Pros of using a business plan template: A good business plan template can help you get your thoughts organized.It can provide a guideline so you’re not stuck looking at a blank page trying to figure out where to start.
It’s not easy to keep everything completely up-to-date as you make changes to your numbers, and integrating the right charts and graphs into your business plan is harder than it looks.
However, if you’re new to business planning and just want to get a sense of what a plan looks like and want to get the process started quickly and cheaply, then downloading a free template is the best way to get started.
Cons of using a business plan template: While there are benefits to using a business plan template, depending on your situation it may not be the best way to complete your plan. For instance, not only do you have to complete the financial spreadsheets, but you have to do the math yourself.
You’ll also have to know enough about the process to be sure you’re getting the numbers in the right place.
A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long.
However, for a small business, it's best to keep the plan short and concise, especially if you intend to submit it to bankers or investors.The business plan template below is broken into sections as described in the table of contents.Each section of the template can be copied into a Word, Excel or similar office document by selecting the text and using copy/paste.If using Windows, outline the text to be selected with the mouse and hit CTRL C to copy and CTRL V to paste.For a detailed description of each section of the plan, you'll want to refer to the Guide to Writing a Business Plan Step By Step.In this section, you need to demonstrate that you have thoroughly analyzed the target market and that there is enough demand for your product or service to make your business viable.The competitive analysis includes an assessment of your competition and how your business will compete in the sector.Capping your plan at 30 pages should be sufficient unless you need to include photos of products, equipment, logos, business premises or site plans, etc.Potential money lenders and investors want solid research and analysis, not long, wordy descriptions.See How to Write The Management Plan Section of the Business Plan before addressing this section.Ownership Structure The operating plan outlines the physical requirements of your business, such as office, warehouse, retail space, equipment, inventory and supplies, labor, etc.