Woman uses pen to draft her business plan

Business plan template: word document

Effective planning can be the difference between success and failure. That’s why business plans are so important. They help you to define what your business is, where it’s going and how it can achieve its goals. Our business plan template walks you through the different components of a strong business plan, which can be customised to suit your business or industry.

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This business plan template covers five key areas 

1. Your executive summary 

2. Your business profile, including the organisational structure and operations model

3. Your market, including industry analysis, SWOT analysis and marketing plan

4. Your business future, including a vision statement and mission statement

5. Your finances, including current and past performance, assumptions and expected cash flow


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How to use this template

Before you complete this template, there are several things you should consider.

1.  Skim-read the document: Read over the entire template first and decide which sections are relevant for your business. Set aside the sections that don’t apply to your business. You can always go back to these at a later time.

2. Do your research: You’ll need a solid understanding of your business and its direction before you can start on your business plan. Gather and review any existing documents you have on your businesses structure, industry and competitors, marketing strategies and finances, or start having a think about these key areas ahead of starting.

3. Decide who the plan is for: Determining who your business plan is for, as well as its overall purpose, will help to guide its tone and content. The more specific your answers are, the more useful your plan will be.

4. Follow the [italicised text] directions: Each section of the template contains italicised text, which can be used to help guide your responses. Keep in mind that not all responses will be applicable to your business.

5. Consider professional advice: If you’re struggling with your business plan, enlist the help of a professional. Business advisors, Business Enterprise Centres and accountants can help you create your plan, or look through your existing plan and offer advice.

6. New vs. established businesses: If your business is just starting out, use expected figures in your plan. Be sure to indicate that these are estimates. Established business can rely on their actual figures.

7. Leave your summary until the end: Finish all sections applicable to your business before you start on the summary. The summary should be short and to the point. It should include only the most important details and sell yourself and the business so that prospective banks, investors, partners or wholesalers can quickly read your plan and understand your current and future position.

8. Review your plan: Proofread your final plan for errors and ask team members to do the same. An inaccurate plan will reflect poorly on your business and cause confusion going forward.

9. Remove the disclaimer text from page 18: Be sure to do this before you finalise your business plan.

Disclaimer: The template and guidance provided is general in nature. The template and guidance has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before using the template and/or acting on any guidance you should consider the appropriateness of same having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decisions, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, accounting and other professional advice.