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How to Write a Business Plan (Examples & Templates)

Learn to create an effective business plan with clarity, research, and engaging design. Explore real-world examples and actionable tips for success

Hadar Peretz

7 minute read

How to write a business plan
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Short answer

What should a business plan include?

  1. Executive Summary: A snapshot of your business and plans.

  2. Business Description: The mission, vision, and the problem you’re solving.

  3. Market Analysis: An overview of the industry and your target market.

  4. Organization and Management: Your business’s structure, team, and roles.

  5. Service or Product Line: What you’re selling or the service you’re offering.

  6. Marketing and Sales: How you plan to market your business and your sales strategy.

  7. Funding Request: If you’re seeking funding, specify the amount and its use.

  8. Financial Projections: Provide projections for the next five years.

  9. Appendix: Additional information or documents supporting your business plan.

Even the most outstanding business plan can falter with poor presentation

If your business plan is too convoluted, mundane, or fails to resonate with stakeholders, you'll diminish its effectiveness, regardless of its content quality.

Success hinges on how you structure and articulate your business strategy.

This article will equip you with invaluable insights and frameworks for crafting a compelling business plan.

You'll discover the key components to incorporate, the ideal arrangement, and strategies to design a business plan that captivates and convinces you.

Dive in to bolster your expertise and position your business for unparalleled success against the competition.

Let’s unfold the blueprint!

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a formal document that outlines a company's goals, the strategy to achieve them, and the financial and market analysis supporting these objectives.

It acts as a roadmap guiding the business towards growth and success.

What is the purpose of business planning?

Business planning serves to provide a clear vision, set measurable objectives, and attract potential investors.

It offers a structured approach to tackling challenges, optimizing resources, and evaluating the business’s progress, fostering informed decision-making and long-term sustainability.

Why are business plans so important for organizations?

In the cut-throat world of business, having a solid foundation is imperative for survival and growth.

2 main reasons why business plans are so important for organizations:

1) Strategic focus

A business plan ensures that you maintain a strategic focus, prioritizing tasks that drive your business toward its goals while avoiding distractions.

2) Financial planning and risk assessment

Having a financial blueprint helps in resource allocation, financial forecasting, and assessing the risks that could threaten your business's stability.

It prepares you for contingencies, ensuring your business remains resilient amidst adversities.

Strategies behind the business plans of industry disruptors

Learning from the business plans of successful enterprises can provide invaluable insights:

  • Airbnb’s original business plan: Airbnb’s initial business plan was a classic demonstration of how to address a market need and propose a novel solution.

  • Tesla motors business plan: A profound example of how innovation paired with sustainable practices can be translated into a compelling business narrative.

  • Warby parker's direct-to-consumer model: Warby Parker disrupted the eyewear industry with its online-focused, try-at-home model, emphasizing affordability without compromising style or quality.

These examples depict how clarity of vision and articulation of strategy can pave the way for attracting investors and guiding a business toward its envisioned path.

5 types of business plans

Understanding the different types of business plans is fundamental for tailoring a plan that suits the specific needs and objectives of your business.

Each type serves a unique purpose, addressing various aspects and stages of a business. Here are five common types of business plans along with a brief description of what they entail:

1. Growth business plan

A growth business plan is focused on expansion strategies for established businesses.

It outlines new market penetration, product line extensions, or other growth opportunities, backed by market research, financial projections, and operational adaptations.

2. Operational or annual business plan

An operational business plan provides a detailed outline for the company’s activities over a one-year period.

It includes specific goals, responsibilities, timelines, budgets, and management plans, serving as a comprehensive roadmap for the business's short-term operations.

3. Startup business plan

A startup business plan lays down the groundwork for a new business, encompassing aspects like mission, vision, target market, competition analysis, financial projections, and operational plans.

It's pivotal for attracting investors and guiding the company's early steps.

4. Strategic business plan

A strategic business plan is a high-level document that sets out a company’s long-term vision, mission, and strategic objectives.

It typically encompasses market analysis, company positioning, competitive analysis, and long-term financial forecasts, aimed at guiding the business's overall direction.

5. Feasibility business plan

A feasibility business plan is used to explore the viability of a new business idea or project. It provides a thorough analysis of the market, competition, necessary resources, financial forecasts, and potential challenges, to ascertain the project’s practicality and worthiness.

What makes an effective business plan?

Creating a document that stands out and achieves its intended purpose is a blend of art and science.

Clarity and cohesion

Crafting an effective business plan demands a seamless blend of clarity and cohesion. Here's how these elements translate into a compelling plan that garners attention and achieves its purpose.

  • Clear objectives: Define clear, measurable, and realistic goals.

  • Cohesive narrative: A well-structured narrative that binds all sections into a coherent story.

Solid research and realistic projections

An effective business plan is grounded on solid research and realistic projections. Let's delve into how thorough market research and accurate financial forecasting can set the stage for success.

  • In-depth market research: Understand your market, competition, and customer needs.

  • Realistic financial projections: Accurate projections reflect financial acumen and understanding of market dynamics.

Risks and challenges insight

Identifying risks and devising robust mitigation strategies are integral to a well-rounded business plan.

This section explores how a detailed risk analysis can provide a clear roadmap for navigating challenges and ensuring business sustainability.

  • Risk identification: Spotting potential risks and having a contingency plan reflects foresight and preparedness, crucial for stakeholder confidence.

  • Mitigation strategies: Detail the strategies for mitigating risks and overcoming challenges to ensure business continuity and sustainability.

How to write a business plan?

Writing a business plan is a step-by-step process, each step taking you closer to realizing your business vision.

This strategic document serves as a roadmap, guiding your decisions and attracting potential investors or partners to your venture.

How to prepare for writing a business plan?

The foundation of a compelling business plan lies in the accuracy and thoroughness of the information gathered.

  • Data collection: Collect relevant market data, business metrics, and financial projections.

  • Stakeholder input: Seek feedback from key stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive representation of the business vision.

What to include in a business plan one-pager

10 essential components for a top-tier business plan one-pager:

  1. Title slide: Your introduction to potential investors. Adding an engaging video can boost interaction significantly.

  2. Unique value proposition (UVP): A tagline encapsulating your business's core essence. Example: "Innovating personalized healthcare solutions."

  3. Company overview: Narrate your business's origin, mission, and future direction.

  4. Problem addressed: Highlight your target market's pain points and the necessity of your solution.

  5. Market analysis: Showcase your grasp of the competitive landscape and market gaps.

  6. Your solution: Detail the unique features and benefits of your product/service.

  7. Marketing & sales strategy: Outline your approach to reach the audience and drive sales.

  8. Objectives & metrics: Define your key performance indicators (KPIs) and growth objectives.

  9. Team overview: Introduce key team members, their expertise, and significance to the project.

  10. Funding details: Clearly state the funds required, their allocation, and expected ROI.

Effective next steps to engage investors

Skip the usual "thank you" finish! Instead, wrap up your business plan with a clear call-to-action, guiding investors on next steps.

Effective calls-to-action can greatly improve investment chances. Research indicates presentations with distinct action steps outperform generic endings by 27%.

5 action steps to follow after presenting a business plan:

  • Detailed plan review

  • Live product demo

  • Accessing further resources

  • Committing with a letter of intent

  • Making an investment

Here’s an example of a business plan built with this structure:

Business plan one-pager

Business plan one-pager

This one-page business plan presentation template covers your company, market, product and services, and growth plan as an interactive visual story that's easy to follow and highly engaging.

How to design a business plan?

Business plan design plays a crucial role in how the information is perceived and retained by the readers.

This section unravels the essence of layout, typography, and the incorporation of visual elements to make your business plan not only informative but also engaging.

Layout and typography

A well-organized layout paired with readable typography can significantly enhance the readability and comprehension of your business plan.

  • Consistent Layout: A consistent layout throughout your business plan provides a professional appearance and makes it easier to follow.

  • Readable Typography: Choosing fonts that are both readable and visually appealing helps convey your business message efficiently.

Use of imagery and color

The use of imagery and color can augment the aesthetic appeal of your business plan while reinforcing the narrative and making key information memorable.

  • Relevant Imagery: Utilize images that align with your business objectives and resonate with the vision of your enterprise.

  • Color Palette: Select a color palette that not only aligns with your brand but also enhances the visual appeal of your business plan.

Storytelling with data visualization

Telling a compelling story through data visualization can help elucidate the market dynamics, financial projections, and the potential growth trajectory of your business.

Use charts, graphs, and infographics to narrate the data story, ensuring that readers can easily follow the progression and understand the core objectives.

Embracing digital design platforms

In the digital era, creating business plans on digital platforms can provide a more interactive and engaging experience for the readers.

  • Digital Business Plans: These are accessible, interactive, and easily shared, which can significantly enhance engagement and understanding.

  • Interactive Templates: Digital platforms offer interactive templates that can help structure your business plan effectively while ensuring a polished, professional appearance.

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Hadar Peretz

I am a Marketing Specialist at Storydoc, I research, analyze and write on our core topics of business presentations, sales, and fundraising. I love talkig to clients about their successes and failures so I can get a rounded understanding of their world.

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