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Free Templates to Make a Business Plan - Part 1

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 9/15/2009

You can develop an effective business plan with a free online template. In this article, I will lay out some of the core elements and documentation that make up a business plan. In Part 2, I will pinpoint the best template sources on the Web for completing this task.

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    Free templates, easily accessed on the Web, provide the essential major categories necessary to creating a viable business plan which is a key desktop publishing document for any prospective small business owner. If you are planning to start a new business, then your budget will most likely be low, therefore; free templates will be an outstanding option for your fledgling endeavors. This article (an offshoot in my Helpful and Free Desktop Publishing Templates series) will highlight valuable resources and pinpoint the sites that will provide you with free templates for business plans that are quick and relatively easy to work with.

    Creating a business plan is a fundamental task in starting a new business and writing one can be a daunting process when you’re not familiar with the elements that comprise one. A good business plan formally states the goals of a company (the mission statement) as well as the means and detailed analysis/projections for how those goals will be attained. The writing must reflect an in-depth knowledge of the industry an entrepreneur is proposing to operate in. Essentially, it’s a roadmap illustrating a detailed route over carefully studied terrain to a destination that also elucidates the type of vehicle which is going to take you there. It outlines preemptive strategies to deal with problems and snags, specifies how resources will be allocated, and puts some finer points and managerial responsibilities under the microscope. You’re going to have to write a reasonable and realistic proposal outlining your strategies for the money-lenders but keep in mind that no bullet has ever been fired higher than where it was aimed. If you believe in yourself you can overcome any obstacle with careful planning, flexibility, and ceaseless resilience.

    One primary purpose of having a business plan is for presenting it to the financial institutions you will need to convince to invest in your enterprise in order for it to get off the ground. Therefore, cash flow analysis along with detailed implementation schedules and management responsibilities will be clearly stated in your plan. Show them the money. This mission statement of yours will also be a vital tool to have on hand after your business is off and running to keep you on track. Here are the vital sections to a business plan which should be part of your template ready for you to insert the down and dirty details:

    • Executive Summary
    • Company Description
    • Financial Plan
    • Product or Service
    • Market Analysis
    • Marketing Plan
    • Strategy and Implementation/Operating Plan
    • Management Team
    • Appendices and Exhibits  

    The second article in this series will guide you to Web sources which expound upon each of the above categories. Moreover, the templates I list will actually have explanations under each heading to better explain what content to insert in each section.

    With an online template, the general outline and all the relevant titles and sub-headings (or at least the allotted space to insert the desired text) are already on the printable document for the user to customize the text with the information pertinent to the particular heading. Templates can be downloaded, and used repeatedly; to eliminate the busy-work you would have to otherwise do when creating the document from scratch. This is good to keep in mind as you encounter market fluctuations and become proficient at handling the various aspects of your business in the best way (learning from your mistakes) because you can easily go back and change your plan to reflect what works.

    Now that you know the essential parts of a business plan, refer to Part 2 of this series to learn exactly where to go on the Web for all the free templates needed to generate a quality one.

The Best Internet Sources to Explain How to Write a Business Plan on a Free Template

This mini-series, an offshoot of a larger series on how to create many different desktop publishing materials from free online templates which greatly benefit the small business owner, delves into the specific task of creating a business plan on a low budget.
  1. Free Templates to Make a Business Plan - Part 1
  2. Free Templates to Help Make a Business Plan - Part 2