Business Plan — Templates for Writing — SBA

What is a business plan and why do I need one?

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your firm’s resume.Its basic components include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement and a cash flow analysis.It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make the right decisions.
Because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan package.
Additionally, it can tell your sales personnel, suppliers and others about your operations and goals.
NOTE: An area has been devoted to helping you with your business plan. Additional resources in completing a business plan can be found at Develop Your Business.

How do I write a business plan?

If you go to SBA’s home page sba.gov and select “Writing a Business Plan” under “Starting & Managing a Business” mega menu, you will find information on all aspects of writing a business plan. Under “SBA local resources” you can find local contacts such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives and the Small Business Development Center that provide FREE one-on-one counseling in the area of starting and expanding a small business. They can assist you by critiquing your business plan and your business ideas. You can locate a center by selecting “Local Resources” under sba.gov as well.

Templates for Writing a Business Plan

What goes into a business plan?
There is no single formula for developing a business plan, but some elements are consistent throughout all business plans. Your plan should include an executive summary, a description of the business, a plan for how you will market and manage your business, financial projections and the appropriate supporting documents.
To help you get started in writing your business plan, we have summarized the essential elements in the following outline.

Elements of a Business Plan

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Executive summary (statement of the business purpose)
  3. Table of contents
  4. Body of the document
    1. Business
      1. Description of business
      2. Marketing
      3. Competition
      4. Operating procedures
      5. Personnel
      6. Business insurance
    2. Financial data
      1. Loan applications
      2. Capital equipment and supply list
      3. Balance sheet
      4. Breakeven analysis
      5. Profit and loss statements
      6. Three-year summary
      7. Detail by month, first year
      8. Detail by quarters, second and third year
      9. Assumptions upon which projections were based
      10. Pro-forma cash flow
    3. Supporting documents
      1. Tax returns of principals (partners in the business) for last three years, personal financial statements (all banks have these forms)
      2. Copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor (for franchise businesses)
      3. Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
      4. Copy of licenses and other legal documents
      5. Copy of resumes of all principals
      6. Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.