A business plan carefully spells out a company’s projected course of action over a period of time, usually the first two to three years after the start-up. In addition, banks, lenders, and other investors examine the information and financial documentation before deciding whether or not to finance a new business venture. Therefore, a business plan is an essential tool in obtaining financing and should describe the business itself in detail as well as all important factors influencing the company, including the market, industry, competition, operations and management policies, problem solving strategies, financial resources and needs, and other vital information. The plan enables the business owner to anticipate costs, plan for difficulties, and take advantage of opportunities, as well as design and implement strategies that keep the company running as smoothly as possible.

This template has been provided as a model to help you construct your own business plan.

Please keep in mind that there is no single acceptable format for a business plan, and that this template is in no way comprehensive, but serves as an example.

The business plans provided in this section are fictional and have been used by small business agencies as models for clients to use in compiling their own business plans.

Main headings included below are topics that should be covered in a comprehensive business plan.

Business Summary

Purpose: Provides a brief overview of your business, succinctly highlighting the main ideas of your plan.


• Name and Type of Business
• Description of Product/Service
• Business History and Development
• Location
• Market
• Competition
• Management
• Financial Information
• Business Strengths and Weaknesses
• Business Growth

Table of Contents

Purpose: Organized in an Outline Format, the Table of Contents illustrates the selection and arrangement of information contained in your plan.


• Topic Headings and Subheadings
• Page Number References

Business History and Industry Outlook

Purpose: Examines the conception and subsequent development of your business within an industry specific context.


• Start-up Information
• Owner/Key Personnel Experience
• Location
• Development Problems and Solutions
• Investment/Funding Information
• Future Plans and Goals
• Market Trends and Statistics
• Major Competitors
• Product/Service Advantages
• National, Regional, and Local Economic Impact


Purpose: Introduces, defines, and details the product and/or service that inspired the information of your business.


• Unique Features
• Niche Served
• Market Comparison
• Stage of Product/Service Development
• Production
• Facilities, Equipment, and Labor
• Financial Requirements
• Product/Service Life Cycle
• Future Growth

Market Examination

Purpose: Assessment of product/service applications in relation to consumer buying cycles.


• Target Market
• Consumer Buying Habits
• Product/Service Applications
• Consumer Reactions
• Market Factors and Trends
• Penetration of the Market
• Market Share
• Research and Studies Cost
• Sales Volume and Goals


Purpose: Analysis of Competitors in the Marketplace.


• Competitor Information
• Product/Service Comparison
• Market Niche
• Product/Service Strengths and
• Weaknesses
• Future Product/Service Development


Purpose: Identifies promotion and sales strategies for your product/service.


• Product/Service Sales Appeal
• Special and Unique Features
• Identification of Customers
• Sales and Marketing Staff
• Sales Cycles
• Type of Advertising/Promotion
• Pricing
• Competition
• Customer Services


Purpose: Traces product/service development from production/inception to the market environment.


• Cost Effective Production Methods
• Facility
• Location
• Equipment
• Labor
• Future Expansion

Administration and Management

Purpose: Offers a statement of your management philosophy with an in-depth focus on processes and procedures.


• Management Philosophy
• Structure of Organization
• Reporting System
• Methods of Communication
• Employee Skills and Training
• Employee Needs and Compensation
• Work Environment
• Management Policies and
• Procedures
• Roles and Responsibilities

Key Personnel

Purpose: Describes the unique backgrounds of principle employees involved in business.


• Owner(s)/Employee Education and Experience
• Positions and Roles
• Benefits and Salary
• Duties and Responsibilities
• Objectives and Goals

Potential Problems and Solutions

Purpose: Discussion of problem solving strategies that change issues into opportunities.


• Risks
• Litigation
• Future Competition
• Economic Impact
• Problem Solving Skills

Financial Information

Purpose: Secures needed funding and assistance through worksheets and projections detailing financial plans, methods of repayment, and future growth opportunities.


• Financial Statements
• Bank Loans
• Methods of Repayment
• Tax Returns
• Start-up Costs
• Projected Income (3 years)
• Projected Cash Flow (3 Years)
• Projected Balance Statements (3 years)


Purpose: Supporting documents used to enhance your business proposal.


• Photographs of product, equipment, facilities, etc.
• Copyright/Trademark Documents
• Legal Agreements
• Marketing Materials
• Research and or Studies
• Operation Schedules
• Organizational Charts
• Job Descriptions
• Resumes
• Additional Financial Documentation

Looking for a First-Class Business Plan Consultant?