Free Online Business Plan Template
A business plan includes a narrative and several detailed financial projections. The narrative below will provide a walk through for each written section. It is important to do all the other sections before the Executive Summary. The Executive Summary should always be completed last and is a summary of the other sections. While creating your plan, research, ideas and possible problem areas will be exposed before the business is off the ground. In many cases, the financial projections are too extensive for an individual to compile, and will require a professional to build your financial statements.
Free Online Business Plan Template
This Business Plan Template is a generic example and designed to fit all business types. Some questions, tables and sections may not apply to your venture. Additionally, there may be questions, tables and sections that need to be added for your specific situation. In general, it takes several weeks to complete a high-quality plan and can take an expert several days to complete the financial model. The majority of the time will be spent researching and re-evaluating your ideas and assumptions. Butler Consultants is a great resource for research and accurate financial budgeting.
1. Business Plan Title Page
- Company Name
- Business Plan
- Contact Name
2. Business Plan Table of Contents
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Pre-operating Source and Use of Funds
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Revenue Forecast
- Personnel Forecast
- Income Statement
- Statement of Cash Flow
- Balance Sheet
- Break-even Analysis
- Best and Worse Case Analysis
- Appendix 1 – Year 1 Monthly Breakdown
- Appendix 2 – Any Additional Support Information
3. Executive Summary
This section must be written last and should fit on 1 page if possible. It should never be longer than 2 pages. It will be an overview of the other sections and should clearly state how much you are seeking and how it will be paid back.
- What is your product?
- Who will buy your product?
- Who are the owners and their skills?
- What does your industry look like now and the future?
4. Pre-Operating Source and Use of Funds
The pre-operating source & use of funds section details the expenses, assets, inventory, investment and debt needed to facilitate the company’s business objectives. The pre-operating expenses and funding occur before the company receives revenue.
- What are your expenses for the time period before you start operations?
- What assets will you need to purchase before operations?
- How much funding are you seeking?
- Where will you get the funding?
- How will you pay back the funding?
5. Company Description
In this section you should include your mission statements, company goals and objectives, business philosophy, describe your industry, and include your strengths.
- What will your business do?
- What are your company goals?
- What is your business philosophy?
- Who will you market to?
- Describe your industry.
- What are your strengths?
- Legal form of ownership:
- Sole proprietor, Partnership, Corporation, Limited liability corporation (LLC)?
6. Products and Services
Describe in depth your products or services (technical specifications, drawings, photos, sales brochures, and other bulky items belong in Appendices). What factors will give you competitive advantages or disadvantages?
- Examples include level of quality or unique or proprietary features.
- What are the pricing, fee, or leasing structures of your products or services?
7. Marketing Plan
In the marketing plan you will need to detail your market research, industry economics, product, customers, competition, promotion, budget, pricing, location, and distribution channels. Gather your secondary market research. This means that you will need to find published information such as industry profiles, trade journals, newspapers, magazines, census data, and demographic profiles.
- What is the size of your market?
- What percent of the market do you expect to capture?
- What is the current demand in your target market?
- What are the trends in your target market?
- What barriers to entry do you face? Examples: High capital/production/marketing costs, training, tariff, and quotas.
- How will you overcome the barriers?
- What are the features and benefits of your product?
- What are the benefits of your product?
- Will there be any after-sale services provided?
- Who is your target customer? Demographics?
- What products and companies will compete with you?
- List your major competitors?
- How will your products or services compare with the competition?
- How will you get the word out to customers?
- Where will you advertise your products and services?
- What will you do for branding?
- How much will you spend on advertising and marketing?
- How will you set your prices?
- What will your credit policies be?
- Is your location important to your customers?
- Is your location convenient, parking and/or online?
- How do you sell your products or services?
8. Operational Plan
This section will go over the daily operation of the business, its location, equipment, people, processes, and surrounding environment.
- How are your products or services produced?
- What does your location need to be like?
- Will you have inventory: raw materials, supplies, finished goods?
- Who are your key suppliers?
This is one of the most important sections of a business plan. Without a solid management team the business plan will be lacking greatly.
- Who will manage the business?
- What experience do the managers have?
- What will their titles be?
- Who are some of your important employees?
- Board of directors if any?
- Consultant or consultants if any?
- Mentors and key advisors?
- Who do you need to add to your management team?
- What key staff do you need to find?
10. Revenue Forecast
The revenue forecast section details the revenue that the company will receive. This section also details the direct costs. The proceeding graphs illustrate the amount of revenue and gross margin each line item contributes. The gross margin graphs are calculated by taking revenue and subtracting the direct costs.
- What are your revenue lines?
- How much will you sell them for?
- What do they cost you to produce or buy?
- How many units of each item will you sell each month?
- How will the units grow overtime?
11. Personnel Forecast
The personnel section breaks down the payroll expense line on the income statement. It provides total headcount, average salary per category and total pay per category.
- What are your payroll categories?
- How many people will you have in each category?
- What will the average salary be for each category?
- How many people will you need to add each year?
- How much will payroll tax be?
- How much will you budget for benefits?
- How much will you budget for new assets with each new employee?
12. Income Statement
The income statement is also known as a profit & loss statement. This table breaks down revenue, cost of revenue, operating expenses, depreciation, interest, taxes, and bottom-line earnings for the first five years.
- What are your monthly expenses?
- How much will the expenses cost you each month?
- How much will these expenses grow each year?
13. Statement of Cash Flow
The statement of cash flow illustrates the company’s cash received and cash spent for the five year period. The table is broken down into three main categories; operating, investing, and financing. The operating activities report the company’s business operations. Investing activities detail the company’s property, plant, and equipment transactions. Financing activities account for the company’s paid-in capital and debt.
- What assets will you need to purchase and when?
- How much will the assets cost?
14. Balance Sheet
The balance sheet shows the company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity for a given time-period.
15. Break-even Analysis
The break-even analysis details two different break-even points. The operating break-even accounts for the company’s revenue and expenses on the income statement. The investment cash flow break-even takes the operating break-even one step further by including the inflow and outflows of the cash flow. The investment cash flow break-even analysis considers all transfers of money, except investments.
16. Best and Worse Case Analysis
The best and worse case analysis illustrates what the company’s financial statements might look like with an increase or decrease in revenue.
17. Appendix 1 – Year 1 Monthly Breakdown
Year 1 monthly forecast illustrates the company’s first 12 months, after the pre-operating stage.
18. Appendix 2 – Any Additional Support Information
This section will include details and studies used in your business plan.