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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How to Write a One-Page Business Plan

Single piece of paper with a lightbulb. Represents writing down your full business idea on a single page.

Noah Parsons

5 min. read

Updated January 30, 2024

What’s the most challenging part of writing a business plan? Getting started. That’s why you should create a one-page plan as a starting point.

The one-page business plan is simple to create, easy to update, and built for adaptation. It includes all of the essential components of a traditional plan but is far briefer and more focused.

Think of it like you’re tweeting about your business. You have a limited number of characters to work with and are intentionally making it easy to digest. If you need additional support, try downloading our free one-page plan template .

  • What is a one-page business plan?

The one-page business plan is a simplified version of traditional operational plans that focuses on the core aspects of your business. While it may be a shorter business plan, it still follows the structure of a standard business plan  and serves as a beefed-up pitch document.

There’s really not a lot of difference between a single-page business plan and a good executive summary. In fact, as you create a more detailed plan you may even be able to use it as your executive summary .

  • What to include in your one-page plan

Here are the eight necessary sections to include when developing your one-page business plan.

Try and keep each section limited to 1-2 sentences or 3-4 bullet points to ensure that you stay within one page. It’s always easier to add more later rather than cutting back from lengthy sections.

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The problem

A description of the problem or need your customers have and any relevant data that supports your claim.

The solution

Your product or service and how it solves the problem.

Business model

How you will make money—including the costs of production and selling, and the price that customers will pay.

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Target market

Who is your customer and how many of them are there? Define your ideal customer by starting with a broad audience and narrowing it down. This provides investors with a clear picture of your thought process and understanding of the greater consumer market.

Competitive advantage

What makes you different from the competition? Explain how this will lead to greater success, customer loyalty, etc.

Management team

The management structure of your business, including currently filled roles, ideal candidates, and any management gaps.

Financial summary

Key financial metrics include your profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, and sales forecast. This section may be the most difficult part to condense, so try and focus on visualization and standard business ratios to get the point across. You can always share broader financial information if requested.

Funding required

Have what funding total you need front and center to clearly display what you are asking from investors.

Why you should start with a one-page plan

There are plenty of good reasons to write a business plan . There are even more reasons why your first step should be writing a one-page plan.

1. It’s faster

Instead of slogging away for hours, days, or even weeks tackling a formal business plan—the one-page format helps you get your ideas down much faster. It removes the complex formatting,

2. A great format for feedback

Need quick feedback from business partners, colleagues, potential customers, or your spouse? Provide them with a one-page plan instead of a lengthy in-depth version for better results.

The one-page plan is more likely to be read and reviewed. And since all of your business information is available at a glance, you’ll receive far more valuable and timely feedback.

3. Easy to update

Entrepreneurs never get things right the first time. You’ll constantly be learning and receiving feedback—requiring you to iterate and revise your business concept. Instead of updating a large document every time, you can do it in minutes with a one-page plan.

4. Direct and to-the-point

Learning to communicate your ideas clearly and directly is critical. You need to be sure that anyone can really understand the essence of your business. Delivering your entire business concept on a single page is a great way to practice this, as it forces you to be succinct.

5. Works as an idea validation tool

Initially, your business is just a set of assumptions that you need to validate. Do your potential customers have the problem you assume they have? Do they like your solution and are they willing to pay for it? What marketing and sales tactics will work?

As you validate these assumptions, you leave them in your plan. But, assumptions that end up being wrong will quickly fall off the page.

6. Becomes an outline for your detailed plan

By “detailed” we don’t mean “long.” If you do need to create a detailed business plan document for investors or business partners, you can use your one-page plan as your core outline. You will just expand and provide more details for each section.

7. No one really reads long business plans

A common problem with traditional business plans is that they are simply too long and overly complex. Even when investors ask for a detailed document, chances are that they won’t actually read every word. They may read certain sections, but often just want to see if you’ve thought through the details of your business, how it will operate, and how it will grow.

8. Useful for any business stage

A one-page plan is useful for business owners that are mulling over ideas, just starting, actively managing, or looking to grow a business. It can help validate a business idea, work as an internal strategy document, or as a flexible management tool that can be adapted over time.

Resources to help write your one-page plan

Check out our guide for quickly writing a one-page plan and download our free one-page plan template to kickstart the writing process.

How to write your one-page plan in under an hour

Still feeling a bit overwhelmed about creating a business plan? Check out this step-by-step guide to write a useful one-page business plan in as little as 30 minutes.

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One-page business plan template

Download a free one-page business plan template to make the plan writing process simple and easy.

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Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

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Home » Blog » How to Write a Business Plan in 10 Easy Steps

During financial uncertainty, many of us press pause on our entrepreneurial aspirations.

Wondering if now’s the right time to start our business . Doubting our ideas and worrying about the what-ifs and maybes! 

A business plan removes the uncertainty and what-ifs from the equation. It validates our business ideas, confirms our marketing strategies, and identifies potential problems before they arise.  

Replacing our doubts with positivity, ensuring we see the complete picture, and increasing our chances of success.

Because you could be starting and running your own business . But you’ll only know for sure it’s the right move for you when you write your business plan.

Here’s everything you need to know to create the perfect business plan.

What is a business plan?

What is a business plan

A well-written business plan contains the recipe for your new business’s growth and development. 

It’s your compass. 

It describes your goals and how you’ll achieve them by infusing the ingredients you need to turn your dream into a reality. 

  • Your business description- Tells readers about your idea, why it'll succeed, and how you'll make it happen.
  • A market analysis- That backs up your company description.
  • Your management and organization plan- Includes employees or contractors because even a one-person show may need a team's help on a contract basis, like bookkeeping services, graphic design, research, and if your business grows, with time, also full-time employees.
  • Your products or services descriptions- Explaining how they work, where you'll get them, and how much they`ll cost.
  • A target audience analysis- So, you know exactly who you`re selling to and what makes them buy what you`re offering.
  • Your marketing and sales plan- Proving your chosen niche is profitable and how you'll reach your customers.
  • A financial funding request/projections - What you need and how you'll get it.

Your business plan is like a GPS, guiding your business to its destination for the next 3 to 5 years. 

Why is a business plan important?

Here’s the short answer.

A business plan enables you to convey your vision to those who can help you make it a reality.  

It does it in 2 ways:

  • It empowers you to evaluate your goals and confirm their viability before entering a marketplace.
  • And equips you with the information, using a proven outline, that convinces others to help you achieve them.

A business plan does it by explaining who you are, what you are going to do, and how you’ll do it. It clarifies your strategies, identifies future roadblocks, and determines your immediate and future financial and resource needs.

Let’s look at what that means and why each part is important.

A business plan helps you evaluate your ideas

Do you have over one business idea or a range of products or services you believe you could bring to a single marketplace? 

If so, a business plan helps determine which is worth focusing on and where to apply your energy and resources by evaluating your idea’s possible market share and profitability before investing.

Clarifies your costs

Your chosen market determines your initial investment and future revenue. And it would be best if you knew those before you invest a dollar in your business idea.

With your chosen idea, your business plan can help you understand your set-up and running costs, the resources you’ll need, and the time it’ll take to get started.

It’s also where you’ll calculate your future sales and revenue goals to ensure they fit your budget and required breakeven point.  

And those are essential because every business needs a consistent cash flow to stay afloat!

Steers your business in the right direction

Your business plan guides you through every stage of starting and running your business . 

It acts as your GPS, giving you a course to steer. Ensuring your business stays on track, helping you achieve your goals every step of the way.  

Acts as your financial guide

As your new business grows, you might need to expand. 

But with expansion come big spending decisions, such as purchasing expensive equipment, leasing a new location, or hiring your first employees.

Your business plan’s financial forecast gives you a solid foundation to build on by clarifying when you’re ready to make those investments, ensuring you don’t overreach.

And when you are ready to employ staff, it helps you with that too!

Helps recruit the people you need

Your business is often only as good as its employees. A business plan helps you communicate your vision and pitch your dream to the best candidates. Building their confidence in your venture and encouraging them to join you.

It's essential if seeking a loan or investment

Do you need a loan from a bank or a venture capitalist/angel investor?

If so, you’ll need a business plan that shows your past and future financial trajectory so potential investors can evaluate your business’ feasibility to determine whether you’re worth the risk.

It's an asset if you want to sell your business

Owners of legal entities, such as LLCs, can sell all or part of their business to raise funds for other business ventures or expand their existing ones.

A solid business plan with proven financial recordings and realistic forecasts based on current performance can make your business more attractive to potential investors. 

And it makes sense because when buyers understand your business model and its potential growth, they’ll see the value in it for them.  

All great reasons to write a business plan, don`t you agree?

Okay, here’s how you do it: 

The steps for creating a business plan

The steps for a creating a business plan

Most business plan templates are similar, containing several steps for writing a conclusive plan. If you’re interested in a very short plan, we prepared a lean (one-page) version, including a template . 

The perfect business plan isn’t one or the other; it’s the plan that meets your business needs.

That said, every business plan should contain crucial elements and essential details . And a rhythm to your outline that encourages action, growth, and investors to read it from start to finish. Our step-by-step guide, along with our template, will help you achieve both. 

But first, you must choose the style that works for you:

Pick a business plan format that works for you

You can tackle creating a business plan in different ways; one could be a long-form, more traditional approach or a one-page business plan that acts as a summarized road map.

Traditional business plans use a standard, industry-expected structure, with each section written in great detail. They require a lot of research because businesses often use them to gain investment, and they can be anywhere from 10 to 50 pages long. 

A one-page business plan uses a similar structure but summarizes each step by highlighting the key points. 

You can write a one-page plan in an hour and use it as a personal blueprint for running your business or as a guide to writing a future traditional plan.

Here are the core component that create a great business plan:

1.  An executive summary

2.  Your company’s description

3. Market analysis

4. management and organization outline, 5. products and service description, 6. target audience analysis, 7. marketing and sales plan.

8. Financial funding request 

9. Financial projections

10. an appendix, 1. an executive summary.

The first section of your business plan’s an executive summary that tells anyone reading in simple terms what your business is and why you believe it’ll be successful.

It’s the most crucial part of your plan because anyone reviewing it often decides whether to continue reading based on what’s in your executive summary.

Your executive should contain your mission statement (why you’re starting your business). A product/service description. Your leadership team and financial information.

Even though the first thing people read is your executive summary, it’s the last section you write. 

The next step is about you:

2. Your company's description

Here you sell yourself and your business by telling readers why you’re starting your business and know it’ll succeed.

You must be realistic, business-like, and detailed.  

Begin by explaining who you are, what you plan on doing, and how you’ll do it. Describe your future market, your target audience, and why they need your product/service. 

Elaborate on your unique selling point (USP) and how your competitive advantage will ensure your success. 

Describe your team, highlight their skills and technical expertise, and if you`re a brick-and-mortar business, discuss your location and why it’s right for your target audience or logistics. 

Now your market:

A great business idea is only as good as its future marketplace. Enter a declining market with an insufficient or uninterested audience, and you’ll be toast.

Choose one on an upward trajectory with people you understand and need your product, and you’ll be in business. 

That makes your market analysis a crucial step in your business plan outline. Here’s where you identify your target audience, competitors’ performance, strengths and weaknesses, and whether the market can sustain your business needs.

Your market analysis should include the following:

  • Your market description and outlook- Provide a detailed outline defining your market, including its size, trends, growth rate, and outlook.
  • Target Market- Describe your ideal customers, including their demographics such as age, gender, employment status, income level, and lifestyle preferences. Also, include your market size, what motivates your ideal clients, and how you'll reach them.
  • Competitive Analysis- Identify your main competitors and list their strengths and weaknesses. Also, highlight any potential roadblocks that might prevent you from entering your chosen marketplace.

Step 4 is where you tell readers how you’ll construct your business and who’ll run it.  

Describe your business’s legal structure, whether you’re a sole proprietor intending to form an LLC or a limited/general partnership with dreams of incorporating an S or C corps. 

Include your registered business name and any DBA brand name you have. And any member’s percentage ownership and managerial duties per your operating agreement.

And consider using a chart to show who runs what section of the business. Explain how each employee, manager, or owner’s experience and expertise will contribute to your venture’s success. And if you have them, include your team’s resumes and CVs.

Now you must get technical about what you plan to offer.

List your products or services and explain how they work. If in the development stage, describe the process and when you’ll be market ready.

Include the following product/service information:

  • Describe how your product/service will benefit your target audience.
  • Provide a breakdown of costs per unit made/sold, life cycle, and expected profit margins.
  • Explain your supply chain, order fulfillment, and sales strategy.
  • Include your plans for intellectual property, like trademarks and patents.

Your product and service description brings you to those who matter most. Your target audience:

The target audience section of your business plan is the most important one to get right. After all, your customers are your business. And the better you know them, the easier it’ll be to sell to them. 

To gain a clear picture of your ideal clients, learn about their demographics and create a client persona.

Those include: 

  • Their location
  • Education level
  • Employment status
  • Where they work
  • How much they earn
  • How they communicate
  • Preferred social media platforms
  • Common behavior patterns
  • Free time interests
  • And what their values and beliefs are

You need your target audience’s demographics to create a branding style that resonates with them. To build marketing strategies that engage their interest. And to identify where to spend your advertising dollars.

Target market’s persona in place, your next step is to describe how you’ll reach and sell to them:

Your marketing plan outlines your strategies to connect with and convert your ideal clients. 

Here’s where you explain how you’ll reach your audience, describe your sales funnel, and develop customer loyalty to keep customers.

Your business plan doesn’t require your complete marketing/sales plan but should answer basic questions like:

  • Who's your target market?
  • Which channels will you use to reach them? (Social media, email, website, traditional marketing, etc.)
  • What sales strategies will you use?
  • Which resources do you need to implement those strategies?
  • Do you have the resources, and if not, where will you get them?
  • What are the potential marketing obstacles, and how you'll overcome them?
  • What's your initial marketing campaign timeline and budget?
  • What your success metrics are, and how you'll measure them?

8. Financial funding request

This step applies if you require funding to start or grow your business.

Similar to the marketing plan step, including your entire financial plan is unnecessary. However, you’ll need to answer specific questions to explain how much investment you require and how you’ll use it.

The following financial funding outline will suffice:

  • Your current capital balance and how much future capital you'll need.
  • Specify whether you want equity or debt.
  • The terms and conditions you need and the duration of any loan repayments.
  • Provide a detailed description of why you need investment, IE., to pay salaries, buy equipment or stock, and what percentage will go where.

Start-ups that need investment must rely on something other than past sales and balance sheets. Here, you’ll need to use financial projections to persuade lenders you’ll generate enough profit to repay their loans. And that investors will get a worthwhile return. 

Your goal is to convince potential lenders or investors that your business will make enough profit to repay any loans or fulfill your equity promises.

Depending on your loan requirements and market, these projections can vary from 3 to 5 years. 

Financial projections aren’t an exact science; you’re forecasting the future! However, accuracy is essential (meaning your projected numbers must add up correctly). And while your goals should be positive, they must also be realistic.

What to include in your financial forecast:

  • Forecasted income statements.
  • Capital expenditures, fixed and variable.
  • Quarterly and annual balance sheets.
  • Projected cash flow statements.

Be specific with your projections and ensure they match your funding requests. And if you have collateral to put against a loan, include it at the end of your financial projections to improve your chances of approval. 

Also, consider using charts and graphs to tell your financial story, as visuals are great for conveying your message.

Use your appendix to list and provide supporting information, documents, or additional materials you couldn’t fit in elsewhere.

If the appendix is lengthy, start it with a table of contents.

What to include:

  • Key employee resumes.
  • Letters of reference.
  • Licenses and permits.
  • Intellectual property - patents or trademarks.
  • Legal documents.
  • Any current contracts.
  • Product pictures and information.
  • Bank statements/credit history.

Conclusion

Financial uncertainty shouldn`t stop you from following your dreams. In fact, recessions are often the best time to start a business . 

And your business plan is one of the main things that can help you make your dream of owning a business a reality.

Take it one step at a time, do your research, and use your business plan to remove the uncertainty of the unknown. 

Because then you’ll know if the time is right to start your business.

This portion of our website is for informational purposes only. Tailor Brands is not a law firm, and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. All statements, opinions, recommendations, and conclusions are solely the expression of the author and provided on an as-is basis. Accordingly, Tailor Brands is not responsible for the information and/or its accuracy or completeness.

How to make a business plan

Strategic planning in Miro

Table of Contents

How to make a good business plan: step-by-step guide.

A business plan is a strategic roadmap used to navigate the challenging journey of entrepreneurship. It's the foundation upon which you build a successful business.

A well-crafted business plan can help you define your vision, clarify your goals, and identify potential problems before they arise.

But where do you start? How do you create a business plan that sets you up for success?

This article will explore the step-by-step process of creating a comprehensive business plan.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a formal document that outlines a business's objectives, strategies, and operational procedures. It typically includes the following information about a company:

Products or services

Target market

Competitors

Marketing and sales strategies

Financial plan

Management team

A business plan serves as a roadmap for a company's success and provides a blueprint for its growth and development. It helps entrepreneurs and business owners organize their ideas, evaluate the feasibility, and identify potential challenges and opportunities.

As well as serving as a guide for business owners, a business plan can attract investors and secure funding. It demonstrates the company's understanding of the market, its ability to generate revenue and profits, and its strategy for managing risks and achieving success.

Business plan vs. business model canvas

A business plan may seem similar to a business model canvas, but each document serves a different purpose.

A business model canvas is a high-level overview that helps entrepreneurs and business owners quickly test and iterate their ideas. It is often a one-page document that briefly outlines the following:

Key partnerships

Key activities

Key propositions

Customer relationships

Customer segments

Key resources

Cost structure

Revenue streams

On the other hand, a Business Plan Template provides a more in-depth analysis of a company's strategy and operations. It is typically a lengthy document and requires significant time and effort to develop.

A business model shouldn’t replace a business plan, and vice versa. Business owners should lay the foundations and visually capture the most important information with a Business Model Canvas Template . Because this is a fast and efficient way to communicate a business idea, a business model canvas is a good starting point before developing a more comprehensive business plan.

A business plan can aim to secure funding from investors or lenders, while a business model canvas communicates a business idea to potential customers or partners.

Why is a business plan important?

A business plan is crucial for any entrepreneur or business owner wanting to increase their chances of success.

Here are some of the many benefits of having a thorough business plan.

Helps to define the business goals and objectives

A business plan encourages you to think critically about your goals and objectives. Doing so lets you clearly understand what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.

A well-defined set of goals, objectives, and key results also provides a sense of direction and purpose, which helps keep business owners focused and motivated.

Guides decision-making

A business plan requires you to consider different scenarios and potential problems that may arise in your business. This awareness allows you to devise strategies to deal with these issues and avoid pitfalls.

With a clear plan, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions aligning with their overall business goals and objectives. This helps reduce the risk of making costly mistakes and ensures they make decisions with long-term success in mind.

Attracts investors and secures funding

Investors and lenders often require a business plan before considering investing in your business. A document that outlines the company's goals, objectives, and financial forecasts can help instill confidence in potential investors and lenders.

A well-written business plan demonstrates that you have thoroughly thought through your business idea and have a solid plan for success.

Identifies potential challenges and risks

A business plan requires entrepreneurs to consider potential challenges and risks that could impact their business. For example:

Is there enough demand for my product or service?

Will I have enough capital to start my business?

Is the market oversaturated with too many competitors?

What will happen if my marketing strategy is ineffective?

By identifying these potential challenges, entrepreneurs can develop strategies to mitigate risks and overcome challenges. This can reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes and ensure the business is well-positioned to take on any challenges.

Provides a basis for measuring success

A business plan serves as a framework for measuring success by providing clear goals and financial projections . Entrepreneurs can regularly refer to the original business plan as a benchmark to measure progress. By comparing the current business position to initial forecasts, business owners can answer questions such as:

Are we where we want to be at this point?

Did we achieve our goals?

If not, why not, and what do we need to do?

After assessing whether the business is meeting its objectives or falling short, business owners can adjust their strategies as needed.

How to make a business plan step by step

The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include.

1. Create an executive summary

Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

Keep your executive summary concise and clear with the Executive Summary Template . The simple design helps readers understand the crux of your business plan without reading the entire document.

2. Write your company description

Provide a detailed explanation of your company. Include information on what your company does, the mission statement, and your vision for the future.

Provide additional background information on the history of your company, the founders, and any notable achievements or milestones.

3. Conduct a market analysis

Conduct an in-depth analysis of your industry, competitors, and target market. This is best done with a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Next, identify your target market's needs, demographics, and behaviors.

Use the Competitive Analysis Template to brainstorm answers to simple questions like:

What does the current market look like?

Who are your competitors?

What are they offering?

What will give you a competitive advantage?

Who is your target market?

What are they looking for and why?

How will your product or service satisfy a need?

These questions should give you valuable insights into the current market and where your business stands.

4. Describe your products and services

Provide detailed information about your products and services. This includes pricing information, product features, and any unique selling points.

Use the Product/Market Fit Template to explain how your products meet the needs of your target market. Describe what sets them apart from the competition.

5. Design a marketing and sales strategy

Outline how you plan to promote and sell your products. Your marketing strategy and sales strategy should include information about your:

Pricing strategy

Advertising and promotional tactics

Sales channels

The Go to Market Strategy Template is a great way to visually map how you plan to launch your product or service in a new or existing market.

6. Determine budget and financial projections

Document detailed information on your business’ finances. Describe the current financial position of the company and how you expect the finances to play out.

Some details to include in this section are:

Startup costs

Revenue projections

Profit and loss statement

Funding you have received or plan to receive

Strategy for raising funds

7. Set the organization and management structure

Define how your company is structured and who will be responsible for each aspect of the business. Use the Business Organizational Chart Template to visually map the company’s teams, roles, and hierarchy.

As well as the organization and management structure, discuss the legal structure of your business. Clarify whether your business is a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or LLC.

8. Make an action plan

At this point in your business plan, you’ve described what you’re aiming for. But how are you going to get there? The Action Plan Template describes the following steps to move your business plan forward. Outline the next steps you plan to take to bring your business plan to fruition.

Types of business plans

Several types of business plans cater to different purposes and stages of a company's lifecycle. Here are some of the most common types of business plans.

Startup business plan

A startup business plan is typically an entrepreneur's first business plan. This document helps entrepreneurs articulate their business idea when starting a new business.

Not sure how to make a business plan for a startup? It’s pretty similar to a regular business plan, except the primary purpose of a startup business plan is to convince investors to provide funding for the business. A startup business plan also outlines the potential target market, product/service offering, marketing plan, and financial projections.

Strategic business plan

A strategic business plan is a long-term plan that outlines a company's overall strategy, objectives, and tactics. This type of strategic plan focuses on the big picture and helps business owners set goals and priorities and measure progress.

The primary purpose of a strategic business plan is to provide direction and guidance to the company's management team and stakeholders. The plan typically covers a period of three to five years.

Operational business plan

An operational business plan is a detailed document that outlines the day-to-day operations of a business. It focuses on the specific activities and processes required to run the business, such as:

Organizational structure

Staffing plan

Production plan

Quality control

Inventory management

Supply chain

The primary purpose of an operational business plan is to ensure that the business runs efficiently and effectively. It helps business owners manage their resources, track their performance, and identify areas for improvement.

Growth-business plan

A growth-business plan is a strategic plan that outlines how a company plans to expand its business. It helps business owners identify new market opportunities and increase revenue and profitability. The primary purpose of a growth-business plan is to provide a roadmap for the company's expansion and growth.

The 3 Horizons of Growth Template is a great tool to identify new areas of growth. This framework categorizes growth opportunities into three categories: Horizon 1 (core business), Horizon 2 (emerging business), and Horizon 3 (potential business).

One-page business plan

A one-page business plan is a condensed version of a full business plan that focuses on the most critical aspects of a business. It’s a great tool for entrepreneurs who want to quickly communicate their business idea to potential investors, partners, or employees.

A one-page business plan typically includes sections such as business concept, value proposition, revenue streams, and cost structure.

Best practices for how to make a good business plan

Here are some additional tips for creating a business plan:

Use a template

A template can help you organize your thoughts and effectively communicate your business ideas and strategies. Starting with a template can also save you time and effort when formatting your plan.

Miro’s extensive library of customizable templates includes all the necessary sections for a comprehensive business plan. With our templates, you can confidently present your business plans to stakeholders and investors.

Be practical

Avoid overestimating revenue projections or underestimating expenses. Your business plan should be grounded in practical realities like your budget, resources, and capabilities.

Be specific

Provide as much detail as possible in your business plan. A specific plan is easier to execute because it provides clear guidance on what needs to be done and how. Without specific details, your plan may be too broad or vague, making it difficult to know where to start or how to measure success.

Be thorough with your research

Conduct thorough research to fully understand the market, your competitors, and your target audience . By conducting thorough research, you can identify potential risks and challenges your business may face and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Get input from others

It can be easy to become overly focused on your vision and ideas, leading to tunnel vision and a lack of objectivity. By seeking input from others, you can identify potential opportunities you may have overlooked.

Review and revise regularly

A business plan is a living document. You should update it regularly to reflect market, industry, and business changes. Set aside time for regular reviews and revisions to ensure your plan remains relevant and effective.

Create a winning business plan to chart your path to success

Starting or growing a business can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, a well-written business plan can make or break your business’ success.

The purpose of a business plan is more than just to secure funding and attract investors. It also serves as a roadmap for achieving your business goals and realizing your vision. With the right mindset, tools, and strategies, you can develop a visually appealing, persuasive business plan.

Ready to make an effective business plan that works for you? Check out our library of ready-made strategy and planning templates and chart your path to success.

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Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Simple business plan

How to start a business with a simple plan

In order to start a business that thrives, you need a simple business plan that will set you up for success.

Do you want to start a business that is financially stable and gives you the freedom to live on your own terms?

Do you lack a clear business purpose or process — or are self-limiting habits stopping you from making progress?

If so, then you need to streamline your efforts with a simple business plan.

Read on plus learn how to access the free business plan template.

Simple business plan process

Preparation and intention: developing a growth mindset, persona and focus area: attracting your perfect customers, positioning: creating a unique value proposition (usp), product strategy: creating high value products and services, pricing strategy: pricing your products and services, presence and presentation: branding your business, promotional plan: marketing your business.

  • Bonus : Access the entire series plus free business plan template

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At the core of any successful business is a clear vision about what exactly you want:

  • what you want to create
  • the compensation you desire in return for the value you add, and
  • how exactly you will make it all happen

For independent business owners this is especially important because there’s likely no clean divide between your personal life and business life.

In fact, your personal goals, ideas, and talents likely inspired you to start a business in the first place. 

Personal growth and business growth go hand-in-hand and starting a successful business requires developing the right mindset — a growth mindset. 

A growth mindset is an underlying system of positive beliefs about your ability to develop and succeed.

This type of mindset puts you in the best position to create a clear business vision or purpose, chart a set path or process to achieving it, and overcome any obstacles that stunt your progress.

Entrepreneurs should be very specific about who they are and who they want to serve with their work.

This clarity will draw you to your perfect customer and them to you. 

Your perfect customer is the one whose needs and wants are aligned with your purpose, what you want to create, and the value you want to add — the one who you know your business can deliver outstanding results for. 

With a perfect customer in mind you’ll be able to build a persona — a detailed representation of this person that will help you get better at attracting and adding the most value to them.

If you are spending a disproportionate amount of time and effort trying to find customers for your business to no avail, it is likely because you’ve missed this key step. 

Clarifying who is the best fit for you and luring them in is a more effortless way to grow a thriving business than desperately running after ill-fitted customers who won’t be loyal to you or evolve your business over the long run.

starting a simple business

With a clear understanding of your perfect customer, you can start to refine your approach and flush out how you can uniquely add value.

At this stage in the business plan you are ready to define your USP (unique selling proposition).

The key here is to develop a laser sharp vision of who you are, what you offer, and how it differentiates from other peers in your field.

In other words you need to answer for yourself what every customer will be thinking before they decide to support you: why you?

This is why it’s so important to have a persona — you simply can’t be everything to everyone.

The USP forces you to take a stance and will result in succinct messaging that resonates with your target.

So now you know what value you add and to whom. What’s next?

You can begin to think about about the best way to deliver that value for maximum affect.

This is your business model and the key to your ability to make money. 

In this step of the plan you should refine your model and carefully craft your products or services accordingly. 

Having a few options available in terms of how you deliver value also helps diversify your income.

Options give your customers choice and help you extend your resources. 

Most important is that you figure out what types of products and services work best in solving your customers’ needs so they deeply value your work and keep coming back for more.  

With your products and services in place you can walk through a pricing exercise to determine your rates.

There are a few elements that go into pricing but the three most important to consider are:

  • your personal income needs and goals
  • what the market is for comparable products and services
  • what your perfect customers are able and willing to pay

You may have to do a bit of research and surveying but it shouldn’t be difficult coming up with baseline figures that support your business model (i.e. the ability to cover your expenses and be profitable). 

On top of those baseline figures you should think long and hard about the value you are adding to ensure you do don’t underestimate your worth.

From many entrepreneurs, the big issue isn’t overpricing but devaluing your offering and making it available for much lower than what it could actually demand. 

You can’t serve your customers if you can’t support yourself which is one of the reasons why correct pricing is so important.

You should determine an exact figure for what you need to survive and thrive as a business owner and create and price your work accordingly.  

how to make a simple business plan

Depending on your market, branding ms be one of the most important contributors to your success as an entrepreneur.

No matter if you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, small business owner or coach, branding will help you:

  • build your digital presence and online reputation
  • establish credibility and thought leadership in your field
  • be the face and voice of your business
  • and much more

Oddly, there is no consensus when it comes to what branding is, why it’s important, and how to do it right.

Some perceive branding as a nice-to-have exercise but not really something you need to devote much time or energy to in the grand scheme of things.

Others deem it as important but place it squarely in the “design” category and completely disregard the need for strategy.   

There are many misunderstandings and misconceptions that prevail as it pertains to branding.

It’s important to dispel these myths and gain a complete picture of how you want your perfect customers to perceive so you don’t downplay or mismanage a process that can catapult your business to success.

With almost all the important elements of your business in place, last but certainly not least is your marketing plan.

You can’t just build and expect people to come. You’ve got to put a mechanism in place that helps you lure your perfect customers.

There are no shortage of marketing tactics but not all of them are right for you and your effort is best spent focusing on only one or two at a time. 

For brand new entrepreneurs tapping into your existing network is a great way to start getting business, while more established entrepreneurs can amplify word of mouth through a referral program.

However, for all entrepreneurs — new and established — you must have a sales funnels.

This is one of the most powerful promotional methods for capturing and nurturing leads.

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Simple business plan template for startup founders

how to set a simple single business plan

Most new businesses that fail do so for one of two reasons: (1) lack of market need and/or (2) no more cash.

These two reasons account for more than 70% of new businesses not making it. However, both causes can often be avoided if founders invest upfront time in developing a carefully researched business plan.

A simple business plan template provides a proven framework to start from, concisely helps structure ideas, and shows potential investors what an organized and professional team looks like — one that can bring this business idea to market.

This article will share our custom-developed, simple business plan template, cover what should be included, and more.

Get the template

What is a simple business plan template?

A business plan is a written document outlining how a company intends to achieve its primary objectives — obtaining a particular market share, growing revenue, or reaching the next round of funding.

Download Excel template

While companies of all stages and sizes use business plans, they are beneficial for startups, as they can be the key to attaining funding.

A business plan template is a customizable document that provides all the crucial and necessary elements of a great business plan, allowing company leaders to start from a solid and established foundation rather than from scratch.

A simple business plan template typically includes:

  • table of contents
  • executive summary
  • company description
  • analysis of the target market
  • description of the management team
  • details of the product or service
  • financial forecasts
  • funding requirements
  • appendices such as legal documents, permits, patents, and licenses

Business plans can quickly become huge, cumbersome documents, requiring a significant time investment from the creator. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends business plans be between 30 and 50 pages long.

While there is some benefit to spending this time developing a comprehensive business plan, agility is often more critical in the startup business world. That’s the main reason why simple business plan templates exist.

Simple business plan templates typically follow a structure outlining goals, teams, and financials.

  • Company description : What does the business do? What problems does it solve?
  • Team : Who is involved? What key hires have been made? What expertise do they bring to the table? Why are they the right team to get the job done?
  • Industry and competitive analysis: Who are the company’s competitors? What are they doing well and not so well? What opportunities exist to differentiate and be successful in this industry?
  • Target market: Who are the customers being targeted? What are their interests? What are their everyday challenges and goals?
  • Timeline : What are the critical dates for tasks/goals?
  • Marketing plan : How will the plan attract new customers?
  • Financial plan : What do current revenue streams, cash on hand, revenue structure, required funding or funding already received, etc., look like.

Why use a simple business plan template?

We highly recommend founders use a simple business plan template, mainly for the speed and agility they offer.

Creating a business plan takes time and effort, no matter how many times it’s been done. Even a simple, one-page business plan designed for small businesses requires a fair bit of research.

Each section of the business needs to be analyzed. First, it’s essential to understand the market conditions and have a step-by-step plan. Then finally, it’s necessary to determine the plan’s structure.

Templates are even more crucial for first-time startup founders. 

It’s understandable not to be super-confident in the first (or 2nd or 3rd) business plan writing process. A proven framework will help all — even seasoned veterans, ensure they:

  • Don’t miss any critical elements.
  • Structure ideas neatly and concisely.
  • Foster a sense of professionalism, improving the confidence of potential investors

What are some examples of simple business plan templates?

These sample business plan templates serve as a great jumping-off point. Use them as inspiration. Take note of the similarities across the different examples.

1. One-page business plan template

A one-page business plan template is perfect for creating a plan to bring to the next startup pitch. But of course, supplementing the template with appendices for financial reports like balance sheets or income statements is important.

Summarizing the entire business into a single page is a great exercise. It ensures a robust and concise knowledge of each area of operation, creating more confidence to discuss each point with potential investors.

A breakdown how to create a simple business plan template in five steps

( Image Source )

2. Simple business plan template in Excel

While Excel does not have all the bells and whistles, it’s still a popular and widely-used platform — one that many founders choose to use to create simple business plans. This template can be used for any type of business, though it’s built for early-stage startups to plan out the first few months in business.

Notice how the template breaks overall costs down into smaller, more detailed items. This is useful to understand better the costs associated with starting a new business. Noting when those costs are owed also helps business owners monitor cash flow.

Simple business plan template in an Excel spreadsheet

3. Startup business plan template

Here’s another excellent example of a business plan template built for startups.

What’s great about this template is rather than providing simple headers for each section, it includes questions and prompts to help guide the necessary information.

A simple business plan template with prompt questions

4. Lean business plan template

Lean business is a style of startup operation that focuses on minimizing waste, moving fast, and keeping costs low. It’s a popular methodology for companies wanting to get off the ground quickly and build revenue without raising significant funding.

This business plan template supports startups based on the lean concept, allowing for a simple, single-page business plan with minimal time investment.

A table detailing how to fill out a lean, simple business plan template

monday.com’s simple business plan template

Most free business plan templates come in PDF, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word formats. Unfortunately, while these are popular formats and tools, they don’t tend to be particularly collaborative.

Have a distributed team? The monday.com simple business plan template will be your best friend.

A screenshot of a simple business plan template from monday.com

Customize it to include all the fields necessary for a stellar business plan plus any additional ones unique to your business. But the most significant benefit of the template is the platform it’s built on .

The monday.com Work OS means building apps and workflows is simple. Customizing fields and columns to fit what the company is already doing, not the other way around. For example, once a business plan has been created using the monday.com simple template, it’s super-easy to set up a collaborative board to manage the marketing plan , assign tasks and due dates to employees and freelancers, and turn that business plan into reality.

A main table view of the monday.com simple business plan template

Simple business plan template tips & tricks

Here are a few tips to make the most of this template and create a business plan that works.

1. Use simple, approachable language.

The goal is for people to read the business plan, right? Using everyday language over complex jargon and corporate terminology is an excellent place to start. Then, ensuring anyone who comes across the plan will have no issue understanding its meaning.

2. Write the executive summary last.

The executive summary is a short section that summarizes every aspect of the business plan. So, first, write the entire plan. THEN write the executive summary.

3. Supplement the business plan with supporting documents

While simple business plans are fast and effective, they leave out a lot of information by nature. Consider supplementing the plan with appendices such as financial statements , data sets, and market analyses.

4. Be conservative with financial estimates.

Where possible, financial projections should be based on real-life data. But even with the most accurate and up-to-date information out there, there’s always room for interpretation. So it’s best to give a range where possible, and if not, stay conservative with financial estimates.

5. Include thorough research and analysis

Invest the time early on and capture accurate, comprehensive data to support all claims. Interview customers and prospects to get a realistic picture of the target audience. Consider hiring a professional firm to provide a market research report.

FAQs about simple business plan templates

How do i write a simple business plan.

Simple business plans can be as little as one page with concise writing. Include information for each of these sections:

  • Company description : What does the company do and sell? What problems does it solve?
  • Team : Who works for the company, and what value do they provide?
  • Industry : What competitors or other options exist?
  • Target market : What does the ideal customer look like?
  • Marketing strategy and plan : What is the plan to bring in new customers?
  • Financial plan : What do the revenue streams look like?

What are the 7 parts of a business plan?

A 7-part business plan starts with the executive summary, moves on to describe the company, and finishes with financials.

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Organization and management team
  • Products and services
  • Market analysis
  • Strategy and implementation timeline
  • Financial plan and projections

What are common mistakes in a business plan?

Typical business plan mistakes include:

  • not being research-driven
  • unrealistic financial estimates
  • providing too much information
  • not using data to back up claims
  • not offering an analysis of the competitive landscape
  • only outlining vague goals and priorities

how to set a simple single business plan

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Business Planning

How to create a simple business plan for your small business

A business plan is a document created to provide a clear road map for your business. It outlines the fundamentals of your business: the services or products you will offer, the financial plans, marketing strategies, and your business structure. By laying out these elements in a written document, you gain a clear understanding of your vision.

What exactly is a business plan?

A business plan is a roadmap that you create for your business. It details the fundamental principles of your business and how you will go about generating revenue and ultimately a profit. This may cover the different strategies that you are going to use, your organisational structure and the products or services that you are going to market.

By putting everything down on paper, you are committing your thoughts to a workable plan.

Why have a business plan?

Going through the process of writing a business plan forces you to think strategically about your business. If you are presenting to potential partners or investors, they will want to know that you have detailed the opportunity, the risks, your product or service and have a good understand of your marketplace.

Gain clarity in processes

Business plans help to give you clarity about the processes that you are going to follow. A plan puts a timeframe on your goals, which can tune your dreams into actions. A business plan is not about having a day-to-day schedule of what you’re going to do; it is about developing your long-term roadmap and vision.

Define you unique selling points

If you’re starting your own business, you’re probably already thinking about what sets you apart from competitors. Coming up with your unique value proposition (UVP) or unique selling proposition (USP) creates a strong foundation for all your marketing messages and strategies for engaging and acquiring new customers.

Defining your target customers

You need to figure out who your ideal customers are. Your target market or target customers are a group of consumers or organisations that are most likely to buy your products or services. Marketing to these buyers is the most effective and efficient approach. The alternative – marketing to everyone – can be both inefficient and expensive.

Defining your focus

The day-to-day of running a business can be overwhelming. It’s easy to get sidetracked by a multitude of things that aren’t necessarily the most valuable thing you can do for your business.

By having a business plan, you can continually revert to the roadmap and understand which activities are going to drive you towards your goals

What should go into your business plan?

A business plan will usually include an executive summary, a description of the business, your goals and objectives, details about the product and or service, marketing direction and strategies, how the business will be managed and operated, and the financial plan for your business. The below bullet points may be helpful in structuring your document.

Don’t obsess over every detail to start with. That will make the plan long and hard to change and adapt as you go. Keep it short and concise initially.

Executive summary

  • Target Market
  • Customer Descriptions
  • The Opportunity
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Financial Plan
  • Operating Plan

Although this should be the first section in your plan, it’s often easier to write it last. It’s one of the hardest sections to write well, as it needs to be concise but capture the main points. You have to answer the question “what do you do?” in as few words as you can, while making sure it’s interesting and memorable. This summary is sometimes called an elevator pitch. Try to imagine you’re riding a few floors with a potential investor, adviser, employee, or customer.

Your elevator pitch could be something like: “I run a business called (name) that provides (product/service category) mainly for (target market). We provide (unique customer benefit/business purpose) by (how you achieve that). It’s something we believe in and do really well.”

Target market

If you try to sell your products or services to everyone, it’ll be almost impossible to outdo your various competitors. You’ll also risk wasting time and money on people who don’t need or value what you sell. That could mean disappointing a lot of people, who then have a less-than-positive story to share about you.

To define your target market, begin with the big picture then speak with some potential customers and trusted advisers to see if your assumptions are correct. Gradually refine your market definition as you continue testing your ideas. Here are some thoughts to get you started.

  • Will you sell to businesses or consumers?
  • Will you make isolated sales to customers or develop an ongoing relationship with regular clients?
  • If you’re selling to businesses, describe the size, turnover, and sectors you have in mind.
  • What business roles will benefit from your product or service, and who is likely to make the purchase decision – CEO, sales manager, HR director, marketing manager, property manager, etc.
  • Their age group, gender identity, socio-economic attributes
  • Where they’re located
  • Particular employment, profession or interest groups you might be targeting

Customer descriptions

Once you’ve tested and defined your target market, it can help to create a few specific customer descriptions. These are sometimes called customer personas. They describe fictional individuals who represent your main customer groups, as though you know them personally. Business customer personas contain more about the individual and their work. Consumer personas focus more on their life away from work.

While often used for marketing purposes, personas can also help you, your employees, and your advisers to make better decisions based on customer needs. You can even use an image library picture of someone the persona would typically look like. Before long you’ll be referring to them by name, and whether a business decision will benefit so-and-so or which option they’d prefer.

Here’s an example for a Christchurch-based expert gardening service designed for older people.

Mary has been a keen gardener for as long as she can remember. She knows a lot about plants and takes great pride in her garden. She likes the exercise and being out in the fresh air. Mary is straight up and direct. She enjoys a good laugh but doesn’t have much time for pretenders. Now in her 80s and still reasonably well off, she’s living alone in the family home in Fendalton but finds it increasingly difficult to keep things in order. Many of her friends have moved into retirement villages and they seem to visit less and less often. Sometimes she feels a bit lonely. Her daughter has suggested hiring a gardener, but Mary says it would have to be someone trustworthy who knows what they’re doing and can work alongside her. It would also be handy if they could get supplies for her from the local garden centre. And maybe stay for a cuppa from time to time. As with many things these days, her daughter says she’ll see what she can find and then they can talk it over.

The opportunity

In this section you can describe your assessment of the immediate market potential, but also demonstrate your understanding of how the business can grow. What is the wider potential, how will you reach that market and scale up to meet the demand? Can you sell your products or services online? Will you have to hire more people? Are physical premises required in new locations? How will you ensure you retain your point of difference and service standards? What new opportunities will expansion bring?

Competitor analysis

Ignoring the competition will only lead to problems and it’s a sure sign you’re not very business-savvy at all. Although it may be hard to focus on what could undermine your business, it’s an essential part of planning for success. Here are some ideas for this section.

  • List all direct competitors – the ones that are primarily focused on selling the same service or products as you, particularly if it’s to the same market segments.
  • List your indirect competitors – the ones that cross over with your business, but their focus isn’t the same as yours.
  • Write down the challenges or barriers that will help to prevent more competitors appearing in the market.
  • Describe what sets you apart from competitors, your unique selling proposition (USP) and why it’s likely to remain unique to your business. For example, if you sell products, you might have a way to differentiate your business based on quality, service, price, or range. This needs to be believable, so stick to facts not wishful thinking.

Financial plan

Include high-level financial information about your set-up costs, ongoing expenditure and projected income. An accountant or some types of business software can help you create a draft cash flow forecast that shows how your business will survive. A summary is all you need to include here.

Marketing plan

Most marketing plans address what are known as the five Ps. Just remember to keep things brief and stick to the facts.

  • Product: What are you selling? What need or issue does it address? What are its unique benefits? How will it be packaged/delivered? Is there a warranty? And so on.
  • Price: What will you charge? How does this cover your expenses? How do you know your customers are willing to pay this amount? Does it fit with your brand? How does it compare to your competitors’ charges? What is your expected profit per item?
  • Place: Where will you sell your product/service? How does this make it easy to reach your target customers or meet their expectations? How will this change as you expand? Will you have temporary variations for things like events or seasonal changes?
  • Promotion: How will you promote your product or service? How does this align with your target customer groups? How have you worked out which methods will provide the best return on investment?
  • People: How will you attract the best employees? Collaborate with others? Build strong connections with customers? Make it easy for people to become your social promoters or ‘brand evangelists’?

Operating plan

Focusing on the present or immediate future, describe the day-to-day tasks required to make your business successful. Like a project plan, this section needs to include what needs to be done, who does each task and when does it have to be done by. It should cover all aspects of the business at a high level. It basically shows in a simplified form that you’ve thought all your processes through, including the points at which they depend on inputs and outputs from each other.

What skills and experience does your business need to succeed and where will they come from? What people will you need to employ? What skills and experience can you tap into as required, through the likes of contractors, advisers, and business professionals? How will you identify, attract, and retain the best you can afford and those you can trust?

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how to set a simple single business plan

Planning your business

How to write a simple business plan

This step-by-step guide describes why a business plan is so important, the key elements, and how to write an effective plan for your business.

In this article

The purpose of a business plan.

A business plan involves answering some key questions about your business:

  • Your objectives – where do you want your business to go?
  • Your tactics – how will it get there? 
  • Your budget – what will it cost?

There’s no one set way to write a business plan. The trick is to keep it short and simple. 

Why you need a business plan

A business plan gives you direction, challenges you to really think through your ideas, helps you prioritise scarce resources, and builds your credibility.

In fact, having a business plan can mean the difference between success and failure. Research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that start-up businesses with a written business plan were 16% more likely to succeed than those without one — .

Getting started

Our business plan template makes it easier to write your business plan. It breaks your plan down into sections, with tips and examples at each stage. You can enter information as you go and save your plan to print out and update later.

Below we’ll explain the key information you should include in your business plan, using the structure in our template as a guide.

Executive summary

Think of this as your ‘elevator pitch’. Imagine you’re in an elevator with someone you want to invest in your business, and you only have until the elevator gets to their floor to convince them. You need to get straight to the point and describe what your business (or business idea) is about in no more than three or four short paragraphs.

People usually write this section last once they’ve thought through all the other aspects of their business plan.

Your business goals and objectives

Write down where your business is going and what you want to achieve. Your objectives should be realistic, otherwise you’ll lose motivation. 

They should also be SMART:

  • S pecific – if the goal is too general, you will lose focus
  • M easurable – so you can tell whether you’re on track or need to make changes
  • A chievable – large goals can seem daunting, so break them down into smaller steps
  • R elevant – your objectives should directly contribute to your overall business goals
  • T ime framed – having a deadline provides urgency and focus.

Examples of SMART goals might include:

  • Financial – to achieve turnover of $x and profits of $y by the end of the financial year.
  • Strategic – to gain two corporate customers by the end of the year.
  • Operational – to increase productivity by 20% by the end of the second year.
  • Sales – to increase e-commerce sales by 10% by 1 June next year.

Once you’ve established your goals, identify who is responsible for achieving them.

Your products and services

Describe exactly what you’re offering, the key features of your products or services, and how they compare with what your competitors are offering. 

Pricing is key. Consider and explain how you’ll price your offering. This figure shouldn’t be plucked out of thin air – it should be based on solid research.

SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis outlines your:

  • Opportunities 

This helps you compare your business against your competitors, build on your strengths and opportunities, and mitigate your weaknesses and threats.

When you’re doing your SWOT analysis think about both internal factors (such as staffing) and external factors (like market or demographic trends). Above all, be honest.

This is also a good time to think about your competitive advantage. Determine why customers should choose your business over competitors. Are you competing on price, service, aftersales support, unique knowledge and expertise, or a distinct brand proposition? It’s important to be aware of your competitive edge, as your customers will not know if you don’t know either.

Your target customer

Who are you targeting your products or services at? How old are they, where do they live, and what are their interests? Understanding your customer will help you shape your products and marketing in a way that is most likely to reach them and appeal to them.

Your marketing strategy and sales planning

Consider how you will promote your business and what you offer. Will this be through advertising, direct marketing, social media, PR campaigns, or a combination of these methods? Determine how they can buy from you, such as online, through distributors, or at your own retail outlet.

Set some sales targets and develop a strategy to achieve them. For example, decide if you’ll focus on selling to new customers, or increasing sales to existing customers. Determine if training your staff in new sales methods is required. 

Set a budget for achieving your sales plan and be clear about how you’ll measure success.

Assets and equipment

Determine what assets or equipment you will need to get your business up and running, and keep it operating. These one-time expenses are also known as capital costs, and include purchases of buildings, land, vehicles, machinery, and equipment.

Financial forecasts

Your financial forecasts are one of the most important parts of your business plan. They show how much money you need to make to cover your operating expenses and make a profit. They’re also critical if you’re approaching investors. 

At a minimum, your business plan should include a cash flow forecast and a balance sheet forecast. Your accountant or an ANZ Business Specialist can help you review your financial assumptions and help ensure they’re realistic.

Your human resources (HR) policies

Great people are key to the success of any business. How will you attract, train, retain, and reward the right people – and ensure you get the best from them?

How to create an effective business plan

Create a simple, yet effective business plan: from setting SMART objectives to conducting a SWOT analysis, understanding your customers to marketing strategies.

Reviewing and updating your business plan

No market stays the same – your business will face different challenges and opportunities over time. That’s why it’s essential that you regularly review and update your business plan. Annually is a good rule of thumb.

Contact an ANZ Business Specialist

Our specialists understand your kind of business and the challenges you face as a business owner. We can help you figure out how to make your business grow and succeed.

Popular planning your business articles

How to gain awareness for a new business, essential tips for business goal setting, how to plan for a new business, business plan template, how to write your business elevator pitch, calculators, cash flow forecast calculator.

Calculate your cash flow forecast with our simple template. This will help you understand how much cash you have coming in and going out of the business each month and can be a good indicator of the need for an overdraft or other lending.

Break-even point calculation

Your break-even point indicates the minimum level of sales or income that you need to meet overhead expenses and achieve your profit margin.

Important information

We’ve provided this material as a complimentary service. It is prepared based on information and sources ANZ believes to be reliable. ANZ cannot warrant its accuracy, completeness or suitability for your intended use. The content is information only, is subject to change, and isn’t a substitute for commercial judgement or professional advice, which you should seek before relying on it. To the extent the law allows, ANZ doesn’t accept any responsibility or liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage arising from any act or omissions by any person relying on this material.

Please talk to us if you need financial advice about a product or service. See our financial advice provider disclosure at anz.co.nz/fapdisclosure

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how to set a simple single business plan

Drawing A Simple Single Business Plan

Back to: BUSINESS STUDIES JSS3

Welcome to Class !!

We are eager to have you join us !!

In today’s Business Studies class, We will be learning about Drawing a smile Business Plan.  We hope you enjoy the class!

business plan business studies classnotesng

A business plan is a written document which describes the objectives of a business and the strategies of achieving the objectives. A business plan is like a road map giving the direction of a business. The business plan contains background information about a business venture.

  CHARACTERISTICS OF A BUSINESS PLAN

  • A good business plan must be clear in its objectives to be achieved.
  • A good business plan must be reasonable and achievable.
  • It must be measurable and easy to determine if the business is growing or not.
  • It must be time-bound and state how long the objective will be achieved.
  • It must be in written form so that it will be easy to refer to.

USES OF A BUSINESS PLAN

  • It acts as a guide to the business and its operations.
  • It helps the entrepreneur to research into the business they want to pursue
  • It helps the employees to know the objectives of the business thereby enabling them to work towards these objectives
  • It helps develop the policy or rules for the business
  • It helps the investors to know and see how accountable the management is and the structure put into place.

PROCEDURES FOR DRAWING A SIMPLE SINGLE BUSINESS PLAN

  • Background/preamble—It has the product/service, its name, logo, vision and goals.
  • Market Research—–Find out customers’ want and needs, pricing and competitors in the market.
  • Marketing—-Creating awareness for the goods.
  • Production—method of production and quality control.
  • Organization/management—showing the number of people that will be employed and their duties.
  • Finance—-estimating amount to start a business, its source and how it is to be expended.
  • Action plan.
  • What is a business plan?
  • State two uses of a business plan.

READING ASSIGNMENT

WABP Business Studies book 3 Pages54 to 63

GENERAL EVALUATION

  • What is an office?
  • Mention the types of office that you know and give an example for each.
  • State seven functions of an office.
  • Give seven components of Business Studies.
  • What is trade by barter?

  WEEKEND ASSIGNMENT

  • The written form of a business’ objectives and their strategies is called business ___ (a) product   (b) service   (c) plan   (d)  management
  • The external factors of a business environment that can have a negative effect on the goals of a business are termed as ___  (a) objectives(b) strengths  (c) threats   (d) weaknesses
  • The business plan should describe the business objectives and the ___ of achieving it. (a) layout (b) components    (c) strategies     (d) plan.
  • Which one of the following is not a characteristic of a business plan? (a)Achievable (b)Measurable  (c)   Cheap and easy   (d)In written form.
  • Which is the first procedure in drawing the business plan? (a)Action plan (b) Market research (c)Background preamble   (d)Production
  • Define a business plan.
  • State three uses of a business plan to an entrepreneur.

We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

In our next class, we will be talking about Consumer Protection Agencies.  We are very much eager to meet you there.

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BT, EE, Plusnet and Vodafone customers will be charged 7.9% more from April. These companies pin their prices to December's inflation figure plus 3.9%, which is common practice in the industry.

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Council tax

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Birmingham City Council, which has declared effective bankruptcy, has been given permission to hike council tax by 21% over two years due to a black hole caused partly by equal pay claims and a botched IT systems rollout.

Council tax has been frozen by the devolved government in Scotland, while rises in Wales range anywhere from 3% to 21%. Northern Ireland uses a rating system instead of council tax, and rises are also expected here.

The annual cost of a standard colour TV licence will rise to £169.50 from 1 April - an increase of £10.50 on the current price of £159 a year.

Rent for social housing

The CPI rate of inflation in September - 6.7% - is used to determine the yearly rise in rents. 

For 2024-25, the limit will be 6.7% plus an additional 1%.

The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales will go up by an average of 6% from April . 

Water UK said the increases would leave households with an average annual bill of £473.

Vehicle excise duty will rise on all but the cleanest new and used cars in April.

Increases are generally calculated in line with the RPI rate of inflation and are expected to be about 6%.

Train fares

Rail fares will rise by 8.7% in April for those in Scotland, after the Scottish government argued previous fare freezes were not sustainable. 

For those in England and Wales, fares rose by 4.9% on 3 March. 

The Royal Mail will raise the price of stamps again as the company struggles with a decline in the number of letters being posted.

The price of a first class and second class stamp will increase by 10p to £1.35 and 85p respectively from 2 April.

It's not all bad news in April

National insurance

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in the budget earlier this month that the starting rate for NI will change from 10% to 8% from 6 April (Saturday).

This will benefit 27 million workers, he said, and is worth about £450 a year to an employee on an average salary of £35,000.

NI for two million self-employed workers is also being cut.

Their rate will fall from 8% to 6%. The government says that is worth £350 to a self-employed person earning £28,200.

Child benefit

The amount people can earn before child benefit is reduced or taken away is increasing.

At the moment, people lose 1% of the benefit for every £100 they earn over £50,000. At £60,000, the benefit is cut completely.

From April, the benefit won't be reduced until one parent earns more than £60,000. And it will only go completely at £80,000.

Benefits and tax credits that are linked to inflation will rise by 6.7% in April.

That was the level CPI in September.

For joint claimants over the age of 25, universal credit standard allowances will rise from £578.82 to £617.60 per month.

The basic and new state pension will rise by 8.5% in April - to £11,502 a year.

The new state pension is for those reaching state pension age on or after 6 April 2016. It will rise to £221.20 a week - up from £203.85.

Minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage for those 21 and over will rise to £11.44 - an increase of £1.02, or 9.8%.

There are larger percentage increases for younger age groups -as well as a 21.2% rise for apprentices (going up to £6.40).

Energy price cap

From 1 April to 30 June this year the price paid by a typical household that uses electricity and gas will go down to £1,690 a year.

This is £238 a year lower than the price cap between 1 January and 31 March this year. 

By Bhvishya Patel, Money team

A lot of us don't want to think about it. Getting old, retirement, pensions. It's a lifetime away. 

And with rising bills and rent restricting finances right now , it seems planning for 40 or 50 years down the line is even further from the minds of young Britons.

In the past year alone, the number of financially vulnerable 30-somethings who are failing to set aside money for their retirement has increased by more than 5%, or 72,000, according to data science firm Outra. 

The total stands at 1.43 million.

One of these younger workers pausing contributions is Neha Solanki, 24, who works as an accounts assistant for a PR firm in London. She found opting out of her pension for a while meant her grocery bill - £60 a month - was covered. 

"It would have been nice to have a pension investment but because of the cost of living I think it is very difficult to do that," she says.

"I end up spending about £100 a month on travel. When you add up rent and everything else it builds up. 

"When I was trying to opt out I was advised not to but when you add up the smaller payments it makes a difference."

What could the consequences be?

Peter Jackson, formerly chief data officer at the Pensions Regulator and now in the same role at Outra, says he understands the pressures young people are under but warns...

"If you flip out of your pension you are pushing a cost of living crisis into your retirement. You are not going to have a sizeable pension pot available to you when you come to retire."

Mr Jackson goes on: "It's harder to build that pot when you are 55 or 60 because you have only got a few years left.

"Personally, that would be the last thing I would stop doing."

How much could you lose?

Pausing pension contributions even for a short time can have consequences, the life assurance and pensions company Standard Life has found.

Its analysis suggests a person who began working on a salary of £25,000 per year in 2020 and paid the standard monthly auto-enrolment contributions (5% employee and 3% employer monthly contributions) from the age of 22 could amass a total retirement pot of £459,000.

Opting out for three years would knock off £36,000 from your retirement pot - and six years £71,000.

Missing out on free money

And crucially, Mr Jackson adds...

"With a lot of employers, if you increase your contributions a lot of them will match it up to a certain percentage so it is kind of like free money."

Clare Moffat, pensions and legal expert at Royal London, says pausing pension contributions "might be something people have to do" as bills rise but they should take any pay rise as an opportunity to opt back in.

"A lot of younger people think they are not going to get any state pension or they are not going to see state pension until they are about 70 but then they still want to retire when they are about 60," she says.

"It's up to employers to help a bit as well. Remind people when they get a pay rise that this might be a good time if you have opted out to opt back in."

When it comes to knowing how much to contribute, she says, "it's better to think how much money you would need in retirement" - and there are tonnes of free online retirement calculators.

She adds: "I've never heard someone say I wish I had saved less for retirement - most people wish they had saved more.

"Sometimes, people can be put off and think they need to be saving hundreds of pounds a month but if you're in your 20s, little increases are good."

Money locked away is a good thing

Why not look at saving for a pension differently, suggests Claire Trott, divisional director for retirement and holistic planning at wealth manager St James's Place.

People see it as money being tied up for decades, but "actually that's a real winner".

"We all know we can dip into things we shouldn't but with pensions you can't. They are there, they get their tax relief, they get the growth, they sit there and year on year you will see some change," she says.

"Obviously, we know that markets fluctuate so it may not always look that rosy, but the longer it can stay in there the better.

"Getting it in there in your 30s or ideally in your first job just means you get that compound growth on it over the long-term."

She concludes:

"With pensions, because it's locked away and you are making that good decision, it means you are doing your future self a real service because you can't touch it and it is there to be invested appropriately."

The school holidays are here, and the Money team has been looking at where kids can eat cheap - or even free - this Easter. 

It's by no means an exhaustive list, but here are a few of our highlights... 

Gordon Ramsay restaurants  

During selected times on weekdays at selected eateries, a child under eight can eat for free when an adult dines from the a la carte menu.

Free meal for a child with every footlong sub ordered in participating restaurants until 14 April.

Available Monday-Friday during school holidays, kids can eat free when an adult makes any purchase in the café.

Be aware, though, you will need a Clubcard. 

TGI Fridays

Kids can eat free all day every day with the purchase of an adult main - though you will need to be signed up to their Stripes Rewards app.

For every adult that spends £10 in this Japanese eatery, one child aged 12 or under gets a free kiddo bento box.

Kids meals are just £1 throughout the holidays. 

Heathrow Airport

Going away this Easter? 

There are free children's meals on offer at participating airport restaurants until 14 April.

Angus Steakhouse

Those in London at participating restaurants can have their child (under eight) eat free with a full-paying adult buying a main course anytime until 12 April.

Beefeater 

Cheap breakfasts are the order of the day at Beefeaters - where two kids (under 16) eat free breakfast with any adult breakfast purchased for £9.99 or more.

Available 6.30am to 10.30am midweek and 7am and 11am at the weekend.

If the kids need a pit stop during a holiday furniture shop, parents can pick them up a child's portion of pasta for just 45p. 

Morrisons café

Kids can eat completely free all day over the holidays if an accompanying adult spends £4.50 or more. 

Bella Italia

This one is a real bargain - a two to 11-year-old can get three courses and a drink for just £1 with every purchase of an adult meal.

Available 4pm to 6pm Sunday-Wednesdays and all day Thursday.

Head to the Brazilian outlet's website to download a voucher for one free children's meal (for those under 10) per adult meal purchased.

The deal is available every weekday from 4pm, and all day at the weekend. 

The Real Greek

Kids under 12 can enjoy a mezze or souvlaki wrap, plus a drink and ice cream or sorbet for dessert if an adult spends £10 or more.

Sizzling Pub and Grill

Kids can eat for just £1 with a purchase of every adult meal Monday to Friday from 12pm.

Bill's Restaurants

Until 12 April, up to two children can eat for free all day (excluding weekends) when one adult orders any main. 

Hungry Horse

Every Monday, kids can eat for £1, though larger dishes will cost you £1.50.

Up to two kids can eat with every full-paying adult.

Table Table

Two kids under 16 can get free, unlimited all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast with any adult purchase of £9.99. 

By Ollie Cooper, Money team

It can be hard to balance getting nutritious foods that make you feel good without emptying your wallet.

In this series over the coming months, we're trying to find the cheapest ways to identify the healthiest options in the supermarket.

We've asked  Sunna Van Kampen,  who went viral on social media for reviewing supermarket products in the search of healthier choices, for his input. 

The series does not aim to identify the outright healthiest option, rather how to get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

Today we're looking at pasta , a staple in many kitchens but often dismissed as just a carb-heavy comfort food. 

The key to transforming your pasta into a protein and fibre-packed meal without sacrificing taste or breaking the bank lies in the variety of wheat, Sunna says. 

"Pasta made from refined wheat strips out the bran and germ, which lowers the protein content as well as fibre and other nutrients," he says. 

"Typical lower-cost pasta varieties therefore contain on average about 5-6g of protein per 100g. Make yourself a nice big plate and you can expect 10-12g per portion - not really a game changer."

Here's where the Italians have it right. 

"Traditional Italian branded varieties are made using local semolina flour from Italy in traditional ways," Sunna says.

"Italian pasta must adhere to strict standards that have been set by the government - meaning a typical branded Italian pasta will select the best durum wheats in terms of gluten quality, healthiness and protein content."

That means a 200g plate of pasta has 24-28g of protein - before you add any meat or protein into the sauce.

Another option that's been popping up on supermarket shelves is legume pasta, made from lentils or chickpeas.

"These help increase the protein content (on average about 12-13g per 100g) but have other important health benefits too," Sunna says.

"Lentil pasta can boast 25-50% more fibre than standard pasta, is gluten-free and helps keep you fuller for longer."

On that note... 

Fibre is vital for gut health and Public Health England estimates as low as 9% of us are getting enough of it in our diets.

"This is where lentil or wholewheat pasta can be a game changer," Sunna says.

With a 200g serving of lentil pasta you'd be getting 6.4g of fibre, which is 21% of your daily intake, or for wholewheat you'd be getting 7.6g of fibre or 25% of your daily intake. 

"Fibre will also help limit the impact of the carbohydrates, so opting for a higher fibre variety can also be helpful if you are focused on weight loss," he says.

The nutritionist's view - from  Dr Laura Brown , senior lecturer in nutrition, food, and health sciences at Teesside University

"Yes, these are good suggestions. 

"It's definitely worth promoting the higher fibre and higher protein types - both of which make you feel fuller for longer and also help to support and encourage a healthy bowel. 

"White versions of pasta also can cause a spike in blood glucose levels, leaving us feeling tired shortly after, as well as potentially hungry again quite soon. 

"This effect is correlated with increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes and should be discouraged."

Own label regular pasta ( low protein, low fibre, gluten ) is usually £1.50/kg at all supermarkets as they price match each other on household staples.

Own label wholewheat pasta ( low protein, high fibre, gluten ) is usually £1.50/kg at all supermarkets.

Branded Italian pasta ( high protein, medium fibre, gluten ) ranges from £2.25-£3.00/kg .

Lentil pasta ( high protein, high fibre, gluten-free ) is where things get pricey at an average of £6.80/kg .

Now you've got the facts and figures, it's up to you to decide what works for your budget and needs. 

April is around the corner - here are the key money dates that could affect you in the next month.

'National price hike day'

TV and broadband customers are likely see rises of between 6.7% and 8.8% depending on their provider. 

Council tax rises by just under 5% for most people who live in councils with responsibility for social care in England. In areas where the councils don't oversee social care, the rise for most is 2.99%. Rises are more variable in Wales, while council tax has been frozen in Scotland.

The TV licence jumps from £159 a year to £169.50, while water, rent for social housing, car tax and (Scottish) train fares also go up. 

Read full details of all the increases  here ...

Minimum wage rise

The national minimum wage for those 21 and over rises to £11.44 - an increase of £1.02, or 9.8%.

There are bigger percentage increases for younger age groups -as well as a 21.2% rise for apprentices (going up to £6.40).

From 1 April, when the new cap kicks in, to 30 June, the price paid by a typical household that uses electricity and gas is £1,690 a year.

This is £238 a year lower than the cap between 1 January and 31 March. 

The Royal Mail increases the price of stamps again as the company struggles with a decline in letters.

The price of a first class and second class stamp go up by 10p to £1.35 and 85p respectively.

5 April - end of tax year

If you're paying into an ISA, funds need to have cleared by this date for it to count towards the 2023-24 year's contributions. The new £20,000 allowance kicks in the following day.

Benefits and pensions increase

Benefits and tax credits - specifically those linked to inflation - rise by 6.7%. 

For joint claimants over 25, universal credit standard allowances rise from £578.82 to £617.60 a month.

The basic and new state pension also go up by 8.5%.

The new state pension is for those who reached state pension age on or after 6 April 2016. It rises to £221.20 a week - up from £203.85.

National insurance cut

After Jeremy Hunt's promise in the budget, a further two pennies in every pound is cut from NI contributions. 

Capital gains cut

The top rate for capital gains tax goes down from 28% to 24%.

8 April - eBay fee

eBay introduces a "regulatory operating fee" for sellers, charging 0.35% of a total sale, including postage. 

It affects anyone listing items in the UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland.

17 April - inflation data for March

We get insight into inflation in March when the Office for National Statistics releases its latest figures. 

We'll cover that announcement here in the Money blog - see you at 7am on 17 April. 

The Money blog is your place for consumer news, economic analysis and everything you need to know about the cost of living - bookmark news.sky.com/money.

It runs with live updates every weekday (except bank holidays) - while on Saturdays we scale back and offer you a selection of weekend reads.

Check them out this morning and we'll be back on Tuesday with rolling news and features.

The Money team is Emily Mee, Bhvishya Patel, Jess Sharp, Katie Williams, Brad Young and Ollie Cooper, with sub-editing by Isobel Souster. The blog is edited by Jimmy Rice.

We'll be back with our Weekend Money features on Saturday - and will return with live consumer and personal finance updates after the Easter weekend on Tuesday.

For those who've got time off, enjoy - and thanks for following along.

By James Sillars , business reporter

High margins for fuel retailers may mean drivers are still paying over the odds at the pump, according to the competition regulator.

In a monitoring report, following its fuel market study of 2022, the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) said fuel margins - the difference between what retailers pay for their fuel and the price they sell it at - remained "concerning".

The regulator said supermarket margins, which had stood at 4% in 2017, rose to 7.8% in 2023.

Other retailers, it said, saw their margins hit 9.1% last year.

This was "not a good sign for drivers", the CMA said, though it stopped short of openly declaring that they were being overcharged.

Lobby groups representing both the supermarkets and independent retailers, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) respectively, have consistently denied ripping drivers off.

Read more on this story here ... 

By Victoria Seabrook , climate reporter 

Emissions of climate-heating gases from the UK continued to fall last year.

That's good news for the climate, and reinforces the fact UK has cut emissions faster than any other G20 country - by 53% since 1990.

But the reasons aren't entirely good.

While most of the fall last year was down to the UK burning less gas for electricity because it imported more from France, a large chunk was due to homes and businesses cutting back on electricity amid soaring prices.

Budgets were also "squeezed" by high interest rates, inflation and mortgages, said Glenn Rickson, who analyses the UK power sector for S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Read more on this story here ...

More than 600 Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport will go on a four-day strike from 11 April, the last weekend of the Easter school break, their union has announced.

The officers, who carry out immigration controls and passport checks, have voted to take strike action over a new roster and changes to their shift pattern. 

The PCS union has warned the changes could see 250 members of staff lose their jobs by the end of April.

"Ministers have 14 days to withdraw these unfair and unnecessary proposals or our members at Heathrow will take strike action," Fran Heathcote, its general secretary, said.

"Ripping up flexible working arrangements is no way to treat staff especially as the government says their work is critical to our nation's security." 

Read more on this story here :

Respected energy consultants Cornwall Insight have predicted the typical household's energy bill will fall to £1,560 a year from July. 

That's more than £100 less than the price cap that comes into force on Monday, which is set at £1,690 a year. 

However, the leading market researcher's latest prediction is around 7% higher than its previous forecast from around a month ago.

Ofgem changes the price cap every three months based on several factors, the most important of which is the price of energy on wholesale markets.

Wholesale prices recently hit their lowest point for a quarter of a decade, but have risen slightly in recent weeks.

The price cap does not limit a household's total bills - the figures provided are just for an average-use household.

Cornwall Insight also predicts the price cap will rise slightly from the July figure to £1,631 in October. 

"With wholesale prices hitting a two-and-a-half-year low, it was only a matter of time before a slight rise occurred as the market stabilises," Dr Craig Lowrey, its principal consultant, said.

"While no household will want to see forecasts rising, it's important to recognise that these do still represent a fall from the new cap coming in from April, itself a large drop." 

Uswitch has said the prediction is "another step in the right direction" for households. 

Energy expert Will Owen said: "Energy prices are forecast to rise into autumn and winter, so for the many households wanting price certainty, now is a good time to consider fixing.

"We're increasingly seeing suppliers offer better value deals, but Ofgem’s steps to reform the price cap must encourage more innovation from suppliers and bring back competition on price and customer service." 

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COMMENTS

  1. 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 ...

  2. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

    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.

  3. 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 ...

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    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. How to Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Step 7: Financial Analysis and Projections. It doesn't matter if you include a request for funding in your plan, you will want to include a financial analysis here. You'll want to do two things here: Paint a picture of your business's performance in the past and show it will grow in the future.

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    4. Direct and to-the-point. Learning to communicate your ideas clearly and directly is critical. You need to be sure that anyone can really understand the essence of your business. Delivering your entire business concept on a single page is a great way to practice this, as it forces you to be succinct. 5.

  7. Business Plan: What it Is, How to Write One

    Learn about the best business plan software. 1. Write an executive summary. This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your ...

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    To reiterate the need for a business plan, here's a simple list of reasons why your startup needs a business plan. The startup market is like an ocean wave. Your business is the ship.

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    Step #3: Conduct Your Market Analysis. Step #4: Research Your Competition. Step #5: Outline Your Products or Services. Step #6: Summarize Your Financial Plan. Step #7: Determine Your Marketing Strategy. Step #8: Showcase Your Organizational Chart. 14 Business Plan Templates to Help You Get Started.

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    Management and organization outline. Step 4 is where you tell readers how you'll construct your business and who'll run it. Describe your business's legal structure, whether you're a sole proprietor intending to form an LLC or a limited/general partnership with dreams of incorporating an S or C corps.

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    The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include. 1. Create an executive summary. Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

  12. How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

    How to Write a Business Plan Step 1. Create a Cover Page. The first thing investors will see is the cover page for your business plan. Make sure it looks professional. A great cover page shows that you think about first impressions. A good business plan should have the following elements on a cover page:

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    1. Describe Your Company. Your first task is to describe your company to potential investors and others reviewing your plan. Aim to achieve this in 3 to 5 paragraphs. In the first paragraph, introduce the key (and current) business players, such as the founder (s) and owner (s).

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    Find a template with a title page and table of contents to keep your business plan looking professional and organized. 3. Fill in each section. Work through your business plan by filling in one section at a time. This way, you can keep your thoughts more organized.

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    Persona and focus area: attracting your perfect customers. Positioning: creating a unique value proposition (USP) Product strategy: creating high value products and services. Pricing strategy: pricing your products and services. Presence and presentation: branding your business. Promotional plan: marketing your business.

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    Step 3: Market Analysis. Your market analysis is the first detailed section of your business plan. It needs to make readers feel confident that you understand your competitors, market, and industry, and where your business fits in. A basic market analysis includes: Industry Description. Target Market Description.

  17. Streamline Your Vision with a Simple Business Plan Template

    Business Description. In a simple business plan template, you describe your organization and its value. You can also give ownership and registration status of your business in this section. Prospective readers want to understand what your business is, what it offers, who it serves, and why it's well-positioned for success in its industry.

  18. Simple Business Plan Template For Startup Founders

    The executive summary is a short section that summarizes every aspect of the business plan. So, first, write the entire plan. THEN write the executive summary. 3. Supplement the business plan with supporting documents. While simple business plans are fast and effective, they leave out a lot of information by nature.

  19. How to create a simple business plan for your small business

    A business plan is a document created to provide a clear road map for your business. It outlines the fundamentals of your business: the services or products you will offer, the financial plans, marketing strategies, and your business structure. By laying out these elements in a written document, you gain a clear understanding of your vision.

  20. How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

    The best way to accomplish any business or personal goal is to write out every possible step it takes to achieve the goal. Then, order those steps by what needs to happen first. Some steps may ...

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    Write down where your business is going and what you want to achieve. Your objectives should be realistic, otherwise you'll lose motivation. M easurable - so you can tell whether you're on track or need to make changes. A chievable - large goals can seem daunting, so break them down into smaller steps.

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    A good business plan must be clear in its objectives to be achieved. A good business plan must be reasonable and achievable. It must be measurable and easy to determine if the business is growing or not. It must be time-bound and state how long the objective will be achieved. It must be in written form so that it will be easy to refer to.

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