Free Business Plan Template For Startups

Do you need a free business plan template for your startup business? Before you implement the business idea, you need to have a business plan. 

A business plan is a guide that helps you achieve the goals and objectives of your business. It is an outline of how you intend to start and run your startup business. 

So, why should you use a business plan template? Does it help in any way? As a startup, a lot is going on in your mind, and you need to figure out how you will manage the business.  

To make it easy for you, we’ll help you create a free business plan template and prove to you why you need one. 

Let’s dive in!

Why Should You Consider Having A Business Plan?

You may be wondering, why do I need a business plan to run my small startup business? For instance, you have realized a business opportunity in your neighborhood to start a laundromat. Will you market the business on social media like Facebook and Instagram?

You’re thinking – I need to seize the opportunity before someone else does. Hey, not so fast. It is a perfect opportunity to start a business, but there are several factors you need to put into consideration. 

Have you given a thought about the laundry equipment to use? How will you attract clients? Do you have short-term or long-term goals? Do you have the finances to run the laundromat? 

Now, this is where you implement a business plan. It helps to come up with a structure of how you will run and grow your business. The reasons why you need a business plan is to:

  1. Allocate and secure funds

Running a business, including a startup, is not a walk in the park. You will require finances to run the business. A business plan helps you decide whether you need external fundings like a loan, crowdfunding, or venture capital.

  1. Evaluate a business idea

A business plan helps in evaluating a business idea to find out if it’s viable. As a startup, you may have several ideas and, therefore, you should analyze them to see which one fits best. 

However, if you have a single business idea, you still need to evaluate it. For instance, borrowing from our earlier laundromat example, you have to think through several factors to see if it’s viable. 

Business evaluation helps to identify a weakness in your idea which needs to be addressed. 

  1. It helps in identifying a target audience and competition.

Before you allocate the funds and run the business, start by identifying a target market and audience. As you plan to implement your business, you also need to discover your competition.

How will you attract people to start working with you? Remember, most people are always reluctant to work with startups. Identifying a target audience helps to convert them to your business. 

  1. Business plans help to lay out the goals and objectives.

Do you have business goals and objectives? Are they SMART goals? 

You can split business goals into long-term and short-term goals. It helps to understand if there are any problems in your business. You can set a time limit to when you want to achieve your goals. 

What Should You Include in Business Plan Template

As a startup, you may consider using a simple business plan template to create a structure to run your business. Ensure that you customize it to your business. 

A business plan works well when securing funds from a bank or investor. But, financial aid is not the only reason why you need a business plan. It helps to implement a business plan and stick to the business goals and objectives. 

As a startup, it may be overwhelming to create a business plan. You may consider using a premium or a free business plan template. 

How to make a business plan template?

To define the various sections of a business plan, we will use the laundromat example above to help you understand. 

Here’s what you need to include in a business plan:

  1. Executive summary

An executive summary describes to your target audience the reason why you’re running a business. Although it appears as the first option in a business plan, it is written last to summarize the entire business plan.

It introduces your business, includes the mission statement, vision statement, and summary of the products or services you’re offering. If you need financial assistance, you can add it here. 

  1. Business description

This part of a business plan describes what your business deals with and the solution you are offering. It’s about what makes your business unique. 

With the laundromat example, you will explain why people in your neighborhood should work with you. Do you offer pick-up and delivery services? How is your laundromat business different from the competitors?

Make sure that you are offering a solution to the current problem. A business description helps you explain what your business is all about. It also describes your business strengths. 

  1. Market analysis

Market analysis is very crucial for the success of your business. It checks who is your target audience, competitor, and the overall market. 

What is your competitors’ strength? Have you identified a gap that your business will be filling? The reason why you need market analysis is to understand the market trends. 

Identifying a competitive edge will help you stand out and attract more clients to your business. With the laundromat, you can analyze how a competitor offers laundry services. Also, you need to pay attention to the pain points of your target audience. 

  1. Products and Services

This part of a business plan template illustrates which products and services you are offering. For instance, with a laundromat, what other services are you offering? Do you offer wash-and-fold? 

Do your clients have to come to your laundromat service? How different are you from the competition? As you offer your products and services, make sure that you also stand out from the rest of the businesses within your niche.

  1. Sales and marketing strategy

Here’s another crucial stage in your business plan template. It highlights how you intend to promote your business to reach potential clients. 

With the growth in online marketing, you can use technology to reach a wider audience. Have a sales strategy and come up with competitive prices that will attract clients to your business. 

As you create a pricing plan, make sure that you do not set your price so high or so low. You want to attract customers and at the same time earn profits. 

  1. Competitive Analysis

What comes to mind with competitive analysis? It’s about your competitor. Do you have an idea who they are? What are they doing to attract customers? Can you identify their marketing strategy?

The main goal of a competitive analysis is to identify who are your competitors and how you can stand out. Take your time and study the competitor’s weaknesses and strengths.  

It will help you come up with a better business plan and realign your goals. For instance, you can offer door-to-door services by picking up laundry from your customers, cleaning and delivering it back to the clients.

You can also design a system where your clients request services, and you use the same platform to alert them of the delivery date and time. 

  1. Financial plan

A financial plan is an essential part of your business plan template. What is your financial projection? For a business startup, make sure that you provide a proposal of how you plan to use the resources.

For a laundromat, for instance, you can state that you use the resources to buy high-quality washing machines and marketing services. Make sure you provide a price plan for the proposed laundry equipment. 

The most important financial documents to include in this section are – balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement.  

  1. Appendix

Similar to a business proposal, a business plan template also requires an appendix. With this section, you can attach other relevant business documents.  For example, you can use Shopify to design your website. The above free business plan template will help you run and scale your business.

Why Do You Need A Free Business Plan Template

A free business plan template may have sections that may not apply to a startup. So, how do you customize a business plan to your business? Here are some of the tips to creating a successful outline for your business plan:

  1. Identify your target audience and market. It will help you create a strategy and discover a need that your business is likely to fill. 
  2. Ensure that the objectives align with your business goals. For example, if your goal is to create awareness in the first year, you need to identify your marketing objectives to help you achieve your goal.

 Remove unnecessary sections that do not work for your business. A free business plan template will have detailed sections that may not work for your startup business.

Tips To Create A Successful Business Plan Outline

A free business plan template may have sections that may not apply to a startup. So, how do you customize a business plan to your business? Here are some of the tips to create a successful outline for your business plan:

  1. Identify your target audience and market. It will help you create a strategy and discover a need that your business is likely to fill. 
  2. Ensure that the objectives align with your business goals. For example, if your goal is to create awareness in the first year, you need to identify your marketing objectives to help you achieve your goal.
  3.  Remove unnecessary sections that do not work for your business. A free business plan template will have detailed sections that may not work for your startup business

Free Business Plan Sample For A Startup

As earlier mentioned, a business plan saves you time and money. If you have not used a template before, you can use our template below and customize it to your business goals and objectives. 

A business plan template works for all businesses. It helps to monitor your competition, structure your business and make future plans. It helps to evaluate an idea and identify if it’s worth your effort or not.

Here’s an example of a professional business plan outline:

Name of the Business
Business contact number
Email Address
Business website URL 
Executive Summary– Includes a mission statement and vision statement
– Business overview 
– Capital request 
– Brief introduction about your business
Business Description– Give a detailed introduction about your business
– Business objectives
– State the unique value your business brings to the market
– Business background information
Market Analysis– Do you have a target market?
– What solution do your products/services bring to the market?
– Define the weakness, strength, opportunities and threats in the market
Products and services– Which products or services are you dealing with?
– Do you have a pricing strategy? 
– How much will you charge for the services or products?
– Do you have a market for the products?
– Where will you sell the services and products?
Sales and marketing strategy– How will you promote the products?
– How will the products and services be distributed?
– Describe how you will market/ promote products to customers
– Describe how a product will be delivered to the target customer
Competitive analysis– Who is your competitor?
– What is their weakness?
– How do you intend to beat your competition?
– Can you identify your competitor’s strength?
Financial plan– Do you have a balance sheet, cashflow, income statement or a breakeven analysis?
Appendix– What other supportive documents do you have?
– Add a link to your website, diagrams, images, among other relevant documents

Final Thought

For a startup, a free business plan template can go a long way. It comes in handy when you need financial assistance. You need to attach it to have proof that your business idea is profitable. 

A business plan is specific to a business and its audience. It guides you in achieving the intended business goals and objectives. Therefore, if you have a business idea, you need a business plan to evaluate it and make better business decisions. 

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