Do you need some business plan examples to come up with your own?
Every business needs a plan. If you want to build a thriving company, you need to invest in creating a business strategy. The business world is cruel, cut-throat, and incredibly competitive. You need to find out what you can offer to your customers and how best you can do that- and it requires a strategic business plan.
“Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. You need to have goals, create milestones and have a strategy in place to set yourself up for success”- Yogi Berra.
In this article, we’ll cover:
The 5 Best Free Business Plan Examples and Templates in 2022
1. The One-pager Plan
Here is an example of a simple business plan that will take only one page. A one-page plan will be easier to share with others and have less information for those who don’t have the time to pore through the details. It will be a great thing to giveaway after an elevator pitch.
It will include the following:
- Business Opportunity: What is the problem that you are solving?
- Team: Who are the different stakeholders involved in the company? Why are they the right person to build the brand?
- Target Market: Which is the area that you are targeting? Who are your ideal customers, buyer personas, and audience segments?
- Implementation timeline: When will the business be up and running? What are the resources that you will employ for that?
- Financial Summary: Where is the funding coming from? How much funding is required?
The above fields are enough to prepare a quick business plan example.
This one is a bit detailed in nature. Let’s go through it.
- Problem Summary
- Solution Summary
- Market Summary
- Why Us?
- Financial Highlights by Year [chart]
- Financing Needed
- Problem & Solution
- Target Market
- Competition (Current Alternatives and Our Advantages)
- Marketing & Sales Plan
- Operations (Locations & Facilities, Technology, and Equipment & Tools)
- Milestones & Metrics (Milestones Table and Key Metrics)
- Team (Management Team and Advisors)
- Forecast (Key Assumptions, Revenue by Month [chart], Expenses by Month [chart], Net Profit (or Loss) by Year [chart])
- Financing (Use of Funds and Sources of Funds)
- Statements (Projected Profit & Loss, Projected Balance Sheet, and Projected Cash Flow Statement)
- Monthly Financial Forecasts
- Additional Documentation
Elaborating on each of the above points gives you enough fodder to make someone on the other side understand your business as well as enough firepower to get started on implementing each of the sections.
This is also a comprehensive template that can be used to create a business plan from scratch. Once you have added content to all the fields in this business plan example, you can share it with your investors and stakeholders.
You can add a one or two-page overview of the business here. The executive summary should include a mission statement, company history, leadership model, competitive advantage, financial projections, and company goals.
Company and Business Description
In this section, you can provide a description of your business, describe the products and services you will be offering, talk about your target market, and why your business plan will work. Describe your mission and vision statement, core values, team, and organization structure.
Products and Services
Talk about your product and service offerings. Mention your pricing structure as well.
Share details about the market that you are targeting and talk about the reason behind doing so. Highlight the demographics and psychographics, including the size of your addressable market. Also, talk about your buyer personas and a competitive analysis report.
Marketing and Sales Plan
You can talk about your positioning strategy, the acquisition channels you plan to use, including the tools and technologies.
Explain how you intend to get leads. What does your inbound and outbound sales strategy look like? What are the different channels that you will be using?
What type of legal structure do you plan to follow? List out the legal considerations that you plan to keep in mind to operate smoothly.
No matter how good a product you have, if you do not possess the funding to run the business, then it will surely go belly up. You should have a solid financial strategy in place.
You can use the executive summary example business plan link to get a detailed understanding of the business plan.
If you take a look at Andrew’s business plan by using the link, you will find a comprehensive plan for ‘Wooden Grain Toy Company.’ The company manufactures high-quality toys that are made from solid hardwoods. The target audience for the toys are adults who are in a position to buy for the kids.
The business plan (for which the link has been provided) contains a detailed description of the customers, competitive advantages, the regulations that they are supposed to follow, product lifecycle, pricing structure, and so on. It also talks about how they plan to conduct research and development for the company. The example of a marketing plan that they have in place is also described in the business plan document.
In the previous example, we considered a business plan example for a product-based company. Here, we consider a consulting company called ‘We Can Do It Consulting.’ The services include office management and business process reengineering.
In this business plan example, the service company we are considering aims to provide services to business owners, CEOs, HR directors, product managers, presidents who are looking to increase their productivity and reduce overhead expenses.
The business plan example also talks about their requirements for the future. It mentions the list of services that they offer, in detail. They mention their pricing structure based on the hourly charges of each of the professionals such as Account Executive, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Process Analyst, and so on.
It also talks about their efforts in R&D. They plan to create custom technology for manufacturers of vehicles. The service company is also intent on finding trends in software solutions to provide competitive automated services to create a niche for themselves in the industry. This is a good example of a business plan PDF that you can use as a template.
Use our Free Business Plan Questionnaire Template
Conversational surveys receive the highest completion rates! Use our free, premade template!
Try our business plan template to test the conversational experience!
Get 100 free responses per month!
What does a good business plan include?
There are a number of sections that make up a business plan which covers every single part of the business. The more detailed the business plan, the easier it is for investors to validate their investment decisions and for the entrepreneur to execute their ideas.
Let us look at each of the sections in a traditional business plan sample.
This section provides an overview of the business. It usually includes
- Mission and Vision Statement
- About the Company
- Goals of the company
- Company’s differentiators
- Technologies Used
- Financial charts
Sometimes, a few of the above topics will be discussed in detail in the other sections of the free business plan template.
Provide detailed information about your company. What are the specific business problems that you aim to solve? How are you better suited to handle them? What are the specific skill sets that your company possesses? Do you have the right location for your physical store? If you are planning to set up an online store, do you plan to outsource the development or do you have an in-house team of developers?
The next step is to present information about the market that you are targeting. You cannot sell ice to an Eskimo. In the same way, the products and services that you offer to your potential customers should be relevant to what they are looking for.
You can include the following in this section:
- Market size
- Population in the market
- What products/services would they be interested in?
- Market trends
- Competitor’s market shares
- Why would they be interested in your products?
This section will give ideas about the company’s structure, leaders in the organization, hierarchy, and so on. It should also spell out the legal structure of your business. The company structure should also mention how the unique experience of each of your employees will add to the success of the organization.
Products and Services
Here, you need to mention the products and services that you plan to offer. It should explain how it will help the end consumer. Share points related to intellectual property, copyright, patent filings, and other relevant documents. If there is ongoing research related to your offerings, mention that as well. It will increase the validity of your business plan.
In this section, you need to showcase the funding details. Money runs businesses. If you do not have enough funding, it will not be possible to pay vendors, employees, suppliers, etc. You should also give an idea of how much funding you will require for the next 2 or 3 years. If there is a source of funding for the future, you might want to disclose that as well.
Find out who the top competitors in your niche are. Try to gather as much intelligence as possible about how they go about their business. Why should your target customers leave your competitors and buy from you? By doing a competitive analysis, you can get an answer for this.
What does your most ideal customer look like? Without this piece of information, your whole marketing plan will go kaput. You will be targeting even people who will never be your customers. You need to segment your customers based on demographic and psychographic factors.
Build buyer personas to find your ideal customers and it will also help you get an idea of the reasons behind targeting them. Your marketing strategies will be more refined once you know your buyer personas. Every business will have at least 3 to 7 buyer personas and creating personalized content for each of them should be one of your core marketing activities.
No matter how good a product you have, you cannot sell it if people don’t know that it exists in the first place. Marketing campaigns are so important to your business’ success. While there is no hard and fast rule in marketing as it is quite dynamic, you need to present an outline of the strategies that you plan to implement. A marketing strategy template should be a separate article as there are a number of variables in it.
How to do market research for a business plan
You need to be specific about what you need to know when conducting a market research survey. The data that you gather from market research can be used for a number of purposes. It depends on the kind of objectives you have.
- Is it to ask what people think about your product?
- Do you want to know more about your target audience to refine their details?
- Would you like to know about the channels that they frequent?
- Are you looking to understand the reasons behind why they chose your competitors?
Insights from any of the above objectives will bring you closer to achieving your goals. You need to choose the right marketing tool to get the answers that you are looking for.
SurveySparrow is a powerful online survey tool that lets you ask a variety of questions using a number of attractive features.
Here’s how to use SurveySparrow to conduct market research for your business plan:
Design your survey
The first step is to design an attractive survey. It involves choosing the right questions and question types. If you want to understand more about your market, then you need to ask the respondents questions about their expectations from a product similar to yours, why they choose that particular product, what are the functionalities they use the most in that particular market, and so on.
Do remember that the longer the survey, the chances of a less number of responses are there. Break the surveys into multiple sections so that it is easy for the respondent to finish the survey.
Test your surveys
Before you send the survey to the audience, ensure that there are no technical hiccups. Proofread the questions. Try to understand the relevance of each question in the survey. Do remember that your objective is to understand more about the market. So ask yourself this — ”Are the questions relevant to the objective of the survey?” If not, immediately discard them.
Make sure you are leveraging all the advanced features of the online survey tool. Test the survey internally and see how the results pan out. Once you are sure that the surveys can be presented to your audience, send them to your audience.
Once you have all the answers to your survey questions, you will be able to see the results in an attractive dashboard. The insights gathered from the tool will help you make a powerful business plan. SurveySparrow offers a variety of visually appealing ways in which you can view the results. Every insight that you gather from your prospective customer base should be considered in your business plan.
Add the feedback to the business plan
The next step is all about considering the insights gathered from the market research survey into your business plan example. It will add more credence to your plan as the data gathered is that of your prospective employees. They can also be used for sales projections, inventory estimation, and so on.
A business plan is the first step towards building a successful enterprise. There are a lot of risks involved with starting a business. You need to be careful of each step that you take and consider every single variable, starting from funding required to operational planning examples. Taking the right steps will help your business grow, but even a minor tactical oversight can result in losses.
For those who are looking to start their own business, the above article will be really helpful. Some of the templates can be taken as business plan examples for students too, not just for professionals.
If you are looking for an online survey tool that will help you draft irresistible business plans, check out SurveySparrow. When you are not sure about the kind of questions that you need to add to your business plans, you can even choose the business plan templates available with SurveySparrow. Get in touch with us to understand how we can help you create strategic business plans with our survey tool.