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Write your business plan

Business plans help you run your business.

A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through the key elements of your business.

Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.

Pick a business plan format that works for you

There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs.

Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.

Traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to go into detail in each section. They tend to require more work upfront and can be dozens of pages long.

Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page.

Traditional business plan

write traditional plan

Lean startup plan

A lean business plan is quicker but high-level

Traditional business plan format

You might prefer a traditional business plan format if you’re very detail-oriented, want a comprehensive plan, or plan to request financing from traditional sources.

When you write your business plan, you don’t have to stick to the exact business plan outline. Instead, use the sections that make the most sense for your business and your needs. Traditional business plans use some combination of these nine sections.

Executive summary

Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company’s leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing.

Company description

Use your company description to provide detailed information about your company. Go into detail about the problems your business solves. Be specific, and list out the consumers, organization, or businesses your company plans to serve.

Explain the competitive advantages that will make your business a success. Are there experts on your team? Have you found the perfect location for your store? Your company description is the place to boast about your strengths.

Market analysis

You'll need a good understanding of your industry outlook and target market. Competitive research will show you what other businesses are doing and what their strengths are. In your market research, look for trends and themes. What do successful competitors do? Why does it work? Can you do it better? Now's the time to answer these questions.

Organization and management

Tell your reader how your company will be structured and who will run it.

Describe the  legal structure  of your business. State whether you have or intend to incorporate your business as a C or an S corporation, form a general or limited partnership, or if you're a sole proprietor or limited liability company (LLC).

Use an organizational chart to lay out who's in charge of what in your company. Show how each person's unique experience will contribute to the success of your venture. Consider including resumes and CVs of key members of your team.

Service or product line

Describe what you sell or what service you offer. Explain how it benefits your customers and what the product lifecycle looks like. Share your plans for intellectual property, like copyright or patent filings. If you're doing  research and development  for your service or product, explain it in detail.

Marketing and sales

There's no single way to approach a marketing strategy. Your strategy should evolve and change to fit your unique needs.

Your goal in this section is to describe how you'll attract and retain customers. You'll also describe how a sale will actually happen. You'll refer to this section later when you make financial projections, so make sure to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales strategies.

Funding request

If you're asking for funding, this is where you'll outline your funding requirements. Your goal is to clearly explain how much funding you’ll need over the next five years and what you'll use it for.

Specify whether you want debt or equity, the terms you'd like applied, and the length of time your request will cover. Give a detailed description of how you'll use your funds. Specify if you need funds to buy equipment or materials, pay salaries, or cover specific bills until revenue increases. Always include a description of your future strategic financial plans, like paying off debt or selling your business.

Financial projections

Supplement your funding request with financial projections. Your goal is to convince the reader that your business is stable and will be a financial success.

If your business is already established, include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years. If you have other collateral you could put against a loan, make sure to list it now.

Provide a prospective financial outlook for the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. For the first year, be even more specific and use quarterly — or even monthly — projections. Make sure to clearly explain your projections, and match them to your funding requests.

This is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business.  

Use your appendix to provide supporting documents or other materials were specially requested. Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts.

Example traditional business plans

Before you write your business plan, read the following example business plans written by fictional business owners. Rebecca owns a consulting firm, and Andrew owns a toy company.

Lean startup format

You might prefer a lean startup format if you want to explain or start your business quickly, your business is relatively simple, or you plan to regularly change and refine your business plan.

Lean startup formats are charts that use only a handful of elements to describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. They’re useful for visualizing tradeoffs and fundamental facts about your company.

There are different ways to develop a lean startup template. You can search the web to find free templates to build your business plan. We discuss nine components of a model business plan here:

Key partnerships

Note the other businesses or services you’ll work with to run your business. Think about suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, and similar strategic partners.

Key activities

List the ways your business will gain a competitive advantage. Highlight things like selling direct to consumers, or using technology to tap into the sharing economy.

Key resources

List any resource you’ll leverage to create value for your customer. Your most important assets could include staff, capital, or intellectual property. Don’t forget to leverage business resources that might be available to  women ,  veterans ,  Native Americans , and  HUBZone businesses .

Value proposition

Make a clear and compelling statement about the unique value your company brings to the market.

Customer relationships

Describe how customers will interact with your business. Is it automated or personal? In person or online? Think through the customer experience from start to finish.

Customer segments

Be specific when you name your target market. Your business won’t be for everybody, so it’s important to have a clear sense of whom your business will serve.

List the most important ways you’ll talk to your customers. Most businesses use a mix of channels and optimize them over time.

Cost structure

Will your company focus on reducing cost or maximizing value? Define your strategy, then list the most significant costs you’ll face pursuing it.

Revenue streams

Explain how your company will actually make money. Some examples are direct sales, memberships fees, and selling advertising space. If your company has multiple revenue streams, list them all.

Example lean business plan

Before you write your business plan, read this example business plan written by a fictional business owner, Andrew, who owns a toy company.

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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Martin luenendonk.

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

Free Financial Templates for a Business Plan

By Andy Marker | July 29, 2020

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In this article, we’ve rounded up expert-tested financial templates for your business plan, all of which are free to download in Excel, Google Sheets, and PDF formats.

Included on this page, you’ll find the essential financial statement templates, including income statement templates , cash flow statement templates , and balance sheet templates . Plus, we cover the key elements of the financial section of a business plan .

Financial Plan Templates

Download and prepare these financial plan templates to include in your business plan. Use historical data and future projections to produce an overview of the financial health of your organization to support your business plan and gain buy-in from stakeholders

Business Financial Plan Template

Business Financial Plan Template

Use this financial plan template to organize and prepare the financial section of your business plan. This customizable template has room to provide a financial overview, any important assumptions, key financial indicators and ratios, a break-even analysis, and pro forma financial statements to share key financial data with potential investors.

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Financial Plan Projections Template for Startups

Startup Financial Projections Template

This financial plan projections template comes as a set of pro forma templates designed to help startups. The template set includes a 12-month profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement for you to detail the current and projected financial position of a business.

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Income Statement Templates for Business Plan

Also called profit and loss statements , these income statement templates will empower you to make critical business decisions by providing insight into your company, as well as illustrating the projected profitability associated with business activities. The numbers prepared in your income statement directly influence the cash flow and balance sheet forecasts.

Pro Forma Income Statement/Profit and Loss Sample

revenue example business plan

Use this pro forma income statement template to project income and expenses over a three-year time period. Pro forma income statements consider historical or market analysis data to calculate the estimated sales, cost of sales, profits, and more.

‌ Download Pro Forma Income Statement Sample - Excel

Small Business Profit and Loss Statement

Small Business Profit and Loss Template

Small businesses can use this simple profit and loss statement template to project income and expenses for a specific time period. Enter expected income, cost of goods sold, and business expenses, and the built-in formulas will automatically calculate the net income.

‌ Download Small Business Profit and Loss Template - Excel

3-Year Income Statement Template

3 Year Income Statement Template

Use this income statement template to calculate and assess the profit and loss generated by your business over three years. This template provides room to enter revenue and expenses associated with operating your business and allows you to track performance over time.

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For additional resources, including how to use profit and loss statements, visit “ Download Free Profit and Loss Templates .”

Cash Flow Statement Templates for Business Plan

Use these free cash flow statement templates to convey how efficiently your company manages the inflow and outflow of money. Use a cash flow statement to analyze the availability of liquid assets and your company’s ability to grow and sustain itself long term.

Simple Cash Flow Template

revenue example business plan

Use this basic cash flow template to compare your business cash flows against different time periods. Enter the beginning balance of cash on hand, and then detail itemized cash receipts, payments, costs of goods sold, and expenses. Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate total cash payments, net cash change, and the month ending cash position.

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12-Month Cash Flow Forecast Template

revenue example business plan

Use this cash flow forecast template, also called a pro forma cash flow template, to track and compare expected and actual cash flow outcomes on a monthly and yearly basis. Enter the cash on hand at the beginning of each month, and then add the cash receipts (from customers, issuance of stock, and other operations). Finally, add the cash paid out (purchases made, wage expenses, and other cash outflow). Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate your cash position for each month with.

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3-Year Cash Flow Statement Template Set

3 Year Cash Flow Statement Template

Use this cash flow statement template set to analyze the amount of cash your company has compared to its expenses and liabilities. This template set contains a tab to create a monthly cash flow statement, a yearly cash flow statement, and a three-year cash flow statement to track cash flow for the operating, investing, and financing activities of your business.

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For additional information on managing your cash flow, including how to create a cash flow forecast, visit “ Free Cash Flow Statement Templates .”

Balance Sheet Templates for a Business Plan

Use these free balance sheet templates to convey the financial position of your business during a specific time period to potential investors and stakeholders.

Small Business Pro Forma Balance Sheet

revenue example business plan

Small businesses can use this pro forma balance sheet template to project account balances for assets, liabilities, and equity for a designated period. Established businesses can use this template (and its built-in formulas) to calculate key financial ratios, including working capital.

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Monthly and Quarterly Balance Sheet Template

revenue example business plan

Use this balance sheet template to evaluate your company’s financial health on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. You can also use this template to project your financial position for a specified time in the future. Once you complete the balance sheet, you can compare and analyze your assets, liabilities, and equity on a quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year basis.

Download Monthly/Quarterly Balance Sheet Template - Excel

Yearly Balance Sheet Template

revenue example business plan

Use this balance sheet template to compare your company’s short and long-term assets, liabilities, and equity year-over-year. This template also provides calculations for common financial ratios with built-in formulas, so you can use it to evaluate account balances annually.

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For more downloadable resources for a wide range of organizations, visit “ Free Balance Sheet Templates .”

Sales Forecast Templates for Business Plan

Sales projections are a fundamental part of a business plan, and should support all other components of your plan, including your market analysis, product offerings, and marketing plan . Use these sales forecast templates to estimate future sales, and ensure the numbers align with the sales numbers provided in your income statement.

Basic Sales Forecast Sample Template

Basic Sales Forecast Template

Use this basic forecast template to project the sales of a specific product. Gather historical and industry sales data to generate monthly and yearly estimates of the number of units sold and the price per unit. Then, the pre-built formulas will calculate percentages automatically. You’ll also find details about which months provide the highest sales percentage, and the percentage change in sales month-over-month. 

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12-Month Sales Forecast Template for Multiple Products

revenue example business plan

Use this sales forecast template to project the future sales of a business across multiple products or services over the course of a year. Enter your estimated monthly sales, and the built-in formulas will calculate annual totals. There is also space to record and track year-over-year sales, so you can pinpoint sales trends.

Download 12-Month Sales Forecasting Template for Multiple Products

3-Year Sales Forecast Template for Multiple Products

3 Year Sales Forecast Template

Use this sales forecast template to estimate the monthly and yearly sales for multiple products over a three-year period. Enter the monthly units sold, unit costs, and unit price. Once you enter those values, built-in formulas will automatically calculate revenue, margin per unit, and gross profit. This template also provides bar charts and line graphs to visually display sales and gross profit year over year.

Download 3-Year Sales Forecast Template - Excel

For a wider selection of resources to project your sales, visit “ Free Sales Forecasting Templates .”

Break-Even Analysis Template for Business Plan

A break-even analysis will help you ascertain the point at which a business, product, or service will become profitable. This analysis uses a calculation to pinpoint the number of service or unit sales you need to make to cover costs and make a profit.

Break-Even Analysis Template

Break Even Analysis

Use this break-even analysis template to calculate the number of sales needed to become profitable. Enter the product's selling price at the top of the template, and then add the fixed and variable costs. Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate the total variable cost, the contribution margin, and break-even units and sales values.

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For additional resources, visit, “ Free Financial Planning Templates .”

Business Budget Templates for Business Plan

These business budget templates will help you track costs (e.g., fixed and variable) and expenses (e.g., one-time and recurring) associated with starting and running a business. Having a detailed budget enables you to make sound strategic decisions, and should align with the expense values listed on your income statement.

Startup Budget Template

revenue example business plan

Use this startup budget template to track estimated and actual costs and expenses for various business categories, including administrative, marketing, labor, and other office costs. There is also room to provide funding estimates from investors, banks, and other sources to get a detailed view of the resources you need to start and operate your business.

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Small Business Budget Template

revenue example business plan

This business budget template is ideal for small businesses that want to record estimated revenue and expenditures on a monthly and yearly basis. This customizable template comes with a tab to list income, expenses, and a cash flow recording to track cash transactions and balances.

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Professional Business Budget Template

revenue example business plan

Established organizations will appreciate this customizable business budget template, which  contains a separate tab to track projected business expenses, actual business expenses, variances, and an expense analysis. Once you enter projected and actual expenses, the built-in formulas will automatically calculate expense variances and populate the included visual charts. 

‌ Download Professional Business Budget Template

For additional resources to plan and track your business costs and expenses, visit “ Free Business Budget Templates for Any Company .”

Other Financial Templates for Business Plan

In this section, you’ll find additional financial templates that you may want to include as part of your larger business plan.

Startup Funding Requirements Template

Startup Funding Requirements Template

This simple startup funding requirements template is useful for startups and small businesses that require funding to get business off the ground. The numbers generated in this template should align with those in your financial projections, and should detail the allocation of acquired capital to various startup expenses.

Download Startup Funding Requirements Template - Excel

Personnel Plan Template

Personnel Plan Template

Use this customizable personnel plan template to map out the current and future staff needed to get — and keep — the business running. This information belongs in the personnel section of a business plan, and details the job title, amount of pay, and hiring timeline for each position. This template calculates the monthly and yearly expenses associated with each role using built-in formulas. Additionally, you can add an organizational chart to provide a visual overview of the company’s structure. 

Download Personnel Plan Template - Excel

Elements of the Financial Section of a Business Plan

Whether your organization is a startup, a small business, or an enterprise, the financial plan is the cornerstone of any business plan. The financial section should demonstrate the feasibility and profitability of your idea and should support all other aspects of the business plan. 

Below, you’ll find a quick overview of the components of a solid financial plan.

  • Financial Overview: This section provides a brief summary of the financial section, and includes key takeaways of the financial statements. If you prefer, you can also add a brief description of each statement in the respective statement’s section.
  • Key Assumptions: This component details the basis for your financial projections, including tax and interest rates, economic climate, and other critical, underlying factors.
  • Break-Even Analysis: This calculation helps establish the selling price of a product or service, and determines when a product or service should become profitable.
  • Pro Forma Income Statement: Also known as a profit and loss statement, this section details the sales, cost of sales, profitability, and other vital financial information to stakeholders.
  • Pro Forma Cash Flow Statement: This area outlines the projected cash inflows and outflows the business expects to generate from operating, financing, and investing activities during a specific timeframe.
  • Pro Forma Balance Sheet: This document conveys how your business plans to manage assets, including receivables and inventory.
  • Key Financial Indicators and Ratios: In this section, highlight key financial indicators and ratios extracted from financial statements that bankers, analysts, and investors can use to evaluate the financial health and position of your business.

Need help putting together the rest of your business plan? Check out our free simple business plan templates to get started. You can learn how to write a successful simple business plan  here . 

Visit this  free non-profit business plan template roundup  or download a  fill-in-the-blank business plan template  to make things easy. If you are looking for a business plan template by file type, visit our pages dedicated specifically to  Microsoft Excel ,  Microsoft Word , and  Adobe PDF  business plan templates. Read our articles offering  startup business plan templates  or  free 30-60-90-day business plan templates  to find more tailored options.

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Small Business Trends

How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan to start a business . In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.

This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.

Executive Summary

business plan

The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.

Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

business plan

In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.

It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.

This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

  • Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
  • Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
  • Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.

Company Description

business plan

The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.

Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.

Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

business plan

Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).

Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.

Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.

Market Analysis

business plan

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.

This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.

Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

business plan

A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.

Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.

Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

  • Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
  • Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
  • Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
  • Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.

Opportunities:

  • Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
  • Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
  • Expansion into international markets.
  • Intense competition from established technology companies.
  • Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.

Competitive Analysis

business plan

In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.

By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Example: Key competitors include:

GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.

EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.

By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.

Organization and Management Team

business plan

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.

Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

business plan

Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

business plan

In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.

Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.

Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.

Logistics and Operations Plan

business plan

The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.

Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.

Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

business plan

In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.

Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.

This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.

By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:

  • Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
  • Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
  • Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.

These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.

Income Statement

business plan

The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.

Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.

Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

  • Revenue: $1,500,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
  • Gross Profit: $700,000
  • Operating Expenses: $450,000
  • Net Income: $250,000

This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.

Cash Flow Statement

business plan

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.

Example:  The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

Operating Activities:

  • Depreciation: $10,000
  • Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000

Investing Activities:

  •  Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
  • Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000

Financing Activities:

  • Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
  • Loan Repayments: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
  • Net Increase in Cash: $210,000

This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

business plan

1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.

2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.

3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.

6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.

7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

The template is divided into the following sections:

  • Mission statement
  • Business Overview
  • Key products or services
  • Target market
  • Financial highlights
  • Company goals
  • Strategies to achieve goals
  • Measurable, time-bound objectives
  • Company History
  • Mission and vision
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Pain points
  • Industry trends
  • Customer needs
  • Competitor strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Competitor products and services
  • Market positioning
  • Pricing strategies
  • Organizational structure
  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Management team backgrounds
  • Product or service features
  • Competitive advantages
  • Marketing channels
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Promotional activities
  • Sales strategies
  • Supply chain management
  • Inventory control
  • Production processes
  • Quality control measures
  • Projected revenue
  • Assumptions
  • Cash inflows
  • Cash outflows
  • Net cash flow

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.

Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.

A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.

business plan

Why You Should Write a Business Plan

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

  • Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
  • Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
  • Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
  • Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
  • Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:

  • Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
  • Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
  • Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
  • Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
  • Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
  • Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
  • Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
  • One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
  • Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
  • Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.

Using Business Plan Software

business plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.

1. LivePlan

LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.

2. Upmetrics

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.

Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.

5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz

Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:

  • It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
  • It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
  • It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
  • It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
  • It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
  • It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
  • It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
  • It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
  • It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
  • It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
  • It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
  • It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
  • It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.

Can I write a business plan by myself?

Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.

We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .

Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.

What questions should be asked in a business plan?

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.

How is business planning for a nonprofit different?

Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.

Image: Envato Elements

revenue example business plan

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revenue example business plan

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

Clifford Chi

Published: February 06, 2024

I believe that reading sample business plans is essential when writing your own.

sample business plans and examples

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As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, it’s easier for you to learn how to write a good one.

But what does a good business plan look like? And how do you write one that’s both viable and convincing. I’ll walk you through the ideal business plan format along with some examples to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Format

Business plan types, sample business plan templates, top business plan examples.

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. To me, the same logic applies to business.

If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

revenue example business plan

Free Business Plan Template

The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

First, you’ll want to nail down your formatting. Most business plans include the following sections.

1. Executive Summary

I’d say the executive summary is the most important section of the entire business plan. 

Why? Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

There are two main elements I’d recommend including in your executive summary:

Company Description

This is the perfect space to highlight your company’s mission statement and goals, a brief overview of your history and leadership, and your top accomplishments as a business.

Tell potential investors who you are and why what you do matters. Naturally, they’re going to want to know who they’re getting into business with up front, and this is a great opportunity to showcase your impact.

Need some extra help firming up those business goals? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free course to help you set goals that matter — I’d highly recommend it

Products and Services

To piggyback off of the company description, be sure to incorporate an overview of your offerings. This doesn’t have to be extensive — just another chance to introduce your industry and overall purpose as a business.

In addition to the items above, I recommend including some information about your financial projections and competitive advantage here too.:

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, and only include the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

This executive summary is so good to me because it tells potential investors a short story while still covering all of the most important details.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Start with a strong introduction of your company, showcase your mission and impact, and outline the products and services you provide.
  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market.

The main question I’d ask myself here is this: Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will my product fill that gap?

More specifically, here’s what I’d include in this section:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry.

You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

I like this example because it uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Since we’re already speaking of market share, you'll also need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are.

After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another.

My favorite part of performing a competitive analysis is that it can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

I like how the competitive landscape section of this business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. 

This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

Use this section to describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Here are some questions I’d ask myself here:

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

I’d also recommend building a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

I like the example below because it uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. I’d suggest including information:

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

I think it’s helpful to have a marketing plan built out in advance to make this part of your business plan easier.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler.

In my opinion, it really works because it offers a comprehensive picture of how they plan to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll need to review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services.

Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use. It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

In my opinion, the example below does a great job outlining products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

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

For this reason, here’s what I’d might outline in this section:

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

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

I like how this business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

To me, this section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more.

 According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

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

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details I’d include in this section.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet is a great example of level of detail you’ll need to include in the financials section of your business plan.

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. 

So, I’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business.

You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. In my opinion, internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

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

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

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

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

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow.

Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why I Like It

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

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it.

There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders.

It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis.

The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made.

Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly.

It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (I always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

I absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service.

You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business.

Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you.

It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

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

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things I love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, I especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan.

Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

I’ve compiled some completed business plan samples to help you get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business.

I chose different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Let’s take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue.

I included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

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

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

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives.

This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact. Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best.

For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement  should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Patagonia has one of the most compelling mission statements I’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University .

While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more.

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. 

This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

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

Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. 

Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission.

The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

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

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. 

You can use this template as a guide while you're gathering important information for your own business plan. You'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do since Culina’s plan outlines these details so flawlessly for inspiration.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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Business growth

Business tips

How to build a revenue growth plan that works

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A revenue growth plan is an intentionally designed roadmap to increasing revenue. If done well, it's a blueprint to follow, including strategic and tactical elements that can accelerate your company's growth.

To help, here are the phases that I use when advising my clients—and for my own business. These steps have worked for me, and I think they can work for you too.

1. Get clear on your goals

As with any plan, you need to start with goals. The overarching question here is: what do I want to achieve in my business and why? But you'll want to break down that question into a few distinct questions: 

How much revenue do I want to generate in the next year? Next 3 years? 5 years?

How many employees do I want to have in the next year? Next 3 years? 5 years?

The details matter. A "see how it goes" attitude won't be motivating—for you or your employees—and will also make it difficult to understand if and how you're doing against your goals.

2. Assess where your company currently stands

You need to take a good look at your current assets, liabilities, people, and systems to understand what your potential to grow really is. Otherwise, you risk creating an unrealistic growth plan—including strategies that aren't right for your business. I've found that businesses often hyper-inflate what they can do in a short period of time and underestimate what they can do in a long period of time. Really knowing where you stand can help adjust for that.

I once worked with a $48 million company that had been in business for five years, and they had never assessed their position. Not once. In the beginning, they were growing rapidly. Everything was smooth; and then suddenly, they got stuck. 

When we assessed their position, we discovered that 62 percent of their incoming leads were not contacted—and the leads that were being contacted closed 34 percent of the time. You can only imagine the shock and disbelief of the CEO when he realized the number of leads that went dormant (or were simply neglected), not to mention the unrealized value of those leads. Once the initial shock wore off, and with the benefit of the company's current position in mind, this CEO was able to grow his company from $48 million to $110 million over the next 10 years. 

Once you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, you adjust your revenue growth plan to capitalize on the strengths and improve on the weaknesses. 

3. Decide who owns what

You can't implement a revenue growth strategy on your own, which means you need to be clear on what role everyone will play. So, who should be on your revenue growth plan's team? 

A revenue growth plan takes into account the company's entire customer journey—including marketing, prospecting, customer service, PR, sales, the list goes on. For that reason, I recommend including at least one person from each department or team; that way, nothing slips through the cracks just because of a gap in knowledge.

And while leadership should be involved, many of the best ideas for a revenue growth plan come from those not in leadership positions since those are the people more involved in the day-to-day activities of each department. Including roles like sales representatives and customer service agents can do wonders for making sure you have a realistic plan.

4. Hold weekly planning meetings

Remember the business owner I mentioned who was struggling with managing their company's responsibilities? When I came in, the first thing I did was suggest they hold a weekly planning meeting. At the end of each meeting, they would assign responsibilities to various employees—it was a transparent and consistent process that fostered accountability. And guess what? This company ended up growing by 40 percent over the next 12 months.

Here's a blueprint for a revenue growth meeting that I've found works well:

Take a facet of your proposed revenue growth plan and write it on a whiteboard (in-person or virtual).

Have everyone on the revenue growth team come up with three ideas to achieve that part of the plan. Give people a few minutes of silence to think. 

One by one, allow people to present their ideas (and capture them on the whiteboard).

Have team members vote on the top three and then discuss priority order of implementation. 

Leave time to discuss any mitigating circumstances that could potentially upend that part of the plan. 

Assign tasks based on all of the above, and distribute them in a transparent way for accountability.

5. Reassess and address any constraining factors

The business space today is exceptionally dynamic. Economic conditions are constantly changing, consumer tastes and preferences shift, and products often reach market saturation. If you want your company to excel in this environment, you need to consistently reassess and adjust.

So after you've completed the planning phases but before you launch your revenue growth plan, go back and reassess your business position, just like you did toward the beginning. This review can help you address teething problems in your plan and clear out any potential blind spots.

6. Launch your revenue growth plan

This is where the rubber meets the road. A revenue growth plan without action is simply that—a plan. It won't get you any results.  

It never ceases to amaze me that people go through the process of building a revenue growth plan only to sit on it. A client I worked with had previously completed a revenue growth plan, and it sat dormant for two years because they thought they needed to get everything 100% right. Two years later, they met me and asked me what they should do with it. I reviewed their plan and told them simply to launch it. Things will never be perfect, but they can be successful. And it was successful: in the first week after the launch, they had 36 new sales and no client complaints. 

If you choose to wait for a time when every single thing is just right before launching your plan, you'll likely end up waiting forever. So go ahead and implement your plan, even if it's not perfect. 

The bottom line

A great revenue growth plan doesn't have to be complicated. There isn't a magic hack or silver bullet that will grow your revenue exponentially overnight—or at least I haven't found it yet (let me know if you do). But you need to start somewhere, and a revenue growth plan is a great start.

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Doug C. Brown

Doug C. Brown is the CEO at Business Success Factors, where he advises companies in boosting their sales revenue and having top-performing sales teams.

  • Small business

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Strategy Capstone

Revenue Plan

Introduction.

A revenue plan is a multi-step process that helps align business strategy and operations to measurable revenue goals. When done correctly, Revenue Planning provides focus, accountability, and predictability, empowering businesses to maximize opportunities while avoiding threats.

Whether you’re a small startup or an established enterprise, revenue is the lifeblood of any business. While sales and growth are essential, having a clear strategic plan for generating sustainable revenue is key to long-term success.

In this blog post, we will explore what exactly a revenue growth plan entails, why it is so vital, and what benefits it provides. We will also outline the seven-step process for developing an effective plan for your unique business needs.

I hope that after reading this, you gain a clear understanding and framework to start developing your custom revenue plan to guide critical decisions and fuel business growth for years to come.

What is Revenue Planning?

Revenue planning refers to the process of predicting and managing a company’s expected income and is an essential aspect of any company’s growth and successful business strategy.

With an effective plan, companies can identify key areas where they can improve productivity and increase revenue, allowing them to make better-informed decisions about their future growth.

By analyzing past and current trends, companies can create revenue plans that help them reach their financial goals and maximize their profitability. With the right tools and approaches, planning can help businesses stay ahead of the curve and achieve long-term success and sustainability.

What’s the Importance of Revenue Planning?

Revenue planning is crucial to any business’s overall success and growth. It entails creating a plan that maps out how the company plans to generate revenue over a specified period.

With a revenue plan in place, businesses can make informed decisions about allocating resources, setting budgets, and identifying potential revenue streams.

By forecasting sales and identifying trends , organizations can strategize effectively and adjust their tactics based on what is working and what isn’t.

That’s why planning is vital for companies, as it allows them to navigate the unpredictable waters of the business world while remaining focused on generating consistent revenue and achieving long-term success.

Benefits of Revenue Planning

Better future plans.

Revenue planning refers to the process of forecasting and setting targets for income generation. When done correctly, it plays an integral role in shaping the future of any business.

Planning allows organizations to concrete their goals and aspirations, which helps them focus their efforts in specific areas.

Moreover, a well-crafted plan enables marketing and sales teams to have a common vision, which increases their efficiency and effectiveness in converting leads to clients.

With a well-established revenue plan, businesses can prioritize their efforts and resources toward their key objectives, achieving better profitability without sacrificing growth. Revenue planning is a critical tool for any company seeking to build a sustainable and prosperous future.

Accurately Assessing Business Needs

Revenue planning is crucial for any business that wishes to assess its commercial needs accurately.

In particular, a plan is essential as it provides sales teams with the necessary resources to drive revenue growth. An effective plan should consider market trends, competitive analysis, and customer behaviors.

By incorporating these elements into a revenue plan, businesses can accurately forecast their financial needs and tailor their sales strategies to meet their revenue goals.

The benefits of planning also extend beyond financial forecasting, as it can create a more cohesive team and improve communication across departments.

Ultimately, revenue planning is not just a means of generating more sales but a tool for broader organizational improvement.

Risk Mitigation

Creating a revenue planning strategy that includes a comprehensive plan can be incredibly beneficial for any organization.

Not only does it ensure that each member of your sales team is on the same page regarding goals and objectives, but it also serves as a powerful tool for mitigating risk. By analyzing past trends and current market conditions, businesses can make informed decisions and predict future revenue growth.

Additionally, planning helps identify potential threats or weaknesses in the sales process, allowing for proactive measures to be taken before these issues cause significant harm to the company’s bottom line.

A strong plan ensures that each team member has the resources and knowledge needed to navigate any roadblocks or challenges that may arise successfully. In summary, revenue planning and a strong plan serve as crucial risk mitigation strategies for businesses looking to safeguard their financial stability.

Lower Inventory

Revenue planning can bring a host of benefits to a business. One significant advantage of it is that it can help lower inventory.

With a plan in place, companies can better anticipate demand, avoid ordering excess stock, and improve cash flow.

This means that businesses can maintain optimal inventory levels, avoid unnecessary storage costs, and free up resources that can be invested elsewhere.

Implementing a planning strategy can help businesses operate more efficiently, reduce waste, and ultimately increase their bottom line.

Accountability

Revenue planning is an essential component of any successful business strategy and can bring a multitude of benefits, including accountability.

By developing a plan, companies can align their sales and marketing efforts, establish measurable goals, and track progress toward achieving them. This ensures that all team members are working towards a common objective and holds everyone accountable for their performance.

Clear targets and regular reporting allow for a deep understanding of how revenue is being generated, which areas of the business are performing well, and where improvements need to be made.

Ultimately, revenue planning provides a foundation for organizations to take ownership of their growth and achieve tremendous success.

Revenue Planning Process in 7 Steps

Get back to basics: review your organizational goals.

Revenue growth is an essential aspect that all organizations strive to achieve. However, with so many tools, strategies, and technologies available today, it’s often easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of your core values.

That’s where a plan comes in – to help businesses get back to basics and achieve their financial targets smoothly. The strategy helps companies create an effective blueprint for driving revenue growth by focusing on critical organizational goals.

It also sheds light on areas that need improvement, training, or optimization to boost sales and customer satisfaction. With a well-drafted plan, businesses can align their goals with reality and ensure they stay on track to achieve long-term success.

Analyze Performance To Determine Your Revenue Drivers

Analyzing your performance is key when it comes to driving revenue growth for your business. By diving into your sales data, you can better understand what’s working and what’s not.

This information can then be used to determine your revenue drivers or the specific actions that are directly contributing to your revenue growth.

One way to do this is by creating a sales enablement plan to help your team focus on the most important activities that lead to higher revenue.

With this plan in place, you can fine-tune your approach and find new ways to boost your bottom line. So, if you’re serious about growing your business, start by analyzing your performance and identifying your revenue drivers today.

Build A Clear Timeline For Revenue Investment

Revenue growth is crucial to any business, but achieving it can be challenging. To build a clear timeline for revenue investment, businesses must implement a plan.

By creating a well-defined strategy, businesses can equip their teams with the necessary tools and resources to drive revenue growth. An effective plan involves:

  • Carefully analyze your target market.
  • Developing customer-centric messaging.
  • Leveraging suitable channels to communicate this message.

This process takes time, but with patience and persistence, businesses can create a robust sales enablement plan that sets them up for sustained revenue growth. By investing in such a plan, companies can expect steady revenue growth, customer loyalty, and increased market share.

Look Forward To Predict and Mitigate Risk

Investing in revenue is like putting your money into a museum – you want to make sure that every penny is going towards something meaningful.

That’s why having a clear timeline for revenue investment within the revenue planning process is crucial, encompassing everything from budget allocation to sales enablement plans.

Speaking of plans, these need to be given extra focus as they tie directly into how your team will be able to generate revenue.

With a well-crafted plan in place, you’ll be able to give your team the tools and resources they need to drive more sales and increase revenue over time. By mapping out a clear timeline for revenue investment, you can ensure you’re making smart choices that will pay dividends in the long run.

Use Financial Modeling To Assess Revenue Allocation Options

The planning process can often feel like a daunting task, especially when it comes to allocating funds. However, utilizing financial modeling can make this process much smoother and more precise.

By taking into account various factors, such as market trends and customer behavior, financial modeling can help determine the best revenue allocation options. One key area to consider is a plan. This plan can play a crucial role in boosting revenue by providing your teams with the necessary resources to close deals effectively.

By incorporating sales enablement into financial modeling, businesses can improve their revenue allocation strategy and optimize their overall revenue planning process

Plan For Multiple Revenue Scenarios

When it comes to revenue growth, it’s important to have a good understanding of your options for allocating funds. One powerful tool for doing so is financial modeling. By using financial modeling software, you can create detailed projections of potential revenue outcomes under different scenarios.

This is particularly useful when considering options like a plan, which can significantly impact revenue. With a well-crafted financial model, you can analyze the potential returns from different strategies and make an informed decision about how to allocate your resources.

Whether you’re a small startup or a larger enterprise, financial modeling is invaluable for assessing revenue allocation options and driving growth.

Design A Method For Tracking Spending and Revenue Progress

As a savvy business owner, you know that growth is essential for success. However, with uncertain economic times, planning for multiple revenue scenarios is more important than ever. One of the critical factors in achieving this is developing a robust plan.

Such a plan will provide your sales team with the tools, resources, and training they need to sell effectively in any market condition.

With a well-crafted plan, your team will be better equipped to adapt and pivot as needed to achieve revenue growth, whether that growth comes from new markets, expanded offerings, or increased demand within your existing customer base.

So, take the time to establish a comprehensive plan and watch your business thrive, no matter the economic climate.

Ultimately, creating a revenue plan is essential for any business that wants to increase its sustainability and stay ahead of competitors.

Now that you understand how a revenue growth plan can help your company seize opportunities, manage risks, and maximize revenue potential, it’s time to get started crafting a plan of your own.

Be sure to consider stakeholders’ perspectives, current industry trends, internal capabilities, and long-term goals when designing your custom revenue plan.

With the right strategy in place, taking initiative, and persistence, there will be no limit to what you can accomplish.

So, let’s get oriented with the basics and create a plan of action toward success – you never know what will come next when the initiative is centered around growth potential with carefully set measures!

To learn more about building a revenue plan, and other business strategies, contact Strategy Capstone!

revenue example business plan

Revenue models: 11 types and how to pick the right one

Finding the right revenue model for your company and products is an incredibly important part of starting and expanding your business. It's a key part of building a brand. Explore popular revenue models and how to choose the right one.

What is a revenue model?

  • 11 different types of revenue models

Costs associated with revenue models 

  • How to choose your revenue model

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In one of the most famous lines from the 1941 classic Citizen Kane , Mr. Bernstein proclaims: “ It's no trick to make an awful lot of money... if what you want is to do is make a lot of money .” If only that statement were as true as it seemed. It's probably more accurate to say, “There are a lot of ways to make a lot of money.”

That’s particularly true for software businesses, with the rise of the mobile internet stimulating an explosion in the number of viable revenue models. Choosing which revenue model works best for your SaaS business, though, is not easy (even if that's all you want to do is choose a revenue model for your SaaS business). Your choice will help determine your sales strategy , and from there the growth rates, the amount of money you’ll need to invest initially, and the kind of relationship you’re likely to build with your customers. More than that — the choice determines the future of your business. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular revenue models used today — why they’re popular, why they work, and why they will (or won’t) work for you.

A revenue model is the income generating framework that is part of a company’s business model. Common revenue models include subscription, licensing and markup. The revenue model helps businesses determine their revenue generation strategies such as: which revenue source to prioritize, understanding target customers, and how to price their products.

Revenue models often get conflated with revenue streams, probably because each is a single revenue generation source. They are also confused with business models, of which revenue models are a part. Revenue models help business owners determine how to manage their revenue streams and are required to complete a business model.

Without a considered revenue model, your business will incur costs it cannot sustain. With a revenue model, you can set, track, and forecast business growth based on specific customer segments.

11 different types of revenue models 

There is no such thing as a perfect revenue model, but the popularity of some of the methods below suggests that many of them are well-tailored for the current state of the market. Here we’ll walk through each type of revenue model and when they may be most beneficial and applicable.

1. Subscription

The  subscription model  is the “vanilla” SaaS revenue model, not that there’s anything boring about a well-worked subscription plan. Businesses charge a customer every month or year for use of a product or service. All revenue is deferred and then fulfilled in installments. The subscription model is perhaps the most popular among SaaS companies because of its versatility, promise of  recurring revenue , and high value:customer lifetime balance.  Done right it's a one-way-ticket to sustainable growth .

revenue example business plan

Companies working with recurring revenue models, such as  subscription or licensing , see more value from a customer across a given customer lifetime. Being able to offer a variety of value options means your company can respond to more than one set of customer needs, expanding your appeal. Hubstaff’s subscription plan, seen below, is a classic of the genre:

revenue example business plan

Hubstaff’s various plans are distinct from one another in price and feature. This flexibility in the subscription model means that tentative or lower-budgeted customers can still get what they need, all the while maintaining visibility of what extra they could get for a few dollars more a month.

The freemium model is often described as a subscription revenue model, but in fact it’s an acquisition model, not a revenue model. Freemium involves giving users free access to an app and then selling subscriptions for a premium tier that includes more features.

Markup is a very common revenue model for buyer companies (i.e., companies that buy the products they sell). It’s as simple as can be: Take the cost of goods you just bought, mark it up X%, and make a profit margin on the original purchase. There are various subgenres of the markup model, including the following:

  • Wholesale: Sale of goods or merchandise to retailers, business users, or other wholesalers
  • Retail: Identification of demand, and satisfaction of it through a supply chain via a number of possible outlets, including physical and ecommercial ones

Markup is particularly used by mediators like ecommerce marketplaces — Amazon, for example. On average, Amazon charges a seller who uses their site 15% of the sale, plus  FBA fees  (including storage, pick & pack, shipping).

5. Pay-Per-User

One of the most enduring legacies of SaaS in the world of business is the introduction of pay-per-user (PPU). It involves giving a customer potentially unlimited to access to a range of features while charging them only for the services they use. At the dawn of SaaS, as the software required no physical delivery and deployed so quickly and cheaply, PPU appeared to be the most sensible revenue model. However, as natural as it seemed back in the day,  pay-per-user is not popular  anymore. Ascribing value to your product is one of the key considerations of your revenue model, and that includes demonstrating why it’s worth your target customers’ valuable dollars, not just making everything so cheap and easy that they can’t refuse. The issue with PPU, then, is that it’s rarely where value is ascribed to your product. Moreover, PPU kills your Monthly Active User metric. The per-user metric is not the most useful to customers in terms of deriving value — its take-it-or-leave-it approach actively works against your Daily Active Users number, and thus contributes to your churn rate.

6. Donation

As evidenced by the rise and rise of  Kickstarter - and  Patreon -based ventures, altruism is, if unpredictable, a pretty effective revenue model by itself. Relying on the donations of regular users is a common revenue model for nonprofits, online media (i.e., YouTubers) and independent news outlets.

revenue example business plan

7. Affiliate

What is  affiliate marketing ? This new, popular model works by promoting referral links to relevant products and collecting commission on any subsequent sales of those products. Leverage your product’s synergy with another product in an adjacent space and you both stand to gain. The affiliate model can be as simple as including in an article an outlink to a book or other product mentioned or offering your customers specialized recommendations relative to purchase history (again, Amazon is a master of this art). Some companies, such as Etsy, even have a  specific program  for their affiliates, where other companies can earn a commission on qualifying sales that result from featuring links to Etsy products and services. The affiliate revenue model is increasingly popular, owing to the way it dovetails effectively with other revenue models, particularly ad-based models.

8. Arbitrage

Applicable mainly to sellers or marketplace-oriented companies, the arbitrage revenue model uses the price difference in two different markets of the same good/service to make a profit. You buy in one market (a security/currency/commodity) and simultaneously sell in another market, at a higher price, what you just bought, pocketing the temporary price difference. Arbitrage is popular with  affiliate marketers , as well as with many cryptocurrency firms, SFOX being a prime example.

revenue example business plan

9. Commission

This transactional revenue model involves a middleman charging commission for each transaction it handles between two parties or for any lead it provides to the other party. It’s particularly popular with online marketplaces and aggregators, as well as businesses like independent music distributors. It’s particularly easy to get up and running with a commission-based business model because you’re working off of existing products. However, unless your field is well-conditioned for a monopoly, and unless your company is (or can become) that monopoly, you’ll find the commission model  very tough to scale .

10. Data Sales

Ever heard the phrase, “If you can’t see how the money’s made, you’re the product”? That’s data-selling in action. Many companies  selling digital goods  and services could not exist without core underlying data assets. In the data sale revenue model, this data is sold directly to a consumer or business customer. While certain companies will use data sale as their primary revenue model, the use of  data sales  to augment another revenue model is virtually ubiquitous. While some are using it as an  entrepreneurial venture , it is also the subject of considerable justified  public concern  and should be handled with care in the event you decide to go with it as your revenue model.

11. Web/Direct Sales

The old-fashioned revenue model made new, web sales and direct sales involve payment for goods or services through a digital medium. Web sales involve a customer finding your product via outbound marketing (or a web search) and can used for software, hardware, and subscription-based offerings. Direct sales revolve around inbound marketing and is good for handling multiple buyers and influencers in big-ticket markets.

A good revenue model is not just about squeezing as much revenue possible out of a sales cycle; it’s also about balancing your ambitions in the market with your resourcing requirements. A startup revenue model may be significantly different than one for an established business because their resources are vastly different. When choosing your model, factoring in costs is paramount to ensure profitability.

Cost of revenue

The first cost you’ll be likely to factor in is your cost of goods — how much it costs to produce the goods or service that you then sell. For hardware, this can comprise testing and manufacture; for software, it’ll include the whole development cycle. Regardless of what you produce, administrative overheads will also apply. You will find cost of goods a considerably less comprehensive metric than cost of revenue, which is the total cost of manufacturing and delivering a product or service to consumers. That includes everything we’ve just covered, plus distribution and marketing costs. Cost of revenue is more often used in SaaS and other service-oriented industries because it makes the many costs incurred outside of production in SaaS easier to track.

Prototyping costs

Prototyping is a fundamental aspect of any production cycle and, unfortunately, is one of the most expensive. While testing prototypes or beta versions of your new product, even the smallest revisions can necessitate costly changes to your production/development process. This usually comprises a base-level cost, plus iteration costs on top of that. When forecasting prototyping costs, it’s wise to plan for several iterations; it’s highly unlikely you’ll get everything right the first time around, especially if your product is innovative or is composed of a number of features.

Equipment costs

One of the beautiful things about being a SaaS company is that there are no production lines to run. Nevertheless, equipment costs still factor into the bottom line. Firmware,  app development tools , server rental, plus any other administrative services bought on subscription (e.g. Slack or Hubstaff) will play a part in your equipment costs, but, generally, equipment costs should be the easiest of all to forecast.

Labor costs

An underpaid workforce is an unhappy workforce (if it’s a workforce at all); wage costs come out of your bottom line. Based on the interaction of salary and commission in your  compensation plan , as well as the type of commission you offer (entirely open-ended or capped? Will there be accelerators/decelerators involved?), you will have to plan for your expenditure on labor costs differently.

Advertising & marketing costs

Your advertising and marketing costs will be determined by the following:

  • The size of your respective advertising and marketing teams
  • The scale of exposure you’re shooting for
  • Your method of approach to advertising and marketing: undefinedundefinedundefined

revenue example business plan

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Your revenue model is unique

So many revenue sources, so many revenue models, so little time. There are some fundamental differences between revenue models. For instance, if you’re a SaaS company producing your own software product, you’re unlikely to get all that far with an arbitrage model. Likewise, if your product is a medium or if you’re a seller, a subscription-based revenue model won’t do the trick. A product with a high ceiling for potential revenue is not best served by a donation model. Nevertheless, the choice of a main revenue model out of the batch that do work for your product, and how you then combine them with appropriate aspects of other models, is yours, and yours only. Your product and the market should be in mind at all times while you’re settling on, adding to, and refining your model. After that, bringing in the revenue itself should be as easy as  Citizen Kane  said.

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Revenue Planning: Step-by-Step Guide

revenue example business plan

One of the most exciting parts of growing a business is watching the revenue pour in.

Less thrilling is watching that money leave your account. But the statement “you’ve gotta spend money to make money” is truer in startup-land than anywhere else.

However, choosing where to speed that revenue can be a little tricky.

Should you invest in a sales team? Contract a marketing agency? Or upgrade the offices to improve company culture and hopefully influence employee retention.

All good things, right?

The process of making this decision is called revenue planning. It moves you beyond flipping a coin between two choices and uses real-world data and financial modeling to understand the impact of investing in one initiative over another.

In this article, you’ll discover seven steps to planning revenue allocation and using all that hard-earned cash to keep growing your enterprise.

Table of Contents

What Is Revenue Planning?

Revenue planning is creating a plan for how to use the revenue your company generates.

You’re earning the cash; now you have to decide where to spend it.

But revenue planning is more than just deciding whether to withdraw funds or hire more staff; it’s about forecasting which revenue investments will bear the most fruit.

For example, will your company grow more by investing in your tech stack or bringing on three additional developers?

Revenue planning is done alongside your revenue forecast .

First, you analyze aspects such as current revenue, growth trends, new product, sales and marketing initiatives , and market conditions.

This process gives you a forecast for how much revenue you can expect to receive under various conditions (it’s generally best to model multiple scenarios to be prepared for the reality of business).

Once you’ve forecasted how much revenue your company will generate over the next 6, 12, or 18 months (or whatever period you’re looking at), you need to plan how to use that revenue to grow the company.

That’s revenue planning.

with and without revenue planning

Why Revenue Planning is Important

The importance of revenue planning cannot be understated.

Startups don’t grow in a vacuum.

They grow because they:

  • Continue to develop a better product
  • Invest in marketing activities that increase brand awareness
  • Employ a sales team to drive revenue directly

Those are just a few reasons startups succeed, by the way.

All of these initiatives require funding. Development, marketing, and sales all cost money. You need to hire employees, yes, but also invest in software, equipment, and office space.

But even fast-growing companies only have so much capital available to spend.

Often, it’s a case of deciding to invest in one initiative over another or perhaps splitting your revenue between several investments.

Without a revenue planning process, you’re basically guessing.

You can make a fair assertion that investing in marketing will grow revenue, but you don’t know by how much.

What if your marketing ROI is 1.5x, meaning you earn $1.50 in return for every dollar you spend? Is that sufficient? And how does that compare to the ROI of investing in sales?

Data-driven revenue planning (like the kind you’re about to learn about) gives you these insights so you can make informed financial decisions, not guestimates.

How To do Revenue Planning

So, you’ve got a handle on why revenue planning and allocation are essential. How do you actually do this thing?

Here, we’ll outline seven steps to follow in your revenue planning process.

1. Get Back To Basics: Review Your Organizational Goals

How you invest your revenue should depend heavily on your company’s goals (you’ve set goals, right?)

Yes, everyone’s goal is to grow, but what does that mean?

Do you want to:

  • Grow revenue?
  • Grow your customer base?
  • Grow your market share?
  • Grow brand awareness?
  • Grow your product offering?

All of these desires are connected (a larger market share generally means more revenue), but first, you need to understand which is your priority.

Let’s say, for instance, your goal right now is to increase your user count, and that takes priority over growing revenue. You’re not focused on growing revenue from each account or increasing LTV right now, just on new customer acquisition.

In this case, investing in an initiative that attracts new customers, regardless of size or potential revenue, makes more sense.

If your goal is to grow revenue, you might be better off investing in a customer success team to upsell and cross-sell existing customers.

You could also invest in product development to enhance your product. That way, you can charge more for your offering.

So, review your company goals and use these to inform the investment initiatives you choose.

2. Analyze Performance To Determine Your Revenue Drivers

Assuming, of course, that at least one of your company goals is to grow revenue, then it’s going to be crucial to understand what drives new revenue for your company, that is, your revenue drivers .

Most revenue drivers will be either marketing-led or sales-led, for instance:

  • Social media advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Outbound sales
  • PPC advertising
  • Customer success and account management

If social media ads are driving most of your revenue right now, say, then it’s going to make sense to invest more in this channel if growing revenue is an objective.

3. Build A Clear Timeline For Revenue Investment

The timeline for investment is important, as some initiatives take more time than others.

For example, say you need to increase new customer acquisition by 50% in the next two quarters because you have an upcoming funding round . SEO may not be the best initiative to invest in since it can take a few months to reap the benefits.

Instead, you might invest in ad campaigns or something else with a more immediate ROI.

You’ll also need to consider timelines for hiring purposes. In the above example, ad-based marketing might be wise, but your timelines will drive the decision to hire in-house vs. contracting a marketing agency.

4. Look Forward To Predict and Mitigate Risk

Growing a company is never without risk. Markets change, employees leave, and operating costs rise with minimal notice.

When assessing how to invest your revenue, it’s important to understand how things such as these might change and how they’ll impact your business operations (and expected return on investment).

For instance, you may determine that expanding your sales team is the best use of your revenue.

But what would happen if two of your four developers suddenly left? Dropping product development capacity by half could significantly impact your revenue goals (perhaps you have a new feature in progress).

If this were to happen, you’d need to reallocate spending to solve this resource shortage.

Considering potential risks helps you to be prepared for such situations and to have a contingency plan in place before they happen.

5. Use Financial Modeling To Assess Revenue Allocation Options

Okay, now we’re getting into the nitty gritty.

Determining where and when to spend your revenue should be grounded in financial forecasting and modeling.

Yes, sorry, you’re going to have to do a bit of math here. But don’t stress, because Finmark has your back 😉

Using Finmark’s financial modeling , you can calculate forecasted revenue for various situations.

finmark revenue forecast example

For example, what might revenue look like if you hired two new Sales Development Reps? What about three?

And what if you invested some money in a product-led marketing approach where prospects guide themselves through a purchasing and onboarding process?

Use financial modeling to create forecasts like these and run with the option that looks most appealing on paper.

6. Plan For Multiple Revenue Scenarios

Even the best-laid plans go awry.

No matter how well-grounded in research your revenue plan is, you should be prepared for things to change.

Scenario planning helps you mitigate this risk.

Let’s say, for instance, that you’ve forecasted $3m in revenue for the coming year. Using this data, you’ve designed a revenue plan for investing that in new staff across several departments.

But what happens if you only generate $2m?

Perhaps you can’t afford all of those desired hires; which will you prioritize?

Use financial planning tools to model various scenarios and potential budget variances , and build multiple backup plans in case things don’t go as expected (which should probably be expected!).

Hint: You can do this in Finmark!

Here’s an example of two scenarios being compared side-by-side. Scenario B assumes slightly higher revenue than Scenario O .

You can see the delta between the two scenarios and how each impacts the forecast directly on your dashboard.

finmark revenue chart comparing two scenarios

7. Design A Method For Tracking Spending and Revenue Progress

Now you’ve built a revenue plan for spending all the cash. But don’t rest on your laurels here; revenue planning is not a set and forget process.

You need to prepare for changes and monitor both incoming revenue and outgoing expenses so you can pivot where required.

So, set yourself up with a financial analysis platform to monitor key metrics like CAC, revenue, runway, and burn rate in real-time and make sure things are tracking as expected.

What’s Your Revenue Plan?

Generating revenue is nice, but unless you plan what to do with it, you’re selling yourself (and your company) short.

Planning ahead puts your company in the best position for long-term success and can navigate any changes.

The best way to create and manage a revenue plan is with a tool like Finmark. Finmark makes it easy to build revenue forecasts, model different scenarios, and make changes to your plan in

If you’re ready to try it, sign up for a free trial or book a demo with our team to see it yourself!

Josh Krissansen

This content is presented “as is,” and is not intended to provide tax, legal or financial advice. Please consult your advisor with any questions.

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

Praburam Srinivasan

Growth Marketing Manager

February 13, 2024

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

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

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

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

What is a Business Plan Template?

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

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

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

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

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

10 Business Plan Templates to Use in 2024

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

ClickUp Business Plan Template

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ClickUp Sales Plan Template

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

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

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

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

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

ClickUp Business Development Action Plan Template

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

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

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

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

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

ClickUp Business Roadmap Template

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

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

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

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

ClickUp Business Continuity Plan Template

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

The template organizes tasks into three main categories:

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

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

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

ClickUp Lean Business Plan Template

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

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

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

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

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

ClickUp Small Business Action Plan Template

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

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

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

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

ClickUp Strategic Business Roadmap Template 

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft Word Business Plan Template by Microsoft

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

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

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

Excel Business Plan Template by Vertex42

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

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

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

Try a Free Business Plan Template in ClickUp

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

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

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

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Revenue Models: 17 Types, Examples & Template [2023]

revenue example business plan

Revenue Models

How does (or will ) your business make money? It sounds almost too simple to ask, but having a clear understanding of your business' revenue model can be one of the most important ways to focus on key activities--and actually move the needles you care about most.

For indie businesses, settling on the right revenue model type rarely happens on first attempt. Instead, it's common to bounce around from subscriptions to digital products, membership communities and affiliate offerings until something finally *clicks* for you and your business.

This revenue models list component and template is intended to help you sort, consider and rank a list of common revenue models. In future, I'll be linking this table to related marketing channels, real data from other indie businesses and related templates--for now, let's take a quick look at the revenue models listed.

17 Common Revenue Model Examples

  • Subscription
  • Licensing (Digital Prod.)
  • Advertising
  • Affiliate Commission
  • Project-Based Services
  • Retainer-Based Services
  • Tickets, Events, Workshops
  • Manufacture (D2C)
  • Library Access
  • Community Access
  • Marketplace

1. Subscription

The most common revenue model for SaaS and membership-based businesses. Customers pay a recurring fee, typically on a monthly or yearly basis, in exchange for access to your product or service.

Pros of subscription model

  • Recurring revenue is more predictable and can be helpful in forecasting
  • Can be a great way to build long-term relationships with customers
  • Customers who are paying on a recurring basis are typically more engaged and have a higher lifetime value

Cons of subscription model:

  • Can be difficult to acquire customers who are willing to pay a recurring fee
  • Can be difficult to increase prices without losing customers
  • There is always the risk of churn (customers cancelling their subscription)

The markup revenue model is most common in retail and ecommerce businesses, where goods are bought at wholesale prices and then sold to customers at a higher price.

Pros of markup model:

  • Can be easier to get started since you don't need to develop a unique product or service
  • There is less risk involved since you're not investing in developing or producing a good or service
  • Can be easier to scale since you can simply buy more inventory as needed

Cons of markup model:

  • Can be difficult to compete on price alone
  • You may need to invest in marketing and branding to differentiate your business
  • There can be slim margins if you're not careful with your pricing

3. Licensing (Digital Prod.)

The licensing revenue model is most common for digital products, where customers pay a one-time fee for access to your product.

Pros of licensing model:

  • Can be a great way to generate one-time revenue from customers
  • Customers who pays for a license typically have a higher perceived value of your product
  • Can be easier to scale since you're not selling a physical good or service

Cons of licensing model:

  • Can be difficult to acquire customers who are willing to pay a one-time fee
  • There is always the risk of piracy (customers sharing your product without paying)
  • Can be difficult to upsell customers or generate recurring revenue

4. Advertising

The advertising revenue model is most common for online businesses, where businesses sell advertising space on their website or in their email newsletter.

Pros of advertising model:

  • Can be a great way to generate revenue from customers who are not ready to buy your product or service
  • Advertising can be a complementary revenue stream to other revenue models

Cons of advertising model:

  • Advertising can be disruptive to the user experience
  • Advertising rates can fluctuate based on market conditions
  • You may need to invest in marketing and branding to attract advertisers

5. Donation

The donation revenue model is most common for non-profit organizations, where customers donate money to support the cause or organization.

Pros of donation model:

  • Can be a great way to generate revenue from customers who are passionate about your cause
  • Donations are typically tax-deductible for the donor
  • There is less pressure to generate revenue since donations are not expected to be recurring

Cons of donation model:

  • Can be difficult to acquire customers who are willing to donate money
  • May need to invest in marketing and branding to attract donors
  • Donations can fluctuate based on economic conditions

6. Affiliate commission

The affiliate commission revenue model is another common for online businesses, where businesses pay a commission to affiliates for referring customers.

Pros of affiliate commission model:

  • Can be a great way to generate revenue from customers who are already interested in your content
  • Affiliates can provide valuable marketing and promotion for your business
  • Can be easier to scale since you're not producing all the products you sell

Cons of affiliate commission model:

  • Not always easy to find good affiliate programs
  • You may need to invest in marketing and branding to attract affiliates, as well as readers
  • Commissions can vary based on affiliate performance

7. Sponsors

The sponsorship revenue model is becoming increasingly common for online creators.

Pros of sponsorship model:

  • Can be a great way to generate revenue from businesses or individuals who support your cause
  • Sponsors typically have a high perceived value of your organization

Cons of sponsorship model:

  • Can be difficult to acquire sponsors who are willing to pay
  • May need to invest in marketing and branding to attract sponsors
  • Sponsorship can fluctuate based on economic conditions

8. Data Sales

The data sales revenue model is most common for online businesses, where businesses sell data that they have collected.

Pros of data sales model:

  • Scale advantages
  • Data can be a valuable commodity for businesses

Cons of data sales model:

  • Difficult to acquire unique data sets
  • Longer sales cycle
  • Data rates can fluctuate based on market conditions

9. Project-Based Services

The project-based services revenue model is most common for businesses that provide consulting or other services.

Pros of project-based services model:

  • Can be a great way to generate revenue from customers who need your services
  • Projects can be customized to the customer's needs

Cons of project-based services model:

  • Very hands-on
  • Need to keep your pipeline filled
  • Projects can fluctuate based on economic conditions

10. Retainer-based services

The retainer-based services revenue model is most common recurring stream for businesses that provide consulting or other services.

Pros of retainer-based services model:

  • Can be a good way to introduce recurring revenue to a services business
  • Customers typically pay upfront for your services

Cons of retainer-based services model:

  • Need to find a service that's profitable on retainer;
  • Reducing churn;
  • Pricing your retainer.

11. Tickets, Events, Workshops

The ticketing revenue model is most common for businesses that host events or workshops.

Pros of ticketing model:

  • Can be a great way to generate revenue from customers who are interested in your event
  • Tickets can be sold in advance of the event
  • Virtual events and workshops can be easier to scale since you're not selling a physical good or service

Cons of ticketing model:

  • Need to consistently market events
  • Margins need to be high for it to be sustainable
  • Often need to pay staff to help facilitate event

12. Royalties

The royalty revenue model is most common for businesses that sell digital content, such as books, music, or software.

Pros of royalty model:

  • Royalties can be collected on a per-sale or per-use basis
  • Highly asynchronous

Cons of royalty model:

  • Can be difficult to track sales and commissions
  • Typically low % commission
  • Royalties can be volatile from year to year

13. Manufacture (D2C)

The manufacture model, going direct to customer, is probably the most familiar. You make a product and then sell it to the customer, whether that’s through your own store, a third-party retailer, or some other means.

Pros of Manufacture (D2C)

  • You have complete control over your product
  • You can build your own brand
  • You can reach customers directly

Cons of Manufacture (D2C)

  • It can be expensive to get started
  • You have to invest in marketing and branding
  • You have to manage inventory and shipping

14. Library Access

The library access model is common for businesses that offer digital content, such as books, music, or software. Customers can access your content through a subscription or pay-per-use basis.

Pros of Library Access

  • Can reach a wide audience of potential customers
  • Can generate revenue from customers who are interested in your content

Cons of Library Access

  • Possibility of duplicating digital content without license
  • Retaining users after they pay for first access
  • Offering a unique library

15. Rent/Lease

The rent/lease revenue model is common for businesses that offer physical goods, such as equipment or vehicles. Customers can rent or lease your products on a short-term basis.

Pros of Rent/Lease

  • Can generate revenue from customers who need your equipment
  • Can be quite 'Passive' income
  • Scalable if margins and demand are high enough

Cons of Rent/Lease

  • High expenses upfront
  • Potential damages costs

16. Community Access

The community access revenue model is common for businesses that offer physical goods or services. Customers can access your product or service through a subscription or pay-per-use basis.

Pros of Community Access

  • Compounding as the community grows
  • Plenty of online community software and tech popping up

Cons of Community Access

  • Difficult to upgrade to a 'paid tier'
  • Community moderation can be time-consuming
  • Sustaining high community engagement

17. Marketplace

The marketplace revenue model is common for businesses that offer a platform for other businesses to sell their products or services. Customers can access the marketplace through a subscription or pay-per-use basis.

Pros of Marketplace

  • Buyers will typically bring their own customers
  • Can generate revenue from both sides of the market: buyers and sellers
  • Don't need to produce your own products (beyond the marketplace itself)

Cons of Marketplace

  • Quality control can be difficult
  • Chicken-egg problem: getting your very first buyers and sellers
  • Settling disputes and investing in customer support

Choosing A Revenue Model For Your Business

This Notion template database also includes some properties to help you understand more about the various revenue models listed, and how they compare with one another on a few important factors. These are:

  • Volume needed;
  • Typical Margins;
  • Capital needed upfront;
  • Relationship to customer (direct or indirect);
  • Scalability;
  • Revenue model examples; and

Volume Needed

The volume needed property gives an indication (on a scale from 'Very Low' to 'Very High') of how many customers are typically needed for this type of revenue model to work. For example, a subscription revenue model that charges $1.99/month will need a Very High volume of customers in order for the model to work; whereas a high-ticket services business may only need 1 or 2 big clients per year.

Typical Margins

The typical margins property is there to help you understand how profitable this revenue model can be, given the right circumstances, per sale or customer. For example, a business selling digital products will typically have very high margins (if they are priced correctly), whereas a business that relies on advertising as its primary revenue source may have lower margins.

Capital Needed Upfront

The capital needed upfront column describes (loosely) of how much money you will need to spend in order to get the business up-and-running. For example, a subscription business can be started with very little capital as there are no inventory or product development costs; whereas a manufacturing business may need a lot of money to get started as there are significant inventory and product development costs.

Relationship to Customer (Direct or Indirect)

The relationship to customer property gives an indication of whether the revenue model is direct, indirect or two-sided (e.g. marketplaces). A direct revenue model is one where you have a direct relationship with the customer; whereas an indirect revenue model is one where you do not have a direct relationship with the customer.

For example, a subscription business has a direct relationship with the customer as they are paying the business directly for a product/service; whereas an advertising-based revenue model has an indirect relationship with the customer as they are paying the advertiser, not the business.

Scalability

The scalability property gives an indication of how easy it is to scale this type of revenue model. A scalable revenue model is one that can grow without a significant increase in costs; whereas a non-scalable business is one that has fixed costs which limit its growth.

For example, a subscription business is usually more scalable than a manufacturing business as there are no inventory or product development costs; whereas a business that relies on a small number of high-value clients is usually less scalable as it is difficult for you to service more such clients with the same number of hours in a day.

Revenue Model Examples

This column provides an example of a real business that is deploying this revenue model. I've tried to select primarily indie businesses, however this isn't the case for all of the businesses listed (where I couldn't find an indie business, I chose something that may be relevant or a company that I just generally like).

It's also worth noting that many of the businesses listed under a certain revenue model type employ multiple revenue models, alongside the stream that they're listed under. This is quite common for indie businesses (to have multiple revenue streams) and can be a good hedge against any single revenue stream going dry.

As you look through the list of possible revenue models, you can give each a ranking and sort the list based on those that are best suited.  

Getting Started

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What is a business plan?

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

Typically, a good business plan consists of the following:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Mission statement
  • Product and services
  • Marketing plan
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion & appendix

Every section involved in a business plan is designed to help startup businesses reach their target market.

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However, even small businesses that are already economically viable can benefit from creating a business plan, since it encourages business owners and their management teams to examine their business model and reevaluate the best ways to reach their target customers.

Should I use a business plan template?

Yes.  If you’ve never written one, a business plan can be challenging to write.

Creating a successful plan that you can use to grow your small business can require weeks of market analysis and financial preparation. You may spend time using Microsoft Excel or Powerpoint in order to create documentation which better supports our operational decisions.

However, almost every professional business plan is structured in the same way and most ask for the same information. Because of this, using a business plan template is advisable to save time, money, and effort.

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Frequently asked questions

How many pages should my business plan be.

This depends on the kind of business plan you need to write and how you intend to use the plan that you create.

For example, a plan for a small business seeking potential investors or a business loan will need to provide income statements, cash flow statements, and a balance sheet (usually for a three-year or five-year forecast period).

These financial statements can be omitted if a small business owner isn’t seeking funding and is instead planning to use their business plan as a guiding document for themselves and their management team members.

Some business plans may only run a few pages. Fully-developed business plans can be as long as 50 pages. Much of this depends on the type of business, the operational strategy, and the level of detail that goes into developing the business plan.

Who needs a business plan?

Every business should have a business plan. This is an essential guidance document for any founder or CEO.

Good business plans help a company determine the viability of its place in the market and can help the business develop better strategies for differentiating itself from its competitors.

Business planning also forces business owners to evaluate their marketing strategy, the cost of customer acquisition and retention, and how they plan to grow their business over time.

What is the best business plan template?

Business plans come in all shapes and sizes. The best business plan template for your business is one that you understand and that matches the size and legal structure of your operation.

If you’re a sole proprietor, a business plan template designed for a big corporation probably doesn’t make sense. However, a business plan that helps you build an effective roadmap to grow your business while protecting your intellectual property is a good starting point.

PandaDoc offers specialized business plan templates for common industries along with tips to help you get started with business planning.

Should I hire someone to write my business plan for me?

No. You’ll find freelance writers and business strategy companies out there who are happy to write your business plan for a fee.  These resources can guide you through the process, but you should write (or be heavily involved in) the creation of your business plan.

The reason for this is simple: You know the most about your business, and your business needs you to succeed.

A writer can work with you to make your business plan sound better to investors, and a consultant can help you fill in knowledge gaps — like how to conduct a SWOT analysis — and point out weaknesses in your plan. But, at the end of the day, you need to use the business plan to pitch investors and run your business.

Those ideas and guiding principles aren’t something you can outsource.

Should I use business planning software?

Software isn’t required when creating an effective business plan. Most business planning software is designed to help you navigate the outlining and writing process more effectively.

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21 Revenue Strategy Examples to Kickstart Your Revenue Growth

by Elizabeth Harris

Aka: Revenue Strategies - the Foundation for CRO Success  

21revenuestrategies.jpg

In a recent confidential interview, a CEO shared his thoughts about the next 12 months:  "We believe we will achieve our revenue and profit goals over the next 12 months with our current resources. We have the right team, the latest software and tools, effective processes, remarkable products & services, strong branding and a unique value proposition." He went on to admit “… but we are not achieving our revenue and profit goals and we are still unsure why.”

The proper revenue strategy aligns marketing, sales, and customer experience teams around a singular goal: drive profitability. Without a strategic roadmap, healthy and sustained growth simply cannot flourish, which is why organizations put so much emphasis on the planning process. In fact, studies reveal that tightly-aligned sales and marketing functions result in an average of 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales closing rates, than their more loosely aligned counterparts.

Unraveling such a puzzle to understand what is ‘broken’ has us first visiting the revenue strategy. Choosing a revenue strategy impacts all other aspects of planning and whether goals are achieved.

Download this article as a pdf here >

The best revenue strategy requires answers to these essential questions:

Strategy & goals.

1.   What are our overall business goals? 2.   How effective is our current strategy?

3.   Are we profitable, or as profitable as we should be?

4.   How do we define our complete sales process and sales funnel? 5.   How do we define success?

Measure Metrics

6.   How do we measure the effectiveness of our sales process? 7.   How do we measure the effectiveness of each stage of our sales process? 8.   How are sales results measured? 9.   What is our ROI on our marketing efforts? 10. What is the ROI on our sales efforts? 11. What is our current customer acquisition cost (CAC)?

Optimization

12. Are we using and maximizing the resources we have? 13. How do we improve conversion ratios during the sales process?

14. Are there opportunities to lower cost with a more effective strategy?

People Management

15. What management systems are required? 16. How much time is dedicated to sales and sales management by key leaders or managers?

revenue example business plan

Which Revenue Strategy?

Determining which revenue strategy to pursue is often the most difficult part when planning corporate objectives. The sea of empty space that stares back at executives from a blank whiteboard can deafen strategic brainstorming attempts with its silence.

Knowing which questions to ask and variables to consider is the most effective way to broach the subject of strategic revenue planning. Questions like,

Which sales and marketing opportunities are available to us immediately?”
What are our most valuable assets?”
Are the right people in place to execute our short-term and long-term goals?”

...can get the conversation started.

Once the discussion is underway, the revenue strategies below can inspire your team to find the best growth avenues that utilize your assets and opportunities effectively.

To enable you to meet your organization's revenue/profit goals and offer you starting point with a revenue strategy, here are 21 Revenue Strategies to fill your whiteboard and get you started:

(1)   increasing marketing investments.

Ideal Revenue Strategy for:

Organizations with budget allocation imbalances and those being outpaced by competitors in terms of marketing funding.

Considerations:

  • Additional web creative and collateral needs
  • Increased lead volume to sales teams

Scaling up marketing investments can generate more leads, which is a direct revenue driver. However, flooding the pipeline with more sales opportunities is only an effective strategy for organizations where the sales staff is prepared to handle this influx, which is why marketing cannot thrive in a vacuum. To be successful, marketing and sales teams need to communicate openly about current undertakings, upcoming plans, and overall objectives.

(2)   Changing Sales Compensation Plans

Organizations with excess sales team capacity or inefficient compensation and bonus plans.

  • Added demands on account representatives
  • Potential for undesirable revenue outcomes

In instances where leads are plentiful, ineffective compensation plans can stymie growth by failing to encourage sales teams to capitalize all available opportunities. Sales staff that are not motivated with financial, social, and other incentives will underperform, leaving potential revenue on the table. However, some revised compensation plans actually encourage undesirable outcomes like selling higher volumes of shorter contracts, which is why revenue implications must be considered when drafting compensation structures.

(3)   Expanding Brand Awareness

Startups and regionally successful companies.

  • Sales pipeline growth implications
  • Development of supporting marketing resources
  • Ability to control the subsequent brand conversation

The adage that “you can only sell to consumers who know your company exists” still resonates. By focusing on overall branding, organizations can increase brand awareness throughout the market to aid in lead generation. While this is a less immediate strategy than other marketing efforts, it is still directly correlated with increasing revenue.

(4)   Repositioning the Brand

Legacy brands with declining or plateauing growth.

  • Marketing channel expansion
  • Increasing marketing support needs
  • Market research to identify brand differentiation opportunities

In organizations where brand history has a solidified perception, there is a clear opportunity through rebranding to increase future revenue streams. This is especially salient when changes in audience demographics and psychographics necessitate a corresponding transformation by legacy brands to stay relevant.

As an example, fast food companies like Wendy’s and McDonald’s have invested millions in marketing campaigns over the last several years aimed at repositioning their brands as “healthy” and “fresh.” This rebranding tactic is aimed at appealing to modern consumers that have indicated that they value quality ingredients and more varied menu options, as well as convenience.

(5)   Adopting a Premium Pricing Strategy

Organizations with undifferentiated and value-priced offerings.

  • Product research to drive innovation
  • Demonstrating brand value
  • Strategy for re-launching offerings

Providing additional value and raising prices is a strategic move that can positively affect the perception of both an organization and its offerings. Utilizing premium pricing and justifying the increase through supporting marketing and sales support can result in revenue lift. Furthermore, it can increase revenue by without a need to substantially vary offerings.

(6)   Incorporating Discounted Pricing Tactics

Organizations with price-sensitive target audiences.

  • Effect on sales compensation plans
  • Need for additional marketing collateral
  • Alignment with overall revenue goals

Lowering prices can undercut the competition, resulting in a market penetration strategy that drives revenue. However, reducing prices is not the only way to discount products. Organizations can also achieve revenue growth by bundling offerings to provide more value at a discounted rate, offering product rebates, and changing shipping and handling pricing structures. Providing seasonal discounts and purchase timing discounts is another way to incentivize conversions through reduced pricing. Organizations can also pare down existing product functionality to offer more budget-friendly versions of the same products to increase sales across a wider demographic.

(7)   Expanding Distribution Channels

Organizations with consistent revenue and well-executed sales plans. 

  • Legal partnership agreement considerations
  • Availability of current products and future product capacity
  • Need for increased staffing (especially among specialized roles)

Stepping out of existing distribution channels to embrace a new selling strategy is a way to boost revenue from existing products by getting them in front of previously unreached consumers. Selling via retailers, distributors, ecommerce sites, direct mail, and wholesalers encompasses a wide array of potential channels where consumers can shop.

For online businesses, social selling is another possible method to expand distribution channels, by allowing sales of products directly from the social platforms where consumers are already interacting with the brand.

(8)   Developing Cooperative Sales Agreements

Organizations that can leverage strong brand recognition to offer value to potential partners.

  • Alignment with the overall organizational mission
  • Mutually beneficial reciprocity expectations
  • Additional contract and clause requirements

Reciprocal selling agreements are another way to introduce offerings to consumers through another channel. Amazon began using this strategy recently when they acquired Whole Foods as an extension of their Amazon Fresh service to provide quick delivery of groceries to Amazon Prime members in select cities. This type of reciprocity is a victory for both Amazon and Whole Foods, which can increase revenue margins for both brands through cooperation.

(9)   Diversifying Offerings

Organizations with established offerings and well-honed research and development capabilities.

  • Assessment of the possibility for sales cannibalization
  • Strategic marketing resources to align and promote new offerings
  • Understanding of new industry competition variables
  • Additional need for experienced sales personnel

Finding lucrative complementary offerings for top-selling products and services can be a shrewd way to encourage revenue growth. Identifying consumers’ needs and filling in the gaps with offerings that help sell main revenue drivers, boosts overall revenue by increasing average customer lifetime value.

(10)  Repositioning Offerings

Organizations with versatile offerings that can fulfill an array of needs or provide flexible solutions for consumers.

  • Additional marketing resources
  • Ongoing specialized sales training needs
  • Audience research to identify product use capabilities

For products and services that can be used by consumers to fulfill multiple needs or use-case scenarios, repositioning offerings to target each of these uses and audiences is a clever way to increase revenue. By targeting specific uses individually, marketing and sales messaging can be customized to address specific needs, wants, and apprehensions. The result is a more effective and adaptable selling strategy.

(11)  Modernizing Legacy Offerings

Brands with stagnant offerings and organizations with an aversion to change.

  • Preservation of existing offerings to retain existing customers, where appropriate
  • Brand repositioning potential
  • Increased marketing collateral demands
  • Assessment of channel expansion possibilities
  • Potential sales retraining requirements

Replacing or updating traditional products and services is a sound way to use legacy offerings to increase revenue. Using previously successful offerings as the basis to launch a growth strategy provides a revenue safety net to safeguard against possible failures. 

(12)  Securing Recurring Revenue

Organizations with offerings conducive to subscription-based usage.

  • Increased payment system demands
  • Additional accounts receivable staffing
  • Increased focus on customer experience

Creating recurring subscriptions or ongoing contracts is another way to use existing offerings to drive revenue. By taking the onus away from consumers to decide when to purchase again, organizations can both secure future revenue and increase the likelihood of developing brand loyal customers.

(13)  Focusing on Product Penetration

Organizations with brand loyal customers and a breadth of offerings.

  • Additional staff needed to solidify customer relationships
  • Specialized marketing tactics to engage existing customers

Unlike market penetration, which focuses on selling the same offerings to more consumers, product penetration aims to get existing customers to purchase more of an organization’s offerings. This means providing complementary products and services that customers can subsequently purchase, even after buying items that are not readily consumed. For some organizations this involves expanding offerings, whereas for others it involves engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships. In other instances, it simply requires pivoting an existing marketing strategy to convince consumers that they will benefit from taking advantage of other offerings as well.

(14)  Increasing Customer Retention

Organizations with a sizeable customer base and substantial post-sales support methodology.

  • Shifting marketing emphasis from customer acquisition to retention      -  Increased focus on customer experience
  • Effect on sales team compensation and performance objectives

Retaining existing customers will always be more cost effective than acquiring new customers, which makes it an obvious revenue growth strategy. However, the nuances involved in achieving this objective require sales, marketing, and customer experience team buy-in. While marketing teams are typically open to changing their strategic focus towards supporting customer retention, sales teams often oppose the proposition due to concerns regarding compensation. Without a change to compensation structure to reward increases in customer lifetime value, sales teams are likely to act independently to protect their own interests. When collaborative buy-in is achieved, customer retention drives immediate revenue growth while simultaneously securing sustainable future growth by developing brand loyalty and advocacy.

(15)  Dominating the Mobile Experience

Organizations with an increasing mobile consumer base or target demographic.

  • Technological upgrades needed to establish and maintain the mobile experience
  • A complementary tech-savvy focus among employees

Encouraging ecommerce mobile shopping and utilizing app-based experiences are at the heart of a thriving mobile strategy. While some organizations are hesitant to enter the mobile arena due to the complexity of offerings or historically low-tech reputation of their industries, supporting mobile users is essential for growth in today’s economy. However, providing a haphazard mobile experience is often worse than not offering one at all, which means that the right technological savvy and support must comprise an effective mobile strategy.

(16)  Nurturing Brand Advocates

Organizations with brand loyal customers that are willing to engage.

  • Implementation of customer rewards programs and incentives
  • Engagement tactics that meet customers where they thrive

Fostering brand advocacy is both a revenue strategy and a reputation management strategy. Nurturing customer relationships encourages brand loyalty, increasing revenue figures organically from the brand advocates themselves and their personal networks. Brand advocates are more likely to defend the brand in times of turmoil or crisis, making them an indispensable asset. However, brand advocate creation is not simply achieved through offering purchase incentives and other superficial tokens. It requires the kind of strategic planning that weaves through every customer experience from sales and marketing to technical support and billing. Building brand advocates also involves meeting customers on their own terms – on the platforms and at the moments when they want to engage.

(17)  Developing New Partnerships

Organizations with a collaborative spirit that can benefit from outsourcing functions or capabilities.

  • Internal staffing implications
  • Availability of complementary organizations willing to engage in partnerships
  • Legal considerations for partnership agreements
  • Effect on future hiring

Pairing with other organizations expands an organization’s capabilities and sphere of influence without having to invest in additional in-house resources. While many business leaders may cringe at the thought of relinquishing control, the smartest executives understand the value of partnership. Refusing to enter into strategic partnerships can hamstring growth faster than any other mistake, which is why from a growth perspective, the only questions should be when to establish partnerships and with whom.

(18)  Engaging with Industry Influencers

Organizations where well-known personalities can be leveraged to encourage revenue growth.

  • Adapting social media efforts
  • Risk assessment of aligning with third-party individuals
  • Legal considerations of social collaboration

Influencer marketing has been a hot topic in recent years due to its effectiveness in building industry authority and driving revenue. Collaborating with respected industry experts can be an effective way to build brand awareness, acquire new customers, and impress existing customers. However, working with independent third-party individuals also carries some risk, which means that legal implications should be considered before pursuing this strategy, especially in highly-regulated industries.

(19)  Expanding Geographic Reach

Brands with a limited geographic territory and demographic potential to expand.

  • Supply chain and logistics considerations
  • Additional staffing required at all levels of the business
  • Individual market preference variations
  • New market barriers to entry

Expanding geographically is one of the simplest and yet most complex ways to grow revenue. This method is easy to conceptualize and difficult to execute properly, which is why organizations undertake such long planning processes before opening additional franchises, distribution centers, warehouses, retail venues, and so on. Considering regional preferences, opportunities, and barriers is a mammoth task that requires the right strategic analysis by highly experienced professionals. The result when expansion is done successfully, however, can be a substantial windfall.

(20)  Offering Additional Payment Options and Terms

Organizations stifled by existing payment options and sales terms.

  • Financial feasibility of payment expansion
  • Legal considerations of extending payment terms

Opening up payment options and flexibility with payment terms can allow an organization to close additional sales that would otherwise have been unavailable. However, doing so often comes at a cost – either in the form of initial technology investments or the potential for bad debt when terms are not met as planned.

(21)  Eliminating Bad Customer Relationships

Organizations with revenue constriction due to unprofitable or toxic customer relationships.

  • Social implications of eliminating customers
  • Legal limitations on existing contracts

While it may be a controversial strategy, firing unprofitable customers is another way to improve revenue numbers. By pruning deadweight from the customer base, an organization can more effectively focus resources on profitable customer relationships. In 2007 Sprint famously utilized this strategy to cancel subscriptions for customers that were tying up support channels. They reasoned that they could not properly support more profitable customer contracts due to the burden that “bad customers” were placing on the system. This move came amidst a high customer turnover trend that Sprint was looking to reverse.

The proper revenue strategy aligns marketing, sales, and customer experience teams around a singular goal: drive profitability. Without a strategic roadmap, healthy and sustained growth simply cannot flourish, which is why organizations put so much emphasis on the planning process.

The right strategy will ensure you achieve your revenue and profit goals. It will be a foundation for selecting and developing the right team, the right software and tools, developing effective processes, remarkable products & services. The process begins by creating the right revenue strategies to align and leverage your sales, marketing, and customer experience teams.

If you are in a situation where you have the right people, resources and processes in place and are unsure why you are not achieving your revenue and profit goals, I welcome you to contact me here , or by phone or email.  We can talk about any of the strategies listed above or another that is of interest to you.

As you begin to formulate ideas and a plan, feel free to use our  B2B Business Growth Library .

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Developing a Revenue Plan for Your Business

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Developing a revenue plan for your blog and online business

You’re passionate about your business, and you love serving your customers. 

But at the end of the day, life is a little (or maybe a LOT) sweeter if your business is actually making money .

With countless hours spent collaborating, creating, and toiling, you deserve to have a clear plan in place to reach your revenue goals and experience success in your business. 

A Revenue Plan – Made Easy

Not a numbers person? No worries!

Breaking down your revenue goals into real-life examples can get you out of calculator-mode and help you envision your business’s revenue journey in a new light. 

The following examples are meant to put things into perspective and help you see the possibilities.

Revenue Scenario #1 — How a Product or Service-Based Biz Can Achieve 50k per year

Your Options: 

Developing a revenue plan for your blog and online business

A business like yours, that offers a product or service, is often trying to crack the code on making consistent revenue.

Many times, a service provider trades hours for dollars and struggles to break free of that limiting cycle. Likewise, a product-based business gets stuck in a launch and relaunch pattern. 

Seeing different pathways to revenue in an easy-to-read list like the one above can help to make wise decisions about the types of products or services you offer. 

  • Should you uplevel your signature service so you don’t need to sell as many packages?
  • Should your signature product include a bonus to justify a higher price point?

Asking hard questions like these are key to building a business that provides a consistent, thriving income. 

Revenue Scenario #2 — How a Membership Site Structure Can Achieve 50k per year 

Developing a revenue plan for your blog and online business

Membership programs generate consistent, reliable revenue. This breakdown can help you adjust your products and offerings to achieve even bigger goals. 

Are you feeling a little more confident? Are things looking more feasible when you put them into perspective like this?

Before You Choose Your Revenue Plan – Know the Numbers

Whenever you formulate a plan, whether it’s related to your business or creating a new workout routine, you MUST start by defining your goals. 

Ask yourself:

  • What am I ultimately trying to accomplish? 

Whether your goals are to:

  • drive traffic to your website
  • sell more of your product or offer
  • or build your list or audience

..you’ve got to have a firm grasp on the numbers! 

Grow Your Revenue By the Numbers

Remember this: reach more of the right people = you’ll reach more of your revenue goals

I talk more in-depth about this here and the 3 things you need to simplify your business growth.

Some questions you might ask yourself are:

  • Is my email list large enough to reach the number of potential members or customers I need?
  • How can I increase the value of my membership to justify an increase in price?

Remember that the more people (your ideal customer) who visit your website and subscribe to your email list, means the more sales you’ll end up making.

Understanding how many people you really need on your list to hit your sales goal is key to formulating a strong marketing plan. 

The general rule of thumb, to start out with, is that 2% of your email list will end up converting into buyers. Just 2%!

This means marketing and casting your net out WIDE to gain more of the right subscribers is crucial to formulating your revenue roadmap. 

Developing a revenue plan for your blog and online business

How Smart Marketing Will Help You Reach Your Revenue Goals

  • Click here for a free guide to Pinterest Marketing
  • Click here to take my free Instagram Marketing workshop
  • Click here to grab my free email list growth plan

Now that you have some free marketing tools –  I want your to know that the job of marketing is to get your audience to give you an easy  FULL BODY “YES!” 

One of the best ways to get your audience excited to throw money at you is by offering a transformation! Aim to meet your audience right where they are — in their pain — and promise them your SOLUTION

Show what you have to offer. Show its VALUE , and give PROOF that it actually works. (showing proof is key!)

Your goal in marketing through social media or email is to make the buying decision EASY by making a VERY CLEAR OFFER .

Why does this method work? Because our brains are wired this way! 

  • Transformation. The emotional side of our brain responds to the promise that a product will transform our lives in some way. Start with explaining the transformation your product will bring. Acknowledge your audience’s pain. 
  • Value. As we prove the value of our product to the customer, they learn how it’s different from the rest and form an even stronger emotional attachment. 
  • Proof. After they’re emotionally invested, the reasoning side of their brain decides the product will work when it hears proof. 
  • Clarity. Make your HOW TO BUY clear and prominent. Confusion leads to lost opportunities, but a clear pathway to purchasing leads to more sales and more $$$$!

Your Customers Buying Journey - Developing a revenue plan for your blog and online business

Convert More Sales Using AIDA

Once you’ve developed your reveue plan, it’s time to consider AIDA. This is a marketing framework proven to get results and it stands for:

  • Awareness. It’s so important to create a buzz around your brand. How and where can you make people aware of your products? On social media? Ads? Blog posts? How will they begin to trust you as the expert?
  • Interest: Beyond just being aware of your product, how are you going to create interest and make people long for what you’re offering? Create urgency by offering limited spots or providing short-term bonuses. 
  • Decision: Offer proof and testimonies to convince them. Take their hand and help them make that final decision to purchase.
  • Action: Invite your audience to BUY. People will sit on the sidelines until you invite them in a compelling way to take action.  

These steps help you think through the process of taking your offer and creating a sales funnel to meet your revenue goal!

Want a jump start on creating a digital product this year? Click here to download a f ree copy of the digital profits and digital products ebook.

revenue example business plan

LOOKING FOR MORE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR REVENUE IN 2020? HERE’S YOUR NEXT STEP:

Grab this 6-workshop series and Creative Boss Method and receive: 

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All Creative Boss Method Workshops

  • Brand Strategy Workshop
  • Pinterest Marketing Workshop
  • Instagram Marketing Workshop
  • Creative Boss Revenue Workshop
  • Systematizing Your Biz Workshop
  • Scaling Your Biz Workshop

When you purchase the bundle , you’ll not only get access to the incredible video workshops, but you’ll receive our actionable workbooks.

There are SO MANY goodies in the workbooks to get those revenue goals MET in 2020, including The Revenue Goals Spreadsheet! This tool includes a product pricing calculator where you can enter in how much you WANT to make yearly and see the breakdown of how much that ends up being each month/week/day!. It’s included when you purchase the online workshop.

Click here to grab the Creative Boss Method Workshops (available for a limited time)

Check out these Business and revenue tips:

  • 30 Ideas for Instagram posts when you don’t have any ideas
  • How to build a passive income sales funnel
  • 8 ways to monetize Instagram
  • Your top questions answered about Instagram
  • Why you should create an Instagram Challenge, and how
  • How to hack the Instagram Algorithm

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Business Plan Financial Projections

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Business Plan Financial Projections

Financial projections are forecasted analyses of your business’ future that include income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. We have found them to be an crucial part of your business plan for the following reasons:

  • They can help prove or disprove the viability of your business idea. For example, if your initial projections show your company will never make a sizable profit, your venture might not be feasible. Or, in such a case, you might figure out ways to raise prices, enter new markets, or streamline operations to make it profitable. 
  • Financial projections give investors and lenders an idea of how well your business is likely to do in the future. They can give lenders the confidence that you’ll be able to comfortably repay their loan with interest. And for equity investors, your projections can give them faith that you’ll earn them a solid return on investment. In both cases, your projections can help you secure the funding you need to launch or grow your business.
  • Financial projections help you track your progress over time and ensure your business is on track to meet its goals. For example, if your financial projections show you should generate $500,000 in sales during the year, but you are not on track to accomplish that, you’ll know you need to take corrective action to achieve your goal.

Below you’ll learn more about the key components of financial projections and how to complete and include them in your business plan.

What Are Business Plan Financial Projections?

Financial projections are an estimate of your company’s future financial performance through financial forecasting. They are typically used by businesses to secure funding, but can also be useful for internal decision-making and planning purposes. There are three main financial statements that you will need to include in your business plan financial projections:

1. Income Statement Projection

The income statement projection is a forecast of your company’s future revenues and expenses. It should include line items for each type of income and expense, as well as a total at the end.

There are a few key items you will need to include in your projection:

  • Revenue: Your revenue projection should break down your expected sales by product or service, as well as by month. It is important to be realistic in your projections, so make sure to account for any seasonal variations in your business.
  • Expenses: Your expense projection should include a breakdown of your expected costs by category, such as marketing, salaries, and rent. Again, it is important to be realistic in your estimates.
  • Net Income: The net income projection is the difference between your revenue and expenses. This number tells you how much profit your company is expected to make.

Sample Income Statement

2. cash flow statement & projection.

The cash flow statement and projection are a forecast of your company’s future cash inflows and outflows. It is important to include a cash flow projection in your business plan, as it will give investors and lenders an idea of your company’s ability to generate cash.

There are a few key items you will need to include in your cash flow projection:

  • The cash flow statement shows a breakdown of your expected cash inflows and outflows by month. It is important to be realistic in your projections, so make sure to account for any seasonal variations in your business.
  • Cash inflows should include items such as sales revenue, interest income, and capital gains. Cash outflows should include items such as salaries, rent, and marketing expenses.
  • It is important to track your company’s cash flow over time to ensure that it is healthy. A healthy cash flow is necessary for a successful business.

Sample Cash Flow Statements

3. balance sheet projection.

The balance sheet projection is a forecast of your company’s future financial position. It should include line items for each type of asset and liability, as well as a total at the end.

A projection should include a breakdown of your company’s assets and liabilities by category. It is important to be realistic in your projections, so make sure to account for any seasonal variations in your business.

It is important to track your company’s financial position over time to ensure that it is healthy. A healthy balance is necessary for a successful business.

Sample Balance Sheet

How to create financial projections.

Creating financial projections for your business plan can be a daunting task, but it’s important to put together accurate and realistic financial projections in order to give your business the best chance for success.  

Cost Assumptions

When you create financial projections, it is important to be realistic about the costs your business will incur, using historical financial data can help with this. You will need to make assumptions about the cost of goods sold, operational costs, and capital expenditures.

It is important to track your company’s expenses over time to ensure that it is staying within its budget. A healthy bottom line is necessary for a successful business.

Capital Expenditures, Funding, Tax, and Balance Sheet Items

You will also need to make assumptions about capital expenditures, funding, tax, and balance sheet items. These assumptions will help you to create a realistic financial picture of your business.

Capital Expenditures

When projecting your company’s capital expenditures, you will need to make a number of assumptions about the type of equipment or property your business will purchase. You will also need to estimate the cost of the purchase.

When projecting your company’s funding needs, you will need to make a number of assumptions about where the money will come from. This might include assumptions about bank loans, venture capital, or angel investors.

When projecting your company’s tax liability, you will need to make a number of assumptions about the tax rates that will apply to your business. You will also need to estimate the amount of taxes your company will owe.

Balance Sheet Items

When projecting your company’s balance, you will need to make a number of assumptions about the type and amount of debt your business will have. You will also need to estimate the value of your company’s assets and liabilities.

Financial Projection Scenarios

Write two financial scenarios when creating your financial projections, a best-case scenario, and a worst-case scenario. Use your list of assumptions to come up with realistic numbers for each scenario.

Presuming that you have already generated a list of assumptions, the creation of best and worst-case scenarios should be relatively simple. For each assumption, generate a high and low estimate. For example, if you are assuming that your company will have $100,000 in revenue, your high estimate might be $120,000 and your low estimate might be $80,000.

Once you have generated high and low estimates for all of your assumptions, you can create two scenarios: a best case scenario and a worst-case scenario. Simply plug the high estimates into your financial projections for the best-case scenario and the low estimates into your financial projections for the worst-case scenario.

Conduct a Ratio Analysis

A ratio analysis is a useful tool that can be used to evaluate a company’s financial health. Ratios can be used to compare a company’s performance to its industry average or to its own historical performance.

There are a number of different ratios that can be used in ratio analysis. Some of the more popular ones include the following:

  • Gross margin ratio
  • Operating margin ratio
  • Return on assets (ROA)
  • Return on equity (ROE)

To conduct a ratio analysis, you will need financial statements for your company and for its competitors. You will also need industry average ratios. These can be found in industry reports or on financial websites.

Once you have the necessary information, you can calculate the ratios for your company and compare them to the industry averages or to your own historical performance. If your company’s ratios are significantly different from the industry averages, it might be indicative of a problem.

Be Realistic

When creating your financial projections, it is important to be realistic. Your projections should be based on your list of assumptions and should reflect your best estimate of what your company’s future financial performance will be. This includes projected operating income, a projected income statement, and a profit and loss statement.

Your goal should be to create a realistic set of financial projections that can be used to guide your company’s future decision-making.

Sales Forecast

One of the most important aspects of your financial projections is your sales forecast. Your sales forecast should be based on your list of assumptions and should reflect your best estimate of what your company’s future sales will be.

Your sales forecast should be realistic and achievable. Do not try to “game” the system by creating an overly optimistic or pessimistic forecast. Your goal should be to create a realistic sales forecast that can be used to guide your company’s future decision-making.

Creating a sales forecast is not an exact science, but there are a number of methods that can be used to generate realistic estimates. Some common methods include market analysis, competitor analysis, and customer surveys.

Create Multi-Year Financial Projections

When creating financial projections, it is important to generate projections for multiple years. This will give you a better sense of how your company’s financial performance is likely to change over time.

It is also important to remember that your financial projections are just that: projections. They are based on a number of assumptions and are not guaranteed to be accurate. As such, you should review and update your projections on a regular basis to ensure that they remain relevant.

Creating financial projections is an important part of any business plan. However, it’s important to remember that these projections are just estimates. They are not guarantees of future success.

Business Plan Financial Projections FAQs

What is a business plan financial projection.

A business plan financial projection is a forecast of your company's future financial performance. It should include line items for each type of asset and liability, as well as a total at the end.

What are annual income statements? 

The Annual income statement is a financial document and a financial model that summarize a company's revenues and expenses over the course of a fiscal year. They provide a snapshot of a company's financial health and performance and can be used to track trends and make comparisons with other businesses.

What are the necessary financial statements?

The necessary financial statements for a business plan are an income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet.

How do I create financial projections?

You can create financial projections by making a list of assumptions, creating two scenarios (best case and worst case), conducting a ratio analysis, and being realistic.

revenue example business plan

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What Is Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) and How Can It Help You Understand Business Health?

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MRR provides deep insight into financial performance, growth potential, churn, and customer value.

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One of the most critical metrics for subscription-based and managed services businesses is monthly recurring revenue (MRR). It tells you if your business is growing or shrinking. When managed, appropriately and consistently, MRR will educate and drive some of your most strategic decisions.

In my experience, businesses that prioritize MRR are more agile and less fragile. They can accurately predict future revenue and successfully plan for what’s ahead, whether that means expansion, contraction, or holding steady. I’ll walk you through the basics, including how to calculate MRR, so you can explore ways to grow your revenue streams and increase your business agility.

What you’ll learn:

  • What is monthly recurring revenue (MMR)?

Why is MRR important?

5 common types of mrr, how to calculate mrr, ways to grow your mrr, get a full visual of your business in an instant.

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revenue example business plan

What is monthly recurring revenue (MRR)?

While revenue is the total income your company earns, monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is predicted total revenue your business generates monthly from active subscriptions. It includes all recurring charges such as subscriptions, service retainers, promos, discounts, and add-ons, but excludes any one-time fees.

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MRR is a fundamental m etric for subscription-based businesses because it provides insights into financial performance, growth potential, churn, and customer value. Its importance extends across various aspects of your business operations, including strategic planning and investor relations.

Calculating MRR provides several benefits:

  • Predictability: MRR helps you forecast revenue more accurately since it represents the consistent income you can expect to receive from subscription fees each month.
  • Performance measurement: Looking at MRR over time lets you understand and compare your growth rate. Steady increases indicate positive performance, while declines might signal issues that need attention such as customer churn (subscription or service cancellations).
  • Investor confidence: Investors often look at MRR as a measure of the health and stability of a subscription-based business. A strong growth trend can instill confidence and attract investors.
  • Budgeting and planning: MRR provides a solid foundation for budgeting and resource allocation. It helps you make informed decisions about where to reinvest in the company. Examples include marketing spend, research and development, hiring, or expansion.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): MRR feeds into the calculation of CLV, which estimates the total revenue a customer is expected to generate over their lifetime as a subscriber. This metric is crucial for understanding the long-term value of acquiring new customers and setting proper expectations for when customers may churn.

revenue example business plan

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revenue example business plan

The following types of MRR are often used together to provide a comprehensive understanding of a subscription-based business’s revenue dynamics, growth, and customer retention efforts. Tracking each type allows you to identify areas of strength and weakness and make informed decisions to optimize your MRR and overall financial performance.

The most common types of monthly recurring revenue are:

  • New: This represents revenue generated from new customers who have subscribed to the service within a given month. It reflects growth in your customer base.
  • Expansion: This comes from existing customers who upgrade their subscription plan or add additional features or services, leading to increased revenue per customer.
  • Contraction: This represents the revenue lost when existing customers downgrade subscription or retainer plans. It reflects the decrease in revenue per customer.
  • Churn: This is the revenue lost in a month due to customers canceling their subscriptions. Customer churn indicates the rate at which customers are leaving the service.
  • Reactivation: This comes from customers who had previously churned but then returned and reactivated their subscriptions within a given month.

The formula for calculating MRR can vary slightly depending on the nature of your business and how you define your revenue streams, but the high-level formula is pretty straightforward and looks like this:

MRR = Number of active accounts x average monthly revenue per account

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how to calculate MRR:

  • Identify your recurring revenue offerings — all sources of revenue that repeat monthly — such as subscription fees, add-on fees, monthly service charges, or retainer fees (exclude any taxes).
  • Count the number of subscribers for each offering.
  • Multiply the number of subscribers for each offering by the monthly price of that plan.
  • Sum up the monthly revenue from each to get the total monthly revenue. 

For example, if your business offers two subscription plans:

Plan A: $50 per month with 100 subscribers

Plan B: $100 per month with 50 subscribers

You would calculate the MRR as follows:

MRR = (100 x $50) + (50 x $100) = $5,000 + $5,000 = $10,000

So, the MRR for your business in that month would be $10,000.

Other calculation formulas and examples

Depending on the complexity of your business model and data, your calculations may look different. Here are some other useful calculation examples and their basic formulas:

  • Net MRR = MRR at end of month − MRR at start of month
  • Churned MRR = Number of customers churned × average monthly subscription fee per customer
  • Expansion MRR = Number of customers who upgraded × difference in monthly subscription fees before and after upgrade
  • Total MRR = New MRR + expansion MRR – churned MRR + reactivation MRR

Remember to update your MRR calculations regularly to reflect changes in your customer base and subscription revenue. While calculating MRR sets the foundation for understanding your business health, the real work is growing it.

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revenue example business plan

With the help of modern sales tools and emerging technology such as AI, you can streamline your sales processes, improve customer relationships, and optimize marketing efforts — ultimately, driving long-term growth and higher MRR. Regardless of industry, here are some best practices to grow your MRR:

Focus on better lead management: Use a trusted CRM to manage leads effectively by capturing, tracking, and nurturing potential customers through the sales pipeline. Implement lead scoring and qualification processes to prioritize high-value leads who are more likely to convert into paying customers, thereby increasing MRR.

Prioritize personalization

Use data management capabilities to segment your customers based on demographics, behavior, purchase history, and other relevant criteria to meet buyers where they are in the buying process. Personalize your marketing campaigns, upselling strategies, and product offerings to specific customer needs, which can contribute to increased brand awareness, customer trust and higher MRR.

Identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities

Finding opportunities to cross-sell and upsell additional products or services to existing customers is a vital part of increasing your MRR. Analyze customer data to understand their preferences; then use targeted marketing campaigns and personalized recommendations to encourage upsells and expansions. When you upsell successfully and can keep a customer at a higher subscription price, and for longer. — getting a customer to upgrade to a “premium” subscription to access more of your content, for example.

Manage, engage, and support customers

Subscription management tools let you oversee billing, renewals, upgrades, and more, all in one place – a 360 degree view of your customer. They can also help you reduce churn and build stronger relationships with your customers by providing a quick, seamless, and supportive customer experience. By continuously monitoring customer satisfaction rates, you can increase loyalty and maximize lifetime value.

Evaluate your pricing

One way to grow your MRR is to increase the price of your product or service. As long as you stay relevant in the market and provide value to your customers with innovation, attrition of current customers can be avoided. Assess the consequences of upping your prices and test out ways to increase them without losing customers or contributing to churn. For example, you might run a limited-time offer for a new product or service to attract subscribers, like a lifetime member price — a set fee that won’t change over the subscription’s lifetime. Once the offer expires, all new subscribers will be subject to any future price changes. This helps you lock in a bulk of lifetime subscriptions while balancing shifts in the market over time. Another option is to include slight increases over time in longer contracts.

Make the most of analytics and reporting

By using dashboards and keeping tabs on your MRR, you can identify patterns and more accurately forecast your business. Reporting and analytics tools give you insight into your sales performance, customer behavior, and other MRR trends. To help your team grow in the long term, regularly analyze key metrics — conversion rates, average deal size, churn rate, and MRR growth — to hone in on areas for improvement and optimize your sales and marketing strategies.

Track and manage your MRR to drive sustainable revenue growth

Monthly Recurring Revenue is important because it gives you a complete picture of your customers, finances, and growth potential. This key metric enables you to make informed decisions and drive sustainable business growth. Keeping a close eye on your MRR and its components is a crucial step toward thriving in the subscription-based and managed services economy. As this landscape continues to evolve, tracking — and growing — MRR is a strategy businesses must use to improve and innovate their revenue streams.

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revenue example business plan

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revenue example business plan

Nearly 3-in-4 SaaS product managers plan to implement embedded finance: Weavr

T he majority of B2B SaaS product managers plan to adopt and utilise embedded finance as part of their near-term roadmap. Research released by embedded finance company Weavr is set out in a white paper entitled ‘The next step for B2B SaaS’.

Weavr white paper key takeaways

  • 55% of B2B SaaS product managers believe that embedding finance will provide them with a clear competitive advantage.
  • 74% of B2B SaaS product managers have a built-in payment wallet on their roadmap.
  • 62% of B2B SaaS product managers say they plan to implement both built-in payment wallets and debit cards, while only 4% have done so already.
  • 33% of CPOs see reducing churn as their most important feature driver

Examples of use cases for embedded finance in B2B SaaS products include spendable employee benefits, modernisation of expense management, integrated bill payment for IT and cloud subscription management, and automation of batch payments in accounting tools. Embedded finance involves non-fintech apps and products integrating payments and other regulated financial features seamlessly within their application branding and user experience.

The research highlights rapidly growing awareness of embedded finance within the sector. The white paper underlines the key drivers for embedding finance across B2B SaaS. In addition, it reveals the timeframes SaaS product managers have established for their projects. And it confirms the business case for embedding financial capabilities through payment wallets and debit cards within B2B SaaS services.

Boosting customer growth, attractive new revenue streams

Alex Mifsud, co-founder and CEO, Weavr, said: “In a challenging economic market, venture-capital-invested SaaS businesses have found it difficult to increase revenue by throwing money at customer acquisition. To secure renewed funding, they must now demonstrate a clear path to profitability to attract new investment and continue their paths. Our research shows that embedded finance technology is becoming suitable for mainstream adoption at the right time to help companies access the customer growth and new revenue streams that the opportunity presents”.

25% of B2B SaaS product managers report that embedded finance features would help attract new business customers.  Over one-third of Chief Product Officers believe that embedded finance features will help their product generate higher revenue per user.

Embedded finance to become essential part of SaaS offerings

The report forecasts that embedded finance solutions will soon become an essential part of SaaS offerings used in business contexts.

The top three reasons B2B SaaS companies cite for adopting embedded built-in payment wallets, include improving user engagement (28%), increasing the number of paying users (26%) and enhancing revenue per user (25%).

Mifsud added: “Product managers tasked with delivering SaaS products are leading the way rather than following. They’re seeing the value of financial services being truly embedded into their software, making embedded finance a strategic action to access new revenue sources. As we see more SaaS businesses realise the value - to their customers, and to themselves - of becoming powerful distribution channels for B2B financial services, we predict this trend will continue to accelerate”.

"Nearly 3-in-4 SaaS product managers plan to implement embedded finance: Weavr" was originally created and published by Electronic Payments International , a GlobalData owned brand.

The information on this site has been included in good faith for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely, and we give no representation, warranty or guarantee, whether express or implied as to its accuracy or completeness. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.

Nearly 3-in-4 SaaS product managers plan to implement embedded finance: Weavr

revenue example business plan

Blog Uganda’s tax system isn’t bringing in enough revenue, but is targeting small business the answer?

Uganda, with a fiscal deficit of 5.6% in 2023, has increasingly turned to local resources to make up for its revenue shortfall since the World Bank suspended its funding on 8 August 2023 over the country’s anti-homosexuality law. In early April 2024, traders in downtown Kampala protested against what they saw as high taxes and harsh enforcement tactics of the Uganda Revenue Authority. Maria Jouste, who has researched Uganda’s tax system, including its taxing of small businesses , compliance rate and personal income taxes , answers four questions.

What were the recent protests about?

In early April 2024, traders in Kampala began protesting against high taxes and the enforcement strategies of the Uganda Revenue Authority. Similar protests were seen in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in May 2023 over high taxation and heavy-handed enforcement of levies on small businesses.

In Kampala, the protest has centred on the electronic receipting and invoicing solution, a new digital system designed to enhance value-added tax (VAT) collection by tracking and managing the invoices and receipts. Introduced in 2020, it was first enforced on large businesses. Enforcement for small and medium-sized businesses started in April 2024.

The revenue agency has not clearly stated how much it expects to collect from these measures but its actions are born out of high revenue targets which might be too ambitious. Overly ambitious revenue targets can do more harm than good in terms of the social contract and poverty.

The Uganda Revenue Authority turned its focus on traders and VAT law enforcement after the country faced a decline in development aid. It is not clear how much Uganda has lost as result of the World Bank funding freeze but the government has recently indicated a plan to borrow US$150 million from China’s Exim Bank.

What is Uganda’s tax base?

Compared to many other countries, Uganda has a narrow tax base, with tax collections totalling less than 14% of GDP . The average for sub-Saharan countries is 18% . A large share of economic activity is informal and untaxed.

In developed countries collection rates are much higher. The UK, for example, collects roughly 40% of its GDP annually.

According to Afrobarometer , a pan-African independent research network that measures public attitudes on economic, political and social matters in Africa, only 1 million Ugandans pay tax, though 3.5 million were registered as taxpayers at the end of 2022/2023 fiscal year. This is a very low number for a country with Uganda’s population at almost 50 million.

The reasons why most of those registered don’t remit taxes are varied. First, the Uganda Revenue Authority campaigns to register people but does not have the capacity to enforce tax laws. Second, not all registered taxpayers are liable for taxes. Third, there’s a lack of tax education.

The country’s top 1,000 taxpayers contribute more than three-quarters of all tax revenue collections. Most Ugandans are employed in the informal sector and the government has not developed efficient ways of collecting taxes from them.

The informal sector accounts for over half of GDP and over 80% of employment. Small and medium-sized businesses only pay the presumptive tax, which contributes less than 0.05% of tax revenues.

Hence the tax enforcement project targeting small and medium-sized businesses, employing the electronic system.

How effective is Uganda’s tax regime in raising money?

The Ugandan tax regime is less effective than many of its sub-Saharan counterparts.

The largest domestic revenue sources are VAT and excise duty (22%), pay-as-you-earn income tax (PAYE) (18%) and corporate income tax (8%).

A number of factors are at play:

  • generous tax incentives and tax holidays. Recent estimates show that revenue losses due to several corporate tax incentives reached a peak of US$42 million in 2020.
  • difficulty in taxing the rich
  • widespread tax avoidance. For example, multinational companies pay much less corporate income tax than large domestic firms (as a share of profits) due to profit shifting outside Uganda.
  • widespread informality
  • income distribution with a high share of low-income individuals (based on current tax law, most ordinary citizens are not liable for income taxes)
  • inefficiencies and corruption in tax collection services.

How fair or unfair is it?

Ugandans perceive that their tax regime is unfair to ordinary citizens, that the government does not spend tax money fairly, and that tax officials are corrupt. The recent protests by traders illustrate how unfair small business owners believe the tax burden to be.

Fairness in taxation varies widely by perspective. In general, a progressive tax system – where the rate is higher for the rich than for low-income earners – is widely argued to be a fair system. Uganda’s tax laws have elements of being progressive, particularly in personal income taxation.

We recently evaluated Uganda’s personal income tax and found it to be fairly progressive.

The Uganda Revenue Authority has tried to improve tax collection from wealthy individuals, but with uneven success. A recent study documents many of the challenges in taxing the rich. This relative inability to enforce tax laws on the country’s wealthiest individuals suggests that the tax regime is somewhat unfair.

Generous tax incentives and holidays predominantly benefit large firms. Smaller businesses rarely qualify for these benefits. The corporate statutory tax rate is 30%, but the estimated effective tax rate averages 14% across all firms and drops for the largest firms.

What needs to be reformed?

Uganda faces serious challenges in raising sufficient funds for public services and economic development. Key tax policies have remained unchanged for a decade. Personal income tax rates have been the same since 2012 and the VAT threshold and presumptive tax thresholds since 2015.

Reforms on these issues should be considered to adjust for high inflation and the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business taxation also needs to be reformed. Recent studies on Uganda’s presumptive tax and small businesses suggest the taxation should be simplified.

Bigger revenue gains might be accomplished by focusing on large corporate taxpayers. For example, tax incentives should be reconsidered .

And greater transparency in public spending and service delivery can improve taxpayer morale and compliance.

Maria Jouste is a Research Associate at UNU-WIDER.

This article was originally published in The Conversation and republished with permission. Read the original article here .

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute or the United Nations University, nor the programme/project donors.

revenue example business plan

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COMMENTS

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  28. What is Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)?

    Sum up the monthly revenue from each to get the total monthly revenue. For example, if your business offers two subscription plans: Plan A: $50 per month with 100 subscribers. Plan B: $100 per month with 50 subscribers. You would calculate the MRR as follows: MRR = (100 x $50) + (50 x $100) = $5,000 + $5,000 = $10,000. So, the MRR for your ...

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  30. Uganda's tax system isn't bringing in enough revenue, but is targeting

    Uganda, with a fiscal deficit of 5.6% in 2023, has increasingly turned to local resources to make up for its revenue shortfall since the World Bank suspended its funding on 8 August 2023 over the country's anti-homosexuality law. In early April 2024, traders in downtown Kampala protested against what they saw as high taxes and harsh enforcement tactics of the Uganda Revenue Authority. Maria ...