

You did target market research before creating a business plan. Now it’s time to add it to the plan so others understand what your ideal customer looks like. As a new business owner, you may not be considered an expert in your field yet, so document everything. Make sure the references you use are from respectable sources. 

Use information from the specific lender when you are applying for lending. Most lenders provide industry research reports and using their data can strengthen the position of your business plan.

A small business plan should include a section on the external environment. Understanding the industry is crucial because we don’t plan a business in a vacuum. Make sure to research the industry trends, competitors, and forecasts. I personally prefer IBIS World for my business research. Make sure to answer questions like:

  • What is the industry outlook long-term and short-term?
  • How will your business take advantage of projected industry changes and trends?
  • What might happen to your competitors and how will your business successfully compete?

Industry resources

Some helpful resources to help you establish more about your industry are:

  • Trade Associations
  • Federal Reserve
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics

Legal Structure

There are five basic types of legal structures that most people will utilize:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

Partnerships

Corporations.

  • Franchises.

Each business structure has their pros and cons. An LLC is the most common legal structure due to its protection of personal assets and ease of setting up. Make sure to specify how ownership is divided and what roles each owner plays when you have more than one business owner.

You’ll have to decide which structure is best for you, but we’ve gathered information on each to make it easier.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the easiest legal structure to set up but doesn’t protect the owner’s personal assets from legal issues. That means if something goes wrong, you could lose both your company and your home.

To start a sole proprietorship, fill out a special tax form called a  Schedule C . Sole proprietors can also join the American Independent Business Alliance .

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is the most common business structure used in the United States because an LLC protects the owner’s personal assets. It’s similar to partnerships and corporations, but can be a single-member LLC in most states. An LLC requires a document called an operating agreement.

Each state has different requirements. Here’s a link to find your state’s requirements . Delaware and Nevada are common states to file an LLC because they are really business-friendly. Here’s a blog on the top 10 states to get an LLC.

Partnerships are typically for legal firms. If you choose to use a partnership choose a Limited Liability Partnership. Alternatively, you can just use an LLC.

Corporations are typically for massive organizations. Corporations have taxes on both corporate and income tax so unless you plan on selling stock, you are better off considering an LLC with S-Corp status . Investopedia has good information corporations here .

An iPad with colored pens on a desk

There are several opportunities to purchase successful franchises. TopFranchise.com has a list of companies in a variety of industries that offer franchise opportunities. This makes it where an entrepreneur can benefit from the reputation of an established business that has already worked out many of the kinks of starting from scratch.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 5. Products and Services

This section of the business plan should focus on what you sell, how you source it, and how you sell it. You should include:

  • Unique features that differentiate your business products from competitors
  • Intellectual property
  • Your supply chain
  • Cost and pricing structure 

Questions to answer about your products and services

Mike gave us a list  of the most important questions to answer about your product and services:

  • How will you be selling the product? (in person, ecommerce, wholesale, direct to consumer)?
  • How do you let them know they need a product?
  • How do you communicate the message?
  • How will you do transactions?
  • How much will you be selling it for?
  • How many do you think you’ll sell and why?

Make sure to use the worksheet on our business plan template .

How to Write a Business Plan Step 6. Sales and Marketing Plan

The marketing and sales plan is focused on the strategy to bring awareness to your company and guides how you will get the product to the consumer.  It should contain the following sections:

SWOT Analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Not only do you want to identify them, but you also want to document how the business plans to deal with them.

Business owners need to do a thorough job documenting how their service or product stacks up against the competition.

If proper research isn’t done, investors will be able to tell that the owner hasn’t researched the competition and is less likely to believe that the team can protect its service from threats by the more well-established competition. This is one of the most common parts of a presentation that trips up business owners presenting on Shark Tank .

SWOT Examples

Business plan SWOT analysis

Examples of strengths and weaknesses could be things like the lack of cash flow, intellectual property ownership, high costs of suppliers, and customers’ expectations on shipping times.

Opportunities could be ways to capitalize on your strengths or improve your weaknesses, but may also be gaps in the industry. This includes:

  • Adding offerings that fit with your current small business
  • Increase sales to current customers
  • Reducing costs through bulk ordering
  • Finding ways to reduce inventory
  •  And other areas you can improve

Threats will normally come from outside of the company but could also be things like losing a key member of the team. Threats normally come from competition, regulations, taxes, and unforeseen events.

The management team should use the SWOT analysis to guide other areas of business planning, but it absolutely has to be done before a business owner starts marketing. 

Include Competitor Data in Your Business Plan

When you plan a business, taking into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of the competition is key to navigating the field. Providing an overview of your competition and where they are headed shows that you are invested in understanding the industry.

For smaller businesses, you’ll want to search both the company and the owners names to see what they are working on. For publicly held corporations, you can find their quarterly and annual reports on the SEC website .

What another business plans to do can impact your business. Make sure to include things that might make it attractive for bigger companies to outsource to a small business.

Marketing Strategy

The marketing and sales part of business plans should be focused on how you are going to make potential customers aware of your business and then sell to them.

If you haven’t already included it, Mike recommends:

“They’ll want to know about Demographics, ages, and wealth of your target market.”

Make sure to include the Total addressable market .  The term refers to the value if you captured 100% of the market.

Advertising Strategy

You’ll explain what formats of advertising you’ll be using. Some possibilities are:

  • Online: Facebook and Google are the big names to work with here.
  • Print : Print can be used to reach broad groups or targeted markets. Check out this for tips .
  • Radio : iHeartMedia is one of the best ways to advertise on the radio
  • Cable television : High priced, hard to measure ROI, but here’s an explanation of the process
  • Billboards: Attracting customers with billboards can be beneficial in high traffic areas.

You’ll want to define how you’ll be using each including frequency, duration, and cost. If you have the materials already created, including pictures or links to the marketing to show creative assets.

Mike told us “Most businesses are marketing digitally now due to Covid, but that’s not always the right answer.”

Make sure the marketing strategy will help team members or external marketing agencies stay within the brand guidelines .

An iPad with graph about pricing strategy

This section of a business plan should be focused on pricing. There are a ton of pricing strategies that may work for different business plans. Which one will work for you depends on what kind of a business you run.

Some common pricing strategies are:

  • Value-based pricing – Commonly used with home buying and selling or other products that are status symbols.
  • Skimming pricing – Commonly seen in video game consoles, price starts off high to recoup expenses quickly, then reduces over time.
  • Competition-based pricing – Pricing based on competitors’ pricing is commonly seen at gas stations.
  • Freemium services –  Commonly used for software, where there is a free plan, then purchase options for more functionality.

HubSpot has a great calculator and blog on pricing strategies.

Beyond explaining what strategy your business plans to use, you should include references for how you came to this pricing strategy and how it will impact your cash flow.

Distribution Plan

This part of a business plan is focused on how the product or service is going to go through the supply chain. These may include multiple divisions or multiple companies. Make sure to include any parts of the workflow that are automated so investors can see where cost savings are expected and when.

Supply Chain Examples

For instance, lawn care companies  would need to cover aspects such as:

  • Suppliers for lawn care equipment and tools
  • Any chemicals or treatments needed
  • Repair parts for sprinkler systems
  • Vehicles to transport equipment and employees
  • Insurance to protect the company vehicles and people.

Examples of Supply Chains

These are fairly flat supply chains compared to something like a clothing designer where the clothes would go through multiple vendors. A clothing company might have the following supply chain:

  • Raw materials
  • Shipping of raw materials
  • Converting of raw materials to thread
  • Shipping thread to produce garments
  • Garment producer
  • Shipping to company
  • Company storage
  • Shipping to retail stores

There have been advances such as print on demand that eliminate many of these steps. If you are designing completely custom clothing, all of this would need to be planned to keep from having business disruptions.

The main thing to include in the business plan is the list of suppliers, the path the supply chain follows, the time from order to the customer’s home, and the costs associated with each step of the process.

According to BizPlanReview , a business plan without this information is likely to get rejected because they have failed to research the key elements necessary to make sales to the customer.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 7. Company Organization and Operational Plan

This part of the business plan is focused on how the business model will function while serving customers.  The business plan should provide an overview of  how the team will manage the following aspects:

Quality Control

  • Legal environment

Let’s look at each for some insight.

Production has already been discussed in previous sections so I won’t go into it much. When writing a business plan for investors, try to avoid repetition as it creates a more simple business plan.

If the organizational plan will be used by the team as an overview of how to perform the best services for the customer, then redundancy makes more sense as it communicates what is important to the business.

A wooden stamp with the words "quality control"

Quality control policies help to keep the team focused on how to verify that the company adheres to the business plan and meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Quality control can be anything from a standard that says “all labels on shirts can be no more than 1/16″ off center” to a defined checklist of steps that should be performed and filled out for every customer.

There are a variety of organizations that help define quality control including:

  • International Organization for Standardization – Quality standards for energy, technology, food, production environments, and cybersecurity
  • AICPA – Standard defined for accounting.
  • The Joint Commission – Healthcare
  • ASHRAE – HVAC best practices

You can find lists of the organizations that contribute most to the government regulation of industries on Open Secrets . Research what the leaders in your field are doing. Follow their example and implement it in your quality control plan.

For location, you should use information from the market research to establish where the location will be. Make sure to include the following in the location documentation.

  • The size of your location
  • The type of building (retail, industrial, commercial, etc.)
  • Zoning restrictions – Urban Wire has a good map on how zoning works in each state
  • Accessibility – Does it meet ADA requirements?
  • Costs including rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance and any buildout or remodeling costs
  • Utilities – b.e.f. has a good energy calculator .

Legal Environment

The legal requirement section is focused on defining how to meet the legal requirements for your industry. A good business plan should include all of the following:

  • Any licenses and/or permits that are needed and whether you’ve obtained them
  • Any trademarks, copyrights, or patents that you have or are in the process of applying for
  • The insurance coverage your business requires and how much it costs
  • Any environmental, health, or workplace regulations affecting your business
  • Any special regulations affecting your industry
  • Bonding requirements, if applicable

Your local SBA office can help you establish requirements in your area. I strongly recommend using them. They are a great resource.

Your business plan should include a plan for company organization and hiring. While you may be the only person with the company right now, down the road you’ll need more people. Make sure to consider and document the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the current leadership structure and what will it look like in the future?
  • What types of employees will you have? Are there any licensing or educational requirements?
  • How many employees will you need?
  • Will you ever hire freelancers or independent contractors?
  • What is each position’s job description?
  • What is the pay structure (hourly, salaried, base plus commission, etc.)?
  • How do you plan to find qualified employees and contractors?

One of the most crucial parts of a business plan is the organizational chart. This simply shows the positions the company will need, who is in charge of them and the relationship of each of them. It will look similar to this:

Organization chart

Our small business plan template has a much more in-depth organizational chart you can edit to include when you include the organizational chart in your business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 8. Financial Statements 

No business plan is complete without financial statements or financial projections. The business plan format will be different based on whether you are writing a business plan to expand a business or a startup business plan. Let’s dig deeper into each.

Provide All Financial Income from an Existing Business

An existing business should use their past financial documents including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement to find trends to estimate the next 3-5 years.

You can create easy trendlines in excel to predict future revenue, profit and loss, cash flow, and other changes in year-over-year performance. This will show your expected performance assuming business continues as normal.

If you are seeking an investment, then the business is probably not going to continue as normal. Depending on the financial plan and the purpose of getting financing, adjustments may be needed to the following:

  • Higher Revenue if expanding business
  • Lower Cost of Goods Sold if purchasing inventory with bulk discounts
  • Adding interest if utilizing financing (not equity deal)
  • Changes in expenses
  • Addition of financing information to the cash flow statement
  • Changes in Earnings per Share on the balance sheet

Financial modeling is a challenging subject, but there are plenty of low-cost courses on the subject. If you need help planning your business financial documentation take some time to watch some of them.

Make it a point to document how you calculated all the changes to the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in your business plan so that key team members or investors can verify your research.

Financial Projections For A Startup Business Plan

Unlike an existing business, a startup doesn’t have previous success to model its future performance. In this scenario, you need to focus on how to make a business plan realistic through the use of industry research and averages.

Mike gave the following advice in his interview:

Financial Forecasting Mistakes

One of the things a lot of inexperienced people use is the argument, “If I get one percent of the market, it is worth $100 million.” If you use this, investors are likely to file the document under bad business plan examples.

Let’s use custom t-shirts as an example.

Credence Research estimated in 2018 there were 11,334,800,000 custom t-shirts sold for a total of $206.12 Billion, with a 6% compound annual growth rate.

With that data,  you can calculate that the industry will grow to $270 Billion in 2023 and that the average shirt sold creates $18.18 in revenue.

Combine that with an IBIS World estimate of 11,094 custom screen printers and that means even if you become an average seller, you’ll get .009% of the market.

Here’s a table for easier viewing of that information.

A table showing yearly revenue of a business

The point here is to make sure your business proposal examples make sense.

You’ll need to know industry averages such as cost of customer acquisition, revenue per customer, the average cost of goods sold, and admin costs to be able to create accurate estimates.

Our simple business plan templates walk you through most of these processes. If you follow them you’ll have a good idea of how to write a business proposal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 9. Business Plan Example of Funding Requests

What is a business plan without a plan on how to obtain funding?

The Small Business Administration has an example for a pizza restaurant that theoretically needed nearly $20k to make it through their first month.

In our video, How to Start a $500K/Year T-Shirt Business (Pt. 1 ), Sanford Booth told us he needed about $200,000 to start his franchise and broke even after 4 months.

Freshbooks estimates it takes on average 2-3 years for a business to be profitable, which means the fictitious pizza company from the SBA could need up to $330k to make it through that time and still pay their bills for their home and pizza shop.

Not every business needs that much to start, but realistically it’s a good idea to assume that you need a fairly large cushion.

Ways to get funding for a small business

There are a variety of ways to cover this. the most common are:

  • Bootstrapping – Using your savings without external funding.
  • Taking out debt – loans, credit cards
  • Equity, Seed Funding – Ownership of a percentage of the company in exchange for current funds
  • Crowdsourcing – Promising a good for funding to create the product

Keep reading for more tips on how to write a business plan.

How funding will be used

When asking for business financing make sure to include:

  • How much to get started?
  • What is the minimum viable product and how soon can you make money?
  • How will the money be spent?

Mike emphasized two aspects that should be included in every plan, 

How to Write a Business Plan Resources

Here are some links to a business plan sample and business plan outline. 

  • Sample plan

It’s also helpful to follow some of the leading influencers in the business plan writing community. Here’s a list:

  • Wise Plans –  Shares a lot of information on starting businesses and is a business plan writing company.
  • Optimus Business Plans –  Another business plan writing company.
  • Venture Capital – A venture capital thread that can help give you ideas.

How to Write a Business Plan: What’s Next?

We hope this guide about how to write a simple business plan step by step has been helpful. We’ve covered:

  • The definition of a business plan
  • Coming up with a business idea
  • Performing market research
  • The critical components of a business plan
  • An example business plan

In addition, we provided you with a simple business plan template to assist you in the process of writing your startup business plan. The startup business plan template also includes a business model template that will be the key to your success.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our business hub .

Have you written a business plan before? How did it impact your ability to achieve your goals?

80% of businesses fail... Learn how not to.

Learn from business failures and successes in 5 min or less. The stories, frameworks, and tactics that will make you a 10x better founder.

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Brandon Boushy

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How to Start a Clothing Boutique (And Make $102K/Month)

What is an online boutique?

  • Accessories
  • Shopping bags

Defining the Idea

  • What type of business models are used in successful boutiques and which is best for me?
  • Who are the major players in clothing boutiques?

What is the industry outlook?

Which business model is best for a clothing boutique.

Pretty clothes hanging on a clothes rack

The traditional retail boutique

An online boutique, both a retail boutique and an online boutique.

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Having higher cost-per-item with drop shipping because you are not ordering in bulk

Who are the major players in the clothing boutique business?

  • Asos $2.5B/year in revenue
  • Revolve $479.5M/year in revenue
  • NastyGal $167.7M/year in revenue
  • Lulus $385M/year in revenue
  • Francesca's $34M/ year in revenue
  • Urbanity $102K/month in revenue
  • Check out our interview with Marcus
  • Throwbacks NW $25K/month in revenue
  • Trendy & Tipsy

Starting a successful boutique

A laptop and colorful sticky notes on a desk

  • Writing a Boutique Business Plan
  • Purchasing Inventory For Your Boutique
  • How Much Does It Cost To Start A Clothing Boutique?
  • How to start your own clothing boutique with little or no capital

Funding Your Clothing Boutique

  • How Profitable is a boutique?

Naming Your Clothing Boutique

  • Getting a domain name
  • Meeting the legal requirements for a boutique business.

Write a Boutique Business Plan

  • One-page business plan
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Business Guide
  • State-specific templates
  • Business Plan Template for a Startup Business
  • UpFlip’s blog on How to Write a Business Plan
  • SCORE’s free business plans and startup assistance resources
  • The Complete Business Plan Course (Includes 50 Templates)

Where to buy clothes for a boutique

  • Check out resellers like Goodwill and other nonprofits. Sometimes you can find steals for a low cost.
  • If you frequent other boutiques, you can sometimes find improperly priced items. A friend of mine has sold over 1,500 items on Poshmark this way.
  • Magic Fashion Events are a great way to keep up with trends in the fashion industry.
  • Dropshipping companies which I discussed earlier.
  • Check out Brands Gateway's blog about 70 wholesalers for a great list of wholesalers to contact.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Boutique?

How to start a boutique with no money.

  • Shopify - 14-day free trial, which is plenty of time to set up an online shop and sell some products.
  • Dropshipping - Check Shopify's app store for options that sell the brand-name clothing you want to sell.
  • Amazon - Connect Shopify to Amazon Marketplace to increase exposure to potential customers
  • Instagram - Create an Instagram shop and connect your Shopify to it.
  • Use social media marketing to start selling to potential customers.
  • Reinvest earnings to get some inventory for photoshoots and paid advertising to start marketing and attract even more customers.

A lady drawing on a white notebook

  • Personal funds/personal assets
  • A loan from family or friends
  • Funds from a business partner
  • Government programs
  • Crowdfunding  
  • Credit cards
  • Home equity loan
  • Business loan - check out our partners
  • Rollover for business startups (ROBS)

How much profit can a boutique make?

  • Does it describe what you do?
  • Is it easy to remember?
  • Does it prevent weird acronyms?
  • Is it available as a domain name? Check that the domain name and social media accounts are available with namechk .

Get a domain name

  • Google Domains

Meeting the legal requirements for a boutique business

A lady holding an iPad and a pencil

Sole proprietorship

Limited liability corporation (llc), partnerships and corporations, apply for an ein, sales tax permit.

An iPad, calculator, and notebook on a desk

Tax filing and withholding

Federal employment and labor law posters.

  • Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)
  • State’s New Hire Program
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance
  • Disability Insurance—varies by states
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Unemployment Insurance

Launch a website, product pages.

  • The backend of the platform
  • Cybersecurity requirements to protect your customers’ credit card information

An iPad and colored pencils on a desk

  • Multiple pictures of the product. I suggest following Amazon photography specs as they are the leader in e-Commerce sales.
  • Capitalize the 1st letter of each word in the title but don’t use all caps. Make sure the brand and product name is in the title too.
  • Include the price, quantity, and an add-to-cart button.
  • Product descriptions should communicate the purpose of the product, important features, dimensions, care instructions, and warranty.
  • Product identifier that is used to differentiate products. To learn about them or buy some for your products, go to the GS1 website . You’ll need a separate barcode for each variation of size, color, style, or quantity.
  • Quick checkout buttons, like the Checkout with Paypal button, are fabulous for conversions.
  • Manufacturer information if it is not your own brand.

The back end of a boutique online store

  • Woocommerce
  • SquareSpace

Cybersecurity requirements

Payment processors, strategies for opening day of a clothing boutique.

  • Set up social media pages for your business. Post whole pictures of whole outfits on your social media with links to each product page. Add a discount if they buy the whole outfit.
  • Partner with popular brands and do popup stores at fun locations.
  • If you are comfortable with Facebook Live, TikTok, or other social media that uses video, launch your brand there.
  • Hire teenagers to help you keep an eye on the market and help spread the word with your business.

Grow through marketing

A laptop on a desk with the word "marketing' on the screen

Market Research

  • Marketing Plan
  • Marketing on Social Media
  • Growing Your Email List
  • Tapping Into and Growing Your Network

How do I find out who my potential customers are?

Demographics and psychographics.

  • Number of children

Use Demographics and interests to build your target market

Use your marketing plan and update it regularly.

A man holding a white paper

Marketing with Social Media

  • Facebook (rebranding as Meta) - the largest platform with over 2 billion global monthly users. You can use it for lead generation and email collection.
  • Instagram - another Meta-owned platform with approximately 500 million global monthly users. With the highest engagement rate and the best ability to reach 18-29-year-olds, Instagram is best for showing off outfits and linking to product pages.
  • Twitter Advertising - I'll be honest with you: I find Twitter to be a way to communicate in industries that move the quickest. While fashion changes, it doesn't change as fast as politics, current events, crypto, and other financial news. If your target market falls into these categories, it might be worth it. If not, don't bother.
  • Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users that are mostly women. Pinterest is best for products without being a promotion because the promoted pins blend in with the rest of the styles.
  • LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users that are primarily in the B2B market. I'd only use this if you are offering fashion for business professionals that are too busy to do their own shopping.

Grow Your Email List

Tap into your network, running your boutique, hiring employees.

An iPad and a cup of coffee on a desk

  • Post Open Jobs
  • Conduct Interviews
  • Establish Compensation
  • Manage Tax Filings and withholdings
  • Comply with Federal and local labor laws

Job Posting 

  • Zip Recruiter
  • Who is your current favorite designer?
  • How does your previous experience make you a better fit than other applicants?
  • How do you respond to a customer when you don’t know the answer to your question?
  • Have an article (or articles) of clothing ready and ask them to go through the store and find accessories to go with it.
  • What are your compensation expectations?
  • Do you have any ongoing commitments that impact your availability? If so, what dates and times will it impact?

Compensation

A laptop, iPad and a cup of coffee on a desk

Hybrid Models

Outsourcing.

  • State’s New Hire Program - This is required so that people who owe child support remain in compliance
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance - Insurance for when employees get hurt on the job. Check out this guide to state laws
  • Disability insurance - California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico have requirements. Learn more about disability insurance
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - Federal and state laws govern what are safe working conditions. Fines can be up to $136,532/violation or up to $13,653/day. Make sure you understand your area’s laws at OSHA.gov .

How To Retain Customers For Your Clothing Boutique

A man holding a white sketch pad and a pen

  • Can they shop without logging in?
  • How many steps does it take to check out?
  • Can customers easily get to other products that will look good with the item they've added to the cart?
  • Do you save items they've added to the cart?
  • If they leave the cart (and you have their contact info), do you send them a friendly reminder in case they got distracted?

Managing inventory

Top influencers.

Folder with influencer text and a pen on a desk

  • CladandCloth
  • The Pretty Dress
  • Check out StarNGage for a ton of other influencers that might fit your boutique.

Monday.com Review: Pros & Cons, Ratings & More

What is Monday.com?

  • Monday Sales CRM : A customer relationship management tool used for contact management and tracking the sales process.
  • Monday Marketer : Used for tracking marketing campaigns and content generation.
  • Monday Projects: Used for planning, project management, and monitoring projects.
  • Monday Dev : Used for planning a roadmap, tracking development and bugs using either kanban or scrum methodologies.
  • WorkForms: Create surveys to gather information, use them as embeddable content or shareable links.
  • Canvas: A whiteboard that multiple people can work on at once.

Monday.com product screenshot

All the features on Monday.com

  • Dashboards : Use dashboards to understand important data at light speed with graphs, calendar views, timelines, and work progress.
  • Automation : You’ll use these to improve workflows, notifications, and emails. There are more than 200 automations ready to use, plus custom workflows with the Enterprise plan.
  • Kanban : Used in software development to manage the creation of new features. Provides an easy setup with a customizable user interface. 
  • Digital Asset Management: Helps you manage file storage for easy access and reviews. Monday integrates with Adobe products . Canva integrates with Monday through Zapier or Make (formerly Integromat).
  • Software Integration : Seamlessly integrate with hundreds of apps. You can even embed apps directly into Monday.com. Check out the full list of apps.  
  • Gantt Charts : Use this view to measure the team's progress, improve scheduling, and remove bottlenecks in your processes.
  • WorkDocs : Help keep the whole team on the same page with Monday WorkDocs. You can create reports and checklists without sending the documents back and forth by adding multiple users to the document. This is great for progress reports or updating business plans.

Monday.com Reviews

Reviews of monday.com on trustpilot.

  • Monday Mobile Apps Review
  • Monday Desktop App Review
  • Monday CRM Review
  • Monday Marketer Review
  • Project Management Tool Review
  • Monday.com Support Team Review
  • Number of Reviews
  • Overall Rating
  • Percentage Rated 1 to 5 Stars
  • Quickness of Response to Negative Reviews
  • Reviews by Keywords

Monday App on iOS and Android

monday.com review iphonex screenshot

Monday.com Desktop App

  • You can set it to open on startup. This feature is highly beneficial for people who spend their whole day on Monday.com.
  • A desktop app prevents distractions. When you have tabs open in a browser, it’s easy to get distracted. The desktop app doesn’t have many of the common distractions embedded.

Monday.com CRM

Person Drawing Customer Relationship Concept On Notebook

Monday Marketer

How to use monday.com for project management software.

Persons working on desktop

Monday.com Support

How much is monday.com.

Monday.com pricelist

Free Forever Plan 

  • You are just starting a new business. 
  • You don’t have employees.
  • You want to familiarize yourself with Monday.com.
  • You want to implement a better system but need more than the two-week free trial period to do so.

Monday.com free forever plan

  • Max 2 users
  • 500 MB storage 
  • Under 1,000 items
  • No automations or integrations
  • Up to 40 users without contacting support
  • Unlimited users if you contact support
  • Unlimited Items 
  • 5 GB of storage (decent for small companies that aren’t in the creative industry)
  • Unlimited admins with the basic plan

Monday.com basic plan

  • 5 GB storage will never work for artistic companies.
  • Users do not have automations or integrations.

Standard Plan

  • 20 GB of storage
  • Zoom Integration
  • 250 automation actions per month
  • 250 integration actions per month
  • 5 Boards per dashboard
  • Timeline View
  • Calendar View
  • 6 months of activity logs

Monday.com standard plan

  • Email integrations will quickly consume monthly integration and automation limits for any business that uses them.
  • 20 GB storage is still fairly small, but at least you can integrate a Google Drive or Dropbox to increase the storage space if that’s your only limitation.
  • Small teams (Less than 10 people) that want to automate a lot of their work.
  • A project manager that wants to share project progress with subcontractors, but who doesn’t have a large support team.
  • Teams that don’t need lots of file storage space.
  • Time tracking
  • Formula Column
  • 25,000 integration actions per month
  • 25,000 automation actions per month
  • 10 boards per dashboard
  • Unlimited guest access
  • 2 New Views
  • Private Boards and Docs
  • Google Authentication
  • Board level admins (Perfect for Separating sales teams, marketing teams, and your service teams workloads).
  • 1 Year activity report.

Monday.com pro plan

  • Any business with more than 40 employees. You know they want you to talk to the customer reps if you have more than 40 employees because they think you need the coolest features.
  • Any business that has to abide by HIPAA regulations
  • Any business that needs advanced support functionality and administration
  • If automations and integrations exceed the maximum for the professional plan

Enterprise Plan

  • Everything in the other paid plans
  • Your own personal success manager
  • 5 years activity report, which is great for audits
  • Advanced IT Administrator Controls
  • HIPAA compliance
  • Advanced Reporting
  • Uptime Service Agreement

Monday.com enterprise plan

  • Familiarizing yourself with the Monday.com knowledge base
  • Maximizing the utilities offered in the Pro plan
  • Having a team of 41 or more people.

FAQs About Monday.com

How much does monday.com cost.

  • Number of people
  • Number of automation actions 
  • Number of integration actions

What is Monday.com used for?

What can integrate with monday.com, monday.com competitors.

  • Asana : More free team members, but higher prices for paid plans and lower TrustPilot reviews .
  • Clickup : Better support and more features at lower tiers, but lower TrustPilot reviews .
  • Nifty : On G2 reviews claim that Nifty is easier to set up and has better support, but it costs three times as much and has no ratings on TrustPilot.

Monday.com pros and cons?

Monday.com pros and cons

520 Candle Company Names (for 2024)

Candle company names are one of the core ways people recognize a candle brand. That’s why you have to find the best candle business names for your candle business.

There are two main naming conventions you need to think about when you start your own candle company:

  • Candle business name ideas
  • Names for candles or scents

[su_note note_color="#dbeafc"] We’ll discuss both of these types of candle company names to help you find an idea that works for you. You can jump to any of the sections by clicking the links below.

50 Candle Business Name Ideas

50 candle company name ideas, 48 luxury candle business names, 50 catchy names for candle business, 46 unique candle business names, 78 names for candle businesses, 52 unique candle names, 46 funny candle company names, 50 scent name ideas, 50 scented candle names.

  • What to Do After Choosing a Candle Company Name [/su_note]

Rx Los Angeles owner in her warehouse pointing to a just-poured wax candle in a branded glass

Create a name that sets you apart and is something you’ll want to stick with for the long haul. There are many different types of names you can go with, but your candle business name should be true to your shop and what your offering is. What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?

1. Wick-edly Scent-sational 2. Whispering Wick 3. Glow and Behold Candles 4. Moonbeam & Ember 5. Wax Poetic Candles 6. The Fragrant Alchemist 7. Bright and Bubbly Candles 8. Candlelight Sanctuary 9. Flicker of Joy Candles 10. Enchanted Aroma 11. Scent-sational Serenity Candles 12. Glow Getter Candles 13. A Scentsational Journey 14. Waxing Euphoria Candles 15. Wildflower Glow Co. 16. Flame and Fortune Candles 17. Kissed by Fragrance 18. Twinkle in Time Candles 19. The Gilded Wick 20. Gleeful Glow Candles 21. The Cozy Candle Co. 22. Waxen Whimsy Candles 23. Flame & Fortune 24. Blissful Beams Candles 25. The Luminous Muse

26. Flame Frolics Candles 27. Waxing Poetic 28. Candlelit Capers Candles 29. Scentual Escape 30. Waxen Whoopee Candles 31. Mystic Bazaar 32. Lustrous Laughs Candles 33. Whisper of Aroma 34. Soothing Smiles Candles 35. Emberglow Lights 36. Dazzling Delights Candles 37. Moonlight & Jasmine 38. Twilight Titters Candles 39. Serene Flame 40. Luminary Larks Candles 41. The Unforgettable Flame 42. Radiant Revels Candles 43. The Scentualist 44. Luminous Larks Candles 45. Candleabra Tales 46. Wick Winks Candles 47. Bliss & Bloom 48. Gleaming Guffaws Candles 49. Enchanted Fireside 50. Wick Wit

Pro Tip: Make sure your candle business name sounds appealing and memorable. You want your customers to remember where to go when they need more fabulous scents.

Short or long, your name should tell the story of what your shop offers, who you are, where you’re from, or what kind of experience customers will have when they shop with you. Online or brick and mortar, your name is the first thing they’ll see and hopefully something they’ll remember.

1. Candle Sense 2. Glistening Glow Candle Creations 3. Wax and Relax 4. Waxen Wonderlands Candle Co. 5. Candle Magic 6. Flame Fables Candles 7. Glow and Grow 8. Illuminated Illusions Co. 9. Candle Delight 10. Luminous Lullabies Candles 11. Spark and Scent 12. Wick Wonders Candle Co. 13. Wax Art

14. Glistening Gardens Candles 15. Candle Lab 16. Candlelit Canopies Candles 17. Glow Time 18. Waxen Waterfalls Candles 19. Wax and Glow 20. Lustrous Lagoons Candles 21. Candle Dream 22. Twilight Truffles Candles 23. Spark and Splendor 24. Glowing Groves Candles 25. Wax Appeal

Pro Tip: Your business name will last the length of the business, unless you decide to change your DBA (doing business as name) or update your brand entirely. Make sure you love your name. Don’t settle for “okay”—you should love it!

Luxury candle business names can bring you high-end, bougie buyers who are willing to spend more money because your shop has the “wow factor.”

Consider some of these luxurious candle business name ideas perfect for selling expensive aromatherapy candles, scented candles, or even beeswax candles.

1. Aroma Path 2. Ember & Co. 3. Glow & Co. 4. Gilded Wick Candle Co. 5. Aroma Bloom 6. Moonlight Sonata 7. Zenith Candles 8. Amethyst Flame 9. Glow Haven 10. Silk & Sillage 11. Spark & Scent 12. Emberlight Alchemy 13. Lumena Ignite 14. Velvet Wick 15. Scent Fusion 16. Moonstone Muse 17. Pheroma Memento 18. Whispering Embers 19. Flame Fest 20. Starlight Sanctuary 21. Petal Glow 22. Opulent Glow 23. Scent Sation 24. Golden Nectar

25. Luxe Light 26. Clandestine Embers 27. Flame Bright 28. Seraph's Sconce 29. Zodiac Flames 30. Damask & Dusk Candle Co. 31. Glow Makers 32. Emberlit Soiree 33. Moonstone Candles 34. Whispers of Oud 35. Celestial Scents 36. Gilded Alchemy 37. Eco Flame 38. Starlit Lace Candle Co. 39. Glow & Grow 40. Velvet & Ember 41. Pure Illuminate 42. Luminous Indigo 43. Gilded Haven 44. Seraphim's Ember 45. Luxe Luminance Candle Co. 46. Enchanted Candle Company 47. Custom Candles by Coco 48. The Candle Maker

Pro Tip: Who is your target customer? A good luxury candle business name can help you to target a higher-paying demographic. It’s more appealing to those who have the money to spend. Regardless of whether you will have an Etsy store, Shopify site, or brick-and-mortar store, you need to identify your target customer before you finalize a name.

"Catchy names for candle business" search on a laptop next to a white pillar candle

Make your candle business name sticky…so buyers come back time and again. Using catchy phrases or sayings can really help keep your name top of mind.

1. Wick’d Wonders Candles 2. Soy Much Fun Soy Wax Candles 3. Radiant Flames 4. Waxing Poetic 5. Fabulous Flame Candle Co. 6. Flick Candles 7. Aromatic Artistry 8. The Flickering Flamingo 9. The Illuminated Co. 10. Scentsational Shenanigans 11. Soothing Scentsations 12. Litty & Witty Candles 13. The Candle Connoisseur 14. The Wacky Wickery 15. Illuminated Atelier 16. Candle Capers 17. Candle Conservatory 18. Grin & Glow Candles 19. Illuminated Gallery 20. Laughing Flames Candle Company 21. Candle Emporium Co. 22. Flame On, Funny Bone 23. Candle Artisan Co. 24. The Illuminaughty 25. Illuminated Haven

26. Scents & Sensibility 27. Heavenly Candle Co 28. Wickid Good Scents 29. Scented Studio Co. 30. Wax On, Wax Off 31. Candle Artistry Studio 32. The Melty Misfits Candle Company 33. Illuminated Studio Candles 34. Wickology 101 35. The Scented Atelier 36. Wax Flame Candy Candle 37. Candleabracadabra 38. Illuminated Boutique 39. Sniff & Giggle Candle Co. 40. Candle Emporium Studio 41. Wick It or Quit It Candle Company 42. Illuminated Suite 43. Glow-rious Meetings 44. Scented Emporium Candle Company 45. The Illuminating Co. 46. Scent-sational Humor 47. Lights All the Way Candle Co. 48. Waxing Lyrical 49. Cute Candles, Inc. 50. Love & Life Candles

Pro Tip: What’s your favorite commercial? Is it funny and catchy? It’s obviously memorable! The catchier the name, the better. You want to be remembered—just like that commercial that came to mind for you—even if a customer has lost your web address, can’t find an emailed receipt, and no longer has their candle jar.

What differentiates you from your competitors? Use those identifying factors when selecting your unique business name. You don’t want to sound like everyone else—you want your business name to be descriptive of who you are.

1. Candlelight Glow 2. Candle With Care 3. The Wick & Flame 4. Light My Fire 5. Waxing Poetic 6. Melt Your Heart 7. Sisters’ Soap & Candle Co. 8. Illuminate Creations 9. Glow and Tell Candle Company 10. Scentimental Memories 11. Candle in the Wind 12. Flaming Inspirations 13. Spark Joy Candle Company 14. The Candle Cove 15. Candle Crush 16. The Candle Lab 17. Glow Getter 18. Luminous Expressions 19. Scent From Heaven 20. The Candle Parlour 21. Candle Me Crazy 22. Flicker & Flame Candle Company 23. Ember & Muse

24. The Candle Bar 25. Flicker & Fable 26. The Aromatic Hearth 27. The Hushed Flame 28. The Candle Aisle 29. The Wax Alchemist Candle Company 30. The Candle Cottage 31. Cozy Flicker Co. 32. The Wickery 33. The Candle Conjurer 34. The Candelier 35. The Wandering Wick 36. Scented Wick 37. Flickering Folklore Candle Company 38. Whispers of Flame 39. Candlelight Concoctions 40. The Wickery Embers 41. The Wick Weaver 42. The Flickering Phoenix 43. Aromasmith & Co. 44. Emberlight Alchemy Candle Company 45. My Gentle Glow 46. Sillage Muse

Pro Tip: This is one time when you don’t want to follow the crowd. Be unique so you aren’t battling over a URL and 50 other eCommerce sites with a similar name.

BLK Sunflower owner in her workshop holding a frosty black branded jar and a handful of wax flakes for candle making

Candle company names can be one or more words, and if you’re in doubt, add the word Candles , Company , or Shop to the end, and Bam! you have a business name!

1. Wick & Whimsy 2. Ember & Oak Co. 3. Radiant Flames 4. Luminescence Atelier 5. The Candle Collective 6. Candlemaker Scents & Pours 7. Wick & Wander Shop 8. The Candle Connoisseur 9. The Wax Emporium 10. Candle Artisan 11. The Gilded Flame Co. 12. The Illuminated Atelier 13. Moonlit Glow LLC 14. The Scented Salon 15. Whisper & Wisp Atelier 16. The Candle Artistry Co. 17. Cinder & Co. 18. The Candle Emporium Co. 19. The Flickering Muse Shop 20. Illuminated Haven Candle Co. 21. The Dancing Ember Atelier 22. The Scented Atelier 23. Nocturne Lumens Shop 24. The Candle Emporium Studio 25. The Alchemist's Candle Co. 26. The Scented Workshop 27. The Glimmering Grotto Shop 28. The Candle Conservatory StudioEmberlight 29. Apothecary Co. 30. The Scented Emporium Candle Company 31. Candlewick & Co. 32. Primitive Candle Company 33. The Flickering Lantern Emporium 34. Pure Light Candle Studios 35. Moonlit Muse Atelier 36. Fragrant Jewels Candle Company 37. The Candle Whisperer, LLC 38. Heaven Scent 39. Aurora Lumens Atelier

40. KC Candle Company 41. The Dancing Flame Emporium 42. Candleberry Studios 43. Candlewick & Whisper Shop 44. Darling Candles 45. Luminescence Alchemy Atelier 46. Enchanted Candle Atelier 47. The Glimmering Path 48. Homefront Candles House 49. Candle in the Wind Emporium 50. Berry Candles 51. Light My Fire, LLC 52. Decorative Candles 53. Scent of a Woman Atelier 54. Flaming Candle Co 55. Burn, Baby Burn Company 56. Country Candle Company 57. Rainbow Earth Gifts 58. Flame of Love Co. 59. None of Your Beeswax 60. Scents and Sensibility Atelier 61. Luxury Candles Co 62. Fire and Ice Co. 63. Scents Illuminated Candle Company 64. Scent From Heaven Atelier 65. Glorious Candles 66. Wick It Shop 67. The Candle Guy 68. Firefly Co. 69. Warwick Candles 70. Candle Magic, LLC 71. Ceremony Dreams Co. 72. Scent of the Sea Atelier 73. Fire Starter Co. 74. Candle Therapy, LLC 75. Wick and Mortar Shop 76. Mickey’s Creative Candles 77. Candleberry Candle Company 78. San Francisco Candle Making Collective

Pro Tip: Are you an LLC, S-Corp, or Sole Proprietorship? If you are an incorporation, you can include that in your name. For example, [Your Candle Business Name], LLC.

If you’d want to eat it, make it, or serve it, it’s likely a good name for a candle. Especially if it’s a dessert, drink, or fruit-scented candle.

1. Almond Bark Chocolate 2. Bergamot Delight 3. Blueberries and Whipped Cream 4. Brown Sugar Sizzle 5. Buttercream Sausage 6. Toasted Campfire 7. Caramel Coffee Cookie 8. Musky Cedarwood 9. Chamomile Snooze 10. Chocolate Chip Pancakes 11. Clementine Orange Zest 12. Clove Spice Warmth 13. Cotton Candy Fantasy 14. Cucumber Melon Splash 15. Fig and Olive 16. Frangipani Tropical Flower 17. Just Cut Suburban Lawn 18. Gardenia White Blossom 19. Ginger Lime Fizz 20. Green Tea Jasmine 21. Hyacinth Spring Breeze 22. Key Lime Pie 23. Kiwi Strawberry Smoothie 24. Fragrant Jewels, Heaven Scent 25. Lavender Lemonade Relax 26. Macaron Sweet Treat

27. Magnolia Pink Petal 28. Marshmallow Vanilla Fluff 29. Mint Chocolate Chip 30. Mistletoe Holiday Cheer 31. Nutmeg Spice Cake 32. Oatmeal Double Raisin Cookie 33. Orange Blossom Citrus + Sea Salt 34. Patchouli Earth 35. Peach Cobbler Yum 36. Peony Floral Bouquet 37. Pina Colada Vacation 38. Plum Wine Sangria 39. Popcorn Movie Night 40. Rain Fresh Clean 41. Red Velvet Cupcake 42. Salted Caramel Swirl 43. Smoky Quartz Crystal 44. Sunflower Sunny Day 45. Toasted Marshmallow Cozy 46. Toffee Nut Crunch 47. Vanilla Orchid Exotic 48. Vetiver Woody Aroma 49. Violet Purple Passion 50. Waffle Breakfast Time 51. Walnut Brownie Delish 52. The Woodland Homestead

Pro Tip: Name your candle scents something fun and unique. If you’re an online retailer, the customer will rely on your naming conventions to decide if they’ll like the smell of the candle. So, be unique and descriptive!

Two lit candles on a large table next to a model cityscape

Customers will appreciate your sense of humor and know they can expect good-natured customer service when you use a funny candle company name.

1. Wickety Wacky Wonders 2. Light My Fire 3. Scents So Silly, They're Snort-Worthy 4. The Aromatherapy Absurdity Co. 5. The Illuminated Improbability Shop 6. Hilarity & Hygge, LLC 7. Wick-edly Good Scents Atelier 8. The Scents of Wit 9. Sniff & Giggles Galore 10. Flame on, Funny Bone! 11. The Snicker & Sizzle Shop 12. Punny Sentiments 13. Aromas Gone Wild 14. The Wick-edly Creative Waxers 15. Flame On, Fun On! 16. The Candle Cauldron 17. Scents So Silly, They're Scandalous 18. The Illuminating Insanity Atelier 19. Scents That Make You Chuckle 20. The Giggle & Glow Glow-Up Co. 21. Punny Wick Emporium 22. Wick-edly Weird Waxes 23. Scented Silliness Galore Shop

24. Aromas of Absurdity Atelier 25. Burnt Out Candles 26. Scent-sational Candles 27. Candle-icious 28. Wax-tastic Candles 29. Flame Game 30. Candle-ry of the Odd 31. Wick-er Man Company 32. Wick-edly Good Candles 33. Waxing Philosophical 34. Waxing Lyrical Candles 35. Scentsational Silliness, LLC 36. The Humerus Fragrance Co. 37. The Light Chuckle Atelier 38. Scentsational Shenanigans Shop 39. Of Laughters and Illumination 40. You Light Me Up 41. Candle in the Sky 42. Scentsational Wickers 43. The Chuckle Wax 44. Sniff Me Good 45. The Wick-ed Atelier 46. The OG Candle Brand

Pro Tip: Humor is memorable and humor sells. Whether you’re naming your candle business or your candle scents, humor is almost always a good way to go.

Scent names can evoke tastes and smells for the buyer. Make it heavenly and delicious. Something you’d maybe want to eat, but definitely want to smell!

1. Cinnamon Swirl 2. Pumpkin Spice Latte 3. Caramel Apple 4. Cranberry Bliss 5. Peppermint Mocha 6. Gingerbread House 7. Winter Wonderland 8. Sugar Plum Fairy 9. Frosty the Snowman 10. Mistletoe Kisses 11. Candy Lane 12. Sleigh Ride 13. Fireside Chat 14. Warm and Cozy 15. Chestnuts Roasting 16. Mulled Wine 17. Spiced Cider 18. Hot Cocoa 19. Vanilla Bean 20. Lavender Fields 21. Tea Rose Garden 22. Jasmine Dreams 23. Sandalwood Serenade 24. Citrus Grove 25. Ocean Breeze

26. Rainforest Retreat 27. Mountain Air 28. Desert Oasis 29. Tropical Paradise 30. Island Escape 31. Crispy Autumn Leaves 32. Harvest Moon 33. Pumpkin Patch 34. Apple Orchard in Fall 35. Crisp Fall Air 36. Maple Butter and Syrup 37. Cedarwood Forest 38. Pine Needle Forest 39. Eucalyptus-y Mint 40. Peppermint Twist 41. Lemon Verbena 42. Grapefruit Grove 43. Cherry Blossom Farm 44. Magnolia Bloom 45. Honeysuckle Heaven 46. Wildflower Meadow 47. Butterfly Garden 48. Hummingbird Haven 49. Dragonfly Dreams 50. Ladybug Lane

Pro Tip: Most candles are scented, and scents need names to sell. Be creative and imagine what visuals and scents a person might imagine when they read your names.

Rx Los Angeles owner in her warehouse pointing to two tables of empty branded jars and just-poured candles

Your candle labels will need to specify what scent you're selling. Think of feeling-invoking scents that will make your customers want to buy them as gifts or a treat for themselves.

1. Winter Wonderland 2. Cozy Cabin 3. Pumpkin Spiced Chai 4. Lavender Dreams 5. Appley Pear Orchard 6. Caramel Popcorn 7. Ocean Breeze 8. Decadent Chocolate Cake 9. Lemonade Stand 10. Woody Fire 11. Cotton Candy 12. Gingerbread House 13. Rose, No Thorns 14. Banana Bread 15. Tropical Vacation 16. Vanilla and Cream 17. Fresh Laundry 18. Mulled Wine 19. Birthday Cake and Sprinkles 20. Hazelnut Coffee Shop 21. Autumn Leaves with Clove 22. Strawberry Shortcake 23. Rainforest and Fern 24. Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar 25. Cucumber Melon Mint

26. Snickerdoodle Cookie 27. Cherry Blossom Spring 28. Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows 29. Sunflowers and Honey 30. Campfire and S’mores 31. Juicy Peach Cobbler 32. Soothing Jasmine Tea 33. Warm Cinnamon Roll 34. Honeycomb Summer 35. Sandalwood and Vanilla 36. Sweet Blueberry Muffin 37. Refreshing Eucalyptus and Mint 38. Apple Pie Crust 39. Luscious Lilac 40. Tropical Coconut Lime 41. Cozy Oatmeal Cookie 42. Gardenia and Jasmine 43. Cranberry Orange Spice 44. Almond Biscotti 45. Lemongrass and Basil 46. Pumpkin Pie Delight 47. Vanilla Orchid 48. Spicy Ginger Ale 49. Sugar Plum Fairy 50. Earl Grey AM

Pro Tip: Naming candles after food is always a hit because people can imagine what they will taste and smell like.

What to Do After Choosing a Candle Company Name

After you choose a candle company name, you’ll want to make sure it’s available according to the:

  • Secretary of State website
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • A domain name
  • Social media accounts

As long as the candle company names you are considering are available across the board, you are good to register your candle business name and start your business.

What candle business name ideas appeal to you?

example of business plan in writing

nice work https://binarychemist.com/

example of business plan in writing

My Name is PRETTY NGOMANE. A south African female. Aspiring to do farming. And finding a home away from home for the differently abled persons in their daily needs.

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example of business plan in writing

example of business plan in writing

The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

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

example of business plan in writing

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example of business plan in writing

Example business plan

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

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

7 business plan examples (section by section)

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

  • Executive summary

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

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

  • Company description

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

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

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

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

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

marketing swot example

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

  • Products and services

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

  • Marketing plan

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

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

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

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

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

Financial plan

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

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

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

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

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

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

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

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

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

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth

Internal 

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

  • Market research

Feasibility 

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

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

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

Free business plan templates

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

Bplans’ free business plan template

example of business plan in writing

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

PandaDoc’s free business plan template

example of business plan in writing

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

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template

Miro's business model canvas template

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

Better business planning equals better business outcomes

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

Business plan FAQ

What are the 3 main points of a business plan.

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

How do I write a simple business plan?

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

What is the best format to write a business plan?

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

Want to learn more?

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What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.

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A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

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

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

example of business plan in writing

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

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Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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

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

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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Small Business Trends

How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan to start a business . In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.

This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.

Executive Summary

business plan

The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.

Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

business plan

In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.

It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.

This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

  • Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
  • Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
  • Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.

Company Description

business plan

The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.

Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.

Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

business plan

Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).

Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.

Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.

Market Analysis

business plan

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.

This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.

Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

business plan

A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.

Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.

Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

  • Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
  • Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
  • Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
  • Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.

Opportunities:

  • Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
  • Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
  • Expansion into international markets.
  • Intense competition from established technology companies.
  • Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.

Competitive Analysis

business plan

In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.

By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Example: Key competitors include:

GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.

EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.

By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.

Organization and Management Team

business plan

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.

Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

business plan

Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

business plan

In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.

Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.

Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.

Logistics and Operations Plan

business plan

The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.

Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.

Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

business plan

In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.

Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.

This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.

By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:

  • Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
  • Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
  • Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.

These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.

Income Statement

business plan

The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.

Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.

Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

  • Revenue: $1,500,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
  • Gross Profit: $700,000
  • Operating Expenses: $450,000
  • Net Income: $250,000

This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.

Cash Flow Statement

business plan

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.

Example:  The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

Operating Activities:

  • Depreciation: $10,000
  • Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000

Investing Activities:

  •  Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
  • Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000

Financing Activities:

  • Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
  • Loan Repayments: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
  • Net Increase in Cash: $210,000

This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

business plan

1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.

2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.

3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.

6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.

7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

The template is divided into the following sections:

  • Mission statement
  • Business Overview
  • Key products or services
  • Target market
  • Financial highlights
  • Company goals
  • Strategies to achieve goals
  • Measurable, time-bound objectives
  • Company History
  • Mission and vision
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Pain points
  • Industry trends
  • Customer needs
  • Competitor strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Competitor products and services
  • Market positioning
  • Pricing strategies
  • Organizational structure
  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Management team backgrounds
  • Product or service features
  • Competitive advantages
  • Marketing channels
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Promotional activities
  • Sales strategies
  • Supply chain management
  • Inventory control
  • Production processes
  • Quality control measures
  • Projected revenue
  • Assumptions
  • Cash inflows
  • Cash outflows
  • Net cash flow

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.

Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.

A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.

business plan

Why You Should Write a Business Plan

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

  • Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
  • Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
  • Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
  • Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
  • Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:

  • Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
  • Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
  • Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
  • Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
  • Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
  • Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
  • Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
  • One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
  • Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
  • Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.

Using Business Plan Software

business plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.

1. LivePlan

LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.

2. Upmetrics

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.

Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.

5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz

Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:

  • It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
  • It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
  • It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
  • It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
  • It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
  • It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
  • It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
  • It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
  • It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
  • It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
  • It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
  • It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
  • It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.

Can I write a business plan by myself?

Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.

We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .

Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.

What questions should be asked in a business plan?

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.

How is business planning for a nonprofit different?

Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.

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How To Write a Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Guide

April 23, 2024.

creating a business plan

No matter how unique your ideas are, launching a successful business without a well-crafted plan is tough. That’s why learning how to write a business plan is key to seeing success from the start. 

An actionable business plan helps you and potential investors understand exactly where you want to go and how to get there. And if you aren’t trying to secure funding, a lean business plan can summarize the highlights to help you in other areas. Here’s everything you need to write a business plan that clarifies your company’s vision.

Business Plan Basics

A business plan outlines the company’s products or services, how it makes money, and its customers. It should also identify the business’s long-term goals and how it’ll achieve them.

But what does a business plan look like? There’s no singular format, but most contain the following core elements:

  • Executive Summary . The executive summary is a high-level summary of your business plan’s key points. Include this early in the document, but write it last so you can accurately describe what’s in it.
  • Company Description . This section covers your company’s mission, leadership team, and goals. If your business has operated for several years, include a history.
  • Market Analysis . This is where you’ll write out your market research. Gather data on your industry. That includes target customer segments and the current competitive landscape. This info demonstrates the viability of your business idea. 
  • Product and Service Offerings . Describe your company’s offerings and what sets them apart from competitors. This is your unique value proposition.
  • Marketing Plan . Outline your marketing tactics and overall strategy. Mention your plan for pricing, promoting, selling, and distributing your products. This helps investors know you have a strategy in place to grow your business. 
  • Logistics and Operations Plan . After describing your products and how you plan to generate demand, lay out how you intend to drive, accept payment for, and support sales.
  • Management Overview . Potential investors want to know who they’re betting on. This section provides crucial information about who’s in charge. Include their track records of success, relevant expertise, and roles and responsibilities.
  • Financial Analysis and Projections . If you have them, include any historical financial details and performance metrics. This includes assets, liabilities, expenses , projected financial statements, cash flow statements, and anything else offering insights.
  • Appendix . This final section is a catch-all for any miscellaneous but valuable background information. Examples might be licenses or patents.’

RELATED ARTICLE — How to Keep Track of Business Expenses

How To Create a Business Plan

business-plan-draft

With a clear understanding of these documents, it’s time to learn how to write one. Here’s how to put together a strong business plan for your company:

  • Carry out a Market Analysis on target demographics, competitors, industry trends, and market.
  • In the Company Description and Products and Service Offerings sections, explain what makes your offerings unique.
  • Outline your Marketing Plan and sales strategy. Describe your target market and ideal customer. Include factors like geographic region, age range, and education level.
  • Map out your Financial Analysis and Projections. If you’re an established business, include data like profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet delineating your assets and liabilities, and cash flow statements or projections. If you’re still in the early stages, focus just on financial projections instead. Mention anticipated startup costs and your current cash flow.
  • Your Logistics and Operations Plan explains how you’ll execute your ideas. Describe any relationships with suppliers, office space, or equipment. Make sure to mention production logistics and any shipping and fulfillment plans. This demonstrates that you understand the day-to-day operations of producing your product.
  • Introduce yourself and/or your Management Team and principal hires. Emphasize past successes in related sectors and any unique expertise your staff has.
  • Regardless of what order you prepare your business plan in, write the Executive Summary last. Do this by turning your market research and value proposition into tangible objectives and key milestones. This section is typically the first your readers see, so it should make them want to read more.

Be sure to get feedback from colleagues, industry contacts, and friends and family. The more eyes you get on your business plan, the less likely you are to make mistakes or leave out details.

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What Are Business Plans For?

Writing and adhering to a business plan allows you to think through every aspect of your business. This helps you clarify your vision and shows where your ideas aren’t as developed.

But business plans don’t just clarify the company’s mission and direction. Entrepreneurs hope to answer this tough question with a business plan: how to attract investors. A well-written document can instill confidence by showing how supported it is. This is the main reason many business owners create a comprehensive overview.

And investors aren’t the only ones you’re trying to impress. An inspiring business plan attracts top talent in your industry. It proves that your team is organized, knows what it wants, and has ideas for the future.

Exploring Different Types of Business Plans

roadmap business plan

Business plans can be categorized based on type and style. Let’s explore three of the most common types.

A traditional business plan is the most common. This is what lenders and investment funds want to see before making any decisions. Traditional business plans are typically long. That’s because they provide a thorough overview of your company’s abilities, finances, and prospects

If you’re not courting investors, you might prefer a lean business plan. This type of document is shorter, focusing on the highlights instead of completeness. A lean business plan is great for brainstorming or onboarding new team members with reduced time and effort. But, because they’re less comprehensive, lean business plans aren’t ideal for seeking outside investment. Investors might not see how viable your business is without the added details. 

Finally, if your organization is a nonprofit, focus on the impact you hope to make for your chosen cause, not how you’ll grow revenue. But donors may want to see a more detailed business plan before making sizable donations.

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Caveats To Watch Out For

An actionable step-by-step business plan requires a strong understanding of how it will help you reach your company’s goals. Now that you know how to start a business plan, here are some common mistakes to avoid when you start writing:

  • Putting on Rose-colored Glasses . When you believe in your company and its mission, it’s easy to be too optimistic about future prospects. You might also overlook potential roadblocks. Be sure to keep one foot on the ground to avoid misrepresenting your company’s potential.
  • Focusing Too Much on the Details . If your company is new or not yet established, focus on high-level strategy and vision. Save the details for when you’ve generated some actionable data.
  • Setting Fuzzy Goals . Keep milestones concrete and measurable to meaningfully track progress.
  • Overcomplicating . There’s nothing wrong with being comprehensive, but creating an overly intricate strategy makes it harder to execute. Keep it simple.
  • Setting It in Stone . Your business plan won’t be much of a guide if you’re constantly making changes. But it’s important to move on from ineffective strategies or unachievable goals. Striking the right balance between stable ideas and flexible methods ensures your business plan is a help, not a hindrance.

5 Tips for an Effective Business Plan

business plan on table

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s learn some tips for making your business plan as effective as possible:

  • Clearly Articulate Your Value Proposition . What unsolved problem does your company provide the solution for?
  • Don’t Skimp on Market Research . A seemingly great idea won’t sell if no one is interested in buying it.
  • Set Quantifiable Goals You Can Track . It’s difficult to measure progress toward vague, qualitative milestones.
  • Hype up Your Team . Lenders and investors want to see that qualified personnel run your company.
  • Manage Expectations . Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Surpassing your targets is impressive; falling short isn’t.

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14 Professional Business Plan Samples [Downloadable pdf]

Looking for business plan examples for inspiration? Download or view 14 business plans examples/samples, vetted by our MBA business plan writers. Download in PDF format or read like a book. These real business plan samples would help in writing your own business plan.

14+professional business plan examples or samples

  • View Real Business Plan Examples/Samples

Bank Business Plan

As an entrepreneur, effectively pitching your idea to attract investors and secure funding can be a challenge. Moreover, when launching a business, creating a comprehensive business plan is paramount.

To aid you in these crucial tasks, we offer a collection of real-world and sample business plan examples across diverse industries. A well-structured business plan is indispensable in the fast-paced entrepreneurial landscape, as it delineates your goals, strategies, and financial projections, providing a clear roadmap for your venture.

Our aim is to facilitate the creation of an effective business plan by integrating real-life examples to elucidate the key elements involved. Below, you’ll find a range of 14 detailed business plan examples available for download and use.

Important Sections to Include in Business Plan

Practical business plan examples illustrating strategies for startup success, 1. e-commerce plan sample or example, 2. online marketplace business plan example or sample, 3. snack bar business plan sample / business plan example, 4. coffee shop business plan sample/business plan example pdf, 5. food hall business plan sample/business plan example pdf, 6. printing shop business plan sample/business plan example plan, 7. acquisition business plan sample/ example pdf, 8. l-1 visa business plan example with sample pdf, 9. e-2 visa business plan sample/ example pdf, 10. eb-5 business plan sample/ example pdf, 11. investor business plan sample/ example pdf, 12. nonprofit business plan sample/ example pdf, 13. bank business plan sample/ example pdf, 14. cannabis business plan sample/ example pdf, detailed overview of key components of a business plan, 1. executive summary, tips for writing executive summary, 2. company overview or description, tips for writing company description, 3. market analysis, tips for writing market analysis, 4. product and services, tips for writing product and services, 5. marketing and sales plan, tips for writing marketing and sales plan, 6. operation planning, tips for writing operational planning, 7. organization and management, tips for writing organization and management summary, 8. financial plan, tips for writing financial plan, 9. key external drivers, tips for writing key external drivers, 10. startup summary, tips for writing startup summary, 11. projected industry growth, tips for writing projected industry growth, 12. break-even analysis, tips for writing break-even analysis, 13. management summary, tips for writing management summary, 14. financial indicators, tips for writing financial indicators, discover business plan formats and free templates, business plan examples for students pdf, common types of business plan, 1. one page business plan, 2. start-up business plan, 3. strategic business plan, 4. feasibility business plan, 5. internal business plan, conclusion​, download pack of 14 business plan examples, are you looking for top business plan writer.

To create a robust business plan, ensure inclusion of the following key sections:

  • Executive Summary: A brief snapshot of your business and the key highlights of your business plan. Read more
  • Product and Services: An elaborate description of the offerings you will provide to your customers. Read more
  • Marketing and Sales Plan: A strategic roadmap outlining how you intend to promote and market your business before, during, and after its launch. Read more
  • Operating Planning: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools necessary to efficiently run your business behind the scenes. Read more
  • Organization and Management: Organization and management in a business plan outline the structure and leadership of the company. Read more
  • Financial Plan: A comprehensive plan mapping out your short-term and long-term financial goals and the associated costs of running your business. If you require funding, this section is where you can outline your request and financial needs. Read more
  • Key External Drivers: External drivers encompass factors like outsourcing, economic changes, industry competition, and business legislation complexity. Read more
  • Startup Summary: The startup summary offers a comprehensive financial overview of , detailing expenses, asset value, and total requirements, crucial for transparency with entrepreneurs and investors. Read more
  • Projected Industry Growth : Projected industry growth forecasts the sector’s expansion, offering a 10-year perspective and average annual growth rate, providing clarity to investors. Read more
  • Break-even analysis: The break-even analysis visually presents key metrics and a 12-month revenue forecast to help stakeholders grasp the point where the business covers costs and starts generating profit . Read more
  • Management Summary: The management summary provides a concise overview of organizational structure, key personnel, their roles, and financial commitments, ensuring stakeholders understand the business’s operational strength and leadership capability. Read more
  • Financial Indicators: The financial indicators section evaluates organizational fiscal health, focusing on year-over-year profitability metrics, leverage ratios, liquidity ratios, and additional metrics, providing a comprehensive understanding of the business’s financial performance and efficiency in revenue generation from equity investments. Read more

E-commerce Plan Sample or Example

Something Borrowed Something New is a burgeoning e-commerce enterprise specializing in wedding accessories and personalized gifts. Operating on a drop-shipping model, this business has the capability to make a significant impact in the market.

Moreover, leveraging social networking and blogging can be instrumental in generating awareness and capturing interest, thereby creating a robust online marketing strategy for Something Old and Something New.

To enhance their business operations, they are contemplating the integration of a WhatsApp CRM system. This initiative aims to optimize communication with potential customers, ensuring prompt responses to inquiries and fostering a seamless interaction process.

Online Marketplace Business Plan Example or Sample

EPlace Solutions will be an innovative online marketplace business portal offering a variety of products to consumers throughout the globe. Founded by Mr. John Jones, a seasoned business visionary with an eye toward profit and achievement, the organization is set to enter the market in 2023.

Online shopping is at an all-time high with new consumer mindsets calling for them to shop for the types of deals and bargains that will be so much a part of the online marketplace business model.

Snack Bar Business Plan Sample

There is an increasing demand for snack-type fast food to be consumed while window shopping and walking around inside a shopping mall.

Do you plan to start a snack bar business? Then here’s a complete snack bar startup business plan template and feasibility report you can use FREE of charge. It sounds easy to open a snack bar, but in reality, you need well-planned strategies to ensure that your business stands the test of time. 

Our snack bar business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market a nalysis  and competitive analysis.

It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable snack bar business by creating a unique menu and offering healthy, high-quality snac ks that meet custome r demand.

Your snack shop business plan can look as polished and professional as the sample plan. It’s fun and easy, with Wise Business Plan. Let’s review the  snack shop business plan sample  and adjust them according to your audience for the best results.

Coffee Shop Business Plan Sample

A coffee shop business plan is a document that outlines what your business idea is and how it will be implemented. Its purpose is to answer questions such as what it costs to start a coffee shop, how these costs will be financed, and how much money you can expect to earn from your cafe.

Are you looking for the right business plan for your cafe? Let’s review the  Coffee shop business plan sample  to find out how cloud-based software can make your day-to-day work more efficient.

Our coffee shop business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market analysis and competitive analysis.

It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable coffee shop business by creating a unique brand and offering high-quality products a nd customer service.

Food Hall Business Plan Sample

In the food industry, there is fierce competition. To ensure success, you need to hit the ground running with the right pitch. Our food house business plan is the ideal solution with an attractive design highlighting key information and conveying the right message.

This food business plan example features food images intended to tantalize the taste buds. It captures the theme perfectly and will convey the ultimate message to investors, clients and customers.

It is important to remember that the business plan template can be customized to meet your company’s specific needs and requirements. It will help showcase your business as a leader in the modern industry.

This food business plan template provides key slides to showcase everything from finances to marketing and key competitors. If you prefer, you can alter the content displayed to meet your specific needs, but this is a good starting point.

Ultimately, this  food house business plan  will be suitable for any business operating in the food industry and keen to get interested from key individuals. It will ensure that you can build up the rep of your company.

We provide a one-of-a-kind sales pitch deck designed to appeal to your prospective audience, as well as a custom presentation tailored to their information requirements.

Printing Shop Business Plan Sample

When establishing a think tank, you will need to develop a business plan and document it properly. As a mass think tank, you need a special strategy to legalize the think tank as a non-profit organization and to raise funds for your project successfully.

Copy and print businesses offer a variety of services to both businesses and consumers. A copy and print shop can handle everything from single-page printing to large-volume jobs using several types of media.

Our printing shop business plan sample includes a detailed description of the products and services offered, as well as a market analysis and competitive analysis. It also includes a financial plan that outlines the startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates how to build a profitable printing shop business by offering high-quality, customized printing services with a focus on customer s ervice and efficient operations.

Let’s take a look at Printing and Photocopy Business Plan Sample that you can use to inspire your own and easily create one.

Acquisition Business Plan Sample

The acquisition business plan sample is intended for businesses seeking to acquire another company or merge with a competitor. This plan includes an analysis of the target company, a valuation, and a strategy for integrating the acquired business into the existing operations. We like this sample plan because it provides a clear roadmap for the acquisition process and demonstrates the potential benefits of the deal.

L-1 Visa Business Plan Sample

At Wisebusinessplans, we understand that obtaining an L1 visa for an executive or manager requires a thorough and compelling business plan.

Our L1 business plan sample includes all the necessary components to satisfy USCIS requirements and demonstrate your qualifications and your company’s viability in the US market.

The L1 business plan sample is a comprehensive plan for a new business seeking L1 visa approval for an executive or manager. This plan focuses on demonstrating the applicant’s qualifications and the company’s viability in the US market.

We like this sample plan because it is specific to the L1 visa process and includes all the necessary components to satisfy USCIS requirements.

E-2 Visa Business Plan Sample

If you’re an entrepreneur seeking E-2 visa approval, Wise Business Plans can help you create a persuasive business plan.

Our E-2 business plan sample outlines your investment, business operations, and financial projections, providing a clear and compelling case for your ability to successfully run a business and make a significant economic impact.

The E-2 business plan sample is designed for entrepreneurs seeking E-2 visa approval, which allows individuals to invest in and manage a business in the United States. This plan outlines the applicant’s investment, business operations, and financial projections. We like this sample plan because it provides a clear and compelling case for the applicant’s ability to successfully run a business and make a significant economic impact.

EB-5 Business Plan Sample

If you’re looking to obtain an EB-5 visa by investing in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, Wise Business Plans can help you create a compelling business plan.

Our EB-5 business plan sample includes a description of your business, a market analysis, and financial projections, providing a detailed and persuasive case for the potential success of your venture.

The EB-5 business plan sample is designed for individuals seeking to obtain an EB-5 visa by investing in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. This plan includes a description of the business, a market analysis, and financial projections. We like this sample plan because it provides a detailed and persuasive case for the potential success of the business, which is crucial for obtaining EB-5 visa approval.

Investor Business Plan Sample

If you’re seeking investment from angel investors, venture capitalists, or other private equity firms, Wise Business Plans can help you create a compelling pitch.

Our investor business plan sample includes a pitch deck, financial projections, and a detailed analysis of the market the potential return on investment and the scalability of your business.

The investor business plan sample is intended for businesses seeking to attract investment from angel investors, venture capitalists, or other private equity firms. This plan includes a pitch deck, financial projections, and a detailed analysis of the market opportunity. We like this sample plan because it emphasizes the potential return on investment and the scalability of the business.

Nonprofit Business Plan Sample

At Wisebusinessplans, we’re committed to helping non-profit organizations achieve their social impact goals.

Our non-profit business plan sample includes a mission statement, programs and services, marketing and outreach strategies, and a financial analysis, providing a clear roadmap for establishing or expanding your organization.

The non-profit business plan sample is designed for organizations seeking to establish or expand a non-profit entity. This plan includes a mission statement, programs and services, marketing and outreach strategies, and a financial analysis. We like this sample plan because it demonstrates a strong commitment to social impact and outlines a clear strategy for achieving the organization’s goals.

Bank Business Plan Sample

Whether you’re seeking financing from a bank or other financial institution, Wise Business Plans can help you create a detailed and persuasive business plan.

Our bank business plan sample includes a thorough financial analysis, market research, and a strategy for achieving profitability, highlighting the key factors that banks consider when evaluating loan applications.

The bank business plan sample is tailored for businesses seeking financing from a bank or other financial institution. This plan includes a detailed financial analysis, market research, and a strategy for achieving profitability. We like this sample plan because it highlights the key factors that banks consider when evaluating loan applications, and provides a strong case for the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Cannabis Business Plan Sample

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, and Wise Business Plans can help you enter it with confidence.

Our cannabis business plan sample includes a market analysis, operational strategy, and regulatory compliance a comprehensive overview of the unique challenges and opportunities in the industry and offering a clear roadmap for success.

The cannabis business plan sample is tailored for entrepreneurs seeking to enter the rapidly growing cannabis industry. This plan includes a market analysis, operational strategy, and regulatory compliance plan. We like this sample plan because it provides a comprehensive overview of the unique challenges and opportunities in the cannabis industry, and offers a clear roadmap for success.

The executive summary is a concise overview of your business plan, highlighting the key points of each section. It should capture the essence of your business, its mission, and the purpose of the business plan. This section should be written last, but it’s placed at the beginning of the business plan. Here is an example executive summary from our professional business plan written for Eplace Solution , an innovative e-commerce portal.

executive summary

  • Keep it brief and focused on key points.
  • Clearly define the problem and your solution.
  • Highlight market opportunities and growth potential.
  • Showcase your team’s qualifications.
  • Include financial projections.
  • End with a clear call to action.
  • Tailor it to your audience.
  • Review and update regularly.

the executive summary of a real estate business example

In this section, provide a detailed description of your company, including its history, legal structure, location, and vision. Explain your mission statement and core values that guide your business decisions. Use real-life examples of successful companies and how their strong company descriptions have contributed to their growth. In addition, you can reuse your company description on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business.

This section also allows you to describe how you register your business . Here you must choose whether your business is a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC , or another type of business .

Business Overview Example Screenshot

  • Describe your company’s mission and vision.
  • Explain what your business does and the problems it solves.
  • Mention your target market and customer base.
  • Highlight your unique selling points.
  • Provide a brief history and background.

A market analysis analyzes how you are positioned in the market, who your target customers are, what your product or service will offer them, and industry trends. It might be useful to do a SWOT analysis to discover your strengths and weaknesses to identify market gaps that you may be able to exploit to build your business.

As part of your market research, you’ll also need to perform a competitive analysis. It will give you an idea of who your competition is and how to differentiate your brand. Here’s an example of a competitive analysis we did for a food business.

Market Analysis

  • Research and understand your industry thoroughly.
  • Identify market trends and growth opportunities.
  • Analyze your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Define your target audience and their needs.
  • Include data and statistics to support your analysis.

market analysis summary

Adding products and services to a business plan involves more than listing your company’s offerings. If you intend to gain funding or partner with another business, your products, and services section needs to demonstrate your company’s quality, value, and benefits.

Here’s an example of a product and service section in the business plan we wrote for an e-commerce business that offers wedding accessories.

An example of Product and service section of business plan

  • Clearly describe your offerings and their features.
  • Explain how your products/services address customer needs.
  • Highlight any unique qualities or advantages.
  • Discuss your pricing strategy.
  • Mention any future product/service development plans.

Here is example of services section of a bank.

Example of Services Section

It is always a good idea to have a marketing plan before launching your business. A potential investor will want to know how you will advertise your business. Therefore, you should create a marketing plan that explains your planned promotion and customer acquisition strategies.

Discuss how you will make a sale. How will you attract customers and maximize their lifetime value? Ensure your marketing and sales forecasts align with your financial forecasts Marketing plans are usually based on the four Ps : product, price, place, and promotion. Breaking it down by marketing channels makes it easier. Discuss how you intend to market your business via blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth. Here is an example of marketing strategies we develop for a restaurant business.

Marketing plan of business plan screenshot

  • Define your marketing goals and objectives.
  • Outline your marketing strategies, including channels and tactics.
  • Explain your sales strategy and target sales goals.
  • Include a budget for marketing and sales activities.
  • Discuss your sales team and their roles.
  • Detail your customer acquisition and retention strategies.
  • Mention any partnerships or collaborations for marketing and sales.

Example of marketing and sales plan section of a bank

Example of Marketing and Sales Plan Section

The operation plan should include all the steps needed to run the business in the long run. The plan should include details about logistics, duties for each department of the company, and responsibilities for the team.

The main aspect of running a business is its costs. Whether it’s machinery or services, each requires capital.

how to write an operation plan in a business plan

  • Describe your day-to-day business operations.
  • Explain your supply chain and production processes.
  • Outline your facility and equipment requirements.
  • Discuss your quality control and efficiency measures.
  • Mention any legal and regulatory compliance considerations.
  • Detail your staffing and management structure.
  • Include contingency plans for potential disruptions.

In this section, you can describe your current team and the people you need to hire. You will need to highlight your team’s relevant experience if you intend to seek funding. Basically, this is where you demonstrate that this team can be successful in starting and growing the business.

Management summary of a business plan screenshot

  • Introduce your leadership team and their roles.
  • Highlight their relevant experience and qualifications.
  • Explain your organizational structure and hierarchy.
  • Discuss key personnel responsibilities and functions.
  • Mention any plans for team growth or development.
  • Address any advisory boards or external support.

Management summary of coffee shoppe business.

Here is Example of Management Summary

A financial plan should include sales and revenue forecasts, profit and loss statements , cash flow statements , and balance sheets .

Now, if you plan to pitch investors or submit a loan application, you’ll also need a “use of funds” report. Here you outline how you plan to leverage any funding you might acquire for your business.

With our business templates , you can create your own income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet.

Financial highlights of a business plan

  • Include detailed financial projections (income statement, cash flow, balance sheet).
  • Explain your funding requirements and sources.
  • Discuss your pricing and revenue model.
  • Describe your expense management and cost controls.
  • Mention any financial risks and mitigation strategies.
  • Highlight key financial milestones and goals.

Financial highlights of foodShack business.

Here is Example of Financial Highlights

External drivers refer to the external factors or influences that significantly impact the activity and growth of an industry. These drivers include outsourcing of non-core activities, changes in economic activity, competition from other industries, and the complexity of business legislation.

Additionally, external drivers encompass the effects of changes in new business formation, especially among small businesses, which directly affect the demand for services within the industry.

key External Driver

  • Identify and analyze current and emerging market trends in your industry.
  • Assess potential positive or negative impacts these trends may have on your business.
  • Evaluate broader economic conditions, including inflation rates, interest rates, and GDP growth.
  • Elucidate how changes in economic conditions could influence consumer behavior, product demand, and overall cost structure.
  • Outline key industry regulations and compliance requirements, discussing potential impacts on operations, costs, and market access.
  • Highlight relevant technological advancements and explain their potential effects on your product or service offerings, operations, and competitiveness.
  • Analyze current and potential future competitors, emphasizing the evolving competitive landscape’s impact on market share, pricing strategy, and overall business strategy.
  • Consider social and cultural factors influencing consumer preferences and behaviors, exploring how societal changes can affect product demand.
  • Evaluate environmental trends and regulations, discussing potential impacts on operations, supply chain, and customer perceptions.
  • Assess political stability, government policies, and geopolitical factors, exploring potential risks and opportunities from political changes.
  • Discuss global market conditions, analyzing how global economic trends, trade policies, and currency fluctuations may affect operations and expansion plans.
  • Identify and discuss potential risks in the supply chain, such as disruptions, shortages, or geopolitical issues.
  • Consider demographic shifts affecting your target market and discuss how changes may impact your customer base and marketing strategies.
  • Highlight key legal and regulatory factors affecting the business, discussing potential legal challenges, compliance costs, and regulatory changes.
  • Outline comprehensive risk management strategies, including contingency plans and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Explain how you will monitor external drivers and emphasize the importance of staying agile and responsive to changes in the external environment.

Tips Key External

The startup summary serves as a comprehensive overview of essential financial aspects, encompassing total startup expenses, the overall value of startup assets, and the total requirements, which is the cumulative sum of all expenses and startup investments.

It provides a clear financial snapshot, outlining the costs involved in launching the business, the value of assets acquired, and the overall financial needs for the startup.

This section is crucial for entrepreneurs and potential investors, offering a transparent understanding of the financial foundation required to initiate and sustain the business successfully.

This roadmap ensures a realistic evaluation of the business idea, identifying potential challenges and offering solutions.To write an effective plan, focus on what sets your venture apart from competitors, maintain conciseness, and embrace flexibility as a living document.

Answer fundamental questions about your business, create actionable checklists, execute the plan, and continually revise and update based on experiences and feedback.This iterative process fosters continuous improvement, helping entrepreneurs stay adaptable and enhance their business strategies over time.

Overview Example of Ecommerce Company

  • Clearly state the startup’s name and provide a concise description of its activities.
  • Include a succinct mission statement capturing the startup’s purpose and goals, reflecting its core values.
  • Specify the founding date and offer brief bios of key founders, highlighting relevant experience.
  • Summarize the startup’s concept, explaining offered products or services and key distinguishing features.
  • Clearly articulate the problem or need in the market that the startup addresses, defining the target audience.
  • State what makes the startup unique, whether it’s a special feature, market gap, or competitive advantage.
  • Provide a brief description of the market opportunity, covering target market size, trends, and growth prospects.
  • Outline how the startup plans to generate revenue, detailing streams, pricing strategy, and potential partnerships.
  • Offer a snapshot of the startup’s current status, highlighting key achievements such as product development or partnerships.
  • If seeking funding, clearly state the amount sought and its allocation, covering areas like product development and marketing.
  • Include a high-level financial summary with key projections for revenue, expenses, and profitability.
  • Briefly outline future aspirations and plans, encompassing areas like expansion, product development, or strategic partnerships.

The projected industry growth is a pivotal aspect that forecasts the expansion of a specific sector over a defined timeframe.

For instance, it could provide an estimate of where that particular business will be standing in the next 10 years, and what will be the average annual growth rate of that industry.

This information provides prospective investors and stakeholders with a clear understanding of the industry’s potential and positions the startup within a dynamic and flourishing market.

Projected Industry Growth

  • Emphasize the importance of industry trends and growth to your business.
  • Provide a concise overview, including market size, major players, and recent trends.
  • Briefly explain how you gathered data on industry growth projections (e.g., market research reports, expert interviews).
  • Identify and discuss prevailing trends, such as technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, and regulatory shifts.
  • Summarize the industry’s historical growth, highlighting growth rates, market expansion, and notable milestones.
  • Highlight key factors expected to drive industry growth, such as emerging markets, technological innovations, and demographic shifts.
  • Discuss specific opportunities within the industry, including gaps in the market, underserved segments, or areas of competitive advantage.
  • Acknowledge potential challenges or risks that could impact industry growth, demonstrating a realistic understanding.
  • Present projections for future growth rates based on historical data, expert opinions, and your analysis. Include short-term and long-term projections.
  • Discuss how key competitors are positioned to leverage industry growth, emphasizing your business’s differentiation strategies.
  • Consider the regulatory landscape impacting growth, discussing anticipated changes and their potential effects on the industry.
  • Explore international trends and their implications for industry growth, including factors like global economic conditions and geopolitical influences.

Here is example of market analysis section of a bank.

Tips for Writing Projected Industry Growth

The break-even analysis serves as a vital financial tool, offering a detailed estimation of key metrics such as Sales Revenue, Cost of Sales, Gross Profit, Fixed Expenses, and Income Before Tax.

These critical components are visually presented through a bar graph, providing a clear and concise overview of the financial dynamics.

Additionally, the break-even analysis delves into a 12-month forecast, outlining the projected amount of revenue generated and the corresponding fixed costs.

This section is instrumental in helping stakeholders understand the financial threshold at which the business covers its costs and begins to generate profit.

Break Even Analysics

  • Define break-even analysis as a financial calculation where total revenue equals total costs.
  • Identify constant costs regardless of production or sales levels.
  • Enumerate and explain costs changing with production or sales.
  • Present the break-even analysis formula, indicating the units needed to cover costs.
  • Perform a practical break-even calculation using business-specific fixed costs, selling price, and variable cost per unit.
  • Include a break-even chart or graph for a visual understanding of cost-revenue dynamics.
  • Conduct a proactive sensitivity analysis to explore how changes in variables impact the break-even point.
  • Specify the anticipated timeframe to reach the break-even point in terms of months or units sold.
  • Clearly outline assumptions made in the analysis and provide justifications for transparency and credibility.
  • Acknowledge potential risks or challenges that may affect the accuracy of the break-even analysis.
  • Briefly mention contingency plans for difficulties in reaching the break-even point within the projected timeframe.

The management summary within the business plan provides a concise overview of the organizational structure and key personnel.

This includes a count of individuals, specifying the number of founders and operational team members integral to the organization.

The summary delves into the roles and responsibilities of each key figure, offering insights into the leadership dynamics driving the business.

Furthermore, the management summary sheds light on the financial aspect by presenting details about personal wages and payroll allocations for both founders and operational staff.

This comprehensive section ensures a clear understanding of the human resource framework and the financial commitments associated with the management team, crucial for stakeholders evaluating the business’s operational strength and leadership capability.

Mangement Summary

  • Highlighting the critical role the management team plays in the business’s success, the introduction emphasizes their significance.
  • Listing each key member with names, positions, and brief role summaries introduces the core of the management team.
  • Providing brief biographies for each team member underscores their relevant experience, skills, achievements, and industry-specific expertise.
  • Clearly outlining roles and responsibilities emphasizes how each team member’s skills contribute to the overall success of the business.
  • Sharing the team’s vision and strategy involves discussing key strategic goals and outlining the plans to achieve them.
  • Highlighting notable achievements or milestones showcases the team members’ successful ventures, industry recognition, or career accomplishments.
  • Discussing team dynamics emphasizes collaboration and the complementary nature of their skills in driving the business forward.
  • Introducing advisory board members, if applicable, underscores the additional guidance and expertise they bring to the business.
  • Discussing how the team plans to contribute to future growth and development includes strategies for talent acquisition, leadership development, and succession planning.
  • Touching on the team’s culture and values emphasizes their role in shaping the overall ethos of the business.
  • If seeking investment, briefly mentioning how the management team plans to use funding for business growth and development provides insight into their financial strategy.

Here is example of marketing and sales plan section of a bank.

Tips for Writing Management Summary

The financial indicators section within the business plan helps in evaluating the fiscal health and performance of the organization.

Year-after-year profitability estimates take center stage, encompassing key metrics such as gross margin, net profit margin, and EBITDA to revenue.

These indicators provide a comprehensive understanding of the business’s ability to generate profit relative to its revenue.

Furthermore, the financial indicators extend to leverage ratios, including the critical Debt to Equity ratio, Debt to Assets ratio, and Interest Coverage ratio.

These metrics illuminate the organization’s capital structure, debt management, and its capacity to meet interest obligations.

Liquidity ratios includes the Current Ratio and Current Debt to Total Asset Ratio.

These ratios provide insights into the company’s short-term financial health and its ability to meet immediate obligations.

The financial indicator toolbox is enriched with additional metrics, notably the Revenue to Equity ratio, which sheds light on the efficiency of generating revenue from equity investments.

Financial Indicator

  • Detailed revenue forecasts for the next 3-5 years. Breakdown by product/service and geographical regions.
  • Detailed breakdown of anticipated expenses. Include fixed and variable costs, operational expenses, and other relevant expenditures.
  • Historical P&L statements if available. Projected future profits and losses based on revenue and expense projections.
  • Outline of expected cash inflows and outflows. Emphasis on the ability to meet short-term obligations.
  • Snapshot of the company’s financial position. Includes assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Calculation and presentation of key financial ratios (liquidity, solvency, profitability). Discussion on the significance of these ratios.
  • Identification and explanation of relevant KPIs. Highlighting alignment with the overall business strategy.
  • Discussion of potential financial risks. Mitigation strategies and addressing uncertainties.
  • Clear statement of the amount and purpose of funds required.
  • Outline of key assumptions underlying financial projections. Rationale for these assumptions.
  • Summary of industry financial trends and business positioning. Outlook on future financial prospects considering market dynamics.

Tips For Writing Financial Indicators

Looking For The Right Business Plan Format?

These sample business plans will provide you with a complete structure and format for your business plan, which will give you a head start on developing your document, so you won’t be stuck seeing an empty page and wondering what to write.

Simply going through the process of writing a business plan is one of its key benefits. If you sit down to write, you’ll naturally think about your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you’ll need to conduct. In addition to defining your position among your competitors, you will establish your goals and milestones.

You can see what should be included in a sample financial plan, but It is wrong to assume that a sample company’s financial projections will fit your own. If you need more resources to get you started, we recommend this guide on how to write a business plan .

In addition, you can download our 40+ free business plan templates covering a range of industries.

One-page business plans are short, compact, and to the point and are designed to make the plan easy to read at a glance. Make sure to include all of the sections, but truncate and summarize them

Start-up business plans are for businesses that are just getting started. They are usually developed to secure outside funding. In this regard, financials are of increased importance, as well as other sections that determine whether your business idea is viable, such as market research.

A strategic business plan lays out a company’s goals and how it will achieve them at a high level. It is a foundational document for the company as a whole. A strategic business plan allows all levels of the business to see the big picture, inspiring employees to work together to reach the company’s goals.

Developing a feasibility plan answers two primary questions about a business venture: who would purchase the service or product the company wants to sell, and if the venture is profitable.

Internal Business plans are geared to a specific audience within a company to keep your team on the same page and focused on the same goals.

In conclusion, whether you’re venturing into a traditional business or creating an innovative startup, the significance of a well-crafted business plan cannot be overstated. Different types of business plans cater to specific needs, from internal alignment to strategic expansion. Employing a template in MS Word ensures a polished presentation. The process of writing an executive summary, creating a plan, and defining the components of your business plan is essential.

Recognizing the need for a comprehensive and standard business plan can help guide your endeavors. Whether you choose to write a full business plan or opt for a one-page business overview, leveraging templates in MS Word can simplify the process. In essence, understanding the types of business plans and utilizing an executive summary template provides a structured approach to showcase your business overview.

Take inspiration from example business plans to tailor your strategy, ensuring a roadmap for success in the dynamic world of entrepreneurship. Always remember, a meticulously crafted business plan not only communicates your vision effectively but also serves as a valuable resource that can help secure investments and guide your business’s growth trajectory.

Begin with an executive summary, delve into market analysis, outline your strategies, create financial projections, and use available business plan examples as templates to guide your writing.

A comprehensive business plan template should encompass key sections such as an executive summary, business description, market analysis, marketing strategy, organizational structure, and financial projections. Seek templates online that cover these elements.

Tailor your business plan to the scale of your small business. Define your objectives clearly, outline cost-effective strategies, and emphasize agility in adapting to market changes.

Explore well-crafted business plan examples you can visit our website  wisebusinessplan.

The fundamental components include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, marketing and sales strategy, organizational structure, product/service description, and financial projections.

Investors focus on growth potential, detailed financial projections, market analysis, competition analysis, and the qualifications and experience of your management team when reviewing a business plan.

To find a business plan example for a tech startup,you can visit our visit wisebusinessplan .

A business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your entire business, including strategies, operations, and financials. In contrast, a business proposal typically focuses on a specific project or offer, outlining the details and benefits to a potential client.

Craft an engaging executive summary by summarizing your business’s mission, highlighting the market opportunity, showcasing your product or service, and providing a concise overview of your financial projections.

Seek tailored business plan examples for nonprofit organizations you can visit wisebusinessplan .

These business plans are written by MBA writers. Real-world use cases were used in these plans.

Get our business plan writing and consultation service.

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Didn't find what you are looking for.

The answer is simple.

It’s an informal business plan that can convince you that your idea makes sense to the outside world because you are investing your time, money, and everything into that idea.

To write a business plan, maybe you think you don’t need a step-by-step guide or a sample business plan . After all, some entrepreneurs achieved success without writing a business plan. With great timing, past business experiences, entrepreneurial ambitions, and a little luck, some entrepreneurs build successful businesses without even writing an informal business plan.

But the odds are greater than those entrepreneurs fail.

And that’s why writing a business plan will help you succeed .

The easiest way to simplify the work of writing a business plan is to start with sample business plans.

What is business plan sample?

Why you should refer a business plan example, who should use business plan examples, how to use sample business plans.

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What is Business Plan Sample?

That’s why we created business plan examples to help you get started.

example of business plan in writing

Use our 400+ business plan examples written for all industries and write your business plan in half of the time with twice the impact.

example of business plan in writing

  • Guidance on what to include in each section.  If you’ve never attended business school, you might never have created a  SWOT analysis   or a balance sheet before. Business templates that give guidance — in plain language — about what to include and how to fill in each section and create a complete and effective plan.
  • A business plan is vital to get an investment.  If you’re seeking investment for your business, you’ll need to convince banks and investors why they should invest in your business . Lenders and investors will only risk their time and money if they’re certain that your business will be successful and profitable and they will get a great return on their investment.
  • A business plan can help you prioritize.  A complete, well-balanced business plan is one of the most valuable tools in assisting you to reach your long-term goals. It gives your business direction, defines your goals, outlines out strategies to reach your goals, and helps you to manage possible bumps in the way.

Who should use Business Plan Examples?

example of business plan in writing

Well Everyone, who wants to write a business plan should use these sample business plans. These plans apply to almost all industries.

We have created a library of professional sample business plans from a wide variety of industries to help you start writing your business plan with minimum effort.

Use our Upmetrics — business plan software that offers step by step guide to start writing your business plan , especially if you’re writing an informal business plan to get a bank loan or outside investment.

Our extensive sample business plans library includes  business plan templates  and  business plan examples  for almost all business industries.

Make your plan in half the time & twice the impact with Upmetrics.

example of business plan in writing

How to use Business Plan Examples to write your own?

Having real-life and industry-specific business plan examples by your side can be incredibly resourceful to help you write a business plan from scratch. 

A well-planned structure helps you outline your plan, while content inspiration helps you set the tone for your business document. 

Let’s dive deep and understand how to use these examples effectively to write your business plan.

1. Use examples as a guide

2. understanding the structure.

Traditional business plans generally follow a similar structure. 

It starts with an executive summary followed by a company description, market analysis, product and services, sales and marketing strategies, operational plan, management team, financial plan, and appendix.

Using an example business plan is the best way to understand the structure and outline your plan. 

3. Gaining Inspiration

Reading industry-specific business plan examples can help you gain inspiration for your plan. You can gain insights on presenting your business idea, vision, mission, and values and persuade investors to invest in your idea.

4. Learning Industry-Specific Language

There’s no universal template for business planning that fits all. An industry-specific template can help you learn and understand the business language for your industry and the best way to communicate your message to your investors.

5. Identifying Key Elements

Reading business plan examples of similar businesses can help you identify the key elements and information to include in your plan. You can keep note of these and ensure everything necessary for investors to consider is present in your final draft.

6. Crafting Financial Projections

A financial plan is a critical component of your business plan, and a good business plan example can help you better understand how they project their financials which can be incredibly helpful while forecasting yours.

7. Refining Your Executive Summary

As mentioned earlier, your executive summary is a key factor influencing potential investors and lenders to invest or lend you money. Analyzing free business plan templates can help you optimize your executive summary to make it more brief, persuasive, and attention-grabbing.

8. Realizing What Works and What Doesn’t

Analyzing industry-specific and real-life examples can help you determine what works best and what doesn’t within your industry. Understanding these factors can help you avoid many significant pitfalls.

While business plan examples can be incredibly helpful in writing a plan from scratch, ensure your plan is customized for your business and sends out a unique message. Your business plan must reflect its unique idea, vision, and target market.

Using your Business Plan as a Management Tool

It’s essential to have a business plan, but it’s also crucial to keep it up to date as your business progresses. A business plan is not merely a document that you write once and forget after you get started. It’s a business road map and vision that you should develop as your business progresses and evolves. It’s also important to update your business plan regularly as your business situation and position change.

How Business Plan Software can help you?

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We have created Upmetrics — business plan software to simplify the process of business planning.

Our financial forecasting module will create all the essential reports automatically. You just need to enter numbers and the application will do all the math to generate your financial reports. Later you can embed those reports into your business plan.

After completing your business plan, you can download your business plan in PDF or DOC file using Upmetrics. Also, you can share it online with investors or with other important people just by a quick link.

Ready to take the next step?

Now that you have a business idea and you know how to write a business plan, it’s time to go for it . Our business plan software will take you through each step outlined above in more detail so there are no surprises on your journey.

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After trying Upmetrics, I wish to highly recommend this app to anyone who needs to write a business plan flexibly and to a high standard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sample business plan, how do i write a business plan.

In business plan writing you will need to write the following sections into your business plan. These sections include an Executive Summary, Company Overview, Problem Analysis, The Solution, Market Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, and Financial Plan.

Check out our article to learn how you can write these sections in detail for your business plan.

How long should my business plan be?

The length of your business plan depends on the type of plan you choose. There are one-page business plans that offer easy and practical planning. Then you have traditional business plans that usually vary from 20 to 50 pages. It’s worth noting that the quality of your business plan matters more than its length.

Should I hire someone to write my business plan for me?

Absolutely No, You as a business owner know all about your business idea, your business goals, target market and audience, and what you want to achieve by writing your plan. Don’t hire someone who doesn’t know what your readers will want, the reason is that, if you intend to raise funds, you are the best person that understands what investors will look out for in your business plan.

Consultants or  business plan writers  definitely can write a business plan but not better than you.

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How to Write an Online Business Plan in 2024

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Written by Vanessa Petersen on July 26, 2023 Blog , Sell Online .

You’ve committed to turning your ecommerce or online business idea into something real. You want your small business to produce revenue and change the course of your life, but what’s your first step in realizing your dream? Developing a plan. If you’re not sure about how to write an online business plan, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the most essential tasks involved in starting any kind of business is to write a business plan. An online business plan won’t look that different from a traditional business plan and will include many of the same elements.

In this post, we’ll show you how to write an online business plan, including all the components and sections. We’ll also walk through how WooCommerce can help you put your plan to action and achieve your business goals.

Why write a business plan? 

Starting your own business is a great experience and something that will shape your life, fill you with self-confidence and independence, and inspire other people around you. A new business is also a serious endeavor that will take time, money, sweat, lots of decisions, and a degree of risk.

A traditional business plan template helps you document and keep track of your business goals, challenges, opportunities, and all the steps and processes involved with making your idea work. It will help you conduct thorough market research and set you up for success.

When you write a business plan, it can confirm that you’ve found the best online business to start , or provide clarity about the need to pivot.

woman working on a laptop at a table

It details all the things you will need to do in order to successfully launch and grow your business, and may include revenue projections, timelines for specific goals, concept art for products, and architectural drawings for any brick and mortar aspects of your business. 

Business plans help create a structure for your company’s development and keep you grounded in reality, focused, and not distracted by less important matters. 

If you have more than one person helping run the business, the business plan also keeps everyone unified around the same set of goals and objectives. 

Another reason to write a business plan is for situations where you are presenting your idea to someone else and asking them to invest. In that scenario, your business plan is also a sort of sales document. It makes the argument for why your business idea is so good and well-considered that an investor should want to be a part of it. 

But even if you’re self-funding your entire business — which is more common with online businesses — you still want to write the plan for the reasons given earlier.

The benefits of running an online business

Starting an online business or ecommerce store offers many of the same great benefits as any other business, but without as much risk. If you’re thinking of starting a business, here’s why an online one is a great option:

It has low startup costs

Without a storefront, you eliminate so many costs of running a business. With all the bills that come with having property — like rent, parking, furnishings and decor, etc. — there’s a much higher investment required to start a brick-and-mortar-based business. Online businesses still have startup costs, but they are much lower. 

It gives you freedom over your schedule

With an online business, you have more freedom to set your own hours, because you don’t always have to be open during the usual times. You can build your business to suit the lifestyle you want. Rearrange your time to get things done in the fastest possible way and take time off when you need it. 

You can start small

Once you have a location, it’s yours, and you have to make it work. With an online business, you can start very small, offering just a few products or even just a single service. You can more easily test the waters without making huge commitments with inventory, and other physical investments.

You can more easily pivot

If your online or ecommerce business doesn’t do as well as you expected, it’s easier to pivot and adapt to something new because you haven’t committed so much to making your original idea work. There are many business success stories where the business owner adjusted their idea after gaining some experience, and then it took off. It’s a lot easier to do that when you aren’t tied to a physical location.

But, there’s one thing online businesses have in common with every other type of business: You need a robust business plan to help guide your idea from concept to a successful reality that makes money and fulfills your dreams and goals. 

So, let’s get into business planning. 

two people working at a whiteboard

How do I write my own online business plan?

Most formal business plans and business plan templates include seven sections, plus an executive summary. You’ll need to keep in mind who you’re writing your business plan for. If you are taking this to potential investors or will be seeking a business loan, your business plan needs to sell the idea of your business as a great investment opportunity and communicate the skills, expertise, and commitment you personally bring to the table. 

Here are the key sections of a traditional business plan format:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Service and product line
  • Sales and marketing plans
  • Financial projections
  • Funding request (if working with investors or partners)

Here’s a brief look at each step of creating an online business plan:

Draft an executive summary

In the executive summary, the first section of almost every business plan template, you’ll present your vision and focus on building excitement. If the business plan is a sales document, the executive summary is the lead. It gets the reader engaged and excited to hear more. 

Your executive summary should achieve two goals:

  • Deliver the basic facts about your business
  • Motivate the reader to keep going and get them excited about your idea

What facts should you include? Whatever helps the reader understand your business idea. Describe the industry and niche. Mention the target market. Briefly state the needs or problems your products and services will be solving. Touch on the potential for growth in terms of revenue and customers. 

For motivation, describe your mission statement and company values. What will set you apart from the competition? What is your value proposition as a business owner? What makes you different? Again — keep this brief. You’ll elaborate later. 

It might be a good move to write all the other sections first, then finish with the executive summary so it will be the most concise and best version of how you describe your business.

team of women working around a table

Write a company description

Here, you’ll give a brief overview of your company. What are your strengths, skills, and areas of expertise as a business owner that will position you for success? If you have a compelling story behind why you’re starting your business, you can include that too.

Conduct a SWOT analysis 

If you’re not sure where to start, consider doing a SWOT analysis , which is a diagram outlining your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

It’s a common part of many business plans and will help paint a realistic picture of what your business can achieve, and what stands in the way. You won’t include all of this in the company description, but your strengths and opportunities may fit here. 

Create a mission and vision statement

The company description is also the place to create a mission statement and a vision statement. What’s the difference between these? 

The vision is where you’re going, the mission is how you’ll get there. A vision statement paints a picture of a future reality for your customers and perhaps the world at large, as a result of your company’s influence. A mission statement expresses how you will achieve that.

The company description can elaborate on your vision and mission beyond just a single sentence, and later you can fine-tune what you write into a succinct pair of statements. Feeling some writer’s block? See company description templates by industry for some inspiration.

Include any unique attributes

If your company will involve particular attributes such as manufacturing, supply chains, dropshipping, affiliates, coaching or advising, online courses, or other relevant particulars, include that in your company description, too. 

State your business location, industry, niche, and other details

Also, state the location of your business, even though it’s online. Name your industry and niche target market again, and describe the nature of your company. For example, is it an ecommerce business, a consulting firm, delivery service, wholesale, or ad-based website? These are just some of many types of online business structures. 

You may also want to include whether your business is in any special class of business that might position it for special loan or grant opportunities like women-owned businesses or veteran-owned businesses.

After reading your description, readers should have a good understanding of what your business is about, why it exists, and how it works. Here’s a detailed look at company descriptions , with an example.

Perform a market analysis

A market analysis uses industry research to assess the scope of your business’s target market and describe the current competition in your industry. It can help you estimate the potential for success and prepare for the challenges you may face when you launch your online business or ecommerce shop.

Doing this research, and including it your business plan, can also help you:

  • Identify industry trends
  • Pinpoint opportunities 
  • Diminish risks and reduce costs
  • Generate new ideas for products and services
  • Learn from the failures and shortcomings of your competitors
  • Find ways to stand out from your competitors
  • Discover new markets
  • Refine your marketing plans

Now let’s dig into the elements involved in a thorough market analysis.

Understand your audience

Here, you will explain in detail who your target customers are and why they want or need what you’ll be selling. What problems or needs does your product solve? What will motivate people to buy from you? And why can’t they get it somewhere else just as easily? An ecommerce business competes against other ecommerce businesses as well as brick-and-mortar stores and shopping malls. Stores with omnichannel strategies compete with both. Why would someone choose you?

Share your key customer demographics, psychographics, and interests. Who will you be serving? What drives them? 

What are their values? If your product, service, or personal brand will appeal to a customer segment that also shares particular values, that’s a strength, not a weakness, and you can use that to win them over. 

Perform customer segmentation

Break down different categories of target customers your business plans to serve. One category could be age. Another might be life situations such as retirees, parents, divorcees, or living with older relatives. You could create a segment of people with particular health conditions, or who live certain lifestyles. 

woman hiking with a backpack

But you can also get way more specific than that. Runners are different from hikers, who are different from bikers, yoga enthusiasts, and gym enthusiasts. Different supplements, philosophies about food, motivations for eating various foods — all of these present near endless possibilities for more narrowly defining your customer segments, all under the broad category of ‘health.’ And you might serve multiple segments. 

The more customer segments you know, the more effectively you can market to them. In an online store, good product descriptions call out the various customer segments that product is designed for.

Also, give a sense of the potential size of your target market. How many people need what you’re selling? Show how this market is large enough to justify your business and drive revenue. You might do this by studying revenue reports from other companies in your industry. Or look at specific products related to yours and research their sales and revenue performance. 

You may also perform a survey of some kind, or an online quiz, and use that to express the needs your potential customers have that aren’t currently being met.

Perform a competitive analysis

Study your competition. What are they doing well? What areas are they underserving? Where are they underperforming? Make note of what other companies in your industry are struggling with or failing at so that you can deliver something more valuable and gain a competitive advantage.

It could be product quality, customer service, or selection. Maybe their ecommerce store is badly designed and hard to use. Perhaps there’s a huge industry serving the masses, but customers who have more particular tastes or needs aren’t being well-served by the big companies. Those customers might spend more on something that delivers what they really want. 

Maybe your key competition has been rocked by scandal. Maybe a company went out of business, was sold, or closed down due to retirement and there’s an opening in the market you want to leverage. 

The main point of the competitive analysis is to persuade investors that there’s an underserved market that your business plans to cater to. You must be able to promise something that no one else is currently delivering. Otherwise, why should your business exist? Put them at ease by demonstrating proper market research.

Refer to your SWOT analysis and present any potential threats from the competition here, too.

Outline management and organizational structure

Next, present your management and legal structure. Is your company an LLC, sole proprietorship, S corporation, partnership, or some other arrangement? Who’s in charge of what? If you have different departments, list out the leadership for each one. If relevant, you might even include some information about the expertise of your leaders concerning the areas under their charge and the tasks they’ll be performing.

Remember — if your business plan will be used to persuade investors to help fund your business idea, this sort of information will reassure them that your company has strong and competent leadership. 

If there’s a chain of command, use a diagram or other method for laying out who reports to whom. 

bars of soap lined on a shelf

List your products and services

What are you selling? You’ll touch on this briefly in the earlier sections, but here is where you’ll expand on the details. If you have an array of similar products, such as food flavors or clothing variations, list as many as seem relevant. But focus on the spirit of the business plan — you’re simply communicating what your business is about, not listing every SKU in your projected inventory. 

Also, include information about your products such as quality, durability, expirations, patents, and whatever else will give a clear picture of what you’re selling.

For service businesses and memberships that may include multiple packages, bundles, or tiers, describe each of these so your readers get a sense of how you’ll appeal to different types of customers and price points. 

Develop a sales and marketing strategy

Having products is great, but how do you intend to sell them? How will people find your business? How will anyone know you exist? And once they know, what will motivate them to buy from you and not from your competition? What is your unique value proposition — the thing that sets you apart from your direct competitors?

You’ll need to develop an initial marketing plan to help promote your business, products, and services to your target customers.

And remember, competition isn’t limited just to other businesses. Sometimes, competition is against the customer’s time, or their budget, or mere indifference — the conflict between doing something and doing nothing. Your SWOT analysis should touch on several of these potential barriers to the success of your online business.

Your marketing plan will obviously change over time, but give your readers and potential investors a sense of how you plan to launch and grow your business. 

Google ad for a blue shirt

Discuss media channels you plan to use, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads , social media , email marketing , affiliate marketing , direct mail, referrals, joint ventures, search engine optimization (SEO), webinars, influencer marketing , and live events. Describe the ones you actually plan to use, and explain the core strategy you’ll begin with and how you will measure success. 

Also, include a sense of your marketing budget. If you will have a dedicated marketing team, or actual sales professionals using a particular process or sales script, discuss that as well. 

For ecommerce businesses, include a discussion of how you plan to leverage platforms like WooCommerce, which features a host of extensions that can help manage your business , engage customers, save money, and promote growth .

charts showing business growth

Make financial projections

You’ve made a lot of claims in your business plan, but how will your investors be convinced of your future success? At some point, you have to show them the money. 

If this is a brand new business with no income, where will your finances come from for the first year? Give realistic financial projections for anticipated profits and losses, as well as growth expectations for the first five years. Include financial documents if you have them, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Include costs of employment, manufacturing, and other investments both one-time and ongoing.

Your financial projections should reference your:

  • market analysis 
  • anticipated sales volume 

Investors will feel more confident when they can see your business plan does not rely entirely on just one or two ‘wins.’ For example, if your entire plan hinges on selling on eBay or Amazon , what happens if Amazon suspends your store, changes the terms, or you struggle to get noticed there? 

If your plan depends on winning over a few Instagram influencers, what if they don’t come through? It’s really easy to say what you hope will happen. But actually making it happen is another thing. Business success happens more easily when you apply a multi-channel marketing and sales approach. 

Your financial projections will feel based in reality, when you can demonstrate some prior successes, either in other businesses you’ve already launched, test audiences, local sales you made, prior experience, or data from other businesses. 

Explain your funding request — if applicable

If you intend to ask investors to help fund your business idea, present your request in the final main section of your business plan. If you’ve already secured funding from other sources, include that here as well. An investor will feel better knowing they are not the only one who believes in the potential of your business. 

Will your funding request be for a one-time payment, monthly, annually, or at some other interval? How do you plan to repay their investment? Will you allow them to charge interest? How much ROI can you promise them? 

How WooCommerce can help

WooCommerce can help you build a scalable online business that supports your business plan. No matter what you’re selling, WooCommerce offers a suite of flexible tools that allows you to customize your store to meet your needs and goals. 

WooCommerce homepage launch info

Here are just some of the benefits your business will enjoy when you choose to build your store with WooCommerce:

  • Sell absolutely anything you can imagine . From physical items and digital downloads to subscriptions, memberships, bookings, courses, and affiliate products, WooCommerce provides everything you need. Want to run a wholesale store? You can do that, too!
  • Harness the power of WordPress . Since WooCommerce is a plugin specifically for WordPress, you can take advantage of powerful features like the block editor and blogging capabilities. 
  • Capture payments securely. Choose from a large number of payment gateways, from popular options like PayPal and Stripe, to more niche processors for specific locations and types of regulated products. And with tools like WooPayments , you can keep customers on-site, capture a variety of currencies, and even accept digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
  • Customize your shipping options. Offer free shipping, charge based on weight, set fixed prices, or calculate shipping costs based on real-time carrier rates. You can even use extensions like Table Rate Shipping to create complicated shipping rules based on conditions that you set. And with WooCommerce Shipping , you benefit from discounted shipping labels and the ability to print right from your dashboard. 
  • Connect to your social media channels. Use extensions to sync your store with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can even sell on those platforms alongside your store without having to update inventory and information manually.
  • Integrate with marketing tools. Quickly connect your store to any number of marketing tools, from email platforms like MailPoet to CRMs like Jetpack CRM . You can also implement a number of marketing strategies, from abandoned cart emails to loyalty programs.
  • Keep track of your numbers. Ecommerce accounting is a big part of running an online business. While you can easily view data in your dashboard, you can also sync with tools like QuickBooks to make your accountant’s life a little bit easier.
  • Manage inventory. Update your inventory levels manually or connect to tools like Scanventory to sync with your warehouse. Running low or out of stock? Add a wishlist option so customers get an alert as soon as it’s available.

As you can see, WooCommerce is well-equipped to handle any type of online store and support you as you grow. Here are a few more reasons that WooCommerce should be your go-to choice for implementing the ecommerce side of your online business plan:

WooCommerce itself is free! Many extensions for WooCommerce can also be found for free in the WordPress.org plugins library or on the Woo Marketplace . If you need to start your website with a limited budget, but want to build on a platform that can grow to support a thriving, high-traffic store, WooCommerce is an excellent option.

creating a page with the Block Editor

You have full control over your store

Unlike other ecommerce solutions that are tied to the platform’s own web hosting, WooCommerce is designed to be used with WordPress along with any hosting provider of your choice. You are also free to use whatever payment processor you want without any additional fees from WooCommerce. You can also customize your site’s appearance and functionality more extensively than you can with other ecommerce platforms and with less (or no) coding knowledge.

WooCommerce extension store

Thousands of free and premium extensions

There are over 800 free and premium extensions for WooCommerce on WooCommerce.com alone and over 1,000 in the WordPress.org plugins library . There are also hundreds of independent developers and agencies that offer premium and custom extensions for WooCommerce so that you can customize your store with the exact features you need. 

WooCommerce documentation

Excellent support and large community of users

WooCommerce is used by over 3.9 million stores — 23% of all online stores worldwide . The support team is available to answer questions and the documentation library is extensive and thorough. There are also plenty of independent resources for learning how to use WordPress and WooCommerce.

Dedicate time and resources to put your online business plan in action

A successful business plan is one that empowers and guides the business owner to launch their online or ecommerce business, and possibly secure funding. But it only works if you use it.

One advantage of starting an ecommerce store or online business is that you aren’t as locked down by deadlines. With a physical location, once you start paying the rent, you better have your business plan ready to put into action. 

But the beauty of being online is that you have more flexibility on the front end. Despite having more wiggle room with your timelines, you still need to keep your momentum going forward. Staying on track with your business projects and goals is one of the keys to reaching profitability sooner and turning your business plan into reality. A few quick tips:

  • Schedule your time. Block out hours and specific days to work on your business.
  • Treat it like a job, not a hobby. Build on your momentum week after week.
  • Always keep learning. Research your industry, competition, target audience, and potential customers. Learn marketing — you can never know too much.
  • Try stuff! Take risks, make calls, create campaigns, write content.

Your business plan template should give you a concrete list of tasks and business objectives. Once you write a business plan, then you can implement it.

Frequently asked questions about writing an online business plan

What are the seven steps of a business plan.

The seven key elements of a business plan are the executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management, services and products, marketing plan, and financial projections. If you’re making a funding request, that would be an eighth section.

Where can I find business plan templates?

You can find a free business plan template online, for general business plans as well as for specific industries. However, since each business is different and your plan must be authentic and specific to your company — a business plan template can only get you so far. 

If you need design inspiration for your own custom business plan template or want to start with a pre-designed template that you can customize, you can purchase one for a relatively low cost through a stock resources site like Envato Market or Creative Market .

downloads available from Creative Market

Do I need a business plan if I am already running an online business or ecommerce shop?

Business plans aren’t only for people who are launching new businesses. You can create a business plan at any time to help you maintain or change the direction of your store or just to get a better picture of the health of your business. Below are a few different types of business plans that you might want to consider for your established online business:

  • Operational business plan. Outlines the structure of your business operations, staffing, and logistics.
  • Feasibility plan. Feasibility plans are like mini business plans that cover new business ideas and outline steps for implementation.
  • Growth business plan. This plan is for businesses that want to demonstrate opportunities and plans for growth to attract investors.
  • Maturing business plan. This plan is for businesses looking to merge with or acquire other companies, significantly expand, or go public.
  • Strategic business plan. Any time your business wants to shift strategies regarding products or marketing or any other major changes to your previous business plan, you’ll want to create a new strategic business plan to address your new goals and the steps involved in achieving them.

What software should I use for my online business plan?

Your business plan should include some images, graphs, and graphic elements in the layout, so you’ll want to at least use word processing software to put your business plan together. If you have access to Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Canva, or Adobe Creative Cloud, you’ll have some other options that might lead to a more professional layout.

business plan templates from Canva

Here’s a list of free and paid software that can help you put together your online business plan outline:

What do investors want to see in a business plan?

The most important piece of information to show investors in your business plan is potential for profitability. Investors don’t want to throw money at a sinking ship, no matter how cool and exciting the business sounds. 

Most investors also want to make sure that they’ll see a decent return on their investment in a relatively short time period — probably around 5-7 years. How much of a return they’ll expect will depend on your industry and what kind of investor they are. 

Investors will also want to see that you clearly understand your business, your industry, and that you have concrete, actionable steps for achieving, maintaining, and growing profitability. They’ll want to make sure that the key people on your team also understand your business and the roles they play and they’ll want to see that each person has a good amount of experience in their field and the required skill sets to fulfill their job duties, if not go above and beyond. 

Any details you can include that highlight unique aspects of your business will also be important. Any area where you have a competitive edge, are offering a unique or proprietary solution, have established any celebrity endorsements, have the backing of other investors, or have secured special grants will be of special interest to investors.

Create your plan for success

Now that you understand what goes into creating a formal business plan, it’s time to write one! Take the time to think through and consider each aspect of the list included in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to finding success.

And WooCommerce is here to support your business every step of the way, with powerful and flexible tools that help your business grow. Start selling online today !

example of business plan in writing

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How to Write a Marketing Plan

By Joe Weller | March 28, 2024

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A  marketing plan is a guide for achieving marketing initiatives on a set timeline. It includes analysis of a company's target audience, competitors, and market sector. Teams can build an organized strategy with that information to reach their goals.  

Inside this article you’ll find a detailed, step-by-step guide to writing a marketing plan, with a free, downloadable  marketing starter kit for beginners .

A  marketing plan includes analysis of the target audience, the competitors, and the market so that teams can determine the best strategy for achieving their goals. The plan’s length and detail depend on the company's size and the scope of the marketing project. A marketing plan is useful for all types of marketing, including digital, social media, new product, small business, B2C, and B2B. Follow the steps below to write a comprehensive marketing plan. 

1. Prepare for Success 

Before you begin writing your marketing plan, set yourself up for success by conducting thorough market research and assembling a team with diverse skills in marketing strategy, content creation, digital marketing, and data analysis. Be sure to consult all your team members as you progress through these steps. It might also be helpful to assign leaders to complete different sections of the plan, depending on their areas of expertise. For example, you might assign the market analysis section to a team member with strong analytical skills and experience in data analysis.  

2. Use a Marketing Plan Template

Download a free marketing plan template to ensure consistency and thoroughness in your final marketing plan.

For more template options, see this collection of  free marketing plan templates and examples.   

3. Identify Your Target Customers

To identify target customers for your marketing plan, collect information about their location, demographics (such as age, gender, and income), interests, values, and purchasing behaviors. This knowledge enables you to focus your marketing goals and tactics to meet their specific needs and preferences.

A  customer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer that provides valuable insights for strategic decision-making. Use one of these  customer persona templates  to craft a detailed profile of your ideal customer.   

4. Conduct a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is an important part of any marketing plan, because it helps identify a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in relation to the market environment. To start, divide a page into four quadrants and label each as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Next, brainstorm with your team to fill in each section. Be as honest and specific as possible, considering factors such as market trends, competition, and your own resources and capabilities. This information will allow the team to capitalize on strengths, prepare for challenges, and make sound strategic decisions throughout the marketing plan. 

See this collection of  marketing plan SWOT analysis templates  for additional guidance.   

5. Conduct a Market Analysis 

A  market analysis is an assessment of a market's size, growth, trends, customer segments, and competitor dynamics. Include it in your marketing plan to provide critical insights for strategic decision-making, helping to tailor products to customer needs, differentiate from competitors, and identify new opportunities. 

To conduct a market analysis for your marketing plan, determine each of the following factors:    

  • Market Size: This is the total potential sales that a particular product or service can achieve within a defined market. Determine the market size by estimating the number of potential buyers for a particular service and multiplying that by the estimated number of purchases over a specific timeframe. (Number of Target Customers) x (Number of Purchases in a Given Time) = Market Size Imagine your company sells wireless headphones, and you estimate that the average consumer purchases a new pair every two years. If your market includes 1 million target customers, and assuming each customer buys one pair of headphones every two years, the calculation for annual market size would be as follows: (1 million target customers) x (0.5 purchases per year) = 500,000 pairs of wireless headphones per year   
  • Market Growth Rate:  This measures the change in a market’s size over a specific time period and is typically expressed as a percentage. To determine the market growth rate, use the following formula: [(Current Market Size − Previous Market Size​) ÷ Previous Market Size] × 100% = Growth Rate For example, if the market for wireless headphones was worth $1 billion last year and is worth $1.1 billion this year, the market growth rate would be as follows: [($1.1 Billion – $1 Billion) ÷  $1 Billion] x 100% = 10%  

Market Share:  This is the percentage of total sales in an industry generated by a particular company over a period of time. It provides a benchmark for assessing performance relative to competitors. Use this formula for calculating market share: (Company’s Revenue ÷ Total Industry Revenue) x 100% = Market Share  

IC-market-share-image

Tip:  Keep in mind that the market size, share, and growth rate are all estimates. It’s impossible to be exact. To obtain the most accurate numbers, review the latest industry reports and seek insight from experts.  

  • Market Demand:  This is the amount of a product or service a consumer is willing to purchase and how much they are willing to pay for it. To determine market demand in a market analysis, begin by conducting comprehensive research on consumer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns related to your product or service. Use tools such as surveys, SEO analytics, and interviews to gather data on potential customer interest and willingness to pay, and analyze competitor pricing and offerings.  
  • Market Trends:  This is the growth or decline direction of a product or service’s price over a specific timeframe. To identify a market trend, monitor industry developments, consumer behavior, and technological advancements over time. Review industry reports and expert analyses to understand broader market movements and future projections. Summarize these observations and include them in your plan to highlight the direction in which the market is heading.        

Market Segments:  The broader market includes specific groups, categorized by shared characteristics. Generally, there are four types of market segments: geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral. In your marketing plan, detail how you'll target each segment by adapting your strategies to their unique characteristics. This targeted approach ensures more effective engagement with each segment.   

  • Competitor Analysis:  A competitor analysis involves examining your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, market positioning, product offerings, and marketing strategies. Describe how you'll conduct a comprehensive evaluation of key competitors by analyzing their market share, pricing, distribution channels, and promotional tactics. For more guidance, try downloading this competitor analysis template. Use it to identify areas where your rivals succeed and why. Their strengths indicate areas for improvement, while their weaknesses indicate opportunities.  

6. List Your SMART Goals 

Include SMART goals in your marketing plan to ensure that objectives are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound, providing a clear direction for strategic actions and performance evaluation. Start by identifying key performance areas that align with your overall business strategy. Then, for each goal, apply the SMART framework. 

Here are two examples of SMART marketing goals:   

  • By Q4 end, increase search results page (SERP) position from 14th to the top three for keywords pertaining to our brand and lead to more organic traffic. 
  • Increase social media following, reach, and engagement by 25 percent in six months and 50 percent in one year.

Learn more about SMART goals and find a customizable SMART goals worksheet  in this comprehensive  guide to writing SMART goals . 

7. Create a Marketing Strategy

A  marketing strategy is the plan for achieving your SMART goals.   

Gayle Kalvert

“A marketing plan should include strategic and tactical elements,” says Gayle Kalvert, Founder and CEO at  Creo Collective , a full-service marketing agency. “From a strategic standpoint, it is critical that the marketing plan aligns to the overall goals of the organization. Tactically, what initiatives will the marketing team execute, and why? Tactics with no strategy lead to spotty results and poor-quality leads.”

Use one of these  marketing strategy templates to get started. A successful marketing strategy will include the following elements: 

7a. Customer Buying Cycle

The  customer buying cycle is the path a potential customer follows from first having exposure to a product or service to becoming an advocate for it. Understanding this process allows marketers to effectively target communications and strategies at each stage in their marketing plan. 

Pro Tip: “Consider your persona’s buyer's journey and ensure marketing has a role at each stage of the journey, especially after the close,” says Kalvert. “That is when customers can become advocates, sources of referral, and great subjects for marketing content for future buyers.”

7b. Unique Selling Proposition

A  unique selling proposition (USP) is a specific benefit or advantage that sets your product or service apart from the competitors. By including a USP in a marketing plan, you help ensure that the team communicates why customers should choose your offering over others. 

For example, Google’s USP is its powerful and accurate search algorithm that delivers relevant search results faster and more efficiently than its competitors.

7c. Branding 

Branding is the development of a unique identity, image, and experience for a company. Marketers convey a brand through messaging, tone, logo, colors, and web design. The marketing strategy needs to align with the company’s brand in order to maintain consistency in messaging and experience, which ultimately builds customer trust.

7d. Marketing Mix A marketing mix refers to the set of actions that a company takes to promote its brand or product in the market, typically encapsulated by the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. Go through each of these steps when including the marketing mix in your strategy:  

  • Product: Describe the product and the problem it solves for your target customers. What makes your product or service different from the competition? Why is it special? 
  • Price: Explain how much your target customer is willing to pay for the product or service based on its real and perceived value. What do your competitors charge for a similar product? Will you run any seasonal promotions or discounts? 
  • Place:  Describe where your product or service will be available for purchase by your target customers. Will you sell it online, through retail partners, or both? How will you manage logistics and supply chain to ensure your product is accessible to your target market?
  • Promotion:  Detail the strategies you will use to communicate your product’s value to consumers. This includes advertising, public relations, social media marketing, email campaigns, sales promotions, and direct marketing tactics.    

7e. Channels 

Identify the specific mediums and platforms — or  channels — where you’ll share your message to your target audience. These should include distribution channels, communication channels, and engagement channels. 

As you list them, explain how they will be used to effectively reach and engage with your target audience. For example, if you’re marketing a new fitness app, one distribution channel would be a direct download from the App Store to reach fitness enthusiasts directly on their smartphones. An engagement channel could be an in-app community feature for users where they can share progress.

Here is a brief list of popular marketing channels:  

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Website marketing

7f. Tactics Tactics are the specific actions you will take to reach the goals outlined in your strategy. They cover everything from the creation and distribution of marketing materials to the scheduling of campaigns to the platforms used for advertising and engagement.  Detail the specific actions and tools you will use to execute your marketing strategy, along with timelines, responsibilities, and budget allocations for each activity. This includes specifying the exact steps for product promotion, customer engagement, content creation, digital marketing efforts, and any other methods chosen to reach and convert your target audience. “Equally as important as using data is to build in time and resources to be flexible,” says Kalvert. “The marketing landscape is evolving at such a rapid pace. Tactics that worked last year may not work this year. Be open to experimenting with new tactics and adjusting your approach based on feedback and results.”

8. Determine the Budget 

Start by estimating the costs associated with each tactic and channel outlined in your strategy, taking into account factors such as content creation, platform fees, and personnel costs. Next, prioritize spending based on the expected ROI for each tactic. Finally, document the budget in a clear, detailed format within your marketing plan, including an itemized list of costs for each tactic, total expenditure, and a contingency fund.

For more resources and help estimating marketing project costs, take a look at this collection of helpful free  marketing plan budget templates . 

9. Create a Calendar

Create a calendar to schedule and track deliverables. Include time for brainstorming, planning, executing, and analyzing results. List objectives, start dates, end dates, due dates, and responsible parties. Keep the calendar in a central location so that team members can easily access it.

10. List Marketing Tools and Technology

List any marketing tools or technologies your team will use to help achieve their goals. These can include email marketing software, blogging software, social media management software, or any other programs you plan to use.

11. Identify Metrics and KPIs

Identify the metrics for measuring and tracking your marketing goals. Metrics and KPIs eliminate ambiguity so that you can accurately measure progress. Select indicators that directly reflect the success of your marketing objectives, such as conversion rates, website traffic, lead generation, and customer acquisition costs.

12. Write an Executive Summary

Once you’ve completed all the sections in your marketing plan document, return to the first section to write the executive summary. Completing this section last ensures that you have a thorough understanding of all key elements before summarizing them. 

Concisely highlight the main objectives, target market, and key strategies of the plan, providing a snapshot of the market analysis and expected outcomes. Outline the budget, resources required, and the metrics for measuring success. This section serves as a compelling overview, enticing stakeholders to delve into the plan.

For more detailed information on executive summaries, see this guide to  writing an effective executive summary. You can also download a helpful template from this collection of  free executive summary templates

Marketing Starter Kit for Beginners

Marketing Starter Kit for Beginners

Download Marketing Starter Kit for Beginners

Get everything you need for creating a marketing plan with this free, downloadable marketing plan starter kit. The kit includes an executive summary template, a customer persona worksheet, a SWOT analysis template, a competitor analysis template, a SMART goals worksheet, a marketing strategy template, and a calendar template with a budget tracker, all in one easy-to-download file.

In this kit, you’ll find the following:  

  • An executive summary template for Microsoft Word to help you introduce the content of your marketing plan.    
  • A customer persona worksheet for Microsoft Word to collect information about your ideal customer.  
  • A SWOT analysis template for Microsoft Word to guide strategic decision-making based on the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 
  • A competitor analysis template for Microsoft Word to help you compare and evaluate your competitors. 
  • A SMART goals worksheet for Microsoft Word to ensure each marketing objective follows SMART guidelines. 
  • A marketing strategy template for Microsoft Word to outline the plan for achieving your goals. 
  • A calendar template with budget tracker for Excel where you can organize, track, and manage marketing deliverables and their costs. 
  • A marketing plan template for Microsoft Word to ensure consistency and thoroughness in your final marketing plan.

Master Your Marketing Plan with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

The best marketing teams know the importance of effective campaign management, consistent creative operations, and powerful event logistics -- and Smartsheet helps you deliver on all three so you can be more effective and achieve more. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Improve your marketing efforts and deliver best-in-class campaigns.

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Project Management

How to write a business case: the formula for getting project approval from stakeholders.

Praburam Srinivasan

Growth Marketing Manager

April 29, 2024

Do you feel you’ve found a solution to one of your company’s most pressing problems? Do you want to go straight to your seniors and tell them about your idea, basking in the glory of your eureka moment? 💡

Before you do that, take a deep breath and consider if your solution requires a significant financial commitment or a shift into critical business functions . If it does, you should learn how to write a business case to properly present your idea to the higher-ups.

Never done that before? No worries. In this article, we’ll explore:

  • The concept of a business case
  • The difference between a business case and a business plan
  • The process of building a compelling business case
  • Some real-life examples to understand how business cases help win project approval

Importance of a business case in project management

What is the difference between a business case and a business plan, 1. executive summary, 2. project definition, 3. financial appraisal, 4. project goals and success criteria , 5. project scope and schedule, 6. risks and mitigation strategies, step 1: problem identification, step 2: stakeholder identification, step 3: drafting background information and project definition, step 4: cost-benefit analysis and financial appraisal, step 5: evaluation of alternatives, step 6: describing the project scope and implementation approach, step 7: drafting the executive summary, step 8: putting it all together, lean startup example, venture capital funding example, outsourcing example, supply chain example, 1. drafting it alone, 2. not taking stakeholder feedback, 3. not reviewing or proofreading, create a compelling business case with clickup.

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What Is a Business Case?

A business case explains how the rewards of investing in a business idea or initiative outweigh the risks and costs . 

It’s one of the many project management documents (like a project charter or a project plan ) you may have to create when seeking the green light to proceed with a project. A well-crafted business case can be crucial for obtaining approval from your client, management, or other stakeholders in the early stages of your project’s lifecycle . 🟢

The key role of a business case is to justify an investment . It plays other important roles that make project management more efficient . Some of them include:

  • Providing clarity: Drafting a business case requires careful planning and research, which brings clarity of thought and improves your understanding of the initiative or project you’re going to propose
  • Resource optimization: A business case helps ensure that the company’s resources are being used productively and contributing to its long-term strategic objectives
  • Removing doubt: By comparing different solutions, the document eliminates any doubt that an alternative way to fix a business problem is better than what you’re proposing

Preparing a business case can take a lot of time and effort, so it only makes sense when a project or an initiative requires a significant financial commitment. For all other approvals, you can use the project charter. Some scenarios in which a business case can make sense include:

  • A new project
  • New product line
  • Introduction of a new customer persona to your marketing strategy
  • Major changes to the supply chain, like introducing new suppliers or distributors

While a business case may seem like a synonym for a business plan , based on its definition, content, and name, there are major differences between them. The most notable ones are:

  • Use case: A business plan is made for an entirely new business, while a business case is created when asking for a substantial financial commitment within an existing business
  • Purpose: A business plan aims to hammer out the complete business strategy, while a business case tries to explain the advantages of a specific initiative
  • A company’s mission and vision
  • Financial projections
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Team profile

A business case, on the other hand, includes only financial projections, risks, and costs of a project

  • Level of detail: Given the scope of information they need to cover, business plans tend to be much more detailed than business cases

Key Elements of a Business Case

While the exact structure of a business case will vary based on a specific situation, here are some of the essential components: 

The executive summary provides a quick overview of the critical details covered in your business case. 

Given that managers and executives are usually strapped for time, the executive summary will often be the only part of the document they actually read. That’s why it’s crucial to get this part of the document right and leave a powerful first impression.

The project definition sets the context for your business case by explaining the problem you aim to solve. It highlights an unfulfilled business requirement, outlines why it’s not being met, and finally presents your solution for addressing the mentioned shortcomings.

This is the crux of the matter—the financial appraisal part outlines the ROI your proposed initiative or project will likely generate for the business. It also covers the expected cost of executing your project or implementing your solution.

This part of the business case defines all the objectives and key results (OKRs) you want to achieve through the proposed project or solution. It also explains how those goals align with the company’s short-term and long-term goals. Lastly, it establishes success criteria for your project in the form of KPIs and key metrics . 

The project scope sets limits and boundaries for your project by allocating resources and budgets and developing a schedule for completion.

A business case has to list all the risks associated with implementing the proposed solution and the mitigation strategies for dealing with them. It also weighs in on alternative approaches and their respective risks to explain why your initiative should be the preferred option.

How to Write a Business Case in 8 Steps

Writing a business case is an elaborate task that requires extensive research and numerous analyses, from SWOT and cost-benefit analysis to stakeholder analysis. It’s no walk in the park, but it becomes much easier with an exceptional project management platform like ClickUp .

ClickUp equips project managers and business professionals with all the tools they need to craft a business case that will win the hearts and minds of their superiors—from ready-made templates to AI-powered document management features. Let’s find out how to write a business case in eight steps with the help of ClickUp. 

Many business ventures fail because they create solutions to non-existing problems. To prevent this scenario, make sure you consider the following:

  • Objective(s) your company wants to achieve. Examples include achieving a revenue target , meeting an unaddressed customer need, or achieving a competitive advantage
  • Problem(s) holding your company from achieving its desired objectives. Examples include a lack of operational efficiency , incorrect customer targeting, and supply chain issues
  • The solution you want to propose to solve the problem and meet the objectives
  • Evidence and case studies to prove that your proposed solution can indeed solve the problem

A structured way to identify your business problems is to use the ClickUp Root Cause Analysis Template . Classify everything going wrong with your business into multiple “Why” columns and then add their root causes in the relevant color-coded blocks. Once you analyze the root causes, you can tailor your solution to target and fix them. 

ClickUp Root Cause Analysis Template

After pinpointing the problem, the next step is identifying the stakeholders to whom you’ll pitch your business case. A stakeholder is anyone who has a say in approving your business case . Depending on the scope and complexity of your business case, one or all of the following stakeholders may play a role in its approval:

  • The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company
  • The head of the finance department
  • The head of business operations
  • The head of the marketing and sales department
  • The representative of a client

Discuss your initiative with the stakeholders to see whether they’re interested in it or not. It can also help you understand their perspective on the problem you’re aiming to solve. After all, you don’t want to put your efforts into a full business case only for the stakeholders to reject it. 🙅‍♂️

The easiest way to identify key stakeholders is to leverage the ClickUp Stakeholder Analysis Template . This framework can help you gauge the influence and support level of all stakeholders who will play a role in approving your business case. This information can also come in handy when you want to collect feedback from a stakeholder.

ClickUp Stakeholder Analysis Template

Once you’ve identified your problem and the involved stakeholders, it’s time to start drafting your business case. 

The first part is the project definition section, which sets the background for presenting your case before stakeholders . It covers the problem your business case proposes to solve and explains why solving the problem is important. The section should cover the following:

  • The problem you identified and its impact on business functions
  • How your project or solution can fix it
  • The goals your project or initiative wants to achieve
  • How project goals align with the company’s near-term objectives 
  • The success criteria for your project or initiative 
  • How its success will move the company towards its long-term strategic goals

The best tool for drafting this part of the document is ClickUp Docs —ClickUp’s built-in text editor and documentation management platform. 

With ClickUp Docs’ collaborative editing possibilities, you and your stakeholders can work on the business case document in real time, ensuring its speedy and accurate completion. Stakeholders can also comment on areas for improvement . Finally, you can add a cover image to make your business case look more appealing or use slash commands to quickly add compelling blocks of formatted text. 

After setting the background, the next step is the financial appraisal part. This section will be examined carefully during your pitch and serves to capture the stakeholders’ interest in your business case. For maximum accuracy, consult with a colleague from the finance department while drafting this part of the document. 

Some of the information you may want to cover here includes:

  • Projections about financial gains
  • Costs to be incurred by the project
  • Cash flow forecast
  • Cost-benefit analysis and return on investment (ROI)
  • Sensitivity analysis to explain the margin of error in your numbers

Besides the financial aspects, this section also deals with risk analysis . Information on all potential risk factors identified through SWOT analysis, Monte Carlo analysis, and other risk identification strategies are outlined along with their respective mitigation strategies . It’ll be best to discuss the project risks with stakeholders identified in the first step—they can often share hidden insights and perspectives.

ClickUp provides a number of tools to help you conduct each of these analyses. For instance, you can use the ClickUp Cost Benefit Analysis Template to complete your cost-benefit analysis. 

ClickUp Cost and Benefit Analysis Template

Similarly, the ClickUp SWOT Analysis Template can save you from jotting down rows of data to identify your initiative’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a visually rich template that lets you easily identify high-impact activities and functions.

ClickUp SWOT Analysis Template

In this section, you should evaluate the alternatives to your proposed solution in the business case. Highlight the pros and cons of each option so the stakeholders can have a complete overview of every possible solution. Make sure to include your proposed solution in the comparison as well to explain why it’s better than all the alternatives.

If you need help examining and comparing the alternatives, fall back on the ClickUp Comparison Matrix Template . Use it to record all the information about each possible alternative in different fields and then compare them on a Kanban board. Its visual format makes decision making easier, while its fully customizable fields allow you to record as many comparison parameters as you wish. 

ClickUp Comparison Matrix Template

After you detail all the financial aspects of your project and compare it to alternatives, define a project scope in your business case. This section sets boundaries for the pending work and limitations on resources needed to complete it. Crucial information covered in it includes:

  • Budget and resource allocation: Financial and other resources, like team members, workspace, equipment, etc., that should be allocated to the project
  • Deadlines: Time required to complete each part of the project
  • Dependencies and relationships : Details of current business functions that may be affected by the project
  • Deliverables: What you plan to deliver by the end of your project
  • Exclusions: What’s not a part of your project

Once you define the project scope, outline the exact steps for implementing it. The easiest way to do this is to use the ClickUp Scope of Work Template . It allows you to record every aspect of the project scope in a well-organized manner to share with your stakeholders and get their opinions. 

ClickUp Scope of Work Template

Once all major sections of your business case have been completed, you need to draft an executive summary to digest the crucial details from each section. This summary should be concise, ideally no longer than two pages. It will appear as the first item in your business case, providing stakeholders with a quick overview of your proposed project.

If you need help drafting your executive summary, team up with ClickUp Brain , a neural network and AI writing assistant built into ClickUp Docs. In mere seconds, it can generate a pitch-perfect summary of any business case document prepared until now. 

Once you have your executive summary draft, use the ClickUp Executive Summary Template to format and organize it in a structured and presentable manner. 

ClickUp’s Executive Summary Template

Now, it’s time to put together and structure all the sections drafted to this point to finalize your business case. That’s where the ClickUp Business Case Analysis Template can be a lifesaver. 

The template includes dedicated sections to record each part of the business case. All sections are arranged in a structured manner to ensure that when you pitch your case, it makes a lasting impact on your stakeholders.

ClickUp Business Case Analysis Template

Real-Life Examples of Business Cases

Now that you know how to write a business case, let’s check out some real-life examples of how business cases allow companies to approve major projects and make strategic decisions:

A lean startup operating in the healthcare space is facing workforce issues, which are preventing it from launching its product on time. The head of the product development team wants to hire three more engineers to speed up the product development process . 

However, since it’s a lean startup with budget constraints , the team head needs approval from the startup founders before making the decision. So, the product team compiles a business case for hiring additional employees , and here are the main elements of their proposal:

  • A brief overview of how insufficient staffing is delaying product development and pushing the product launch beyond the planned deadline
  • Elaboration of how three new engineers can bring product development back on track
  • Cost-benefit analysis of the move 
  • Exploration of the involved risks
  • Presentation of alternatives and their associated risks
  • Scope of the change, like the nature of work the new engineers will perform

A venture capital-funded fintech startup decides to launch a new product line of credit cards . It will allow the startup to onboard a slew of new customers but will also require significant financial investment for marketing and lending purposes. So the company prepares a business case for this new product line in an effort to obtain funding for it. Here’s what they detail in their business case:

  • The need for this new product line and how it complements the company’s other offerings
  • The market opportunity with revenue projections and cost-benefit analysis
  • Risks involved in the project, like competition, mass default, and regulatory scrutiny
  • Alternatives available, like launching prepaid debit cards, which probably wouldn’t be as useful for customer acquisition
  • Scope of the project, like team members working on it, the budget allocated, launch schedule, and timeline

A SaaS software vendor based out of Silicon Valley wants to reduce customer service spending without compromising service quality . The product manager of one of their leading products comes up with the idea of outsourcing customer service . So, they decide to prepare a business case before proposing the solution to the management. The business case outlines:

  • The problem, which is a significant share of revenue going into customer service operations and how outsourcing can help bring it down
  • Risks associated with outsourced customer service and mitigation strategies for them, like having an escalation mechanism for unresolved support tickets
  • Alternatives and their risks, like using AI chatbots to automate customer service , which can be frustrating for customers who need human guidance
  • Cost-benefit analysis of making the change
  • Scope of change, like how many of the customer support employees will be laid off

A construction company in Virginia is facing raw material supply issues . The cement supplier they work with repeatedly fails to meet the demand, so the project supervisor decides to add some redundancy by onboarding a new vendor. 

This change can greatly influence the project, so the supervisor prepares a business case to propose the initiative to the management. The case addresses the following:

  • How the new cement supplier can keep the project from being delayed
  • The supplier’s reliability, as demonstrated by the years of industry presence, major companies for which they have supplied cement, etc.
  • Alternative suppliers, their capacity, and reliability information
  • Cost-benefit analysis of making the change, since the rates of this supplier are slightly higher than those of the existing vendor
  • Scope of change, including how much of the supplies will be delivered by the new supplier, for how long, and at what price 

Potential Business Case Challenges and How to Overcome Them

There are a number of mistakes project managers make when drafting a business case, which can jeopardize the approval of the entire project or initiative. Now that we’ve covered the complete process of writing a compelling business case, let’s look at the most common pitfalls and explore ways to avoid them. 

The details of a business case require extensive research and knowledge of different business functions. No project manager can do it all alone without making mistakes or errors of judgment, so look for help from different departments in your company, whether it’s finance, marketing, or operations. 💁

Another crucial mistake when building a business case is presenting the document to stakeholders out of the blue. When you don’t involve relevant stakeholders at any stage in your business case development process, you increase the risk of it being rejected. That happens because:

  • You don’t know their expectations
  • They didn’t have any role in your business case, which keeps them detached from your work

To avoid this scenario, involve stakeholders at different stages of your business case drafting process and get your progress reviewed regularly.

The last thing you want when pitching your business case is a typo or a misrepresentation of facts. That can leave a bad impression on the stakeholders listening to your pitch. They may not take you seriously and ultimately reject your project proposal . 

To ensure a bulletproof document, you should always review and proofread your entire business case before submitting it . Pay special attention to numbers and facts and double-check that they’re correct. Then, go ahead with your pitch.

A solid business case is the first step to getting project approval from your stakeholders. However, building it requires careful planning and the right tools to streamline the entire process. Fortunately, ClickUp equips you with everything you need at each step of building your business case—from ready-made templates and documentation tools to AI-powered writing assistance.

Sign up for ClickUp today and write a business case that will earn support and trust for your project or initiative.

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