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10 Free Business Plan Templates in Word, Excel, & ClickUp

Praburam Srinivasan

Growth Marketing Manager

February 13, 2024

Turning your vision into a clear and coherent business plan can be confusing and tough. 

Hours of brainstorming and facing an intimidating blank page can raise more questions than answers. Are you covering everything? What should go where? How do you keep each section thorough but brief?

If these questions have kept you up at night and slowed your progress, know you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve put together the top 10 business plan templates in Word, Excel, and ClickUp—to provide answers, clarity, and a structured framework to work with. This way, you’re sure to capture all the relevant information without wasting time. 

And the best part? Business planning becomes a little less “ugh!” and a lot more “aha!” 🤩

What is a Business Plan Template?

What makes a good business plan template, 1. clickup business plan template, 2. clickup sales plan template, 3. clickup business development action plan template, 4. clickup business roadmap template, 5. clickup business continuity plan template, 6. clickup lean business plan template, 7. clickup small business action plan template, 8. clickup strategic business roadmap template , 9. microsoft word business plan template by microsoft, 10. excel business plan template by vertex42.

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A business plan template is a structured framework for entrepreneurs and business executives who want to create business plans. It comes with pre-arranged sections and headings that cover key elements like the executive summary , business overview, target customers, unique value proposition, marketing plans, and financial statements.  

A good business plan template helps with thorough planning, clear documentation, and practical implementation. Here’s what to look for:

  • Comprehensive structure: A good template comes with all the relevant sections to outline a business strategy, such as executive summary, market research and analysis, and financial projections 
  • Clarity and guidance: A good template is easy to follow. It has brief instructions or prompts for each section, guiding you to think deeply about your business and ensuring you don’t skip important details
  • Clean design: Aesthetics matter. Choose a template that’s not just functional but also professionally designed. This ensures your plan is presentable to stakeholders, partners, and potential investors
  • Flexibility : Your template should easily accommodate changes without hassle, like adding or removing sections, changing content and style, and rearranging parts 🛠️ 

While a template provides the structure, it’s the information you feed it that brings it to life. These pointers will help you pick a template that aligns with your business needs and clearly showcases your vision.

10 Business Plan Templates to Use in 2024

Preparing for business success in 2024 (and beyond) requires a comprehensive and organized business plan. We’ve handpicked the best templates to help you guide your team, attract investors, and secure funding. Let’s check them out.

ClickUp Business Plan Template

If you’re looking to replace a traditional business plan document, then ClickUp’s Business Plan Template is for you!

This one-page business plan template, designed in ClickUp Docs , is neatly broken down into the following sections:

  • Company description : Overview, mission, vision, and team
  • Market analysis : Problem, solution, target market, competition, and competitive advantage
  • Sales and marketing strategy : Products/services and marketing channels
  • Operational plan : Location and facilities, equipment and tools, manpower, and financial forecasts
  • Milestones and metrics: Targets and KPIs

Customize the template with your company logo and contact details, and easily navigate to different sections using the collapsible table of contents. The mini prompts under each section guide you on what to include—with suggestions on how to present the data (e.g., bullet lists, pictures, charts, and tables). 

You can share the document with anyone via URL and collaborate in real time. And when the business plan is ready, you have the option to print it or export it to PDF, HTML, or Markdown.

But that’s not all. This template is equipped with basic and enterprise project management features to streamline the business plan creation process . The Topics List view has a list of all the different sections and subsections of the template and allows you to assign it to a team member, set a due date, and attach relevant documents and references.

Switch from List to Board view to track and update task statuses according to the following: To Do, In Progress, Needs Revision, and Complete. 

This template is a comprehensive toolkit for documenting the different sections of your business plan and streamlining the creation process to ensure it’s completed on time. 🗓️

ClickUp Sales Plan Template

If you’re looking for a tool to kickstart or update your sales plan, ClickUp’s Sales Plan Template has got you covered. This sales plan template features a project summary list with tasks to help you craft a comprehensive and effective sales strategy. Some of these tasks include:

  • Determine sales objectives and goals
  • Draft positioning statement
  • Perform competitive analysis
  • Draft ideal customer persona
  • Create a lead generation strategy

Assign each task to a specific individual or team, set priority levels , and add due dates. Specify what section of the sales plan each task belongs to (e.g., executive summary, revenue goals, team structure, etc.), deliverable type (such as document, task, or meeting), and approval state (like pending, needs revisions, and approved).

And in ClickUp style, you can switch to multiple views: List for a list of all tasks, Board for visual task management, Timeline for an overview of task durations, and Gantt to get a view of task dependencies. 

This simple business plan template is perfect for any type of business looking to create a winning sales strategy while clarifying team roles and keeping tasks organized. ✨

ClickUp Business Development Action Plan Template

Thinking about scaling your business’s reach and operations but unsure where or how to start? It can be overwhelming, no doubt—you need a clear vision, measurable goals, and an actionable plan that every member of your team can rally behind. 

Thankfully, ClickUp’s Business Development Action Plan Template is designed to use automations to simplify this process so every step toward your business growth is clear, trackable, and actionable.

Start by assessing your current situation and deciding on your main growth goal. Are you aiming to increase revenue, tap into new markets, or introduce new products or services? With ClickUp Whiteboards or Docs, brainstorm and collaborate with your team on this decision.

Set and track your short- and long-term growth goals with ClickUp’s Goals , break them down into smaller targets, and assign these targets to team members, complete with due dates. Add these targets to a new ClickUp Dashboard to track real-time progress and celebrate small wins. 🎉

Whether you’re a startup or small business owner looking to hit your next major milestone or an established business exploring new avenues, this template keeps your team aligned, engaged, and informed every step of the way.

ClickUp Business Roadmap Template

ClickUp’s Business Roadmap Template is your go-to for mapping out major strategies and initiatives in areas like revenue growth, brand awareness, community engagement, and customer satisfaction. 

Use the List view to populate tasks under each initiative. With Custom Fields, you can capture which business category (e.g., Product, Operations, Sales & Marketing, etc.) tasks fall under and which quarter they’re slated for. You can also link to relevant documents and resources and evaluate tasks by effort and impact to ensure the most critical tasks get the attention they deserve. 👀

Depending on your focus, this template provides different views to show just what you need. For example, the All Initiatives per Quarter view lets you focus on what’s ahead by seeing tasks that need completion within a specific quarter. This ensures timely execution and helps in aligning resources effectively for the short term.

This template is ideal for business executives and management teams who need to coordinate multiple short- and long-term initiatives and business strategies.

ClickUp Business Continuity Plan Template

In business, unexpected threats to operations can arise at any moment. Whether it’s economic turbulence, a global health crisis, or supply chain interruptions, every company needs to be ready. ClickUp’s Business Continuity Plan Template lets you prepare proactively for these unforeseen challenges.

The template organizes tasks into three main categories:

  • Priorities: Tasks that need immediate attention
  • Continuity coverage: Tasks that must continue despite challenges
  • Guiding principles: Resources and protocols to ensure smooth operations

The Board view makes it easy to visualize all the tasks under each of these categories. And the Priorities List sorts tasks by those that are overdue, the upcoming ones, and then the ones due later.

In times of uncertainty, being prepared is your best strategy. This template helps your business not just survive but thrive in challenging situations, keeping your customers, employees, and investors satisfied. 🤝

ClickUp Lean Business Plan Template

Looking to execute your business plan the “lean” way? Use ClickUp’s Lean Business Plan Template . It’s designed to help you optimize resource usage and cut unnecessary steps—giving you better results with less effort.

In the Plan Summary List view, list all the tasks that need to get done. Add specific details like who’s doing each task, when it’s due, and which part of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) it falls under. The By Priority view sorts this list based on priorities like Urgent, High, Normal, and Low. This makes it easy to spot the most important tasks and tackle them first.

Additionally, the Board view gives you an overview of task progression from start to finish. And the BMC view rearranges these tasks based on the various BMC components. 

Each task can further be broken down into subtasks and multiple checklists to ensure all related action items are executed. ✔️

This template is an invaluable resource for startups and large enterprises looking to maximize process efficiencies and results in a streamlined and cost-effective way.

ClickUp Small Business Action Plan Template

The Small Business Action Plan Template by ClickUp is tailor-made for small businesses looking to transform their business ideas and goals into actionable steps and, eventually, into reality. 

It provides a simple and organized framework for creating, assigning, prioritizing, and tracking tasks. And in effect, it ensures that goals are not just set but achieved. Through the native dashboard and goal-setting features, you can monitor task progress and how they move you closer to achieving your goals.

Thanks to ClickUp’s robust communication features like chat, comments, and @mentions, it’s easy to get every team member on the same page and quickly address questions or concerns.

Use this action plan template to hit your business goals by streamlining your internal processes and aligning team efforts.

ClickUp Strategic Business Roadmap Template 

For larger businesses and scaling enterprises, getting different departments to work together toward a big goal can be challenging. The ClickUp Strategic Business Roadmap Template makes it easier by giving you a clear plan to follow.

This template is packaged in a folder and split into different lists for each department in your business, like Sales, Product, Marketing, and Enablement. This way, every team can focus on their tasks while collectively contributing to the bigger goal.

There are multiple viewing options available for team members. These include:

  • Progress Board: Visualize tasks that are on track, those at risk, and those behind
  • Gantt view: Get an overview of project timelines and dependencies
  • Team view: See what each team member is working on so you can balance workloads for maximum productivity

While this template may feel overwhelming at first, the getting started guide offers a step-by-step breakdown to help you navigate it with ease. And like all ClickUp templates, you can easily customize it to suit your business needs and preferences.

Microsoft Word Business Plan Template by Microsoft

Microsoft’s 20-page traditional business plan template simplifies the process of drafting comprehensive business plans. It’s made up of different sections, including:

  • Executive summary : Highlights, objectives, mission statement, and keys to success
  • Description of business: Company ownership and legal structure, hours of operation, products and services, suppliers, financial plans, etc.
  • Marketing: Market analysis, market segmentation, competition, and pricing
  • Appendix: Start-up expenses, cash flow statements, income statements, sales forecast, milestones, break-even analysis, etc.

The table of contents makes it easy to move to different sections of the document. And the text placeholders under each section provide clarity on the specific details required—making the process easier for users who may not be familiar with certain business terminology.

Excel Business Plan Template by Vertex42

No business template roundup is complete without an Excel template. This business plan template lets you work on your business financials in Excel. It comes with customizable tables, formulas, and charts to help you look at the following areas:

  • Highlight charts
  • Market analysis
  • Start-up assets and expenses
  • Sales forecasts
  • Profit and loss
  • Balance sheet
  • Cash flow projections
  • Break-even analysis

This Excel template is especially useful when you want to create a clear and visual financial section for your business plan document—an essential element for attracting investors and lenders. However, there might be a steep learning curve to using this template if you’re not familiar with business financial planning and using Excel.

Try a Free Business Plan Template in ClickUp

Launching and running a successful business requires a well-thought-out and carefully crafted business plan. However, the business planning process doesn’t have to be complicated, boring, or take up too much time. Use any of the above 10 free business plan formats to simplify and speed up the process.

ClickUp templates go beyond offering a solid foundation to build your business plans. They come with extensive project management features to turn your vision into reality. And that’s not all— ClickUp’s template library offers over 1,000 additional templates to help manage various aspects of your business, from decision-making to product development to resource management .

Sign up for ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan today to fast-track your business’s growth! 🏆

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How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan [Examples & Template]

Kayla Carmicheal

Published: April 03, 2024

If you have a promising idea for an online e-commerce business , it’s important to create an e-commerce business plan to ensure your vision has enough stock to be profitable.

sample of business plan for online business

Having a business plan for your online store will help you define your target market, establish your monthly and quarterly sales goals, and increase the likelihood of long-term e-commerce success.

In this post, we’ll go over an online store business plan and how you can create one for your e-commerce startup. Let’s get started.

→ Download Now: Free Business Plan Template

What is an e-commerce business plan?

An e-commerce business plan is a document that outlines your business and its goals, analyzes your industry and competitors, and identifies the resources needed to execute your plan. It also lists the e-commerce retailers you’ll use to distribute your products and the marketing strategies you’ll use to drive sales.

Whether a company operates as a startup or has years of operations and growth under its belt, an e-commerce business plan is essential for evaluating a business and determining areas of improvement.

An e-commerce business plan is essential, with increasing numbers of shoppers conducting business online. It's estimated this number has reached over 2 billion . An e-commerce business plan keeps you organized and is useful when seeking investors who need to understand your company.

So, let’s dive into some examples of e-commerce business plans and what goes into writing one using our free template .

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  • Initiate with Your Business Concept: Lay the Groundwork: Start by introducing your business idea into Plannit AI's Business Plan Generator. This first step is crucial, as it sets the tone for a tailored, insightful business plan that truly resonates with your vision. Capture the Essence: Our platform is designed to grasp the nuances of your concept, ensuring that the generated plan accurately reflects the core and potential of your business.
  • Navigate Through the AI-Guided Questionnaire: Tailored Interactive Experience: Plannit AI’s AI-guided questionnaire is your interactive guide through the planning process. It meticulously gathers information about your business's objectives, strategies, and market positioning, ensuring a comprehensive and reflective plan. Intelligent Feedback and Suggestions: As you progress through the questionnaire, benefit from smart prompts and suggestions, ensuring that your plan is not just detailed but also strategically sound and aligned with industry standards.
  • Generate Your Plan with Advanced AI: Intuitive Plan Creation: With the questionnaire complete, Plannit AI's advanced algorithms intelligently analyze your responses. They then craft a detailed, customizable, and strategically aligned business plan, providing you with a structured, coherent, and actionable format. Benefit from AI-Powered Insights: Plannit AI offers AI-driven insights and suggestions, ensuring your plan is not just a document but a strategic tool equipped with tailored AI prompts and an in-app plan editor. Get inspired by browsing through our sample business plans, a collection of successful strategies across various industries.
  • Finalize Your Plan with Confidence: Dynamic Adaptation and Refinement: Plannit AI recognizes that a business plan is a living document. Our platform allows for continuous adaptation and refinement, ensuring your strategy remains agile, relevant, and aligned with your evolving business goals. Professional Presentation and Sharing: Once your plan meets your standards, utilize Plannit AI's export features to present your plan professionally. Choose between various formats for exporting your business plan, ready to impress stakeholders, attract investors, or guide your team. Review and Adapt: Ensure your business plan is a living document, ready to evolve with your growing business. Plannit AI's dynamic platform allows you to adapt your strategy as new opportunities or challenges arise.
  • Roadmap for Success: At its core, a business plan acts as a strategic guide, providing detailed steps on how your business will achieve its objectives. It helps you navigate the startup phase, manage growth effectively, and tackle unforeseen challenges with a well-thought-out strategy.
  • Securing Funding: For startups and businesses looking to expand, a business plan is crucial for securing loans or attracting investors. It demonstrates to potential financial backers that your business has a clear vision, a solid strategy for profitability, and a plan for delivering returns on their investment.
  • Informed Decision-Making: A well-prepared business plan offers valuable insights into your market, competition, and potential challenges. This information is vital for making informed decisions, from day-to-day operations to long-term strategic shifts.
  • Market Analysis and Strategy: It allows you to conduct an in-depth analysis of your target market, understand customer needs, and position your product or service effectively. The marketing strategy outlined in your business plan helps in identifying the best channels and tactics to reach your audience and achieve market penetration.
  • Financial Planning: One of the most critical components of a business plan is the financial forecast. It outlines your funding requirements, expected revenue, profit margins, and cash flow projections. This section is essential for budgeting, financial management, and ensuring the financial viability of your business.
  • Goal Setting and Performance Measurement: A business plan sets clear, measurable goals and objectives. It provides a framework for monitoring performance, measuring success, and making necessary adjustments to stay on track.
  • Aspiring Entrepreneurs: If you're at the idea stage, looking to transform your vision into a viable business, Plannit AI offers the tools and guidance to bring your concept to life. Our platform helps you articulate your business idea, define your target market, and develop a solid plan to turn your dream into reality.
  • Students and Educators: For students delving into the intricacies of business planning and educators teaching the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, Plannit AI serves as an invaluable resource. It provides a practical, hands-on tool for learning and teaching how to create detailed business plans, analyze markets, and understand financials in a real-world context.
  • Startup Founders: In the dynamic startup environment, Plannit AI is the ideal partner for founders looking to pivot quickly, secure funding, or understand their competitive landscape. With our AI-driven insights and market analysis tools, startups can make informed decisions and adapt their strategies to thrive in competitive markets.
  • Small Business Owners: For small business owners seeking to optimize their operations, expand their customer base, or explore new markets, Plannit AI offers targeted solutions. Our platform simplifies the planning process, enabling owners to focus on growth while managing the day-to-day challenges of running their business.
  • Consultants and Freelancers: Consultants and freelancers specializing in business development, strategic planning, or financial advising will find Plannit AI a powerful addition to their toolkit. It allows them to provide clients with comprehensive, data-driven business plans and strategies, enhancing the value of their services.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: Leaders of non-profit organizations can leverage Plannit AI to plan initiatives, secure funding, and manage resources more efficiently. Our platform helps non-profits articulate their mission, set achievable goals, and measure their impact, ensuring they can make a difference in their communities.
  • Innovators and Inventors: Individuals looking to commercialize innovative products or technologies can use Plannit AI to navigate the complexities of bringing new ideas to market. From patent strategies to go-to-market plans, our platform covers all bases, ensuring innovators can focus on what they do best.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Government Agencies: Government and SBA backed entities can greatly benefit from integrating Plannit AI into their services, enhancing their ability to support a larger number of clients more efficiently. By facilitating quicker, more in-depth business plan development, these organizations can spend more time assisting with plan execution and less time on creation, ultimately serving their communities more effectively.
  • Anyone with a Business Idea: Ultimately, Plannit AI is for anyone with a business idea, regardless of industry, experience, or stage of business development. Our mission is to democratize business planning, making it accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyone.
  • Interactive Questionnaire and ChatGPT Integration: Plannit AI transforms the business planning process into an engaging conversation. Through our advanced ChatGPT integration, we offer a questionnaire that dynamically adapts to your responses, ensuring your plan is personalized, comprehensive, and aligned with your business goals.
  • Dynamic Planning Environment: Unlike static templates provided by many, Plannit AI introduces a living platform that grows with your business. It features real-time updates, strategic insights, and a feedback mechanism that keeps your business plan current and actionable.
  • Extensive Educational Resources: Our Education Center is packed with articles, guides, and sample plans to bolster your planning process. It's designed to arm you with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of your industry confidently.
  • Enhanced Collaboration and Customization: Recognizing the collaborative essence of business planning, Plannit AI supports team efforts with multi-user editing, annotations, and feedback features, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your strategy.
  • Customer Success Stories: Our users' achievements are a testament to Plannit AI's effectiveness. These success stories illustrate how diverse businesses have utilized our platform for strategic planning and growth.
  • Tailored Business Plan Creation: Our platform stands out with its tailored approach, featuring customizable templates that directly cater to your business type and industry, making plan creation straightforward and relevant.
  • Content Generation:: ChatGPT helps draft various sections of a business plan, from executive summaries to marketing strategies, by providing structured and coherent text based on the prompts given.
  • Strategic Insights: It can offer suggestions on business strategies by analyzing trends and providing examples from a wide range of industries.
  • Financial Planning: While it can't replace professional financial advice, ChatGPT can guide the structure of financial projections and statements, helping you consider important financial aspects of your plan.

Take The First Step Towards Success With our AI-Generated Business Plans

sample of business plan for online business

The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

As an aspiring entrepreneur gearing up to start your own business , you likely know the importance of drafting a business plan. However, you might not be entirely sure where to begin or what specific details to include. That’s where examining business plan examples can be beneficial. Sample business plans serve as real-world templates to help you craft your own plan with confidence. They also provide insight into the key sections that make up a business plan, as well as demonstrate how to structure and present your ideas effectively.

sample of business plan for online business

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sample of business plan for online business

Example business plan

To understand how to write a business plan, let’s study an example structured using a seven-part template. Here’s a quick overview of those parts:

  • Executive summary: A quick overview of your business and the contents of your business plan.
  • Company description: More info about your company, its goals and mission, and why you started it in the first place.
  • Market analysis: Research about the market and industry your business will operate in, including a competitive analysis about the companies you’ll be up against.
  • Products and services: A detailed description of what you’ll be selling to your customers.
  • Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market.
  • Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background.
  • Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even long-term) financial goals and the costs to run the business. If you’re looking for funding, this is the place to discuss your request and needs.

7 business plan examples (section by section)

In this section, you’ll find hypothetical and real-world examples of each aspect of a business plan to show you how the whole thing comes together. 

  • Executive summary

Your executive summary offers a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. You’ll want to include a brief description of your company, market research, competitor analysis, and financial information. 

In this free business plan template, the executive summary is three paragraphs and occupies nearly half the page:

  • Company description

You might go more in-depth with your company description and include the following sections:

  • Nature of the business. Mention the general category of business you fall under. Are you a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of your products?
  • Background information. Talk about your past experiences and skills, and how you’ve combined them to fill in the market. 
  • Business structure. This section outlines how you registered your company —as a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC, or other business type.
  • Industry. Which business sector do you operate in? The answer might be technology, merchandising, or another industry.
  • Team. Whether you’re the sole full-time employee of your business or you have contractors to support your daily workflow, this is your chance to put them under the spotlight.

You can also repurpose your company description elsewhere, like on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business. Hair extensions brand Luxy Hair has a blurb on it’s About page that could easily be repurposed as a company description for its business plan. 

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

Market analysis comprises research on product supply and demand, your target market, the competitive landscape, and industry trends. You might do a SWOT analysis to learn where you stand and identify market gaps that you could exploit to establish your footing. Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis for a hypothetical ecommerce business: 

marketing swot example

You’ll also want to run a competitive analysis as part of the market analysis component of your business plan. This will show you who you’re up against and give you ideas on how to gain an edge over the competition. 

  • Products and services

This part of your business plan describes your product or service, how it will be priced, and the ways it will compete against similar offerings in the market. Don’t go into too much detail here—a few lines are enough to introduce your item to the reader.

  • Marketing plan

Potential investors will want to know how you’ll get the word out about your business. So it’s essential to build a marketing plan that highlights the promotion and customer acquisition strategies you’re planning to adopt. 

Most marketing plans focus on the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. However, it’s easier when you break it down by the different marketing channels . Mention how you intend to promote your business using blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Here’s an example of a hypothetical marketing plan for a real estate website:

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

This section of your business plan provides information about your production, facilities, equipment, shipping and fulfillment, and inventory.

Financial plan

The financial plan (a.k.a. financial statement) offers a breakdown of your sales, revenue, expenses, profit, and other financial metrics. You’ll want to include all the numbers and concrete data to project your current and projected financial state.

In this business plan example, the financial statement for ecommerce brand Nature’s Candy includes forecasted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs.

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

  • Funding needs
  • Project cash-flow statement
  • Project profit-and-loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet

You can use Shopify’s financial plan template to create your own income statement, cash-flow statement, and balance sheet. 

Types of business plans (and what to write for each)

A one-page business plan is a pared down version of a standard business plan that’s easy for potential investors and partners to understand. You’ll want to include all of these sections, but make sure they’re abbreviated and summarized:

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

A startup business plan is meant to secure outside funding for a new business. Typically, there’s a big focus on the financials, as well as other sections that help determine the viability of your business idea—market analysis, for example. Shopify has a great business plan template for startups that include all the below points:

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth

Internal 

Your internal business plan acts as the enforcer of your company’s vision. It reminds your team of the long-term objective and keeps them strategically aligned toward the same goal. Be sure to include:

  • Market research

Feasibility 

A feasibility business plan is essentially a feasibility study that helps you evaluate whether your product or idea is worthy of a full business plan. Include the following sections:

A strategic (or growth) business plan lays out your long-term vision and goals. This means your predictions stretch further into the future, and you aim for greater growth and revenue. While crafting this document, you use all the parts of a usual business plan but add more to each one:

  • Products and services: for launch and expansion
  • Market analysis: detailed analysis
  • Marketing plan: detailed strategy
  • Logistics and operations plan: detailed plan
  • Financials: detailed projections

Free business plan templates

Now that you’re familiar with what’s included and how to format a business plan, let’s go over a few templates you can fill out or draw inspiration from.

Bplans’ free business plan template

sample of business plan for online business

Bplans’ free business plan template focuses a lot on the financial side of running a business. It has many pages just for your financial plan and statements. Once you fill it out, you’ll see exactly where your business stands financially and what you need to do to keep it on track or make it better.

PandaDoc’s free business plan template

sample of business plan for online business

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is detailed and guides you through every section, so you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. Filling it out, you’ll grasp the ins and outs of your business and how each part fits together. It’s also handy because it connects to PandaDoc’s e-signature for easy signing, ideal for businesses with partners or a board.

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template

Miro's business model canvas template

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template helps you map out the essentials of your business, like partnerships, core activities, and what makes you different. It’s a collaborative tool for you and your team to learn how everything in your business is linked.

Better business planning equals better business outcomes

Building a business plan is key to establishing a clear direction and strategy for your venture. With a solid plan in hand, you’ll know what steps to take for achieving each of your business goals. Kickstart your business planning and set yourself up for success with a defined roadmap—utilizing the sample business plans above to inform your approach.

Business plan FAQ

What are the 3 main points of a business plan.

  • Concept. Explain what your business does and the main idea behind it. This is where you tell people what you plan to achieve with your business.
  • Contents. Explain what you’re selling or offering. Point out who you’re selling to and who else is selling something similar. This part concerns your products or services, who will buy them, and who you’re up against.
  • Cash flow. Explain how money will move in and out of your business. Discuss the money you need to start and keep the business going, the costs of running your business, and how much money you expect to make.

How do I write a simple business plan?

To create a simple business plan, start with an executive summary that details your business vision and objectives. Follow this with a concise description of your company’s structure, your market analysis, and information about your products or services. Conclude your plan with financial projections that outline your expected revenue, expenses, and profitability.

What is the best format to write a business plan?

The optimal format for a business plan arranges your plan in a clear and structured way, helping potential investors get a quick grasp of what your business is about and what you aim to achieve. Always start with a summary of your plan and finish with the financial details or any extra information at the end.

Want to learn more?

  • Question: Are You a Business Owner or an Entrepreneur?
  • Bootstrapping a Business: 10 Tips to Help You Succeed
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset: 20 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur
  • 101+ Best Small Business Software Programs 

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Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

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When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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Online Boutique Business Plan

sample of business plan for online business

There are several fashion enthusiasts and designers who want to start a boutique business , but not everyone wants to go through the hassle of owning a physical store.

After all, a physical store requires a huge amount of resources, finances, and time. Also, with the rise of eCommerce websites and the convenience that comes with them, many people have switched to buying their clothes online.

This makes now a time as good as any to get started with your online boutique business.

If you are planning to start a new online boutique store, the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our sample Online Boutique Business Plan created using Upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new online boutique store, spend as much time as you can reading through some samples of Retail & E-commerce Business Plans .

Industry Overview

According to data, the apparel eCommerce market in the US stood at a value of 91.7 billion US dollars in 2020 and has grown at a rate of 8.06 percent in 2021. Also, with the increase in preference for shopping for clothes online, it isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

With contactless and convenient deliveries, hundreds of options to explore, and no long queues for changing rooms, the number of people who prefer to shop online has increased exponentially.

And this has turned the eCommerce fashion industry into one of the fastest-growing and most profitable ones.

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Some Aspects to Consider Before Writing an Online Boutique Business Plan

Find the right ecommerce platform for your business.

There are several popular eCommerce websites, but only a few would be ideal for your business. Check out the terms and conditions of becoming a seller on all possible eCommerce websites and pick the one that fits the best for your business needs.

Offer unique designs

Your designs should catch the eyeballs and appeal to the heart. It is necessary to help you stand out from thousands of other options.

It also helps you create your unique style and become more memorable to your target audience.

And as you’ll be working in an intensely competitive market, your unique designs can become your business’s USP.

Know what your customers want

This is essential to the success of an online boutique.

Because more often than not, people shop online because they can’t find what they want in physical stores.

Stay updated with the latest styles and trends, add your unique touch to them and you are ready to get going!

Build your network

Though an online business comes minus several hassles of a physical store, it has its own set of challenges too.

And though that shouldn’t discourage you from starting your business, you should keep in mind that having a network of people who can help you along the way by giving advice, helping you learn necessary skills, and so on is important.

Chalking out Your Business Plan

Reading  sample business plans  will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for. It will also show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.

We have created this sample for you to get a good idea about what a perfect online boutique business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Online Boutique Business Plan Outline

This is the standard online boutique business plan outline covering all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

Executive summary: The executive summary of your online boutique plan provides a high-level overview of the entire plan

Company overview: this section of your plan provides a detailed description of your online boutique, its vision, mission, and future goals., product & service offerings: this section describes the product and service offerings your online boutique intends to provide., market analysis: your market analysis section will provide a detailed description of your industry, target market, competitive advantage, and growth potential., sales and marketing strategies: your marketing plan will outline the marketing and sales strategies you will use to attract new customers or pet owners., management team: the management team section will introduce your management team to readers. the list may include the founders and other key people involved in the business operations., operations plan: it’s a section outlining business procedures and day-to-day business activities that ensure seamless business operations., financial plan: this section provides a clear overview of your financial projection and financing needs. a well-prepared financial plan is key to raising capital for a new business..

  • Problem Definition & Validation
  • Mission Statement
  • Keys to Success
  • Avante – 5-Year Highlights
  • Company Ownership / Legal Entity
  • Interior Operating Facilities
  • Hours of Operation
  • Start-up Summary
  • Casual Jumper
  • Patchwork Jacket
  • Contemporary Overalls
  • Production Process
  • Shoe Segment
  • Accessories and Bags
  • Jewelry and Bags
  • Market Trends
  • Competitive Advantage
  • SWOT analysis
  • Distribution Strategy
  • Direct Sales
  • Trade Publications
  • Trade shows and Lifestyle Exhibitions
  • Targeted Online Advertising
  • Positioning Statement
  • Target Market Segment
  • Online Marketing Channels
  • Offline Marketing Channels
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Organization chart
  • Management Team
  • Hiring plan
  • Important Assumptions
  • Brake-even Analysis
  • Profit Yearly
  • Gross Margin Yearly
  • Projected Cash Flow
  • Projected Balance Sheet
  • Business Ratios

Download a sample online boutique business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go; download our free online boutique business plan pdf to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your online boutique. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

You may also explore our clothing and fashion business examples before you start writing.

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Write your business plan with Upmetrics

A business plan software like Upmetrics is the best way to draft your business plan. This incredible tool comes with step-by-step instructions, customizable templates, and an extensive library of 400+ sample business plans to help you get started.

So, whether starting an online boutique or planning to grow an existing one, Upmetrics is the tool you need to create a business plan.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning today!

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Frequently asked questions, do you need a business plan for an online boutique.

Yes, you surely need a business plan for an online boutique. It’s an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

How to get funding for your online boutique?

There are several ways to get funding for your online boutique, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

  • Bank loan – You may apply for a loan in government or private banks.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loan – SBA loans and schemes are available at affordable interest rates, so check the eligibility criteria before applying for it.
  • Crowdfunding – The process of supporting a project or business by getting a lot of people to invest in your business, usually online.
  • Angel investors – Getting funds from angel investors is one of the most sought-after startup options.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available. Check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

What is the easiest way to write your online boutique business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any online boutique business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software .

What key components should an online boutique business plan include?

The following are the key components your online boutique business plan must include:

  • Executive summary
  • Business Overview
  • Market Analysis
  • Products and services
  • Sales and marketing strategies
  • Operations plan
  • Management team
  • Financial plan

Can a good online boutique business plan help me secure funding?

Indeed. A well-crafted online boutique business plan will help your investors better understand your business domain, market trends, strategies, business financials, and growth potential—helping them make better financial decisions.

So, if you have a profitable and investable business, a comprehensive business plan can certainly help you secure your business funding.

About the Author

sample of business plan for online business

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Download Online Boutique Business Plan

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Access our collection of user-friendly templates for business planning, finance, sales, marketing, and management, designed to assist you in developing strategies for either launching a new business venture or expanding an existing one.

You can use the templates below as a starting point to create your startup business plan or map out how you will expand your existing business. Then meet with a  SCORE mentor to get expert business planning advice and feedback on your business plan.

If writing a full business plan seems overwhelming, start with a one-page Business Model Canvas. Developed by Founder and CEO of Strategyzer, Alexander Osterwalder, it can be used to easily document your business concept.

Download this template to fill out the nine squares focusing on the different building blocks of any business:

  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Segments
  • Customer Relationships
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Key Partners
  • Cost Structure
  • Revenue Streams

For help completing the Business Model Canvas Template, contact a SCORE business mentor for guidance

From creating a startup budget to managing cash flow for a growing business, keeping tabs on your business’s finances is essential to success. The templates below will help you monitor and manage your business’s financial situation, create financial projections and seek financing to start or grow your business.

This interactive calculator allows you to provide inputs and see a full estimated repayment schedule to plan your capital needs and cash flow.

A 12-month profit and loss projection, also known as an income statement or statement of earnings, provides a detailed overview of your financial performance over a one-year period. This projection helps you anticipate future financial outcomes by estimating monthly income and expenses, which facilitates informed decision-making and strategic planning. 

If you’re trying to get a loan from a bank, they may ask you for a personal financial statement. You can use this free, downloadable template to document your assets, liabilities and net worth. 

A Personal Financial Statement is a

Marketing helps your business build brand awareness, attract customers and create customer loyalty. Use these templates to forecast sales, develop your marketing strategy and map out your marketing budget and plan.

How healthy is your business? Are you missing out on potential growth opportunities or ignoring areas of weakness? Do you need to hire employees to reach your goals? The following templates will help you assess the state of your business and accomplish important management tasks.

Whether you are starting your business or established and looking to grow, our Business Healthcheck Tool will provide practical information and guidance.

Learn how having a SCORE mentor can be a valuable asset for your business. A SCORE mentor can provide guidance and support in various areas of business, including finance, marketing, and strategy. They can help you navigate challenges and make important decisions based on their expertise and experience. By seeking out a SCORE mentor, you can gain the guidance and support you need to help grow your business and achieve success.

SCORE offers free business mentoring to anyone that wants to start, currently owns, or is planning to close or sell a small business. To initiate the process, input your zip code in the designated area below. Then, complete the mentoring request form on the following page, including as much information as possible about your business. This information is used to match you with a mentor in your area. After submitting the request, you will receive an email from your mentor to arrange your first mentoring session.

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association, SCORE.org

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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8 Business Plan Templates You Can Get for Free

Author: Kody Wirth

8 min. read

Updated April 10, 2024

A business plan template can be an excellent tool to simplify the creation of your business plan. 

The pre-set structure helps you organize ideas, covers all critical business information, and saves you time and effort on formatting.

The only issue? There are SO many free business plan templates out there. 

So, which ones are actually worth using? 

To help remove the guesswork, I’ve rounded up some of the best business plan templates you can access right now. 

These are listed in no particular order, and each has its benefits and drawbacks.

What to look for in a business plan template

Not all business plan templates are created equal. As you weigh your options and decide which template(s) you’ll use, be sure to review them with the following criteria in mind:

  • Easy to edit: A template should save you time. That won’t be the case if you have to fuss around figuring out how to edit the document, or even worse, it doesn’t allow you to edit at all.
  • Contains the right sections: A good template should cover all essential sections of a business plan , including the executive summary, product/service description, market/competitive analysis, marketing and sales plan, operations, milestones, and financial projections. 
  • Provides guidance: You should be able to trust that the information in a template is accurate. That means the organization or person who created the template is highly credible, known for producing useful resources, and ideally has some entrepreneurial experience.
  • Software compatibility: Lastly, you want any template to be compatible with the software platforms you use. More than likely, this means it’s available in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or PDF format at a minimum. 

1. Bplans — A plan with expert guidance

Preview of Bplans' free business plan template download asset.

Since you’re already on Bplans, I have to first mention the templates that we have available. 

Our traditional and one-page templates were created by entrepreneurs and business owners with over 80 years of collective planning experience. We revisit and update them annually to ensure they are approachable, thorough, and aligned with our team’s evolving best practices.  

The templates, available in Word, PDF, or Google Doc formats, include in-depth guidance on what to include in each section, expert tips, and links to additional resources. 

Plus, we have over 550 real-world sample business plans you can use for guidance when filling out your template.

Download: Traditional lender-ready business plan template or a simple one-page plan template .

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2. SBA — Introduction to business plans

sample of business plan for online business

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two different business plan templates along with a short planning guide. 

While not incredibly in-depth, it’s enough to help you understand how traditional and lean plans are structured and what information needs to be covered. The templates themselves are more like examples, providing you with a finished product to reference as you write your plan.

The key benefit of using these templates is that they were created by the SBA. While they may provide less guidance, you can be assured that the information and structure meet their expectations.

Explore: The SBA’s planning guide and free templates

3. SCORE — Planning workbook

sample of business plan for online business

SCORE’s template is more like a workbook. It includes exercises after each section to help you get your ideas down and turn them into a structured plan.

The market research worksheets are especially useful. They provide a clear framework for identifying your target market and analyzing competitors from multiple angles. Plus, they give you an easy way to document all the information you’re collecting.

You will likely have to remove the exercises in this template to make it investor-ready. But it can be worth it if you’re struggling to get past a blank page and want a more interactive planning method.

Download: SCORE’s business plan template

4. PandaDoc — A template with fillable forms

sample of business plan for online business

PandaDoc’s library offers a variety of industry-specific business plan templates that feature a modern design flair and concise instructions. 

These templates are designed for sharing. They include fillable fields and sections for non-disclosure agreements, which may be necessary when sending a plan to investors.  

But the real benefit is their compatibility with PandaDoc’s platform. Yes, they are free, but if you’re a PandaDoc subscriber, you’ll have far more customization options. 

Out of all their templates, the standard business plan template is the most in-depth. The rest, while still useful, go a bit lighter on guidance in favor of tailoring the plan to a specific industry.

Explore: PandaDoc’s business plan template library  

5. Canva — Pitch with your plan

A sample of the 696 free business plan templates available from Canva. The templates represented here are for a restaurant and two options designed around a minimalist beige aesthetic.

Canva is a great option for building a visually stunning business plan that can be used as a pitch tool. It offers a diverse array of templates built by their in-house team and the larger creative community, meaning the number of options constantly grows.

You will need to verify that the information in the template you choose matches the standard structure of a traditional business plan. 

You should do this with any template, but it’s especially important with any tool that accepts community submissions. While they are likely reviewed and approved, there may still be errors.

Remember, you can only edit these templates within Canva. Luckily, you only need a free subscription, and you may just miss out on some of the visual assets being used. 

To get the most value, it may be best to create a more traditional planning document and transfer that information into Canva. 

Explore: Canva’s business plan gallery

6. ClickUp — The collaborative template

Preview of ClickUp's business plan template within the project management platform. It includes a number of fillable cells to help guide the creation process.

Out of all the project management tools that offer free business plan templates, ClickUp’s is the most approachable.

Rather than throwing you into all the features and expecting you to figure it out—ClickUp provides a thorough startup guide with resource links, images, and videos explaining how to write a plan using the tool. 

There’s also a completed sample plan (structured like an expanded one-page plan) for you to reference and see how the more traditional document can connect to the product management features. You can set goals, target dates, leave comments, and even assign tasks to someone else on your team. 

These features are limited to the ClickUp platform and will not be useful for everyone. They will likely get in the way of writing a plan you can easily share with lenders or investors. 

But this is a great option if you’re looking for a template that makes internal collaboration more fluid and keeps all your information in one place.

Sign Up: Get a free trial of ClickUp and explore their template library

7. Smartsheet — A wide variety of templates

A preview of the Smartsheet business plan template. It provides a preview of the cover page, directory, and small views of the remaining template pages.

I’m including Smartsheet’s library of templates on this list because of the sheer number of options they provide. 

They have a simple business plan template, a one-page plan, a fill-in-the-blank template, a plan outline, a plan grading rubric, and even an Excel-built project plan. All are perfectly usable and vary in visual style, depth of instructions, and the available format.

Honestly, the only drawback (which is also the core benefit) is that the amount of templates can be overwhelming. If you’re already uncertain which plan option is right for you, the lengthy list they provide may not provide much clarity.

At the same time, it can be a great resource if you want a one-stop shop to view multiple plan types.

Explore: Smartsheet’s business plan template library  

8. ReferralRock affiliate marketing business plan

Preview of the ReferralRock affiliate marketing business plan template. It just represents the cover page of the full template.

I’m adding ReferralRock’s template to this list due to its specificity. 

It’s not your standard business plan template. The plan is tailored with specific sections and guidance around launching an affiliate marketing business. 

Most of the template is dedicated to defining how to choose affiliates, set commissions, create legal agreements, and track performance.

So, if you plan on starting an affiliate marketing business or program, this template will provide more specific guidance. Just know that you will likely need to reference additional resources when writing the non-industry sections of your plan.

Download: ReferralRock affiliate marketing business plan template

Does it matter what business plan template you use?

The short answer is no. As long as the structure is correct, it saves you time, and it helps you write your business plan , then any template will work. 

What it ultimately comes down to, is what sort of value you hope to get from the template. 

  • Do you need more guidance? 
  • A simple way to structure your plan? 
  • An option that works with a specific tool?
  • A way to make your plan more visually interesting?

Hopefully, this list has helped you hone in on an option that meets one (or several) of these needs. Still, it may be worth downloading a few of these templates to determine the right fit. 

And really, what matters most is that you spend time writing a business plan . It will help you avoid early mistakes, determine if you have a viable business, and fully consider what it will take to get up and running. 

If you need additional guidance, check out our library of planning resources . We cover everything from plan formats , to how to write a business plan, and even how to use it as a management tool . 

If you don’t want to waste time researching other templates, you can download our one-page or traditional business plan template and jump right into the planning process.

Content Author: Kody Wirth

Kody Wirth is a content writer and SEO specialist for Palo Alto Software—the creator's of Bplans and LivePlan. He has 3+ years experience covering small business topics and runs a part-time content writing service in his spare time.

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Table of Contents

  • Qualities of a good template
  • ReferralRock
  • Does the template matter?

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COMMENTS

  1. 7 Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2024)

    7 business plan examples: section by section. The business plan examples in this article follow this example template: Executive summary. An introductory overview of your business. Company description. A more in-depth and detailed description of your business and why it exists. Market analysis.

  2. Write your business plan

    Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts. Example traditional business plans. Before you write your business plan, read the following example business plans written by fictional business owners.

  3. 550+ Sample Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own

    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.

  4. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It's also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. After completing your plan, you can ...

  5. Bplans: Business Planning Resources and Free Business Plan Samples

    Business Glossary. Definitions for common terminology and acronyms that every small business owner should know. Bplans offers free business plan samples and templates, business planning resources, how-to articles, financial calculators, industry reports and entrepreneurship webinars.

  6. Free Business Plan Template

    Try Now. Apply our simple business plan template. to give you a head start. Our business plan software lights the way as you sort through the important elements of creating a business plan. Inject your own creativity into your presentation using our vast library of icons, photos and animations, or keep it simple and clean.

  7. Business Plan Builder

    Get simple instructions every step of the way. LivePlan's step-by-step instructions, examples, prompts and definitions of key business terms guide you through each phase of creating a professional business plan. Access a library of over 550+ sample business plans for inspiration, chat with support for additional help, or join an expert-led ...

  8. 10 Free Business Plan Templates in Word, Excel, & ClickUp

    7. ClickUp Small Business Action Plan Template. ClickUp Small Business Action Plan Template. The Small Business Action Plan Template by ClickUp is tailor-made for small businesses looking to transform their business ideas and goals into actionable steps and, eventually, into reality.

  9. 24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

    8. Panda Doc's Free Business Plan Template. PandaDoc's free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

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  13. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  14. How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan [Examples & Template]

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  17. Simple Business Plan Template (2024)

    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 ...

  18. The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

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  19. Business Plan Templates: 26 FREE Samples

    A business plan is a document that helps small business owners determine the viability of their business idea. Combining market research and financial analysis, a professional business plan helps startup CEOs and potential investors determine if the company can compete in the target market. Typically, a good business plan consists of the following:

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    Write the Executive Summary. This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what's in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. Add a Company Overview. Document the larger company mission and vision.

  22. Free Business Plan Template (2024)

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  23. Online Boutique Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide (2024)

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  24. Business Planning & Financial Statements Template Gallery

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  25. 20 Best Business Proposal Examples & Templates to Use

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