Whether you’re applying for a small business loan or setting goals for your growth, a business plan is one of the most important documents you’ll create.
But it can also be incredibly frustrating and nerve-racking to create one yourself. What should go in it? How do you know if you’re including the correct information about your business? Do you need to add charts in there, too?
Wonder no more, because our FREE business plan template not only answers those questions— it removes the learning curve that comes with creating your plan.
Want some help creating your best business plan? Download our FREE business plan template here!
A business plan can show a bank or credit union how you intend to start and grow your business. The plan can play an essential role in convincing lenders to provide you with a small business loan, so it’s good to have on hand if you’re planning on securing financing.
If you’re planning on financing your business through investors or cash from family and friends, a business plan can provide that extra confidence they might need to say yes. Provide copies of your business plan to potential investors so that they can get a better idea of how their money will be used if they invest in you.
A business plan can act like a roadmap that you’ll follow toward a successful outcome. It’s easy to start a business and not realize that you’re off-track until it’s too late. A business plan can help you stay on track to achieve the goals you want to hit over the next six months to five years.
Whether you’re building the business plan for yourself or to share with others, there’s no denying that a plan can help keep you accountable. For example, if you’re not on track for achieving a specific outcome by a certain timeframe, you can make the necessary adjustments to get yourself back on track.
This business plan template* is designed to give you the guidance you need to create a plan for your business. It’s a great place to get started, but you may need to work with other professionals (like an accountant) to complete your plan.
To use it, just follow the directions in each section. Once you’ve filled in each section, delete our directions so that they don’t show up in your final business plan.
That’s all there is to it!
Creating a business plan from scratch can be a real pain in the you-know-what. That’s why we recommend skipping the learning curve and downloading our free business plan template. Follow the instructions in the template (and at the bottom of this article, too!) to start creating your own business plan.
Don’t just create a business plan for the sake of doing so. After all, if you don’t have a strong idea of what you’ll be using it for, it’s just going to take up more of your valuable free time.
Your year-ahead strategy doesn’t have to be documented, but your business plan will work out better if you have a firm grasp of what you want to achieve in the next year or so.
For example, your year-ahead business strategy could be as simple as:
Your strategy can turn your business plan into a laser-focus document that shows people exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing - and how you’re going to do it.
If you’re planning on including financial projections in your business plan, we recommend gathering up those documents before starting on your work.
These financial documents may vary depending on what you’re trying to do with your business plan, but they could include:
It may sound cheesy, but don’t forget to bring your passion to your business plan while filling it out. So many treat business plans like a cut-and-dry document, but it’s an excellent opportunity to show the world why your business will succeed.
If there are opportunities to show off your personality or communicate why you’re so excited about your business, take them. It could add a special touch to your business plan and inspire the folks who are reading it!
Whether you’re planning on showing your business plan to financial professionals (i.e. business loan officers) or keeping it to yourself, don’t forget to complement your plan with business insurance.
Here’s why: If you’re planning on applying for a loan, there’s a 99% chance your loan officer will ask to see if you have proof of business insurance. Insurance is often used to protect collateral, which may be required to get a certain loan amount.
And if you’re keeping it to yourself?
Well, business insurance can help protect your business from seriously expensive claims, like those arising from accidents, property damage, and even clerical errors.
So you can stay focused on achieving each and every goal you’ve laid out in your business plan!
Legal Disclosure: Simply Business, Inc. is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. This document is intended to be used for informational purposes only and is not substitute for obtaining professional legal advice. We cannot and do not guarantee that it suits your needs. By using this template, you agree that you are responsible for the content of the documents you create and you assume full responsibility for any outcomes associated with using it.
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.