Free PDF Business Plan Templates and Samples

By Joe Weller | September 9, 2020

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We’ve gathered the most useful collection of business plan PDF templates and samples, including options for organizations of any size and type.

On this page, you’ll find free PDF templates for a simple business plan , small business plan , startup business plan , and more.

Simple Business Plan PDF Templates

These simple business plan PDF templates are ready to use and customizable to fit the needs of any organization.

Simple Business Plan Template PDF

Simple Business Plan Template

This template contains a traditional business plan layout to help you map out each aspect, from a company overview to sales projections and a marketing strategy. This template includes a table of contents, as well as space for financing details that startups looking for funding may need to provide. 

Download Simple Business Plan Template - PDF

Lean Business Plan Template PDF

Lean Business Plan Template

This scannable business plan template allows you to easily identify the most important elements of your plan. Use this template to outline key details pertaining to your business and industry, product or service offerings, target customer segments (and channels to reach them), and to identify sources of revenue. There is also space to include key performance metrics and a timeline of activities. 

Download Lean Business Plan Template - PDF

Simple 30-60-90 Day Business Plan Template PDF

Simple 30-60-90 Day Business Plan Template

This template is designed to help you develop and implement a 90-day business plan by breaking it down into manageable chunks of time. Use the space provided to detail your main goals and deliverables for each timeframe, and then add the steps necessary to achieve your objectives. Assign task ownership and enter deadlines to ensure your plan stays on track every step of the way.

Download Simple 30-60-90 Day Business Plan Template

PDF | Smartsheet

One-Page Business Plan PDF Templates

The following single page business plan templates are designed to help you download your key ideas on paper, and can be used to create a pitch document to gain buy-in from partners, investors, and stakeholders.

One-Page Business Plan Template PDF

business plan writing format pdf

Use this one-page template to summarize each aspect of your business concept in a clear and concise manner. Define the who, what, why, and how of your idea, and use the space at the bottom to create a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for your business. 

Download One-Page Business Plan Template

If you’re looking for a specific type of analysis, check out our collection of SWOT templates .

One-Page Lean Business Plan PDF

One Page Lean Business Plan Template

This one-page business plan template employs the Lean management concept, and encourages you to focus on the key assumptions of your business idea. A Lean plan is not stagnant, so update it as goals and objectives change — the visual timeline at the bottom is ideal for detailing milestones. 

Download One-Page Lean Business Plan Template - PDF

One-Page 30-60-90 Day Business Plan Template

One Page 30-60-90 Day Business Plan Template

Use this business plan template to identify main goals and outline the necessary activities to achieve those goals in 30, 60, and 90-day increments. Easily customize this template to fit your needs while you track the status of each task and goal to keep your business plan on target. 

Download One-Page 30-60-90 Day Business Plan Template

For additional single page plans, including an example of a one-page business plan , visit " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."

Small Business Plan PDF Templates

These business plan templates are useful for small businesses that want to map out a way to meet organizational objectives, including how to structure, operate, and expand their business.

Simple Small Business Plan Template PDF

Simple Small Business Plan Template

A small business can use this template to outline each critical component of a business plan. There is space to provide details about product or service offerings, target audience, customer reach strategy, competitive advantage, and more. Plus, there is space at the bottom of the document to include a SWOT analysis. Once complete, you can use the template as a basis to build out a more elaborate plan. 

Download Simple Small Business Plan Template

Fill-In-the-Blank Small Business Plan Template PDF

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

This fill-in-the-blank template walks you through each section of a business plan. Build upon the fill-in-the-blank content provided in each section to add information about your company, business idea, market analysis, implementation plan, timeline of milestones, and much more.

Download Fill-In-the-Blank Small Business Plan Template - PDF

One-Page Small Business Plan Template PDF

One Page Business Plan For Small Business Template

Use this one-page template to create a scannable business plan that highlights the most essential parts of your organization’s strategy. Provide your business overview and management team details at the top, and then outline the target market, market size, competitive offerings, key objectives and success metrics, financial plan, and more.

Download One-Page Business Plan for Small Business - PDF

Startup Business Plan PDF Templates

Startups can use these business plan templates to check the feasibility of their idea, and articulate their vision to potential investors.

Startup Business Plan Template

Startup Business Plan Template

Use this business plan template to organize and prepare each essential component of your startup plan. Outline key details relevant to your concept and organization, including your mission and vision statement, product or services offered, pricing structure, marketing strategy, financial plan, and more.

‌Download Startup Business Plan Template

Sample 30-60-90 Day Business Plan for Startup

Sample 30-60-90 Day Business Plan for Startup

Startups can use this sample 30-60-90 day plan to establish main goals and deliverables spanning a 90-day period. Customize the sample goals, deliverables, and activities provided on this template according to the needs of your business. Then, assign task owners and set due dates to help ensure your 90-day plan stays on track.

‌Download Sample 30-60-90 Day Business Plan for Startup Template 

For additional resources to create your plan, visit “ Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples .”

Nonprofit Business Plan PDF Templates

Use these business plan PDF templates to outline your organization’s mission, your plan to make a positive impact in your community, and the steps you will take to achieve your nonprofit’s goals.

Nonprofit Business Plan Template PDF

Fill-in-the-Blank Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Use this customizable PDF template to develop a plan that details your organization’s purpose, objectives, and strategy. This template features a table of contents, with room to include your nonprofit’s mission and vision, key team and board members, program offerings, a market and industry analysis, promotional plan, financial plan, and more. This template also contains a visual timeline to display historic and future milestones.

Download Nonprofit Business Plan Template - PDF

One-Page Business Plan for Nonprofit Organization PDF 

One Page Business Plan for Nonprofit Organizations Template

This one-page plan serves as a good starting point for established and startup nonprofit organizations to jot down their fundamental goals and objectives. This template contains all the essential aspects of a business plan in a concise and scannable format, including the organizational overview, purpose, promotional plan, key objectives and success metrics, fundraising goals, and more.

Download One-Page Business Plan for Nonprofit Organization Template - PDF

Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan PDF Templates

Use these fill-in-the-blank templates as a foundation for creating a comprehensive roadmap that aligns your business strategy with your marketing, sales, and financial goals.

Simple Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan PDF

The fill-in-the-blank template contains all the vital parts of a business plan, with sample content that you can customize to fit your needs. There is room to include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, financial statements, and more. 

Download Simple Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Template - PDF

Lean Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan PDF

Fill-in-the-Blank Lean  Business Plan Template

This business plan is designed with a Lean approach that encourages you to clarify and communicate your business idea in a clear and concise manner. This single page fill-in-the-blank template includes space to provide details about your management team, the problem you're solving, the solution, target customers, cost structure, and revenue streams. Use the timeline at the bottom to produce a visual illustration of key milestones. 

Download Fill-In-the-Blank Lean Business Plan Template - PDF

For additional resources, take a look at " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."

Sample Business Plan PDF Templates

These sample business plan PDF templates can help you to develop an organized, thorough, and professional business plan.

Business Plan Sample 

Basic Business Plan Sample

This business plan example demonstrates a plan for a fictional food truck company. The sample includes all of the elements in a traditional business plan, which makes it a useful starting point for developing a plan specific to your business needs.

Download Basic Business Plan Sample - PDF

Sample Business Plan Outline Template

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Use this sample outline as a starting point for your business plan. Shorten or expand the outline depending on your organization’s needs, and use it to develop a table of contents for your finalized plan.

Download Sample Business Plan Outline Template - PDF

Sample Business Financial Plan Template

Business Financial Plan Template

Use this sample template to develop the financial portion of your business plan. The template provides space to include a financial overview, key assumptions, financial indicators, and business ratios. Complete the break-even analysis and add your financial statements to help prove the viability of your organization’s business plan.

Download Business Financial Plan Template

PDF  | Smartsheet

For more free, downloadable templates for all aspects of your business, check out “ Free Business Templates for Organizations of All Sizes .”

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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 writing format 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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How to Write a Business Plan in 10 Steps (With FREE Template)

Discover how to write a business plan in just 10 steps! Access our comprehensive PowerPoint and PDF templates to streamline your process. Ready to write your business plan? Start here.



How to Write a Business Plan in 10 Steps (With FREE Template)

Have you ever wondered how the likes of SpaceX or Beyond Meat charted their course to industry dominance?

Spoiler alert: A meticulously crafted business plan was at the heart of their strategy.

If you're gearing up to launch your venture or scale it to new heights, a business plan isn't just a good-to-have; it's your roadmap to success.

I'd like you to take a look at this guide, peppered with real-world examples and actionable insights, as we break down the art of creating a business plan into nine digestible steps.

Ready to set the stage for your business triumph? Let's dive in!

business plan writing format pdf

1. The Elevator Pitch - Draft an Executive Summary

Imagine stepping into an elevator with a potential investor, and you have moments to encapsulate your business's essence. This is the challenge of the elevator pitch, and at the heart of it lies the Executive Summary. Often considered the gateway to your business plan, the Executive Summary is a snapshot, providing a tantalizing glimpse into the world you're building.

First Impressions Matter . The Executive Summary is not just an introduction; it's an invitation. It should succinctly convey your business's core concept, unique selling proposition, and growth potential. While it's positioned at the beginning of your business plan, it's often recommended to pen it last, ensuring it distills the essence of the detailed sections that follow.

The Essence of Brevity . An impactful Executive Summary is both concise and compelling. It should encapsulate the business's mission, vision, product or service offerings, target market, and a brief overview of financial projections. Think of it as a trailer for a blockbuster movie; it should entice the reader to delve deeper into the subsequent sections of the business plan.

In the grand tapestry of your business plan, the Executive Summary is the golden thread that weaves everything together. It's the first impression and, often, the lasting one. So, as you stand poised at the threshold of your entrepreneurial journey, please make sure that your Executive Summary is an overview and an overture, setting the stage for the following symphony of success.

Think of this as the trailer to your business's blockbuster movie. It's a snapshot, offering a glimpse into what your business is all about. Highlight your business's essence, vision, and what sets you apart. Remember, this is your first impression if you're pitching to investors. Make it count!

2. The Heartbeat - Write a Company Description

At the core of every thriving enterprise lies its essence, its heartbeat - the Company Description. This section is not just a narrative; it's the soulful story of your business, painting a vivid picture of who you are, what you stand for, and the journey you envision. It's the foundation upon which the rest of your business plan is built, offering readers a clear lens into your company's ethos and aspirations.

Diving Deep into Identity . A compelling Company Description goes beyond the surface. It delves into the very DNA of your business, encapsulating its mission, vision, and core values. It should articulate the problems you aim to solve, the solutions you offer, and the unique value proposition that sets you apart in the marketplace. This section is your opportunity to showcase the passion, purpose, and potential that drive your venture.

Crafting a Compelling Canvas . Think of your Company Description as a canvas, where each brushstroke adds depth and dimension. It should encompass the structure of your business, its history, and its future aspirations. Whether you're a budding startup or an established enterprise, this section should resonate with authenticity, reflecting the heart and soul of your brand.

In the intricate tapestry of your business plan, the Company Description is the vibrant thread that brings your vision to life. The narrative informs and inspires, drawing readers into the world you're creating. As you embark on this entrepreneurial odyssey, please ensure that your Company Description is not just an account but an anthem, echoing the passion and promise of your venture.

Who are you, and what's your mission? This section is your chance to introduce your business to the world. Dive into your business's ethos, unique selling points, and objectives. Think of brands like Patagonia and their commitment to sustainability; that's the passion and clarity you want to convey.

3. The Landscape - Perform a Market Analysis

Understanding your terrain is paramount in the vast expanse of the business world. The Market Analysis serves as your compass, guiding you through the intricate landscape of your industry, illuminating opportunities, and highlighting potential pitfalls. It's not merely a section in your business plan; it's the lens through which you view the world, ensuring that your venture is viable and valuable in the marketplace.

Deciphering the Dynamics . A robust Market Analysis dives deep into the currents of your industry. It assesses your target market's size and growth potential, identifies key players and competitors, and decodes consumer behaviors and preferences. This section is your chance to showcase your understanding, showing that you know the market trends and are adept at leveraging them to your advantage.

Crafting a Strategic Stance . With the insights gained from your Market Analysis, you can carve out a distinct position in the industry. Whether identifying an underserved niche, understanding the pricing strategies that resonate with your audience, or pinpointing the channels that offer maximum visibility, Market Analysis provides the intelligence to make informed decisions. It's the foundation upon which your strategies are built, ensuring that your business moves purposefully and precisely.

In the grand scheme of your business journey, Market Analysis is your roadmap. It offers clarity amidst complexity, ensuring that every step you take is grounded in research and resonates with relevance. As you chart your course in the business world, let your Market Analysis be the beacon that guides you, illuminating the path to success and sustainability.

Would you set sail without a compass? You'll need to understand your market. I'd appreciate it if you could delve into current market trends, identify competitors, and understand potential customers. This section is about showing that you've done your homework and are ready to navigate the business waters precisely.

4. The Dream Team - Outline the Management and Organization

In the intricate dance of business, while strategy and vision set the rhythm, the people truly make the magic happen. The Management and Organization section of your business plan is where you introduce the maestros behind the curtain, the individuals steering the ship through both calm and stormy seas. This isn't just about listing names and titles; it's about showcasing the collective expertise and passion that propels your venture forward.

The Pillars of Leadership . Every successful venture stands tall on the shoulders of its leaders. In this section, delve into your key team members' backgrounds, experiences, and unique strengths. Highlight their past achievements, industry expertise, and the specific roles they'll play in driving your business's growth. Whether it's the visionary CEO with a track record of successful startups or the tech genius who's revolutionized processes in their previous roles, this is your chance to spotlight the human capital that sets your business apart.

Structuring for Success . In addition to the individuals, it's essential to outline the organizational structure to help your operations. Will you lean towards a flat hierarchy, promoting open communication and collaboration? Or may a more traditional, tiered system better suit your industry and goals? Accompanied by an organizational chart, this section should clarify roles, responsibilities, and reporting lines, ensuring that current and potential stakeholders understand how decisions are made and tasks are executed.

In the grand tapestry of your business narrative, the Management and Organization section is where you weave in the threads of leadership and structure. It assures stakeholders that not only do you have a compelling vision, but you also have the right team and organizational framework in place to turn that vision into a vibrant reality. Remember, businesses thrive not just on strategies but on the people who bring them to life.

Behind every significant venture is a team of dedicated individuals. Highlight your business's key players, roles, and expertise. Whether you're a solo entrepreneur or have a diverse team, showcase the brains behind the operation.

5. The Offer - List Your Products and Services

In the bustling marketplace of ideas and innovations, what truly sets a business apart is its unique offering to the world. The Products and Services section of your business plan is your stage, where you unveil the stars of your show. It's not just about listing items or services; it's about painting a vivid picture of the solutions you provide, the needs you address, and the value you deliver.

The Spotlight on Solutions . You can start by diving deep into the core of your offerings. What problems are they designed to solve? How do they enhance your customers' lives or fill a market gap? Whether it's groundbreaking software that streamlines workflows or a handcrafted product that adds a touch of luxury to everyday life, this is your chance to showcase the benefits and features that make your offerings stand out.

Diversity in Delivery . In today's dynamic business landscape, versatility is vital. Highlight the range and variety of your products and services. Provide a clear breakdown if you offer multiple product lines or varied service tiers. This demonstrates the breadth of your offerings and caters to a diverse clientele with various needs and budgets.

Crafting the Products and Services section is akin to curating a gallery. Each product or service is a masterpiece, reflecting your business's ethos, passion, and commitment to excellence. It invites potential stakeholders and customers to experience the value you bring. In this section, you're not just listing items; you're telling a story of innovation, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of delivering unparalleled value.

What's on your offering menu? Detail the products or services you're bringing to the table. Whether you're launching a groundbreaking tech product or a new line of vegan snacks, ensure your audience understands your value.

business plan writing format pdf

6. The Audience - Perform Customer Segmentation

In the vast arena of business, knowing your audience is the compass that guides every decision. Customer segmentation is not just a section in a business plan; it's the lens through which you view your market, allowing you to tailor your offerings and strategies to resonate with the right crowd. It's about understanding the myriad faces in public and crafting a message that speaks directly to each one.

The Mosaic of Markets . Imagine a tapestry, each thread representing a different segment of your audience. Some lines represent age groups, others geographical locations, and yet others, specific behaviors or interests. By weaving these threads together, you get a vivid picture of your customers, their desires, and how they interact with the world. Whether it's the tech-savvy millennials, the eco-conscious urbanites, or the luxury-seeking retirees, each segment has unique characteristics and needs.

Strategies Tailored to Tastes . With a clear understanding of your customer segments, you can craft strategies that resonate. It's like curating a playlist for different moods and occasions. Your marketing campaigns, product features, and customer service protocols can be fine-tuned to appeal to each segment. This personalized approach enhances customer experience and optimizes resource allocation, ensuring your efforts and investments are channeled where they matter most.

Diving into customer segmentation is akin to being a maestro, understanding each instrument's unique notes and rhythms, and orchestrating a symphony that captivates the audience. It's a dance of data and intuition, where insights drive innovation, ensuring that your business reaches its audience and resonates, engages, and builds lasting relationships.

Only some people are your customers, and that's okay. Could you define who you're targeting? Are you catering to the tech-savvy millennials or the eco-conscious Gen Z? Pinpointing your audience ensures your marketing efforts hit the bullseye.

7. The Megaphone - Define a Marketing Plan

In the bustling marketplace of ideas and products, standing out is both an art and a science. A marketing plan isn't just about shouting the loudest; it's about ensuring your voice carries the right message to the right ears at the right time. It's the megaphone that amplifies your brand's story, values, and offerings, ensuring they echo in the hearts and minds of your audience.

The Symphony of Strategy . Think of a marketing plan as a musical score, where every note, every pause, and every crescendo is meticulously crafted. It begins with understanding your audience, their desires, and their pain points. Then, it's about choosing the suitable instruments - social media campaigns, influencer partnerships, or traditional advertising - and playing them harmoniously to create a resonant melody. Each strategy, whether a catchy jingle or a viral video, is a note in this grand composition, aiming to captivate and convert.

Adapting to the Audience's Rhythm . The beauty of a well-crafted marketing plan lies in its adaptability. Just as a maestro might tweak a performance based on the audience's reaction, a business must be ready to pivot its strategies based on market feedback. This means constantly monitoring performance metrics, staying attuned to industry trends, and being agile enough to capitalize on new opportunities or address challenges head-on.

Ultimately, a marketing plan is more than just a blueprint; it's a living, breathing entity that evolves with your business and audience. It's about striking the right chords, creating a symphony of strategies that reach the masses and touch individual souls, turning casual listeners into loyal fans.

How do you plan to shout your brand's name from the rooftops? Whether leveraging the power of social media or diving into grassroots marketing, chalk out your strategy. Remember, it's not just about reaching your audience; it's about resonating with them.

8. The Engine Room - Provide a Logistics and Operations Plan

Behind every successful venture lies the intricate machinery of logistics and operations, often unseen but undeniably vital. It's the engine room of a business, where ideas are transformed into tangible products, and strategies are executed with precision. While the spotlight often shines on the end product or service, the logistics and operations plan ensures the show runs smoothly, efficiently, and sustainably.

The Choreography of Coordination . Imagine a ballet performance where every leap, twirl, and step is perfectly synchronized. Similarly, a logistics and operations plan is about orchestrating a dance of various elements - from sourcing raw materials to ensuring timely deliveries. It's about mapping out the journey of a product, from conception to the consumer's hands, ensuring that every stage, be it manufacturing, storage, or distribution, is optimized for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This choreography is crucial not just for meeting business objectives but also for delivering consistent value to customers.

Adapting to the Ebb and Flow . Just as a ship's captain must be prepared to navigate through calm seas and stormy waters alike, businesses must be equipped to handle the dynamic challenges of the market. A robust logistics and operations plan is not set in stone; it's flexible, allowing businesses to adapt to changing circumstances, be it a sudden surge in demand, supply chain disruptions, or technological advancements. It's about having contingency plans, alternative routes, and the agility to pivot when needed.

In essence, while the external facade of a business might be its products, marketing, or brand image, the logistics and operations plan forms its backbone. The silent force keeps the wheels turning, ensuring businesses survive and thrive in the competitive marketplace.

The behind-the-scenes magic. Detail how you'll source materials, manage production, handle shipping, and everything else. This section showcases that you have a robust system to deliver consistently.

9. The Treasure Chest - Make a Financial Plan

In the grand tapestry of business, if strategy and vision are the threads, then the financial plan is the loom of everything. The treasure chest safeguards a company's future, ensuring every decision is grounded in fiscal responsibility and foresight. While the allure of innovation and marketing might capture the imagination, the financial plan translates dreams into actionable, sustainable realities.

It is mapping the Business Odyssey . Every entrepreneurial journey is filled with aspirations, but the financial roadmap dictates these aspirations' pace, direction, and viability. A comprehensive financial plan delves deep into the numbers, projecting revenues, analyzing costs, and forecasting profits. It's not just about crunching numbers; it's about understanding the story they tell - where the business stands today, where it aims to be tomorrow, and the financial milestones along the way. This roadmap serves as both a guide and a barometer, helping businesses navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

The Pillars of Stability . Within the financial plan lie the pillars that uphold a business's stability: the income statement reflecting profitability, the balance sheet showcasing assets and liabilities, and the cash flow statement, the lifeline that ensures operations run smoothly. Together, these documents offer a panoramic view of a company's financial health, enabling stakeholders, from investors to employees, to gauge the company's potential and resilience.

Ultimately, a financial plan is more than just spreadsheets and projections. It's the treasure chest that contains the essence of a business's potential, its challenges, and its path to success. It's the tool that turns entrepreneurial dreams into tangible, sustainable enterprises, ensuring that the ship sets sail and reaches its destined shores.

Show me the money! Outline your financial projections, potential expenses, and revenue streams. Whether you're bootstrapping or seeking investment, a clear financial plan showcases that you're in this for the long haul and have a clear path to profitability.

10. The Captain's Log: Charting Your Course with a Timeline

In the vast ocean of entrepreneurship, where unpredictable currents can sway even the most robust vessels, the Captain's Log serves as the compass, guiding businesses through both calm and stormy waters. Much like the seasoned captains of old, who meticulously recorded their journeys, today's business leaders need a timeline—a Captain's Log—to chart their course, ensuring they remain on the right path towards their destined harbor.

Anchoring Vision to Reality . The Captain's Log, or the business timeline, is not just a record of where you've been but a beacon illuminating where you're headed. It captures the milestones, the challenges overcome, and the victories celebrated. Each entry is a testament to the company's journey, offering insights into past decisions and their outcomes. But more crucially, it provides a structured framework for the future, setting clear objectives, deadlines, and benchmarks. This timeline becomes the rhythm to which the business marches, ensuring that every crew member, from the deckhand to the first mate, is synchronized in purpose and pace.

The Legacy of Lessons Learned . As with any journey, the business path is filled with lessons—some hard-earned, others serendipitous. The Captain's Log preserves these lessons, ensuring they become part of the company's legacy. Future endeavors can draw from past experiences, avoiding pitfalls and capitalizing on proven strategies. It's a living document, evolving with each entry, reflecting the company's growth, adaptability, and resilience.

The Captain's Log is more than just a timeline; it's the soul of the business journey. The narrative tells the tale of a venture's past, present, and future, ensuring that no matter how tumultuous the seas are, the ship remains steadfast, with its eyes firmly set on the horizon.

Every epic voyage has milestones, ports of call, and moments of reflection. When do you envision reaching each landmark as you embark on this business journey? By setting a clear timeline for your goals, you're not just dreaming but committing. It's the rhythm to your business song, ensuring you dance to the beats of progress and pause to celebrate the milestones. Remember, it's not just about the destination but the journey, and a well-defined timeline ensures you savor every moment.

business plan writing format pdf

Wrapping Up

In the grand tapestry of business, a well-crafted plan is the thread that binds everything together.

Whether you're a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned business magnate looking to pivot, these steps will ensure your business plan is not just a document but a beacon guiding you to success. So, are you ready to chart your legacy?

business plan writing format pdf

How to Write a Business Plan in 10 Steps - PDF Template

business plan writing format pdf

How to Write a Business Plan in 10 Steps - PowerPoint Template

Frequently asked questions.

FAQ About How to Write a Business Plan

Understanding the Blueprint: What is a business plan?

A business plan is more than just a document; it's a roadmap for your entrepreneurial journey. Think of it as the GPS guiding your business from its nascent stages to its ultimate goals. At its core, a business plan outlines your business's vision, mission, and strategies to achieve success. It delves into the specifics, detailing your products or services, your target market, your financial projections, and the challenges you anticipate.

But why is it so pivotal? For starters, a business plan offers clarity. It forces you to crystallize your vision, understand your market, and strategize effectively. It's also a tool of persuasion – a well-crafted business plan can attract investors, partners, and top-tier talent. Moreover, it serves as a reference point, allowing you to measure your business's progress and adjust course when needed. A business plan isn't just a requirement for securing funding; it's the foundation upon which successful companies are built. Whether you're a budding entrepreneur or an established business owner, crafting a comprehensive business plan is the first step towards turning your business dreams into reality.

The Power of Preparation: Why write a business plan?

Embarking on a business journey without a plan is akin to setting sail on turbulent seas without a compass. A business plan is your guiding star, illuminating the path to success. It's not merely a document; it's a strategic blueprint that outlines your business's vision, objectives, and the steps needed to achieve them. But why is it so indispensable?

Firstly, a business plan provides clarity and direction. It forces you to introspect to truly understand your business's core values, target audience, and unique selling propositions. I want to let you know that this clarity is invaluable, ensuring every decision aligns with your overarching goals. Secondly, it's a powerful tool of persuasion. Whether seeking investment, forging partnerships, or recruiting top-tier talent, a well-articulated business plan showcases your commitment, foresight, and strategic insight; it's a testament to your business's viability and potential for growth. Lastly, a business plan acts as a yardstick, allowing you to measure your progress, identify potential roadblocks, and recalibrate your strategies when necessary. Writing a business plan isn't just a bureaucratic exercise; it's the cornerstone of business success, ensuring your entrepreneurial vision is grounded in reality and poised for growth.

Blueprint for Success: What needs to be in a business plan?

A business plan is more than just a document; it's a comprehensive roadmap that charts the course of your entrepreneurial journey. But what exactly should this roadmap contain? A business plan must provide a clear and concise overview of your business's foundation, direction, and potential.

To start, every business plan should have an Executive Summary . Please think of this as your elevator pitch, which is the essence of your business in a brief yet compelling manner. It should provide an overview of your business concept, key objectives, and a snapshot of your potential growth. Next, I'd like you to go into the Company Description . This section paints a vivid picture of your business, its mission, vision, and the unique value it brings to the market. Following this, a thorough Market Analysis is crucial. This segment should offer insights into your target audience, industry trends, and competitive landscape, showcasing your understanding of the market dynamics and your business's position.

Also, details about your Products or Services, Marketing and Sales Strategies, and Financial Projections are essential. These sections provide a deep dive into what you're offering, how you plan to reach your audience, and the financial trajectory you anticipate. Don't forget the Operational Plan – a behind-the-scenes look at the logistics, from supply chain management to daily operations—and the Timeline of when it gets done.

A business plan should be a holistic representation of your business's past, present, and future, serving as both a guide and a tool for persuasion.

Navigating the Pitfalls -Common mistakes when writing a business plan

It has its pitfalls in crafting a business plan. Many enthusiastic entrepreneurs, brimming with passion and vision, often need to pay more attention to some critical aspects, leading to potential missteps. Recognizing these common mistakes can differentiate between a plan that shines and one that falls flat.

First and foremost, many fall into the trap of Over-ambitious Projections . While optimism is valuable, unrealistic financial or growth forecasts can undermine your plan's credibility. It's essential to base your projections on solid research and realistic market expectations. Another frequent oversight is the Lack of Market Analysis . A business plan that doesn't thoroughly address the target market, industry trends, and competitive landscape can appear uninformed. This section is your opportunity to showcase your deep understanding of the market dynamics and how your business fits within that ecosystem.

Additionally, many entrepreneurs need to pay more attention to the importance of Clear and Concise Writing . A business plan riddled with jargon, complex language, or, worse, grammatical errors can detract from its professionalism. Remember, clarity and precision are critical. Anyone, from potential investors to new team members, should easily understand your plan. By being aware of these common mistakes and proactively addressing them, you can craft a business plan that stands out and the test of time.

Unraveling the Core - What are the three primary purposes of a business plan?

Diving into entrepreneurship often begins with a foundational document: the business plan.

But what drives the creation of this pivotal document? At its heart, a business plan serves three primary purposes, each interwoven and essential for guiding a business toward success.

To start, the business plan acts as a Strategic Blueprint . The roadmap outlines the company's direction, goals, and strategies to achieve those goals. This blueprint not only provides a clear path for the team but also helps in anticipating potential roadblocks. The compass ensures every decision aligns with the company's core objectives and vision.

Secondly, it serves as a Validation Tool . Before diving headfirst into the market, validating the business idea's feasibility is crucial. The business plan offers a reality check through market analysis, competitive research, and financial projections. It answers critical questions: Is there a demand for the product or service? What differentiates the business from competitors? Are the financial projections sustainable?

Lastly, the business plan is an Investor Magnet . Whether to secure a loan, attract venture capitalists, or onboard strategic partners, a well-crafted business plan showcases the company's potential and viability. The document instills confidence in potential stakeholders, assuring them that their investment is sound and that the business has a clear strategy for growth and success. A business plan isn't just a document; it's the lifeline that threads a business's vision, validation, and value together.

Decoding the Varieties - What are the different types of business plans?

Not all business plans are created equal. Depending on the goals, audience, and stage of the business, entrepreneurs might consider several distinct types of business plans.

First on the list is the Traditional Business Plan . Comprehensive and detailed, this type of plan is the most common and covers all aspects of the business. From an in-depth market analysis to detailed financial projections, it's the go-to format for startups seeking significant funding from banks or investors. This plan is robust, often spanning dozens of pages, and is designed to leave no stone unturned.

For those looking for a more concise approach, the Lean Business Plan offers a solution. Streamlined and to the point, it focuses on the essentials. While it follows the structure of a traditional plan, it only includes the most crucial information, making it ideal for businesses that need a plan for internal use or to adapt to rapidly changing markets.

Lastly, there's the Nonprofit Business Plan . Tailored for organizations operating for public or social benefit, this plan covers the standard business strategies and delves into the impact the organization aims to make. It's a blend of traditional business strategies focusing on mission-driven goals.

In essence, the type of business plan chosen reflects the business's objectives, audience, and stage. Whether a comprehensive deep dive or a high-level overview, each project is a guiding star, illuminating the path to success.

The Timeline Tangle - How long does it take to write a business plan?

One of the budding entrepreneurs' most frequently pondered questions is, "How long will it take to chart my business blueprint?" Much like the vast ocean, the answer varies based on several factors.

At the outset, the Depth and Detail of the plan play a pivotal role. A comprehensive Traditional Business Plan, with market analyses, intricate financial projections, and a detailed operational roadmap, can take several weeks, if not months, to perfect. This meticulous approach ensures every facet of the business is explored, making it a preferred choice for those seeking substantial funding or entering competitive markets.

On the flip side, with its concise and agile format, the Lean Business Plancan can be crafted in a matter of days to a few weeks. Tailored for businesses needing a nimble strategy or internal brainstorming, this plan focuses on the essentials, allowing quicker turnaround times.

However, beyond the type of plan, the Research Intensity and the Familiarity with the Business Domain also influence the timeline. A well-researched plan, grounded in data and insights, will naturally demand more time. Similarly, the learning curve might extend the drafting duration if an entrepreneur ventures into a new industry.

While there's no one-size-fits-all answer, the time invested in a business plan is a testament to its thoroughness and clarity. Whether it's a month-long endeavor or a week's sprint, the goal remains to pave a clear path toward entrepreneurial success.

Strategic Insights 2024: A SWOT Analysis of Samsung (Plus Free PPT)

Strategic Insights 2024: A SWOT Analysis of Samsung (Plus Free PPT)

Explore Samsung's strengths and opportunities with our free Strategic Insights 2024 PowerPoint template. Dive into the SWOT analysis now!

Xpeng SWOT Analysis: Free PPT Template and In-Depth Insights (free file)

Xpeng SWOT Analysis: Free PPT Template and In-Depth Insights (free file)

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Strategic Insights 2024: A SWOT Analysis of Nestle (Plus Free PPT)

Strategic Insights 2024: A SWOT Analysis of Nestle (Plus Free PPT)

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2024 Business Disruption: Navigating Growth Through Shaping Strategy

2024 Business Disruption: Navigating Growth Through Shaping Strategy

Discover the importance of being a shaper in 2023's business ecosystem. Shaping strategy, attracting a critical mass of participants, and finding the right strategic path to create value.

Library Home

Business Plan Development Guide

(6 reviews)

business plan writing format pdf

Lee Swanson, University of Saskatchewan

Copyright Year: 2017


Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.


Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Kevin Heupel, Affiliate Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 3/4/20

The text does a good job of providing a general outline about writing and developing a written business plan. All of the important steps and components are included. However, the text is light on details, examples, and rationale for each element... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

The text does a good job of providing a general outline about writing and developing a written business plan. All of the important steps and components are included. However, the text is light on details, examples, and rationale for each element of the business plan. Some examples from actual business plans would be helpful.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

For the most part, the content is accurate. The content covers all important aspects of drafting a business plan. I thought the industry analysis could use more information about collecting primary and secondary sources; instead, this information was referenced in the marketing plan section.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

Most of the content relies on cites as far back as 2006; however, when it comes to developing and writing a business plan nothing has changed. Thus, the content is current and there is no concern about it becoming obsolete in the near future.

Clarity rating: 4

The text is clear. There are no difficult terms used and the writing is simple. The text uses a lot of bullet points though, which gets tedious to read for a few pages.

Consistency rating: 5

The text does a good job of maintaining consistency in terms of framework and terminology. The text is organized where it's easy to find the information you want in a quick manner.

Modularity rating: 3

The text has a lot of bullet points and the paragraphs are dense. However, the use of subheading is excellent.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

The book is organized as if you're writing a business plan from start to finish, which is helpful as a practical guide.

Interface rating: 5

There are no navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, or any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

The text is free of grammatical errors. The sentence structure is simple with many bullet points, which helps to avoid any grammatical issues.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

This book was written by a Canadian professor and provides references to Canadian sources. However, the information in this text can be used for U.S. schools.

This book is very short and provides a good, general overview about the process of creating and writing a business plan. It won't help a reader if he/she is confused about a certain part of the business plan. The reader will have to find another source, such as "Preparing Effective Business Plans" by Bruce Barringer, Ph.D. The book provides links to good resources and a finished business plan that the reader can reference. I would recommend the book for undergraduate courses.

business plan writing format pdf

Reviewed by Kenneth Lacho, Professor of Management, The University of New Orleans on 6/19/18

1. Text is relevant to Canada. Not the United States 2. Needs to cover resources available to entrepreneur, e.g., federal government agencies, trade associations, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies. 3. Discuss local economy or... read more

1. Text is relevant to Canada. Not the United States 2. Needs to cover resources available to entrepreneur, e.g., federal government agencies, trade associations, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies. 3. Discuss local economy or economic area relevant to this proposed business. 4. Business model ok as a guide. 5. Suggested mission statement to cover: product/business, target customer, geographical area covered. 6. Need detailed promotion plan, e.g., personal selling, advertising, sales promotion, networking publicity, and social media. 7. How do you find the target market? 8. Chapter 6 too much detail on debt and equity financing. 9. Discuss how to find sources of financing, e.g., angels. 10. Expand coverage of bootstring, crowdfunding. 11. Chapter 4 – good checklist. 12. Chapter 3 - overlaps. 13. Chapter 7 – 3 pages of executive summary – double or single spaced typing. Number all tables, graphs. 14. Some references out-of-date, mostly academic. Bring in trade magazines such as Entrepreneur.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

In my opinion, the content is accurate and error free.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

The material is relevant to writing a business plan. I wonder if the Porter, SWOT VRIO, etc. material is too high level for students who may not be seniors or have non-business degrees (e.g., liberal arts). Porter has been around for a while and does have longevity. The author has to be more alert to changes in promotion, e.g., social media and sources of financing, e.g., crowdfunding.

Clarity rating: 3

As noted in No. 9, the tone of the writing is too academic, thus making the material difficult to understand. Paragraphs are too long. Need to define: Porter, TOWS Matrix, VRIO, PESTEL. A student less from a senior or a non-business major would not be familiar with these terms.

Consistency rating: 4

The text is internally consistent. The model approach helps keep the process consistent.

Modularity rating: 4

The process of developing a business plan is divided into blocks which are parts of the business plan. Paragraphs tend to be too long in some spots.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The topics are presented in a logical step-wise flow. The language style is too academic in parts, paragraphs too long. Leaves out the citations. Provides excellent check lists.

There are no display features which confuse the reader.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

The text has no grammatical errors. On the other hand, I found the writing to be too academic in nature. Some paragraphs are too long. The material is more like an academic conference paper or journal submission. Academic citations references are not needed. The material is not exciting to read.

The text is culturally neutral. There are no examples which are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

This book best for a graduate class.

Reviewed by Louis Bruneau, Part Time Faculty, Portland Community College on 6/19/18

The text provides appropriate discussion and illustration of all major concepts and useful references to source and resource materials. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

The text provides appropriate discussion and illustration of all major concepts and useful references to source and resource materials.

Contents of the book were accurate, although it could have benefited from editing/proofreading; there was no evidence of bias. As to editing/proofreading, a couple of examples: A. “Figure 1 – Business Plan… “ is shown at the top of the page following the diagram vs. the bottom of the page the diagram is on. (There are other problems with what is placed on each page.) B. First paragraph under heading “Essential Initial Research” there is reference to pages 21 to 30 though page numbering is missing from the book. (Page numbers are used in the Table of Contents.)

The book is current in that business planning has been stable for sometime. The references and resources will age in time, but are limited and look easy to update.

Clarity rating: 5

The book is written in a straightforward way, technical terms that needed explanations got them, jargon was avoided and generally it was an easy read.

The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

Modularity rating: 5

The book lends itself to a multi-week course. A chapter could be presented and students could work on that stage of Plan development. It could also be pre-meeting reading for a workshop presentation. Reorganizing the book would be inappropriate.

The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion.

Generally, the book is free of interface problems. The financial tables in the Sample Plan were turned 90° to maintain legibility. One potential problem was with Figure 6 – Business Model Canvas. The print within the cells was too small to read; the author mitigated the problem by presenting the information, following Figure 6, in the type font of the text.

I found no grammatical errors.

The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.

I require a business plan in a course I teach; for most of the students the assignment is a course project that they do not intend to pursue in real life. I shared the book with five students that intended to develop an actual start-up business; three of them found it helpful while the other two decided not to do that much work on their plans. If I were planning a start-up, I would use/follow the book.

Reviewed by Todd Johnson, Faculty of Business, North Hennepin Community College on 5/21/18

The text is a thorough overview of all elements of a business plan. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

The text is a thorough overview of all elements of a business plan.

The content is accurate and seems to lack bias.

Content seems relevant and useful . It does not help an entrepreneur generate ideas, and is very light on crowdfunding and other novel funding source content. It is more traditional. This can be easily updated in future versions, however. "Social Media" appears once in the book, as does "Crowd Funding".

The book is comprehensive, but perhaps not written in the most lucid, accessible prose. I am not sure any college student could pick this up and just read and learn. It would be best used as a "teach along guide" for students to process with an instructor.

The text seems consistent. The author does a nice job of consistently staying on task and using bullets and brevity.

Here I am not so certain. The table of contents is not a good guide for this book. It does make the book look nicely laid out, but there is a lot of complexity within these sections. I read it uncertain that it was well organized. Yes there are many good bits of information, however it is not as if I could spend time on one swathe of text at a time. I would need to go back and forth throughout the text.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 2

Similar to the above. I did not like the flow and organization of this. An editor would help things be in a more logical order.

Interface rating: 2

The interface is just OK. It is not an attractice interface, as it presents text in a very dense manner. The images and charts are hard to follow.

I did not find any grammatical errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

I a not certain of the origins of Saskatchewan, but I do feel this is a different read. It is more formal and dense than it has to be. This would be a difficult read for my students. I do not feel it is insensitive in any way, or offensive in any way.

I would not adopt this book if given the chance. It is too dense, and not organized very well, even though the information is very good. The density and lack of modularity are barriers to understanding what is obviously very good information.

Reviewed by Mariana Mitova, Lecturer, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

Though this textbook has a prescriptive nature, it is quite comprehensive. The author strikes a good balance between presenting concepts in a concise way and providing enough information to explain them. Many every-day examples and live links to... read more

Though this textbook has a prescriptive nature, it is quite comprehensive. The author strikes a good balance between presenting concepts in a concise way and providing enough information to explain them. Many every-day examples and live links to other resources add to the completeness of the textbook.

Content seems accurate.

Since the content is somewhat conceptual, the text will not become obsolete quickly. In addition, the author seems to be updating and editing content often hence the relevance to current developments is on target.

The text is very clear, written in clear and straight-to-the point language.

The organization of content is consistent throughout the entire text.

The textbook is organized by chapters, beginning with overview of the model used and followed by chapters for each concept within the model. Nicely done.

The flow is clear, logical and easy to follow.

Overall, images, links, and text are well organized. Some headlines were misaligned but still easy to follow.

No concerns for grammar.

No concerns for cultural irrelevance.

Reviewed by Darlene Weibye, Cosmetology Instructor, Minnesota State Community and Technical College on 2/1/18

The text is comprehensive and covers the information needed to develop a business plan. The book provides all the means necessary in business planning. read more

The text is comprehensive and covers the information needed to develop a business plan. The book provides all the means necessary in business planning.

The text was accurate, and error-free. I did not find the book to be biased.

The content is up-to-date. I am reviewing the book in 2017, the same year the book was published.

The content was very clear. A business plan sample included operation timelines, start up costs, and all relevant material in starting a business.

The book is very consistent and is well organized.

The book has a table of contents and is broken down into specific chapters. The chapters are not divided into sub topics. I do not feel it is necessary for sub topics because the chapters are brief and to the point.

There is a great flow from chapter to chapter. One topic clearly leads into the next without repeating.

The table of contents has direct links to each chapter. The appearance of the chapters are easy to read and the charts are very beneficial.

Does not appear to have any grammatical errors.

The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive.

I am incorporating some of the text into the salon business course. Very well written book.

Table of Contents


  • Chapter 1 – Developing a Business Plan
  • Chapter 2 – Essential Initial Research
  • Chapter 3 – Business Models
  • Chapter 4 – Initial Business Plan Draft
  • Chapter 5 – Making the Business Plan Realistic
  • Chapter 6 – Making the Plan Appeal to Stakeholders and Desirable to the Entrepreneur
  • Chapter 7 – Finishing the Business Plan
  • Chapter 8 – Business Plan Pitches

References Appendix A – Business Plan Development Checklist and Project Planner Appendix B – Fashion Importers Inc. Business Plan Business Plan Excel Template

Ancillary Material

About the book.

This textbook and its accompanying spreadsheet templates were designed with and for students wanting a practical and easy-to-follow guide for developing a business plan. It follows a unique format that both explains what to do and demonstrates how to do it.

About the Contributors

Dr. Lee Swanson is an Associate Professor of Management and Marketing at the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan. His research focuses on entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, Aboriginal entrepreneurship, community capacity-building through entrepreneurship, and institutional-stakeholder engagement. Dr. Swanson’s current research is funded through a Social Sciences Humanities Research Council grant and focuses on social and economic capacity building in Northern Saskatchewan and Northern Scandinavia. He is also actively studying Aboriginal community partnerships with resource based companies, entrepreneurship centres at universities, community-based entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions. He teaches upper-year and MBA entrepreneurship classes and conducts seminars on business planning and business development.

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Top 9 Startup Business Plan Template PDF Free With Writing Steps

Are you thinking about starting your own business? Well, you've come to the right place!

One of the most important things you must do is make a startup business plan. A startup business plan is a guide that helps you set goals and plan for the future of your business. But don't worry. It's easier than it sounds! We've found the top 9 startup business plan template pdf free resources to make writing your plan easy! These templates will give you a clear idea of what to include in your plan and how to organize it. Plus, they're free!

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What is a Startup Business Plan and What are the Risks?

A startup business plan is like a roadmap for your business. It helps you to plan your journey and reach your goals. But, like a road trip, starting a business comes with risks.

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Financial Risk

Starting a business can cost a lot of money. There's no guarantee that you'll make a profit, so you must be prepared for the possibility of losing money.

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You might be one of many businesses offering your area the same products or services. You need to be able to stand out from the competition.startup business plan template pdf free

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You need to ensure that there's a demand for what you're offering. Do market research to determine if people will buy what you're selling.

Now, let's talk about how a startup business plan can help you mitigate these risks:

Financial Planning

You should include a detailed financial plan in your business plan.

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Your business plan should also include a competitive analysis that helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors.

Market Research

Your business plan should include market research that helps you understand your target market and its needs.

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Best 9 Startup Business Plan Template PDF Free

Starting a business is exciting! But it's important to have a plan. Here are the best free startup business plan template PDF downloads:

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One-Page Format

This template is designed to fit on a single page, so it's easy to read and keep concise. It includes sections for your company's mission, vision, and values, as well as your target market and competition.

Financial Projections

The template also includes a section for financial projections, such as revenue, expenses, and profit. This can get investors interested in your business.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis helps you identify your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This template includes a section for SWOT analysis to identify areas for improvement and potential risks.

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6 .   Software Sales Business Plan Template

Looking to start a software sales business but need help figuring out where to start? We've got you covered with this easy-to-use business plan template!

This startup business plan sample pdf for students includes sections on the executive summary, market analysis, product or service description, marketing and sales strategies, and financial projections.

It is free to download and use, saving time and money to create a business plan from scratch.

The template guides what information to include in each section, making writing your business plan easy and stress-free.

7 .   Database Software Business Plan Template

You need a good business plan to start a business selling database software!

Here's a great lean startup business plan template pdf that will help you get started:

A clear overview of your business and its goals.

A detailed analysis of your market, competitors, and customers.

A marketing plan to help you reach your target audience.

Financial projections show how much money you need to start and when you expect to start making a profit.

Starting a business can be tough, but you can set yourself up for success with a good plan!

 8  .   Software Company Business Plan Template

A software company business plan template is a guide to help new businesses plan and grow their company.

Here are some highlights:

A new business plan sample pdf that helps software companies map out their vision, mission, and goals.

Provides a step-by-step process to analyze the market, create a marketing strategy, and identify potential competitors

It helps to define the products and services the company will offer and outlines the business model.

It Offers financial projections and analysis, including cash flow projections and profit and loss statements.

 9  .  Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Starting a nonprofit organization can be exciting, but it's important to have a plan in place.

Here is a nonprofit business plan template to help you get started:

Easy to read and understand

Includes sections for your nonprofit's mission statement, goals, and strategies

Covers fundraising, budgeting, and marketing

Provides a roadmap for your nonprofit's success

7 Key Elements for A Startup Business Plan Template Pdf

If you want to start a business, it's a good idea to make a plan first. Here are seven important things you should include in your business plan:

Executive Summary

This is like a summary of your whole business plan. It should tell people what your business does and why it's important.

Market Analysis

This is where you determine who your customers are and what they want.


What are you selling? Describe what you'll be offering to customers.

Marketing and Sales

How are you going to reach your customers? What's your plan for getting them to buy your products/services?

Management Team

Who will be running the business? Talk about your experience and skills.

Financial Plan

How much money do you need to start your business? What's your plan for making money?

This is where you can put any important information that didn't fit in the other sections.

How to Write A Startup Business Plan Template PDF Free?

Writing a free startup business plan template PDF can seem hard, but it doesn't have to be! Here are some easy steps to follow:

Start with your business idea. What are you trying to do?

Identify your target market. Who do you want to sell to?

Research your competition. What are they doing that you could do better?

Determine your marketing and sales strategies. How will you promote your business and make sales?

Outline your operations plan. What will your day-to-day business activities look like?

Detail your financial projections. How much money will you need to start, and when do you expect to break even?

Wrap up with an executive summary summarizing your business plan and why it's worth investing in.

Writing a startup business plan can be fun and exciting! Remember to keep it straightforward, and don't hesitate to ask for help.

FAQs About Startup Business Plan Template PDF Free

Why do most startup businesses fail in the first year.

Starting a business is hard, and some people need to plan more. Make a good plan to succeed!

What is the best format to write a startup business plan?

The best way to write a startup business plan is to keep it simple and easy to read. Use headings and bullet points.

Why do we need a small startup business plan?

We need a small startup business plan to have a clear vision and direction for our business. It helps us set goals, identify our target audience, and plan our marketing and financial strategies. A business plan also helps us secure funding and attract investors. It's like a roadmap that guides us on our journey to success.

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How to Write a Bar Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

Elon Glucklich

Elon Glucklich

6 min. read

Updated March 17, 2024

Free Downloads: Sample Bar and Brewery Business Plan Templates

From sports bars to neighborhood pubs to upscale cocktail bars—drinking establishments are one of the oldest and most enduring types of businesses.

And the industry is projected to grow nearly 2.5% between 2023 and 2030, leaving plenty of opportunity for new businesses..

But competition in the bar industry can be fierce. You need to know your clientele, competitors, and how you’ll stand out if you want to succeed. Not to mention mapping out all the details of your financials and operations. 

Luckily, you can cover all of that (and more) by writing a business plan.

  • What should you include in a bar business plan?

These are the typical sections to consider including in your bar business plan.

  • Executive Summary
  • Market Analysis
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy 
  • Operations Plan
  • Business Overview

Financial plan

The sections you need will vary depending on why you’re writing a business plan and what you intend to do with it . 

Suppose it’s to manage your operations and not something you expect anyone outside of the business to read. In that case, consider keeping it to a few pages and skipping sections like the executive summary.

If you’re applying for a loan, then you’ll need a more formal plan that includes all the sections listed above.

Check out our step-by-step guide to writing a full business plan for more details.

A sample bar business plan outline.

  • The 6 elements of an effective bar business plan

Executive summary

Your executive summary is a short, high-level overview of your entire plan. 

The summary should give readers a sense of what factors will make your bar successful. That could include securing a high-visibility location, partnering with a chef who will oversee meal preparation, or negotiating deals with brewers to get their beers in your bar.

If you’re seeking a bank loan for your bar, the lender will read your executive summary first. In all likelihood, they won’t read any further unless the executive summary grabs their attention. 

So, make it clear and convincing.

Market analysis

The market analysis may be the most important part of your entire business plan. 

It’s where you carefully research and document:

  • Who your target customers are
  • What they want
  • What other establishments they may consider

Start by identifying the size of your market . Focus on the number of potential customers above the legal drinking age in your area. Then, segment these customers based on demographics such as age, income level, and lifestyle preferences. 

Then look into who you will be competing with. List and research other bars as well as indirect competition from restaurants, clubs, and even grocery stores that sell beer or home entertainment options.

Here are a few examples of what this process will look like:

Bar customer segmentation

If you find there are a lot of college students and younger adults near your bar location, you should cater your offerings to their tastes. But if you’re near office buildings or event venues, you may want to focus on older customers with more disposable income.

Will you offer a more diverse drink menu, better food, or a unique theme? Explain how these factors will set your bar apart and attract customers. Or, if your area lacks a certain type of bar, such as a sports bar or a high-end cocktail lounge, describe how filling this gap in the market will serve as your competitive advantage.

Marketing and sales strategy

Your market analysis gives you insights into potential customers. Your marketing and sales strategy is where you use those insights to get those customers in your door.

As you looked around at your competitive landscape, maybe you gained some insight into how your ideal customers discover new bars — through social media, online reviews, local event listings, or word-of-mouth.

Start by developing marketing strategies that are tailored to those channels . Consider tactics like:

  • Creating engaging social media content showcasing your unique drinks, events and ambiance.
  • Partnering with local businesses or events to increase visibility.
  • Introducing special promotions to encourage repeat visits and attract new customers.
  • Hosting themed nights or events to create buzz and attract specific customer segments.

In your business plan, document how you will implement these efforts and the resources required. 

Operations plan

The operations section of your business plan is where you detail the day-to-day requirements for running the bar smoothly. Start by describing your physical space and key equipment, such as:

  • Beverage dispensing systems
  • Glassware and utensils

Specify the types and number of each that you’ll need. Then you can address staffing needs, describing the roles of bartenders, servers, and support staff. Document in your plan that you’ll have a staffing strategy to cover peak hours.

You should also cover inventory management. Describe how you’ll stock alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, ingredients for cocktails and food. Be sure to spend time discussing supply chains for sourcing these ingredients.

Document the types of technology you’re using, like point-of-sale systems, inventory tracking, or customer reservation platforms. 

Finally, ensure that your operations plan demonstrates how you will comply with any licensing, health and safety regulations and that you have a plan for ensuring responsible customer behavior.

Business overview

The overview should fill in any gaps the reader may have, including:

  • The name of your bar
  • When it was founded (if it’s an existing business)
  • The inspiration behind the business

You should include the background and qualifications of key team members here. Include their experience in the bar industry and any other experience that’s relevant to their position.

If you’re running an existing bar, discuss previous achievements like revenue milestones, recognitions, or community events you’ve hosted.

You don’t need a deep financial background to run a successful business. But it’s important to develop projections for how you expect the bar to perform. If you’re starting a new bar, consider that you’ll need to pay upfront costs like equipment, supplies, licenses and rent.

Then there are the ongoing costs like employee salaries, marketing, and continuing to keep your shelves stocked.

Making educated guesses about the future will help you determine what’s working, and where you should make adjustments as you run your business.

Include sales and expense forecasts in your plan. The financial section also should include a cash flow statement , income statement , and balance sheet .

Remember, no one knows exactly how the future will pan out — these projections are your baseline for how you think the business will do, and you’ll adjust them over time as you update your plan with actual results.

  • Bar business plan templates and examples

To see how other bar businesses have created their plans, browse our free library of bar and brewery business plans . You can also check out our full selection of food and beverage business plans , or our entire library of over 550 business plans across industries.

Download as many as you want in PDF or Word format to help you write your own business plan.

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See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.

Start stronger by writing a quick business plan. Check out LivePlan

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    Start with a cogent and concise one sentence statement of the business idea. A sentence that is so clear and appealing that the reader can immediately visualise or 'see' the business. You can then go on to describe: The market at which you are aiming. The specific benefits offered by your product or service.

  2. Free PDF Business Plan Templates

    Lean Business Plan Template PDF. This scannable business plan template allows you to easily identify the most important elements of your plan. Use this template to outline key details pertaining to your business and industry, product or service offerings, target customer segments (and channels to reach them), and to identify sources of revenue.


    business plan. It is therefore important to make your summary interesting and convincing. TIP: The executive summary is a summary, so this section should be the last piece of the business plan that you write. To write your executive summary, imagine being challenged to verbally summarize your entire business plan in two minutes.

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    A well-crafted plan will continue to serve you throughout the life of your business. Expect to update your document regularly to ensure the information is current and aligns with the overall goals and growth of your organization. Instructions: Use this workbook to solidify and document the core components of your business plan.

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  21. How to Write a Bar Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

    Glassware and utensils. Specify the types and number of each that you'll need. Then you can address staffing needs, describing the roles of bartenders, servers, and support staff. Document in your plan that you'll have a staffing strategy to cover peak hours. You should also cover inventory management.