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Formswift: Kickstart your success with a clear business plan template

From accounting to retail, a business plan is the key to helping you run your business. Wherever you are on your entrepreneurial journey, try our business plan template today to set your business up for success.

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What is a business plan?

A business plan outlines a business’s goals, strategies, and financial projections.

As a roadmap for the company's future, it details the company's mission, target market, financial plan, competition, and operational plans. This paints a picture of how the business will operate and grow over time.

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Why use a business plan?

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, a business plan outlines your business's objectives, strategies, marketing plan, and financial projections. It provides a step-by-step blueprint for success, detailing your business concept, target market, competition, and operational plans.

In fact, a business plan can help you in a vast number of ways.

A business plan clearly articulates your business idea, mission, and values to establish a strong foundation.

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A well-crafted business plan provides a clear understanding of the business's viability and helps attract potential investors or secure financing.

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The planning process forces you to research and analyze various aspects of your business, helping you make sound decisions based on market trends and data.

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By establishing specific objectives and milestones, a business plan helps you track progress and stay focused on achieving your targets.

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Types of business plans explained

Traditional business plans cover everything: From market analysis and marketing strategies to financial projections.

Lean startup plans focus on elements like value proposition, customer segments, and revenue streams.

Operational plans cover operations, resource allocation, and implementation plans.

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When to use a business plan

A business plan is essential in various situations, including starting a new business, seeking funding, and expanding or restructuring an existing business.

Starting a new business

It’s crucial to have a well-defined roadmap when launching a new venture to ensure a smooth start and increase the likelihood of success.

Seeking funding or business loan

Along with a balance sheet, income statements, and financial statements, investors and lenders often require a business plan. This is all part of their evaluation process to assess the viability and potential return on investment.

Expanding or restructuring an existing business

When making significant changes to your business, a business plan helps you evaluate the impact and plan accordingly.

What’s included in a business plan?

A well-rounded business plan typically includes the following key sections.

A concise overview of your business concept, highlighting its unique value and potential. This is the most important part of a business plan, as many readers, especially investors, might not look beyond this section if it isn't compelling. Ideally, you should write this section last but present it first in the business plan.

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Detailed information about your business, including its mission, legal structure, and key personnel. You should describe your industry, the current market, your target demographic, expected future market growth, and how your company plans to fit into that market.

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A thorough assessment of your target market, industry trends, and competitive landscape. Include your company’s unique selling proposition (USP), marketing strategy, sales strategy, and plans for customer retention and engagement.

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Your plans for reaching and attracting customers, including pricing, promotions, and distribution channels.

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Detailed forecasts of your business's financial performance, including revenue, expenses, and profitability. This section should contain an overview of the business's revenue and expenses for the next three to five years. Include existing income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements if possible (in other words, if you’re already operating).

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Specific details about your business operations, including facilities, production processes, and staffing requirements. Highlight your company’s management team and organizational structure.

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If you’re seeking funding, it’s beneficial to add a section detailing how much funding you need, how the funds will be used, and your desired terms.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, Formswift provides business plan templates online that can guide you through the process of creating a business plan. These templates provide a structured format and prompts for each section, making it easier to get started.

Try our template today

The length of a business plan can vary depending on the complexity of your business. However, it’s generally recommended to keep it concise and focused, typically ranging from 15 to 30 pages.

Absolutely. As a business owner, you should use the plan as a dynamic document that evolves with your business. Regularly reviewing and updating your plan ensures it remains relevant and aligned with your goals.

As you expand and gain insight from competitive analysis, market research, target customers, and social media feedback, it’s important to adjust your business model and business plan for optimal growth.

If you have a management team, take time to meet with them to review what works and what doesn't, along with the competitive advantages your own business has. Take these advantages and highlight them in your business plan.

While not mandatory, having a business plan is still beneficial, even if you’re the sole proprietor. As an entrepreneur, it’ll help clarify your business objectives, identify potential challenges, and stay organized in achieving your goals.

A business plan is a valuable tool, but success ultimately depends on various factors, including market conditions, execution of strategies, and adaptability. A well-crafted business plan increases your chances of success but doesn’t guarantee it.

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