• Login to save your own copy of this assignment
  • Home

How to Write a Business Plan Template


  1. Class: Unspecified
  2. This template is published for use.
  1. Step 1: Gather information
    Percent time spent on this step: 25%


    • Before entering the industry, you should know whom you will be working with, including both customers and suppliers.

      • Create a list of your potential customers. Browse internet forums where they may be registered (for example, forums dedicated to a particular product, troubleshooting, and so on) and research what worries them, what they want to receive when purchasing specific goods, what they like and dislike. Create your customers’ profiles.
      • Learn which suppliers you might work with, and insert the acquired data into a table.
      • Do not hesitate to contact your local business enterprise center, where you can receive advice on current business practices, laws that govern the industry you want to work in, and other information which will be helpful for you in the beginning.
    • Before you can create a detailed plan, you should meet with the people you will be working with.

      • Make a list of business meetings you need to organize.
      • Meet with your potential investors, loan givers, material and/or supplies providers, prospective market representatives, publicists, and other people involved in the industry you plan to work in.
      • Always take meeting notes during discussions with people involved in your business. The best would be to hire a person skilled in quick handwriting or typing, so that you could discuss problems and negotiate without having to be distracted by writing. Besides, this way is more professional.
      • Organize the meeting notes taken; sort them by categories such as product research, marketing research, promotions, accounting, sales, and so on.
    • In order to be on the safe side, backup information you have gathered so far: meeting minutes, information about potential customers and suppliers, permits, any organizational notes and records, and so on.

      • Make certified copies, meaning that you must find the correct public officer in your area to witness the copies. Place all paperwork into a special folder.
      • Convert the acquired data into a digital format.
  2. Step 2: Do Market Research on Key Competitors
    Percent time spent on this step: 40%


    • Before you start retailing or manufacturing, you need to identify the markets you will be working in.

      • Decide on what you will be producing or selling, and what makes it unique. The amount of similar goods in markets is enormous, and so is the competition; respectively, you should think about how to make your product or service stand out.
      • You should clearly understand why potential customers would want to buy your product and who they are. Many entrepreneurs believe they can make their product or service attractive for everyone; do not fall for this trap: your product should be aimed at specific clientele.
    • Among the challenges you will have to face when running a business is strong competition. Therefore, getting to know whom exactly poses danger to you is a reasonable strategy.

      • Research the major companies which are involved in the same type (or similar) business as yours.
      • Create profiles with the basic information about your competitors.
    • Your ideas may be revolutionary and original, but they may have been claimed by people throughout a given period of time. In order to avoid this, consider the main industry trends.

      • Internet research is the key to success for an entrepreneur. There are hundreds of specialized social networks, communities, blogs, forums, discussion boards, and websites containing all possible information on any industry. Subscribe to the most popular sources of information regarding the industry you are planning to work in, and follow the news.
      • Printed media is also a valuable source of information. Financial magazines and newspapers always keep their subscribers updated with the latest info on industry trends, and so on. Use this information wisely.
      • Keep an eye on your competitors, especially those that are successful. You can definitely learn something new through observation.
      • Double check if your business model and your business name has already been used. Do your best not to get to sued for copyright infringement or other infringements.
  3. Step 3: Writing
    Percent time spent on this step: 30%


    • Before starting to gather information, you need to figure out the general direction for your research.

      • Look for examples of business plans regarding businesses which are similar to the one you want to start. Even though you may have a completely original vision of your business, many companies face the same problems at the stage of their establishment. Anyways, an example of a decent business plan would be helpful for you to view.
      • Based on the information gathered during previous stages, chalk out the main points your business plan will cover. Usually, a business plan includes such points as
        1. a description of the main focus
        2. an overview of products and services which are going to be provided, or product details
        3. the business structure
        4. key activities
        5. marketing strategies
        6. calculation and planning, statistics, financial expenditures
        7. the provision of parts and raw materials
        8. the description of the target clientele
        9. mission and goals of the business
        10. income projections
        11. skills and aptitudes of the entrepreneur
        Note that these are not the only points that should be covered.
      • Remember that your plan will be updated, changed, and edited multiple times, so allow for many versions to be written before presenting it as final.
    • Now that you have all the necessary information and know what to write in your plan, think about its organization; a proper business plan should possess a logical internal structure.

      • There is no standard way to organize points in a business plan, but usually you should move from general to specific information.
      • Organizing information into thematic blocks makes your plan more structured and professional, as well as easy to work with. For example, you can have such blocks as “Finances,” “Competitors,” “Clientele,” “Our products/services,” “Strategies and activities,” “Appendix,” and so on.
    • After you gather information and decide on the structure of your business plan, you should have a basic template of a plan that needs to be filled in with details.

      • Open Google Docs (or any other similar service which allows online writing, editing, and cloud saving) and start writing your plan there. Services like Google Docs save any changes you make instantly, so you will never lose the results of your work.
      • First write down the titles of the logical blocks (“Finances,” “Clientele,” and so on), and then list the subsections for each block. For example, the block “Finances” might contain such subsections as “Financial planning,” “Expected expenditures,” “Projected incomes,” and so on.
      • Fill in the information for each of the subsections. Use your meeting minutes, notes, profiles, and all the records you have made at the stage of gathering information and researching. Be careful and attentive not to miss something crucial.
      • After you finish writing, review your plan. So far, it is more a draft rather than a final version. Focus on the structure and logic of the plan; make sure that you have included all the information you wanted, and that it is arranged properly.
    • You are far from finishing your plan; at this stage, it requires multiple checks and improvements.

      • Make sure that the statistics and factual data you presented is correct. Hopefully, you did not take the data out of nowhere; the people who will be reading your business plan may count on your cooperation and expect a serious approach, so it must be reliable and credible.
      • Double-check all the calculations you have made. A small mistake made in the beginning may turn into a huge flaw closer to the end.
      • Check your business plan for consistency. Consistency in this case means that all contractions, symbols, formatting, calculations, and so on are shown under one standard.
      • Make sure your plan is reader-friendly. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to introduce each of the points you make in separate paragraphs, use subheadings, as well as different font sizes and/or cursive/bold highlighting.
      • Also, do not make your phrasing and word order confusing. In addition, explain complex concepts.
    • After you have finished checking the credibility of the information introduced in the plan, it is time to correct spelling and/or typing mistakes, grammar, and stylistic flaws.

      • Make sure that the language you use is appropriate for business documents. Your vocabulary should not be too fancy, but slang or dialects should not be used either. The best option would be to stick to a neutral style and tone.
      • Do not hesitate to edit and rewrite those parts of the plan which look unclear, ambiguous, or useless.
      • Read through the text looking for typos and spelling mistakes. Submitting a business plan with elementary mistakes is unprofessional and significantly decreases your chances to be taken seriously.
      • Look for grammar and punctuation mistakes. A simple comma may drastically change the meaning of a sentence if used incorrectly, so pay attention.
      • Read the plan outloud. This is your plan’s final test for viability. When you read it aloud, you can hear discrepancies and flaws that would remain unnoticed if you simply read the text silently.
    • A business plan must contain not only textual information, but also graphs, charts, and other illustrative information.

      • Think about which parts of your plan should be supported with visual accompaniment. Usually, these are parts with a lot of numbers and calculations, when it is easier to look at a graph or chart and get a general grasp rather than read through a mass of text and calculations.
      • Charts and graphs are perfect for introducing the results of calculations, outcomes, modelling processes (for example, a graph may show the dynamics of expected attendance of clients), and so on. If you know how to create visual content of this kind, you can do it yourself; Microsoft Word and other text processors usually have a function of converting text info into graphics. However, if you are not sure about your talents in this field, it is better to find a specialist.
      • Double-check the info in graphic content; there should be no discrepancies between the text of your business plan and graphics.
      • Insert visual information into the business plan. You can insert it straight into the business plan text, or leave it for the Appendix section.
  4. Step 4: Feedback
    Percent time spent on this step: 5%


    • Constructive critique from a person who is involved in business would be invaluable, so do not hesitate to ask this person’s opinion of your business plan.

      Set an appointment with this person. Be sure to be on time, to bring in a printed copy of your writing, and to be open to suggestions/critique.

    • Your tutor may give you valuable advice, but whether you want to follow it or not is up to you.

      If you feel that remarks made by your tutor will work fine, you should make appropriate corrections in the text of your business plan.

  • Login to save your own copy of this assignment
  • Home