How to Create a Business Plan: A Template for Startups
A business plan is a written description of business goals and objectives and how to achieve them. It is a roadmap that defines the direction of the business and identifies the strategies needed to achieve specific objectives and succeed in the competitive business world.
Business loan applications further demonstrate the importance of a business plan. If you seek financing from lenders, you need to present a detailed business plan to convince them that your business is capable of earning profits to satisfy the repayment within its agreed term.
Elements of a Good Business Plan
The ideal business plan doesn’t have to be too lengthy and excessively detailed but should be comprehensive enough to prove that you truly understand your niche and you know how to achieve your business goals. It should also be sensible and engaging to convince your investors and lenders to believe in your projects.
Apart from the title page and the appendices at the end of the document, a business plan is typically composed of the following elements:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Sales and Marketing
- Organization and Management Plan
- Financial Plan
The Business Plan: A Template for Starters
If you’re ready to make a business plan but don't know where to start, use this template to get the ball rolling. Then, personalise it according to your business idea.
The first page of your business plan provides general information about its content. It also bears your business logo, usually positioned at the top or bottom of the page.
Your title page should look like the following:
(Your business logo here)
Business Plan for (Your business name as registered in your state/territory)
Main Business Address
Contact Details (Phone, Email and Website)
Australian Business Number (If you’ve already registered for an ABN)
Australian Company Number (If you’re a company)
Date (of business plan completion)
Optional information to include:
Revision History Table (If you’ve made changes to your plan)
Communication Strategy Table (Details of who will communicate your plan and how often)
Presented to: (Name of the company or company representative)
Table of Contents:
I. Executive Summary...............................................Page #
II. Company Description…….....................................Page #
III. Products and/or Services………….……..………….Page #
IV. Sales and Marketing……........................................Page #
V. Operations…….…………………..................................Page #
VI. Organization and Management..........................Page #
VII. Financial Plan...........................................................Page #
VIII. Appendices……………............................................Page #
I. Executive Summary
The executive summary is the entire business plan in miniature. It is an overview of your business idea that consolidates all the main points into a typical one- or two-page statement. It appears on the front pages but is usually written last when all the elements have been defined.
One of the most critical parts of the business plan, the executive summary can make or break the interest of an investor or lender into reading the rest of the document and eventually taking part in your business project. Thus, it is essential to make the executive summary clear, logical and exciting.
II. Company Description
This section provides detailed information about your business, including its formation background and its purpose or reason for existing. It should discuss in detail how your business can address the problems it seeks to resolve and how it can reach out to the customers or clients it plans to serve. It should also tackle your business’s competitive advantage over its competitors and what would make it more successful.
A company description includes:
- History of Formation
- Mission, Vision and Goals
- Founder and Core Executives
- Location and Geographical Markets Served
- Current Business Status
- Notable Achievements, if any
III. Products and Services
This section describes all the products and services that your company is offering. It should position your offerings as the solution to the identified problems that your business seeks to resolve. You must also highlight its benefits to our customers. In general, this section identifies and defines your company’s core products or services, including the:
- Description of their features, functionality and development stages
- Presentation of any positive results from previous studies and researches
- Presentation of screenshots or diagrams
- Current pricing
- Discussion of future products or services to develop and their expected roll-out
IV. Sales and Marketing Plan
Another important element of your business plan is your sales and marketing strategy. It defines your target market and discusses your plans to attract customers amidst the competition. It also tackles your future advertising and marketing activities to meet your business objectives within a set time frame.
This section also provides an estimate of the budget you need to achieve your sales target. Presenting a budget forecast is important because it helps your potential lenders or investors know how much funds you need to raise.
In general, your sales and marketing plan should cover:
- Target Market Research - Total Market Size and Total Addressable Market (TAM)
- Target Customer Personas
- Competition Market Research
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) Analysis
- Brand and Product/Service Positioning
- Elevator Pitches and Taglines
- Marketing Strategies and Marketing Channels
- Marketing Study Results, if any
- Marketing Budget
- Estimates of Cost Per Action (CPAs)
This section outlines the procedures and timelines in establishing your brand, developing your products or services and reaching your business goals. Aside from discussing the physical necessities of your business's operation, it also defines the roles and responsibilities of your employees in line with your company’s strategic goals and objectives.
Your operations plan should tackle:
- Facilities, technology and equipment needs
- Supply chain management
- Logistics and distribution
- Order and fulfilment processes
- Quality control checks
- Legal and accounting needs
VI. Organization and Management
This section discusses how your business is structured, who’s involved, and who’s in charge of whom. It provides details about your core team and what each member brings to the business, including:
- Founder(s) and Executive Team
- Owner(s) and Shareholders
- Board of Directors
- Department Heads
- Key Team Members
VII. Financial Plan
This essential section discusses every aspect of your business finances and offers an honest picture of the current status of your business and what it can become if you have the needed funding. Aside from a concise explanation of your cash flow and financial projections, you can also discuss your startup cost and capitalization requirements, as well as your funding and financing requests. If you’re seeking business financing, include your projected loan repayment schedules and the financial milestones you expect to hit after utilizing the funds.
Your financial plan should include:
- Business Expenses
- Income Statement
- Cash Flow Projection
- Balance Sheet
- Break-even analysis
This last section of your business plan includes all supporting information, references and required documentation, including:
- Documents on incorporation and registration
- Résumé of the founder, owner and key team members
- Licenses, insurances and trademarks and patent registrations
- Contracts and appraisals
- Relevant studies and publications
Large organizations typically have a hundred-page-long business plan, but it is best to create a short but concise business plan if you’re running a small business. Ideally, it should be around 30 pages minus the images of the business location or site plan, facilities and products or services. Avoid wordy descriptions to keep the attention and apprehension of your potential lenders or investors.
Positive Lending Solutions helps all business owners across Australia get easy access to financing to fund different business goals. Request a Quick Quote or call 1300 722 210 to talk to one of our loan specialists.