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Making a Risk Management Plan for Your Business

It’s impossible to eliminate all business risk. Therefore, it’s essential for having a plan for its management. You’ll be developing one covering compliance, environmental, financial, operational and reputation risk management. These guidelines are for making a risk management plan for your business.

Developing Your Executive Summary

When you start the risk management plan with an executive summary, you’re breaking apart what it will be compromised of into easy to understand chunks. Even though this summary is the project’s high-level overview, the goal is describing the risk management plan’s approach and scope. In doing so, you’re informing all stakeholders regarding what to expect when they’re reviewing these plans so that they can set their expectations appropriately.

Who Are the Stakeholders and What Potential Problems Need Identifying?

During this phase of making the risk management plan, you’re going to need to have a team meeting. Every member of the team must be vocal regarding what they believe could be potential problems or risks. Stakeholders should also be involved in this meeting as well to help you collect ideas regarding what could become a potential risk. All who are participating should look at past projects, what went wrong, what is going wrong in current projects and what everyone hopes to achieve from what they learned from these experiences. During this session, you’ll be creating a sample risk management plan that begins to outline risk management standards and risk management strategies.

Evaluate the Potential Risks Identified

A myriad of internal and external sources can pose as risks including commercial, management and technical, for example. When you’re identifying what these potential risks are and have your list complete, the next step is organizing it according to importance and likelihood. Categorize each risk according to how it could impact your project. For example, does the risk threaten to throw off timelines or budgets? Using a risk breakdown structure is an effective way to help ensure all potential risks are effectively categorized and considered. Use of this risk management plan template keeps everything organized and paints a clear picture of everything you’re identifying.

Assign Ownership and Create Responses

It’s essential to ensure a team member is overseeing each potential risk. That way, they can jump into action should an issue occur. Those who are assigned a risk, as well as the project manager, should work as a team to develop responses before problems arise. That way, if there are issues, the person overseeing the risk can refer to the response that was predetermined.

Have a System for Monitoring

Having effective risk management companies plans includes having a system for monitoring. It’s not wise to develop a security risk management or compliance risk management plan, for example, without having a system for monitoring. What this means is there’s a system for monitoring in place to ensure risk doesn’t occur until the project is finished. In doing so, you’re ensuring no new risks will potentially surface. If one does, like during the IT risk management process, for example, your team will know how to react.


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A business plan is a formal document detailing the goals that the business will have.

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Are you starting an accounting business? Our accounting business plan can help you establish exactly what you need to successfully start your business.

Starting an automotive business? Our automotive business plan will help you get on the road to success!

Opening your own bakery? Let our bakery business plan help guide you to sweet success!

Opening your own childcare business? Our childcare business plan can help guide you to success.

Starting a coffee shop? Our coffee shop business plan can help you with everything from plotting financial information to helping you determine what sets you apart from your competitors.

Do you want to run a food truck? This food truck business plan will put you on the road to success.

Starting a Graphic Design business? Our Graphic Design business plan takes the stress out of getting your business ready to launch.

Opening a Grocery Store? A grocery Store business plan can help you with everything from plotting your inventory to social media marketing.

Needing to start a Housekeeping business? A housekeeping business plan can help set you apart from the competition. (Can help you sweep your competition under the rug, and out the door.)

Starting a law firm? From a small private practice to a large corporate firm, our law firm business plan can help you get started.

Opening you own Pharmacy? Our Pharmacy business plan can help you get ahead in this competitive industry.

Starting a restaurant? From fast food to fine dining our restaurant business plan can help you with getting investors, or anything else before you open your doors.

Opening a retail store? A retail store business plan can help you improve your chance for success.

Starting a small business? Our business plan for small business is you guide to success.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a written document describing your business and outlining its future. Business plans serve several purposes for those starting a new venture. They're often a first line of communication between your company and potential investors. Therefore, business plans provide, in one sense, the "first impression" of your business to potential investors. Additionally, business plans are often used to attract desired employees, create greater continuity with suppliers, and in many other situations that call for a succinct explanation of your company's identity and aspirations.

Who Needs One?

Startups/new businesses.

Any new business, especially startups, need a business plan. The document is an essential tool to identify need and address uncertainty (e.g. sales projections, operating costs, expense budgets, etc.).

Framework of a Startup's Business Plan:

Existing Businesses

Business plans are also important tools for existing businesses, even those with an established history of success.

Framework(s) of an Existing Business Plan:

What about Freelancers?

In general, freelancers do not need one. However, if you are a freelancer that intends to devote a significant amount of time, resources, money and energy in a specific field or on a specific set of skills, a business plan can be a beneficial tool to make sure you maximize your potential as a freelancer.

Choosing the right plan for your business

Depending on your goals and needs, there are different business plans to consider.

Basic business plans include:

Succinct Business Plan

Internal Business Plan: For startups and existing businesses

External Business Plan, or Standard Business Plan

How to do an initial assessment of your business

There are many ways to assess your business. In our view, however, all useful assessments include the following:

Mission Statement

Break Even Analysis

Market Analysis

Contents of a Business Plan

Overview: Business plans should identify both the current strengths of a business and areas of opportunity or improvement.

Components of a Business plan

We recommend that each proposal have the following components:

This should include your name, title and contact information; the name of your company; the name of the person you are contacting.

Executive Summary

Think of this section as the first impression of your plan, which is the first impression of your company. The summary should begin with your mission statement. Your mission statement needs to be well thought out.

Think of it as follows: how, in one or two sentences, would you describe your business? If a potential investor remembers nothing else, what core idea or concept do you want them to take away from your plan. The rest of the summary should provide a succinct overview of the highlights of the business plan and must be compelling enough to convince readers to continue reading.

Highlights include:

Furthermore, your executive summary should be written as a stand alone document. In other words, a reader should be able to understand the summary and your company without having to consult other sections of the plan.

Recommendation: write your executive summary last, after you complete the rest of your business plan. Doing so will give you a better sense of what to highlight in your summary.

Executing Your Business Plan

Every business plan is unique; therefore, the execution of each plan is also unique. It is therefore imperative that you have a general understanding of how you will execute your specific business. Doing so will help you identify the important questions, and subsequently craft answers for potential investors. The biggest of which being how are you going to make your business work? With that in mind, there are multiple elements to the implementation of virtually all business plans.

They include:

Marketing & Sales


Summary of your Business' Key Elements

1. products and services.

This should include further detail about the problem you are solving, how your products or services do so, your competitive advantage in the market, etc.

2. Target Market

Who are your customers? This is essential to crafting your sales processes and marketing campaigns.

3. Marketing Plan

How are you going to market to your target audience?

4. Milestones & Metrics

What are your short term and long term goals? When do you plan on hitting those targets? Who on your team is responsible for each of those goals? How will you track growth and measure success?

Metrics are different for each business. Common metrics include:

5. Management

Since internal business plans will only circulate within your company, this section is only necessary for standard/external business plans. It should include short biographies of each team member that details how they are uniquely qualified for their position.

Financial Overview

Profit and loss statement.

Details how your business will earn profits or lose money over time (generally three months).

Should include:

Cash Flow Statement

How much cash is brought in and paid out? What is the cash balance (generally per 1 month)?

Cash vs Accrual Accounting: the two methods of accounting

Balance Sheet

Snapshot of the business' financial position at a specific moment in time.

The following equation should balance out: Liabilities + Equity = Assets.

Sales Forecast

How much do you anticipate you will sell in a certain period of time (1-3 years)?

You should provide answers to the following questions:

How much revenue do you need to generate in order to break even and cover all of your expenses?

Supplementary Documents

In addition to the main document, you should provide an appendix containing resumes, personal financial statements, credit reports, lease copies, and reference letters for every major player in your startup, as well as copies of contracts, other legal documents and any other pertinent documents, at the end of your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

1. Keep it concise 2. Keep your reader in mind 3. Make sure the language, prose, and jargon is easy for your target audience to understand


Needs Analysis: What evidence do you have that your target community needs the services your non-profit will provide? Alternatively, are there existing organizations offering similar services? How is your non-profit different from similar organizations, or how does it address an unfulfilled need in your target community?

Outline for a Business Plan for Non-Profits

A business plan is an essential part of getting your business off the ground. It is also an important tool for existing businesses to map out their future, optimize performance and manage growth. Well-executed business plans serve as a go-to guide detailing your business, its identity, its offerings, its financial status, and its path forward. They offer a quick but thorough introduction to potential investors, employees and anyone else looking to quickly get up to speed about your company. Effective business plans can mean the difference between whether or not your business attracts the capital and talent it needs to thrive, or whether an existing business is able to reach its full potential. We hope this guide is an asset in producing the best business plan possible.

What is SWOT?

SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats.

SWOT analysis is a methodological tool designed to help workers and companies optimize performance, maximize potential, manage competition, and minimize risk. SWOT is about making better decisions, both large and small. It can help you determine the efficacy of something as small as introducing a new product or service or something as large as a merger or acquisition. Again, SWOT is a method that, once mastered, can only enhance performance.

The Essential Guide to SWOT Analysis is a well-researched, well-written, and well-rounded guide co-authored by Justin Gomer and Jackson Hille.


Who Should Use This Guide?

Because SWOT is a method, anyone can use it for any business purpose, large or small. Whether you are a large team in a Fortune 500 Company assessing the utility of a USP, or an individual worker taking stock of your current or future position/role, this guide will serve as a useful tool.

Why Use This Guide?

Why Use This Guide?

Your company is at risk! At risk of immobility, that is. Stasis is the enemy of any business. SWOT analysis is the antidote for stasis. This guide offers a comprehensive introduction to SWOT.

This guide is easy to read, concise, and driven by examples. More importantly, it is informed by extensive research on SWOT in leading business journals and magazines.

How Should This Guide Be Used?

How To Use This Guide?

We designed this guide to work from all angles and for people with different levels of familiarity with SWOT.

For newcomers to the method, we suggest you read the guide start to finish, in order to familiarize yourself with SWOT's history and applicability.

For SWOT experts, while we think it is always helpful to review the basics, scroll down to the sections on which you need more information, maybe sections specific to your type of organization (e.g. non-profit). Maybe you just want to check out our SWOT Matrix Templates. We encourage you to jump around as you wish!


A Brief History of SWOT

SWOT Analysis was the product of a decade of research at the Stanford Research Institute between 1960-1970. By the late-1950s, many American Corporations had grown frustrated that their significant financial investments in strategic business planning had failed to produce acceptable results. So, in 1960 a number of these corporations initiated a project at Stanford to develop a better method for strategic planning. The result was SWOT.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

When to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

When should you conduct a SWOT analysis? There are countless situations in which a SWOT analysis will prove beneficial.

If any of these questions speak to your organization's needs, a SWOT analysis can significantly help.

Ultimately, if it is beneficial to re-examine your position within your market niche (Weaknesses, Threats from competitors) and identify your core benefits (Strengths) and determine how those can open new areas of growth (Opportunities), a SWOT Analysis will prove an asset.

Why Conduct a SWOT Analysis?

Why SWOT it out? A SWOT analysis provides organizations with an opportunity to accurately assess their position in their particular market or field. As the Kansas University Work Group For Community Health And Development writes, "Developing a full awareness of your situation can help with both strategic planning and decision-making."

A SWOT analysis, which offers "simplicity and application to a variety of levels of operation," is an ideal way to develop such awareness, which can then be used to craft a sound strategy that capitalizes on an organization's internal strengths and external opportunities, while simultaneously addressing (internal) weaknesses and (external) threats. Moreover, although "originally developed for business and industry," SWOT Analysis "is equally useful in the work of community health and development, education, and even personal growth."

S.W.O.T. - Breaking Down the Components of SWOT

Once you've identified the subject of your SWOT analysis, it is time to begin. SWOT consists of four components--Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These four components are organized into two categories--internal and external. That is, look internally for Strengths and Weaknesses, and look externally for Opportunities and Threats.

S.W.O.T. - Breaking Down the Components of SWOT

Once you've identified the subject of your analysis (e.g. should we add x product to our lineup?), it is time to identify your strengths. Quality and reliability, for example, should always be strengths for any organization. More specifically, Charlie Ioannou defines strengths as "the resources and capabilities that can be used to develop a competitive advantage" (Ioannue, SWOT Analysis - An Easy to Understand Guide, 47-49).

This brings us to perhaps the most important aspect of the Strengths assessment: it is imperative that you analyze your strengths(and weaknesses) in relation to your competitors. In other words, what are the unique features of your company--a well-established company with established brand trust, lower production costs, superior customer service, stronger web presence, etc.--that will provide a competitive advantage? Identify those and you've identified your strengths.

Now identify your weaknesses. The more honest you are here the better. One way to think of weakness is the absence of strength. Therefore, the items of your business model you did not identify as strengths above are the first place to look for weaknesses. Cash flow, brand recognition, marketing budgets, distribution networks, age of your company, etc. are all places to consider when assessing weaknesses. The idea here is that you'll turn these weaknesses into strengths. Doing so, however, requires an honest assessment of where your company needs to improve.

Now that you've looked internally for Strengths and Weaknesses, its time to look externally for Opportunities and Threats. Opportunities and Threats interact similarly to Strengths and Weaknesses. That is, they draw on similar dynamics (external ones, in this case) to assess whether those create opportunities or threats to your business.


Here is where you identify the opportunities for growth, greater profit, and larger market share. Again, assessing opportunity in relation to competition is imperative. What opportunities are there for you to distinguish your company from your competitors? What opportunities can you identify to offer a similar service or product at a higher quality or at a lower price than your competition? What are the needs of your customers that your field does not currently address?

Technology is an external factor that always presents new opportunities and, as we shall see, new threats. What technological innovations open up new opportunities for your business to lower costs, speed up production, market more effectively, or improve customer service?

The key with Opportunities is that they must be acted on. Remember, if you don't act your competitors will.

Lastly, in which areas is your company at risk? Is your competitor developing a product to compete with one of yours? Is there a new or bigger company poaching your best employees? These are all threats to your business.

The Harvard Business Reviews defines "Threats" as "possible events or forces outside of your control that your company or unit needs to plan for or decide how to mitigate."

What about new legislation? Does a new law or proposed law threaten your production costs? What about new tax laws? A yes to any of these equals a threat.

Lastly, just as technological innovation may provide an opportunity, it can also issue a threat.

Threats to the business now include lawsuits over insurance liability, legislation proposing banning the service, and higher profit-margins at competing companies.

Putting Your SWOT into Action

Choosing an action plan after a SWOT analysis is a complicated process that is specific to each decision in each company. However, there is a general philosophy regarding how to approach action with the results of a SWOT. Here it is:

Putting Your SWOT into Action

Another important thing to remember is that the purpose of a SWOT analysis is to assess your organization's current position. Therefore, as the University of Kansas encourages, use your SWOT to look for a "stretch," not just a "fit." SWOT's are often improperly used to justify complacency and verify current practices. If you are conducting a SWOT to identify areas of need and/or growth, it is imperative you use the analysis to diagnose where you can "stretch."

SWOT Examples From Various Industries

Below are descriptions of and links to a series of SWOT analyses in a variety of industries to help get you started:

Tech Start-Up

We drew from the first in our example above. The second, is driven by the following questions: "Is Uber prepared to rule the transport world in 2015?." What does Uber's future look like? "Should they expand further without decreasing the impact of weaknesses that they are already aware of or will Uber's expansion be held up by surrounding threats?"

Uber's low cost, unlimited fleet of cars, convenience of use and flexibility of driver schedule are some of its key strengths. Its unpredictable customer volume and the ease of imitation make up central weaknesses. That Uber's services are only offered in a handful of metropolitan areas provides significant opportunities in suburbs and untapped cities. Lawsuits and proposed legislation to ban the service in certain cities, moreover, comprise Uber's most serious threats.

Here are two SWOTs from major film companies. In the first, Warner Brothers Entertainment conducted this SWOT in 2004 after their President decided to re-evaluate the company's approach to movie production in light of the popularity of big-budget "blockbusters."

Warner Brother's brand recognition, size, and cash reserves were obvious strengths, while the fluid and subjective process of purchasing scripts and green-lighting films, as well as unpredictable film budgets and production timelines made up key weaknesses. Growing audiences abroad provided the most significant opportunity, while upstart film companies and piracy posed significant threats.

In the second example, DreamWorks Animation explores distribution options in light of the popularity of the company's 3D films. Written against the backdrop of the Great Recession, the SWOT Analysis focused on whether the opportunities presented by producing all films in 3D from inception could counteract the threats of a general economic downturn, which was depressing overall box office receipts. DreamWorks had the ability to take advantage of the opportunity in 3D film production because of its two central strengths: a large animated film inventory, such as the Shrek franchise, and an attractive work environment for creatives. Capitalizing on the expanding opportunity of the 3D film market in a successful manner would allow DreamWorks to overcome at least one of its main weaknesses: a sinking stock price, precipitated by the downturn at the box office.

Yahoo! Sports columnist Glenn Logan completed this SWOT analysis of the University of Kentucky's Men's Basketball Team at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 pre-season in order to assess the team's chances to win the NCAA National Title.

As Logan assessed, Kentucky's size, depth, and unselfish play were its biggest strengths while free-throw and 3-point shooting some of its greatest weaknesses. Surveying the rest of the NCAA landscape, Logan concluded UK's tough out-of-conference schedule along with its international pre-season tournament trip afforded unique opportunities to gain useful experience for a deep run in March, while youth and injury posed their largest threats.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission posted a SWOT worksheet in advance of a Webinar on their Open Government program. In this case, SWOT provided an opportunity for employees to brainstorm and prepare their assessments of the program in advance of the more thorough evaluation of the Open Government at the Webinar.

For the NRC's Open Government program, the live feeds of meetings and blog casts create transparency and accessibility for viewers and employees. In terms of weaknesses, the somewhat convoluted website made it difficult to find certain information. Employees identified social media--Twitter, Facebook, etc.--as areas of opportunity and the difficulty of balancing transparency while maintaining full public confidence as a significant threat.

Lastly, here are two examples of SWOTs for small businesses. The first example discusses the restaurant business and the second the construction industry, While these examples do not refer to specific companies, they nonetheless offer insightful information on the specifics of SWOTs in their respective industries.

For a restaurant, high-quality food, price, taste, and customer service are all areas to look for strengths. These areas can also reveal weaknesses. Could your customer service improve? Are your prices competitive? Is your food delicious? Adding online ordering or delivery service may provide an opportunity to generate new business, while new competing restaurants and changes to the cost of food (e.g. a rise in the price of fish) pose areas of threat.

In construction, a trusted and reliable brand name as well as a consistent ability to complete work on schedule are major strengths. Conversely, delays or the inability to perform certain work are weaknesses. In terms of new opportunities, consider examining your city's plans to expand public transportation and how such an expansion provides new opportunity for business and residential construction. As the housing bubble demonstrated, fluctuations in the housing market pose the biggest threat (or opportunity in times of economic boom).

From SWOT to TOWS? Flipping The Script To Maximize Results

Are we SWOTing all wrong? There is a school of thought, found often in the Harvard Business Review, for example,that insists this method produces more effective results when done backwards--TOWS rather than SWOT. Here's Michael Watkins, cofounder of Genesis Advisors, in HBR:

I would introduce the [SWOT] tool, then ask the team to focus on identifying organizational strengths and weaknesses, and end up in abstract, navel-gazing discussions about "what are we good at" and "what are we bad at."

I decided to experiment with running the process in the reverse order and was amazed at the difference. Teams were able to have focused, productive discussions about what was going on in the external environment, and to rapidly identify emerging threats and opportunities. This provided a solid foundation for talking about weaknesses and strengths. Do we have weaknesses that leave us vulnerable to emerging threats? Do we have (or can we acquire) strengths that enable us to pursue emerging opportunities?

We suggest you experiment with both. Try it frontwards and backwards and figure out which results work best for your team.

SWOT Templates

We can help you get started. Select a template below and begin analyzing your business.

Standard SWOT

Further Reading

Fine, Lawrence.The SWOT Analysis. (2011)

Ioannou, Charlie. SWOT Analysis: An Easy to Understand Guide. (2012)

SWOT Analysis I: Looking Outside for Threats and Opportunities. Harvard Business School Press.(2005)

SWOT Analysis II: Looking Inside for Strengths and Weaknesses. Harvard Business School Press.(2005)

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Highlights & SWOT Samples

Ultimately, if it is beneficial to:

a SWOT Analysis will prove an asset.

Although "originally developed for business and industry," SWOT Analysis "is equally useful in the work of community health and development, education, and even personal growth."

Along the way, we'll create a sample SWOT analysis for an app-based taxi service by providing examples of what such a company might include in each section.

Uber (logo) + lyft (logo)


For the next two examples, we are going to step back to the inception of app-based taxi companies.

With this in mind, consider the impact of companies like Uber or Lyft on traditional taxi businesses. Leveraging app-based technology proved a serious opportunity for the former to enter the taxi market.

Current opportunities include untapped markets (companies like Uber only operate in a handful of cities) and additional transportation services (e.g. a Lyft school bus?!)

Just as new mobile technology afforded a significant opportunity for new taxi companies like Uber and Lyft, it simultaneously posed a serious threat to existing cab companies who could not incorporate the technology.


Restaurant: Adding online ordering or delivery service may provide an opportunity to generate new business, while new competing restaurants and changes to the cost of food (e.g. a rise in the price of fish) pose areas of threat.

Construction: In terms of new opportunities, consider examining your city's plans to expand public transportation and how such an expansion provides new opportunity for business and residential construction.

Let's return to our Uber/Lyft example. The entire existence of app-based taxi services arose out of the Threat new mobile technology posed to traditional taxi companies. Had one of those companies identified the Threat far enough in advance, they could have seen that a taxi-app actually provided their business with an Opportunity for customers to more efficiently and conveniently hail a cab.

Once that Threat was translated into an Opportunity for a particular cab company, they could have assessed the Weaknesses in their company that left them vulnerable to the emerging Threat (i.e. the lack of technological investment or infrastructure to develop a similar app), and strategized how to address those weaknesses and capitalize on their Strengths (i.e. full-time experienced drivers, well-established driving infrastructure, etc.) to stay at the forefront of the taxi business

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What is a Business Plan ?

A business plan is a written document or presentation that allows business leaders to share the business potential and goals, as well as your plans for the future. The business plan is a key step in working towards getting investors looking at your product.

If you're looking to flesh out a new business idea or venture in order to get cofounders or investors on board, you need a business plan. Get started with one of our templates to give you a starting point and framework for your own plan.

Slides from our business plan presentation template available in Visme.

Why do I need a business plan?

Writing a business plan is a key step in securing funding and convincing high level executives that your business is worth their time. A well-executed business plan is crucial to the success of a business and it’s one of the first steps you should take.

Make Your Business Plan Stand Out

Take your business to new heights with a beautifully designed business plan. Our tools put the power of visual communication in the hands of entrepreneurs and business owners, no matter their level of design skills.


Highlight your business’ unique selling point with interactive hotspots and rollover effects. Capture the attention of investors and stakeholders with interactive content.



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How to Make a Business Plan in 5 Steps

If you are wondering how to write a business plan, you’ve come to the right place. Instead of starting your business plan from scratch, use our business plan templates to get you going in no time.

Learn more about creating your own business plan presentation or document by going through our step-by-step tutorial below or watching this quick video.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It’s 100% free to make a business plan with Visme. You can also download your plan as a JPEG for free. To download as a PNG, PDF or PPTX, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan.

Visme has 40+ charts and diagrams available to our users. Use multiple types in your business plan to find the best way to display your information in a clear way.

Absolutely! Your brand kit can be used to customize any type of template or design inside Visme’s editor. To create a brand kit, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan.

Yes! All templates within Visme are infinitely customizable, not just business plan templates. You can pick a starting point for your design and edit each and every aspect of it to fit your vision.

You sure can! All the images are available for both personal and commercial use, so feel free to use any photo from the stock photo library within your label.

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Answer a few questions to take one of the first steps in creating your business

Our free tool for young entrepreneurs will ask you a few questions about your business and then Rising Innovator will take that information and generate a downloadable PDF document.

A business plan is an essential document that outlines how you turn your dreams into reality — it’s a a step-by-step guide to growing your business.

You’ll be prompted to provide basic information about your company, your goals, details about your products and services, market research and strategy, and cash flow projections. Then it will compile your answers to the questions into a document you can use to guide you as you build your business.

And if you need help, we provide tips and and examples to help you fill out the fields in each step.

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Interested in starting a business ? Creating a business plan is one of the most important steps you will take when creating a business. A Business Plan serves as a road map for the early years of your business. The business plan generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to reach its yearly milestones, including revenue projections. A well thought out plan also helps you to step-back and think objectively about the key elements of your business venture and informs your decision-making on a regular basis.

Our Business Plan Generator provides you with a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Go through each section answering the basic questions we have provided. As you complete each section it will be marked with a check-mark. If you get stuck, make sure to check out the help tabs, marked with a question mark (?) to guide you further.

If you would like a comprehensive paid business planning software, LivePlan (read review) is an option worth considering.

Creating an account allows you to save your Business Plan at any time and come back to finish it later. We understand everyone works at their own pace, so take a break and come back with a fresh mind.

Once completed you will have the option to download a PDF of the full Business Plan. Print it off and share with potential investors, friends, family, or just yourself.

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Venngage Business Plan Maker

Create a compelling and convincing business plan online with Venngage. Templates available for your every need, whether it's business plans, financial plans, marketing plans, and more.

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Not a designer? No problem. With our easy-to-edit templates and online business plan generator, anyone can create a professional business plan for free. Over 40,000 businesses already use and trust Venngage.

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Launch a profitable business with a visually engaging business plan

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Your business is unique and impactful — so should your business plan. Make sure the plan you share with investors, lenders, and other stakeholders is not only packed with key data and information but visually engaging too.

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Looking to make your business plan stand out from the pack? Venngage's unique business plan templates add serious style to your ideas. Venngage's Business Plan Builder is a fraction of the cost of hiring a writer — you can even try creating a business plan for free.

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Whether you're looking for a traditional business plan format or something more creative, Venngage's easy-to-edit business plan templates let anyone design business plans. No experience required. Free business plan templates available.

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Nothing's better to convince your stakeholders than some sweet data that speaks volume. Engage and persuade your investors by visualizing your business plan data with Venngage's unique charts, graphs and diagrams.

Create a winning business plan with Venngage in 5 steps:

Create a winning business plan with Venngage in 5 steps:

Design an unforgettable and convincing business plan today:

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Business Plan Templates

Save money and hours of design time with Venngage's easy-to-edit templates and free business plan generator. Free online business plan templates available.

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Easy-to-Use Editor

Venngage's online business plan builder is intuitive to use. The drag-and-drop editor means faster and better designs even when you don't have design experience.

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Download Business Plans

Download your document with one click as an image (PNG), PDF, Interactive PDF or PowerPoint file. Add it to your Google Docs or Slides, Word doc or existing PowerPoint slides (paid plans only).

Visualize Business Plan Data

Visualize Business Plan Data

Persuade your stakeholders and tell a story with your business plan data through charts, graphs, maps and diagrams. Copy and paste your data or upload it in a .csv file in one click.

Brand Your Business Plans

Brand Your Business Plans

Use Venngage's My Brand Kit to automatically import your brand identity. Then, add your brand colors and fonts to any business plan designs with one click.

Collaborate In Real Time

Collaborate In Real Time

Collaborate with your whole team with Venngage's real-time collaboration. Leave helpful feedback through comments and create impactful business plans.

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Easy-to-edit professional business plan templates

One-click branding with My Brand Kit

One-click branding with My Brand Kit

Show off important metrics with professional data visualizations

Collaborate with your whole team throughout the design process.

Collaborate with your whole team throughout the design process

Business Plan Maker FAQs

How much does venngage's business plan builder cost.

Anyone can make a business plan for free and share a link to their work. Our Premium ($19/month) and Business ($49/month) plans include premium, professional business plan templates and features, plus access to multiple download formats.

How can I write my own business plan?

Your business plan can include these sections: executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization management, service/product line, marketing & sales, funding requests, financial projections, etc. Add sections to your business plan as you see fit — depending on the kind of plan you're creating. No matter the type of business plans you're making, Venngage has a template for that.

Can I download my business plan?

Yes! You can download your business plan in PNG, PDF, Interactive PDF, or PowerPoint formats (paid plans only). It's free to share a public link. It's also free to create an account and test out our online business plan maker with a free business plan template.

Wow your clients and investors at first sight — Create a convincing and winning business plan with Venngage's online business plan generator

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Popular business plan templates you can edit right away

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LivePlan Video Tour

Launch & grow with confidence, easily write a business plan, get funded, and know exactly how to reach your goals., liveplan helps you think through every aspect of your business — so you're twice as likely to succeed.

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Get inspired by 500+ sample plans

Browse hundreds of sample business plans that cover every industry imaginable. This helps you visualize what your completed plan should look like.

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Finish faster with expert guidance

Follow step-by-step instructions that show you what to write in every section of your plan. Definitions of key terms and video tutorials simplify the planning process.

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Organize and pitch your ideas

Clarify and vet your ideas in 30 minutes by creating a One-Page Pitch. Then use it to easily explain your business opportunity to investors.

Graphs created based off of budget and forecasts

Build accurate financial reports

No more messing with spreadsheets. LivePlan guides you through a simple process for building financial forecasts and reports for your business plan.

Create your business plan pitch for funding

Wow lenders using a proven format

Your business plan will follow an SBA-approved format designed by entrepreneurs who have raised millions in funding.

Over 1 million small business customers

It's proven, companies that plan and track against their plan grow 30% faster than those that don't. These LivePlan customers are living proof. No matter your industry location, LivePlan can help you get your business off the ground fast.

LivePlan helps me forecast the best that I can, so I can be the best that I can.

“LivePlan helps me forecast the best that I can, so I can be the best that I can.”

[LivePlan's dashboard] is fantastic because it's integrated and easy to drill down's much friendlier and easy to understand for non-accountants

“[LivePlan's dashboard] is fantastic because it's integrated and easy to drill down's much friendlier and easy to understand for non-accountants”

I could not have done this without LivePlan or LivePlan Advisory.

“I use LivePlan to look at how I can then continue investing in the business and continue growing.”

Lucky Dog

Praised by industry experts

LivePlan has taken a step by step approach to make the process of creating financial records and projections as simplistic as possible.

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LivePlan's the only tool that helps entrepreneurs track their progress with a unique dashboard specifically designed for small business.

John Jantsch

John Jantsch, @ducttape Consultant & Author Duct Tape Marketing

LivePlan reduces the pain of writing a business plan by 30-50%.

Chris Demetrakos

Chris Demetrakos, @demetrakos Co-founder & CEO, Manzanita K.K.

Excellent tool to simplify a complex task.

Get App

LivePlan is an excellent business planning solution.
LivePlan helps entrepreneurs and small businesses organize relevant strategy and projection information more concisely.

ZD Net

An essential tool for launching your start-up.


The experience of using LivePlan was actually inspirational.

ZD Net

Heidi Lorenzen, @hlorenzen Founder & CEO, Moksha Group

We are a huge fan of LivePlan.


LivePlan checked off every box on a typical entrepreneur's wish list.

Pc Magazine

Try LivePlan today

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Best Free Business Plan Software

Explore these highest-rated tools to discover the best option for your business. Based on ratings and number of reviews, Capterra users give these tools a thumbs up. Select a product to learn more.

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By Atlassian

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By productboard.

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By strategypoint.

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By esm software group, business base, by stratus advanced technologies, by maus software, by falconi group, by leanspots, what is business plan software, related software categories:.

Why is Capterra free?

I'm looking for business plan software that is:.

Write a business plan online

Easy business plan template software.

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7-day free trial

No credit card required, business plan template software to write a business plan online, featured in:.

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var val = parseInt($('#total_user').val()); var after_convert = val.toString().replace(/\B(?=(\d{3})+(?!\d))/g, ","); $('.en-num-users').html(after_convert); business owners, accountants, entrepreneurs and students use Enloop to write and manage their business plans

Team / Shared Users Invite your team, your accountant and your business partners to view and edit your plan...

Automated Text Writing We create customized text you can edit. And we automatically sync your financial data into your text for painless updates whenever you change your financials...

Country Currency Formatting Choose from 100+ currency symbols and number formatting for your country...

Financial Ratios Analyzed We generate 16 critical financial ratios to analyze your forecasted performance. Then we compare your ratios to your peers and show how you compare...

Real-time Performance Score Your business plan becomes stronger as your score increases. Watch your score change and you'll feel the motivation...

Automatically Generated Financial Reports We generate bank-ready financial forecast reports in your business plan. And then explain everything to you...

Pass / Fail Report and Certificate Understand critical issues immediately and make changes before they happen in real life...

Business plans that make your life easier

I love this website. It prevented me from making a huge mistake. - Daphne Bien-Aime

I would just like to say thank you... first plan done in a couple of hours, with an edit done in an hour or two. It's a blast... there's nothing faster! - Robert J. Hillard

I don't know how to write all that stuff that the business types want to see, so having it generated was very useful! I even recommended this site to a friend who is a business consultant! - Voix de Temps

Love that it saves time and gets the basic points down and then it just takes minor tweaking. Amazing. - Dave Hinckley

Enloop is an easy, online business plan writing software that's smart, simple and fast.

See for yourself., 7-day free trial, no credit card required..

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5 Best Business Plan Software in 2022

Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

When you’re starting a business, developing a strong business plan will be one of the first steps you take. Your business plan will cover everything from a detailed explanation of your products or services and pricing model to at least three years of financial projections—plus much more. Therefore, whether you’re not sure how to get started or you’re just looking to make the process easier, you may want to turn to business plan software for help.

In this guide, we'll break down five of the best business plan software options—discussing their pros, cons, features, pricing, and more—so you have all the information you need to decide which solution is right for your small business.

The 5 best business plan software options

The right business plan software will make the process of writing your business plan much simpler. Like many business software solutions, however, there are a number of different business plan software options out there—each of which has a unique set of features, user experience, and price.

This being said, if you're looking for a place to start your search for the best business plan software, you can explore the five top options below:

1. LivePlan

Best overall business plan software.

If you want template-rich, modern-feeling business plan software, then LivePlan may be the right pick for you. LivePlan excels with their user interface, which feels updated and slick, and also offers intuitive, easy-to-use features and options.

Their step-by-step instruction will help you kick things off from the beginning, and you can take advantage of their online learning center to continue to gain business skills.

Affordable plans, including pay-as-you-go option

No long-term contracts or cancellation fee; 60-day money-back guarantee

Modern, intuitive interface; cloud-based, can be used on Mac, PC, as well as tablets

Ability to create unlimited plans in one account; over 500 customizable templates

Variety of business resources including video tutorials, step-by-step instruction, and general customer support

Limited integration options

Challenging to enter your own financial modeling projections

Can be difficult to learn

Ability to create an unlimited number of business plans on one account

More than 500 business plan templates spanning various industries

Integration with Xero and QuickBooks Online

Real-time tracking of financial data with accounting integrations

Ability to export your business plan to Word or PDF

Expert advice and step-by-step instruction included

Performance dashboards for tracking against budgets and sales goals

Ability to create and export a one-page pitch executive summary

Annual plan: $15 per month, billed every 12 months

Six-month plan: $18 per month, billed every six months

Pay-as-you-go plan: $20 per month, billed once every month

2. GoSmallBiz

Best for multiple business management tools in one platform.

Next on our list of the best business plan software options is GoSmallBiz, which is much more than just a business plan software. With GoSmallBiz, you have access to business continuity planning software with features that cover creating a roadmap, working through business and legal forms, building a website, and more.

In this way, GoSmallBiz is great for startups or newer businesses looking to access multiple business management tools through one platform.

Unlimited business consultation and extensive library of online resources

Multiple business tools in one software

Website consultation analysis and business assessment

Industry-specific business plan templates with emphasis on financial projections and statements

Expensive monthly cost compared to alternatives

Limited business plan features

Entire business plan can only be exported to Microsoft Word

Outdated interface

Industry-specific business plan templates with step-by-step building wizard

Ability to create financial statements and projections

Free website hosting and website builder

Customer relationship manager with integration with MailChimp

Digital marketing dashboard with social media and Google Analytics integrations

HR document builder

Corporate minutes writer

Business documents library

Business courses library

Unlimited business consultation

$39 per month, no contracts, free cancellation

Best for simple, fast business plan creation.

If you're looking for free business plan software, Enloop will be one of your closest options—they offer an all-inclusive seven-day free trial, no credit card required. Additionally, unlike some of the other options on our list, Enloop is strictly dedicated to business plan creation, including automated text writing, financial forecast comparisons, and a real-time performance score that tracks your progress.

This being said, if you'd prefer the most straightforward, fast, and simple way to write your business plan, Enloop will be a platform worth considering.

Simple and straightforward software, solely dedicated to business plan creation

Seven-day free trial

Automatic text generation available to streamline the writing process

Affordable plans with annual discount option

Limited additional educational resources

Only one template option

No integration options

Ability to create three business plans with customizable text, images, tables, charts, and over 100 currency symbols and formats

Includes automatic text generation for each plan section that you can then customize

Automatically generated financial statements

Includes financial performance comparison analysis (using three ratios with Detailed plan and 16 with Performance plan)

Real-time performance score to track your progress

Ability to invite users to edit (two with Detailed plan, five with Performance plan)

Pass/fail report and certificate to help you identify issues with your plan

Free plan: Seven-day free trial with no credit card required

Detailed plan: $19.95 per month or $11 per month, paid annually

Performance plan: $39.95 per month, or $24 per month, paid annually

Best for startups looking to acquire funding or find investors.

Part of the suite, Bizplan gets top marks for their user interface—it’s intuitive, easy to use, and modern. You’ll work with a step-by-step business plan builder to get exactly what you’d like from your business plan. It may remind you of a modern website builder, since it has drag-and-drop tools to build templates.

Moreover, for one subscription fee, you have access to all of the tools in the network, including self-guided courses, how-to guides, masterclass videos, and more. All in all, with a direct connection to Fundable, Bizplan is a top business plan software option for startups looking to acquire funding and find investors.

Subscription gives you access to all tools

Lifetime access subscription option

User-friendly drag-and-drop business plan builder

Excellent educational resources

Connection to Fundable great for businesses looking for capital

No free trial

No templates based on industry

No mobile access

Drag-and-drop templates for business plan building

Financial command center to track all business financials in one place

Unlimited account collaborators

Ability to share business plan online with investors

Online resources including self-guided courses, masterclass videos, how-to guides, mentorship access

Unlimited software use for Fundable, Launchrock, and

Monthly plan: $29 per month

Annual plan: $20.75 per month, billed at $249 per year

Lifetime access: $349 one-time fee

5. PlanGuru

Best for financial planning and budgeting.

Finally, for some of the strongest financial features among business plan software options, including budgeting and forecasting, you might check out PlanGuru. Whereas the other solutions we've reviewed were first and foremost focused on writing a business plan, PlanGuru is dedicated to business financial planning —providing the tools you need to create budgets, financial forecasts, reports, and more.

Therefore, if you need a software solution that can streamline the financial piece of your business planning processes, PlanGuru will certainly have the most to offer.

Extensive financial tools and detailed forecasting, budgeting, and reporting capabilities

Substantial library of resources

Cloud-based and desktop options

14-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee

Expensive, especially for additional users

Only focuses on the financial aspect of business planning; no templates or tools for basic business plan writing

Difficult to use without prior financial knowledge

Cloud-based version of software, as well as locally installed Windows version (desktop version has a few more features)

Works with QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Excel

Budgeting and forecasting for up to 10 years

Over 20 standard forecasting methods

Formula builder to create custom methods

Ratios and KPIs

Dashboard and reporting tools

Help guides, video tutorials, knowledgebase, and live U.S.-based customer support

14-day free trial

$99 per month (additional users $29 per month)

$899 per year (additional users $299 per year)

What to look for in business plan software

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide, which, if any, of the best business plan software solutions on our list is right for your business.

So, if you're trying to figure out how to choose between the various options out there, it might be helpful to compare your top choices based on the following criteria:

Features: As we've seen different business plan software solutions offer different features. You'll want to look carefully at the feature list of any software and determine what features are most important for your business needs. Do you need an extensive library of templates with detailed customization? Would you prefer software that includes an online learning center for business skills? Are you looking for a solution that combines business plan writing with other tasks? It may be useful to list out your ideal feature set, so you can compare individual software plans to that list.

Price: Although you might be able to find some free business plan software options (or at the very least, free trials), in most cases, you'll need to pay a subscription fee to access the platform you choose. Therefore, you'll want to think about what your budget is for this business tool and what type of software is most cost-effective for your needs.

User experience: User experience can vary widely among different business plan software options. You’ll find some programs that are newer or have been recently updated. Others might have the kind of interfaces that felt new years ago but are now pretty out of date—and, subsequently, make them a little harder to use. The right user experience for your needs is genuinely a matter of opinion and comfort—nevertheless, it's worth testing thoroughly testing out a platform to ensure that it can truly work for you before investing in a monthly or annual subscription.

The bottom line

There's no doubt that properly crafting your business plan is important for the future growth and success of your small business. Luckily, the right business plan software should make the process much simpler.

This being said, whether you opt for one of the best business plan software options listed here, or another platform entirely, you'll want to take the time to compare multiple solutions and ensure you choose the one that's right for your business.

As we mentioned, it can be helpful to think about the features you're looking for, your budget, and your user-experience preferences ahead of time—that way, you'll have a set of criteria in mind as you explore different solutions.

Ultimately, perhaps the best thing you can do to find the right software is to actually test out the platforms themselves—either by using a free trial or a money-back guarantee.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.


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