Professional Business Plan Template

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Professional Business Plan Template

The business plan consists of a narrative and several financial worksheets. The narrative template is the body of the business plan. It contains more than 150 questions divided into several sections. Work through the sections in any order that you like, except for the Executive Summary, which should be done last.

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Professional Business Plan Template Preview & Details

Professional Business Plan Template

Create your Business Plan in style and well organized!

  • Fully Editable In Design Template
  • This Business Plan is a generic model suitable for all types of businesses
  • Compatible (CS4, CS5, CS6, CC )
  • Clean and Corporate Design for your Business Plan
  • Print Ready File suitable for any Printer and Printing Press!
  • Spread Layouts for sections
  • 70 Pages
  • A4 Portrait Format
  • Editable Charts & Graphs
  • Predesigned Tables

Included sections:

  • Executive Summary
  • General Company Description
  • Products and Services
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organization
  • Personal Financial Statement
  • Startup Expenses and Capitalization
  • Financial Plan
  • Appendices

 

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.

Business plans may target changes in perception and branding by the customer, client, taxpayer, or larger community. When the existing business is to assume a major change or when planning a new venture, a 3 to 5 year business plan is required, since investors will look for their investment return in that timeframe.

Business plans may be internally or externally focused. Externally focused plans target goals that are important to external stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. They typically have detailed information about the organization or team attempting to reach the goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers. External stake-holders of non-profits include donors and the clients of the non-profit’s services. For government agencies, external stakeholders include tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, various economic agencies of the United Nations, and development banks.

Internally focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, the refurbishing of a factory or a restructuring of the organization. An internal business plan is often developed in conjunction with a balanced scorecard or a list of critical success factors. This allows success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures. Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called strategic plans.

Operational plans describe the goals of an internal organization, working group or department. Project plans, sometimes known as project frameworks, describe the goals of a particular project. They may also address the project’s place within the organization’s larger strategic goals.

Business plans are decision-making tools. The content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience. For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization’s mission. Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization’s ability to repay the loan. Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.

Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines: finance, human resource management, intellectual property management, supply chain management, operations management, and marketing, among others. It can be helpful to view the business plan as a collection of sub-plans, one for each of the main business disciplines.

Typical questions addressed by a business plan for a start up venture

  • What problem does the company’s product or service solve? What niche will it fill?
  • What is the company’s solution to the problem?
  • Who are the company’s customers, and how will the company market and sell its products to them?
  • What is the size of the market for this solution?
  • What is the business model for the business (how will it make money)?
  • Who are the competitors and how will the company maintain a competitive advantage?
  • How does the company plan to manage its operations as it grows?
  • Who will run the company and what makes them qualified to do so?
  • What are the risks and threats confronting the business, and what can be done to mitigate them?
  • What are the company’s capital and resource requirements?
  • What are the company’s historical and projected financial statements?

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User Skill Requirements

Adobe InDesign Level
0
min
Average Editing Time for Beginners
0
min
Average Editing Time for Advanced Users

Help Guide Included!

This Template comes with 100 .ase Color Palettes for Adobe InDesign!

Mockups are not included & are used for preview purposes only!

Images are not included due to licensing reasons!

How to backwards save InDesign files and open them in previous versions

  1.  Open the .idml file included in itms folder. (Note: .idml files are compatible with InDesign CS4 and later.)
  2. Save as .indd with your version of inDesign. Now you are ready to edit this template.

How to write a Business Plan – Help Guide

The business plan consists of a narrative and several financial worksheets. The narrative template is the body of the business plan. It contains more than 150 questions divided into several sections. Work through the sections in any order that you like, except for the Executive Summary, which should be done last. Skip any questions that do not apply to your type of business. When you are finished writing your first draft, you’ll have a collection of small essays on the various topics of the business plan. Then you’ll want to edit them into a smooth‐flowing narrative. The real value of creating a business plan is not in having the finished product in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of researching and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, study and research if you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically. It takes time now, but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later. This business plan is a generic model suitable for all types of businesses. However, you should modify it to suit your particular circumstances. Before you begin, review the section titled Refining the Plan, found at the end. It suggests emphasizing certain areas depending upon your type of business (manufacturing, retail, service, etc.). It also has tips for fine‐tuning your plan to make an effective presentation to investors or bankers. If this is why you’re creating your plan, pay particular attention to your writing style. You will be judged by the quality and appearance of your work as well as by your ideas. It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and re‐thinking your ideas and assumptions. But then, that’s the value of the process. So make time to do the job properly. Those who do never regret the effort. And finally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.

Write this section last. We suggest that you make it two pages or fewer. Include everything that you would cover in a five‐minute interview. Explain the fundamentals of the proposed business: What will your product be? Who will your customers be? Who are the owners? What do you think the future holds for your business and your industry? Make it enthusiastic, professional, complete, and concise.

If applying for a loan, state clearly how much you want, precisely how you are going to use it, and how the money will make your business more profitable, thereby ensuring repayment.

What business will you be in? What will you do?

Mission Statement: Many companies have a brief mission statement, usually in 30 words or fewer, explaining their reason for being and their guiding principles. If you want to draft a mission statement, this is a good place to put it in the plan, followed by:

Company Goals and Objectives: Goals are destinations—where you want your business to be. Objectives are progress markers along the way to goal achievement. For example, a goal might be to have a healthy, successful company that is a leader in customer service and that has a loyal customer following. Objectives might be annual sales targets and some specific measures of customer satisfaction.

 

Business Philosophy: What is important to you in business?

To whom will you market your products? (State it briefly here—you will do a more thorough explanation in the Marketing Plan section).

Describe your industry. Is it a growth industry? What changes do you foresee in the industry, short term and long term? How will your company be poised to take advantage of them?

Describe your most important company strengths and core competencies. What factors will make the company succeed? What do you think your major competitive strengths will be? What background experience, skills, and strengths do you personally bring to this new venture?

Legal form of ownership: Sole proprietor, Partnership, Corporation, Limited liability corporation (LLC)? Why have you selected this form?

Describe in depth your products or services (technical specifications, drawings, photos, sales brochures, and other bulky items belong in Appendices). What factors will give you competitive advantages or disadvantages? Examples include level of quality or unique or proprietary features.

What are the pricing, fee, or leasing structures of your products or services?

Market research – Why?

No matter how good your product and your service, the venture cannot succeed without effective marketing. And this begins with careful, systematic research. It is very dangerous to assume that you already know about your intended market. You need to do market research to make sure you’re on track. Use the business planning process as your opportunity to uncover data and to question your marketing efforts. Your time will be well spent.

 

Market research – How?

There are two kinds of market research: primary and secondary. Secondary research means using published information such as industry profiles, trade journals, newspapers, magazines, census data, and demographic profiles. This type of information is available in public libraries, industry associations, chambers of commerce, from vendors who sell to your industry, and from government agencies. Start with your local library. Most librarians are pleased to guide you through their business data collection. You will be amazed at what is there. There are more online sources than you could possibly use. Your chamber of commerce has good information on the local area. Trade associations and trade publications often have excellent industry‐specific data. Primary research means gathering your own data. For example, you could do your own traffic count at a proposed location, use the yellow pages to identify competitors, and do surveys or focus‐group interviews to learn about consumer preferences. Professional market research can be very costly, but there are many books that show small business owners how to do effective research themselves. In your marketing plan, be as specific as possible; give statistics, numbers, and sources. The marketing plan will be the basis, later on, of the all‐important sales projection.

 

Economics

Facts about your industry:

  • What is the total size of your market?
  • What percent share of the market will you have? (This is important only if you think you will be a major factor in the market.)
  • Current demand in target market.
  • Trends in target market—growth trends, trends in consumer preferences, and trends in product development.
  • Growth potential and opportunity for a business of your size.
  • What barriers to entry do you face in entering this market with your new company? Some typical barriers are:

o High capital costs

o High production costs

o High marketing costs

o Consumer acceptance and brand recognition

o Training and skills

o Unique technology and patents

o Unions

o Shipping costs

o Tariff barriers and quotas

  • And of course, how will you overcome the barriers?
  • How could the following affect your company?

o Change in technology

o Change in government regulations

o Change in the economy

o Change in your industry

 

 

Product

In the Products and Services section, you described your products and services as you see them. Now describe them from your customers’ point of view.

 

Features and Benefits

List all of your major products or services. For each product or service:

  • Describe the most important features. What is special about it?
  • Describe the benefits. That is, what will the product do for the customer?

 

Note the difference between features and benefits, and think about them. For example, a house that gives shelter and lasts a long time is made with certain materials and to a certain design; those are its features. Its benefits include pride of ownership, financial security, providing for the family, and inclusion in a neighborhood. You build features into your product so that you can sell the benefits.

 

What after‐sale services will you give? Some examples are delivery, warranty, service contracts, support, follow‐up, and refund policy.

 

Customers

Identify your targeted customers, their characteristics, and their geographic locations, otherwise known as their demographics. The description will be completely different depending on whether you plan to sell to other businesses or directly to consumers. If you sell a consumer product, but sell it through a channel of distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, you must carefully analyze both the end consumer and the middleman businesses to which you sell. You may have more than one customer group. Identify the most important groups. Then, for each customer group, construct what is called a demographic profile:

 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income level
  • Social class and occupation
  • Education
  • Other (specific to your industry)
  • Other (specific to your industry)

 

For business customers, the demographic factors might be:

 

  • Industry (or portion of an industry)
  • Location
  • Size of firm
  • Quality, technology, and price preferences
  • Other (specific to your industry)
  • Other (specific to your industry)

 

Competition

What products and companies will compete with you? List your major competitors: (Names and addresses) Will they compete with you across the board, or just for certain products, certain customers, or in certain locations? Will you have important indirect competitors? How will your products or services compare with the competition?

Explain the daily operation of the business, its location, equipment, people, processes, and surrounding environment.

 

Production

How and where are your products or services produced? Explain your methods of:

  • Production techniques and costs
  • Quality control
  • Customer service
  • Inventory control
  • Product development

 

Location

What qualities do you need in a location? Describe the type of location you’ll have.

Physical requirements:

  • Amount of space
  • Type of building
  • Zoning
  • Power and other utilities

Access:

Is it important that your location be convenient to transportation or to suppliers? Do you need easy walk‐in access? What are your requirements for parking and proximity to freeway, airports, railroads,

and shipping centers? Include a drawing or layout of your proposed facility if it is important, as it might be for a manufacturer.

Construction? Most new companies should not sink capital into construction, but if you are planning to build, costs and specifications will be a big part of your plan.

Cost: Estimate your occupation expenses, including rent, but also including maintenance, utilities, insurance, and initial remodeling costs to make the space suit your needs. These numbers will become part of your financial plan. What will be your business hours?

 

Legal Environment

Describe the following:

  • Licensing and bonding requirements
  • Permits
  • Health, workplace, or environmental regulations
  • Special regulations covering your industry or profession
  • Zoning or building code requirements
  • Insurance coverage
  • Trademarks, copyrights, or patents (pending, existing, or purchased)

 

Personnel

  • Number of employees
  • Type of labor (skilled, unskilled, and professional)
  • Where and how will you find the right employees?
  • Quality of existing staff
  • Pay structure
  • Training methods and requirements
  • Who does which tasks?
  • Do you have schedules and written procedures prepared?
  • Have you drafted job descriptions for employees? If not, take time to write some.

They really help internal communications with employees.

  • For certain functions, will you use contract workers in addition to employees?

 

Inventory

  • What kind of inventory will you keep: raw materials, supplies, finished goods?
  • Average value in stock (i.e., what is your inventory investment)?
  • Rate of turnover and how this compares to the industry averages?
  • Seasonal buildups?
  • Lead‐time for ordering?

 

Suppliers

Identify key suppliers:

  • Names and addresses
  • Type and amount of inventory furnished
  • Credit and delivery policies
  • History and reliability

Should you have more than one supplier for critical items (as a backup)?

Do you expect shortages or short‐term delivery problems?

Are supply costs steady or fluctuating? If fluctuating, how would you deal with

changing costs?

 

Credit Policies

  • Do you plan to sell on credit?
  • Do you really need to sell on credit? Is it customary in your industry and expected by your clientele?
  • If yes, what policies will you have about who gets credit and how much?
  • How will you check the creditworthiness of new applicants?
  • What terms will you offer your customers; that is, how much credit and when is payment due?
  • Will you offer prompt payment discounts? (Hint: Do this only if it is usual and customary in your industry.)
  • Do you know what it will cost you to extend credit? Have you built the costs into your prices?

Who will manage the business on a day‐to‐day basis? What experience does that person bring to the business? What special or distinctive competencies? Is there a plan for continuation of the business if this person is lost or incapacitated? If you’ll have more than 10 employees, create an organizational chart showing the management hierarchy and who is responsible for key functions. Include position descriptions for key employees. If you are seeking loans or investors, include resumes of owners and key employees.

 

Professional and Advisory Support List the following:

  • Board of directors
  • Management advisory board
  • Attorney
  • Accountant
  • Insurance agent
  • Banker
  • Consultant or consultants
  • Mentors and key advisors

Include personal financial statements for each owner and major stockholder, showing assets and liabilities held outside the business and personal net worth. Owners will often have to draw on personal assets to finance the business, and these statements will show what is available. Bankers and investors usually want this information as well.

You will have many startup expenses before you even begin operating your business. It’s important to estimate these expenses accurately and then to plan where you will get sufficient capital. This is a research project, and the more thorough your research efforts, the less chance that you will leave out important expenses or underestimate them. Even with the best of research, however, opening a new business has a way of costing more than you anticipate. There are two ways to make allowances for surprise expenses. The first is to add a little “padding” to each item in the budget. The problem with that approach, however, is that it destroys the accuracy of your carefully wrought plan. The second approach is to add a separate line item, called contingencies, to account for the unforeseeable. This is the approach we recommend. Talk to others who have started similar businesses to get a good idea of how much to allow for contingencies. If you cannot get good information, we recommend a rule of thumb that contingencies should equal at least 20 percent of the total of all other start‐ up expenses.

Explain your research and how you arrived at your forecasts of expenses. Give sources, amounts, and terms of proposed loans. Also explain in detail how much will be contributed by each investor and what percent ownership each will have.

The financial plan consists of a 12‐month profit and loss projection, a four‐year profit and loss projection (optional), a cash‐flow projection, a projected Balance Sheet emplates, and a break‐even calculation. Together they constitute a reasonable estimate of your companyʹs financial future. More important, the process of thinking through the financial plan will improve your insight into the inner financial workings of your company.

 

12-Month Profit and Loss Projection

Many business owners think of the 12‐month profit and loss projection as the centerpiece of their plan. This is where you put it all together in numbers and get an idea of what it will take to make a profit and be successful. Your sales projections will come from a sales forecast in which you forecast sales, cost of goods sold, expenses, and profit month‐by‐month for one year. Profit projections should be accompanied by a narrative explaining the major assumptions used to estimate company income and expenses. Research Notes: Keep careful notes on your research and assumptions, so that you can explain them later if necessary, and also so that you can go back to your sources when it’s time to revise your plan.

 

Three-Year Profit Projection (Optional)

The 12‐month projection is the heart of your financial plan. The Three‐Year Profit projection is for those who want to carry their forecasts beyond the first year. Of course, keep notes of your key assumptions, especially about things that you expect will change dramatically after the first year.

 

Projected Cash Flow

If the profit projection is the heart of your business plan, cash flow is the blood. Businesses fail because they cannot pay their bills. Every part of your business plan is important, but none of it means a thing if you run out of cash. The point of this worksheet is to plan how much you need before startup, for preliminary expenses, operating expenses, and reserves. You should keep updating it and using it afterward. It will enable you to foresee shortages in time to do something about them—perhaps cut expenses, or perhaps negotiate a loan. But foremost, you shouldn’t be taken by surprise.

There is no great trick to preparing it: The cash‐flow projection is just a forward look at your checking account. For each item, determine when you actually expect to receive cash (for sales) or when you will actually have to write a check (for expense items). You should track essential operating data, which is not necessarily part of cash flow but allows you to track items that have a heavy impact on cash flow, such as sales and inventory purchases.You should also track cash outlays prior to opening in a pre‐startup column. You should have already researched those for your startup expenses plan. Your cash flow will show you whether your working capital is adequate. Clearly, if your projected cash balance ever goes negative, you will need more start‐up capital. This plan will also predict just when and how much you will need to borrow. Explain your major assumptions, especially those that make the cash flow differ from the Profit and Loss Projection. For example, if you make a sale in month one, when do you actually collect the cash? When you buy inventory or materials, do you pay in advance, upon delivery, or much later? How will this affect cash flow? Are some expenses payable in advance? When? Are there irregular expenses, such as quarterly tax payments, maintenance and repairs, or seasonal inventory buildup, that should be budgeted? Loan payments, equipment purchases, and ownerʹs draws usually do not show on profit and loss statements but definitely do take cash out. Be sure to include them. And of course, depreciation does not appear in the cash flow at all because you never write a check for it.

 

Opening Day Balance Sheet emplates

A Balance Sheet emplates is one of the fundamental financial reports that any business needs for reporting and financial management. A Balance Sheet emplates shows what items of value are held by the company (assets), and what its debts are (liabilities). When liabilities are subtracted from assets, the remainder is owners’ equity. Use a startup expenses and capitalization spreadsheet as a guide to preparing a Balance Sheet emplates as of opening day. Then detail how you calculated the account balances on your opening day Balance Sheet emplates. Optional: Some people want to add a projected balance sheet showing the estimated financial position of the company at the end of the first year. This is especially useful when selling your proposal to investors.

 

Break-Even Analysis

A break‐even analysis predicts the sales volume, at a given price, required to recover total costs. In other words, it’s the sales level that is the dividing line between operating at a loss and operating at a profit.

 

Expressed as a formula, break‐even is:

Break‐Even Sales = Fixed Costs 1‐ Variable Costs (Where fixed costs are expressed in dollars, but variable costs are expressed as a percent of total sales.)

Include all assumptions upon which your break‐even calculation is based.

Include details and studies used in your business plan; for example:

  • Brochures and advertising materials
  • Industry studies
  • Blueprints and plans
  • Maps and photos of location
  • Magazine or other articles
  • Detailed lists of equipment owned or to be purchased
  • Copies of leases and contracts
  • Letters of support from future customers
  • Any other materials needed to support the assumptions in this plan
  • Market research studies
  • List of assets available as collateral for a loan

Additional Information

Format

A4 Portrait

Color Model

CMYK

Software

Adobe InDesign

Files

.IDML file (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4 or Later), .INDD file (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC), .PDF Preview file

Number of Pages

70

Number of Spreads

35

Special Features

Auto Page Numbering, Editable Charts, Editable Graphs, Editable Tables, Global Swatch, Image Placeholders, Layered, Master Pages, Predefined Page Bleed, Print Ready, Spread Design, Vector Elements, Vector Icons

Free Fonts

Calibri, Comfortaa, Entypo, League Spartan, Questrial

Design Style

Contemporary

Number of Files Included

104

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