Starting a business is an exciting and overwhelming prospect at the same time. Having a business gives you autonomy but comes with a lot of responsibility at the same time.
But you don’t need to worry! If you plan your business down to the last detail, all the overwhelming aspects of your business can become easier to manage.
Proper business planning also helps you get the maximum out of your business efforts and writing a business plan is the first step for any business planning.
A well-written business plan helps you grow your business rapidly and optimally. To make the business plan writing process easy and faster, we have created this startup business plan template.
First, let's understand an important question.
What is Business Plan Template?
A business plan template is a guide that consists of an outline of all the required sections of a perfect business plan. It also includes step-by-step instructions on how to write each section of the business plan.
A good business plan usually consists of an executive summary, business overview, market analysis, operations plan, and so on.
Now that you know what a business plan template is, let's move on to understand why do you need one?
Why do you need a business plan?
If you’ve recently set up your startup business, it’s understandable why you might be dumbstruck. There’s a lot that needs to be done and it’s not always obvious why. Fortunately, we can help you create a business plan.
Some of the reasons why you need a business plan are:
- Getting started: Getting a business up and running may seem chaotic. You may be unsure of where to begin, and here's when a business plan can help you set things straight. It helps prioritize and organize your business activities.
- Predict challenges: Creating a startup business plan helps determine the risks and obstacles that your startup is likely to face in the future. This helps you stay prepared with suitable tactics to overcome these challenges.
- Funding: Attracting investors to score funding is essential for startups. Whether you’re applying for a loan or seeking investors, a business plan helps gain their trust. Having a business plan conveys that you are serious about your business and are trustworthy.
- Goals and milestones: A business plan helps you create measurable goals. It further helps induce focus and track your progress. Witnessing the progress motivates you and your team to perform better and achieve more milestones.
- Finances: Finances are one of the trickiest aspects of a business, especially for a startup. Every decision you make has a financial implication. Hence, it is vital to consider every aspect in decision-making. A business plan helps you manage, track, and predict your finances.
- Revising strategies: When you’re just setting up your business, you’re bound to make the wrong assumptions. A business plan helps you identify your mistakes and revamp your strategies to get back on track.
Types of Business Plan Template
Moreover, business plan templates come in different forms and you can select the one that fits your needs the best.
Here are the two most common ones:
- Simple Business Plan
- Traditional Business Plan
Let's understand what's the difference between these business plans and which one is best for you.
Simple Business Plan
A simple business plan template is super handy to write a quick and concise business plan.
It helps you cover all the pointers necessary to attract investors as well as for creating a well-rounded plan.
A lean business plan is not only easy to write but it is also written in a way that helps you take actions to solve business problems as well as to introduce the product and service-based solutions in the market.
Here are the 9 sections of a simple or lean business plan:
- Problem: This section consists of a brief description of the market problem you are trying to solve with your product or service.
- Solution: This section would consist of how you'll solve the concerned market problem, and how is your solution different from the already existing ones.
- Key Metrics: Include all your data including sales target, break-even analysis, funding requirements, and so on in this section.
- Unique Proposition: In this section, you'll describe the USP of your product and data to support your claim. It can either be in the form of surveys or customer and competitive analysis.
- Unfair Advantage: This section will help you take note of all the unfair advantages of your competitors and how you'll prevent them from using the same.
- Channels: In this section list down mediums through which you can market and distribute your product or service.
- Target Audience: Through this section, you’ll describe the key attributes of your ideal customer or draw out your customer persona.
- Cost Structure: This section would consist of the cost structure and describe its feasibility.
- Revenue Streams: In this section list out your revenue stream and when you plan on starting it.
In conclusion, a lean business plan is a great tool if you are just starting and don't want to get into the hassle of writing a 30 page-long business plan. Moreover, it can also serve as a pitch for investors.
But despite all of its advantages, a lean business plan might not be your cup of tea. Or if you plan on growing your business you might need a more detailed and elaborate plan.
And for that, a traditional business plan is a very handy tool. It might seem tedious to write, but it acts as a guide at every step of your business.
And here’s what you’ll include in a traditional business plan.
Traditional Business Plan
A traditional business plan is a living document that grows alongside your business. It helps you grab opportunities unforeseen by the unplanned businesses and helps you tackle obstacles smartly and smoothly. A business plan is one of the best investments of time that you can put into your business.
Here are a few major sections of a traditional business plan:
- Executive Summary
- Business Overview
- Mission Statement
- Product/Service Summary
- Market Opportunity Summary
- Traction Summary
- Next Steps
- Vision Statement
- Capital Request
- Company Synopsis
- Problem Analysis
- Market Overview
- Market Size & Growth
- Market Trends
- Market Segments
- Industry Success Stories
- Product & Services
- Market position
- Unique selling position
- Pricing strategy
- Value to customer
- Revenue Model
- Revenue Channels
- Operating Model
- Critical Costs
- Cost Maturation & Milestones
- Investment Costs
- Operating Efficiencies
- Competitive Analysis
- Competitor 1
- Competitor 2
- Similarities & Differences
- Marketing Plan
- Customer Definition
- Customer Acquisition
- Channel Cost Assumptions
- SWOT – internal and external forces
- Launch Strategy and Budget
- Distribution Channels
- Product Development
- Early Customers & Revenue
- Testimonials & Social Proof
- Intellectual Property
- Press Mentions
- Management & Organization
- Management Team
- John Doe
- Advisory Board Members
- John Doe
- Organization Chart
- Hiring Plan
- Management Team
- Funding Goal
- Use of Funds
- Why Invest? / Conclusion
- Financial Plan
- Income Statement
- Balance Sheet
- Break-Even Analysis
Why Choose a Traditional Business Plan?
Startups are very different from established businesses. The most obvious reason is that startups don’t have any previous data on how to run their business. This is precisely why a traditional business plan will work for any startup.
There are some vital differences between a traditional business plan and a simple business plan. These differences exist due to several reasons:
- Lack of a definite business model
In the early stages, it’s difficult to state the structure of your business model because your business idea and its execution are still in the testing phase. Only after a certain period of trial and error, you would be able to describe your business model.
- No performance history
While creating financial projections, an established company examines its credit history, past sales, revenue, expenditure, and growth rate. In contrast, a startup needs to begin with assumptions. You have to predict sales, costs, expenses, growth rate, etc. To increase the accuracy of your predictions, you need to gather reliable factual data to back your predictions.
- Increased risk
Startups have an increased risk factor compared to an established business. This is because startups lack a loyal customer base, an expert team, brand recognition, etc. Devise strategies to overcome the potential risks and challenges that may come your way in the future.
These are the reasons why you need a dedicated business plan for your startup that helps focus on the essential elements while setting up your business.
Before you start writing your business plan, go through the below checkpoints to make sure you are ready for it.
Tips to Create a Business Plan for your Startup
Writing your first business plan can be overwhelming and confusing. However daunting it may seem, it is still something you can't avoid.
- Use a startup business plan template: It can be hard to start from scratch, especially when you are unsure of where to begin. A business plan template helps you get started quickly. You can use it to navigate and structure your plan according to your standards
- Tailor your plan: After choosing a template, it is essential to customize it to your business requirements. Remove sections that are irrelevant and create your business plan based on the purpose you need it for. For instance, if you are building a business plan to get funding, the financial section of your business plan needs more emphasis.
- Research thoroughly: Every section of your business plan needs extensive research. Collect data about your market, industry, and competitors. Study their pricing strategies and market trends. Run surveys and talk to your potential customers to understand their needs and problems.
- Compose according to your objectives: It can be easy to lose sight of your objectives and get lost in the process of writing your business plan. To avoid that, make sure that your marketing strategies, operations, and financial goals are aligning with your business objectives.
- Ask for feedback: Once you finish creating a business plan, get your team and various experts to provide your feedback. This helps you revise and make adjustments to your plan before presenting it to an investor or client.
- Be prepared to answer questions: Before you present your startup business plan, it is crucial to prepare yourself to answer any questions related to your plan. It can be because the reader of your business plan may not understand a specific topic or want to test your knowledge. Regardless, keep yourselves informed and ready.
In conclusion, a business plan is an extremely handy device to get the best out of your efforts if you use it the right way. Planning your business involves consideration of several aspects that make up your business like the type of your industry, the stage of your business, the number of competitors, market size, etc.
Nonetheless, business planning always acts as a plus while tackling the challenges your business will face. It provides you with a proper structure to deal with your business problems head-on.
So, are you thinking of starting your own business? Then go ahead and start planning!
After getting started with upmetrics, you can copy this startup business plan template into your business plan, modify the required information, and download your startup business plan pdf or doc file. It's the fastest and easiest way to start writing a business plan for your new startup.
Ready to Start Your Planning?
Now that you know how to write a business plan, it's time to create one for you.
Remember that problem and market analysis are essential, but implementation is what counts. Go through the process explained in this guide to start planning for your business.
We have created Upmetrics — business plan software to simplify the process of business planning.
Our business plan builder allows you to write and customize your business plan. Our sample business plans and inbuilt help tips will help you to get started with your writing even if you are no expert. Our business plan sections and charts will make your document visually attractive.
Our financial forecasting module will create all the essential reports automatically. You need to enter numbers, and the application will do all the math to generate all your financial statements. Later you can embed those reports into your business plan.
After completing your business plan, you can download your business plan in PDF or DOC file with Upmetrics. You can also share it online with investors just by a quick link.
Customize your Business Plan
All businesses are different. So, don't hesitate to customize your business plan according to your requirements.
Even though our sample business plans are to help you create the perfect presentation for your clients and investors, it is finally up to you to decide how you're going to present your ideas in the best light.
Business Planning Resources
We have plenty of free business planning resources available to help you with your planning. You can download our resources to learn all about business planning.