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Strategic Planning

Small business strategic planning: 10 tips to transform your company

planning in small business

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Within our strategic planning practice we have worked with every conceivable type of business, large and small. Larger companies are more likely to engage in strategic planning, not because it is more relevant for them but because they tend to hire professional managers who understand the dramatic impact that a strategic plan can have on profitability and morale.

About half of Vistage members (I have worked with more than 50) engage in some type of strategic planning process, with varying degrees of formality. You may be wondering, why wouldn’t everybody want a plan?

One has to start by understanding the underlying psychology. We get caught in a trap, where the urgent nature of today’s work always takes precedence over strategy. We feel greater accomplishment from finishing routine tasks than attacking larger projects that deliver enterprise value but may require months to complete.

To be fair, small businesses are more strained for resources than larger companies. They do not have dedicated people for things such as research and development. But regardless of size, every entrepreneur should find time to be thoughtful about the future of their company.  I have a vivid memory of sitting with a really smart young entrepreneur who wept in her office out of fear she could lose it all. The pressure on small business owners is immense, and a thoughtful planning process can chart a course to a successful future, one with more clarity and less stress.

One thing I have found is that many entrepreneurs have a plan in their head, and they are under the impression that is good enough; it isn’t.  Lack of clarity manifests in poor decision making about new products, who to hire, where to staff a sales team and what equipment to buy. When these decisions are made in a vacuum and without sufficient data and context, a management team has to spend a lot of time unwinding mistakes. This is why the notion that we don’t have time to plan is really just a rationalization (one could even call it an excuse). The greater proportion of our time we spend planning (instead of reacting), the less time we expend.

Other small business owners will rationalize that they can’t plan because the world is a volatile place; and it is. But the businesses that plan what they can control, are in better position to react to the things that they can’t.

So here are 10 steps for small businesses to build a successful strategic planning process:

1. Include the right people

Often business owners are resistant to share information out of fear that it will end up in the wrong hands. So they keep a tight circle on who they have strategic conversations with. The problem with this is that the people closest to the customers are the ones with the most information about their problems, and potential solutions. In many companies, capable employees are unwilling to share their opinions. We encourage our clients to include as many people who they can trust (and who can think strategically) in their strategic planning process, and that tends to be a wider circle than they might expect.

2. Gather the data

Having access to pertinent market data is the number one barrier for most small businesses. Like investment bankers, we access industry reports on behalf of our clients but that is not practical for most businesses. However, there is a wealth of free information available at sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis and low cost consumer research tools at sites such as gutcheckit.com.

Also, companies often do a poor job capturing and mining internal data. Every company should segment their reporting by channel, customer, product categories, etc. Surveying your strategy participants is also a useful way to gather information and rank strategic issues by importance.

If you are a really small company, these principles may be executed with five people but it is still the same.

3. Expect preparation

Strategic planning is garbage in, garbage out. Every person participating in strategic planning should be expected to prepare for a strategy conversation, whether that be by developing information or learning more about the mechanics of the business.

4. Create the right environment

Creating a safe harbor, a place where people feel safe about having strategy conversations is as important as making sure the physical environment (such as an off-site location) is suited to creativity. Many companies hire facilitators to keep the meeting on track.

5. Build your plan

Entrepreneurs have a lot of anxiety about writing a plan but it is actually the easy part if you have done your homework.  Components of a strategic plan usually include things like an executive summary, financial projections, SWOT analysis, external factors, market/competitive analysis, vision map and action plan.

6. Focus on growth and value

Often companies engage in operational planning and call it strategic planning. Continuing to do what you have always done is not strategy at all (unless you have weighed alternatives). Focus on how you will grow the business, and in particular what product or service innovations will improve the customer experience.

7. Organize around strategic objectives and an actionable plan

The number one thing that should come out of a strategic plan is unity about four or five overarching objectives that serve as a script for the management team. They should be illustrated in some form of vision map that can be shared with managers (and perhaps all employees) throughout the company.

I get to clean up after a lot of companies who hold strategy sessions and fail to put their strategy into action. Don’t even bother doing strategic planning if you don’t come out of it with an actionable plan with an assigned champion and due dates. When action items are organized by objectives, the objectives remain alive even after action items are completed.

The most successful companies I have been around are the ones with clear intention about converting their strategic plan into their corporate DNA. They do this by:

9. Execute relentlessly

As Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

If you only take one thing from this post it should be this: MEET WITH YOUR TEAM EVERY MONTH OR QUARTER TO REVIEW THE STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN, PERIOD.

10. Think of strategic planning as a process and not an event

Companies operate on all types of cycles. Whether you engage in strategic planning annually or quarterly, it must be a repeatable process (strategy, budget, scorecard, performance management, action plan). Rinse and repeat every year.

Great leaders inspire others with their vision. They don’t get caught in the trap of being operators every day without connection to the broader strategy. Reinforce your plan every day, until every employee understands it and buys in to your vision.

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Vistage for Small business leaders

Discover the most effective sounding board for your toughest decisions. As a small business owner, you may be so busy with urgent matters that you neglect the strategic decisions that drive long-term growth. Vistage helps you get out of the weeds, identify your blind spots and push your business forward. Get started here.

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Category: Strategic Planning

Tags:   Business Strategy , National Small Business Week , small buisness

planning in small business

Marc Emmer is President of Optimize Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in strategic planning. Emmer is a sixteen-year Vistage member and a Vistage speaker. The release of his second book, “Momentum, Ho

Planning is essential for the success of any business. In business circles, strategic planning refers to a process in which an organization construes its strategies and makes decisions concerning the allocation of resources to plans set forth by the business. A strategic plan can break or make your enterprise; thus you must put in lots of effort in the development stage.

Anyways, read the below. This might help. http://www.namasteui.com/tips-for-creating-a-strategic-plan-for-your-business/

— Regards, Sourav Basak Namaste UI

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Small Business Planning

Small-business owners have special financial-planning needs and opportunities. You can participate in tax-advantaged savings plans for yourself (and your employees, if you have them) and other tax benefits, but you also have additional tax and legal responsibilities. You can also plan for your debt and investing needs as your business grows, and protect your business if anything happens to you.

planning in small business

How to Understand Tax Planning as a Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats, and it might be easy to lose site of one critical function of your business: tax planning. Poor tax planning can result in unexpected tax bills and penalties that can impact your business’s cash flow. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Your Small Business Can Benefit From a Financial Planner

Working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can allow you to focus on your small business needs, while your trusted professional works for you to help reach your financial goals.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic has clearly added a great deal of complexity to small business owners who wish to retire and monetize their life’s work.

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Every decision you make as part of your career change should be viewed from the lens of your personal financial needs both today and for the long run.

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With planning and the support and guidance of a CFP® professional, you can ensure that you will be ready for the role of partner in a firm.

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Being your own boss can be rewarding, but the job comes with special financial considerations that should be taken into account.

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For entrepreneurs looking to create a holistic financial plan, it's beneficial to divide financial planning into two categories: business and personal.

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Small business owners need proper budgeting to determine the right product for their market/audience, market the product and sell it at the right volume.

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Plan for the costs of being your own boss: the costs of not having a steady salary with benefits, not having a paid office or team, and not having a boss.

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Get big-picture guidance on jumpstarting a retirement fund, whether due to divorce, a business setback or just getting a late start on saving for retirement.

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Financial Management

4 Steps to Creating a Financial Plan for Your Small Business

Rami Ali

When it comes to long-term business success, preparation is the name of the game. And the key to that preparation is a solid financial plan. It helps you pitch investors, anticipate growth and weather cash flow shortages. To get started, you need to learn some of the key elements to financial planning.

What is a Financial Plan?

A financial plan helps determine if an idea is sustainable, and then keeps you on track to financial health as your business matures. It’s an integral part to an overall business plan and is made up of three financial statements—cash flow statement, income statement and balance sheet. In your plan, each of these will include a brief explanation or analysis.

Key Takeaways

Why is a Financial Plan Important to Your Small Business?

A well-put-together financial plan can help you achieve greater confidence in your business while generating a better understanding of how to allocate resources. It shows your business is committed to spending wisely and its ability to meet financial obligations. A financial plan helps you determine if choices will impact revenue and which occasions call for dipping into reserve funds.

It’s also an important tool when asking investors to consider your business. Your financial plan shows how your organization manages expenses and generates revenue. It shows where your business stands and how much it needs from sales and investors to meet important financial benchmarks.

Components of a Small Business Financial Plan

Whether you’re modifying your plan or starting from scratch, a financial plan should include:

Income statement: This shows how your business experienced profit or loss over a specific period—usually over three months. Also known as a profit-and-loss statement (P&L) or pro forma income statement, it lists the following:

Balance sheet: Rather than looking backward or peering into the future, the balance sheet helps you see where you stand right now. What do you own and what do you owe? To figure it out, you’ll need to consider the following:

Shareholder equity (the amount of money generated by your business): Use this formula to calculate it:

Shareholder Equity = Assets – Liability

Now that you have these three items, you’re ready to create your balance sheet. And just as the name implies, when complete, you’ll want this to balance out to zero. On one side, list your assets, such as cash on hand. And on the other side list your liabilities and equity (or how much money is generated by the business). The balance sheet is used along the other financial statements in order to calculate business financial ratios, discussed further below.

Balance Sheet

Why have a balance sheet? It can provide insight into your business and show important measures like how much cash you have, what your obligations are and what kind of profit you’re making all at a glance.

Personnel plan: You need the right people to meet goals and retain a healthy cash flow. A personnel plan looks at existing positions and helps you see when it’s time to bring on more team members, and whether they should be full-time, part-time, or work on a contractual basis. It looks at compensations levels, including benefits, and forecasts those costs. By looking at growth and costs you can see if the potential benefits that come with a new employee justify the expense.

Business ratios: Sometimes you need to look at more than just the big picture. You need to drill down to specific aspects of your business and keep an eye on how individual areas are doing. Business ratios are a way to see things like your net profit margin, return on equity, accounts payable turnover, assets to sales, working capital and total debt to total assets. Numbers used to calculate these ratios come from your P&L statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement and are often used to help request funding from a bank or investors.

Sales forecast: How much will you sell in a specific period? A sales forecast needs to be an ongoing part of any planning process since it helps predict cash flow and the organization’s overall health. A forecast needs to be consistent with the sales number within your P&L statement. Organizing and segmenting your sales forecast will depend on how thoroughly you want to track sales and the business you have. For example, if you own a hotel and giftshop, you may want to track separately sales from guests staying the night and sales from the shop.

Cash flow projection: Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of your financial plan is your cash flow statement . Your business runs on cash. Understanding how much cash is coming in and when to expect it shows the difference between your profit and cash position. It should display how much cash you have now, where it’s going, where it will come from and a schedule for each activity.

Income projections: How much money will your company make in a given period, usually a year. Take that and then subtract the anticipated expenses and you’ll have the income projections . In some cases, these are rolled into profit and loss statements.

Assets and liabilities: Both of these elements are part of your balance sheet. Assets are what your company owns, including current and long-term assets. Current assets can be converted into cash within a year. Think of things such as stocks, inventory and accounts receivable. Long-term assets are tangible or fixed assets designed for long-term use like furniture, fixtures, buildings, machinery and vehicles.

Liabilities are business obligations that are divided into current and long-term categories. Examples of current liabilities in a financial plan are accrued payroll, taxes payable, short-term loans and other obligations due within a year. Long-term liabilities include shareholder loans or bank debt that matures more than a year later.

Break-even analysis: Your break-even point—how much you need to sell to cover all your expenses—will guide your sales revenue and volume goals. Start by calculating your contribution margin by subtracting the costs of a good or service from the amount you pay. In the case of a bicycle store, the sale price of a new bike minus what you paid for it and the salary of your bike salesperson, your rent, etc. By understanding your fixed costs, you can then begin to understand how much you’ll need to markup goods and services and what sales and revenue goals to set in order to stay afloat or turn a profit.

Create a strategic plan: Starting with a strategic plan helps you think about what you want your company to accomplish. Before looking at the numbers, think about what you’ll need to achieve these goals. Will you need to buy more equipment or hire more staff? Is there a chance of new goals affecting your cash flow? What other resources will you need?

Determine the impact on your company’s finances and create a list of existing expenses and assets to help with your next steps.

Create financial projections: This should be based on anticipated expenses and sales forecasts . Look at your goals and plug in the costs needed to achieve them. Include different scenarios. Create a range that is optimistic, pessimistic and most likely to happen, so you can anticipate the impact each one will have. If you’re working with an accountant, go over the plan together to understand how to explain it when seeking funding from investors and lenders.

Plan for contingencies: Look at your cash flow statement and assets, and create a plan for when there’s no money coming in or your business has taken an unexpected turn. Consider having cash reserves or a substantial line of credit if you need cash fast. You may also need to plot ways to sell off assets to help break even.

Monitor and compare goals: Look at the actual results in your cash flow statement, income projections and even business ratios as necessary throughout the year to see if you need to modify your plan or if you’re right on target. Regularly checking in helps you spot potential problems before they get worse.

Three Questions Your Financial Plan Should Answer

Once you’ve created your plan, you should have answers to the following questions:

Financial plans that can’t answer these questions need more tweaking. Otherwise, you risk starting a new venture without a clear path and leave behind valuable insight.

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Financial management software is worth the expense because it offers automated capabilities such as analysis, reporting and forecasting. Plus, using cloud-based financial planning tools like NetSuite can help you automatically consolidate data and improve efficiency. Everyone across your organization can access and analyze up-to-date information, which leads to better informed decisions.

Whether you’re looking to secure outside funding or just monitor your business growth, understanding and creating a financial plan is crucial. Once you have an overview of your business’ finances, you can make strategic decisions to ensure its longevity.

small business financial plan

Small Business Financial Management: Tips, Importance and Challenges

It is remarkably difficult to start a small business. Only about half stay open for five years, and only a third make it to the 10-year mark. That’s why it’s vital to make every effort to succeed. And one of the most fundamental skills and tools for any small business owner is sound financial management.

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Business Development Plan for Small Businesses

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

planning in small business

Without a business development plan, your business will never be as healthy as it could be and may even sicken and die. But many small business owners don’t do the business planning they should because they’re hard-pressed to find the time to do it. How many times have you thought that you should do some planning — if only you weren't so busy taking care of business!

But business planning doesn’t have to be a time-consuming ordeal. In just a pair of two to three-hour sessions, you can put together the basics of a business development plan that will invigorate your business for the course of an entire year.

Preparing for Your Business Development Plan

Set aside the time on two separate days for a pair of business planning sessions. (The days don’t have to be consecutive, but should be fairly close in time. You may choose to have your planning sessions as much as a week apart.)

If you’re the sort of person who prefers to work in a group, get together with a like-minded friend or two who also runs a small business. You’ll find the brainstorming in these easier with input from other people, and they’ll certainly be more fun as social occasions. Keep your planning group small, though; no more than three people. (The smaller the group, the more each person will contribute.)

Business Development Plan Session 1

1. Revisit the Vision Statement

Your business vision statement is the starting point for any business development planning, as it’s the core of your inspiration and motivation. Do you see yourself having so much business you need to hire help? Trebling your sales? Becoming locally renowned as the best business of your type? Expanding into a franchise operation? Give your imagination free rein. What would you like your business to be like next year? Three years from now? Five years from now?

Articulate your business vision for each time period listed above — and write your three business vision statements down. Don’t hesitate to craft a business vision statement that expresses what you truly want your business to be and what you truly want to get out of your business. The vision statement is for you, not for your customers or clients.

2. Evaluate Your Business

This second step of your development plan involves examining the current position of your business. First, the easy part. What are your business’s three best strengths right now? And what are your business’s three areas of weakness? For more on this, you should read How to Do SWOT Analysis for Your Business and this example of a SWOT analysis .

Now it gets a little harder; you need to relate these strengths and weaknesses to your vision statement for next year. How will the three strengths you have identified get you closer to where you want to be next year? How will the three weaknesses hold you back?

Think about these and/or discuss them and then write down the three aspects of your business that you feel are most important to concentrate on in terms of achieving your vision statement for next year.

For instance, suppose my business vision statement is to treble my sales for next year and get my product nationally known. Suppose, too, that my strengths are the attributes of my product (people who use it see it as a superior product), my customer base (the product is well-positioned locally and I do a lot of repeat business), and my distribution system (I have no problems filling orders or having my product delivered to the customers).

On the other hand, the weaknesses of my business are that it doesn’t seem to be attracting a large number of new customers, the product doesn’t seem to be known outside of the local area, and my marketing efforts don’t seem to be working .

Examining these and comparing them to my vision statement for next year, I wrote down: “Salesforce. PR. Marketing.”

Stop here for the first session. That’s enough to mull over for now — and if you go away and do other things, your mind will continue to work on the problem you’ve set it. A good night’s sleep between this and your next business development plan session (or even several!) will make your next session much more productive.

The Action Plan: Business Development Plan Session 2

Now that you know where you want to go, the purpose of this business planning session is to figure out how you're going to get there, giving you a practical action plan for the next year for your small business.

3. Set Your Priorities

In my example in the first session, the three aspects of my business that I thought was most important in terms of achieving my vision statement for next year were all closely related. Yours might not be. Look at the three aspects you’ve selected and rated them from most important to least important.

4. Brainstorm Actions

Focus on your top one or two priorities. What can you do to achieve what you want to achieve? Let your mind rove and list all the possible actions you could take, no matter how impractical they seem. (Here’s where having a partner or business planning team will really help; others often come up with ideas that have never occurred to you!)

For instance, having set my priorities to marketing and PR, I would brainstorm all the actions I could take to improve my marketing and PR efforts so that I could treble my sales and get my product nationally known. I could:

This is only a partial list, but you get the idea. The important thing at the brainstorming stage is to record all your ideas without prejudging (and rejecting) any of them. The most far-fetched idea may contain the kernel of a good idea.

5. Organize Your Actions

This is the stage of your business development plan where you shape your ideas into an action plan.

First, go over your list of actions. Put check marks by ideas you think are good, put question marks by ones you are doubtful about and draw lines through the ones you think are unworkable or silly.

Now examine the “good” ideas. Do you see any similarities or themes? If so, group those ideas accordingly.

6. Set Your Goals

Use the check marked items and/or groups of themed items to create your action goals. As I say in  Goal Setting Is the First Step to Achievement , the secret of successful goal setting is to incorporate both the action you’re going to take and the timeline into your goal. Use the formula of: "I will (specific goal) BY (specific actions I will follow to accomplish the goal) BY (time).”

As an example, one of my action goals might be: “I will get my product known nationally BY creating a marketing plan BY (a date three months from now).”

Another of my action goals might be: “I will get my product known nationally BY starting an ad campaign on Facebook BY (a date three days from now).”

Don’t skip the dates! They're important both to spur you into action and to give you a basis for evaluating your progress.

Create as many action goals as you feel are necessary to accomplish the greater goal of making your vision statement for next year reality.

7. Plan How and When to Evaluate Your Progress

You have your action plan now and you’re ready to implement it — but there’s one more thing to do first. If you don't plan how and when to evaluate your progress now, chances are you’ll never get back to your business development plan.

The dates inherent in the goals will help, but you also need to build time for reviewing your progress on your action plan into your timetable. What will work best for you? Will you review your progress on your business plan once a week? Once a month? Every three months? Some people find it very effective to start each day with a business planning session This keeps your goals front and center in your mind.

Whichever you choose, pick your dates now and record them with reminders in whatever scheduling system you’re using. Evaluating your progress on your action plan will probably take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour.

Once again, doing your business planning with a partner or small group is very beneficial at this stage; one of the things you will do when you evaluate your progress is to assess what’s working and what’s not. It’s always useful to get more input when amending goals (and interesting to see how your partner or group members are doing implementing their own action plans).

The second business development plan session ends here. You’ve now chosen your direction over the course of the next year and have forged a specific action plan to take you where you want to go. You’ve even determined how and when you’re going to sit down and evaluate your progress on your plan.

Make It Happen

There’s only one thing left to do — put your action plan into action! Hopefully, these two business development plan sessions have gotten you fired up and ready to start working on making your vision statement happen.

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How to Write a Business Plan for a Small Business

Last Updated: November 1, 2022 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Helena Ronis . Helena Ronis is Co-founder and CEO of AllFactors, a unified web analytics software to drive company's marketing and business growth. She has worked in product and marketing in the tech industry for over 8 years, and studied Digital Marketing & Analytics at the MIT Sloan School of Management Executive Program. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 37 testimonials and 91% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,004,087 times.

Helena Ronis

Preparing To Write Your Business Plan

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Writing Your Business Plan

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Finalizing Your Business Plan

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To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business. Follow that with a company description that explains your business in more detail. You'll also want to include sections on your target customers, how your business will be structured, and what products or services you will offer. Finally, conclude your business plan with a section on your marketing strategy and also a funding request for potential investors. For help writing each section of your business plan, read the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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planning in small business

Effective business planning can be the key to your success. A business plan can help you secure finance, prioritise your efforts and evaluate opportunities.

It may initially seem like a lot of work; however a well prepared business plan can save you time and money in the long run.

Writing a business plan

You can download our business plan template and guide to writing a business plan to assist you to complete your plan.

What should a business plan include?

There are no rules about what your plan should cover or the level of detail. In general, plans need to include information regarding:

Before starting your business plan

You may want to consider the following key questions to help determine if you are ready to start writing your business plan.

How often should I review my business plan?

Business planning is an ongoing activity. Review plans regularly and update whenever your circumstances change.

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Business Planning: It’s Importance, Types and Key Elements

Table of Contents

Every year, thousands of new businesses see the light of the day. One look at the  World Bank's Entrepreneurship Survey and database  shows the mind-boggling rate of new business registrations. However, sadly, only a tiny percentage of them have a chance of survival.   

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, about 50% in their fifth year.

Research from the University of Tennessee found that 44% of businesses fail within the first three years. Among those that operate within specific sectors, like information (which includes most tech firms), 63% shut shop within three years.

Several  other statistics  expose the abysmal rates of business failure. But why are so many businesses bound to fail? Most studies mention "lack of business planning" as one of the reasons.

This isn’t surprising at all. 

Running a business without a plan is like riding a motorcycle up a craggy cliff blindfolded. Yet, way too many firms ( a whopping 67%)  don't have a formal business plan in place. 

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It doesn't matter if you're a startup with a great idea or a business with an excellent product. You can only go so far without a roadmap — a business plan. Only, a business plan is so much more than just a roadmap. A solid plan allows a business to weather market challenges and pivot quickly in the face of crisis, like the one global businesses are struggling with right now, in the post-pandemic world.  

But before you can go ahead and develop a great business plan, you need to know the basics. In this article, we'll discuss the fundamentals of business planning to help you plan effectively for 2021.  

Now before we begin with the details of business planning, let us understand what it is.

What Is a Business Plan?

No two businesses have an identical business plan, even if they operate within the same industry. So one business plan can look entirely different from another one. Still, for the sake of simplicity, a business plan can be defined as a guide for a company to operate and achieve its goals.  

More specifically, it's a document in writing that outlines the goals, objectives, and purpose of a business while laying out the blueprint for its day-to-day operations and key functions such as marketing, finance, and expansion.

A good business plan can be a game-changer for startups that are looking to raise funds to grow and scale. It convinces prospective investors that the venture will be profitable and provides a realistic outlook on how much profit is on the cards and by when it will be attained. 

However, it's not only new businesses that greatly benefit from a business plan. Well-established companies and large conglomerates also need to tweak their business plans to adapt to new business environments and unpredictable market changes. 

Before getting into learning more about business planning, let us learn the advantages of having one.

The Advantages of Having a Business Plan

Since a detailed business plan offers a birds-eye view of the entire framework of an establishment, it has several benefits that make it an important part of any organization. Here are few ways a business plan can offer significant competitive edge.

Now let's look at the various types involved in business planning.

You're Steps Away from a Business Analyst Job

You're Steps Away from a Business Analyst Job

The Types of Business Plans

Business plans are formulated according to the needs of a business. It can be a simple one-page document or an elaborate 40-page affair, or anything in between. While there’s no rule set in stone as to what exactly a business plan can or can’t contain, there are a few common types of business plan that nearly all businesses in existence use.  

Here’s an overview of a few fundamental types of business plans. 

The Key Elements of a Business Plan

There is some preliminary work that’s required before you actually sit down to write a plan for your business. Knowing what goes into a business plan is one of them. 

Here are the key elements of a good business plan:

Best Business Plan Software

The importance of business planning is it simplifies the planning of your company's finances to present this information to a bank or investors. Here are the best business plan software providers available right now:

The Only Course You Need to Succeed

The Only Course You Need to Succeed

Common Challenges of Writing a Business Plan

The importance of business planning cannot be emphasized enough, but it can be challenging to write a business plan. Here are a few issues to consider before you start your business planning:

Become an Expert Business Planner

Whether you’re running your own business or in-charge of ensuring strategic performance and growth for your employer or clients, knowing the ins and outs of business planning can set you up for success. 

Be it the launch of a new and exciting product or an expansion of operations, business planning is the necessity of all large and small companies. Which is why the need for professionals with superior business planning skills will never die out. In fact, their demand is on the rise with global firms putting emphasis on business analysis and planning to cope with cut-throat competition and market uncertainties.

While some are natural-born planners, most people have to work to develop this important skill. Plus, business planning requires you to understand the fundamentals of business management and be familiar with business analysis techniques . It also requires you to have a working knowledge of data visualization, project management, and monitoring tools commonly used by businesses today.   

Simpliearn’s Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis will help you develop and hone the required skills to become an extraordinary business planner. This comprehensive training program combined with the latest tools and methods can pave the way for you and equip you with the skills and the know-how to tackle any real-world challenges that may arise. Completing this industry-recognized course also earns you a valued certification as tangible proof of your talent. 

What Is Meant by Business Planning?

Business planning is developing a company's mission or goals and defining the strategies you will use to achieve those goals or tasks. The process can be extensive, encompassing all aspects of the operation, or it can be concrete, focusing on specific functions within the overall corporate structure.

What Are the 4 Types of Business Plans?

The following are the four types of business plans:

Operational Planning

This type of planning typically describes the company's day-to-day operations. Single-use plans are developed for events and activities that occur only once (such as a single marketing campaign). Ongoing plans include problem-solving policies, rules for specific regulations, and procedures for a step-by-step process for achieving particular goals.

Strategic Planning

Strategic plans are all about why things must occur. A high-level overview of the entire business is included in strategic planning. It is the organization's foundation and will dictate long-term decisions.

Tactical Planning

Tactical plans are about what will happen. Strategic planning is aided by tactical planning. It outlines the tactics the organization intends to employ to achieve the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

Contingency Planning

When something unexpected occurs or something needs to be changed, contingency plans are created. In situations where a change is required, contingency planning can be beneficial.

What Are the 7 Steps of a Business Plan?

The following are the seven steps required for a business plan:

Conduct Research

If your company is to run a viable business plan and attract investors, your information must be of the highest quality.

Have a Goal

The goal must be unambiguous. You will waste your time if you don't know why you're writing a business plan. Knowing also implies having a target audience for when the plan is expected to get completed.

Create a Company Profile

Some refer to it as a company profile, while others refer to it as a snapshot. It's designed to be mentally quick and digestible because it needs to stick in the reader's mind quickly since more information is provided later in the plan.

Describe the Company in Detail

Explain the company's current situation, both good and bad. Details should also include patents, licenses, copyrights, and unique strengths that no one else has.

Create a marketing plan ahead of time.

A strategic marketing plan is required because it outlines how your product or service will be communicated, delivered, and sold to customers.

Be Willing to Change Your Plan for the Sake of Your Audience

Another standard error is that people only write one business plan. Startups have several versions, just as candidates have numerous resumes for various potential employers.

Incorporate Your Motivation

Your motivation must be a compelling reason for people to believe your company will succeed in all circumstances. A mission should drive a business, not just selling, to make money. That mission is defined by your motivation as specified in your business plan.

What Are the Basic Steps in Business Planning?

These are the basic steps in business planning:

Summary and Objectives

Briefly describe your company, its objectives, and your plan to keep it running.

Services and Products

Add specifics to your detailed description of the product or service you intend to offer. Where, why, and how much you plan to sell your product or service and any special offers.

Conduct research on your industry and the ideal customers to whom you want to sell. Identify the issues you want to solve for your customers.

Operations are the process of running your business, including the people, skills, and experience required to make it successful.

How are you going to reach your target audience? How you intend to sell to them may include positioning, pricing, promotion, and distribution.

Consider funding costs, operating expenses, and projected income. Include your financial objectives and a breakdown of what it takes to make your company profitable. With proper business planning through the help of support, system, and mentorship, it is easy to start a business.

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The top 5 advantages of planning ahead in your business.

One of the most important activities you can do for your business to ensure you reap financial success is to plan. Planning gives your company a clear direction when mapping out your goals. You plan on the direction you would like the business to go, and the plan maps out how you will achieve those goals. This plan is known as a budget, and often business owners do not like to budget because it can feel like a constriction.

But have you considered how much a budget can offer you?

Budgeting and financial planning offers an opportunity to construct scenarios with various factors playing in, such as planned sales increases, payroll increases, cost per unit increases, and the list goes on. Depending on the business size and how many moving parts there are in the planning process, the organization and scenario building for this information, can get complicated.

Young woman with straight, long, brown hair wearing glasses smiling. Wearing business jacket.

After searching for an affordable financial planning software for many years but to no avail, Tiffany Wong, a co-founder of the startup company Pry.co , founded this new platform to move small business owners and startup companies away from error-prone and inefficient softwares towards an affordable software solution that easily streamlines the planning process. This tool is designed to make it easier for the user to manage their financial data while having access to actual accounting data from previous periods and planning future years – all in one platform.

Pry.co makes it simple for businesses to manage their financial budget, map out a hiring plan to include salary increases, financial models, and cash runway forecasts, all without having to manage other software programs or hire a CFO.

The top benefits of budgeting:

1. offers a plan and clear direction for your business goals.

In a budget, you can break down the cost drivers to smaller detail, so much so that if it is essential to understand the cost of screws when building your revenue model, you can do that.

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Redefining hybrid office space to boost employee productivity, today’s ‘heardle’ answer and clues for sunday, march 5, 2. offers the ability to incorporate cost increases in your plan to ensure you can keep your profit margins healthy.

As costs increase over time due to inflation and variable cost increases, these can efficiently be planned for during the budget and planning phase. Having a reliable budgeting system in place makes the process more efficient and saves time for you.

3. Gives you a basis for monitoring your progress towards these goals

Budgets are typically broken down into monthly increments, which allows the user to monitor their actual progress against their budgeted performance monthly. This process allows the opportunity for the business owner to react quickly to deviations and correct them before the problems turn into more significant issues.

4. Allows you to understand your business on a much deeper level

When you break down your costs, it allows you to take a deep dive into your business and understand what drives your costs up and how the business decisions you make daily affect your bottom line. Knowing your numbers is the best way you can increase the profitability of your business.

5. Offers a clear understanding of where you either met, fell short, or exceeded the planned goals

As you monitor your results against your planned numbers, you will see clearly where goals fell short and where you stand financially in your business. If you have a money leak, you will quickly plug it, and that could be a potentially considerable cost-saving as if it went undetected, it could force the business to lose large amounts of money.

The bottom line is that is in your best interest as a business owner to ensure you plan for your business’s future. Knowing your numbers is the best way to keep your business dollars, thereby making it more profitable. Having tools that simplify the process goes a long way in saving time and money.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever. 

Melissa Houston

How to Develop a Small Business Financial Plan

Smartsheet Contributor Andy Marker

April 29, 2022

Financial planning is critical for any successful small business, but the process can be complicated. To help you get started, we’ve created a step-by-step guide and rounded up top tips from experts.

Included on this page, you’ll find what to include in a financial plan , steps to develop one , and a downloadable starter kit .

What Is a Small Business Financial Plan?

A small business financial plan is an outline of the financial status of your business, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow information. A financial plan can help guide a small business toward sustainable growth.

Craig Hewitt

Financial plans can aid in business goal setting and metrics tracking, as well as provide proof of profitable ideas. Craig Hewitt, Founder of Castos , shares that “creating a financial plan will show you if your business ideas are sustainable. A financial plan will show you where your business stands and help you make better decisions about resource allocation. It will also help you plan growth, survive cash flow shortages, and pitch to investors.”

Why Is It Important for a Small Business to Have a Financial Plan?

All small businesses should create a financial plan. This allows you to assess your business’s financial needs, recognize areas of opportunity, and project your growth over time. A strong financial plan is also a bonus for potential investors.

Mark Daoust

Mark Daoust , the President and CEO of Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc., explains why a financial plan is important for small businesses: “It can sometimes be difficult for business owners to evaluate their own progress, especially when starting a new company. A financial plan can be helpful in showing increased revenues, cash flow growth, and overall profit in quantifiable data. It's very encouraging for small business owners who are often working long hours and dealing with so many stressful decisions to know that they are on the right track.”

To learn more about other important considerations for a small business, peruse our list of free startup plan, budget, and cost templates .

What Does a Small Business Financial Plan Include?

All small businesses should include an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement in their financial plan. You may also include other documents, such as personnel plans, break-even points, and sales forecasts, depending on the business and industry.

Ahmet Yuzbasioglu

How to Write a Small Business Financial Plan

Writing a financial plan begins with collecting financial information from your small business. Create income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, and any other documents you need using that information. Then share those documents with relevant stakeholders.

“Creating a financial plan is key to any business and essential for success: It provides protection and an opportunity to grow,” says Yüzbaşıoğlu. “You can use [the financial plan] to make better-informed decisions about things like resource allocation on future projects and to help shape the success of your company.”

1. Create a Plan

Create a strategic business plan that includes your business strategy and goals, and define their financial impact. Your financial plan will inform decisions for every aspect of your business, so it is important to know what is important and what is at stake.

2. Gather Financial Information

Collect all of the available financial information about your business. Organize bank statements, loan information, sales numbers, inventory costs, payroll information, and any other income and expenses your business has incurred. If you have not already started to do so, regularly record all of this information and store it in an easily accessible place.

3. Create an Income Statement

Your income statement should display revenue, expenses, and profit for a given time period. Your revenue minus your expenses equals your profit or loss. Many businesses create a new statement yearly or quarterly, but small businesses with less cash flow may benefit from creating statements for shorter time frames.

Income Statement

4. Create a Balance Sheet

Your balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’s financial status at a particular moment in time. You should update it on the same schedule as your income statement. To determine your equity, calculate all of your assets minus your liabilities.

Balance Sheet

5. Create a Cash Flow Statement

As mentioned above, the cash flow statement shows all past and projected cash flow for your business. “Your cash flow statement needs to cover three sections: operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities,” suggests Hewitt. “Operating activities are the movement of cash from the sale or purchase of goods or services. Investing activities are the sale or purchase of long-term assets. Financing activities are transactions with creditors and investments.”

Cash Flow

6. Create Other Documents as Needed

Depending on the age, size, and industry of your business, you may find it useful to include these other documents in your financial plan as well.

Breakeven Point

7. Save the Plan for Reference and Share as Needed

The most important part of a financial plan is sharing it with stakeholders. You can also use much of the same information in your financial plan to create a budget for your small business.

Janet Patterson

Additionally, be sure to conduct regular reviews, as things will inevitably change. “My best tip for small businesses when creating a financial plan is to schedule reviews. Once you have your plan in place, it is essential that you review it often and compare how well the strategy fits with the actual monthly expenses. This will help you adjust your plan accordingly and prepare for the year ahead,” suggests Janet Patterson, Loan and Finance Expert at  Highway Title Loans.

Small Business Financial Plan Example

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Download Small Business Financial Plan Example Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Here is an example of what a completed small business financial plan dashboard might look like. Once you have completed your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements, use a template to create visual graphs to display the information to make it easier to read and share. In this example, this small business plots its income and cash flow statements quarterly, but you may find it valuable to update yours more often.

Small Business Financial Plan Starter Kit

Download Small Business Financial Plan Starter Kit

We’ve created this small business financial plan starter kit to help you get organized and complete your financial plan. In this kit, you will find a fully customizable income statement template, a balance sheet template, a cash flow statement template, and a dashboard template to display results. We have also included templates for break-even analysis, a personnel plan, and sales forecasts to meet your ongoing financial planning needs.

Small Business Income Statement Template 

Small Business Income Statement Template

Download Small Business Income Statement Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this small business income statement template to input your income information and track your growth over time. This template is filled to track by the year, but you can also track by months or quarters. The template is fully customizable to suit your business needs.

Small Business Balance Sheet Template 

Small Business Balance Sheet Template

Download Small Business Balance Sheet Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This customizable balance sheet template was created with small businesses in mind. Use it to create a snapshot of your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity quarter over quarter. 

Small Business Cash Flow Statement Template 

Small Business Cash Flow Template

Download Small Business Cash Flow Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this customizable cash flow statement template to stay organized when documenting your cash flow. Note the time frame and input all of your financial data in the appropriate cell. With this information, the template will automatically generate your total cash payments, net cash change, and ending cash position.

Break-Even Analysis Template 

Break Even Analysis Template

Download Break-Even Analysis Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This powerful template can help you determine the point at which you will break even on product investment. Input the sale price of the product, as well as its various associated costs, and this template will display the number of units needed to break even on your initial costs.

Personnel Plan Template  

Personnel Plan Template

Download Personnel Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this simple personnel plan template to help organize and define the monetary cost of the various roles or departments within your company. This template will generate a labor cost total that you can use to compare roles and determine whether you need to make cuts or identify areas for growth.

Sales Forecast Template

Sales Forecast Template

Download Sales Forecast Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this customizable template to forecast your sales month over month and determine the percentage changes. You can use this template to set goals and track sales history as well.

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Download Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This dashboard template provides a visual example of a small business financial plan. It presents the information from your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in a graphical form that is easy to read and share.

Tips for Completing a Financial Plan for a Small Business

You can simplify the development of your small business financial plan in many ways, from outlining your goals to considering where you may need help. We’ve outlined a few tips from our experts below:

Jesse Thé

Do Small Business Owners Need a Financial Planner?

Not all small business owners need a designated financial planner, but you should understand the documents and information that make up a financial plan. If you do not hire an advisor, you must be informed about your own finances.

Small business owners tend to wear many hats, but Powell says, “it depends on the organization of the owner and their experience with the financial side of operating businesses.” Hiring a financial advisor can take some tasks off your plate and save you time to focus on the many other details that need your attention. Financial planners are experts in their field and may have more intimate knowledge of market trends and changing tax information that can end up saving you money in the long run. 

Yüzbaşıoğlu adds, “Small business owners can greatly benefit from working with a financial advisor. A successful small business often requires more than just the skills of an entrepreneur; a financial advisor can help the company effectively manage risks and maximize opportunities.”

For more examples of the tasks a financial planner might be able to help with, check through our list of free financial planning templates .

Drive Small Business Success with Financial Planning in Smartsheet

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With Smartsheet, you can align your team on strategic initiatives, improve collaboration efforts, and automate repetitive processes, giving you the ability to make better business decisions and boost effectiveness as you scale. 

When you wear a lot of hats, you need a tool that empowers you to get more done in less time. Smartsheet helps you achieve that. Try free for 30 days, today .

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How to Find a Small Business Tax Advisor

small business tax advisor

Small business owners can identify tax advisors by asking for recommendations from other professionals such as accountants, seeking personal referrals, checking out professional directories and following leads from advertisements. Before seeking help from a tax advisor, business owners will want to decide what kind of help they need and how much they’re willing to pay. After picking some candidates, interviews and background checks can help whittle the list. The help of a knowledgeable and attentive tax advisor can significantly affect a business’s financial performance. 

Tax Advisor Basics

A tax advisor can give a business owner guidance about how to reduce taxes. Tax advisors are often called in to prepare tax returns, plan for managing future taxes and navigate major events such as the sale of a business, all with an eye to minimizing tax liability.

The role of a tax advisor is often handled by an accountant, attorney or tax return preparer. Enrolled agents , certified public accountants and attorneys carry professional designations and are licensed and overseen by government regulators. Tax return preparers are registered with the Internal Revenue Service However, anyone can call themselves a tax advisor. There’s no specific certification requirement for giving tax advice.

Getting bad tax advice can land a business owner in trouble and possibly lead to greater tax liability as well as fees, fines and even imprisonment. Scammers may pose as tax advisors and expose business owners to losses due to fraud and theft. With these concerns in mind, here are some ways to find a small business tax advisor.

How to Find a Tax Advisor

small business tax advisor

Start searching for a tax advisor by considering the type of services you will need. For instance, you may need help with state taxes as well as federal taxes or have specific concerns about selling your business. Also, consider how much you are able to pay. Some advisors, such as attorneys, may be more expensive than others.

After you know what you are looking for, there are several different approaches to finding the right tax advisor. Here are some of the more common ones:

Selecting an Advisor

Before agreeing to work with an advisor, it’s best to identify three or so potential candidates. By gathering information about the people on this list, you can get a better idea of the one who would be the best fit for you. Here are specific steps to consider:

The Bottom Line

small business tax advisor

Methods for finding a tax advisor include using professional referrals, personal recommendations, professional associations, government directories and advertisements. These methods allow business owners to select tax advisors with specific credentials, such as attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents .

Tips for Tax Planning

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18 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: December 01, 2022

Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and ensures your venture is sustainable for the long term.

Business plan sample: Image shows a hand writing a plan and a notepad.

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formal, then take a look at business plan samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

Free Business Plan Template

Fill out the form to get your free template..

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan (which may be dozens or hundreds of pages long).

Most executive summaries include:

However, many of these topics will be covered in more detail later on in the business plan, so keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important take-aways.

If you’re planning to start or expand a small business, preparing a business plan is still very crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this small business pdf to get an idea of how to create one for your business.

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example
  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be crystal clear on why you're targeting them.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you inform this component of your business plan.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to determine funding strategies, investment opportunities, etc. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to provide insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others will be in charts.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline gives this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy into its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

“Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration,” explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your “Why?” In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

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FACT SHEET: Biden- ⁠ Harris Administration Announces National Cybersecurity Strategy

Read the full strategy here

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Cybersecurity Strategy to secure the full benefits of a safe and secure digital ecosystem for all Americans. In this decisive decade, the United States will reimagine cyberspace as a tool to achieve our goals in a way that reflects our values: economic security and prosperity; respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; trust in our democracy and democratic institutions; and an equitable and diverse society. To realize this vision, we must make fundamental shifts in how the United States allocates roles, responsibilities, and resources in cyberspace.

  • We must  rebalance the responsibility to defend cyberspace  by shifting the burden for cybersecurity away from individuals, small businesses, and local governments, and onto the organizations that are most capable and best-positioned to reduce risks for all of us.  
  • We must  realign incentives to favor long-term investments  by striking a careful balance between defending ourselves against urgent threats today and simultaneously strategically planning for and investing in a resilient future.

The Strategy recognizes that government must use all tools of national power in a coordinated manner to protect our national security, public safety, and economic prosperity. VISION

Our rapidly evolving world demands a more intentional, more coordinated, and more well-resourced approach to cyber defense. We face a complex threat environment, with state and non-state actors developing and executing novel campaigns to threaten our interests. At the same time, next-generation technologies are reaching maturity at an accelerating pace, creating new pathways for innovation while increasing digital interdependencies.

This Strategy sets out a path to address these threats and secure the promise of our digital future. Its implementation will protect our investments in rebuilding America’s infrastructure, developing our clean energy sector, and re-shoring America’s technology and manufacturing base. Together with our allies and partners, the United States will make our digital ecosystem:

  • Defensible,  where cyber defense is overwhelmingly easier, cheaper, and more effective;
  • Resilient,  where cyber incidents and errors have little widespread or lasting impact; and,
  • Values-aligned,  where our most cherished values shape—and are in turn reinforced by— our digital world.

The Administration has already taken steps to secure cyberspace and our digital ecosystem, including the National Security Strategy, Executive Order 14028 (Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity), National Security Memorandum 5 (Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems), M-22-09 (Moving the U.S. Government Toward Zero-Trust Cybersecurity Principles), and National Security Memorandum 10 (Promoting United States Leadership in Quantum Computing While Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems). Expanding on these efforts, the Strategy recognizes that cyberspace does not exist for its own end but as a tool to pursue our highest aspirations.

This Strategy seeks to build and enhance collaboration around five pillars:

1. Defend Critical Infrastructure  – We will give the American people confidence in the availability and resilience of our critical infrastructure and the essential services it provides, including by:

  • Expanding the use of minimum cybersecurity requirements in critical sectors to ensure national security and public safety and harmonizing regulations to reduce the burden of compliance;
  • Enabling public-private collaboration at the speed and scale necessary to defend critical infrastructure and essential services; and,
  • Defending and modernizing Federal networks and updating Federal incident response policy

2. Disrupt and Dismantle Threat Actors  – Using all instruments of national power, we will make malicious cyber actors incapable of threatening the national security or public safety of the United States, including by:

  • Strategically employing all tools of national power to disrupt adversaries; 
  • Engaging the private sector in disruption activities through scalable mechanisms; and, 
  • Addressing the ransomware threat through a comprehensive Federal approach and in lockstep with our international partners.

3. Shape Market Forces to Drive Security and Resilience –  We will place responsibility on those within our digital ecosystem that are best positioned to reduce risk and shift the consequences of poor cybersecurity away from the most vulnerable in order to make our digital ecosystem more trustworthy, including by:

  • Promoting privacy and the security of personal data;
  • Shifting liability for software products and services to promote secure development practices; and,
  • Ensuring that Federal grant programs promote investments in new infrastructure that are secure and resilient.

4. Invest in a Resilient Future –  Through strategic investments and coordinated, collaborative action, the United States will continue to lead the world in the innovation of secure and resilient next-generation technologies and infrastructure, including by:

  • Reducing systemic technical vulnerabilities in the foundation of the Internet and across the digital ecosystem while making it more resilient against transnational digital repression;
  • Prioritizing cybersecurity R&D for next-generation technologies such as postquantum encryption, digital identity solutions, and clean energy infrastructure; and,
  •  Developing a diverse and robust national cyber workforce

5. Forge International Partnerships to Pursue Shared Goals  – The United States seeks a world where responsible state behavior in cyberspace is expected and reinforced and where irresponsible behavior is isolating and costly, including by:

  • Leveraging international coalitions and partnerships among like-minded nations to counter threats to our digital ecosystem through joint preparedness, response, and cost imposition;
  • Increasing the capacity of our partners to defend themselves against cyber threats, both in peacetime and in crisis; and,
  • Working with our allies and partners to make secure, reliable, and trustworthy global supply chains for information and communications technology and operational technology products and services.

Coordinated by the Office of the National Cyber Director, the Administration’s implementation of this Strategy is already underway.

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    Read the full strategy here. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Cybersecurity Strategy to secure the full benefits of a safe and secure digital ecosystem for all Americans.