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Meraki MX Device getting Bad IP Assignment Configuration
I just replaced the ISP at an outer office. The new ISP plugged in their routers for phone/Internet. The Internet cable went into you MX64 device and started dishing out Internet and Network connectivity.
When I went to check on the device online, I noticed the Bad IP Assignment Configuration message. Device is still working properly, dishing out the correct IP addresses for that office, serving up the MR33 SSID. I'm able to access the Internet and all networked files, I'm just not understanding why the Bad IP Assignment Configuration is showing up.
I've read through Meraki's information Opens a new window and sort of understand it... the device is not receiving an ARP reply from the gateway... even though I have entered that information in statically. Why can't the device reach the "default gateway" I had setup for it with the previous ISP? What changed other than maybe the IP address that the new ISP is giving out? Am I on the right track in thinking it's related to the new ISP?
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Did the device turn off? Maybe a bad ARP table? Did you reboot it to see if that helps? Also if any switch or device in between.
Can you PING the gateway from it?
When the technician finished the install and hooked up the Internet cable, he rebooted each device. The MX64, the MS220 and the MR33 were rebooted and came back up functioning properly.
Pinging doesn't seem to be an issue (from the MX64 tools tab).
Currently the device is getting the following IP information:
The General Public IP is the IP that the ISP is handing out (I assume). The WAN information doesn't jive with the rest of my network, however. Instead of 192.168.0.1, I had it as 192.168.3.1. I cannot adjust the settings to my former configuration. The DNS settings ar completely off as well.
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What is your internal network? 192.168.3.X?
Are u onsite? I woild remove the dhcp and hard code it. See what happens.
That's the internal network for that office, yes. I am not onsite. DHCP is removed. It is set statically but the settings will not take effect. I get the impression something is keeping it from taking effect, like the ISP router. The ISP mentioned putting the router into Bridge Mode so that the devices on my network (the MX) could dish out IP Addresses? Maybe that is the solution?
Something is wrong. You need to reconfigure that device. There is something in the middle or those networks could not talk. I bet the internal network changed.. to 192.168.3.X and are getting DHCP from the same thing the Meraki is
Did you set the gateway on the WAN side? That's only set at the wired.meraki.com address for static ISPs.
We've just started experiencing this after an internet outage in our building. Everything appears to be working but we've now got this Bad IP Configuration error. Nothing has changed our side. Asked the ISP to clear the ARP Table, hopefully this will resolve it,
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Meraki router is not assigning IP addresses to connected devices
- During first time fire up, laptop set to DHCP while plugged into the router is getting a 169.254.x.x IP address.
- Devices connected to the Meraki router are not receiving a DHCP address from the router.
- Arp -a command from connected laptop may show an IP of 192.168.100.1 with a MAC address starting with 88:15:44.
- When connecting to setup.meraki.com, get the following message: "You connected to setup.meraki.com, but you are likely not currently connected to a Cisco Meraki access point."
- Product Family : Billboards
- Product : DB-5000, DB-6400
- Component : Meraki Z1 or Z3 Router
- Control System :
- Router is in Pass-Through mode, and acting as a switch.
- Perform a Factory Reset on the router. How do I do a Factory Reset on a Meraki router? DD3254171 .
KB ID: DD3254182
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Cisco Meraki MX Static IP assignment via Dashboard
This morning, I received a notice about a Cisco Meraki MX firmware upgrade planned for a security appliance I have in my lab.
The message lists the new features:
- Layer 7 traffic classifications for VPN flow preferences
- Syslog export of AMP events
- Added support for using FQDNs in L3 firewall rule destination
- Threat Grid support for the MX60(W), MX64(W), MX65(W), MX80, MX90, MX84, and MX100 appliances
- Content filtering improvements
- Static IP assignment via Dashboard (via Appliance Status page)
- Device utilization reporting (via the new Summary Reports page)
- Performance, stability, and security improvements
This is now true: Static IP assignment via Dashboard! I was waiting this feature since a long time.
Let’s see a real case: you send a MX security appliance to a customer; he wants to installs it on his Internet connection but his ISP does not provide a DHCP service on this link. This is often the case for business internet access here, because the customer need a static IP range, like a /30 or /29, you are supposed to use static IP assignment on your device.
To solve this, you can try to ask the ISP to enable DHCP on his CE router, or even better, to create a static DHCP entry on his router for the Meraki MX. But this is not always possible. The alternative is to go to the customer, connect your laptop to the Mgmt or LAN port of the MX, depending of the model, and then type: http://setup.meraki.com to get a very ugly gray page, local to the MX, to be able to configure the WAN IP and DNS settings:
But to login to this page, you must use the serial number as username and a blank password. So, you must find the serial number on the device, probably already mounted into a rack full of others network devices, or go back to the Meraki dashboard to copy the serial number. Not very easy, right?
Now, Meraki announce you can configure the WAN IP and DNS settings directly from the Meraki dashboard. To do this, go to the dashboard , then to the Appliance status page and finally on Uplink tab. Here we can see a small pencil close to the WAN IP to change the IP settings:
It looked great, so I wanted to test this: As this setting is located on the appliance status page, I was not sure it is available when the device is offline. To be sure, I tried with my test device: I removed the power, waited a few minutes to see it in red into the dashboard with the message: “device unreachable”, and I changed the WAN IP from DHCP to a free static IP on the same range. I did this on the WAN-2 interface, to be sure this is also supported:
After the reboot, the appliance took this new IP and everything was working fine, great!
But does that really solve my problem? Well, yes but only partially. Now, we can configure the MX static IP in the dashboard before deploying it. But then, the appliance still need to get this configuration. And the default WAN configuration is still in DHCP client mode.
A solution could be the customer or partner plug the WAN interface of the MX into his LAN, or into a residential internet access, like this the MX can get his configuration for the final installation. And then he connects the MX WAN interface to the right internet access. This is not perfect, but it works.
Note: I made these tests with a MX65 using MX 12.26 firmware upgraded to MX 13.28.
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2 Thoughts to “Cisco Meraki MX Static IP assignment via Dashboard”
I Use a 4g router in WAN 2. My techs install the MX and I’m offsite programming. When I see it online I then go in and program WAN 1 with the static IP and let them plug it into the ISP.
This is a very smart technique to avoid configuration errors from the tech on site and make the installation easier. Then, do you leave the 4G router in place, as a backup or for SD-WAN traffic, after the install?
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Configuration not updating?
Fairly new to Meraki, but I have an issue where the LAN IP config does not reflect changes I've made. For example it says the IP is assigned via DHCP but if you click the pencil icon to configure, I clearly have set a valid static IP assignment.
There have been some issues with updating configs on some devices lately. However, if you can make a different change and see it propagate down to the device, that is not the issue you're facing.
I have seen behavior similar to what you're describing when the device was unable to reach the Meraki cloud controller; their wireless and switching lines will automatically fall back on DHCP on any VLAN they can see to reach the cloud, and will display a yellow status on the Dashboard.
The other troubleshooting step is a reset on the hardware. Hold the reset button for 10 seconds (this may have changed; it's been about a year since I had to do this) and it should wipe the local config and format the flash or something. I believe if you hold for 30s it does a full factory reset and has to download its custom signed firmware again. Support can walk you through this/answer any questions about the process.
I've had exactly this too when I set the VLAN on an access point, but at the switch that VLAN was set as native, so DHCP stopped working and the access point dropped offline. Changing the switch port to Access allowed this to be fixed - in my case removing the VLAN tagging from the access point, then switching the switch port back to trunk.
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A business plan is a written document describing your business and outlining its future. Business plans serve several purposes for those starting a new venture. They're often a first line of communication between your company and potential investors. Therefore, business plans provide, in one sense, the "first impression" of your business to potential investors. Additionally, business plans are often used to attract desired employees, create greater continuity with suppliers, and in many other situations that call for a succinct explanation of your company's identity and aspirations.
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Succinct Business Plan
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- Goal: create both interest among potential investors and opportunities to present a more detailed plan.
- What is the/are the needs of the customer?
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- What is your competitive advantage? (see our SWOT guide)
- Who is on your team?
- Financial overview
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Internal Business Plan: For startups and existing businesses
- Description: focuses primarily on business strategy--metrics, goals, forecasts, budgets, and review/revision process. Since the plan is for internal use, its not necessary to include the history of the company or information about the team.
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External Business Plan, or Standard Business Plan
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- Be detailed, polished, and well-formatted.
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- Legal structure
- Ownership information
- Mission Statement (optional)
How to do an initial assessment of your business
There are many ways to assess your business. In our view, however, all useful assessments include the following:
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- Helping customers file their taxes without help, providing transportation to individuals, etc.
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- Surveys, internal data, analysis, etc.
Break Even Analysis
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- There are additional financial considerations and financial plans to possibly include in this initial assessment (see the "contents of a business plan section" in this guide).
- Based on your thorough research, how many potential customers do you have?
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- What do you expect to be the rate of growth for each segment?
Contents of a Business Plan
Overview: Business plans should identify both the current strengths of a business and areas of opportunity or improvement.
Components of a Business plan
We recommend that each proposal have the following components:
This should include your name, title and contact information; the name of your company; the name of the person you are contacting.
Think of this section as the first impression of your plan, which is the first impression of your company. The summary should begin with your mission statement. Your mission statement needs to be well thought out.
Think of it as follows: how, in one or two sentences, would you describe your business? If a potential investor remembers nothing else, what core idea or concept do you want them to take away from your plan. The rest of the summary should provide a succinct overview of the highlights of the business plan and must be compelling enough to convince readers to continue reading.
- Overviews of the problem your business will address
- The solution it provides
- Target markets
- Financial highlights
- Funding requirements (if applicable)
- An overview of your team
Furthermore, your executive summary should be written as a stand alone document. In other words, a reader should be able to understand the summary and your company without having to consult other sections of the plan.
Recommendation: write your executive summary last, after you complete the rest of your business plan. Doing so will give you a better sense of what to highlight in your summary.
Executing Your Business Plan
Every business plan is unique; therefore, the execution of each plan is also unique. It is therefore imperative that you have a general understanding of how you will execute your specific business. Doing so will help you identify the important questions, and subsequently craft answers for potential investors. The biggest of which being how are you going to make your business work? With that in mind, there are multiple elements to the implementation of virtually all business plans.
Marketing & Sales
- How will you reach your target audience?
- How will you present your company to customers?
- How do you want them to think of the goods you sell or services you offer in relation to competitors? (e.g. price).
- How will you cover your costs?
- What is the market rate for your goods and/or services?
- Where are your profit centers?
- Upfront charges, maintenance or contracts over time?
Summary of your Business' Key Elements
1. products and services.
This should include further detail about the problem you are solving, how your products or services do so, your competitive advantage in the market, etc.
2. Target Market
Who are your customers? This is essential to crafting your sales processes and marketing campaigns.
3. Marketing Plan
How are you going to market to your target audience?
4. Milestones & Metrics
What are your short term and long term goals? When do you plan on hitting those targets? Who on your team is responsible for each of those goals? How will you track growth and measure success?
Metrics are different for each business. Common metrics include:
- Number of leads generated
- Bounce rate
Since internal business plans will only circulate within your company, this section is only necessary for standard/external business plans. It should include short biographies of each team member that details how they are uniquely qualified for their position.
Profit and loss statement.
Details how your business will earn profits or lose money over time (generally three months).
- Revenue and sales
- Cost of goods sold (COGS)
- Gross margin = revenue - COGS (if applicable)
- Calculated by subtracting your operating expenses (costs associated with running the business) from your gross margin
- Calculated by subtracting interest, taxes, depreciation amortization expenses from operating income
Cash Flow Statement
How much cash is brought in and paid out? What is the cash balance (generally per 1 month)?
Cash vs Accrual Accounting: the two methods of accounting
- Whereby you account for sales/expenses as they happen without matching expenses to a specific sale.
- Whereby you account for sales/expenses at the same time (waiting to account until you started delivering the product).
Snapshot of the business' financial position at a specific moment in time.
- How much money are you owed
- How much do you owe?
The following equation should balance out: Liabilities + Equity = Assets.
How much do you anticipate you will sell in a certain period of time (1-3 years)?
You should provide answers to the following questions:
- How many new customers do you anticipate acquiring?
- How much will they be charged and how often?
How much revenue do you need to generate in order to break even and cover all of your expenses?
In addition to the main document, you should provide an appendix containing resumes, personal financial statements, credit reports, lease copies, and reference letters for every major player in your startup, as well as copies of contracts, other legal documents and any other pertinent documents, at the end of your business plan.
Tips for Writing a Business Plan
1. Keep it concise 2. Keep your reader in mind 3. Make sure the language, prose, and jargon is easy for your target audience to understand
Needs Analysis: What evidence do you have that your target community needs the services your non-profit will provide? Alternatively, are there existing organizations offering similar services? How is your non-profit different from similar organizations, or how does it address an unfulfilled need in your target community?
Outline for a Business Plan for Non-Profits
- Executive Summary: Mission of the non profit.
- Products and Services: What impact will your nonprofit have? Who's lives and what communities does it aim to improve? What projects have you completed? Which ones are underway? What are your plans for future projects? What are your organization's strengths? What opportunities do you see?
- Market Analysis: This is different than a conventional business. For a nonprofit, your analysis might, for example, focus on target donors.
- Future forecast questions: How would you spend or invest surplus donations? What will you do with too few donations? How is money dispersed within the organization, i.e. to different programs and departments?
A business plan is an essential part of getting your business off the ground. It is also an important tool for existing businesses to map out their future, optimize performance and manage growth. Well-executed business plans serve as a go-to guide detailing your business, its identity, its offerings, its financial status, and its path forward. They offer a quick but thorough introduction to potential investors, employees and anyone else looking to quickly get up to speed about your company. Effective business plans can mean the difference between whether or not your business attracts the capital and talent it needs to thrive, or whether an existing business is able to reach its full potential. We hope this guide is an asset in producing the best business plan possible.
What is SWOT?
SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats.
SWOT analysis is a methodological tool designed to help workers and companies optimize performance, maximize potential, manage competition, and minimize risk. SWOT is about making better decisions, both large and small. It can help you determine the efficacy of something as small as introducing a new product or service or something as large as a merger or acquisition. Again, SWOT is a method that, once mastered, can only enhance performance.
The Essential Guide to SWOT Analysis is a well-researched, well-written, and well-rounded guide co-authored by Justin Gomer and Jackson Hille.
Who Should Use This Guide?
Because SWOT is a method, anyone can use it for any business purpose, large or small. Whether you are a large team in a Fortune 500 Company assessing the utility of a USP, or an individual worker taking stock of your current or future position/role, this guide will serve as a useful tool.
Why Use This Guide?
Your company is at risk! At risk of immobility, that is. Stasis is the enemy of any business. SWOT analysis is the antidote for stasis. This guide offers a comprehensive introduction to SWOT.
This guide is easy to read, concise, and driven by examples. More importantly, it is informed by extensive research on SWOT in leading business journals and magazines.
How To Use This Guide?
We designed this guide to work from all angles and for people with different levels of familiarity with SWOT.
For newcomers to the method, we suggest you read the guide start to finish, in order to familiarize yourself with SWOT's history and applicability.
For SWOT experts, while we think it is always helpful to review the basics, scroll down to the sections on which you need more information, maybe sections specific to your type of organization (e.g. non-profit). Maybe you just want to check out our SWOT Matrix Templates. We encourage you to jump around as you wish!
- EXPLORE THE CONTENTS
- 1 A Brief History of SWOT
- 2 Why and When to Conduct a SWOT Analysis
- 3 S.W.O.T. - Breaking Down the Components of SWOT
- 4 Putting Your SWOT into Action
- 5 Examples - Successful & Unsuccessful SWOT Analyses
- 6 From SWOT to TOWS? Flipping The Script For Better Results
- 7 SWOT Templates
- 8 Further Reading
A Brief History of SWOT
SWOT Analysis was the product of a decade of research at the Stanford Research Institute between 1960-1970. By the late-1950s, many American Corporations had grown frustrated that their significant financial investments in strategic business planning had failed to produce acceptable results. So, in 1960 a number of these corporations initiated a project at Stanford to develop a better method for strategic planning. The result was SWOT.
Conducting a SWOT Analysis
When to Conduct a SWOT Analysis
When should you conduct a SWOT analysis? There are countless situations in which a SWOT analysis will prove beneficial.
- Do you want to explore the efficacy of a new venture, product, acquisition, or merger?
- Are you interested in identifying solutions to address a particular problem in your business?
- Do you need to re-evaluate a particular strategy mid-course?
- Does your business have a large amount of surplus cash and needs to figure out how to invest the funds?
- Alternatively, if you are a non-profit, or governmental institution, have you received a large grant, donation, or increase in funding, and need to decide how to invest the capital?
- Have a number of new competitors entered your market? Does your company need to re-assess how to move forward within your business nexus?
- Does your company want to identify its central brand message or social mission?
If any of these questions speak to your organization's needs, a SWOT analysis can significantly help.
Ultimately, if it is beneficial to re-examine your position within your market niche (Weaknesses, Threats from competitors) and identify your core benefits (Strengths) and determine how those can open new areas of growth (Opportunities), a SWOT Analysis will prove an asset.
Why Conduct a SWOT Analysis?
Why SWOT it out? A SWOT analysis provides organizations with an opportunity to accurately assess their position in their particular market or field. As the Kansas University Work Group For Community Health And Development writes, "Developing a full awareness of your situation can help with both strategic planning and decision-making."
A SWOT analysis, which offers "simplicity and application to a variety of levels of operation," is an ideal way to develop such awareness, which can then be used to craft a sound strategy that capitalizes on an organization's internal strengths and external opportunities, while simultaneously addressing (internal) weaknesses and (external) threats. Moreover, although "originally developed for business and industry," SWOT Analysis "is equally useful in the work of community health and development, education, and even personal growth."
S.W.O.T. - Breaking Down the Components of SWOT
Once you've identified the subject of your SWOT analysis, it is time to begin. SWOT consists of four components--Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These four components are organized into two categories--internal and external. That is, look internally for Strengths and Weaknesses, and look externally for Opportunities and Threats.
Once you've identified the subject of your analysis (e.g. should we add x product to our lineup?), it is time to identify your strengths. Quality and reliability, for example, should always be strengths for any organization. More specifically, Charlie Ioannou defines strengths as "the resources and capabilities that can be used to develop a competitive advantage" (Ioannue, SWOT Analysis - An Easy to Understand Guide, 47-49).
This brings us to perhaps the most important aspect of the Strengths assessment: it is imperative that you analyze your strengths(and weaknesses) in relation to your competitors. In other words, what are the unique features of your company--a well-established company with established brand trust, lower production costs, superior customer service, stronger web presence, etc.--that will provide a competitive advantage? Identify those and you've identified your strengths.
Now identify your weaknesses. The more honest you are here the better. One way to think of weakness is the absence of strength. Therefore, the items of your business model you did not identify as strengths above are the first place to look for weaknesses. Cash flow, brand recognition, marketing budgets, distribution networks, age of your company, etc. are all places to consider when assessing weaknesses. The idea here is that you'll turn these weaknesses into strengths. Doing so, however, requires an honest assessment of where your company needs to improve.
Now that you've looked internally for Strengths and Weaknesses, its time to look externally for Opportunities and Threats. Opportunities and Threats interact similarly to Strengths and Weaknesses. That is, they draw on similar dynamics (external ones, in this case) to assess whether those create opportunities or threats to your business.
Here is where you identify the opportunities for growth, greater profit, and larger market share. Again, assessing opportunity in relation to competition is imperative. What opportunities are there for you to distinguish your company from your competitors? What opportunities can you identify to offer a similar service or product at a higher quality or at a lower price than your competition? What are the needs of your customers that your field does not currently address?
Technology is an external factor that always presents new opportunities and, as we shall see, new threats. What technological innovations open up new opportunities for your business to lower costs, speed up production, market more effectively, or improve customer service?
The key with Opportunities is that they must be acted on. Remember, if you don't act your competitors will.
Lastly, in which areas is your company at risk? Is your competitor developing a product to compete with one of yours? Is there a new or bigger company poaching your best employees? These are all threats to your business.
The Harvard Business Reviews defines "Threats" as "possible events or forces outside of your control that your company or unit needs to plan for or decide how to mitigate."
What about new legislation? Does a new law or proposed law threaten your production costs? What about new tax laws? A yes to any of these equals a threat.
Lastly, just as technological innovation may provide an opportunity, it can also issue a threat.
Threats to the business now include lawsuits over insurance liability, legislation proposing banning the service, and higher profit-margins at competing companies.
Putting Your SWOT into Action
Choosing an action plan after a SWOT analysis is a complicated process that is specific to each decision in each company. However, there is a general philosophy regarding how to approach action with the results of a SWOT. Here it is:
Another important thing to remember is that the purpose of a SWOT analysis is to assess your organization's current position. Therefore, as the University of Kansas encourages, use your SWOT to look for a "stretch," not just a "fit." SWOT's are often improperly used to justify complacency and verify current practices. If you are conducting a SWOT to identify areas of need and/or growth, it is imperative you use the analysis to diagnose where you can "stretch."
SWOT Examples From Various Industries
Below are descriptions of and links to a series of SWOT analyses in a variety of industries to help get you started:
- SWOT Analysis for Uber 1
- SWOT Analysis for Uber 2
We drew from the first in our example above. The second, is driven by the following questions: "Is Uber prepared to rule the transport world in 2015?." What does Uber's future look like? "Should they expand further without decreasing the impact of weaknesses that they are already aware of or will Uber's expansion be held up by surrounding threats?"
Uber's low cost, unlimited fleet of cars, convenience of use and flexibility of driver schedule are some of its key strengths. Its unpredictable customer volume and the ease of imitation make up central weaknesses. That Uber's services are only offered in a handful of metropolitan areas provides significant opportunities in suburbs and untapped cities. Lawsuits and proposed legislation to ban the service in certain cities, moreover, comprise Uber's most serious threats.
Here are two SWOTs from major film companies. In the first, Warner Brothers Entertainment conducted this SWOT in 2004 after their President decided to re-evaluate the company's approach to movie production in light of the popularity of big-budget "blockbusters."
Warner Brother's brand recognition, size, and cash reserves were obvious strengths, while the fluid and subjective process of purchasing scripts and green-lighting films, as well as unpredictable film budgets and production timelines made up key weaknesses. Growing audiences abroad provided the most significant opportunity, while upstart film companies and piracy posed significant threats.
In the second example, DreamWorks Animation explores distribution options in light of the popularity of the company's 3D films. Written against the backdrop of the Great Recession, the SWOT Analysis focused on whether the opportunities presented by producing all films in 3D from inception could counteract the threats of a general economic downturn, which was depressing overall box office receipts. DreamWorks had the ability to take advantage of the opportunity in 3D film production because of its two central strengths: a large animated film inventory, such as the Shrek franchise, and an attractive work environment for creatives. Capitalizing on the expanding opportunity of the 3D film market in a successful manner would allow DreamWorks to overcome at least one of its main weaknesses: a sinking stock price, precipitated by the downturn at the box office.
- SWOT Analysis for Warner Brothers Entertainment PDF
- SWOT Analysis for DreamWorks
Yahoo! Sports columnist Glenn Logan completed this SWOT analysis of the University of Kentucky's Men's Basketball Team at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 pre-season in order to assess the team's chances to win the NCAA National Title.
As Logan assessed, Kentucky's size, depth, and unselfish play were its biggest strengths while free-throw and 3-point shooting some of its greatest weaknesses. Surveying the rest of the NCAA landscape, Logan concluded UK's tough out-of-conference schedule along with its international pre-season tournament trip afforded unique opportunities to gain useful experience for a deep run in March, while youth and injury posed their largest threats.
- Kentucky Basketball: A SWOT Analysis Post-Bahamas
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission posted a SWOT worksheet in advance of a Webinar on their Open Government program. In this case, SWOT provided an opportunity for employees to brainstorm and prepare their assessments of the program in advance of the more thorough evaluation of the Open Government at the Webinar.
For the NRC's Open Government program, the live feeds of meetings and blog casts create transparency and accessibility for viewers and employees. In terms of weaknesses, the somewhat convoluted website made it difficult to find certain information. Employees identified social media--Twitter, Facebook, etc.--as areas of opportunity and the difficulty of balancing transparency while maintaining full public confidence as a significant threat.
- SWOT Analysis Worksheet Preliminary Input for the Open Governement Stakeholder Feedback Meeting PDF
Lastly, here are two examples of SWOTs for small businesses. The first example discusses the restaurant business and the second the construction industry, While these examples do not refer to specific companies, they nonetheless offer insightful information on the specifics of SWOTs in their respective industries.
For a restaurant, high-quality food, price, taste, and customer service are all areas to look for strengths. These areas can also reveal weaknesses. Could your customer service improve? Are your prices competitive? Is your food delicious? Adding online ordering or delivery service may provide an opportunity to generate new business, while new competing restaurants and changes to the cost of food (e.g. a rise in the price of fish) pose areas of threat.
In construction, a trusted and reliable brand name as well as a consistent ability to complete work on schedule are major strengths. Conversely, delays or the inability to perform certain work are weaknesses. In terms of new opportunities, consider examining your city's plans to expand public transportation and how such an expansion provides new opportunity for business and residential construction. As the housing bubble demonstrated, fluctuations in the housing market pose the biggest threat (or opportunity in times of economic boom).
- Sample of a SWOT Analysis for a Restaurant
- SWOT Analysis Tools for Construction Companies
From SWOT to TOWS? Flipping The Script To Maximize Results
Are we SWOTing all wrong? There is a school of thought, found often in the Harvard Business Review, for example,that insists this method produces more effective results when done backwards--TOWS rather than SWOT. Here's Michael Watkins, cofounder of Genesis Advisors, in HBR:
I would introduce the [SWOT] tool, then ask the team to focus on identifying organizational strengths and weaknesses, and end up in abstract, navel-gazing discussions about "what are we good at" and "what are we bad at."
I decided to experiment with running the process in the reverse order and was amazed at the difference. Teams were able to have focused, productive discussions about what was going on in the external environment, and to rapidly identify emerging threats and opportunities. This provided a solid foundation for talking about weaknesses and strengths. Do we have weaknesses that leave us vulnerable to emerging threats? Do we have (or can we acquire) strengths that enable us to pursue emerging opportunities?
We suggest you experiment with both. Try it frontwards and backwards and figure out which results work best for your team.
We can help you get started. Select a template below and begin analyzing your business.
Fine, Lawrence.The SWOT Analysis. (2011)
Ioannou, Charlie. SWOT Analysis: An Easy to Understand Guide. (2012)
SWOT Analysis I: Looking Outside for Threats and Opportunities. Harvard Business School Press.(2005)
SWOT Analysis II: Looking Inside for Strengths and Weaknesses. Harvard Business School Press.(2005)
FormSwift is proud to present the centerpiece of our business resources. This SWOT Analysis Guide is the centerpiece of our free business documents. It presents a comprehensive solution to your business challenges. Our SWOT Analysis Guide is one of the many excellent ways that FormSwift provides value to the business community. Whether you're ready to find the job of your dreams or you're looking for ways to minimize your business risk , FormSwift can help.
Highlights & SWOT Samples
Ultimately, if it is beneficial to:
- Re-examine your position within your market niche (Weaknesses, Threats from competitors)
- Identify your core benefits (Strengths)
- Determine how those can open new areas of growth (Opportunities)
a SWOT Analysis will prove an asset.
Although "originally developed for business and industry," SWOT Analysis "is equally useful in the work of community health and development, education, and even personal growth."
Along the way, we'll create a sample SWOT analysis for an app-based taxi service by providing examples of what such a company might include in each section.
- The app-based method to hire a ride and cashless payment system are remarkably convenient.
- No full-time drivers and no dispatchers keeps cost low.
- Because drivers provide their own vehicles, company has an unlimited fleet of cars that they do not have to pay to maintain.
- Drivers have total control of their work schedule.
- Business model is easily imitated.
- Using GPS to track customers and drivers creates privacy concerns.
- Customer volume is often unpredictable and fluctuates significantly.
- Because company has no relationship with its drivers, loyalty between employee and employer is low.
For the next two examples, we are going to step back to the inception of app-based taxi companies.
With this in mind, consider the impact of companies like Uber or Lyft on traditional taxi businesses. Leveraging app-based technology proved a serious opportunity for the former to enter the taxi market.
Current opportunities include untapped markets (companies like Uber only operate in a handful of cities) and additional transportation services (e.g. a Lyft school bus?!)
Just as new mobile technology afforded a significant opportunity for new taxi companies like Uber and Lyft, it simultaneously posed a serious threat to existing cab companies who could not incorporate the technology.
Restaurant: Adding online ordering or delivery service may provide an opportunity to generate new business, while new competing restaurants and changes to the cost of food (e.g. a rise in the price of fish) pose areas of threat.
Construction: In terms of new opportunities, consider examining your city's plans to expand public transportation and how such an expansion provides new opportunity for business and residential construction.
Let's return to our Uber/Lyft example. The entire existence of app-based taxi services arose out of the Threat new mobile technology posed to traditional taxi companies. Had one of those companies identified the Threat far enough in advance, they could have seen that a taxi-app actually provided their business with an Opportunity for customers to more efficiently and conveniently hail a cab.
Once that Threat was translated into an Opportunity for a particular cab company, they could have assessed the Weaknesses in their company that left them vulnerable to the emerging Threat (i.e. the lack of technological investment or infrastructure to develop a similar app), and strategized how to address those weaknesses and capitalize on their Strengths (i.e. full-time experienced drivers, well-established driving infrastructure, etc.) to stay at the forefront of the taxi business
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500+ Free business plan examples
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Example business plan format
Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:
- Executive summary
The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.
Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).
Products & services
The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and how your product or service fits into the existing competitive landscape.
Describe the problem you're solving, how your offering solves the problem, and who your potential competitors are. You'll want to outline your competitive advantages and the milestones you have in mind to successfully start and grow your business.
Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.
Marketing & sales
The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.
Organization & management
Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure, location, and history if you're already up and running.
Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.
Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.
The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or our-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.
Types of business plans explained
While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.
Traditional business plan
The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.
Business model canvas
The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.
The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.
One-page business plan
The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.
By starting with a one-page plan, you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.
The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance.
It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27-minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a full plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of Lean Planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the Lean Planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.
It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.
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Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2022.
This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.
How to use an example business plan to help you write your own
How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.
Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company
You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.
For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.
Use a business plan example as a guide
Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.
One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.
You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition ), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.
If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, this guide on how to write a business plan is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan .
Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document
Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.
Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool
Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.
If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.
Prepare to pitch your business
If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.
Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.
With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.
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With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .
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How to make a compelling business plan presentation (plus free templates)
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or have an idea for a new revenue stream within an existing corporation, you’re going to need a business plan .
A business plan is your route to securing investment and funding. It’s also a useful tool for you , clarifying what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it in high-def detail.
When it comes to persuading potential investors and stakeholders, you’ll need to condense your business plan into a business plan presentation. This will form a key part of your pitch.
(Cue long nights of stress and worry as you wonder what exactly you need to include to convince an audience that your business idea is destined for success — and worthy of their hard-earned cash.)
Great business plan presentations combine a brilliant business concept, data that proves potential and creative, clever slide design.
The first two are down to you. But luckily, we can teach you all the design tricks you need to achieve the latter. Bring those key components together and you boost your chances of getting the investment or stakeholder approval you need to pursue your ambitions.
Read on to learn what great design can do for you and how you can incorporate it into each of the essential business plan slides you’ll want to include in your presentation.
What exactly is a business plan presentation?
Why is design so important for your business plan presentation, the slides you have to include in your business plan presentation, cover / title slide, the problem, your business solution, competitors.
- Business model
Use of funds
Already feeling the pressure start with a free template, 10 free templates for your business plan presentation.
A business plan presentation forms part of your investment pitch. It’s a summary of all the information included in your (probably very lengthy) business plan document.
Whilst the document dives deep into business details, your business plan presentation provides an overview (with you on hand to flesh things out a little).
It should tell an audience about your business and the products or services it offers. It has to detail where you’re planning to take your business and how you’re planning to get there.
A business plan presentation should also outline those all-important figures; what will you do with investment and what do investors or stakeholders stand to gain?
That’s a lot to fit onto just a few slides! But — as we’ll discover — it’s important to communicate your business ideas as clearly and concisely as you possibly can .
Whilst you have to know your entire business plan inside out (and be prepared to expand on points if investors and stakeholders have questions), the presentation is an opportunity to highlight need-to-know informational nuggets.
Aim to give investors just enough info to spark their interest and see your potential, without overloading them with the finer details.
A good business plan presentation is all about the facts and figures, right?
Let’s be honest. You won’t get very far without a great business idea and numbers proving its profitability. But forgetting about business plan presentation design is a huge mistake.
Bad design can hamper your message and investors’ confidence in your abilities . A visually confused presentation can’t help but leave a bad impression.
Good presentation design, on the other hand, can help you to communicate your ideas more effectively. It will help you to maximize the potential of every slide, saying more without cramming in tons of text.
It will also help you to engage your audience from the very start.
Some investors sit through lots of pitch presentations. Yours should grab their attention. It should assure them of your professionalism and capability. And it should stick in their memory for all the right reasons.
Good presentation design can help you to achieve all of the above.
The perfect business plan presentation should fit into 10 slides — 20 at the absolute most. It should take no longer than 20 minutes to deliver . But, what should be included? Here, we’ve listed the key contents that investors care about the most:
Also, if you’re pitching to a number of different groups, you may want to adapt your presentation as you go, adding in slides in response to commonly asked investor questions.
But start by keeping things short , sweet and digestible as per the structure below. And don’t forget to maximize the potential of each business plan slide by giving careful thought to design.
Cover slides are too often an afterthought. But this first slide has so much potential.
Your cover slide is your first impression. And — as we know — first impressions count. Especially when you have limited time in which to convey what you and your business are all about.
A cover page should include your company logo and (if you have one) your slogan. It should also feature a title that summarizes your offering.
This slide won’t be information-heavy, but with the right design it can communicate a lot about you and your business.
How good slide design can help:
Cover slide design sets the scene. It’s an introduction to you — a professional who takes every aspect of their business very seriously. And it should hook your audience from the very start.
Pick a visually appealing font and layout. Start with a cohesive design you can stick to for the rest of the presentation.
Corporate presentations in blue tones have been seen many, many times before. So when it comes to colors, try to stand out from the crowd. Pick strong but complementary shades, without going too garish or OTT.
Also, go big and emotional with images. Images provoke an emotional reaction in an audience that just isn’t possible with text alone.
So give center stage to an image that reflects what your business wants to achieve for its customers. You’ll draw your audience in with design, ready to hit them with business plan facts and figures.
What problem will your business solve? An audience needs to understand the full extent of this problem before you tell them how you plan to solve it.
So use this slide to explain why this pain point exists, how many people experience it and what it feels like to experience it.
Facts will convince your audience whilst good storytelling will appeal to their emotions too.
Color here is really important. With it, you can associate your brand with the solution rather than the problem.
Pick a color that contrasts with those used in your business branding. Then use this color to present the problem.
If you’re struggling to pick the right contrast, take a look at the color wheel . Find your primary brand color. Then pick a contrast in the other half of the wheel, avoiding the one directly opposite.
When presenting figures, pick three or four impactful numbers and put them in a BIG font. You’ll surprise your audience with both the content and appearance of your slide, emphasizing the size of the problem in the process.
Your audience understands the problem. Now it’s time to tell them the solution you envisage.
Keeping things simple will create more impact. Diagrams, sketches or just a single sentence will make your solution digestible and memorable.
Back to brand colors with this slide! This will create a link between your brand and the ingenious solution in the mind of your audience.
Creating the right emotion is also really important here. Get your audience to feel something and your solution is much more likely to stick in their memory.
Color and image are key to emotional design . They provoke immediate and largely subconscious responses in an audience. So think carefully about the visuals you include on this slide.
As human beings, we’re instantly drawn to faces. So you could use photos of people looking happy and content along with a calming color scheme to communicate a sense of positivity.
Do it right and your audience will associate those feelings with your brand and your solution.
Your idea might sound great. But unless you have proof that your proposed market is actually interested in it, you won’t convince investors.
Use this slide to describe your market and your business niche within it. Give evidence of customer interest in your product and service, providing data that demonstrates the market size and potential growth too.
Video is a great way to showcase the opinions of your prospective customer base. So embed some short and snappy video interviews into your slide. Plus, it will give you a break from doing all the talking too!
When it comes to showing market data, take some time to think about your chart design. All charts should fit with the color scheme of your business plan presentation. Leaving your charts unedited is amateurish and a huge design no-no.
Also consider what exactly it is you’re trying to say with this data. You can then use color along with other data storytelling techniques to really highlight the important numbers and keep an audience’s attention where you want it.
Who are you up against when it comes to solving this problem and winning over your prospective customers?
Your investors will want to know all about your competition and what you plan to do differently. This slide should show how your customers are currently handling the problem you plan to solve and how alternative solutions compare with yours.
You can be a little sneaky with this slide. Use design to show your competitors in a less favorable light than your own brand.
That could mean displaying their logos in black and white and yours in full color. If you’re using a competitive matrix chart, you could use the most appealing color to represent your company.
And if you want to show screenshots or images of competitor products, opt for the least attractive ones you can find, remembering all the while that your competitors will be doing exactly the same thing to you one day!
The business model
This is where you tell your investors just how you are going to make money — and grow theirs in the process. Solid numbers are the only way to win your audience over.
You should show the cost of customer acquisition and their lifetime value. Financial projections for the years to come, featuring cash flow, burn rate and break-even point are another essential.
Also be clear on what your investors stand to gain and when they can cash out. They’ll only ever be interested in your product and how it helps your audience if it also boosts their bottom line.
This is one slide where balancing depth of content and audience engagement is really important — and a little bit tricky.
There’s probably lots of info you want to communicate to your audience at this point. Try to keep it simple (but not so simple that your investors don’t have enough data to go off).
This means making the most of every chart. Play around with different charts until you find one that displays your data as simply as possible. Your audience should be able to process the figures at a glance.
And don’t forget to customize! Highlights, color and great data storytelling will help you to convey your numbers clearly and legibly.
What is the business but the team behind it? Investors often want to get a sense of the great minds running your brand.
This slide is an opportunity to introduce them to the management team (and give a sense of their competence and dedication to the task at hand).
Provide brief bios (no life stories here please!) and work to paint a picture of expertise in as little time as possible.
Concise bios and professional headshots are a must. If possible, take photos of team members in the same session so lighting and location are consistent.
Professional photography gear isn’t essential. Smartphone cameras have pretty good capabilities these days.
But, whatever you do, don’t leave it to the last minute. You’ll end up with the pics your team have had on their Twitter profile since 2014, which definitely won’t fill your investors with the required confidence.
So, your investors are prepared to cough up the cash you’re looking for. How much do you need and what will you do with it?
This slide is a place to list your goals, and demonstrate how you’ll reach profitability (or a next round of funding) with the money your investors are putting up.
Remember earlier, when we talked about emphasizing the size of the problem faced by your market by putting figures in a BIG FONT?
Don’t scare your investors by doing the same thing here!
When you’re asking for money, keep fonts to a reasonable size. Also use calming colors, avoiding exciting reds and yellows wherever possible. You don’t want heart rates racing at the sight of those dollar signs.
Logically presenting your goals is important too. The more logical your layout, the more manageable and realistic your goals will seem.
Try presenting your goals in columns, rather than in bullet points. And then use icons to illustrate your points and reinforce your message.
Find here more really useful info on avoiding dreaded bullet points in presentations .
Just like your title slide, your conclusion should be given the same thought and attention as all the rest. End on a high note with a short but inspirational recap .
And don’t forget your contact details too!
We’d recommend fading to a dark slide background here. That way, all attention focuses on you.
With a simple, minimalist slide design, you and your closing statements take center stage. Pick the right words and this style of presentation conclusion can leave a lasting impact on your audience.
Getting ready to pitch your business idea to investors is stressful enough, without having to worry about presentation design.
If visuals aren’t your forte, leave it to the graphic design experts at Slides Carnival and choose from one of our free business plan templates .
These templates all include a business timeline, roadmap, SWOT analysis, competitor analysis and lots of other really useful business plan key elements and visuals. Use them to add credibility to your content and convince investors and stakeholders that you’re a risk worth taking.
Subtle Bevel Presentation Template
Upward Arrows Presentation Template
Technology Pixels Presentation Template
Business Geometric Presentation Template
Clean Corporate Presentation Template
Tech Illustrated Presentation Template
Diverse People Presentation Template
Modern Corporate Presentation Template
Blue Corporate Presentation Template
Cool Circles Presentation Template
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Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or just beginning to think about starting a business , demands come at you fast. Amidst the rush of to-do lists and meetings, determining how to write a business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels time-consuming and intimidating.
But nearly 70% of business owners who have been there and done that recommend writing a business plan before you start a business, according to a recent QuickBooks survey . After all, when done right, business plans have enormous payoffs.
And yet, more than 10% of prospective business owners said they do not intend to write a business plan. Another 10% aren’t sure if they need a plan.
It’s more than the old cliche: A failure to plan is a plan to fail. In fact, a wealth of data now exists on the difference a written business plan makes, especially for small or growing companies.
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to write a successful business plan, step-by-step, and turn your idea into a reality. Even better, if you’re pressed for time, we’ve compiled the 10 steps and examples into a downloadable (PDF) template . The 10 steps to write a business plan are:
- Create an executive summary
- Compose your company description
- Summarize market research and potential
- Conduct competitive analysis
- Describe your product or service
- Develop a marketing and sales strategy
- Compile your business financials
- Describe your organization and management
- Explain your funding request
- Compile an appendix for official documents
But, first things first.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a comprehensive road map for your small business’s growth and development. It communicates who you are, what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it. It also helps you attract talent and investors.
But remember that a business idea or business concept is not a plan.
Investors want to know you have:
- Product-market fit: Have you done the research to determine the demand for your product or service?
- A solid team in place: Do you have the people you need to support your goals and objectives?
- Scalability: Can you grow sales volume without proportional growth in headcount and fixed costs?
A templated business plan gives investors a blueprint of what to expect from your company and tells them about you as an entrepreneur.
Why do you need a business plan?
You need a business plan because the majority of venture capitalists (VCs) and all banking institutions will not invest in a startup or small business without a solid, written plan. Not only does a business plan help you focus on concrete objectives, but it gives outside parties reassurance that you’ve thought ahead.
In 2018, entrepreneurial resource center Bplans worked with the University of Oregon to compile and analyze research around the benefits of business planning . Here’s what they found:
- Businesses with a business plan grow 30% faster than those without.
- Owners with business plans are twice as likely to grow, get investments, or secure loans than those without.
- Entrepreneurs with a business plan have a 129% increased likelihood of growing beyond the startup phase and a 260% increased likelihood of growing from “idea” to “new business.”
Perhaps the strongest evidence comes from the Journal of Business Venturing’s 2010 meta-analysis of 46 separate studies on 11,046 organizations: Its findings confirm that “business planning increases the performance of both new and established small firms.”
When do you need a business plan?
Before you leave a nine-to-five income, your business plan can tell you if you’re ready. Over the long term, it’ll keep you focused on what needs to be accomplished.
It’s also smart to write a business plan when you’re:
- Seeking funding, investments, or loans
- Searching for a new partner or co-founder
- Attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent
- Experiencing slow growth and need a change
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How to write a business plan in 10 steps
Start with a clear picture of the audience your plan will address. Is it a room full of angel investors? Your local bank’s venture funding department? Or is it you, your leaders, and your employees?
Defining your audience helps you determine the language you’ll need to propose your ideas as well as the depth to which you need to go to help readers conduct due diligence.
Now, let’s dive into the 10 key elements of your business plan.
1. Create an executive summary
Even though it appears first in the plan, write your executive summary last so you can condense essential ideas from the other nine sections. For now, leave it as a placeholder.
What is an executive summary?
The executive summary lays out all the vital information about your business within a relatively short space. An executive summary is typically one page or less. It’s a high-level look at everything and summarizes the other sections of your plan. In short, it’s an overview of your business.
How do I write an executive summary?
Below, you’ll find an example from a fictional business, Laura’s Landscapers. (We’ll use that same company throughout this guide to make each step practical and easy to replicate.)
This executive summary focuses on what’s often called the value proposition or unique selling point: an extended motto aimed at customers, investors, and employees.
You can follow a straightforward “problem, solution” format, or a fill-in-the-blanks framework:
- For [target customers]
- Who are dissatisfied with [current solutions]
- Our [product or service] solves [key customer problems]
- Unlike [competing product], we have [differentiating key features]
This framework isn’t meant to be rigid, but instead to serve as a jumping-off point.
Example of an executive summary
Market research indicates that an increasing number of wealthy consumers in Richmond are interested in landscape architecture based on sustainable design. However, high-end firms in the area are scarce. Currently, only two exist—neither of which focus on eco-friendly planning nor are certified by green organizations.
Laura’s Landscapers provides a premium, sustainable service for customers with disposable incomes, large yards, and a love of nature.
2. Compose your company description
Within a business plan, your company description contains three elements:
- Mission statement
These elements give context to the bigger picture in your business plan, letting investors know the purpose behind your company so the goals make sense as well.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is your business’s reason for existing. It’s more than what you do or what you sell, it’s about why exactly you do what you do. Effective mission statements should be:
- Inspirational to make others believe in your vision
- Emotional to captivate readers and grab their interest
Throughout every part of your plan, less is more. Nowhere is that truer than your mission statement. Think about what motivates you, what causes and experiences led you to start the business, the problems you solve, the wider social issues you care about, and more.
Tip: Review your mission statement often to make sure it matches your company’s purpose as it evolves. A statement that doesn’t fit your core values or what you actually do can undermine your marketing efforts and credibility.
How do you describe a company’s history?
Don’t worry about making your company history a dense narrative. Instead, write it like you would a profile:
- Founding date
- Major milestones
- Number of employees
- Executive leadership roles
- Flagship products or services
Then, translate that list into a few short paragraphs (like the example below).
Why do business objectives matter?
Business objectives give you clear goals to focus on, like the North Star. These goals must be SMART, which stands for:
They must also be tied to key results. When your objectives aren’t clearly defined, it’s hard for employees and team members to work toward a common purpose. What’s worse, fuzzy goals won’t inspire confidence from investors, nor will they have a profitable impact on your business.
Example of a company description
Laura’s Landscapers’ mission is to change the face of our city through sustainable landscaping and help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.
Founded in 2021 by sisters Laura and Raquel Smith, we have over 25 years of combined landscape architecture experience. Our four employees work in teams of two and have already completed 10 projects for some of Richmond’s most influential business and community leaders.
Our objectives over the next three years are to:
- Solidify a glowing reputation as a service-based business that always exceeds customers’ expectations and honors the environment
- Complete at least 18 projects during year one, 24 in year two, and 36 in year three generated through word of mouth, referrals, and home shows
- Increase revenue from $360,000 in FY2021 to $972,000 in FY2023 based upon 10 completed projects in the last nine months
3. Summarize market research and potential
The next step is to outline your ideal potential customer as well as the actual and potential size of your market. Target markets—also known as personas—identify demographic information like:
By getting specific, you’ll illustrate expertise and generate confidence. If your target market is too broad, it can be a red flag for investors.
- Example: If your product is perfect for people with money to hire landscape architects, listing “anyone with a garden” as your target market might not go over so well.
The same is true with your market analysis when you estimate its size and monetary value. In addition to big numbers that encompass the total market, drill down into your business’s addressable market—meaning, local numbers or numbers that apply the grand total to your specific segments. You may even map your customer’s journey to get a better understanding of their wants and needs.
Example of market research and potential
Laura’s Landscapers’ ideal customer is a wealthy baby boomer, a member of Gen X, or a millennial between the ages of 35 and 65 with a high disposable income. He or she—though primarily, she—is a homeowner. They’re a working professional or have recently retired. In love with the outdoors, they want to enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature in their own backyard, but don’t have the time or skill to do it for themselves.
Market research shows the opportunity for Laura’s Landscapers has never been better:
- In the U.S., total revenue for landscaping services increased from $69.8 billion in 2013 to $99 billion in 2019. ( 1 )
- Among landscaping contractors, designing and building is the second fastest growing service offering. ( 2 )
- What’s more, landscape design and construction is the number one “new service” existing companies plan to add over the next year. ( 3 )
In Richmond, leading indicators for interest in green, eco-friendly, and sustainable landscaping have all increased exponentially over the last five years:
- Online search volume for those terms is up 467%
- 10 new community organizations have been formed
- 73 high-profile projects have been covered by local media
- And currently 13% of Richmond’s residents have a household income of $125,000 or more (compared to the U.S. average of 5%)
4. Conduct competitive analysis
Competitive research begins with identifying other companies that currently sell in the market you’re looking to enter. The idea of carving out enough time to learn about every potential competitor you have may sound overwhelming, but it can be extremely useful.
Answer these additional questions after you’ve identified your most significant competitors:
- Where do they invest in advertising?
- What kind of press coverage do they get?
- How good is their customer service?
- What are their sales and pricing strategies?
- How do they rank on third-party rating platforms?
Spend some time thinking about what sets you apart. If your idea is truly novel, be prepared to explain the customer pain points you see your business solving. If your business doesn’t have any direct competition, research other companies that provide a similar product or service.
Next, create a table or spreadsheet listing your competitors to include in your plan, often referred to as a competitor analysis table.
Example of competitive analysis
Within Richmond’s residential landscaping market, there are only two high-end architectural competitors: (1) Yukie’s Yards and (2) Dante’s Landscape Design. All other businesses focus solely on either industrial projects or residential maintenance.
- Average cost per project: $12,000
- Ongoing maintenance fee: $200 per month
- Google My Business: 3.1 stars from 163 reviews
- Environmental certifications: None
- Primary marketing channels: Google Ads
Dante’s Landscape Design
- Average cost per project: $35,000
- Ongoing maintenance fee: $500 per month
- Google My Business: 3.7 stars from 57 reviews
- Primary marketing channels: Home shows
5. Describe your product or service
This section describes the benefits, production process, and life cycle of your products or services, and how what your business offers is better than your competitors.
When describing benefits, focus on:
- Unique features
- Translating features into benefits
- Emotional and practical payoffs to your customers
- Intellectual property rights or any patents that protect differentiation
For the production process, answer how you:
- Create existing and new products or services
- Source raw materials or components
- Assemble them through manufacturing
- Maintain quality control and quality assurance
- Receive and deliver them (supply chain logistics)
- Manage your daily operations, like bookkeeping and inventory
Within the product life cycle portion, map elements like:
- Time between purchases
- Up-sells, cross-sells, and down-sells
- Future plans for research and development
Example of product or service description
Laura’s Landscapers’ service—our competitive advantage—is differentiated by three core features.
First, throughout their careers, Laura and Raquel Smith have worked at and with Richmond’s three leading industrial landscaping firms. This gives us unique access to the residents who are most likely to use our service.
Second, we’re the only firm certified green by the Richmond Homeowners Association, the National Preservation Society, and Business Leaders for Greener Richmond.
Third, of our 10 completed projects, seven have rated us a 5 out of 5 on Google My Business and our price points for those projects place us in a healthy middle ground between our two other competitors.
- Average cost per project: $20,000
- Ongoing maintenance fee: $250 per month
- Google My Business: 5 stars from 7 reviews
- Environmental certifications: Three (see Appendix)
- Primary marketing channels: Word of mouth, referrals, and home shows
6. Develop a marketing and sales strategy
Your marketing strategy or marketing plan can be the difference between selling so much that growth explodes or getting no business at all. Growth strategies are a critical part of your business plan.
You should briefly reiterate topics such as your:
- Value proposition
- Ideal target markets
- Existing customer segments
Then, add your:
- Launch plan to attract new business
- Growth tactics for established businesses to expand
- Retention strategies like customer loyalty or referral programs
- Advertising and promotion channels such as search engines, social media, print, television, YouTube, and word of mouth
You can also use this section of your business plan to reinforce your strengths and what differentiates you from the competition. Be sure to show what you’ve already done, what you plan to do given your existing resources, and what results you expect from your efforts.
Example of marketing and sales strategy
Laura’s Landscapers’ marketing and sales strategy will leverage, in order of importance:
- Word of mouth
- Reviews and ratings
- Local Google Ads
- Social media
- Direct mail
Reputation is the number one purchase influencer in high-end landscape design. As such, channels 1-4 will continue to be our top priority.
Our social media strategy will involve YouTube videos of the design process as well as multiple Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards showcasing professional photography. Lastly, our direct mail campaigns will send carbon-neutral, glossy brochures to houses in wealthy neighborhoods.
7. Compile your business financials
If you’re just starting out, your business may not yet have financial data , financial statements, or comprehensive reporting. However, you’ll still need to prepare a budget and a financial plan.
If your company has been around for a while and you’re seeking investors, be sure to include:
- Income statements
- Profit and loss statements
- Cash flow statements
- Balance sheets
Other figures that can be included are:
- How much of your revenue you retain as your net income
- Your ratio of liquidity to debt repayment ability
- How often you collect on your invoices
Ideally, you should provide at least three years’ worth of reporting. Make sure your figures are accurate and don’t provide any profit or loss projections before carefully going over your past statements for justification.
Avoid underestimating business costs
Costs, profit margins, and sale prices are closely linked, and many business owners set sale prices without accounting for all costs. New business owners are particularly at risk for this mistake. The cost of your product or service must include all of your costs, including overhead. If it doesn’t, you can’t determine a sale price to generate the profit level you desire.
Underestimating costs can catch you off guard and eat away at your business over time.
- Example: Insurance premiums tend to go up annually for most forms of coverage, and that’s especially true with business insurance. If an employee gets injured, Laura’s Landscapers’ workmen’s compensation insurance to cover this risk will increase.
Example of business financials
Given the high degree of specificity required to accurately represent your business’s financials, rather than create a fictional line item example for Laura’s Landscapers, we suggest using one of our free Excel templates and entering your own data:
- For new businesses: Start up budget template
- For existing businesses: Income statement template
Once you’ve completed either one, then create a big picture representation to include here as well as in your objectives in step two.
In the case of Laura’s Landscapers, this big picture would involve steadily increasing the number of annual projects and cost per project to offset lower margins:
Current revenue for FY2022: $200,000
- 10 completed projects
- ~$20,000 per project
- 15% profit margins
- $30,000 net
FY2022 projections: $360,000
- 18 completed projects
- $54,000 net
FY2023 projections: $552,000
- 24 completed projects
- ~$23,000 per project
- 12% profit margins
- $66,240 net
FY2024 projections: $972,000
- 36 completed projects
- ~$27,000 per project
- 10% profit margins
- $97,200 net
8. Describe your organization and management
Your business is only as good as the team that runs it. Identify your team members and explain why they can either turn your business idea into a reality or continue to grow it. Highlight expertise and qualifications throughout —this section of your business plan should show off your management team superstars.
You should also note:
- Roles you still need to hire to grow your company
- The cost of hiring experts to assist operations
To make informed business decisions, you may need to budget for a bookkeeper , a CPA, and an attorney. CPAs can help you review your monthly accounting transactions and prepare your annual tax return. An attorney can help with client agreements, investor contracts (like shareholder agreements), and with any legal disputes that may arise.
Ask your business contacts for referrals (and their fees), and be sure to include those costs in your business plan.
Example of organization and management
Laura Smith, Co-founder and CEO
- Professional background
- Awards and honors
- Notable clients
Raquel Smith, Co-founder and Chief Design Officer
Laura’s Landscapers’ creative crews
- Cumulative years of experience
9. Explain your funding request
When outlining how much money your small business needs, try to be as realistic as possible. You can provide a range of numbers if you don’t want to pinpoint an exact number. However, include a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario.
Since a new business doesn’t have a track record of generating profits, it’s likely that you’ll sell equity to raise capital in the early years of operation. Equity means ownership—when you sell equity to raise capital, you are selling a portion of your company.
- Remember: An equity owner may expect to have a voice in company decisions, even if they do not own a majority interest in the business.
Most small business equity sales are private transactions. The investor may also expect to be paid a dividend, which is a share of company profits, and they’ll want to know how they can sell their ownership interest. Additionally, you can raise capital by borrowing money, but you’ll have to repay creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on the debt.
If you look at the capital structure of any large company, you’ll see that most firms issue both equity and debt. When drafting your business plan, decide if you’re willing to accept the trade-off of giving up total control and profits before you sell equity in your business.
- Tip: Put together a timeline so your potential investors have an idea of what to expect. Some customers may not pay for 30 days or longer, which means the business needs a cash balance to operate.
The founder can access cash by contributing their own money into the business by securing a line of credit (LOC) at a bank or applying for QuickBooks Capital . If you raise cash through a LOC or some other type of loan, it needs to be paid off ASAP to reduce the interest cost on debt.
Example of a funding request
Laura’s Landscapers has already purchased all necessary permits, software, and equipment to serve our existing customers. Once scaled to $972,000 in annual revenue—over the next three years and at a 10% profit margin—our primary ongoing annual expenses (not including taxes) will total $874,800.
While already profitable, we are requesting $100,000 in the form of either a business loan or in exchange for equity to purchase equipment necessary to outfit two additional creative crews.
10. Compile an appendix for official documents
Finally, assemble a well-organized appendix for anything and everything readers will need to supplement the information in your plan. Consider any info that:
- Helps investors conduct due diligence
- Gives context and easy access to you or your employees
Useful details to cover in an appendix include:
- Deeds, local permits, and legal documents
- Certifications that bolster your credibility
- Business registries and professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
- Patents and intellectual properties
- Industry associations and memberships
- State and federal identification numbers or codes
- Key customer contracts and purchase orders
Your appendix should be a living section of the business plan, whether the plan is a document for internal reference only or an external call for investors.
- Tip: As you include documents in the appendix, create a miniature table of contents and footnotes throughout the rest of the plan linking to or calling attention to them.
How to make a business plan that stands out
Investors have little patience for poorly written documents. You want your business plan to be as attractive and readable as possible.
- Keep it brief. A typical business plan can range from 10 to 20 pages. As long as you cover the essentials, less is more.
- Make it easy to read. Divide your document into distinct sections, so that investors can quickly flip between key pieces of information.
- Know your margins. List every cost your business incurs, and make sure that you’re assigning those costs to each product or service that you sell.
- Proofread. Double-check for typos and grammatical errors. Then, triple-check. Otherwise, you might risk your credibility.
- Invest in quality design and printing. Proper layout, branding, and decent printing or bookbinding give your business plan a professional feel.
- Be prepared in advance. Have everything ready to go at least two weeks ahead so you have time to make revisions in case of a last-minute change.
3 tips to update your business plan
It’s a good idea to periodically revisit your business plan, especially if you are looking to expand. Conducting new research and updating your plan could also provide answers when you hit difficult questions.
Mid-year is a good time to refocus and revise your original plans because it gives you the opportunity to refocus any goals for the second half of the year. Below are three ways to update your plan.
1. Refocus your productivity
When you wrote your original business plan, you likely identified your specific business and personal goals. Take some time now to assess if you’ve hit your targets.
- Example: If you planned to launch a new tips and trends video series and it hasn’t happened yet, what’s stopping you? Put a timeline together and set a launch date.
If you only want to work a set number of hours per week, you must identify the products and services that deliver the returns you need to make that a reality. Doing so helps you refocus your productivity on the most lucrative profit streams.
Also, use what you’ve achieved and the hard lessons you’ve learned to help you re-evaluate what is and isn’t working.
2. Realign with your goals
Do a gut check to determine whether all of your hard work is still aligned with your original goals and your mission statement. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are my goals still relevant?
- Am I still focused on the big picture?
- Where do I want to be a year from now?
- Will my existing plan still take me where I want to go?
These questions may be tough to answer at first glance, but they reveal your ties to your goals and what most likely needs to change to achieve new wins.
3. Repurpose your offerings
If your time has become more focused on small projects rather than tangible growth and building a valuable client list, consider packaging your existing products or services differently. Can you bundle a few things together?
- Example: Laura’s Landscapers might be able to offer a special pool and patio package. Doing so might help them bring in fewer yet higher-paying projects. Perhaps they can offer a maintenance package as well to keep that customer long term.
You must deliberately manage your revenue streams, and that might require shuffling things around a little to focus on what is working for you.
Even if you don’t plan on seeking investments early on, there are other important reasons to use a business plan template to write a great business plan:
- Clarifies what you’re trying to accomplish
- Identifies opportunities to understand your market, like demographics and behaviors
- Establishes the role of each team member
- Gives team members a benchmark to reference and stay on track
- Helps catch errors to make sure financial projections are accurate
- You’ll see the holes and blind spots that could cause future issues
Download the following template to build your business plan from the ground up, considering all the important questions that will help your investors and employees.
The old cliche is still true today: A failure to plan is a plan to fail. Your business plan is crucial to the growth of your business, from giving direction, motivation, and context to employees, to providing thoughtful reassurance and risk mitigation to financers. Before you get your small business up and running , put down a plan that instills confidence and sets you up for success.
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Venngage Business Plan Maker
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Your business plan can include these sections: executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization management, service/product line, marketing & sales, funding requests, financial projections, etc. Add sections to your business plan as you see fit — depending on the kind of plan you're creating. No matter the type of business plans you're making, Venngage has a template for that.
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Ecommerce Business Plan Template
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[Sender.Company] is headquartered at [Sender.StreetAddress] , [Sender.City] , [Sender.State] [Sender.PostalCode] and operates in the (industry) . [Sender.Company] was founded in (month, year) by (Founder.Name).
[Sender.Company] seeks to offer (a general description of specific products or services to be offered) in response to what management has identified as a clear market need.
Products and Services
[Sender.Company] will sell (specific products or services to be sold). The products sold by [Sender.Company] will stand apart from the competition due to (explain the unique selling proposition of the product to be sold). [Sender.Company] will also provide (describe any supplementary products or services offered).
[Sender.Company] will develop a website whose key elements will include the following:
About section explaining the company's mission
Database of products
Shopping cart system
Help and FAQ pages
The website will be built by an established development firm and designed by an accomplished web designer, with the process supervised by [Sender.Company] 's designated supervisor.
[Sender.Company] is led by (Manager.Name) who has been in the e-commerce industry for (number) years.
Previously, (Manager.Name) worked as (job title) at (previous company) and acquired in-depth knowledge of the e-commerce industry as well as the (industry name) industry and the needs of the mass consumer.
[Sender.Company] has conducted a thorough analysis of the industry and discovered the following statistics that bode well for the business:
(Provide point-by-point statistics that illustrate the opportunity for your business e.g., growth projections for the e-commerce industry and your specific niche, consumer survey results, cost projections, etc.)
[Sender.Company] ’s target market is comprised primarily of (describe your ideal customer) .
The demographics of these customers are as follows:
The average income of $XX, XXX
XX% work in (industry)
The median age of XX years
Strong desire for (a specific type of product/service you sell)
There are numerous competitors in the industry in which [Sender.Company] will operate. The most noteworthy competitors consist of:
(List 2-3 competitors and include a brief description of their history, the scope of their businesses, and some noteworthy facts and stats.)
[Sender.Company] is positioned for success because:
There are a limited number of competitors.
There's no one selling the exact product/service that [Sender.Company] offers.
The management team is seasoned and has a strong track record of success.
The product/service is on trend, and the industry is growing.
[Sender.Company] plans to leverage several strategical prongs to achieve success in its marketing strategy.
[Sender.Company] will consistently focus its marketing efforts on the brand's unique value proposition, consisting of:
(Describe what makes your product or service stand apart from your competitors)
(List some of the channels or methods your company will use to promote itself, e.g., SEO, email marketing, paid advertising, social media outreach, affiliates, etc.)
[Sender.Company] 's pricing, is based on comprehensive market research, and it has been determined that our pricing is fair and attractive compared to competitor offerings.
(State the specific pricing or the general price range of products to be offered.)
[Sender.Company] has determined that the following roles are essential for the success of the company:
(List some of the departments and roles that will need to be in place to operate the business.)
[Sender.Company] believes it is reasonable to expect completion of the following milestones at the following times:
(State when you expect the milestone to be completed.)
(Briefly describe what the milestone is e.g., the website goes live, marketing campaigns launch, products ship, etc.)
[Sender.Company] is seeking total funding of $(amount) to launch its business. The capital will be used for (state what funding will be used e.g., building the website, hiring personnel, working capital, marketing, etc.)
Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:
Hiring a content production team: approximately $(amount of money)
Marketing: approximately $(amount of money) design/build and startup business expenses: approximately $120,000
[Sender.Company] 's financial projections for the next (number) years are as follows:
Simple Business Plan Template (2023)
Updated: Dec 16, 2022, 11:45pm
- Table of Contents
Why business plans are vital, get your free simple business plan template, how to write an effective business plan in 6 steps, frequently asked questions.
While taking many forms and serving many purposes, they all have one thing in common: business plans help you establish your goals and define the means for achieving them. Our simple business plan template covers everything you need to consider when launching a side gig, solo operation or small business. By following this step-by-step process, you might even uncover a few alternate routes to success.
Whether you’re a first-time solopreneur or a seasoned business owner, the planning process challenges you to examine the costs and tasks involved in bringing a product or service to market. The process can also help you spot new income opportunities and hone in on the most profitable business models.
Though vital, business planning doesn’t have to be a chore. Business plans for lean startups and solopreneurs can simply outline the business concept, sales proposition, target customers and sketch out a plan of action to bring the product or service to market. However, if you’re seeking startup funding or partnership opportunities, you’ll need a write a business plan that details market research, operating costs and revenue forecasting.
Whichever startup category you fall into, if you’re at square one, our simple business plan template will point you down the right path.
Copy our free simple business plan template so you can fill in the blanks as we explore each element of your business plan. Need help getting your ideas flowing? You’ll also find several startup scenario examples below.
Download free template as .docx
Whether you need a quick-launch overview or an in-depth plan for investors, any business plan should cover the six key elements outlined in our free template and explained below. The main difference in starting a small business versus an investor-funded business is the market research and operational and financial details needed to support the concept.
1. Your Mission or Vision
Start by declaring a “dream statement” for your business. You can call this your executive summary, vision statement or mission. Whatever the name, the first part of your business plan summarizes your idea by answering five questions. Keep it brief, such as an elevator pitch. You’ll expand these answers in the following sections of the simple business plan template.
- What does your business do? Are you selling products, services, information or a combination?
- Where does this happen? Will you conduct business online, in-store, via mobile means or in a specific location or environment?
- Who does your business benefit? Who is your target market and ideal customer for your concept?
- Why would potential customers care? What would make your ideal customers take notice of your business?
- How do your products and/or services outshine the competition? What would make your ideal customers choose you over a competitor?
These answers come easily if you have a solid concept for your business, but don’t worry if you get stuck. Use the rest of your plan template to brainstorm ideas and tactics. You’ll quickly find these answers and possibly new directions as you explore your ideas and options.
2. Offer and Value Proposition
This is where you detail your offer, such as selling products, providing services or both, and why anyone would care. That’s the value proposition. Specifically, you’ll expand on your answers to the first and fourth bullets from your mission/vision.
As you complete this section, you might find that exploring value propositions uncovers marketable business opportunities that you hadn’t yet considered. So spend some time brainstorming the possibilities in this section.
For example, a cottage baker startup specializing in gluten-free or keto-friendly products might be a value proposition that certain audiences care deeply about. Plus, you could expand on that value proposition by offering wedding and other special-occasion cakes that incorporate gluten-free, keto-friendly and traditional cake elements that all guests can enjoy.
3. Audience and Ideal Customer
Here is where you explore bullet point number three, who your business will benefit. Identifying your ideal customer and exploring a broader audience for your goods or services is essential in defining your sales and marketing strategies, plus it helps fine-tune what you offer.
There are many ways to research potential audiences, but a shortcut is to simply identify a problem that people have that your product or service can solve. If you start from the position of being a problem solver, it’s easy to define your audience and describe the wants and needs of your ideal customer for marketing efforts.
Using the cottage baker startup example, a problem people might have is finding fresh-baked gluten-free or keto-friendly sweets. Examining the wants and needs of these people might reveal a target audience that is health-conscious or possibly dealing with health issues and willing to spend more for hard-to-find items.
However, it’s essential to have a customer base that can support your business. You can be too specialized. For example, our baker startup can attract a broader audience and boost revenue by offering a wider selection of traditional baked goods alongside its gluten-free and keto-focused specialties.
4. Revenue Streams, Sales Channels and Marketing
Thanks to our internet-driven economy, startups have many revenue opportunities and can connect with target audiences through various channels. Revenue streams and sales channels also serve as marketing vehicles, so you can cover all three in this section.
Revenue streams are the many ways you can make money in your business. In your plan template, list how you’ll make money upon launch, plus include ideas for future expansion. The income possibilities just might surprise you.
For example, our cottage baker startup might consider these revenue streams:
- Product sales : Online, pop-up shops , wholesale and (future) in-store sales
- Affiliate income : Monetize blog and social media posts with affiliate links
- Advertising income : Reserve website space for advertising
- E-book sales : (future) Publish recipe e-books targeting gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
- Video income : (future) Monetize a YouTube channel featuring how-to videos for the gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
- Webinars and online classes : (future) Monetize coaching-style webinars and online classes covering specialty baking tips and techniques
- Members-only content : (future) Monetize a members-only section of the website for specialty content to complement webinars and online classes
- Franchise : (future) Monetize a specialty cottage bakery concept and sell to franchise entrepreneurs
Sales channels put your revenue streams into action. This section also answers the “where will this happen” question in the second bullet of your vision.
The product sales channels for our cottage bakery example can include:
- Mobile point-of-sale (POS) : A mobile platform such as Shopify or Square POS for managing in-person sales at local farmers’ markets, fairs and festivals
- E-commerce platform : An online store such as Shopify, Square or WooCommerce for online retail sales and wholesale sales orders
- Social media channels : Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest shoppable posts and pins for online sales via social media channels
- Brick-and-mortar location : For in-store sales , once the business has grown to a point that it can support a physical location
Channels that support other income streams might include:
- Affiliate income : Blog section on the e-commerce website and affiliate partner accounts
- Advertising income : Reserved advertising spaces on the e-commerce website
- E-book sales : Amazon e-book sales via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
- Video income : YouTube channel with ad monetization
- Webinars and online classes : Online class and webinar platforms that support member accounts, recordings and playback
- Members-only content : Password-protected website content using membership apps such as MemberPress
Nowadays, the line between marketing and sales channels is blurred. Social media outlets, e-books, websites, blogs and videos serve as both marketing tools and income opportunities. Since most are free and those with advertising options are extremely economical, these are ideal marketing outlets for lean startups.
However, many businesses still find value in traditional advertising such as local radio, television, direct mail, newspapers and magazines. You can include these advertising costs in your simple business plan template to help build a marketing plan and budget.
5. Structure, Suppliers and Operations
This section of your simple business plan template explores how to structure and operate your business. Details include the type of business organization your startup will take, roles and responsibilities, supplier logistics and day-to-day operations. Also, include any certifications or permits needed to launch your enterprise in this section.
Our cottage baker example might use a structure and startup plan such as this:
- Business structure : Sole proprietorship with a “doing business as” (DBA) .
- Permits and certifications : County-issued food handling permit and state cottage food certification for home-based food production. Option, check into certified commercial kitchen rentals.
- Roles and responsibilities : Solopreneur, all roles and responsibilities with the owner.
- Supply chain : Bulk ingredients and food packaging via Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon Prime with annual membership costs. Uline for shipping supplies; no membership needed.
- Day-to-day operations : Source ingredients and bake three days per week to fulfill local and online orders. Reserve time for specialty sales, wholesale partner orders and market events as needed. Ship online orders on alternating days. Update website and create marketing and affiliate blog posts on non-shipping days.
6. Financial Forecasts
Your final task is to list forecasted business startup and ongoing costs and profit projections in your simple business plan template. Thanks to free business tools such as Square and free marketing on social media, lean startups can launch with few upfront costs. In many cases, cost of goods, shipping and packaging, business permits and printing for business cards are your only out-of-pocket expenses.
Our cottage baker’s forecasted lean startup costs might include:
Gross Profit Projections
This helps you determine the retail prices and sales volume required to keep your business running and, hopefully, earn income for yourself. Use product research to spot target retail prices for your goods, then subtract your cost of goods, such as hourly rate, raw goods and supplier costs. The total amount is your gross profit per item or service.
Here are some examples of projected gross profits for our cottage baker:
Putting careful thought and detail in a business plan is always beneficial, but don’t get so bogged down in planning that you never hit the start button to launch your business . Also, remember that business plans aren’t set in stone. Markets, audiences and technologies change, and so will your goals and means of achieving them. Think of your business plan as a living document and regularly revisit, expand and restructure it as market opportunities and business growth demand.
Is there a template for a business plan?
Yes, you can copy our free business plan template and fill in the blanks or customize it in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or another word processing app. This free business plan template includes the six key elements that any entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a new business.
What does a simple business plan include?
A simple business plan is a one- to two-page overview covering six key elements that any budding entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a startup. These include your vision or mission, product or service offering, target audience, revenue streams and sales channels, structure and operations, and financial forecasts.
How can I create a free business plan template?
Start with this free simple business plan template that covers the six essential elements of a startup. Once downloaded, you can edit this document in Google Docs or another word processing app and add new sections or subsections to your plan template to meet your specific business plan needs.
What basic items should be included in a business plan?
When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business, an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.
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Simple Business Plan Templates
Smartsheet Contributor Joe Weller
April 2, 2020
In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.
On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.
Simple Business Plan Template
Download Simple Business Plan Template
This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.
One-Page Business Plan Template
Download One-Page Business Plan Template
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business.
For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."
Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.
For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."
Simple Business Plan for Startup
Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word
This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."
Simple Small-Business Plan Template
Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template
This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.
Lean Business Plan Template
Download Lean Business Plan Template
This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.
Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Word | PDF
Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.
Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Excel | Smartsheet
This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.
Simple Business Plan Rubric Template
Download Simple Business Plan Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.
Basic Business Plan Sample
Download Basic Business Plan Sample
This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.
For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”
Main Components of a Business Plan
The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business.
Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:
- Company name and contact information
- Website address
- The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
- Company background and purpose
- Mission and vision statement
- Management team introduction
- Core product and service offerings
- Target customers and segments
- Marketing plan
- Competitive analysis
- Unique value proposition
- Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
- Business and industry overview
- Historical timeline of your business
- Offerings and the problem they solve
- Current alternatives
- Competitive advantage
- Market size
- Target market segment(s)
- Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
- Differentiation from competitors
- Pricing strategy
- Marketing channels
- Promotional plan
- Distribution methods
- Legal structure of your business
- Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
- Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
- Staffing requirements and training plans
- Physical location(s) of your business
- Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
- Production workflow
- Raw materials and sourcing methods
- Projected income statement
- Projected cash flow statement
- Projected balance sheet
- Break-even analysis
- Charts and graphs
- Market research and competitive analysis
- Information about your industry
- Information about your offerings
- Samples of marketing materials
- Other supporting materials
Tips for Creating a Business Plan
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan.
- Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
- Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
- Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
- Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
- Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
- Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
- Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
- What product or service are we offering?
- Who is the product or service for?
- What problem does our product or service offering solve?
- How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
- Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
- How can we outperform our competitors?
- What is our unique value proposition?
- When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
- If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
- When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
- What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
- When do you expect to be profitable?
To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .
Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template
Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:
- Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
- Provides structure to help outline your plan
- Saves time and valuable resources
- Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details
Limitations of a Business Plan Template
A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.
Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:
- Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
- A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
- Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
- You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
- Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).
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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step
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1. Write an executive summary
2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.
A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.
» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .
This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.
Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.
» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps
Next up is your company description, which should contain information like:
Your business’s registered name.
Address of your business location .
Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.
Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.
Lastly, it should cover the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.
» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan
The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.
If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.
For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.
In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.
You should include the following:
An explanation of how your product or service works.
The pricing model for your product or service.
The typical customers you serve.
Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.
Your sales strategy.
Your distribution strategy.
You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.
Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.
Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.
» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing
If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.
You may also include metrics such as:
Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.
Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.
Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.
This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.
» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:
The best business checking accounts .
The best business credit cards .
The best accounting software .
This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.
Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.
Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.
List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.
Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:
Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.
Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.
Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.
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Free Business Plan Template With Examples for Small Businesses (2023)
- by Desirae Odjick
- Starting Up
- Nov 9, 2022
- 11 minute read
A business plan is the secret to starting a business successfully.
The easiest way to simplify the work of writing a business plan is to start with a business plan template.
You’re already investing time and energy in refining your business model and planning your launch—there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to formatting your plan. Instead, to help build a complete and effective plan, lean on time-tested structures created by entrepreneurs and startups who have come before you.
Free: Business Plan Template
Business planning is often used to secure funding, but plenty of business owners find writing a plan valuable, even if they never work with an investor. That’s why we put together a free business plan template to help you get started.
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What our business plan template includes
This template is designed to ensure you’re thinking through all of the important facets of starting a new business. It’s intended to help new business owners and entrepreneurs consider the full scope of running a business and identify functional areas they may not have considered or where they may need to level up their skills as they grow.
That said, it may not include the specific details or structure preferred by a potential investor or lender. If your goal with a business plan is to secure funding , check with your target organizations—typically banks or investors—to see if they have business plan templates you can follow to maximize your chances of success.
Our free business plan template includes seven key elements typically found in the traditional business plan format:
- Executive summary: This is a one-page summary of your whole plan, typically written after the rest of the plan is completed. The description section of your executive summary will also cover your management team, business objectives and strategy, and other background information about the brand. You may consider including a mission statement here.
- Market analysis: A well researched business plan should also analyze the market you hope to reach with your business idea. This section includes everything from estimated market size to your target markets and competitive advantage. It’ll include a competitive analysis of your industry to address competitors strengths and weaknesses.
- Products and services: What you sell and the most important features of your products or services. It’ll also include any plans for intellectual property, like patent filings or copyright. If you do market research for new product lines, it’ll show up in this section of your business plan.
- Marketing plan: How you intend to get the word out about your business, and what strategic decisions you’ve made about things like your pricing strategy. It also covers potential customers’ demographics, sales plan, and your metrics and milestones for success.
- Logistics and operations plan: Everything that needs to happen to turn your raw materials into products and get them into the hands of your customers.
- Financial plan: It’s important to include a look at your financial projections, including both revenue and expense projections. This section includes templates for three key financial statements: an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash-flow statement . You can also include whether or not you need a business loan and how much it’ll be.
In our business plan template, each section includes an overview of the most important information to cover and guidelines on how to approach writing and researching each one.
Professional business plan example
We’ve filled out a sample business plan as a companion to our template, featuring a fictional ecommerce business . We’ve noted where—and how—an entrepreneur could add more details to expand on their business plans, depending on their goals.
Our fictional business creates custom greeting cards with your pet’s paw prints on them, and the founder of the business is writing a plan to help understand the target market, as well as the logistics and costs involved, to give themselves the best chance of success before they launch.
The sample is set up to help you get a sense of each section and understand how they apply to the planning and evaluation stages of a business plan. If you’re looking for funding, this example won’t be a complete or formal look at a business plan, but it will give you a great place to start and notes about where to expand.
Before you write your own, read through the following business plan example . You can download a copy in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and use it to inspire your own planning.
Download the business plan example (.doc)
Lean business plan example
A lean business plan format is a shortened version of your more detailed business plan. It’s helpful when modifying your plan for a specific audience, like investors or new hires.
Also known as a one-page business plan, it includes only the most important, need-to-know information, such as:
- Company description
- Key members of your team
- Customer segments
Want to create a lean business plan? Read Trimming It Down: How to Create a Lean Business Plan .
A good business plan helps you operate successfully
It’s tempting to dive right into execution when you’re excited about a new business or side project, but taking the time to write a solid business plan and get your thoughts on paper allows you to do a number of beneficial things:
- Test the viability of business ideas. Whether you’ve got one business idea or many, business plans can make an idea more tangible, helping you see if it’s truly viable.
- Plan for your next phase. Whether your goal is to start a new business or scale an existing business to the next level, a business plan can help you understand what needs to happen and identify gaps to address.
- Clarify marketing strategy, goals, and tactics. Writing a business plan can show you the actionable next steps to take on a big, abstract idea. It can also help you narrow your strategy and identify clear-cut tactics that will support it.
- Scope the necessary work. Without a concrete plan, cost overruns and delays are all but certain. A business plan can help you see the full scope of work to be done and adjust your investment of time and money accordingly.
- Hire and build partnerships. When you need buy-in from potential employees and business partners, especially in the early stages of your business, a clearly written business plan is one of the best tools at your disposal. A business plan provides a refined look at your goals for the business, letting partners judge for themselves whether or not they agree with your vision.
- Secure funds. Seeking financing for your business—whether from venture capital, financial institutions, or Shopify Capital —is one of the most common reasons to create a business plan.
Should you use a template for a business plan?
A business plan can be as informal or formal as your situation calls for, but even if you’re a fan of the back-of-the-napkin approach to planning, there are some key benefits to starting your plan from an existing outline or template.
- No blank-page paralysis. A blank page can be intimidating to even the most seasoned writers. Using an established business planning process and template can help you get past the inertia of starting your business plan, and it allows you to skip the work of building an outline from scratch. You can always adjust a template to suit your needs.
- Guidance on what to include in each section. If you’ve never sat through a business class, you might never have created a SWOT analysis or financial projections before. Templates that offer guidance—in plain language—about how to fill in each section can help you navigate sometimes-daunting business jargon and create a complete and effective plan.
- Knowing you’ve considered every section. In some cases, you may not need to complete every section of a startup business plan template, but its initial structure shows you you’re choosing to omit a section as opposed to forgetting to include it in the first place.
Tips for creating a successful business plan
There are some high-level strategic guidelines beyond the advice included in this free business plan template that can help you write an effective, complete plan while minimizing busywork.
- If you’re writing a business plan for yourself in order to get clarity on your ideas and your industry as a whole, you may not need to include the same level of detail or polish you would with a business plan you want to send to potential investors. Knowing who will read your plan will help you decide how much time to spend on it.
- Know your goals. Understanding the goals of your plan can help you set the right scope. If your goal is to use the plan as a roadmap for growth, you may invest more time in it than if your goal is to understand the competitive landscape of a new industry.
- Take it step by step. Writing a 10- to 15-page document can feel daunting, so try to tackle one section at a time. Select a couple of sections you feel most confident writing and start there—you can start on the next few sections once those are complete. Jot down bullet-point notes in each section before you start writing to organize your thoughts and streamline the writing process.
Once you’ve done the strategic work, it’s time to put it into action and write your plan. Download the business plan template and review our guide on writing a business plan for additional information.
Maximizing your business planning efforts
Planning is key to the financial success of any type of business , whether you’re a startup, non-profit, or corporation.
To make sure your efforts are focused on the highest-value parts of your own business planning, like clarifying your goals, setting a strategy, and understanding the target market and competitive landscape, lean on a business plan outline to handle the structure and format for you. Even if you eventually omit sections, you’ll save yourself time and energy by starting with a framework already in place.
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Business plan template faq, what is the purpose of a business plan, how do i write a simple business plan.
- Choose a business plan format, such as traditional or a one-page business plan.
- Find a business plan template.
- Read through a business plan sample.
- Fill in the sections of your business plan.
What are the 7 sections of a business plan?
- Market analysis
- Products and services
- Logistics and operations plan
- Financial statements and projections
What is the best business plan template?
What are the 5 essential parts of a business plan.
- Executive Summary : This is a brief overview of the business plan, summarizing the key points and highlighting the main points of the plan
- Business Description : This section outlines the business concept and how it will be executed
- Market Analysis : This section provides an in-depth look at the target market and how the business will compete in the marketplace
- Financial Plan : This section details the financial projections for the business, including sales forecasts, capital requirements, and a break-even analysis
- Management and Organization : This section describes the management team and the organizational structure of the business
How do you write a business plan?
- Executive Summary : Provide a concise overview of your business, products/services, goals, and plans for achieving those goals
- Company Description : Explain the type of business you are in, where you are located, and what you offer
- Market Analysis : Research your industry, target market, and competitors to gain insight into the opportunities and threats that may affect your business
- Organization and Management : Describe the organizational structure of your business, including management, employees, and advisors
- Service or Product Line : Explain what products or services you offer, how they are unique, and how they will meet the needs of your customers
- Marketing and Sales : Describe how you plan to market and sell your products/services, including pricing strategy, advertising and promotions
- Funding Request : Explain the capital you need to start or expand your business, how you plan to use it, and how you plan to pay it back
- Financial Projections : Provide an estimate of your anticipated income and expenses over the next three to five years
- Appendix : Include any additional information that will support your business plan, such as resumes, leases, contracts, and product samples
About the author
Desirae is a senior product marketing manager at Shopify, and has zero chill when it comes to helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
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Business Plan Software
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Why edrawmax to make your business plan, write and design custom business plans for free with easy-to-customize templates..
Strategic planning: A business plan software helps plan a business's long-term strategy for growth and expansion.
Finances distribution: You need finance and capital to start and run a business; a business plan allows you to allocate the financial resources in the right place.
Marketing strategy: Marketing is the key to running a successful business. A business plan enables you to follow a definite course to grab funds, shares, and customers.
Creating business plans is a breeze
Professionally designed templates: EdrawMax offers users pre-designed business plan templates that require customization.
Handy canvas and symbols: The canvas is easy to handle, and symbols are dragged and dropped to the page; there is no need to follow unnecessary steps.
Eye-catchy brand colors: A business plan has a background theme and a business logo that reflects your brand image. EdrawMax provides a custom brand color palette to choose a custom color among all the color shades.
Share your Business Strategy
Share group folder: A group folder allows you to share a folder having files with your team members. You can add or remove any member from the folder.
Multiple export options: A business plan is shared with partners, employees, and stakeholders in different file formats. EdrawMax provides multiple formats like PDF, JPG, XLSX, PPTX, DOCX, HTML, SVG, VSDX, and PNG.
Send on social media: Share your Business Plan on different social media platforms and enable yourself to deliver all your business information to the relevant teams.
Deliver an engaging presentation
Accuracy checker: A business plan shout not have any mistakes and discrepancies because it is forwarded to officials. EdrawMax provides you with a spell-checker tool to achieve a mistake-free plan.
Find and review data: EdrawMax has a full-text search tool to compare your data and text across the document.
Detailed elaboration: Press the F5 key to enable full-screen mode. It will help you explain each point in detail and with more clarity.
More Features Of Business Plan Software
I make all the diagrams and maps using EdrawMax comprehensive tools and symbols, and these help me illustrate all my ideas and plans. I use connecting tools and drag and drop the symbols to the canvas. The export options have made my work a lot easier, and I can also export all my file into Visio format without any inconveniences.
I love how it is so easy to use and handle. The customer service is helpful, and I am learning new things to do with it. It has essential features like a spell-checker, community comment tool, team management.
The data import and export feature is so easy to do in EdrawMax. I can add my own saved data to the maps and diagrams, plus I can draw the required symbols if I don't find ones in the library. Using EdrawMax in multiple systems has made me work more efficiently.
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If you’re looking for a way to start your business off on the right foot, a business plan template can help you establish the foundation for your strategy. Get started in a few clicks with Asana’s free business plan template.
You’re pumped—you just thought of the greatest business idea ever. You want to get started, but you don’t have a plan laid out. You need a loan to get your idea off the ground, and the bank wants to see an in-depth business plan. We’re here to help.
What is a business plan template?
A business plan template is a framework that helps you solidify your ideas in an organized format. Our free business plan template walks you through how to create a new business from scratch, or re-imagine your existing business in a new market.
What components are included in a business plan template?
Our business plan template covers what an organization wants to achieve within three to five years. By using our template, you’ll have a place to capture all of the major information you need in order to complete your business plan. That includes:
Company description : Information like your executive summary , your company’s mission statement and vision, and your founder’s bio.
Product and services: A high-level overview of what your company provides, including core products or services. This may also include how your product is developed, any potential screenshots or prototypes of your product, and pricing plans.
Marketing plan: How you plan to bring your product into market at a high level. You can add information like a SWOT analysis , target market research, and brand positioning in this section.
Financial plan: Important financial information such as balance sheets, a break-even analysis, and your cash flow projections.
Management and organization information: Information on your company’s founders, executive team, and the board of directors.
How to use our free business plan template
Using Asana’s free business plan template is simple. Start by creating a new project with our free template. From there, add relevant information for your specific business plan in the sections provided in our template. If there’s more information you want to include in your business plan, you’re free to add sections, custom fields, or additional tasks to make this template fit your needs.
Goals . Goals in Asana directly connect to the work you’re doing to hit them, making it easy for team members to see what they’re working towards. More often than not, our goals live separate from the work that goes into achieving them. By connecting your team and company goals to the work that supports them, team members have real-time insight and clarity into how their work directly contributes to your team—and company—success. As a result, team members can make better decisions. If necessary, they can identify the projects that support the company’s strategy and prioritize work that delivers measurable results.
Reporting . Reporting in Asana translates project data into visual charts and digestible graphs. By reporting on work where work lives, you can reduce duplicative work and cut down on unnecessary app switching. And, because all of your team’s work is already in Asana, you can pull data from any project or team to get an accurate picture of what’s happening in one place.
Milestones . Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal.
Project Overview . Project Overview is your one-stop-shop for all important project context. Give your team a bird’s-eye view of the what, why, and how of your project work. Add a project description to set the tone for how you’ll work together in Asana. Then, share any important resources and context—like meeting details, communication channels, and project briefs—in one place.
Microsoft Teams . With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.
Slack . Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack.
Google Workplace . Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
Gmail . With the Asana for Gmail integration, you can create Asana tasks directly from your Gmail inbox. Any tasks you create from Gmail will automatically include the context from your email, so you never miss a beat. Need to refer to an Asana task while composing an email? Instead of opening Asana, use the Asana for Gmail add-on to simply search for that task directly from your Gmail inbox.
How do I create a business plan template?
Instead of taking the time to create a business plan from scratch, start the process off with Asana’s free template.To further customize your template, add evergreen information about your specific business, such as your business model, company name, address, mission statement, value proposition, or target audience. Adding these details to your template lets you avoid documenting this information from scratch every time you create a new business plan.
What components should I include in a business plan template?
Business plan templates typically contain five main sections: a company description, products and services, a marketing plan, basic management and organization information, and your current financial plan.
How long should my business plan be?
Short answer—as long as you need it to be. The long answer is that your business plan should have the answers to specific questions on how your business is run, from the perspective of an investor. The goal of a business plan is to highlight your business strategy for the next three to five years. This means any important operational, financial, and strategic information should be included.
Operational plan template
Learn how Asana’s operations team uses standardized processes to streamline strategic planning—no matter how many stakeholders are involved.
Stay on top of your project’s performance. Keep everyone on the same page about what’s been completed and where your project is headed.
Go-to-market strategy template
Simplify your GTM strategy with a go-to-market strategy template that aligns teams and keeps work on track. Learn how in Asana.
Action plan template
Taking action has never been easier. Learn how to create a reusable action plan template in Asana to take the guesswork out of strategic planning.
A PEST analysis template helps compile info on the external environment affecting your business. Learn how to prevent risk with a PEST analysis template.
Strategic planning template
When you’re launching a new product, team, or even a new business, strategic planning templates keep you laser-focused and on task.
Objectives and key results (OKR) template
Learn how to create an OKR template in Asana so you can standardize the goal-setting process for everyone.
Creating a digital punch list template can help streamline the final bits of a project for your team. Here’s how to create one.
Cost benefit analysis template
Digital cost benefit analysis templates are a useful framework to see if a new project or idea is viable. Learn how to create your own in a few simple steps, with Asana.
Using a contingency plan template will help you create well-developed strategies to help you protect your business from potential risk. Learn how Asana can help.
Requirements traceability matrix
A requirements traceability matrix template is a tool to help organize project requirements in a concise manner. Learn how to create one for your team.
Annual planning template
Set clear goals and streamline your planning process—so every level of your company is aligned on what’s important.
Competitive analysis template
The more you know about your competitors, the better your strategy will be. Competitive analysis templates use a data-driven approach to see exactly how your business, products, and features compare to your competition.
Create a program roadmap template and know the exact structure of each program, how they operate, and their future plans—company-wide.
Crisis management plan
Does your team know what to do during a crisis? Using a crisis management plan template can help keep all your employees on the same page.
Use your SIPOC template to ensure that the processes outlined in your SIPOC diagrams are consistent and up to your standards.
A marketing strategy template is a useful tool that helps your marketing team achieve their goals. Learn how to create your marketing strategy with Asana.
Project closure template
Endings are important. Create a project closure template to help your team tie up loose ends and finish their projects with confidence.
Nonprofit business plan template
Success doesn’t just happen—it’s planned. Stay focused on your most crucial work with a custom nonprofit business plan template.
Small business, big goals
Coming up with your business strategy can be daunting, but Asana helps businesses of all sizes track and hit their goals. See how with a free trial.
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You can search the web to find free templates to build your business plan. We discuss nine components of a model business plan here: Key partnerships Note the other businesses or services you'll work with to run your business. Think about suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, and similar strategic partners. Key activities
Create a business plan with templates in Word: Start with a template Download these templates from the Office Templates site to create your plan: Fill in your Business plan. Analyze your market with the Business market analysis template. Detail your financials in a Financial plan.
Create Your Business Plan It's free and easy to use. Create a comprehensive business plan. Easily customize your slides to fit your needs. Showcase data with 40+ chart options. Chosen by brands large and small Our business plan maker is used by over 18,235,768 marketers, communicators, executives and educators from over 120 countries that include:
Business plan (Design) Word Business report (Professional design) Word Explore premium templates Business contrast presentation (widescreen) PowerPoint Business project plan presentation (widescreen) PowerPoint Healthcare business plan Word Business services proposal Word Business plan checklist Excel Project communication plan Word
Make a Free Business Plan A business plan is a formal document detailing the goals that the business will have. Accounting Automotive Bakery Childcare Coffee Shop Food Truck Graphic Design Grocery Store Housekeeping Law Firm Pharmacy Restaurant Retail Store Small Business Are you starting an accounting business?
Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 500 free real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries to guide you through writing your own plan. If you're looking for an intuitive tool that walks you through the plan writing process, we recommend LivePlan.
Create a Company Description After you have the executive summary in place, you can work on the company description, which contains more specific information. In the description, you'll need to...
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You don't need software to write a professional business plan, but a solid template can help you get started. Download a free template from PandaDoc today and take your business to the next level. Get started with PandaDoc today Start free 14-day trial Request a demo
Let these informative and polished templates guide you through creating your business plan. Business plan presentation. PowerPoint. Business plan (Design) Word. Business Plan. Word. Small business startup checklist. Word.
Whether you're a budding entrepreneur or have an idea for a new revenue stream within an existing corporation, you're going to need a business plan. A business plan is your route to securing investment and funding. It's also a useful tool for you, clarifying what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it in high-def detail.. When it comes to persuading potential investors and ...
The 10 steps to write a business plan are: Create an executive summary Compose your company description Summarize market research and potential Conduct competitive analysis Describe your product or service Develop a marketing and sales strategy Compile your business financials Describe your organization and management Explain your funding request
Create a winning business plan with Venngage in 5 steps: 1 Create a free Venngage account using your email, Google or Facebook profiles. 2 Select the perfect business plan template from our library of professionally designed templates. 3 Use our online Business Plan Creator to add your information, data and more to your business plan template.
E-commerce business plans give an overview of what the management team expects to accomplish with the business and offer reasons why the readers should consider investing. This e-commerce business plan template is tailored specifically to e-commerce businesses, and all you need to do is add the details of your company.
5. Structure, Suppliers and Operations. This section of your simple business plan template explores how to structure and operate your business. Details include the type of business organization ...
Download Simple Business Plan Template Word | PDF This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding.
The U.S. Small Business Administration's Small Business Development Centers, which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource....
Free Business Plan Template and Examples for Startups (2023) Start selling with Shopify today Try Shopify for free, and explore all the tools and services you need to start, run, and grow your business. Start free trial Latest Articles Start a Business Write a Business Plan Print on Demand Start a Podcast Affiliate Marketing
Accuracy checker: A business plan shout not have any mistakes and discrepancies because it is forwarded to officials. EdrawMax provides you with a spell-checker tool to achieve a mistake-free plan. Find and review data: EdrawMax has a full-text search tool to compare your data and text across the document. Detailed elaboration: Press the F5 key to enable full-screen mode.
How to Make a Perfect Business Plan Preparation | DIALEZEEBook Your Free Virtual Meeting with a Startup Consultant Now 👉https://topmate.io/dialezeeContact U...
How to use our free business plan template. Using Asana's free business plan template is simple. Start by creating a new project with our free template. From there, add relevant information for your specific business plan in the sections provided in our template. If there's more information you want to include in your business plan, you ...
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Creating A Business Plan Free - REVIEWS HIRE. 44 Customer reviews. 4.8/5. 4.7/5. ID 4746278. Finished paper. 921 . Customer Reviews. Show More. Creating A Business Plan Free ... To prove that our writers are real, feel free to contact a writer we'll assign to work on your order from your Customer area.
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We are having Bad IP Assigment for many of our Locations. We have contacted the ISP's and verified the IP information, the ISP had to clear the ARC file in order for the Meraki to accept the Static IP. The Meraki's will work fine and then the Bad IP Assignment Error comes back after a day or two.
Meraki Go hardware, however, will automatically switch back to DHCP (automatic IP assignment) so that it can check in to the cloud and alert you about the problem if at all possible. The most common causes of this error message are: The device has had a working static IP, but network changes have caused the IP address to become invalid.
Meraki MX84 Error Bad IP assignment configuration Niraj Here to help 09-27-2021 11:58 PM Hi Team, MX84 reflects error of " Bad IP assignment configuration" through Broadband link configuration as WAN. Please suggest for fixation of issue. Thanks, Niraj 0 Kudos Reply Subscribe All forum topics Previous Topic Next Topic 1 REPLY DarrenOC
Currently the device is getting the following IP information: General PUBLIC IP - 22.214.171.124 WAN DHCP - Static IP STATUS - Active IP (DHCP) - 192.168..3 GATEWAY - 192.168..1 DNS - 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52 The General Public IP is the IP that the ISP is handing out (I assume).
Typically, network hardware will simply not work if you assign a bad IP address to it. Meraki devices, however, will automatically switch back to DHCP (automatic IP assignment) so that it can check in to the cloud and alert you about the problem if at all possible. Troubleshooting Steps
Meraki support is top tier, if this was an actual defect they would have this thing RMAd within an hour. You should also consider co-term licensing, lets say you had 6 Meraki appliances each with 12 months of licensing, if you put one away as a spare, you transfer its license to the group, and now the 5 devices instead have 15 months each.
Potential Symptoms. During first time fire up, laptop set to DHCP while plugged into the router is getting a 169.254.x.x IP address. Devices connected to the Meraki router are not receiving a DHCP address from the router. Arp -a command from connected laptop may show an IP of 192.168.100.1 with a MAC address starting with 88:15:44.
Meraki IP Conflict Issues WebbyTuts 2 subscribers Subscribe 7 Share 771 views 2 years ago If you are wondering why you are getting Meraki MX IP Address Conflict events showing up left, right...
Now, Meraki announce you can configure the WAN IP and DNS settings directly from the Meraki dashboard. To do this, go to the dashboard, then to the Appliance statuspage and finally on Uplinktab. Here we can see a small pencil close to the WAN IP to change the IP settings:
Kindly inform us what will be the main reason of following authentication errors of meraki AP's connection logs. I'm using MR33 APs. 1.Client failed during the authentication step.(reason='reserved' radio='0' vap='0' channel='11' rssi='47)
Fairly new to Meraki, but I have an issue where the LAN IP config does not reflect changes I've made. For example it says the IP is assigned via DHCP but if you click the pencil icon to configure, I clearly have set a valid static IP assignment.
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