As a blueprint mapping out the future trajectory of a business, a business plan is indispensable to the budding entrepreneur. Templates abound online, giving you a quick peek inside a real or hypothetical business plan in your industry. Some business plan samples distill the key elements of the business plan, while others tackle each section individually. Some resources tailor your search to specified criteria, instead of inundating you with plans that may not be relevant to you. Small business organizations offer a centralized venue for finding a variety of plans.
For a concise spin on the traditional business plan, the $100 Startup offers a one-page business plan based on answers you supply to a series of questions. The questions fall under five sections: Overview, Kaching, Hustling, Success and Obstacles. Under "Kaching," questions include "What will you charge?", while under "Hustling," one question is: "How will you encourage referrals?" To address financials, the question under "Success" is: "This project will be successful when it attains [X number of customers, or some other metric]."
On BusinessPlans.org, only a select number of vetted business plans make it onto the website. It showcases business plans from top contenders from the MOOT CORP competition at the University of Texas at Austin, organized into the categories "Services," "Internet Services" and "Products." Click on any business plan to view its company, sales and marketing, management and financial details. An additional feature is the ability to sort plans into "Best of the Best," or "Best Executive Summary," "Best Business Concept" or "Best Financial Tables."
Designed to guide entrepreneurs through mentorships, small business adviser SCORE offers business plan templates in a piecemeal format. Rather than presenting a catch-all template that covers every point of the plan, SCORE has a separate template for every component of a plan. Hence, the financial component of the business plan would have a different template for startup expenses, projected balance sheet, loan amortization schedule and breakeven analysis. Download the worksheets that are pertinent to you and build your business plan from those building blocks.
Acting as a liaison between entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capital firms, vFinance offers a personalized business plan search on its website. You plug in your industry, occupation, revenues for the past 12 months, location and other specifics, and the site generates a template for your needs. You have the choice of downloading a more formal version of the template, professionally formatted for the serious investor, as well as posting your completed business plan to the site.
Timothea Xi has been writing business and finance articles since 2013. She has worked as an alternative investment adviser in Miami, specializing in managed futures. Xi has also worked as a stockbroker in New York City.