Business Plan Examples for Students

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business plan example for students
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Writing a business plan?

Do you know what’s the most common mistake students and rookie entrepreneurs make while preparing their first business plan?

Of course, it’s the first business plan we’re talking about; there’ll definitely be a few. However, overcomplicating things and failing to consider a business plan example still remains the most common one.

That’s why we decided to come up with a solution. We’ve curated this list of top business plan examples for students to help you get going.

So whether you need a business plan for a college project, start a side hustle, or win a business competition, these examples are just what you need to create business plans that stand out.

Ready to dive in? Let’s start by understanding the key elements of a business plan example:

Key Elements of a Business Plan Example

Business planning is not as complicated of a process as people think it is; they’re just overcomplicating things. (Don’t think so?)

Let’s simplify the key elements that make up a comprehensive business plan; you’ll understand it better that way.

  1. Executive Summary:

    A high-level overview or summary of your plan.

  2. Company Overview:

    A detailed description of your business idea, its fundamental elements, history, and future goals.

  3. Market Analysis:

    A study of your external business environment that includes details about your industry, competitors, and target market.

  4. Products and Services:

    Description of the products or services you intend to exchange for money.

  5. Sales and Marketing Strategies:

    A section outlining sales and marketing strategies your business will implement to achieve its financial goals.

  6. Operations Plan:

    A section outlining the business processes and daily activities involved in ensuring seamless business operations.

  7. Management Team:

    Introduction to your founders, key management, and their compensation plan.

  8. Financial Plan:

    Your financial plan is a detailed breakdown of your business’s financial projections and financing needs.

That’s pretty much it about the key elements of a business plan example. Next, let’s explore the best business plan examples for students.

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Top Business Plan Examples for Students

Now that you already know about the components of a business plan template, let’s review some of the best business plan examples for students.

1. Startup Business Plan Example

Upmetrics’ startup business plan example is the ideal solution for students planning to start up or participate in a business plan competition. This business plan template follows the SBA-approved business planning format used by thousands of successful entrepreneurs.

Whether your startup is about a new-age AI-based application, an online shopping site, or traditional IT consulting—this sample business plan is just what you need.

Unlike any traditional small business plan, this example of a startup business plan is lean and agile in approach, focuses on innovation, and emphasizes market validation.

startup business template

2. Lean Business Plan Example

Since you’re transitioning from a student to an entrepreneur, you may not have enough time to spend on creating a detailed business plan. That’s where this lean business plan template can help.

It’s a condensed version of a traditional plan summarizing all its sections with a primary focus on covering only the critical aspects of the business.

This template is best for startups or businesses uncertain about business planning and student-turned-entrepreneurs with limited time and resources to prepare a business plan.

the lean canvas template

3. SBA Business Plan Example

Following an SBA-recommended business plan format is key to securing bank loans and business grants. Since it can be time-consuming to find a template that follows a similar outline as the SBA, this SBA-approved business plan example is the way to get started.

This SBA business plan template has nine primary sections, that include executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization, product description, marketing, funding request, and financial projections.

SBA business plan examples ensure you stay on track and don’t deviate from your funding needs.

4. One-Page Business Plan Example

As you may have already guessed, a one-page business plan is a one-page version of a traditional business plan. Since it’s a condensed version of a business plan, drafting it can be quite easy and quick compared to a lean or traditional plan.

Employees, partners, and vendors often use one-page business plans as a quick overview of your company and banks and investors as a summary of your operations.

While it may not be the ideal choice for entrepreneurs seeking investment or bank loans, students with side hustles and idea-stage startups can consider this option.

one page business template

5. HBS Sample Business Plan

Harvard Business School’s new venture competition selected this sample business plan as a finalist in 2011.

This is a business plan of App Success, a collaborative web-based platform that connects low-income high school seniors with college students from top universities; this business will enable them to collaborate on college selection, college applications, and financial aid applications.

This example can be a great reference for those planning to start a mobile or web-based solution.

hbs sample business plan
Source: Harvard Business School

6. Kean University Sample Business Plan

Kean University organizes a business plan competition every year for its students where students prepare and present business plans to compete, and this is one of the sample business plans the University provides to participants to understand the format.

It’s a business plan of Blue Water Boatworks, Inc., a boat detailing and cleaning company specializing in servicing recreational fiberglass and aluminum watercraft.

This example can be a great reference for those planning to start a business related to housekeeping, cleaning, or maintenance.

kean university sample business plan
Source: Kean University

7. UVM Sample Business Plan

If you are looking for a strategic business plan for a food business, the University of Vermont’s Fancy Foods Business Plan can be a guiding resource for you.

Despite the fact that it can be a good reference for detailed planning, it was written in 1998, so any statistics and numbers may not seem relevant to today’s market landscape. Make sure you keep that in mind.

You may closely follow this example as a reference if planning to start a food truck, restaurant, or any other business that serves food.

uvm sample business plan
Source: University of Vermont

That was the list of best sample business plans for students. However, there’s more to talk about. You now have a business plan example, but what about pitching to investors? Let’s explore free pitch deck examples for students.

Free Pitch Deck Example for Students

Pitching to investors as a first-time founder can be exciting but also overwhelming at times. Worry not; we’ve got a solution—investor pitch templates. We’ve prepared a set of 8 investor pitch templates and examples for students and entrepreneurs to help create winning business pitches.

Whether you need a pitch to find an opportunity, ask for subject matter knowledge, or a problem-solving pitch, these investor pitch examples have got you covered. Download now.

How to write a winning plan for a business plan competition?

Creating a business plan is no different than creating one for a real business. Similar to how entrepreneurs prepare and present business plans to investors, Students in business plan competitions pitch to judges.

In short, the business planning process remains exactly the same. Let’s discuss how you can write a winning plan to help you win a business plan competition.

    • Select a compelling business idea: everything starts with a compelling idea. Make sure you have a viable business idea to compete in the competition.
    • Refer to winning business plan examples: Once you are sure about your business concept, refer to business plan examples from previous winners and how they planned the sections of their plan.
    • Market Research & Industry Analysis: After referring to business plan examples, conduct industry research and market analysis to make your statistical and financial numbers accurate and realistic.
    • Understand business model and revenue streams: Since you are preparing a business plan for a company that doesn’t exist, be sure about the business model and how the business will generate profit.
    • Use AI business plan generator: Using an AI business plan generator like Upmetrics can be incredibly helpful in speeding up the business planning process. With industry-specific business plan templates and AI assistance to write your plan, you can write the first draft of your plan in literally no time.
    • Presentation and visuals: Prepare visuals and graphs to make your business plan visually appealing and numbers digestible. You may not need to prepare these visuals if you use business plan software manually.
    • Proofread and edit: Grammatical errors are the last thing judges want to see in a business plan. Make sure you proofread and edit your draft thoroughly before submitting it.

Easy as that, that’s the way to write a perfect business plan that can lead you to victory in any business plan competition on planet Earth. Let’s have a look at a real-life business and financial plan example.

ai business plan software for students CTA

Business and Financial Plan Example for Students

Having learned about business planning for students, let’s quickly discuss a coffee shop sample business plan and financial statements prepared using Upmetrics.

Write Your Business Plan With Upmetrics

Whether you need a business plan to compete in a competition, win investors, or gain a competitive advantage in the market landscape, Upmetrics can help you get started.

Upmetrics is an AI business plan software that comes with AI assistance, financial forecasting features, and 400+ sample business plans so that you can prepare a business plan in no time.

So what are you waiting for? Try Upmetrics and create your business plan in a snap.

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About the Author

Ajay                                                       
            Jagtap

Ajay Jagtap

Ajay is a SaaS writer and personal finance blogger who has been active in the space for over three years, writing about startups, business planning, budgeting, credit cards, and other topics related to personal finance. If not writing, he’s probably having a power nap. Read more

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