Free Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Starting a business successfully starts with a good business plan. You’re already investing time and energy into refining your business model and planning your launch, so why reinvent the wheel when it comes to formatting your plan? For a complete and effective plan, use time-tested structures created by entrepreneurs and startups before you. 

Find out what it takes to write a solid business plan and download our free template to get started.

Here’s what our free business plan template includes

Using this business plan outline, you’ll make sure you’re thinking about all of the important things. This guide is meant to help new business owners and entrepreneurs think about the full scope of running a business and identify functional areas they haven’t yet considered or where they might need to upgrade their skills.

upgrade their skills

That said, it might not include the details or structure a potential investor or lender wants. See if your target organizations, like banks or investors, have business plan templates you can follow to maximize your chances of getting funded.

Business Plan Template 

Business plans are often used to get funding, but a lot of people find them useful even if they never work with investors. To help you get started, we created a free business plan template.

Get the template now

We’ve included seven key elements in our free business plan template:

  • An executive summary is a one-page summary of the entire plan, usually written after the rest is done. A good executive summary also covers your management team, business objectives and strategy, and other background information. 

  • Your business plan should answer two questions: “Who are you? ” “What do you want to do? Answering these questions clarifies your company’s purpose, what sets it apart, and why investors should invest in it. Describe why your business exists, its goals, and its guiding principles in this section.

  • What you sell and the most important features of what you do. Also included are any intellectual property plans, like patents and copyrights. This is where you’ll put market research for new products. 

  • Here you’ll find everything from estimated market size to target markets and competitive advantages. This will include a competitive analysis of your industry so you can see what your competitors are doing well and what they’re doing wrong. You need market research to make sure your idea is viable.

  • Your marketing plan: How you plan to promote your business, and what strategic decisions you’ve made. Additionally, it covers potential customers’ demographics, your sales plan, and your success metrics.

  • Logistics and operations plan: Everything you need to get raw materials into products and into customers’ hands.

  • You should include both revenue and expense projections in your financial plan. Three key financial statements are included here: an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement. Include whether you’ll need a business loan and how much you’ll need.

 business plan template includes an overview

Each section of our business plan template includes an overview of what’s important to include and tips on how to write and research each one.

Sample business plans

How do financial projections look on paper? What should you put in an executive summary? What should your company description say? These sample business plans can help you turn your business idea into an actionable plan.

An example of a professional business plan

We’ve filled out a sample business plan for a fictional e-commerce company. 

We set up the sample so you can get a sense of each section and how they apply to planning and evaluating a business. It won’t be a complete or formal business plan, but it will give you a great place to start and where to expand if you’re looking for funding.

Snapshots of company overview and market analysis page of a sample tea brand’s business plan.

Example of a learn business plan

Lean business plans are shortened versions of more detailed plans. It’s helpful for modifying your plan for a specific audience, like investors or new hires. 

In a one-page business plan, you only include the most important, must-know stuff:

  • Description of the company
  • Vendors
  • Team members
  • Groups of customers
  • Plan your marketing.

The benefits of a solid business plan

If you’re excited about a new business or side project, it’s tempting to dive right in, but taking the time to write a business plan can do a number of things:

  • Test the viability of your business idea. Whatever your business idea, business plans can help you see if it’s viable and make sure there’s a market for it. 

  • Make a plan for your next phase. Whether you’re starting a new business or growing an existing one, a business plan can help you understand what needs to happen and identify gaps.

  • Make sure your marketing strategy, goals, and tactics are clear. You can take action on an abstract idea by writing a business plan. Also, it can help you figure out clear-cut tactics that will support your strategy.

  • Determine what needs to be done. Overruns and delays are almost guaranteed without a concrete plan. By creating a business plan, you can see the full scope of the work to be done and adjust your investment accordingly.

  • Build partnerships and hire people. A clearly written business plan is one of the best things you can do to get buy-in from potential employees and business partners. Business plans let partners judge your vision for the business for themselves, so they can agree or disagree.

  • Make sure you have money. You might need a business plan to get financing for your business, whether it’s from venture capital, financial institutions, or Shopify Capital.

Business plan templates: why you should use them

Business plan templates why you should use them

A business plan can be as informal or formal as your situation calls for, but even if you’re a fan of the back-of-the-napkin approach to planning, there are some key benefits to starting your plan from an existing outline or simple business plan template.

  • No blank-page paralysis. A blank page can be intimidating to even the most seasoned writers. Using an established business planning process and template can help you get past the inertia of starting your business plan, and it allows you to skip the work of building an outline from scratch. You can always adjust a template to suit your needs.
  • Guidance on what to include in each section. If you’ve never sat through a business class, you might never have created a SWOT analysis or financial projections. Templates that offer guidance—in plain language—about how to fill in each section can help you navigate sometimes-daunting business jargon and create a complete and effective plan.
  • Knowing you’ve considered every section. In some cases, you may not need to complete every section of a startup business plan template, but its initial structure shows you you’re choosing to omit a section as opposed to forgetting to include it in the first place.

Tips for creating a successful business plan

There are some high-level strategic guidelines beyond the advice included in this free business plan template that can help you write an effective, complete plan while minimizing busywork.

Understand the audience for your plan

If you’re writing a business plan for yourself in order to get clarity on your ideas and your industry as a whole, you may not need to include the same level of detail or polish you would with a business plan you want to send to potential investors. Knowing who will read your plan will help you decide how much time to spend on it.

Know your goals

Understanding the goals of your plan can help you set the right scope. If your goal is to use the plan as a roadmap for growth, you may invest more time in it than if your goal is to understand the competitive landscape of a new industry.

Take it step by step

Writing a 10- to 15-page document can feel daunting, so try to tackle one section at a time. Select a couple of sections you feel most confident writing and start there—you can start on the next few sections once those are complete. Jot down bullet-point notes in each section before you start writing to organize your thoughts and streamline the writing process.

Maximize your business planning efforts

business needs a plan

Every type of business needs a plan, whether it’s a startup, a non-profit, or a corporation.

To make sure your efforts are focused on the most important parts of your own business planning, like clarifying your goals, setting a strategy, and understanding your target market and competitive landscape, use a business plan outline to handle the structure and format. By starting with a framework, you’ll save time and energy, even if you end up omitting some sections.

Business plan template FAQ


1-What is the purpose of a business plan?

The purpose of your business plan is to describe a new business opportunity or an existing one. It clarifies the business strategy, marketing plan, financial forecasts, potential providers, and more information about the company.

2-How do I write a simple business plan?

  • Choose a business plan format, such as a traditional or a one-page business plan. 
  • Find a business plan template.
  • Read through a business plan sample.
  • Fill in the sections of your business plan.

3-What is the best business plan template?

If you need help writing a business plan, Shopify’s template is one of the most beginner-friendly options you’ll find. It’s comprehensive, well-written, and helps you fill out every section.

4-What are the 5 essential parts of a business plan?

The five essential parts of a traditional business plan include:

  • Executive summary: This is a brief overview of the business plan, summarizing the key points and highlighting the main points of the plan.
  • Business description: This section outlines the business concept and how it will be executed.
  • Market analysis: This section provides an in-depth look at the target market and how the business will compete in the marketplace.
  • Financial plan: This section details the financial projections for the business, including sales forecasts, capital requirements, and a break-even analysis.
  • Management and organization: This section describes the management team and the organizational structure of the business.

5-Are there any free business plan templates?

There are several free templates for business plans for small business owners available online, including Shopify’s own version. Click the button below to access a copy for your business.

You can design your own website. The easiest way to make sure your website can accomplish all of these goals is to hire a pro. You’ll have more time to run and grow your business.

Please download your brochure for your business plan below – Myinvestorchoice is ranked the number 1 Agency on Upwork for preparing business plans

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