Using a Business Plan Template: Tips & Ideas
A business plan template can help you take ideas for your business idea and put them in a format designed to help you share information about your business.
A business plan template includes the outline for elements you need to consider and a visual format that allows you to share that vision with others. A business plan template might be in the form of a booklet or brochure or a business plan presentation that you share in person or virtually.
Here, we’ll look at a few business plan template ideas and tips for designing a plan that helps sell your idea. Plus, all the examples are from Envato Elements, so you can easily download and use these templates.
What is a Business Plan Template?
A business plan template is a pre-designed document that outlines the key elements of a business plan. It often includes sections such as executive summary, company description, market analysis, products or services, marketing and sales strategies, operations, management and organizational structure, financial projections, and funding requirements.
The template provides a framework or a structure that guides the organization of your thoughts, ideas, and research into a coherent and comprehensive document that communicates the business idea, its potential, and its feasibility to investors, lenders, or other stakeholders.
Business plan templates are often available as downloadable documents or online tools and can be customized to fit different businesses’ specific needs and goals. They are widely used by entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners who need to create a business plan to secure funding, attract partners, or guide the development of their businesses.
How to Find the Right Business Plan Template
Choosing the right kind of template for your business plan can be challenging and fun. The trick is to find a template that is as aligned with your business idea or information as possible to make it quicker and easier to create and update.
When you are browsing templates, flag ones that match your personal preference and style first. Choose a template that you find easy to use, visually appealing, and that suits your writing style. You’ll spend a lot of time working on your business plan, so it’s important that you feel comfortable with the template you choose.
Then narrow the templates you’ve selected to those that match your industry. Different industries have different business models, customer segments, and marketing strategies and many business plan templates will actually take this into account. For example, a restaurant business plan will have different requirements than a technology startup one.
The purpose of your business plan will also influence the type of template you choose.
- Are you creating a business plan to secure funding?
- Are you trying to guide the development of your business?
- Who is your intended audience for your business plan?
- Is it for potential investors or lenders, or is it for your internal team?
Your business’s complexity level will also impact the type of template you choose. A basic template may be sufficient if your business is relatively simple and straightforward. However, if your business is more complex, you may need a more detailed and comprehensive template.
Remember, you can always download a template with more items and information than you need and delete pages for things that don’t actually pertain to your business plan. (You don’t have to use something just because it appears in the template.)
Consider what you hope to achieve with your business plan, and choose a template that aligns with your goals.
How to Use a Business Plan Template
Think of a business plan template as a starting point for your design. It should be customized from start to finish with your information, including all copy and design elements should be adjusted to match your business in terms of colors, fonts, and style.
Some templates get more customization than others depending on how close the template is to the concept you have in mind when you start.
After choosing a template that’s best for your business, you’ll want to ensure that the downloadable files to work with are in a format for the software you have and use. Templates can be designed in all kinds of formats with different software from Adobe tools, to Word or PowerPoint files to Google Docs. They also come in different sizes. Do you need standard printing (look for 8.5 by 11 inches or A4)? Make sure you have a template that you can actually use!
Then it is time to start customizing. While a template can be a great starting point, you’ll want to make sure that you personalize it to fit your business. This might include adding or removing sections, changing the wording, or adjusting the formatting. If you have developed visual elements for your brand, make sure to use those here.
The template should help create a roadmap for your business. Make sure that all of this information is included: goals, strategies, and timelines. This will help you stay focused and organized as you work towards launching and growing your business.
Give yourself time to get feedback after you’ve finished your business plan before you have to present it. Share it with friends, family members, or business advisors who can offer insights and suggestions for improving your plan. Ask them to think about the content and format and design.
Don’t set it and forget it. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated regularly as your business grows and evolves. Use the template as a starting point, but be sure to revise and update it as needed to ensure that it remains relevant and useful.
Developing a business plan can feel daunting, but a solid template is a great guide for text and visuals. Remember to look for a template that you like stylistically and is aligned with your industry to help you build with ease.
Then customize your template to make the business plan uniquely yours!