Get a professional business plan template at no cost.
Whiteboard image via Shutterstock Having a road map helps you reach your journey's end successfully. Business plans do the same for small businesses.
They lay out the milestones you need to reach on your way to building a profitable small business. From finance to marketing, operations to sales, each part of a business plan helps you reach your goals.
What deters most small business owners from creating a business plan, however, is taking the time to write it all out. Many are afraid in that doing so, they'll find their idea isn't so brilliant after all.
For those who take the time to research and write a plan, though, they often find that it helps them identify risks and possible roadblocks — and they can circumnavigate a detour that still lets reach their destination — a successful, thriving business. Small business owners can benefit from simple, easy-to-follow business plan tools so they spend less time writing and more time launching.
Here are nine resources to help you craft a professional business plan quickly and easily. LivePlan LivePlan has quickly become a recognized online business tools resource to help budding entrepreneurs every step of the way, from the planning stages to launch. Like other services, LivePlan allows business owners to craft perfectly formatted plans.
They have more than plans encompassing nearly every industry you can think of. After selecting the template you like, you can tweak, customize and create the presentation to pitch your idea to would-be investors. Post-launch, businesses can track revenue and expenses against forecasts.
Designed for entrepreneurs who are itching to get started, this simple business plan template asks a handful of questions that you can easily answer in one or two sentences.
The plan covers everything from what you plan to sell and who will buy it to how you will get paid, "hustle" to find customers, foresee challenges and overcome obstacles in a single page.
BizPlan BizPlan lets you create a business plan for free using your smartphone or tablet, and it offers more than just business plans.
You also have access to free pitch script templates, marketing tools, coaching and collaboration features. You can upgrade to paid plans that give you access to more tools, tutorials and other features.
Copyblogger Not all small businesses are concerned with credit lines, partnerships and office space — at least not in the beginning.
So why should their initial business plans include these things? Instead, it offers a business plan template fit for the real would-be entrepreneur.
Where most templates assume all businesses are uniform, Copyblogger's model is designed to get to the heart of what entrepreneurs need to know to start a business: Simply copy and paste the template, created by Sonia Simone, co-founder and chief content officer of Copyblogger Media, and you're good to go.
Platform Planner Are you the visual type? Based on the principles of the Business Generation Model Strategyzer app, this template uses sticky notes to help you craft an out-of-the-box business plan. You create your plan by separating a single page into different sections or columns, such as company information, value proposition and customer segments.
Write down your ideas or responses on a sticky note, and then stick it on the corresponding section. You can also color-code the sticky notes for better organization. Then, if your plans change, you can easily remove a note, move it around or add new ones to better fit the direction in which your business is headed.
Enloop Financials are often the most confusing and difficult aspect of a business plan for new business owners. Like other services, Enloop uses an online interface to automate your business plan's creation.
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To get started, users enter basic information about their businesses, including product details. From there, Enloop's software uses metrics to predict the financial performance of the company compared with other similar companies in the same sector.
Unlike complicated business plans, boring blocks of text are not required — bullet points will do. Wise Bread Greg Go, co-founder of online finance community Wise Bread, is a big believer that entrepreneurs who are just starting out don't need lengthy business plans.
What they need, says Go, is an "internal working plan" to get started. The internal working plan consists of four simple questions that comprise your plan: What is your product or service? Who are your customers? When will things get done?
When are bills due and when do you get paid? The SBA's online tool for creating a business plan allows a user to enter information on a web interface that is tied to that person's account.
The SBA says this is intended to be a "live" plan that can be referred to and changed as the company's plans progress. The SBA's tool is available online at no cost.Using our Business Plan interview you can build a professional plan, specific to your state, with minimal effort if you know your business well.
Use a Business Plan if: You are starting a business and want to outline your goals and strategies. Global financial services firm vFinance offers a basic, page business plan template to download from its website--one the company says has been downloaded more than a quarter of a million times.
The outline of our business plan template appears below. It is simplified a bit for this page, so we encourage you to download the Word version to get instructions for each section, as well as a cover page, table of contents, legal disclaimer, and more.
Simple Business Plan Outline template example contains company summary, executive summary, product, services and market analysis.
All four of these factors are very important for forming a . Designed for entrepreneurs who are itching to get started, this simple business plan template asks a handful of questions that you can easily answer in one or two sentences. If our sample plan isn't exactly what you are looking for, explore our free business plan template.
Or, create your own custom business plan easily with LivePlan. Bplans is owned and operated by Palo Alto Software, Inc., as a free resource to help entrepreneurs start and run better businesses.