business plan template

How to Write a Business Plan – Complete Guide and Template

Need help writing a business plan? Everything you need is right here.

If you are serious about starting up a new business then you will be serious about writing a legitimate business plan first. Many people think they can skip this step. Trust me when I say, that is unwise. There are lots of reasons you need a business plan. I think the most compelling is to simply ask yourself why you think you are going to be able to run a profitable business if you can’t even take the time to write a business plan describing how you are going to do it?

Having a plan is like a practice run at doing the real thing. You will be far more successful and effective if you make the plan first. I have set out to provide you with all the business help I can with this finance blog. In those efforts, I have created a guide detailing How to Write a Business Plan. 

Let’s be honest. Not all businesses are the same. The NYSE is a bit more complex than the local dry cleaner. Needless to say, a business plan for a company that wants to act as a platform to sell billions of dollars worth of company shares from thousands of big businesses every hour is going to have a different business plan format than a new local dry cleaning store.

Having said that, I have provided a model for the “big idea” – to the local one man trade venture (given that one man wants to grow and get wealthy). If you are less of a venture use less of my template. If you are more then hire me for SEO help.

Below you will find a tested and proven business plan guide and template and the perfect structure for developing a winning business plan. Do not take this task lightly. Ignore the “what are you doing” looks from the haters. This is serious and can get serious if you are willing to do what needs to be done. Focus up.

Professional Business Plan Structure and Template

  1. Content Preview – This is a simple table of contents. List each section with an accompanied down to earth description.
  2. Business Idea Summary – This is the quick elevator business idea pitch you would give in a movie. Typically these sections run about two pages long. But this story should be able to be verbalized in 2 minutes. I suggest one page. Focus on what’s amazing and mention the good as well. Emphasize the ways that your idea and company will make the world a better place.
  3. Compay Overview – Here you lay out your heart and soul. This is the section that you detail out who your company is, how your company succeeds, and why your company matters. To help you give a complete picture I have created a list of important points to touch on when creating a business overview.
    1.  Company mission and Company Vission Statement
    2. Company values and explanations
    3. Type of business entity (LLC, Corporation, etc.)
    4. Description of products and or services
    5. Clear and persuasive explanation of how your company is unique
    6. In this section, you must make clear of both the purpose or even reason why this company is needed and more importantly the overall value your company creates for the world.
  4. Market Environment – Here is the report of the existing world, culture, politics, economics, customers, professional chain, and other relevant variables pertaining to your business. You must understand the current conditions and more importantly the behavior of these entities after you enter the market.
  5. Operation and Management Organizational Structure – This section details the management structure. Here you lay out who is responsible for what. As well as who does what and how the who are selected as well as why the what is best done by the selected who. Plus a little bit about what the who is worth and how the resulting what is far more valuable.
  6. Business and Marketing Strategy – This section Details how you ultimately get customers to buy. There are only two places to get customers as a new business. The first and most common is to take customers from an existing business. This means stealing market share from competitors. The other is creating new customers. For example, when Google first started they could get users by either taking existing internet searches from other search engines such as Yahoo, or they could convince folks who didn’t use search engines to start using theirs. Both avenues are difficult and require significant consideration and thought no matter what the market. Thus well thought out marketing plans need to be developed. These detailed plans and the expected results need to be detailed in this section. This section is the most important section next to the overall business concept.
  7. Company Financials – Here you report the company finances. You must include the current financial standing of the company as well as the expected future financial performance. Be sure to include an initial budget Plus the sought after investment capital to fund the plan outlined. With these capital investment figures, you need to provide the expected returns and overall performance of these investments that the investors can expect to make. These financial figures are commonly referred to as the ROI. Be sure to include present and future accounting worksheets such as the balance sheet, the cash flow statement, and of course the income statement.
  8. Business Plan WrapUp – Here you outlay the details of how your business goes from the present status to the desired powerhouse cash machine company you want it to be. This section focuses on what needs to happen next and why those who make that happen will prosper time and time again.
  9. Reference Notes and Misc – Here you include any references you used or other resources you need to site and or give credit to.


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