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Facebook Marketing

Facebook marketing: The complete guide for your brand’s strategy

Explore our comprehensive guide on maximizing your Facebook marketing strategy. Leverage our robust advice to enhance brand visibility, engagement and ROI on Facebook.

Reading time  17 minutes

Published on  December 14, 2023

Table of Contents

  • Facebook remains a crucial platform for brand presence with over 3 billion monthly active users, especially favored by those between the ages of 25-34.
  • Facebook marketing involves promoting a business via a Facebook business Page and utilizing its ad platform for organic and paid promotions across various post types (photos, videos, carousels, etc).
  • Benefits of Facebook marketing include improving conversion rate by an average of 9.21%, incorporating ecommerce directly on the platform and utilizing Facebook analytics for precise audience targeting.

Social media platforms may rise and fall but Facebook remains a vital staging ground for building a strong brand presence. With over 3 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the favorite social platform of users aged 25-34 who also have a high average disposable income.

Our 2023 Q4 Pulse Survey data also revealed that Facebook remains the top platform where most consumers intend to post and share content, followed by Instagram and TikTok. This makes Facebook marketing one of the most compelling ways to enhance your brand identity and share of voice.

Our in-depth guide will help you use Facebook to its full potential and navigate the platform with the tools available. Watch the video below to hear why you shouldn’t sleep on incorporating Facebook into your social media marketing strategy :

What is Facebook marketing?

Facebook marketing is the act of promoting a business or brand and its products/services via a Facebook business Page. By fully optimizing these business Pages, brands create a second website of sorts, where you can advertise and sell products and services directly to your target audience. Facebook’s ad platform enables you to go beyond organic promotion, creating paid posts in various post types (i.e., photos, carousels, videos, links) to maximize engagement.

Thus, with a well-planned strategy, you can use Facebook to support the full customer experience from awareness to purchase and loyalty.

Why you should use Facebook marketing

There are several reasons to include Facebook in your social media marketing strategy. This includes enhancing brand awareness, increasing customer engagement and reaching new audiences. Facebook has the potential for significant brand amplification and return on your investment with over 65% of U.S. social commerce buyers using it regularly.

Not convinced? Here is a breakdown of our top five picks for why Facebook marketing must be on your radar when planning your marketing strategy.

Improve your brand’s visibility

While 71% of Facebook users are primarily on the site to keep up with friends and family, a sizable number visit it for customer service, entertainment and to follow brands. This means you can present your brand to visitors whose motivations range from idle curiosity to active engagement, which includes purchases. The average conversion rate on Facebook for sales is 9.21% across industries.

Create more engaging content

Facebook supports content in four formats : images, video, carousel and collections. This gives you four ways to use captivating visuals to engage prospective customers.

If you’re running a retail store, a carousel or collection enables you to display a selection of top-selling items or unveil a new product line. Perhaps you have a B2B (business-to-business) service to promote? A video about your services or customers might sell your offering more effectively. Sometimes a single striking image can drive traffic to your site.

Facebook offers all these options to easily create campaigns for different purposes.

Appeal to your target audience

Facebook analytics provides a wealth of data about your performance and audience preferences. Use this to tailor your content to meet your audience needs and wants, increasing your engagement and improving your brand experience. Facebook ads also contain sophisticated tools for market segmentation, including:

  • Geographic : Choose a specific region or define it by population density.
  • Demographic : Select age, gender, marital status, family status and occupation.
  • Behavioral : Define groups by brand loyalty or user status (from non-users to regular users).
  • Income : Select from lower, middle or upper class.
  • Lifestyle : Segment by interests, according to keywords used in searches.
  • Interests: Choose interests that intersect with the common pursuits of your chosen group

Selecting your target audience using these parameters when creating an ad campaign ensures you get the best return on ad spend (ROAS).

Incorporate ecommerce directly

Create online stores directly within the platform and make them visible on Instagram to reach more audiences.

You’ll need business accounts on both sites to do so but the set-up process is relatively straightforward.

Once you’ve created your accounts, refine your online catalog to target new and returning customers like State Bicycle Company , with over 400,000 followers, does when promoting its wide range of single-speed city bikes.

Screenshot of State Bicycle Company's Facebook page where they showcase their different bikes.

The community vibe associated with Facebook means the brand can create a Page that effectively blends news, articles, offers and competitions.

Easily measure your results

Facebook provides one of the best suites of social media analytics. We’ve produced a comprehensive guide to Facebook analytics , so here we’ll outline just the basics.

Facebook offers metrics on likes, comments, shares, Page views and other key performance indicators (KPIs). Track each customer’s journey to your Page to learn what strategies are proving most effective. Use Facebook’s analytics suite to further understand:

  • Reach: See the number of people who saw and engaged with your posts including negative interactions, such as hiding or reporting posts for offensive content.
  • Engagement : Engaged users are those who clicked anywhere in your post and those who created a story about your Page post.
  • Likes : The number of likes tell you if your content resonated with your audience. Check what’s consistent about the posts that get the highest/lowest likes and you’ll likely find a pattern.
  • Video stats : Check out how users interact with your video content including how long your content was viewed.
  • E-commerce: Facebook provides insights and analytics through its Meta Page Insights tool and Meta Ads Manager for metrics on post engagements and reach. You can also view metrics on ad click-through rates and conversion rates. For more detailed e-commerce data like sales performance metrics, product views and customer demographics, you may need additional tools.

If you’re using Facebook to drive off-platform performance, Facebook Pixel lets you track user interactions and conversions beyond the platform and onto your website.

How to use Facebook marketing

To put your Facebook marketing into action, you’ll need a business Page and a Facebook ad account.

The first gives you a public-facing location, forming the focus of all your activities. Here’s ours:

Screenshot of Sprout Social's Facebook page

A Facebook ad account via Meta Ads Manager allows you to create and position campaigns to raise awareness of your brand and convert prospects to customers across Facebook and Instagram.

Let’s take the process step-by-step.

Create a Facebook business Page

To reap the benefits of your Facebook marketing efforts, you’ll need a fully fleshed out Facebook business Page . Your Page represents your brand and first impressions can go a long way, especially in a digital terrain where everyone’s vying for your target audience’s attention. More importantly, your Facebook Page is also a medium to provide your customers with important information and address their queries. So let’s get into the details of how you can develop an efficient Facebook Page for maximum impact.

Step 1: Create a new, dedicated Page

On your main Facebook profile, click on “Pages” and “Create New Page” to generate your business Page. Give it a name and category, indicating the sector relevant to your brand. The name should match your brand or business name.

Step 2: Add biographical information

The optional “bio” section is where you’ll describe your business, what it offers and what makes it unique. When you’re finished, click “Create Page.”

Step 3: Provide business details

You want customers to be able to contact you, so here’s where you provide that information.

Step 4: Design your Page’s look

Here’s where you make your Page truly eye-catching. There are two main visuals to consider: the cover image that runs across the top of your Page and the circular profile image that sits on top.

Ensure your image choice aligns with your brand style book and visual strategy. Some brands lead with a founder or CEO photo for their profile picture, while others opt for their logo. Use whatever fits best with your brand’s visual identity.

Optional extras include action buttons like “book now” or “view shop,” and various other options for direct messaging (including Facebook messages, WhatsApp messages and email.)

Create a Facebook ad account

Once your Facebook Page is up and running, you’ll need to create an ad account. You do this from your Meta Business Suite (formerly Facebook Business Manager) dashboard. If you don't have a Business Manager account, don’t worry, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to Facebook Business Manager too.

Note that you can only complete the following steps if you are a page administrator, or have been assigned an admin, editor or advertiser Page role by an existing Page administrator.

From your Meta Business Suite dashboard, here are the steps to set up an ad account:

Step 1: Link your new Page

Under “Pages” click on “Add page” and your Page will be visible from the Business Manager.

Step 2: Create a new ad account

Under “Ad accounts” click on “Create Ad Account” (or “Add Ad Account” if you already have at least one account you’re using).

There is a limit set by Facebook on the number of ad accounts a business may hold, which increases with advertising spend. You can check your ad account limit in Business Manager .

Step 3: Name the new account

Give your new ad account a name and complete the time zone, currency and payment method details. Select the business Page you added earlier to link it to the new Ad account.

How to create a Facebook marketing strategy

There are numerous factors to consider while developing your Facebook marketing strategy. If you’re building your Facebook strategy from scratch, here are tips that serve as building blocks needed for Facebook marketing strategy.

Set goals for your Facebook marketing

Facebook is used for several different purposes so take a systematic approach and think carefully about your goals. Is it to raise brand awareness, build customer loyalty or increase conversions? Here are some goals to consider for your strategy:

  • Add more value to the brand : Per The Sprout Social Index ™ , 68% of consumers follow brands on social media to find out about new products or services. Make Facebook your go-to source for brand awareness, leveraging the global platform to introduce your brand to new audiences while also keeping it top-of-mind for existing customers.

A bar chart breaking down consumers’ primary reasons for following a brand on social. The top reasons include: to stay informed about new products or services (68%), to have access to exclusive deals or promotions (46%), the content they post is enjoyable and entertaining (45%) to engage with the community or customers (28%) and because their values or mission aligns with mine (21%).

  • Connect with customers : Our Index also found that 51% of consumers think the most memorable brands on social respond to customers. This is your chance to use the platform not only to reach new audiences but also to nurture customer loyalty.
  • Improve sales : Improving the quality of sales starts with better targeting. Reach your target audience more efficiently through a well-planned Facebook marketing strategy. Test various targeting options and content types to see which generates the most conversions and quality leads, improving your ad spend and social selling.
  • Recruit efficiently : Facebook can also support your recruiting efforts, like reaching top talent faster. Use the platform to showcase your brand values and culture to promote your employer branding.

Know your Facebook target audience

One of the major advantages of marketing on Facebook is the ability to target a highly specific slice of those 3 billion monthly users. You can do this by using Facebook’s Audience Insights tool.

A screenshot of the professional dashboard within Meta Business Suite. The data displayed breaks down audience by age, gender and location.

This provides information about Facebook users in general and the specific subset of users who have interacted with your Page, by following, commenting, liking, sharing, etc.

The Insights dashboard will reveal where your followers are located, their age and gender, and useful information about content preferences. It also informs you which devices people use to access your Page. Use insights you draw from the tool to build out the organic side of your strategy and create highly-targeted advertising.

Some of the ways you can use the dashboard are:

  • New audiences : Select your target locations, demographics, behaviors and interests.
  • Custom audiences : See existing audiences you’d like to contact with new products, services or offers.
  • Lookalike audiences : Discover audiences similar to people who have liked or otherwise engaged with your Page.
  • Saved audiences : Save and view targeting parameters you saved for future use. For instance, you might have a US-based demographic aged 25–40 saved, but also a global 18–25 audience.

By being highly specific about who you are targeting with your Facebook marketing efforts, you’ll ensure a better ROAS and conversion rate and see an increase in your organic growth.

Publish a mix of content to your Facebook feed

Create a dynamic feed with engaging content with a mix of content formats that engage your audience in various ways.

There are several different post formats you can use, including:

  • Static posts: Text-based content that doesn’t have dynamic elements.
  • Images: Static images that showcase your brand.
  • Videos: Videos that can vary in length and are used to showcase interesting content such as interviews, product demonstrations, seasonal content, helpful hints and animations.
  • Stories: Short and temporary content such as photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours and can be viewed on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.
  • Facebook Reels: Short-form video formats akin to those found on Instagram or TikTok with highly-entertaining clips designed to quickly capture viewer attention.

You can also take advantage of different Facebook interaction types such as:

  • Allowing your followers to message you directly through WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger
  • Tagging products in your photos for followers to immediately make a purchase
  • Supporting local charity organizations by adding fundraisers
  • Creating humorous content by attaching GIFs to engage your audience

business plan facebook pdf

These options enable you to creatively connect with followers in the ways they want to consume content. Inform your direction with the goals you have outlined and audience insights you’ve gathered.

Boost posts or leverage Facebook ads to generate leads

Incorporating a paid marketing plan with your larger Facebook strategy will give you a comprehensive strategy that engages and converts your audience. Your paid strategy should include boosting organic posts and traditional Facebook ads.

Boosted posts enable you to focus on Page engagements, clicks and promotions. They appear in the feed like organic posts and are a great way to quickly reach new audiences with a successful organic post. Facebook ads created in the Ads Manager are aimed more at drawing new customers, are more targeted and appear in feeds as an ad.

You must determine your monthly ad budget so you’re able to efficiently manage ads to increase reach, generate more sales and build brand awareness while using spend wisely. Targeting a broad audience isn’t a bad thing, especially at first, so you can see what works best to build awareness. Then as you see a pattern, build out custom audiences based on user behavior and interests.

If it’s a retargeting measure, make sure the content provides something recognizable but also something new.

Your ad design should focus on:

  • Identity: Does it relate to your brand and effectively showcase your product/service? Are your logo and business colors correctly displayed?
  • Reward: What do viewers get out of it? Is it a deal, promotion, offer code, whitepaper or industry guide?
  • Tone: Does your content maintain the same tone across your entire Facebook Page or business in general?
  • Action: Your content must drive an action, which goes back to your Facebook goals. A clear and precise call to action is best.

Use product photos, branded graphics or videos to help capture your audience's attention. Make sure your ad copy entices the viewer to take action.

A Ralph Lauren Facebook Ad that captures the holiday mood and showcases their designs with catchy posts.

Post when your followers are most active

Facebook marketing only works when your chosen audience is paying attention. Ensure your content posting schedule is optimized to reach the largest audience by posting at times they’re most active on the network.

Sprout identifies the Optimal Send Times for your brand by using algorithmic analysis of the Facebook platform and your posting history to identify when your audience engages most. These times are continually updated and revised to help you post when it counts most.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's Compose box and scheduling a Facebook post with ViralPost optimal send times.

Check out our article on Facebook posting schedules for details like posting based on your industry and more.

Use Facebook bots and other interactive tools

Chatbots and interactive tools are automated solutions to engage with your audience. Bots can be programmed to answer a large volume of common queries, freeing up your social teams for more complex tasks while ensuring your customer gets support 24/7. Interactive tools help enhance audience engagement and can be used to promote quizzes, polls, surveys, contests and other interactive content.

Take advantage of Facebook chatbots for customer service to answer predictable queries and respond to compliments and criticisms. These bots can also be used to recommend new products to individuals likely to engage or respond with targeted marketing content in response to search queries. For instance, when a Page visitor searches for “winter footwear,” your bot might throw up advertisements for your shoe brand, or for related items such as scarves or hats.

With chatbots becoming more intuitive and popular, it’s easier to give customers the information they need faster and keep them happy. As the Index data showed, 23% of customers expect a brand to respond to their query within two hours.

Data visualization from The Sprout Social Index™ illustrating how quickly consumers expect a response from brands on social in 2022 and 2023. In 2023, nearly 70% expect a response within 24 hours or less. In 2022, 77% of consumers expected a response within 24 hours or less.

Use a content calendar to post and schedule fresh content

Content creation and curation are important components of any social media strategy. Creating a content calendar ensures you’re engaging with audiences regularly and have a steady flow of relevant and fresh content. This is especially useful during the holidays.

But if you're posting everything in real-time, you'll only have time for your Facebook content production and not much else. This is why scheduling your content out in batches is key.

For scheduling Facebook content , you have both free and paid options available to you. Facebook’s Page controls allow you to schedule your posts right from your Page. Sprout enables you to schedule Facebook posts and post across your social platforms, as well asl pick the best times for you based on your highest expected audience engagement.

Scheduling and planning your calendar makes it easier for you to see where gaps are in your social content strategy. Using a tool like Sprout not only helps visualize this, but also collaborate with other team members to create, review and approve content.

A preview of Sprout Social’s publishing dashboard showing a new post and a content calendar.

Engage proactively with your audience

Like most social media channels, Facebook is built as a network to converse, discuss and share content. That means conversation and engagement should never be put on the back burner. Incorporate a plan to build a community with your audience. Use Facebook to hold industry chats or discussions, whether it’s with subject matter experts or your customers. Engage existing customers with interesting content, build customer care relationships and attract prospects with what differentiates you from the crowd.

Work to create content that solicits engagement from your audience—but also don't be afraid to ask for engagement as well. Have your audience react to your posts to vote on something. Ask questions. Share polls. The possibilities are endless to start building up your Facebook engagement .

Track and analyze your results

Keep an eye on the metrics you identified earlier in goal setting and analyze the results to understand your Facebook marketing strategy’s performance and  determine your ROI . Sprout’s Facebook analytics enables you to see if you need to change the types of content, ads and engagement strategies you're employing or if what you're doing is working.

Screenshot of Facebook's summary report, including page impressions, engagement and post link clicks.

Monitor to see if your Facebook performance is increasing or decreasing month-over-month, so you can make any necessary changes to continual drive growth and performance in your Facebook marketing strategy.

4 successful Facebook marketing examples to inspire your brand

Below, we’ve selected four brands who, in different ways, have excelled with their Facebook marketing campaigns.

BMW has over 20 million followers on Facebook thanks to its image-driven content which highlights their innovations and style. The brand showcases its technology and automotive aesthetics using both brand imagery as well as user-generated content. It's posts also reflect special events and holidays.

Note their use of hashtags and emojis to add personality to what could easily otherwise seem a bit corporate. The “Learn More” button on the top of their Page leads to their main consumer site. There’s also a “mentions” tab at the top of their profile which takes the visitor to all their latest model reviews and customer comments.

BMW's Facebook page showcasing its different models and posts relevant to the holiday season.

Takeaways: Stunning imagery doesn’t have to be expensive. Leverage your user-generated content where you can to highlight your positive reviews and showcase your offerings. Plus, make sure you give your audiences access to more information so they can explore your brand even further.

Makeup retailer Sephora uses its Facebook to regularly engage with its audiences and keep them invested in the brand. They focus on striking visuals and dynamic content formats, including high-quality images and videos to promote the various brands under their umbrella.

They also use the page to promote quizzes, polls and makeup tutorials and to showcase influencer content that entertains and educates their audience. The brand’s Facebook Page is also a major tool for prompt customer service. They encourage customers to DM them for more information so they can address concerns through private messages and comments.

Sephora's Facebook post reflecting the holiday season

Takeaways: Combine your creative content with prompt and personalized responses for more dedicated customer care. Last but not least, promote your other customer care channels for maximum engagement and impact.

Wendy’s is known for their social content. On Facebook, they use a mix of video and static content, including user generated content, to build and sustain momentum around their different menu items and special offers. Plus, they respond to almost all post comments.

They also publish posts simply to engage in conversations with their followers—a strategy that has paid off. Audiences know the brand engages with them and this has built trust and customer loyalty.

Takeaways: Choose a brand persona for your Facebook presence that matches your brand values and amplify it in your content and responses. Keep your audiences engaged by responding to them promptly and ensure steady customer care to boost customer delight.

Pizza Hut’s strategy is straightforward. They use the platform to share mouthwatering posts and videos of their dishes. They also use the platform to showcase community engagement and announce promotions and specials such as discounts, limited-time deals and new or limited-time menu items. They also run contests and polls where audiences share their favorite menu item or pizza toppings.

A screenshot of Pizza Hut's Facebook page and posts

Takeaways: Your product is your USP and your customers and followers are your strength. Don’t hesitate to leverage them for creating engaging content and enhancing your share of voice. Encourage your followers to submit creative content related to your brand and share their experiences. This increases community engagement and also gives your teams plenty of content to build on.

4 Facebook marketing tools to give your strategy a boost

Facebook has many native and third-party tools to help you manage your Facebook marketing strategies. We’ll finish by highlighting just four of them. For a longer rundown, read about  12 Facebook marketing tools that can help your business scale on the platform.

Sprout Social

Use our suite of social media tools to optimize your Facebook marketing across content scheduling and audience analytics.

Manage and schedule your social media assets and receive detailed analytics on campaign performance and audience interaction through intuitive dashboards. Analyze everything from individual post reach to audience growth and ROAS from a single source of truth while managing all your other social channels.

Use Sprout’s Listening tools to understand your audiences and discover trends and topics your target audience is interested in. Find out what kind of content is resonating the most, how your audience growth is shaping and how your competitors are doing in the same space.

A screenshot of Sprout Social's Facebook Pages Report feature

Creator Studio for Facebook

Facebook’s Creator Studio helps users schedule posts, track social assets and monitor posting performance for actionable insights. It integrates with Instagram, and with Meta’s several ad features. It’s available for download on iOS and Android devices so you can manage your Facebook Page content and connect with your audience anytime, anywhere.

Facebook's Creator Studio App that lets you manage Facebook pages on the go

Using just this tool, you should be able to track trends and create an approval workflow. It’s important to note though, that it’s limited to managing only Facebook networks

Facebook Commerce Manager

For direct selling on Facebook and Instagram, this tool helps you establish a shopfront presence on both platforms. With Facebook Commerce Manager , you can create catalogs and customizable collections to help your buyers find exactly what they need, and push products they may want.

Screenshot of Facebook's Commerce Manager tool where you can sell on Facebook, Instagram or both

Customer service can be managed from the tool too, as well as returns and inventory management.

Facebook ads library

If you need a little inspiration, Facebook’s ads library is a great resource for finding out what worked, who partnered with whom and what your competition is up to.

It’s a searchable database of everything that’s running or has run across Meta’s platforms.

Screenshot of Facebook's Ad library, a searchable database of everything that’s running or has run across Meta’s platforms.

For each brand searched, you will see when their page was created, what ads are running and even ad spend (for political or social ads only). Using this tool before you craft your campaign may help you stand out from the competition.

Manage your Facebook Pages and Messenger conversations more effectively

Facebook marketing can be a complex process involving audience targeting, content creation, performance analysis and competitive intelligence. However, using Facebook’s various resources and integrating the advice above will enable you to optimize your Facebook presence.

As you build your community, use Sprout’s Facebook management tools to simplify your workflows, get deeper audience insights and manage your Pages all in one place.

Facebook Marketing FAQs

Yes! Users can find free courses on Facebook marketing on Meta Blueprint for those who want to strengthen their marketing skills across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

It’s easy to create a Facebook business page ! Head to and click the menu icon (nine dots) in the top navigation bar. Click  Page under the  Create menu to get started. From here, Facebook will walk you through all of the information you need to fill out in order to completely optimize your business page.

Additional resources for Facebook Marketing

A Facebook Marketing Template to Refresh Your Strategy and Increase Your Reach

  • Social Media Publishing

12 Facebook publishing tools for your brand in 2024

  • Social Media Content

The picture-perfect Facebook cover photo size

Facebook Event photo size & dimensions guide

  • Social Listening

Facebook automation: The ultimate guide for your brand

Creator Studio for Facebook and Instagram: A guide for marketers

  • Social Media Advertising

How to build a Facebook business Page that attracts customers

  • Social Media Strategy

12 Facebook marketing tools to help your business scale

  • Social Commerce

Facebook Shops: What are they and how to drive more social sales

7 Fundamental Facebook best practices to grow your presence faster

  • Community Management

How to build your community with Facebook Groups

A step-by-step guide on how to use Facebook Business Manager

Facebook Lookalike Audiences: How to optimize ads to reach new customers

5 brilliant Facebook campaigns (& why they worked)

15 Facebook post ideas to increase engagement

Top Facebook trends to try in 2024

  • Social Media Analytics

How to use Facebook tools to boost your success

12 Ways to use Facebook events for your brand

  • Social Media Engagement

Expert tips on using Facebook for your small business

The new Facebook features every marketer should know about

Instagram vs Facebook: which is best for your brand’s strategy?

Cover photo

How to Measure Your Facebook ROI

Your Handy Guide to Facebook Marketing Terms

Build and grow stronger relationships on social

Sprout Social helps you understand and reach your audience, engage your community and measure performance with the only all-in-one social media management platform built for connection.

Business Plan Template.

While your company’s goals might be crystal clear in your head, going in without a formal business plan could make things tricky. If the idea of creating one seems daunting, don’t worry. With a free business plan template, you can be up and running in no time. 

Discover more about how to create your ideal business plan and download free templates to get started here. 

Download Your Free Business Plan Template. 

Download your own free business plan template and jump right into planning your next venture. You can download a free business plan template with Adobe.  

business plan facebook pdf

Edit templates using Acrobat.

Explore Adobe’s online PDF editor . Add text, sticky notes, highlights, drawings and more to your PDF with ease. Work smart with Adobe. 

What you'll learn:

•   What is a Business Plan?

•   Why is a Business Plan important?

•   How to Write a Business Plan.

•   Download Your Free Business Plan Template.

What is a Business Plan?

Business plans define core business objectives and the strategies to achieve them, in the form of a written document. They’re key for all types of businesses - whether they’re small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), start-ups or individual entrepreneurs.  

Generally, a straightforward and simple business plan template can be divided into the following five sections: 

  • Executive summary
  • Business description and structure
  • Market analysis and strategies
  • Organisation and management
  • Financial documents.

Why is a Business Plan important? 

A good business plan can be a vital tool, as it can act as a guide through each stage of starting your company. When you’re lost, it can be your compass to get back to the right track and help you and your team realign with the original vision. Think of it as a map pointing you from now to the future.  

It can also be a helpful document for the relevant external parties, such as investors or lenders.  

Here are some key benefits: 

  • Outline and Clarify Goals . Using a business plan template can help you to define and set goals, helping you to easily pitch them when required. It can serve as an excellent touchstone, too. 
  • Identify Issues . By clearly outlining plans ahead of time, you may be able to identify issues early - whether in the planning stage or based on the reality of deliverables versus the plan. 
  • Secure Financing . Being able to confidently lay out your goals, analysis, forecasted spending, personnel requirements and business structure is a great way to build confidence and potentially secure financing. 
  • Measure Progress . By comparing progress against your goals, you can get a sense of a project’s timescale and forecast for any potential disruptions or changes. This means you can stay on track and better adapt to any unknowns. It may help you plan for the future, too. 

How to Write a Business Plan.

Building upon a business plan template may seem daunting - but when you break it down, it’s no more intimidating than planning a trip. Just like a holiday, it requires preparation and organisation, but can be exciting. It’s a chance to see all your ideas come together into something coherent and actionable. 

Important Sections to Include in Your Business Plan Template.

  • Business, Products and Key Objectives . This lets you set an overall scope for your business plan and serves as a fundamental part of your company. 
  • Target Market and Competition . Analysing your target market and competition lets you make informed business decisions and can help to justify your plan. 
  • Sales and Marketing Plans . Detailing your sales and marketing plans can help you to arrange KPIs in the future and show how you’re utilising the data from your market research. 
  • Operational Plans . This section details the day-to-day running of your business, giving an in-depth outline of strategies for specific teams or supply chains. 
  • Personnel Structure . Writing a personnel structure gives you a sense of key responsibilities and requirements within the wider business. This can be an excellent place to take note of the skills that roles might require, what you already have and what you might need. 
  • Financials . Breaking down the operational costs and funding required for your business can help you to set future goals and secure backing if required. 

Having a PDF printable business plan template makes things easier when it comes time to format, print and share it with potential stakeholders. If you want to change the file format of your business plan, you can easily convert PDF to Word   and back again. 

Sharing your business plan as a PDF also allows for easy collaboration, with no subscription required and the ability to add comments, highlights and notes with our free online PDF editor tool .  

Top Tips for Your Business Plan.

Writing a business plan template is easier with these top tips, so you can get off to a smooth start - whatever your project. 

  • Be Realistic . Being realistic about your business plan means you can make informed decisions and will have minimal friction as the project progresses. 
  • Understand Your Market . By demonstrating an understanding of your market, you can better inform decisions and plan. It also makes your vision an easier sell. 
  • Keep it Concise . Don’t waffle on or obscure important facts in jargon. If you want to add additional detail, create an appendix to expand on areas. 
  • Stay Professional . This is key, as your business plan serves as a reference point both for internal operations and potential business. 
  • Review Your Business Plan . During the process of creating a business plan, certain details may change and mistakes can be made. Review your plan to ensure everything is correct and to double-check if anything needs to change with any new information during the process. You can easily edit business plans in PDF with Adobe Acrobat PDF editor online . 

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Simple Business Plan Templates

By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020

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In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.

On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.

One-Page Business Plan Template

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Download One-Page Business Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business. 

For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."

Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.

For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."

Simple Business Plan for Startup

Start-Up Business Plan Template

‌ Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word

This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."

Simple Small-Business Plan Template

Small Business Plan Template

Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template

This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.

Lean Business Plan Template

Lean Business Plan Template

Download Lean Business Plan Template

This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Word  | PDF

Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.

Simple Business Plan Rubric Template

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Download Simple Business Plan Rubric

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.

Basic Business Plan Sample

Basic Business Plan Sample

Download Basic Business Plan Sample

This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.

For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”

Main Components of a Business Plan

The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business. 

Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:

  • Company name and contact information
  • Website address
  • The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
  • Table of Contents
  • Company background and purpose
  • Mission and vision statement
  • Management team introduction
  • Core product and service offerings
  • Target customers and segments
  • Marketing plan
  • Competitive analysis
  • Unique value proposition
  • Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
  • Business and industry overview
  • Historical timeline of your business
  • Offerings and the problem they solve
  • Current alternatives
  • Competitive advantage
  • Market size
  • Target market segment(s)
  • Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Pricing strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Promotional plan
  • Distribution methods
  • Legal structure of your business
  • Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
  • Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
  • Staffing requirements and training plans
  • Physical location(s) of your business
  • Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
  • Production workflow
  • Raw materials and sourcing methods
  • Projected income statement
  • Projected cash flow statement
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Charts and graphs
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Information about your industry
  • Information about your offerings
  • Samples of marketing materials
  • Other supporting materials

Tips for Creating a Business Plan

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan. 

  • Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
  • Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
  • Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
  • Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
  • Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
  • Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
  • Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
  • What product or service are we offering?
  • Who is the product or service for?
  • What problem does our product or service offering solve?
  • How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
  • Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
  • How can we outperform our competitors?
  • What is our unique value proposition?
  • When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
  • If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
  • When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
  • What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
  • When do you expect to be profitable?

To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .

Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template

Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. 

Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
  • Provides structure to help outline your plan
  • Saves time and valuable resources
  • Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details

Limitations of a Business Plan Template

A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.

Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:

  • Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
  • A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
  • Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
  • You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
  • Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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Download Free Business Plan Examples

Download a free business plan in pdf or word doc format to make writing a plan fast and easy, find your sample plan.

Discover the sample plan that best fits your business. Search our gallery of over 550 sample business plans and find the one that's right for you.

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What You'll Get:

A complete business plan Unlike other blank templates, our business plan examples are complete business plans with all of the text and financial forecasts already filled out. Edit the text to make the plan your own and save hundreds of hours.

A professional business plan template All 550 of our business plans are in the SBA-approved format that’s proven to raise money from lenders and investors.

Instructions and help at every step Get help with clear, simple instructions for each section of the business plan. No business experience necessary.

A Word doc you can edit We don’t just have PDF documents that make editing a challenge. Each plan is available in Word format so you can start editing your business plan example right away.

Key Sections Included in our Example Business Plans:

Executive Summary : A quick overview of your plan and entices investors to read more of your plan.

Company : Describes the ownership and history of your business.

Products and Services : Reviews what you sell and what you’re offering your customers.

Market Analysis : Describes your customers and the size of your target market.

Strategy and Implementation : Provides the details of how you plan on building the business.

Management Team : An overview of the people behind the business and why they’re the right team to make the business a success.

Financial Plan : A complete set of forecasts including a Profit and Loss Statement, Cash Flow Statement, and Balance Sheet.

Looking for a sample business plan PDF? You can download a few PDF examples below:

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping Sample Business Plan PDF
  • Agriculture Farm Sample Business Plan PDF
  • Cleaning Service Sample Business Plan PDF

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Elon Musk may have a plan to get Donald Trump back on X

  • Elon Musk's X is planning a live town hall event with Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The platform is reportedly partnering with NewsNation and will show the events on both outlets.
  • The relationship between Trump and Musk appears to be warming up.

Insider Today

Elon Musk 's X appears to be planning to host a live town hall event with Donald Trump .

The social media platform, which has been pushing toward video content, is partnering with cable network NewsNation and will air the events on both outlets, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Its unnamed source said a date for the event had not been finalized.

The Journal reported that X also plans to host a similar town hall event with rival presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

X did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

The plan would bring Trump back to Musk's platform, where he was previously an influential and active user before his account was banned following his supporters' attack on Congress on January 6, 2021.

Musk reinstated the account in late 2022 after he took control of Twitter, but Trump has only posted once since then.

Related stories

The personal relationship between Trump and Musk also appears to be strengthening.

In a separate report, The Journal said that Trump was considering giving Musk an advisory role if he regains the White House in November.

The outlet said the pair had discussed ways for Musk to provide input on border security and economic policies, though the title and details of Musk's role remain unclear.

Musk later denied the report on X : "There have not been any discussions of a role for me in a potential Trump Presidency."

The Tesla CEO also defended Trump after a Manhattan jury convicted him of 34 counts of falsifying business records in his hush-money trial, calling the case a "trivial matter."

Despite the Thursday verdict making him the first former president to become a convicted felon, some billionaires are nevertheless revealing their support for Trump.

Bloomberg reported that prominent business and finance figures were starting to embrace the possibility of another Trump presidency.

Following the Thursday verdict, Omeed Malik, president of 1789 Capital, said the ruling would have "less than zero impact" on his support for Trump.

According to multiple reports, Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman is also considering a public announcement backing Trump.

Watch: What happens when Elon Musk moves markets with a tweet

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