A business plan template is roughly the framework for a great plan.
We all know that writing a business plan is never easy.
But a well-written business plan can alter the overall scope of business significantly.
The good news is that you have a wide range of business plan template available.
As a result; a lot of people refer to business plan template.
Most importantly, they are easily available on the internet.
You have to simply drag and drop these business plan template and make the necessary changes.
These templates help you save time and deliver quality products.
Moreover, if you are a first-time entrepreneur, it helps you understand the ropes of the business.
But the problem here is what kind of template you should choose?
This is extremely important.
It will help you gain an edge.
When you follow the right template, your business plan will undeniably be focused.
That will help you attract the proper type of investors for long-term gains.
There are some basic features that you must be incorporated into a template.
Ultimately it is these business plan template features that will help you create a masterpiece.
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1. Executive Summary
Whether you consider business plan template features or a business plan, this is important.
In many ways, you can consider this as the heart and soul of the business plan.
The executive summary is also known as the ‘statement of purpose.’
This is because it provides a definitive direction to your business plan.
It gives a brief synopsis of the key purpose of the business and how you plan to take forward.
So the executive plan inevitably points out the salient features of the business.
Moreover, it gives a plan about the future objectives of the business.
Sometimes the executive summary also provides long-term projections.
Of course, different kinds of businesses will have different elements that need to be highlighted.
But this is the precise point which brings in complete clarity about the business.
The entrepreneur’s goal and how they plan to go about the business is clearly manifested.
As an entrepreneur, this also provides the platform to voice the entrepreneur’s perspective.
From how to serve the customer to serve what to the customer, this covers every element.
But the executive summary has to be concise and to the point.
So, when you are selecting business plan template feature, you must pay attention to this.
On an average, it should be about a few paragraphs and should not cover more than half a page.
The key elements of an executive summary include
- Describe the offering and the market it serves
- The financial plan and how they plan to achieve
- Key funding requirements
- Its crucial way of operation and principal members of the team
- Primary achievements that help make a mark.
- Details about the founding members
Primarily it provides a sneak peek at the entire business summary in details.
2. Business Overview
In the list of important business plan template features, this is another key element.
As the name indicates, it provides a business overview.
The reason why this is important is that it helps reiterate the unique element of the business.
Today, given the ease of doing business, you have many startups on the same theme.
The only way you can differentiate is by highlighting what is unique about the business.
Often, that is what creates a distinct identity for the business.
Even for investors, it helps them judge the merit of the business.
Needless to mention, the business plan template features always includes this overview.
It typically starts with a brief outline of the industry.
So when the industry is discussed, there is an outlook on the future potential too.
So this specific point has all information about the relevant market.
It also gives the reader a synopsis of the industry dynamics.
The reliability of the data is crucial.
So make sure you are sourcing the template and details from credible sources.
After all, your investors are putting in their money.
They will never be buoyed just by your plans; it is important to share facts.
Most times bankers and fund managers base their decision on these hard facts.
This is because only these will help them assess the risk appropriately.
Therefore, you have to be very careful about every data point you share.
Also, describe the type of funding you are looking at.
This will help investors calculate their relative return.
This is also the right avenue to share information about the projected market.
Moreover, you must highlight how you hope to tackle competition.
Your relative standing vis-a-vis competitors is crucial as well.
This, as a result, is an inseparable part of any detailed business plan template.
3. Product Details
This is another key element of your business plan template.
The length of this segment varies from business to business.
Most importantly it will depend on the product that you are planning to sell.
For example, if you have a straightforward product, it may just take a few paragraphs.
At the same time, if your offering is based on certain other factors, it will take time.
So in this case, the business description may stretch over a few pages.
However you frame the description, it should clarify the concept.
You have to make sure that the readers understand the use very succinctly.
Often that is what will mark the eventual success of your business plan.
You have to be specific in terms of how your plan is better than others.
If you are peddling a product that is commonly available, you have to specify.
You have to convince readers that you have a superior offering.
You can even put in descriptions to help readers understand why it is better.
In case this description is doubling as a financial plan, add the money component too.
Specify details about the debt and equity component here only.
So that means, it is important to tweak a business plan template adequately.
This is important because whoever reads the plan must be clear about the objective.
You can even give your reasons for selling the product.
In certain cases, it can even help to address the choice of location.
Sometimes, depending on the offering, that can be an important consideration.
Add details about the experts that you may have consulted.
This adds more credibility to your product offering.
In other ways, you can also hope to get a favorable response.
Your potential investors must be able to appreciate the necessity.
4. Financial Roadmap
Well, when you are considering business plan template features, this is a necessity.
You can say you are preparing the whole plan to get the funding.
But the point is investor have to be convinced about the product they are betting on.
That is why it is important to create a convincing roadmap for the finances.
This will give investors proper knowhow to understand how you plan to mobilize the funds.
Often a well scripted financial plan becomes the backbone of a sound business.
It is this segment that often seals the deal for many investors.
As an entrepreneur, you should be careful that you are not operating in the loss.
Ultimately the purpose of any great business is earning profit from it.
So you can always detail out the kind of operations you are going to undertake.
In many ways, it needs to outline even the scale of operation.
After all, you have to make sure that the business operates in a seamless manner.
Therefore, it is very important to outline the various sub-elements that make the business proper.
The finances undeniably play a very crucial role.
You must be able to chart out the tentative budget, and startup costs too.
That will give you a fair idea about the amount of money you will need to run the business.
In many ways, the financial details also give you a fair profit expectation.
The profit expectation in absolute terms is very important.
That alone can help you draw up a constructive future assessment of profit.
Even for investors, this plan will help in assessing their returns and relative margin.
In many ways, this also helps in lowering unplanned losses.
Both the entrepreneur and the investor are more in control of the finances if there is a proper plan.
5. Analyzing the Market
This is a crucial element when you are considering business plan template features.
A detailed analysis of the market will help you draw up a proper plan.
It will help streamline the type of target customers and how you plan to address their needs.
From designing promotion plans to undertaking distribution strategies, it depends on the market.
As a result, a fair analysis of the market is crucial for creating a detailed understanding.
When you analyze the market, it also creates a concept of powering growth.
A fair consciousness about the market gives you a detailed understanding of the business.
A great business plan template starts the market analysis with the size of the market.
You have to make a fair assumption of the current structure and future prospects.
Analyze the leading market trends and how it can affect the potential sales.
Also, you have to take a call on how often you expect people to buy your product.
This is a very important element and helps you decide on the scale.
Let’s say if you plan to manufacture safety pins or you plan to make a notebook, the difference is distinct.
The use of safety pins is quite different from that of notebooks.
The scale of operation will also vary as a result.
Now you must remember, however good your offering may be, you cannot target 100% market share.
You can start with small multiples.
Maybe you can target getting 15-20% of market share.
The idea is to keep expanding it in a gradual fashion.
That will also help you create a benchmark for the market.
In many ways, the share of the market is closely linked to the scale of operation.
Therefore, your business plan template also needs to highlight the inter-linkages.
6. A Low-Down on Competition
This may not be a compulsory feature of every business plan template.
But you have to take a call depending on the nature of the business.
If you are taking up a particularly challenging space, this will be a core element.
A fair assessment of competition is crucial.
This is because when you can analyze competition, you can also draw up your game plan.
It will enhance your strategy and bring up a constructive plan going forward.
This is because you can understand your strength and weakness.
You can also gauge the strength and weakness of your competitors.
This helps you in creating a realistic strategy that enhances the long-term prospects.
It helps you assess the barriers that can prevent progress.
At the same time, you understand the triggers that enhance growth.
You can identify the potential roadblocks that stop you from entering the market.
At the same time, you can gauge the weaknesses that you can capitalize on.
Even in a very competitive environment, there is always a distinct niche that you can exploit.
This will also help you optimize productivity and profitability.
This kind of business plan template will also help distinguish competition.
There are some types of direct competition and some indirect.
The challenge is identifying these and strategizing accordingly.
Obviously, your strategy for the direct and indirect competition will differ significantly.
Moreover, you can also create a definitive strategy.
Anyone who will be reading this business plan will then get a clear idea about the customers.
They will be able to gauge the challenges and your strategy to tackle them.
In many ways, this will also convince investors about the seriousness of your plan.
It gives them the necessary firepower to make a strong impression.
7. Operational Strategy
Executing a plan can be challenging.
This is why you must look at a business plan template that has provision to outline management plans.
It helps the investors or target readers the depth of your business plan.
It also drives home a message about your commitment.
Moreover, when you have a clear operational strategy in place, you can manage execution better.
This also helps readers understand how you plan to continue the business functions.
In many ways, this component highlights the logistics and resource mobilization that you undertake.
This undeniably eases out the management responsibilities too.
Moreover, when you get down to task with a clear plan, the rate of success is higher.
You can allocate tasks a lot more deftly and distribute responsibilities faster.
Even the capital and expenses for the business become clear.
This type of a business plan template creates scope for more details.
It enhances the overall creative element in your plan.
But most importantly, it adds to the clarity in concept.
Your business may have a lot of potential, but your target readers have to understand.
This kind of detailed planning helps you achieve exactly this.
Needless to mention that this will help attract better and more sustained funding.
So, in other words, you have to look for detailed business plan templates.
Small Business Plan Template Features
A small business plan template is a great tool to help you create the appropriate written record for your business.
It is that key document that puts your plan on paper, outlines the goals that you might have set aside for yourself and gives a broad framework within which your business has to perform.
Though the internet is full of several easy to download templates, the question bothers most time whether the free business plan template that you choose would serve to have the strategic edge that you are planning to lend to your small business.
Does Your Small Business Plan Template Address Marketing Needs?
- Identify the fundamental pitch that you want direct the business towards
- Create a broad direction for overall marketing endeavors
- Pitch it to the right set of target audience
- Clearly identify the impact that you want to achieve through the business plan
- Maximize the overall reach of the business plan to ensure more people come to know about the business.
- Grab Attention
It is very important that the business plan template that you choose for your small business is extremely catchy and grabs the reader’s attention instantly.
After all, for the plan to serve the ultimate purpose of getting the desired investor on board or helping in raising fund, the first step is all about convincing the reader about the efficacy of the plan.
The target reader must be able to see the brilliance of your business idea as they go through the details and the success of the plan is in ultimately making the readers agree with your initiative.
Another fundamental factor to consider while choosing a small business plan template is the kind of detailing this entails.
The business plan should be concise, but that does not mean you should be compromising with details.
Ensure that the plan you zero in on has the option to accommodate all the possible details that you require to make your plan complete.
In an effort to look for a catchy plan, ensure that details are not done away with, and it is important that the reader should become privy to all relevant information through the plan.
2. Financial Calculation
A good plan is the one where you can simply push in details, and the plan calculates the financials on its own.
Most importantly you must understand that the facts and figures are very important to convey the right picture about your business.
Often the balance sheet details can explain the actual business situation with a lot more precision that page after page of prose.
Often the financial calculation can be extremely time consuming and could eat into the ultimate time you have allocated for the entire plan.
Therefore a template that makes the work simpler for you is always welcome.
3. Active Customer Support System
What happens when you are working on a small business plan template and get stuck in the middle?
Who bails you out?
Well this is exactly why you must look for a plan that comes equipped with an active customer support system.
The idea is that the writers using the template can always refer back to the support system team for help whenever they get stuck.
This will ensure that the plan in completed in an appropriate manner without too any concerns.
4. Tutorial Videos & Sample Plans
When it comes to a business plan, every business has its own specific needs and demands.
As an entrepreneur, it is very important that your plan is able to address these specific needs.
But what if you are not able to gauge the right balance and your plan is not turning out the way you want it to be.
Well, it is, for this reason, go for a small business plan template that also comes equipped with a sufficient number of sample plans for reference.
You could also make a choice as per the tutorial videos they might have uploaded for your convenience.
5. Impress Readers
Remember the ultimate purpose of a small business plan template that you choose is to impress the readers and convince them of the efficacy of the plan.
Therefore, it becomes very important that you choose a plan that can serve this purpose and impress upon the readers the emergency or the urgency with which you need the overall funding.
Remember that will be the ultimate deal clincher for you and ensure that the plan becomes successful is getting what you require.
6. Look Out For Ultimate Effect
The small business plan template that you choose must look at great as a completed piece too.
Therefore it is very important that you take a printout of the completed plan and tally the overall look.
If it looks too crowded or too empty, it might fail to make the actual cut despite the other favorable elements.
As a result, it is always a great idea to choose a template that also looks as good on paper as it is when you are simply tallying.
Remember the ultimate reader is not bothered about how great the template is.
They want to only look out for the ultimate effect.
Therefore, the small business plan template that you choose has to be one that impresses readers in the first go and does not compromise the key details in any manner.
The true purpose of this template is ultimately getting across your business idea to the potential investor or banker and raise funds.
That is why it becomes absolutely necessary that the template that you choose is able to confirm to these pre-conditions and can bring out a holistic document that serves your ultimate purpose.
Clear, complete, concise and compelling the 4Cs that your small business template must embody.
Click Here to download a business plan template in Microsoft Word format with the instructions.
Therefore, the business plan template feature is all about bringing in clarity.
The key business areas must be highlighted appropriately, and that can help provide better vision.
Every entrepreneur has a unique idea.
But the reason why one is successful, and the other is not is the availability of details.
A clear and detailed plan adds depth to the overall strategy.
Therefore, this is one of the most important requirements.
The better you can stock to it, the clearer your perspective is.
Therefore your business plan template has to address your requirements.
So when you are looking online for potential options, you have to think about these.
It is always a good idea to draw up a list of potential pre-requisites.
This will help you choose and decide with more clarity.
Moreover, it will help you adopt a business plan template better.
At the end of the day, a template is like a basic outline.
You have to fill in the details yourself.
But if the outline is detailed, you can fill in details with greater efficiency.
Needless to mention that this will address your target readers concerns better.
It will help them appreciate the seriousness of your plan.
So, the key to a successful enterprise often starts with identifying a pointed business plan template.