Simple Business Plan Templates
Smartsheet Contributor Joe Weller
April 2, 2020
In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.
On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.
Simple Business Plan Template
Download Simple Business Plan Template
This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.
One-Page Business Plan Template
Download One-Page Business Plan Template
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business.
For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."
Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template
Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.
For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."
Simple Business Plan for Startup
Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word
This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."
Simple Small-Business Plan Template
Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template
This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.
Lean Business Plan Template
Download Lean Business Plan Template
This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.
Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template
Word | PDF
Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.
Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline
Excel | Smartsheet
This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.
Simple Business Plan Rubric Template
Download Simple Business Plan Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.
Basic Business Plan Sample
Download Basic Business Plan Sample
This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.
For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”
Main Components of a Business Plan
The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business.
Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:
- Company name and contact information
- Website address
- The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
- Table of Contents
- Company background and purpose
- Mission and vision statement
- Management team introduction
- Core product and service offerings
- Target customers and segments
- Marketing plan
- Competitive analysis
- Unique value proposition
- Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
- Business and industry overview
- Historical timeline of your business
- Offerings and the problem they solve
- Current alternatives
- Competitive advantage
- Market size
- Target market segment(s)
- Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
- Differentiation from competitors
- Pricing strategy
- Marketing channels
- Promotional plan
- Distribution methods
- Legal structure of your business
- Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
- Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
- Staffing requirements and training plans
- Physical location(s) of your business
- Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
- Production workflow
- Raw materials and sourcing methods
- Projected income statement
- Projected cash flow statement
- Projected balance sheet
- Break-even analysis
- Charts and graphs
- Market research and competitive analysis
- Information about your industry
- Information about your offerings
- Samples of marketing materials
- Other supporting materials
Tips for Creating a Business Plan
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan.
- Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
- Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
- Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
- Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
- Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
- Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
- Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
- What product or service are we offering?
- Who is the product or service for?
- What problem does our product or service offering solve?
- How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
- Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
- How can we outperform our competitors?
- What is our unique value proposition?
- When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
- If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
- When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
- What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
- When do you expect to be profitable?
To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .
Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template
Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:
- Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
- Provides structure to help outline your plan
- Saves time and valuable resources
- Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details
Limitations of a Business Plan Template
A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.
Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:
- Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
- A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
- Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
- You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
- Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).
Improve Your Business Plan with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet
Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change.
The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.
When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.
Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.
Simple Business Plan Template (2023)
Updated: Dec 16, 2022, 11:45pm
Table of Contents
Why business plans are vital, get your free simple business plan template, how to write an effective business plan in 6 steps, frequently asked questions.
While taking many forms and serving many purposes, they all have one thing in common: business plans help you establish your goals and define the means for achieving them. Our simple business plan template covers everything you need to consider when launching a side gig, solo operation or small business. By following this step-by-step process, you might even uncover a few alternate routes to success.
Whether you’re a first-time solopreneur or a seasoned business owner, the planning process challenges you to examine the costs and tasks involved in bringing a product or service to market. The process can also help you spot new income opportunities and hone in on the most profitable business models.
Though vital, business planning doesn’t have to be a chore. Business plans for lean startups and solopreneurs can simply outline the business concept, sales proposition, target customers and sketch out a plan of action to bring the product or service to market. However, if you’re seeking startup funding or partnership opportunities, you’ll need a write a business plan that details market research, operating costs and revenue forecasting.
Whichever startup category you fall into, if you’re at square one, our simple business plan template will point you down the right path.
Copy our free simple business plan template so you can fill in the blanks as we explore each element of your business plan. Need help getting your ideas flowing? You’ll also find several startup scenario examples below.
Download free template as .docx
Whether you need a quick-launch overview or an in-depth plan for investors, any business plan should cover the six key elements outlined in our free template and explained below. The main difference in starting a small business versus an investor-funded business is the market research and operational and financial details needed to support the concept.
1. Your Mission or Vision
Start by declaring a “dream statement” for your business. You can call this your executive summary, vision statement or mission. Whatever the name, the first part of your business plan summarizes your idea by answering five questions. Keep it brief, such as an elevator pitch. You’ll expand these answers in the following sections of the simple business plan template.
- What does your business do? Are you selling products, services, information or a combination?
- Where does this happen? Will you conduct business online, in-store, via mobile means or in a specific location or environment?
- Who does your business benefit? Who is your target market and ideal customer for your concept?
- Why would potential customers care? What would make your ideal customers take notice of your business?
- How do your products and/or services outshine the competition? What would make your ideal customers choose you over a competitor?
These answers come easily if you have a solid concept for your business, but don’t worry if you get stuck. Use the rest of your plan template to brainstorm ideas and tactics. You’ll quickly find these answers and possibly new directions as you explore your ideas and options.
2. Offer and Value Proposition
This is where you detail your offer, such as selling products, providing services or both, and why anyone would care. That’s the value proposition. Specifically, you’ll expand on your answers to the first and fourth bullets from your mission/vision.
As you complete this section, you might find that exploring value propositions uncovers marketable business opportunities that you hadn’t yet considered. So spend some time brainstorming the possibilities in this section.
For example, a cottage baker startup specializing in gluten-free or keto-friendly products might be a value proposition that certain audiences care deeply about. Plus, you could expand on that value proposition by offering wedding and other special-occasion cakes that incorporate gluten-free, keto-friendly and traditional cake elements that all guests can enjoy.
3. Audience and Ideal Customer
Here is where you explore bullet point number three, who your business will benefit. Identifying your ideal customer and exploring a broader audience for your goods or services is essential in defining your sales and marketing strategies, plus it helps fine-tune what you offer.
There are many ways to research potential audiences, but a shortcut is to simply identify a problem that people have that your product or service can solve. If you start from the position of being a problem solver, it’s easy to define your audience and describe the wants and needs of your ideal customer for marketing efforts.
Using the cottage baker startup example, a problem people might have is finding fresh-baked gluten-free or keto-friendly sweets. Examining the wants and needs of these people might reveal a target audience that is health-conscious or possibly dealing with health issues and willing to spend more for hard-to-find items.
However, it’s essential to have a customer base that can support your business. You can be too specialized. For example, our baker startup can attract a broader audience and boost revenue by offering a wider selection of traditional baked goods alongside its gluten-free and keto-focused specialties.
4. Revenue Streams, Sales Channels and Marketing
Thanks to our internet-driven economy, startups have many revenue opportunities and can connect with target audiences through various channels. Revenue streams and sales channels also serve as marketing vehicles, so you can cover all three in this section.
Revenue streams are the many ways you can make money in your business. In your plan template, list how you’ll make money upon launch, plus include ideas for future expansion. The income possibilities just might surprise you.
For example, our cottage baker startup might consider these revenue streams:
- Product sales : Online, pop-up shops , wholesale and (future) in-store sales
- Affiliate income : Monetize blog and social media posts with affiliate links
- Advertising income : Reserve website space for advertising
- E-book sales : (future) Publish recipe e-books targeting gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
- Video income : (future) Monetize a YouTube channel featuring how-to videos for the gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
- Webinars and online classes : (future) Monetize coaching-style webinars and online classes covering specialty baking tips and techniques
- Members-only content : (future) Monetize a members-only section of the website for specialty content to complement webinars and online classes
- Franchise : (future) Monetize a specialty cottage bakery concept and sell to franchise entrepreneurs
Sales channels put your revenue streams into action. This section also answers the “where will this happen” question in the second bullet of your vision.
The product sales channels for our cottage bakery example can include:
- Mobile point-of-sale (POS) : A mobile platform such as Shopify or Square POS for managing in-person sales at local farmers’ markets, fairs and festivals
- E-commerce platform : An online store such as Shopify, Square or WooCommerce for online retail sales and wholesale sales orders
- Social media channels : Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest shoppable posts and pins for online sales via social media channels
- Brick-and-mortar location : For in-store sales , once the business has grown to a point that it can support a physical location
Channels that support other income streams might include:
- Affiliate income : Blog section on the e-commerce website and affiliate partner accounts
- Advertising income : Reserved advertising spaces on the e-commerce website
- E-book sales : Amazon e-book sales via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
- Video income : YouTube channel with ad monetization
- Webinars and online classes : Online class and webinar platforms that support member accounts, recordings and playback
- Members-only content : Password-protected website content using membership apps such as MemberPress
Nowadays, the line between marketing and sales channels is blurred. Social media outlets, e-books, websites, blogs and videos serve as both marketing tools and income opportunities. Since most are free and those with advertising options are extremely economical, these are ideal marketing outlets for lean startups.
However, many businesses still find value in traditional advertising such as local radio, television, direct mail, newspapers and magazines. You can include these advertising costs in your simple business plan template to help build a marketing plan and budget.
5. Structure, Suppliers and Operations
This section of your simple business plan template explores how to structure and operate your business. Details include the type of business organization your startup will take, roles and responsibilities, supplier logistics and day-to-day operations. Also, include any certifications or permits needed to launch your enterprise in this section.
Our cottage baker example might use a structure and startup plan such as this:
- Business structure : Sole proprietorship with a “doing business as” (DBA) .
- Permits and certifications : County-issued food handling permit and state cottage food certification for home-based food production. Option, check into certified commercial kitchen rentals.
- Roles and responsibilities : Solopreneur, all roles and responsibilities with the owner.
- Supply chain : Bulk ingredients and food packaging via Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon Prime with annual membership costs. Uline for shipping supplies; no membership needed.
- Day-to-day operations : Source ingredients and bake three days per week to fulfill local and online orders. Reserve time for specialty sales, wholesale partner orders and market events as needed. Ship online orders on alternating days. Update website and create marketing and affiliate blog posts on non-shipping days.
6. Financial Forecasts
Your final task is to list forecasted business startup and ongoing costs and profit projections in your simple business plan template. Thanks to free business tools such as Square and free marketing on social media, lean startups can launch with few upfront costs. In many cases, cost of goods, shipping and packaging, business permits and printing for business cards are your only out-of-pocket expenses.
Our cottage baker’s forecasted lean startup costs might include:
Gross Profit Projections
This helps you determine the retail prices and sales volume required to keep your business running and, hopefully, earn income for yourself. Use product research to spot target retail prices for your goods, then subtract your cost of goods, such as hourly rate, raw goods and supplier costs. The total amount is your gross profit per item or service.
Here are some examples of projected gross profits for our cottage baker:
Putting careful thought and detail in a business plan is always beneficial, but don’t get so bogged down in planning that you never hit the start button to launch your business . Also, remember that business plans aren’t set in stone. Markets, audiences and technologies change, and so will your goals and means of achieving them. Think of your business plan as a living document and regularly revisit, expand and restructure it as market opportunities and business growth demand.
Is there a template for a business plan?
Yes, you can copy our free business plan template and fill in the blanks or customize it in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or another word processing app. This free business plan template includes the six key elements that any entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a new business.
What does a simple business plan include?
A simple business plan is a one- to two-page overview covering six key elements that any budding entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a startup. These include your vision or mission, product or service offering, target audience, revenue streams and sales channels, structure and operations, and financial forecasts.
How can I create a free business plan template?
Start with this free simple business plan template that covers the six essential elements of a startup. Once downloaded, you can edit this document in Google Docs or another word processing app and add new sections or subsections to your plan template to meet your specific business plan needs.
What basic items should be included in a business plan?
When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business, an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.
- Best LLC Services
- Best Registered Agent Services
- Best Trademark Registration Services
- Top LegalZoom Competitors
- Best Business Loans
- Best Business Plan Software
- ZenBusiness Review
- LegalZoom LLC Review
- Northwest Registered Agent Review
- Rocket Lawyer Review
- Inc. Authority Review
- Rocket Lawyer vs LegalZoom
- Incfile Review
- Swyft Filings Review
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- LegalZoom vs Incfile
- LegalZoom vs ZenBusiness
- LegalZoom vs Rocket Lawyer
- ZenBusiness vs Incfile
- How To Start A Business
- How to Set Up an LLC
- How to Get a Business License
- LLC Operating Agreement Template
- 501(c)(3) Application Guide
- What is a Business License?
- What is an LLC?
- What is an S Corp?
- What is a C Corp?
- What is a DBA?
- What is a Sole Proprietorship?
- What is a Registered Agent?
- How to Dissolve an LLC
- How to File a DBA
- What Are Articles Of Incorporation?
- Types Of Business Ownership
Next Up In Company Formation
- Best Online Legal Services
- How To Write A Business Plan
- Member-Managed LLC Vs. Manager-Managed LLC
- Starting An S-Corp
- LLC Vs. C Corp
- How Much Does It Cost To Start An LLC?
How To Start A Business In Alabama (2023 Guide)
Zoho desk review 2023: features, pricing & more, what is churn rate & how do you calculate it, what is customer lifetime value (clv), gender pay gap statistics in 2023, u.s digital tipping culture in 2023.
Krista Fabregas is a seasoned eCommerce and online content pro sharing more than 20 years of hands-on know-how with those looking to launch and grow tech-forward businesses. Her expertise includes eCommerce startups and growth, SMB operations and logistics, website platforms, payment systems, side-gig and affiliate income, and multichannel marketing. Krista holds a bachelor's degree in English from The University of Texas at Austin and held senior positions at NASA, a Fortune 100 company, and several online startups.
Explore premium templates
Business plan templates take your business to the next level
If you’re starting a new business, or changing or expanding an existing one, it’s critical to have a solid plan to guide your decisions. A Microsoft business plan template can help get you started. Business plan templates offer step-by-step instructions and prefabricated slides for your executive summary, company overview, financial plan, and more. You’ll even find a business plan template for specific industries including business plan templates in Word for healthcare providers, professional services, and retail. Enlist your management team, or for a sole proprietor, trusted family and friends, to contribute to your plan using a checklist business plan template in Excel. Assign tasks and deadlines to keep everyone accountable and on track. There are also free business plan templates to help you determine your business’ legal structure, define your target audience, and map out your marketing plan. Explore all the business plan template options to find what suits your needs.
Simple 30-60-90 Day Business Plan Template PDF This template is designed to help you develop and implement a 90-day business plan by breaking it down into manageable chunks of time. Use the space provided to detail your main goals and deliverables for each timeframe, and then add the steps necessary to achieve your objectives.
Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template Word | PDF This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more.
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.
Build Your Business Plan tool. Use the checklist to measure where you are in the process of collecting the necessary material. As you progress, refer to the Build Your Business Plan tool for additional business plan writing support as needed. Let’s begin charting your path to writing your business plan! Note: Checkpoints in . italicized bold
Get Your Free Simple Business Plan Template Copy our free simple business plan template so you can fill in the blanks as we explore each element of your business plan. Need help...
PowerPoint Business plan (Design) Word Business report (Professional design) Word Explore premium templates Business contrast presentation (widescreen) PowerPoint Business project plan presentation (widescreen) PowerPoint Healthcare business plan Word Business services proposal Word Business plan checklist Excel Project communication plan Word