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Write a business plan

Download free business plan templates and find help and advice on how to write your business plan.

Business plan templates

Download a free business plan template on The Prince’s Trust website.

You can also download a free cash flow forecast template or a business plan template on the Start Up Loans website to help you manage your finances.

Business plan examples

Read example business plans on the Bplans website.

How to write a business plan

Get detailed information about how to write a business plan on the Start Up Donut website.

Why you need a business plan

A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.

A business plan helps you to:

  • clarify your business idea
  • spot potential problems
  • set out your goals
  • measure your progress

You’ll need a business plan if you want to secure investment or a loan from a bank. Read about the finance options available for businesses on the Business Finance Guide website.

It can also help to convince customers, suppliers and potential employees to support you.

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Definition

business plan

Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

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A business plan is a document demonstrating the feasibility of a prospective new business and providing a roadmap for its first several years of operation. 

Business plans are an important part of creating new businesses, whether as a startup or an offshoot of an existing business. Business plans for startups are often shared with funding agencies, potential investors and venture capitalists to obtain the necessary funding.

Although the specifics may vary, here are the typical components of a business plan for a new business:

  1. The executive summary is a nutshell version of the entire plan, briefly covering the essentials.
  2. The business description describes the proposed new endeavor, explains its purpose and its target market.
  3. The plan’s market analysis section describes the industry and the market environment of the proposed business, including a profile of the competition.
  4. The organizational and managerial section explains how you envision the structure of your business, what types of positions and departments it will encompass. 
  5. The products (or services) section details what you’re offering. This section should include a full description of  the products you’ll sell and your plan for product lifecycle management ( PLM ).
  6. The marketing and sales section explains your strategies for branding , marketing and selling your product or service. 
  7. The funding request will differ according to what type of information is required by the funding party. 
  8. The financial projection covers the expected performance and milestones over the first years of operation, usually five years. For an existing business, historical financial data should be included.
  9. An appendix can include useful information that doesn’t belong in any of the other sections.

A business plan is similar to a business model . However, the latter is a representation of how an existing business works, rather than how a prospective business can work. 

This was last updated in August 2018


Continue Reading About business plan

  • The Small Business Administration website offers help on writing a business plan
  • How infrastructure becomes part of a data center business plan
  • Managed services, your business plan and you
  • Mobile technologies: Creating an effective business plan

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