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Need a business plan template? Check out this step by step plan to crafting one that will work for your venture.

Every startup business needs a business plan template. You know the saying, “failing to plan means planning to fail.” Going into business for yourself is exciting, empowering and probably one of the best things you can ever try in your life. It can also be risky.

Especially, if you don’t have a solid plan and the funding to back you up. The vast majority of business starts don’t make it. Even the biggest multi-billion dollar companies fail when they don’t have good plans. 

Today many startup entrepreneurs just want to rush into creating a pitch deck and run out there to shove it in the face of would-be investors. A pitch deck may be more effective for raising money from angel investors and venture capital firms. Yet, a business plan is still a commonly requested document by many investors and especially business loan lenders.

More importantly, a business plan will be your internal guide for holding it all together and staying on course to where you want to go. One page back of the napkin ‘plans’ may be trendy, but fleshing out a reasonable comprehensive real business plan will help you think through the essential parts of your venture you may be overlooking and will force you to fill in critical gaps. Don’t try to rush into business without one. 

If you are ready to create a pitch deck then check out this fundraising training for a powerful pitch deck template to use. If you are further along in your business and need help planning your exit, it is time to talk to an M&A advisor.

If you’re serious about making your business work, but recognize the danger of being bogged down in planning and writing for too long. Borrow the business plan template below and make it yours.

Here’s what to include…

Executive Summary

This is the most important page in your business plan. It brings everything else together in a brief one-page summary. It is this page that you’ll use as your introduction to business funding sources, potential investors, and even business partners. You’ll also be using this same information to populate your pitch deck. 

Use this page in the same format as your entire plan and summarize each section. You can also rip my executive summary template from the web here.

Company Description

This is a snapshot of your company.

Begin with the purpose of your company, your mission statement, and vision. 

Next, fill out the basic facts of your company. Where will you be incorporating it? What type of business entity is it? 

Add your headquarter location and any other offices you have as well as the geographic locations you serve. 

Make a brief mention of who the principles of the business are. 

Products & Services

It’s smart to begin this section with the big problem you are striking out to solve. Then describe what you are doing to solve it. 

Define your core product and service. Make mention of any additional services and products you plan to roll out after your minimum viable product is successful. Including screenshots and diagrams can help if you have them. 

Here you can add your product pricing, key benefits and features, and the results of any tests or traction so far.

Marketing Plan

Even if you fold and never finish your fully-fledged business plan template you must have a marketing plan.

It doesn’t matter how fantastic your product is and how badly people need it, you need marketing. This is your guide for getting customers. It will help you get the right customers, and make sure you are budgeting well to keep your business alive and growing. 

This section is as much for you and your team as it is for potential partners, investors, and financiers. 

As a part of this you’ll also include:

  • Your market research
  • Analysis of your competition
  • The size of your market
  • Brand positioning
  • Sales channels
  • Marketing budget
  • Customer acquisition costs

Operational Plan

What are the key parts of your operations and what do you need to get everything working?

What manufacturing or distribution spaces are needed? What are the logistics of parts and delivery? How will you manage the supply chain? What legal and accounting needs are they and who will you choose to help? What are your processes? What technology are you developing to make this all work or will use from other providers?

Organization & Management

What is the management structure of your business? Who is the executive team?

This is one of the most pivotal parts of your business plan template. Until you are really proving growth, revenues, and profit, most of the weight of deciding whether to help you financially or to align with your business will come down to your team.

Who are the founders, executive team and your advisors? Who are and board members or notable consultants and key team members which really demonstrate credibility and experience?

Financial Plan

This section of your business plan template is primarily for you. Yes, lenders and investors may want to see it. Though more importantly it will help you plan ahead and create a sustainable business.

Here you want to fill in:

  • Current financial situation
  • 2 year’s P&L statements
  • Projections for the next five years
  • Your projected break-even point
  • Cash flow projections

This is also the place you can detail your startup costs, funding needs, and loan requests and repayment terms.

Appendix

As the applicable list and add:

  • Business licenses
  • Patents and trademarks
  • Resumes of the principles
  • Insurances
  • Article of incorporation
  • Contracts
  • Appraisals of assets
  • Links to research 

A business plan template can seem like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be. Don’t let it bog you down, but do get it done and then get on with doing business.

Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Still not after going through the pros and cons of different sources of startup funding? Check out this fundraising training where we help founders from A to Z with fundraising.

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