1. One-Page Business Plan
2. Longer Plans
3. Executive Summary
4. Introducing Your Company
5. Market Analysis and Competition
6. Sales and Marketing
7. Financial Plan

An easy business plan template contains clear instructions on the steps you need to take to create a business plan ready to be presented to investors or the Small Business Administration (SBA). The template provides you with a framework to transfer your business idea into writing and offers tips on how to lay out your business plan.

One-Page Business Plan

Some business plan templates may include a step-by-step guide to create a one-page business plan. If your goal is to launch a sole proprietor business offering a service such as business consulting, a one-page plan could be sufficient.

If you think a one-page plan is suitable for you, you need to give concise explanations to questions like:

  • Is there a demand for your service or product?
  • How will you stand out from your competitors?
  • Do you have a marketing plan?
  • What financing do you require to launch?
  • Can you sell enough to make money after covering expenses?

Longer Plans

If you're hoping to secure debt financing from a bank or other lender, you'll need to use a template for a more extended plan. Longer plans may contain:

  • A detailed examination of your target market
  • An evaluation of your competitors and how you'll compete with them
  • A look at how you'll operate, including facilities, materials, and employee costs
  • A projection of the company's financial prospects
  • An appendix with additional information, such as managers' resumes

When covering all of these points, remember that investors or lenders want hard facts backed up by evidence rather than long-winded descriptions.

Executive Summary

The purpose of an executive summary is to grab the reader's attention and make them want to read more by giving them a brief overview of your plan. At most, your executive summary should be two pages long and provide readers with an overview of the remaining sections.

You should begin your executive summary by outlining your company's purpose or mission. Follow this up by describing the services or products you offer and how your business will engage with your main customer base.

For the finance section, provide a summary of your projections for the first few years of operations.

Introducing Your Company

Another part of your plan should introduce the reader to your business by explaining its legal structure, profiling your management team, and outlining your staffing needs. You should create an additional section about your company's physical requirements, where you could mention things like office space, storage, inventory, and machinery.

Potential lenders will want to know:

  • How long it takes to produce your product
  • How long it will be before you can start offering your product or service
  • How you will manage supplies
  • What your facility requirements are, including the size and types of buildings
  • What the training requirements of your workforce are
  • What specialized equipment you will use

Market Analysis and Competition

An important section of your business plan is the market analysis, where you'll show that sufficient demand exists for your business to be viable. This involves carrying out an analysis of your competitors and demonstrating how your business will challenge them.

You also need to estimate the overall market size and compare it to the units of your product. Things to consider here include:

  • How many products will your target market buy?
  • Will there be repeat purchases?
  • Will demographic shifts affect your market?

Sales and Marketing

In this section, describe your pricing strategy, bearing in mind that it needs to be low enough to compete but high enough so you can turn a profit. Additionally, identify how you'll promote your business, such as through online media, newspapers, or free product samples.

When you cover sales, consider questions like:

  • How will you package your product?
  • How can customers pay?
  • How will you distribute it?

Financial Plan

This will be the most important section of your business plan if your main aim is to attract investors. As you're setting up a new business and have to estimate everything, try to be conservative with your projections.

Documents to add here include:

  • A balance sheet detailing the assets and liabilities of your business
  • Monthly income statements showing expected expenses, revenue, and profit
  • Monthly cash flow projections

It would also be a good idea to prepare a breakeven analysis, which presents the amount of sales you'll need to achieve to make a profit.

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