You may find it easier to get started on writing a business plan if you create the document from a template. Where can you find free downloads & examples?
You may well have all the knowledge and information you need to start writing your business plan in your head, but getting it down on paper can sometimes be difficult. Although you can create plans from scratch, it may be quicker and easier to source a sample template and use that as your source document. Where can you go to find outline plans and downloadable or online examples?
Download Basic Templates, Plans and Supporting Documents From Microsoft
The Microsoft Office website has a useful section where you can access various types of template downloads. The business plan area currently contains over 100 plans, project outlines and supporting documents and is available in both U.S. and UK versions. You simply need to download a document and then add your own content/data to create your plan.
These downloads tend to be generic so, in most cases, you’ll need to have an idea of what you are doing. If you need additional help, however, both of the Microsoft sites offer full plans for start-ups and existing businesses that are question-based. Here, you are led through 150 questions that will help you create the information you need to build your plan.
Using a Government Website Template to Create a Business Plan
Online government sources can help you learn more about how to create a plan as well as build it. If you are a U.S. based business, then it is worth checking out the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) site which has an online business plan template. If you are UK based, you can access a free download on the Business Linkwebsite. Both are connected to useful guides or online courses and both ultimately help you create a document in Word.
Finding Sector Business Plan Samples or Examples
It may be useful for you to look at plans specific to your sector rather than generic templates, especially if you are a start-up. In this instance, try the BPlans website. This company produces a software suite, Business Plan Pro. You have to pay to buy the package but you can view 500 example plans free on its site. This could help you design your own layout or get a clearer idea of the content you’ll need to create. Keep in mind that you will need to purchase the software to actually edit any of these sample documents.
Any of these sites (or, indeed, many others that you may find in a web search) can help you learn more about design at no cost. In some cases, you will find a quick and easy download that does the job for you; in others you may end up taking elements of one or more free samples/examples to create your own template depending on the actual purpose of your plan. Once you’ve chosen a format, remember to brush up on your business plan writing skills before you start to write your content.